Friday, August 29, 2014


First of all, holy shit. I've done fifty of these things? That's pretty impressive, I think. So far I 'm not bored with this feature, and enough of you are reading it, so here's to fifty more!

Second of all, yeah, this is kind of early for me to be going to sleep on a Friday night. I know. But it's just one of those things I have to do. I'm fasting for a blood test tomorrow, so I can't go out and do anything interesting. I also can't have a few drinks while watching a movie or an episode of 21 JUMP STREET. All I want to do is get this over with. I'm going to get into bed and hope that sleep comes for me so I don't have to be awake through all this blah.

Thirdly, I think I'll score pretty well on this test. I stayed away from fast food and soft drinks four days last week. (I fell apart on Friday because it was Wizard World Chicago, and you know how it goes. You attend a con, you eat pretty poorly. Ah well.) Since then, I've been on a streak this week. I suspect tomorrow I'll get something awful to eat as soon as I get out of the clinic, if only to fend off a 'Beetus coma (just tested my blood sugar, and it's at 69, which is pretty fuckin' low), but for now, I'm pretty proud of myself. No fast food, no caffeine, no soft drinks, no carbs after I get out of work. I've pretty much managed to curb all of my bad habits. Not bad.

My A1C level was at 5.3% last time. That's pretty fucking good for a guy like me. I think I'll score in the same ballpark this time.

Lastly, this might be the most boring post ever. Even more boring than the one about the duck crossing the road. This is what you get when I no longer ingest all the things I love. Tomorrow night's post should be a lot more cheery. It's HELL ON WHEELS night, and I always enjoy some whiskey with that show. It's definitely a whiskey show.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


I don't know where this memory came from. There is no association of ideas behind it, at least not as far as I can tell. All I know is that I was in the shower tonight, after I'd just finished exercising and jogging, and the next thing I knew, I started thinking about Vivian Schurfranz.

I hadn't thought about her in many years. I don't know if many of you even know who she is. Maybe I should go back in time a bit.

I first started professionally submitting stories to magazines when I was in my first year of high school. However, I'd been writing a loooooong time before that. Yet I'd never seen it as a career back in those days. I just did it because I didn't know what else to do with myself.

Junior high (or middle school, as they call it now) was the first time my teachers noticed that I liked to write a lot. That's when my English teachers really started encouraging me. Around then, the school had a speech therapist, and I was told to see her whenever I could. They sent me to her because they thought I had a speech impediment. I didn't, not really. I just didn't talk to people I didn't like, which meant I kept quiet for the most part when I was at school. She was the first one to help me improve my vocabulary, and she was also one of my earliest readers. I remember sending her stories even after I'd gone on to high school, at least until I learned she was no longer a teacher at my junior high school.

But never mind that. She and the rest of the English department did something rather interesting: they invited a real life author to speak to the students at my school. In fact, the teachers all went out of their way to get me to personally meet this writer. Her name was Vivian Schurfranz.

If you do know who she is, you're probably baffled by my response to her. She wrote books primarily for prepubescent girls. I grew up to write some pretty twisted shit. This doesn't track, right? Well, it does, in a way. I had never met an actual writer before, and getting to talk to her changed my life. It helped me realize that wanting to be a writer is a completely valid thing.

More importantly, she was a real-life, actual writer who WANTED TO READ MY STORIES. I sent her some of my work, and she responded very favorably. She was the first professional writer to encourage me on my path, and that is an incredibly valuable thing. I wonder if I'd be where I am now if I hadn't met her, if I hadn't received her kind words so early in my life. She would probably be horrified by what I've done with myself (after all, she read my stuff when I was writing detective stories geared toward young boys), but I think she would take some pride in knowing that she helped a young writer bloom into . . . well, I don't know what I am today. I'm something. I have fans. People want my autograph. So I'm something, I know that.

So to my fellow writers, I say this: if a kid comes to you with stories he or she wrote, encourage them. Even if there's something off about the li'l 'un. You never know.

PS: Vivian also gave a speech at the local library and held a signing. I didn't realize it until now, but she was the first author to ever sign a book to me, AMANDA, THE CUT-UP. I know, I know, it's so weird to think of me as owning that book, but I really enjoyed it. Thinking back now, I'm pretty sure that's where my obsession to get all of my books signed began. I still don't know what that means, though.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


When I first started submitting stories to magazines back in high school, there was a handful of publications I would have killed to get into: THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, ASIMOV'S SCIENCE FICTION MAGAZINE, ALFRED HITCHCOCK'S MYSTERY MAGAZINE and HARDBOILED. (CEMETERY DANCE would be on this list, but I hadn't discovered them yet.)

Today, I am down to three on that list of four. When I got home from work, I had my contributors copies of HARDBOILED #47 waiting for me in the mail.

Of all the editors I've been sending stories to, Gary Lovisi is the one guy I've been going after the longest. (Editors at the other three when I first started are gone now, or someone else is reading their slush pile.) I lost count of how many rejection letters he sent me, but he's probably the one editor who has sent me the most over the years. (Gordon Van Gelder is a close second.)

I still can't believe I finally cracked HARDBOILED. It's the best crime fiction magazine on the market, in my opinion. It's a shame, though, since this is the final issue.

It's funny. I got the acceptance letter a long time ago, and I was so proud of myself. Then, Hurricane Sandy came along, and I heard that it really fucked things up for HARDBOILED. I hate to admit it, but I figured the magazine would go under before my story appeared in its pages. To have nearly made it! But thankfully, I did make it. And hey! Look at this! I'm in there with a posthumous story from C.J. Henderson! How cool is that?

I haven't found a link online, but when I do, I'll pass it on to you all. My story is called "Daisy, Jeppke, and the Kid." It's about a couple of meth-heads who decide to sell their baby for drugs in a chain store parking lot. Things do not go well for them or anyone involved.

RIP, HARDBOILED. I will miss you. Thank you for letting me in just before the doors closed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


In an early issue of PREACHER, Garth Ennis had Jesse Custer and Cassidy talk about how there are two kinds of people in the world: those who like Laurel and Hardy and those who like Charlie Chaplin. He caught a lot of flack for supposedly ripping off Quentin Tarantino's bit in PULP FICTION about how there are two kinds of people in the world: Elvis fans and Beatles fans. Truth be told, they both got it from Sergio Leone, but never mind that.

Tonight, it occurred to me that my generation is probably the last who will remember Laurel and Hardy. (It should not surprise anyone that I'm a L&H guy and not a Chaplin fan.) Of course, a lot of classics from back in their day will be soon forgotten, if they're not already. Chaplin will always be remembered because despite his love of style over content, he managed to make some decent art. People who valued content over style, like L&H, will be forgotten because no one really saw what they were doing as high art (although they most certainly did this in their greatest films).

When I first started collecting movies, the first VHS I owned as FLYING DEUCES. The boys have a very special place in my heart. I recognize that a lot of their work together, especially the earlier pieces, probably should be forgotten, but not the big titles. FD was an amazing work of what happens when a man tries to forget a love that never existed. And then there's UTOPIA. It will be a shame once they're lost to history.

But you know what? Even Chaplin will fall by the wayside eventually. You know who will really be immortal from that time period? The Three Stooges. Why? Because even now, nearly a hundred years after they first started putting out shorts, they appeal to kids TODAY. That's a huge thing. It's probably because of the mindless violence, of which I approve. I once saw a still frame of the Stooges covered in blood (it was black and white, so it was probably something more like chocolate) with Moe holding a sledgehammer and Larry looking on in terror. These are the things that make me smile. It also makes kids, who are at heart, ruthless and cruel, smile.

