Monday, February 29, 2016


Yep. It's time to quit my bad habits again. Fuck, man. This thing keeps spiraling out of control, and if I don't get a handle on this, I'm going to be fucked. So here we go again.

Day 1 has gone pretty well without fast food and Sprite (or any other sugary drink, excluding my morning Tang). I abstained from both, and I hope I can continue to do so. I'm also cutting back on the booze. Holy shit, that's starting to get out of hand, too. I'm back to drinking every day again, and that's got to stop. I'm cutting back to two or three nights a week. Then two. Maybe one. So yeah. You might get a few more GF's out of me in the coming time, provided that I'm behaving myself.

I got a lot of shit done today. I started writing a new book, and I got a brief workout in despite watching three hours of TV straight. And I'm writing this. Hey, not bad, right?

I just gotta make it to Saturday. That's when I go in for my A1C test. If I can keep it going until then, I should be OK. It would be nice to continue after that, but I'll take what I can get.

Plus I need more money in my wallet. Fast food, Sprite and booze are bleeding me dry. My pants are tighter, so I should probably do something about that instead of getting bigger clothes.

You know? Today went like clockwork. I planned it out, and I stuck to it. Let's see if I can do that tomorrow, too. And the next day. And the next.

Or I'm gonna look like an idiot yet again for talking about my great plans and then having them fall apart within days. Let's see how this goes . . . this time.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


I saw THE MALTESE FALCON on the big screen today, and it was a wonder to behold. I love the book by Dashiell Hammett, and I have always loved John Huston's version of the movie. To see it on the big screen was astounding. It gives me a completely different perspective of the movie. It was wonderful!

I just learned today that it was playing, and I figured I'd be the youngest person in the audience. Sure enough, there were some elderly and middle-aged folks. But to my surprise, many viewers were younger than I am.

I took delight in their reactions to Sam Spade. They had no idea what they were getting into, and I don't think they knew that anti-heroes existed before the 'Sixties. They laughed at his lines, his expressions, his reactions. It was all genuine, too. Not a single pity laugh in the bunch.

Wow. A whole new generation was being introduced to Sam Spade, and it was beautiful! I'm so glad I got to see them fall in love with an icon. They had wonder in their eyes and happiness in their smiles. Especially when he slapped the shit out of Peter Lorre, telling him that he'd take it and like it.

I kinda wanted to be with them, watching THE MALTESE FALCON for the first time ever. There was one moment, however, when I felt like them. It was at the end when Bogie was asked what the Falcon was. You know what he said. Of course. It's one of the greatest lines in cinematic history.

To see it on the big screen? It gave me chills.

Saturday, February 20, 2016


Tonight I went out to dinner with a very good friend of mine, and she told me something that threw me for a loop. I've heard it often enough, but it never ceases to surprise me.

We were talking about someone we used to work with. She said that this person in question had to go out to her car late at night after work, and she wanted an escort because the parking lot could be scary sometimes. My friend said I was leaving at the same time and said that I could be her escort, but the coworker in question reacted poorly to the suggestion. She said that she was scared of me.

My friend defended me, but the coworker wouldn't have it any other way. This happened years and years and years ago, but hearing it tonight surprised me.

Every once in a while I hear stories about how some people are (or were) afraid of me, and it always baffles me. OK, so I'm a tall guy. I'm pretty large, and not all of it is fat. Sometimes I'm bearded. I wear black often, in particular my black trench coat for winter days. I guess if you saw me on the street, you might mistakenly think I was a badass or something.

But the coworker in question? I was friends with her brother for many years. She should have known better.

I'm a pussycat. I live my life the Maverick way. If I can avoid physical confrontation, I will. I'm not a tough guy, and I don't pretend to be. I just don't get it.

Not too long ago, a friend of mine told me her boyfriend was terrified of me. I asked why, and she said it was due to my sheer size. I'm taller than average, but I'm not a giant. When I'm working out I have decent body shape, but it is never anything crazy like a WWE guy. Apparently I'm intimidating without even trying.

I don't get it, and I kinda want it to stop. I don't want anyone to fear me. I'm almost a pacifist. The only thing that prevents me from being one is the fact that I will fight back if someone fucks with me. I'm not talking about tough words, by the way. I mean if someone physically threatens me, I will fight back. You can call me whatever the fuck you want to, and I'll take it. Who gives a fuck what you think of me? I have no interest in threatening anyone. I want to get along with everyone. Hate and violence takes a lot of effort, and I don't want to go through the bother. Say what you will. I don't care. But physically threaten me or my loved ones? That's a different story.

So what the fuck? I hope none of you reading this finds me scary. If you do, what can I do to put you at ease? Sure, I can be an angry guy, but I've never seriously threatened anyone in my life. I just don't have it in me. What gives?

Friday, February 12, 2016


From Peter Straub's Amazon page

I'm calling this one MEETING AUTHORS(ish) because I technically didn't meet Peter Straub. I was in his presence, though. That's what this is about. And I think I'm on #9 of the series, but I'm too lazy to look back through years of blogs to check.

Once upon a time, I wrote for a website called Napalm Assault. It has long since perished, but I had a lot of fun working for them. It got me into some wonderful situations, but the best benefit was getting press passes to comic book conventions.

I was covering the first C2E2 when I saw Peter Straub. I had no idea he was going to be there. As far as I know, he hadn't even been announced. I've been reading his books since I was a freshman in high