Still, I will never forget Laurel's conversation with Hardy about reincarnation from FLYING DEUCES. When I was a kid, my best friend died from choking on a broken pencil tip. My mother had to explain what happened to my friend to me, and I found out very early what death meant. She explained to me that little Joey was buried underground, and that the worms and maggots would take him apart to help him rejoin the cycle of life. At that young age--I think I was in kindergarten--I didn't get the comfort of that last part of her explanation. I kept focusing on the worms and maggots, and that terrified me a great deal.

The reincarnation talk in FLYING DEUCES helped me find comfort in death not too long afterward. I will never forget that. Because like Stan Laurel, I'd like to come back as myself . . .

[PS: Because I'm not the last of my generation--the last generation to remember L&H--I suspect some of you might take me to task for the title of this piece. I have sworn, throughout my life, that Hardy has always said "another fine mess." Yet a lot of people say he said "another nice mess." My copies of their movies are buried too deeply in my closet for me to get to them at this late hour, but I will probably go to my grave saying "fine." The internet says "nice." "Fine" is funnier than "nice," so I'm going to ignore the internet for now. Pleasant dreams, people who place their sexual organs into other people's sexual organs.]


I've wanted to be a professional writer for so long, I've completely forgotten what I wanted to be before that. I've always known I would need a day job, but what was my path before I went down the road that would lead me to STRIP, TALES OF QUESTIONABLE TASTE, POOR BASTARDS AND RICH FUCKS and all the other projects I have waiting in the wings to be released?

I've been thinking about it a lot because, as I'm sure some of you have noticed, I'm not happy with my day job right now, for reasons I may someday publicly talk about. I look at all these smooth motherfuckers who make a living by creating their own jobs, which has its appeal, but I wonder if I would be able to live with myself. I could, for example, be a self-help guru. I help a lot of writers. I give fairly good advice. I think I could make a pretty penny at that.

But it wouldn't be my rightful calling.

Or how about being a "professional friend" or cuddler? You know the people who rent themselves out to other people who don't have friends. They hang out and pretend, and for a while the customer is happy. Or those people who throw cuddling parties. I think I could get into things like that.

But neither of these things would be my rightful calling.

When I was in junior high, I wanted to be a scientist for my day job. A biologist, in particular. I learned I had an aptitude for it. Science class was the only class I ever looked forward to. I got a kick out of the experiments we did. Would I have ever been a great scientist? Probably not. I could probably have made a living as a mediocre scientist working for a great scientist.

That might have once been a calling, but it wouldn't have been satisfying in the end. Who wants to just be good enough at something?

I think I'm stuck with dead-end jobs for the time being. But I still think about those paths not taken. I hope quantum physics is right about alternate universes, because I know that somewhere in existence, I'm a scientist. Or a self-help guru. Or a professional friend. Or a cuddler. And I think it would be fascinating to meet all those other versions of me.

Who knows? Maybe one of the me's in the multiverse is a bestselling author.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Is it weird that I bought someone's used porn off of them? Hear me out. Back when I was a parts driver for the City of Elmhurst, my boss said he had a friend who was either getting married or having a kid, I don't remember which. Either way, the dude was looking to get rid of his porn collection, and since I'm a huge fan of porn, I volunteered myself to buy said used porn. I got a Wal-mart bag full of it for $30.

OK, it's kind of odd to see what other people are into, but I just can't let porn go to waste. He had some good titles in there. There were some shitty ones, too, but the good ones were worth it. Is it weird that I jerked off to someone else's porn?

Unfortunately, a lot of these DVD's were scratched deeply. So I missed out on a lot of what they had to offer. Some of the good ones lasted a while before they stopped working. But . . . I recently got a disc repair machine. I ran these used porn DVD's through the wringer, and sadly, it didn't work out. They were too far gone. I guess I'll never make my way through ASS CLEAVAGE #4 and MILF LESSONS #12. Or NASTY NYMPHOS #whatever.

I guess I'll just have to settle for internet porn . . .

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Do you realize how strange the act of asking for an autograph really is? It's fucking crazy. I've been on both sides of this one. I've asked a lot of people for autographs, and I've been asked many times for my own autograph. I still can't wrap my head around it, even though I've been meeting writers, actors, etc. who I've respected for a long time.

There's a part of it, I think, which exists to prove to other people that you did, indeed, meet this person. Hey, I hung out with James Marsters or Reggie Banister and his band, and here is my proof! But at the same time, it doesn't matter to other people, because an autograph can be forged. It only matters to the person who gets the autograph.

There are those who get things signed just so they can sell it on eBay or Amazon or whatever. I'm not here to talk about them. I'm really curious as to why we get these autographs for OURSELVES. I've been doing it for so long, I don't even know why I do it. It feels like the right thing to do, I guess.

But it goes deeper than that. When I attended Wizard World Chicago, one of the autographs I wanted the most was from Karl Urban. I wanted him to sign my copy of DREDD, because he is easily the best Judge Dredd we can ever get. But . . . well, I got a lot of good people. Michael Jai White, John Carpenter, Joel Hodgson, J. August Richards and so many more. I really wanted Urban, and I really wanted Elvira. Elvira's line was soooooo fucking long it would have taken two hours to get to her. Urban, on the other hand, had a scheduled signing. I showed up at that specific time, but apparently, he'd given up and wasn't signing shit. It bothered me. I really wanted to get him.

Why did I want that so badly? His autograph doesn't change the movie one single iota. I'm going to enjoy it whether or not it has his signature on it. Why was this so important to me? It bothered me for the rest of the day, and if I'm being honest, it still kind of bothers me. I don't want it to bother me, but it does.

I got Leinil Yu. I almost didn't, but I have Jon Lennon to thank for that. If he hadn't directed me, I probably would have left without finding him. I didn't expect to get Norman Reedus or William Shatner or Stan Lee or Bruce Campbell or anyone like that because they charge too fucking much. (I did get Rooker, though, because he kicks ass. HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER is a great debut movie, and it still has an incredible effect today. As an aside, I told him that I'd never been disappointed by him in a movie. Ever. And he said, "Well, there's always the first time." And that surprised me, because he's such a confident alpha-male that I wouldn't have expected such a self-deprecating response from him. It just goes to show you that even the toughest of actors still feel that nagging self-doubt.)

I'm getting off-topic, though. I want every book and movie and CD that I own to be signed, but I don't understand why. Is there anyone else out there who can explain this for me? I'm in the dark. On the opposite side, I'm happy to sign anything that I've done. Yet at the same time, I don't understand why my fans want that, either. Why do we do any of this? This question is directed toward both my fellow autograph hounds and my fellow authors who sign our own books to fans. Anyone?

Friday, August 22, 2014


A long time ago, in this very galaxy, I used to write comic book reviews for the Elmhurst College LEADER. I was the first of my kind, apparently. No one in any other college wrote comic book reviews (at least in Illinois), and I won an honorary mention for my efforts at a state-run journalism contest (run in conjunction with the Chicago TRIBUNE).

I don't want to get all weird and suck my own dick or anything, but I never really considered myself a reviewer in those days. I wrote about books I wanted people to read, because they were fucking awesome. I very rarely wrote a negative review. It comes from my history of wanting the best comic book reading experience possible.

I never planned on becoming a comic book convention attendee, but it happened all because I wrote a critical letter to Brian Pulido, the guy who created Evil Ernie and Lady Death, among other great Chaos! characters. I thought Evil Ernie's books had lost the plot, and I wrote a ten page letter explaining all the cool shit the series had done, and all the terrible things that were ruining the story at the time. A severely edited version was printed in one of the EE books, and I was named Fiend of the Month. Shockingly enough, Brian listened to me. He came back to writing the character he created, and he put EE back on his path. He also called me up at home and talked to me about the experience. I couldn't believe it. I actually spoke to one of the three guys who got me back into reading comics. It was an amazing experience.

Even more amazing: he invited me out to Wizard World Chicago that year, my very first comic book convention. I didn't know what to expect, but after walking around the place for a day, I got the hang of it very quickly. I also got to meet another of the three guys, Garth Ennis, for the first time. In fact, I got to meet a couple of guys who were doing a great indie book at the time, one of the first of its kind that I'd found by myself. The book was called BATTLE POPE, and the guys were Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore, before the rest of the world knew who they were. I can't tell you how awesome that first con was.

The next year, I knew what to expect. I knew which creators would be there, so I loaded up on my comics and brought a bunch of them to be signed. Every con since, my backpack has been full of books I wanted to get autographs on.

For the first time since that first year, my backpack is very, very light. That's because the emphasis has been taken off of comic books and has been placed on pop culture figures. I like guys like Stan Lee, Bruce Campbell, William Shatner and the rest, but my main reason to go to these things is to meet the people who create my favorite comics.

This year, there were only two big name comics guys I wanted to meet: Rafael Albuquerque, who co-created AMERICAN VAMPIRE, and Leinil Yu, who did a couple of books with Mark Millar. (I also want to get my WEAPON BROWN omnibus signed by Jason Yungbluth, but I've met him before. These other two guys? I haven't.) Then, Albuquerque had to step down. For the first time since the first time, I have almost no comic books to bring with me. Just Yu's two series for Millar, and I don't even know if I'll be able to get to him.

I have a few other things I want to get pop culture icons to sign, but it depresses the hell out of me that comic books have taken such a backseat at the con that got me started all those years ago. To those who have read my con coverage in the past, you might recall that I thought last year I'd give up on WWC and just stick to C2E2, which is a far superior show. Yet . . . I find it hard to quit the one that started me on this path. Besides, I have friends at WWC that I don't usually get to see the rest of the year.


To those who remember, I'm still SWORN TO THE BLACK.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Wow. I talk deeply about depression, and I get everyone's attention. I switch gears to cheer everyone up a bit, and everyone abandons me. OK, fair enough. Two posts ago, I wrote about a duck crossing the highway. The last post was about me killing a fly, and I suppose that's about as entertaining as watching paint fuck and flies dry. I tried to give it some oomph, but I guess no one gave a shit.

It's weird how vast the drop-off was. Maybe it's just the constant saturation of these blogs. I am, after all, up to #42. That's a lot to read every night, I guess. If I had such low numbers on any other regular post, I would probably cancel it. This one? I think I'll soldier on. It's more of a writing exercise for me, anyway. If it entertains someone out there, then double points for me.

After I got my required word count out of my head tonight, I spent a lot of time gearing up for things. Wizard World Chicago is this weekend. I'll be there Friday, and it's going to be a hell of a day for me. After the show, I'm doing the Forced Viewing podcast (hopefully), after which I'm going to (hopefully) hang out with some Artists Alley friends. I don't know how I'm going to live through it all. Plus, that's the day THE COCAINE! BROS. returns. I intend to have the new post up by noon that day, so keep an eye out for it.

I am really fucking busy these days. You'd think my insomnia would have shriveled and died. No such luck.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Sioux falls issue #01

To those familiar with Z.M. Thomas’s work, you might be expecting a healthy wallop of humor to go with the starkness of the cover you see above. Yet this new book is something different. In SIOUX FALLS, he plays it pretty straight. This time out, he’s here to tell a grim story of vengeance. Remember how in the ‘Seventies, we used to get movies about the hero who gets severely wounded and left for dead by the bad guy, only to heal and come back for revenge?

Meet Kota. He is a Dakota living in District 32, aka Sioux Falls. For ten years, he has been haunted by the brutal murder of his parents and brother, and tonight he is finally going to get his vengeance. He takes a few drinks, hides his gun and heads down to the bar where the notorious General George Armstrong hangs out. He has one goal in his life: kill Gen. Armstrong, the murderer of his family. He doesn’t even plan on escaping the bar, just so long as he gets to see the life fade from Armstrong’s eyes.

Naturally, things don’t work out for Kota, and he winds up just like a ‘Seventies hero with a bullet in his guts, left to die out in the middle of nowhere. Except . . . you know he’s not going to die out there. No, he can’t let Gen. Armstrong get away with this. This is only the first issue of the book. Judging from the tone, there is plenty of blood and revenge in store for us.

Thomas is doing something very different here, although it is no less researched than his other, more humorous projects. In asides, he offers translations and historical notes. He’s not fucking around here. This is his story about the systematic racism that has nearly destroyed Native Americans. You see, this is about more than just a revenge story. This is about a great wrong that was done to an entire people by our very own government, and it’s a wrong that is still being done to this very day. It’s not necessarily as violent as it once was, but go to a reservation sometime. Take a look around. You will see people who are broken and isolated and all but forgotten.

If that’s not enough to convince you, take a look at the wonderful artwork. It is perfect for this kind of story: grim, dark and rough. Take a look at Gen. Armstrong. Look familiar? Kids today probably don’t know what the rest of Custer’s name was . . .

Hell, one look at the cover should convince you that reading this book is the right thing to do. We’re only 26 pages in. Could you imagine what else Thomas has waiting in the wings for us?

Do yourself a favor. If you’re at Wizard World Chicago this weekend, look him up and buy it in person. If you’re not, then go here and get your fix right now.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I killed a fly today. That's not unusual, but the way it happened kind of was. I saw the fucker on my kitchen counter, and I slapped my hand down on it. The problem was, I didn't do it hard enough. I mortally wounded the poor fella. He rolled in on himself, and his one good wing fluttered so hard that he kept jumping around in his death throes. I don't think I've seen an insect in so much pain.

I felt really sorry for him. I know I would hate it if some giant bastard slapped me down hard enough to cripple me but not kill me. The only thing to do in the situation was finish him off as quickly as I could. Unfortunately, his dying body was too fast for me. I brought my hand down again a couple of times, but I still didn't get the job done. Finally, I used both hands and mercifully ended his life. If anything could be considered mercy by that point, it was this.

It really bothered me, the way I let him suffer. I don't like bugs, and I kill them if they're in the house or on me, but I do so quickly and with zero suffering for the victim. If I find them outside, I leave them alone because that's where they're supposed to be.

Yet it wasn't always this way. When I was a kid, I was a motherfucking savage. I still left bugs outside alone, but if I found them in my house, I considered them to be trespassing. Trespassers had to be punished. If they actually touched me in my own house, that was an instant death sentence.

How did I punish them? I had a bug zoo, but it was really a bug jail. I'd toss 'em in and wait for them to die. If they were particularly troublesome (ie. they refused to starve to death), I'd drown them in a mason jar.

That's some serial killer shit right there. But at the same time, I think it's very illustrative of how much I've changed since I was a kid. I'm telling you, 98% of you would have hated me between the ages of five and twenty. I was a cunt back then. (The other 2% are still somehow friends with me. Go figure.)

Sorry, fly-who-I-killed-tonight. I didn't mean it to end that way.


I was driving home from work when I saw one of the most ridiculous things I've seen in a while. At first, I didn't even know what it was, but it looked funny as all fuck. In the middle of the road, I saw what looked like a fairly big bird making a mad dash across the street. He was in such a hurry, his wings were pinwheeling frantically, just flopping about like empty socks in the wind. He looked like an absolute mess as he ran so quickly that he fell several times flat on his face. It never deterred him; he just kept getting back up and running.

As I got closer, I realized it was a duck. Not an adult yet, but not a baby, either. I would say his age was the equivalent of our preteens in the very last moments of being preteens. He didn't even have feathers, but it looked like they'd grow any day now.

The funny thing is, he didn't look scared. He looked like he was late for an important business meeting. He looked like a methed-up white rabbit, in fact.

I slowed down as he stumbled and staggered across my turn lane. It took him forever to hop up onto the median, but for some reason, he didn't want to continue in that direction. Instead, the crazy bastard jumped back down in front of me so close I was afraid that if I moved, I'd run the poor devil over. And then I saw him run under the car in front of me, hiding behind one of the wheels. We were at a stop light, and it was just about to turn green. Thankfully, just before I got out of my car, the bugger jumped up, got on the median and dropped to the other side. He rushed across the street, headed toward the area where Salt Creek runs under the road.

I considered getting out of my car and picking him up, helping him get across the road safely. But first of all, I didn't want to freak him out any more than he already was. Secondly, he was still pretty young. I know that if the young of some species are touched by people, they adopt a human scent, and the parents will abandon them. I didn't want to ruin the poor fucker's life.

I hope he made it to whatever he was late for. Maybe he was just trying to get home before his parents grounded him or something. That was probably it. It's a good thing they didn't know that he was running across the street without looking both ways . . .

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Last night was a pretty dark and deep entry in my GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS series. Shit usually gets pretty real around here, but it has never been so real as it was last night. For the first time since I started this nightly blog, I felt fear before hitting PUBLISH. I was actually afraid to post last night's blog.

I've never bared my soul like that before. It frightened me. In fact, I could barely sleep last night because of it. I was terrified of waking up and going online to see what people might have said about it. To my relief, no one said anything, despite the fact that a lot of you read it. Almost as much of you read about my suicidal thoughts as those of you who read about my admiration of K.M. Tepe's work at StrangeHouse, and that's a lot of fucking people.

Yet at the same time, I'm kind of scared by the lack of response. I made it clear in my post that it wasn't a cry for help, but I wasn't explicit in why I posted what I did. I thought I was, but clearly I wasn't.

A lot of people keep calling for honest discussions about all sorts of topics that are in the news these days, but when someone actually starts talking honestly, they're shunned for the most part. Sometimes, they're even ridiculed. No one actually wants to talk about suicide, because I think it hits too close to home. Everyone has gone through a period in their lives when they thought about offing themselves, but it's so terrifying that no one wants to talk about it. When someone does, people respond by talking shit. Or they come out with bullshit platitudes. Or they . . . well, they ignore the person.

Here is the place for an honest discussion about suicide. No one will deride you here. No one will talk shit. If they do, I promise to block them.

Personally, I let things fester inside of me. I know that's not healthy, but when I was a kid, it was beaten into me that I should act like a man, whatever that might mean, and ignore these stupid emotions. To this day, I am a cold fucker, because some subconscious part of me keeps expecting to have my ass kicked for talking about how I really feel. It's a thing I'm trying to work on now that I'm approaching middle-age.

I, of all people, know it's hard to not let things fester. I opened up last night, and I'm still scared as I type these words now. If you've ever felt suicidal, here's the place to talk about it. Let it out. Let us help you. What I did last night was a public service announcement.

If you're uncomfortable posting here, DM me on Facebook or on Twitter. Or email me at If I can help, I will bend over backwards for you.


All my life, I've been surrounded by suicidal people. For a while, I spent most of my time helping talk them out of offing themselves. I've been successful for the most part, but because of that, I've felt like kind of a fraud. I'll get to that in a second.

People wonder about those who have committed suicide. The social media explosion over Robin Williams killing himself has thrown the world off kilter. A lot of his fans knew he was deeply damaged, but most of us figured he'd go off the wagon, and the drugs and booze would kill him. Few of us thought he'd kill himself because, and I don't mean to sound like an asshole, he did it right. I'll get back to that in a second, too.

My greatest hero Hunter S. Thompson killed himself. This surprised a lot of people, but not me. Those of us who were close fans of his knew that he'd been having physical problems before his death. For a guy who was so active, that was a death sentence. He would have been living in a wheelchair if he hadn't killed himself, and for a guy who loved shooting things and blowing shit up and driving cars at top speed . . . well, that would have killed the quality of his life. So I support his decision, just like I support Robin Williams's decision.

You see, it just came out that Robin Williams had Parkinson's. He hadn't gotten fucked up by it yet, not like Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali, but he was headed down that path. It's easy for people who don't suffer from that problem to condemn the suicides of those who do, but that's uninformed and it lacks empathy. I would have done the same thing. So yeah. Williams offed himself, and for him, that was a good thing. For those he left behind, it blows. Here's the thing: most people were surprised that he took this way out. But he didn't talk about it, which meant that he really wanted to do it. Hold that thought.

I'm pretty sure that most people have thought about suicide. I certainly have. Almost every day, I wish that I didn't exist. It would make things easier, for me at least. For those I would leave behind? Maybe not so much. I've got a lot of problems rolling around in my head, but that doesn't make me different from anybody else. If you've never considered offing yourself, I'm pretty sure you're either delusional or you're lying to someone, either us or yourself. It's a tough ol' world, and when you think about it, suicide is the only sane answer.

That's why I feel like a fraud. Every time I reacted to a friend's suicidal thoughts, I lied to them and said the thought of killing myself had never occurred to me. But it had, every day since I was an abused child at the age of five.

Relax. I'm not going to do it. Maybe five years ago, I would have, but not now. I have two books out right now, even though one of them is not doing so well. I have a new book coming out. I have another book coming out next year. I'm taking part in a major three-novella book with two other authors. Now is certainly not the time to kill myself. Things are finally going my way. But without these things? I don't know.

One thing remains for certain: I'm here to stay. For now. But if I come down with something that will eventually paralyze me? Or completely ruin the quality of my life? Something thick and juicy like terminal illness? I'm checking out before it gets me. Call it hubris, but I refuse to let something like that tear me to pieces. I will go out on top, before it destroys a single aspect of my life.

But to those who I love (and to those who love me back), I promise to never tell you about it. I don't want you thinking you could have saved me, because you can't. That's why Robin Williams did it right. So did Hunter S. Thompson.

I probably won't. I've been banking on a fatal heart attack at the age of 40 since I was 16. Because I can't quit fast food, that's still the odds favorite of how I will go out. Place your bets now, but you probably won't make much. 2:1 bets won't make you a lot of dough. It's the 20:1 bets that do. So . . . bet on me dying of old age, I guess. It might happen. I've cut back on a lot of my bad habits, so it's within the realm of possibility.

Wow, I sound like a dick. I don't mean to. And I know that if I offed myself because of some terrible disease, it would still get me. I'm aware of that hypocrisy. But since I don't have that disease (and most of you don't, either), it's an hypocrisy I can afford. No one can truly understand until one is in that position. If you're reading this, please know that I love you all, and I would never want to actively hurt you. And if you've read this far, I know that you love me, too. Thank you and goodnight, you wonderful, beautiful people who aren't fuckers at all.

This isn't a cry for help, either. Please don't respond with offers of help. I'm OK for now. I'm just posting this for the benefit of those who DON'T understand suicide and maybe need help getting their heads around it.

Friday, August 15, 2014


I have always been a huge believer in the legalization of prostitution. Some of you may have heard about a 14-state crackdown called National Day of Johns Arrests. Instead of targeting prostitutes and pimps, the cops went after the johns. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has taken the lead on this thing, and he had this to say about the sting operation: “It makes them understand that there are some consequences here. The public still perceives prostitution as a victimless crime, so we’re going about it this way to address the problem and raise awareness.”

Here’s the problem, though: prostitution, generally speaking, actually is a victimless crime. There are no victims, only winners, and the only reason it’s a crime is because the courts say it is. The john is a winner because he or she gets to have sex. The prostitute is the winner because he or she gets paid.

Hold on, Bruni, I hear you say. What about child prostitutes? What about pimps kicking the shit out of their girls? What about this, that and the other thing? You’re right, those are definitely crimes with victims. However, the only reason they exist is because prostitution is illegal and therefore unregulated.

Let’s take a look at where it is legal and regulated: Nevada (for the most part; there are some counties that don’t allow it). While there are the usual problems, these instances are vastly lowered by the legalization and regulation of prostitution. (There will always be child prostitution, because no one in their right mind would legalize that. People will always have illegal cravings, and there’s nothing to do about it except to crack down harder on those who would sell kids and those who would fuck kids.)

Working conditions for legal prostitutes are good. They’re constantly tested for disease. Brothel owners can’t beat them senseless. No one forces women into this industry here. Some people will still say that sex isn’t something that should be sold. To quote George Carlin, though, “Selling is legal. Fucking is legal. Why isn’t selling fucking legal?”

It’s all about choice. Morality can’t be a legal issue because morality is subjective. If you want to sell your sexual organs, you should be able to do so. If you want to buy someone else’s sexual organs, you should be able to do so, just so long as the person who has them is a consenting adult.

That’s key to the equation, by the way. Everyone involved must be a consenting adult. If this requirement is not met, then the act is a crime.

There are still some valid complaints about legal prostitution, though. For example, the legal prostitutes complain that the health tests are to protect the customer, not the prostitute, as the customers aren’t tested. This is a fair complaint. In Australia, the customers are screened carefully before they get to pay for sex. This is something we should adopt here, because if we ever do legalize prostitution, sex workers absolutely need to have rights.

Also, there are some odd laws requiring prostitutes to not wander very far from their brothel for very long. In other instances, they need to leave the county if they’re not working. In even other instances, they can’t hang out in local bars and socialize when they’re not working. As a result, some prostitutes have complained that they’re being unfairly detained or regulated. Again, another fair complaint. We need better regulations.

If we can fine-tune this process before taking the next step to legalization, we will see an amazing drop in crime, maybe even shocking. There will still be problems, but it will be nothing like the mess we have now.

Dart also said something else: “If there was no demand, there would be no prostitution.” A simple, slightly goofy thing to say. Let’s face it, there is and always will be a constant demand for sex, and as long as prostitution is illegal, selling fucking and the violent crime that is empowered by lack of legality will always be a problem.

By the way, Dart might not be all that bright. National Day of Johns Arrests lasted for 18 days, which is 17 more than is required for a national day of anything. He was quoted by TIME as saying that “53% of the arrested johns were married and 47% were college graduates.” To directly quote Dart: “The idea that these are a bunch of ne’er-do-wells could not be further from the truth.” The article doesn’t mention whether or not he gave serious consideration as to what, exactly, this means.

And who the fuck says “ne’er-do-wells” anyway?!

Okay, one last thing: did you know that Rhode Island accidentally legalized prostitution in 1980? It wasn’t fixed until 2009. So what happened during nearly two decades of legal selling fucking? Researchers at Baylor University took a look at it, and to quote the WASHINGTON POST article about it: “[They] found that more women entered prostitution . . . and the price of their services fell. In addition to the lower rate of gonorrhea infections among women, Shah and Cunningham [the researchers] estimated that decriminalizing prostitution prevented 824 rapes that would have been otherwise reported to police—and presumably many more that otherwise would not have been reported in any case.”

Hm. Very interesting. Your thoughts?


It's very odd. A while ago, I did a Strange the World in which I complained how my previous publisher had handled my first book. I never mentioned them by name, of course. I don't want to do anything like that, although if you've paid attention to me long enough (and I'm still at a place where I'm wondering why you would ever do that), I guess you could probably figure it out. Shortly after the vidcast aired, I heard back from my other publisher, and they showed an interest in helping market my book better. I have to wonder if they're viewers of the StrangeHouse vidcast.

Anyway, they got back to me with a few ideas, and I'll hopefully be able to take advantage of some of these. STRIP is an excellent book. It's a crime book, so it's different from what most people know me for, but at the same time, it is ultra-violent and hyper-sexed, so it's not all that different.

I'm glad that they're giving my book more thought. It deserves it. For those seeking fucked up stories, this is definitely one of them. You'll be hard pressed to find more damaged characters doing things they shouldn't be doing.

I don't intend for GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS to turn into a promotional thing. Besides, chances are, if you're reading this, you know where to find STRIP. I just hope to have print copies soon. If these new ideas work out, I think I'll finally get my wish. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Embedded image permalink
Me as Wilfred for Halloween two years ago.

Tonight we said goodbye to one of my favorite shows, WILFRED. For the past four years, it has been an absolute mindfuck. Did we get answers tonight? Well, kind of. It's left open to interpretation, but I think it's pretty clear what the writers intended. But that's not what I'm here to talk about tonight.

It's confession time. You see, I was kind of involved with WILFRED. I was in the test audience for the first episode. Some of you may know that I take surveys. Only two of you know that before WILFRED first aired, one of those surveys showed me the first episode and asked my opinion.

My response may surprise you. While I appreciated the dark humor, I thought they were trying too hard. I thought they were forcing things, and as a result, I voted against WILFRED being aired. Not what you expected, right? Well, against my advice, WILFRED aired, and I ignored it when it came out. However, I kept hearing good things about the show. Whenever I condemn a show at first and later hear good things about it, I always give it a second chance.

In the case of WILFRED, I'm glad I did. I rented the first season from the library and watched the whole thing in two sittings. Holy shit, was I wrong. I still feel the same way about the first episode, but after that? I was fucking hooked. I am so glad I tried this show again because it turned out to be one of my favorite TV shows of all time.

My apologies to all involved in the show, but I'm pretty sure my transgression is forgivable. After all, my response to that test show was ignored anyway, so . . .

If you haven't watched WILFRED, I highly recommend it. As I understand, it's based on an Australian show, but I haven't seen that one. I'm going to have to hunt it down and see what it's like. But for the American version, be sure to check it out.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I hate doing my taxes. Hell, everyone does, even if it turns out that you're going to actually get money back from this tightfisted, backwards government. But there is something significantly worse than this, and I have suffered through it tonight.

What could possibly be worse than filling out tax forms? Easy: filling out job applications. I completely understand the high unemployment rate in this country. No one wants to fill these fucking things out. It's the worst. You want to strangle yourself by the time you get halfway through. The world has made this process unnecessarily complicated.

Remember the old days when a company posted a help wanted sign, and if you were interested, you went in, stated your interest (with maybe a resume to spice things up), and if you made a good impression, you were hired on the spot? (Hm. Maybe I'm dating myself with that one.)

Fine. That's no way to run a corporation. I get that. I'm even OK with filling out an application. But the way things are done today is so completely, mindnumbingly dumb as fuck. The preferred way to get a job these days is the dreaded online application.

During this process, you are expected to fill out a form AND attach your resume before submitting it . . . but that's only after you register at EACH AND EVERY JOB POSTING so you can earn the right to even fill out the form. What does the form ask you for? THE VERY SAME INFORMATION THAT SHOULD BE ON ANY SENTIENT BEING'S RESUME IN THE FIRST PLACE. Why the fuck do we still do resumes if we're just going to fill out the same stupid forms with the same stupid information?

I get that some people don't have resumes. We don't have to ruin the entire system for these people, though. Here's a simple fix: offer applicants a choice between either filling out the form or sending in the resume. This, by the way, is also a great way to weed out dummies. If you get the resume, and it has all the information on it that you would have asked for on the form, then you have your winner. This individual is someone who has his or her head on straight and can think their way out of a wet paper bag. (I would, of course, make special exemptions for young people who are perhaps applying for their first job. However, adults who have been around the block several times should already know this. To quote an infamous gentleman, "No mercy.")

Oddly enough, I have never gotten hired from an online application. I don't think anyone reads the fucking things, anyway. I got my current job from calling them up and leaving a message for their HR guy. I got Sears from filling out an in-store application and then actually showing up for the group job interview. Both of my Elmhurst jobs (and the one in Oakbrook Terrace, come to think of it) came from in-person, on the spot interviews.

Has anyone ever been hired because of the backwards, bullshit way the internet does things?

Monday, August 11, 2014


The other day, I'd gone out for a night walk, and as I passed up my elementary school, I was struck by a sudden memory. I have no idea where it came from, but I felt like I was back in the 'Eighties, when I was a student at said elementary school. I remembered a field trip helmed by the guidance counselor. After the educational portion of our outing, he brought us all to McDonald's, at which point he had a difficult time getting me out of the Big Mac prison-thing in the playground when it was time to leave.

But the thing I remembered most starkly was his glorious mustache. Now that I think back on it, every adult male in that McDonald's had a great mustache. So many of the American penis-bearing population back then had beautiful, masculine mustaches.

What changed? How did fashion in America do such a 180-degree shift that mustaches became contemptible? It was such a change that even now, more than twenty years later, mustaches still have not come back into fashion. Okay, they've made kind of a comeback, but not in a good way. The mustache today is a joke, a symbol of goofy masculinity. You can't have a mustache in today's society without being the butt of a joke.

I will never understand the shifts and changes in fashion. I guess that's why my own never changes. The only difference for me is that most of the time, I don't have a beard, and I keep my hair relatively short. During the winter, I grow a beard, and I let my hair go wild. Aside from that, my fashion never changes. I dress just like I did when I was a kid: t-shirt and jeans.

That's probably for the best. Why fuck with something I don't understand. It's a bit disappointing for me that I can't grow a decent mustache, though. I look like a pedophile when I grow one. This is slightly funny, considering that my dad had one of those wonderful 'Eighties mustaches back in the day. He looked kind of like Thomas Magnum back then. You'd think I would have inherited a glorious mustache, but . . . *sigh*

At least my beard looks cool. I guess.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


I watched FINAL DESTINATION 5 tonight, not because I thought it would be good. I enjoyed the first two movies. Three and four were awful. Five was the only one I hadn't seen, and I thought I should at least finish the series. For the most part, I enjoyed it. It was the same formula as usual, except the actors weren't nearly as good as in the first one. But there were some creative scenes, in particular one that made me very, very uncomfortable.

Horror is about making someone uncomfortable with the truth. I don't know if this particular scene qualifies for my definition, but it comes pretty close. One of the characters wants Lasik on her eyes, and since it's a FINAL DESTINATION movie, it goes horribly wrong.

You see, I've always wanted Lasik done on me, but at the same time, I've feared it, too. I've worn glasses since the third grade, which means that all the cool kids have had their turn at fucking with me, at least until I grew up and became taller and stronger than them. But never mind that. This is about eyes.

I'm very protective of my eyes. Damage to eyes always freaks me out, as my response to ZOMBIE would attest to. That's no big surprise, since most people can't deal with the idea of being sightless. No one wants to depend on others for car rides. Or help getting around their own home. Or even, to borrow from the Jim Jefferies bit, help in figuring out how to wipe one's own ass. How do blind people do it? You have to look at what's on the paper, right? Can seeing-eye dogs be trained to bark if you're not wiping properly?

Unlike most people who have this fear, I actually am going blind. According to my eye doctor, my 'Beetus is killing nerves in my eyes, and if I can't stop it, I'm going to be blind before I hit senior status. Right now, there are fifty damaged nerves in my eyes. That sounds like a lot, but when you realize that there are several million in a human being's eyes, it doesn't seem that significant. Still, if I don't back off, I WILL go blind.

Fuck. I'm going about this one the wrong way. I don't mean to talk about that. What I mean to say is this: getting Lasik done on me would alleviate some things, but it would aggravate others. I've worn glasses for almost thirty years. I don't think I could get used to NOT wearing them now. Not only that, but there is a certain degree of comfort that comes with taking off one's glasses at night to go to sleep. The fuzziness helps one to pass out.

Long story short: if I ever got Lasik done on me, I would probably still wear glasses, even if the lenses are knocked out. To not have the frames on me would cause a great discomfort, enough to derail my ordinary way of life.

Still: I don't see me getting the surgery. The doctor immobilizes the patient's head, but even if he did that to me, it wouldn't stop my crazy eyes from whirling around in their sockets. The only way the surgery would work on me is if they knocked me out and then put the CLOCKWORK ORANGE things under my eye lids, etc.

All discomfort and awkwardness aside, it would cost a ridiculous amount of money, since insurance doesn't want to actually help people become better. Perish the thought. For example, they'll pay for tooth extractions, but they would never pay for anything to replace the missing tooth. What the fuck is the point? If you get a tooth pulled, you would want to look decent afterwards, right?

You get the idea. Wow, this is a slapdash way to put a piece together. I can't believe I've just stated all of these things just to tell you that the probability of me killing myself if I go blind is exceptionally high.

Goodnight, and sweet dreams. Fuckers.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


This one's a tough one, but it's been on my mind since it popped into my head on Thursday night. I was at an outing with co-workers (and my new work-wife, who just got fired, so I'm again without a work-wife), and I nearly brought the room down with the sudden depression I felt when the matter came up. I don't even know how much I should talk about this. Those of you who have known me a long time can connect the dots, but . . . fuck it. This is my most honest platform for getting things off my mind. Besides, no one is reading right now. Who is up this late, anyway? Names will not be mentioned, just the situation.

I have always been against having kids. The thought of creating one has NEVER entered my mind, not for as long as I've known how to make one. My old set of reasoning was that I didn't want to bring any human beings into this shitty, fucked up world of ours, but as I grow older, I understand the real reason. As someone who was physically abused as a child, I'm deathly afraid that I will continue that cycle. I don't trust myself, because for the most part, I hate kids. I could easily see me hauling off and kicking one in the face. I don't think I would ever do that to a stranger's kid, but my own? I don't know.

Oddly enough, I'm actually very good with kids. Despite all the crazy shit I spout, I can handle them. I can entertain them. I can make them laugh. Why? Because I'm one of the rare adults who remembers what it was like to be that young, and I know exactly what will get to them. You see, I never want to bring a child into this world, but kids who are already here? I have no problem taking care of them.

I know that sounds contradictory. On this one, I have two separate ways of thinking about it. I hate kids, but at the same time, I know how shitty this world is. If the kid is already here, it's too late, so I might as well help the poor fucker, right?

Even that sounds hollow because of what I'm about to mention. A few years ago, I was with a woman who had a child with another man. I've known her for a long time, and we've been together on and off for maybe seventeen years. The third time I proposed marriage to her, she was a mother. Her daughter was a beautiful two-year-old, and I had a lot of fun with her. I was teaching her how to read. I was watching cartoons with her. I played all sorts of games with her, like the bucket game. She had these stackable buckets that fit into each other, and when I showed her how she could make her own voice echo with the help of these things, I think I might have changed her life, she loved it so much. Do you remember the first time you talked into a fan and sounded like Soundwave? It's like that.

There were the unpleasant things that went along with this, of course. No one likes changing a diaper. Nor do they like helping a kid who can't talk yet learn how to brush her own teeth. Hell, getting her shoes on was a pain in the ass. Kids squirm. It's unavoidable.

But the good times outweigh the bad.

A lot of people question the timetable, but I swear to you, I cannot possibly be this little girl's biological father. Too many people thought I'd been with her mother at that nine-month mark, but no matter what I say, no one believes me. We were just friends at that point--and to be honest, that's how I really like her. When we're romantically entangled, we're at our worst.

But . . . I wish I was the father. I think I could have done a good job. Not to denigrate the actual father, of course. That's not my place, and it's not my business. But if everyone else was right in their suspicions, I wouldn't have minded.

That relationship ended in a catastrophic fashion. I don't want to go into it here. Suffice it to say that my friend gave her daughter up for adoption, and the chances are very good that I'll never see her again.

That's definitely for the best. I know her adoptive parents, and they are great people. Her life is 100% better now.

But I'll miss her. Forever.

What the fuck are you doing, still reading this? It's past the witching hour. Shouldn't you be in bed?

Fine. I don't like to talk about this next part, because no one wants to hear it. But, here we go. This is your reward/punishment for getting this far. I'm not a joiner, and I don't do charities. However, Protect is not a charity. They're a lobby group for the protection of children. I am a member, and I urge you to join us. These guys actually help abused children. They're so good that they've changed laws. They are true warriors, and I wish I could give them more.

Fuck. I'm such a fucking softy when it comes to this column. Goodnight, fuckers.

Can I say "fuck" any more than I already do? I don't think so. But to quote a great shirt, "Fuck you, you fucking fuck."

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Of all the characters on MAD MEN, I identify most with Roger Sterling. While he takes his work seriously, he also knows that it's not so important that it's the end of the world if something gets fucked up. He's got an odd anarchistic streak in him that probably didn't exist in many WWII vets. He's even got an open mind when it comes to a lot of things, like trying LSD with his wife and hanging out with his hippy daughter.

However, there is one thing about his character that I get so much more than the rest of it. In one episode, his mother dies, and he takes it pretty well. His family falls apart around him, but he plays it off with very few ruffled feathers, almost to the point where everyone else thinks he might be kind of crazy since he doesn't show his emotions like a normal person.

Yet later in the same episode, the shoeshine guy he's used for decades dies, and Roger breaks down and cries. No one expects it, but . . . well, I get it.

Don't get me wrong. When my mom died, I broke down. I knew she was on the way out, and when my grandparents got the call, they told me right away, and I lost it. I knew it was coming. I'd prepared for it most of my life. Also, it should be noted that Mom and I had a lot of anger issues with each other. We spent most of her latter years arguing with each other. But the moment I heard about her death, I cried. The second thing I did? I told my brother Bob, and we cried together.

It's the second part I understand more. For example, I've been going to my barber for as long as I can remember. He knows how I like my hair. He's not a hairstylist. He tells off-color jokes. He likes to drink (although I think he quit smoking a while ago). If he ever died, I don't know what I would do. I don't think I could bring myself to go to a salon.

Or how about the comic book store I go to? I've known the proprietor for many, many years, from way back when I was first buying comics in the 'Eighties. What am I going to do when he's gone? I can't get into the chain stores, like Graham Crackers.

With these old school guys, it's about environment. It's about experience. These are things that can't be replicated on a mass scale. Seriously, when I get my hair cut, I might as well be in the barber shop in Dodge City on GUNSMOKE, and whenever I visit the comic book store, it feels like I'm in an old smoke shop of old, searching for pulps (and let's face it, I've actually bought pulps in this place).

Roger Sterling's co-workers looked at him like he was weeping over something superficial, but they're wrong. He was weeping over the end of a way of life, and that's something I really don't want to think about.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Many of you may be aware that I'm working on a story called DONG OF FRANKENSTEIN for MonstErection, an imprint of StrangeHouse Books that publishes monster porn. Tonight, I wrote a scene for this one that kind of rocked my brain. I couldn't believe I was doing something like this. There are a few times I had to wonder if I was crossing a line or not (and if *I* have to wonder that, chances are good that I'm crossing a line). But then again, some of the images are so incredible, I can't help but pat myself on the back.

To the future readers of this story (should MonstErection publish it, of course), I'd like to say that there have been things I've chosen not to write. That may sound hard to believe, but it's true. There have been some pretty nasty ideas in my head over the course of my life, and there are some that are so vile that not even I will write them. For example, I thought I might want to do a story about an alternate universe, in which NAMBLA actually stood for North American Monster Boy Love Association. OK, so it's easy to see a guy like Freddy Krueger being a member, but think about Jason and Leatherface and Chucky and all those guys wanting to fuck boys because they love them. Yikes.

Speaking of fucked up shit, I got confirmation tonight that Robert Tannahill completed a new COCAINE! BROS. strip. I haven't read it yet, but from what he says, I'm pretty sure it will be depraved. I don't know when we'll post it, but I'll let you all know.

PS: there is a very gleeful part of me in regards to that DoF story I'm writing. Mary Shelley would do a spinner in her grave. Percy Shelley might like it, but Mary? [pulls collar nervously]


Success! Day 1 worked out exactly as I thought it would. No cheating. No fast food. I had the energy drink like I thought I would, and I didn't desire more. (Plus, despite that can of Monster, my pm blood sugar reading came out at a pleasant 98, which probably shouldn't have happened. But it did. Indeed.)

But my work is far from done. Yes sir, I always start out strong. Day 1 is always a winner. Day 2? It could go either way. Day 3 will be the day I figure out if I'm going to fail this time. If I make it to Day 4--which is the day I'm allowing my bad habits to rear their ugly heads--that will be interesting.

One thing, though: I was planning on going out for a walk tonight. I guess that monstrous rainstorm fucked me on that, eh?

I promise to not write another GF as boring as this one. Not even I'm paying attention anymore, and I'm writing this fucking thing. It's just that I didn't have anything else to talk about this time, and I don't want to skip a day if I don't absolutely have to. This thing is more of a writing exercise than anything else, I suppose. Although if some of these posts bring relief from boredom to someone, then that's cool, too.

This one didn't do that, though. I can feel it in my balls.

Monday, August 4, 2014


I've had problems with my weight for almost as long as I can remember. When I was in elementary school, I remember being pretty skinny, and then I wound up with a terrible McDonald's habit. By the time I graduated high school, I weighted 245 lbs. After I got out of that place, a local public TV station played a taping of my graduation, and I was horrified when I saw myself. I looked like Chris fucking Farley, it was that bad. I vowed to lose weight, and over that summer--a mere three months--I lost a shit-ton of weight, enough to actually look attractive when I got into college.

I did well for a while, but I gained it all back and more--at the tune of 306 lbs. A few years later, I lost it again, down to 220 lbs. Not perfect, but much better. And then? I shot back up to 260 lbs. I'm holding steady at 240 lbs. right now, but I need to get this fat off of me as soon as possible. I would like to be around 200 lbs. If I can pull that off, my doctor will take me off of my meds. That would be very nice.

When I was younger, it was so much easier to lose weight. Now? I'm 36, and it's next to impossible, especially since I've found so many other fast food wonders, like the quesarito at Taco Bell. Sometimes, it's so difficult that I feel a craving, and when I give in to said craving, I spiral out of control. My main thought, and I am fully aware of how flawed it is, is this: "Well, I already fucked up. I might as well continue fucking up because I'm just not suited for this. So fuck my plan, let's get some quesaritos."

I'm getting too old for this shit. I've got to find some way to control myself, especially since I've got all of these health problems.

I saw GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY this weekend, and Chris Pratt is a very attractive man. Imagine my shock when I learned that not too long ago, he weighed 300 lbs. How is that possible? Did you see him with his shirt off in the movie?

Holy shit, right? Recently, someone asked him how he got in shape, and he said, and I'm paraphrasing here, that anyone who wants to do this needs to cut the shit out of their diet and get some exercise. Some advice never fails. There are no shortcuts. There's just hard work, and he's right. This is a truth I've always known. I mean, shit. I've lost a lot of weight before. This guy lost a lot of weight in an amazing way.

He weighed 300 lbs. I'm at 240 lbs. Why can't I lose my stupid gut?

Granted, he lost the weight because he knew he had a great paycheck waiting for him. I have no monetary reward waiting for me. However, it would be nice to live past 40. I never expected that, but it would be kind of cool, especially since I have two and a half new books coming out soon. It's not even a matter of making myself more attractive, because shockingly enough, I still got laid at 306 lbs. It's a matter of being successful, I think, and maybe being able to look myself in the mirror without blanching at the flab hanging over my belt.

In fact, fuck Chris Pratt for the moment. I mean, I like the guy. He's attractive and charismatic, but he's Hollywood. Let's turn our attention closer to home: Jon Michael Lennon, creator of PRODUCT OF SOCIETY. I've known the guy for a long time. When I first met him, he was not in good physical shape. Now? He's doing pretty fucking well. He's got this old driver's license, and for the first time since I met him, he actually looks like that old photo. He lost a hundred pounds, or somewhere in that neighborhood.

I don't even need to do that. All I need to do is lose 40 lbs. Once upon a time, I did that and more in one summer. I don't expect that from my 36-year-old body, but maybe, by the time the holidays roll around, it would be nice to be back in shape.

So here it is: time to quit my bad habits again. I say this a lot, but I think this time, I might do it for real. Caffeine is my one true addiction. I've battled it in the past, and recently I defeated it. However, I've been partaking again recently. Not to the point where I'm addicted again, but I'm afraid if I keep doing that, I might backslide and get hooked, just like I used to be. I also need to quit fast food again. I love McDonald's double cheeseburgers and Wendy's Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger and Taco Bell's quesaritos (among other things), but I've got to stop. I really have to.

Also, I should cut back on the booze again. I don't drink much anymore because of my pancreas problems. I usually don't drink enough to get beyond buzzed. Buzzed, for me, is OK. Beyond that is testing the limits. I haven't gotten really drunk recently, except for last night, which was fun but also scary at the same time.

So here's the plan: tomorrow, I'm allowing myself an energy drink in the morning, but that's it. It's late now, and I'm still kind of wired, so I've taken a sleeping pill. Sleeping pills make me feel like shit the next day. If I don't have a Monster, I'll lose my job. If I lose my job, I'll just give up and spiral down into lunacy and depression and don't-give-a-fuck-itis. But after that, no more bad habits until Thursday night, which I've already planned on. It's an unofficial work outing, so I'll indulge my booze-tooth. On Friday, I might allow myself another Monster, and Friday night might involve a couple of drinks. Nothing crazy. But after that? I don't want to plan too far into the future, because my plans tend to fall apart after a week's length. But I'll want to pull back on everything at that point.

Yesterday, I saw Nicole Evans in jail. She co-wrote "Suicidal Tendencies" in TALES OF QUESTIONABLE TASTE with me. She's been behind bars for nine months, and she might be gone for another year in actual prison. The last time she saw me, I had twenty extra pounds on me, so even though I knew I looked like garbage, she said I looked nice.

I bring this up, because the next time I see her will probably be a half-year from now (since the drive to actual prison is about three hours, and there's no way I can make that on a regular basis). Here's my goal: the next time I see her, I want to be in shape. I don't have to be perfect, but I don't want to look like a fucking slob, like I do now. Wish me luck.

Goodnight, you wonderful, wonderful fuckers.

Saturday, August 2, 2014


I've noticed a lot of people posting fearful comments about the Ebola patients being flown to America, and I totally understand that. The most basic human need is survival. Everything else takes a back seat. And it's OK to talk about it. Of course it's OK.

But I also noticed a lot of people who expressed a great deal of anger about these patients. I want to talk about the ones who are bordering on homicidal, in addition to the ones who are heartlessly trying to keep these patients out of our country. They're the ones who bug me. I get fear, but I don't get it to the point of irrational hatred.

Because no matter how scared we are, these patients are a million times more scared.

That's the key to understanding these poor fuckers. Their days are numbered, and the number is not very big. OK, there's no cure for Ebola, and for a disease so pants-shittingly terrifying, that's even more scary. But if these people have a chance of surviving, well, it's here. Maybe we don't have a perfect healthcare record, but we have the best resources. If anyone can find a cure, it's us. If we turn them away, we're heartless scumfuckers.

Besides, who do you think is handling transportation? A bunch of fuckwits? Everyone knows the stakes, and none but the best professionals are in charge of this. An overwhelming majority of people in our country do not want Ebola getting introduced to our general population. Relax. We have professionals on the case. Ease back and let them do their job.

My first reaction when I heard the Ebola patients were coming here? Fear. Of course. It's 100% natural. I read THE HOT ZONE, after all. But we can't turn them away. They need our help.

And if we don't give it, we're not worth the flesh we're printed on.

PS: They're Americans who caught Ebola in a foreign land. Put yourselves in their shoes. Would you want to die in a strange land surrounded by strangers? Chances are, they're not going to make it. Their insides will be liquid shit by the time the sun rises. But at least give them the dignity to die at home.

Friday, August 1, 2014


Not many of you know about my non-genre work. That's OK. I'm not Thad Beaumont or anything. While I love everything I write, even the clunkers, I'm not going to turn into a dick-stroking pretentious fuck. My fucked up horror and bizarro are obvious favorites of mine, but I DO write other things.

Namely "The Hand that Shook the World," which appeared in a literary magazine called THE BRACELET CHARM. (I'd post a link here, but it would seem that they're so old school that they don't have an internet presence, which is cool in its own way.) This story is narrated by a WWII soldier who just came home after the a-bombs were dropped on Japan, and he runs into an old man who tells him a story about how he was a drummer boy at Gettysburg in the Civil War.

When you think about it, history isn't just a string of events that happened. It's a collection of memories. The winners get to write history, of course. We all know that. But . . . that's not the whole truth, because sometimes the losers survive to throw their two-cents in. It's not much, but it's enough to make people doubt, which I greatly appreciate.

Today, in 2014, we look back and we recognize three generations who can tell us history: our own, our parents and our grandparents. Very few of us have great-grandparents who can do this. Yet, in an odd way, we do because our grandparents REMEMBER at least three generations before them.

I'm lucky enough to still have both of my grandparents on my mother's side still here. John and Shirley Kopoulos. They are full of stories. Gramps was born in 1927, and Grandma was born in 1930. They were alive to experience Prohibition. My grandfather tried to lie about his age to get into WWII (and failed). It's great to get those first-person accounts from them. All you have to do is listen and absorb.

But there's one extra step you can take. Both of my grandparents remember their grandparents, who were alive up to 100 years before their prime. Those are the stories that get REALLY interesting. For example, my great-grandfather used to run a shoe repair store. At one point, the place caught fire, and he was severely burned in it. So badly that all the skin on one of his hands was burned to the bone. How did the doctors fix it? BY SEWING HIS HAND INTO HIS STOMACH SO THE SKIN COULD GROW BACK. Can you imagine having something like that done to you? Of course I put that in a book once. It never got published, but it still had a profound effect on me.

But that's just a personal touch. If you still have your grandparents with you, and you're roughly the same age as me (thirty-six), then you have access to people who remember people who were born during the Civil War, maybe even earlier. Why are you not talking to them and asking for their knowledge?

Those who have actually read "The Hand that Shook the World" will have an objection: the old man in the wheelchair had lied about his involvement with Gettysburg. Yes, that is a real problem with history, but to be honest with you, I'm not too concerned with that. Remember, ALL of history is a recollection of individuals. How can you know for sure what really happened?

You can only be sure of the quality of the story you just heard. There are a lot of old people still around. Ask them questions. Learn a thing or two. You never know: your grandfather's dad might have met someone like Teddy Roosevelt, and how awesome would that be?

My grandmother isn't very vocal about the past, but my grandfather has great stories. I think I'll tell a few of them in the near future. Because let's face it, famous people from the past are ONLY famous because enough people thought it was important to tell stories about them.

Still with me? OK, if I've peaked your interest in "The Hand that Shook the World," it can be found in THE BRACELET CHARM Quarterly Winter Edition 2012. I've marketed this story longer than ANY other story I've written. Seriously, it took me fifteen years to find a home for it, and I'm glad I did. It's possible to find it online, but it's not likely. I wish you the best of luck. And thank you, as always, for reading.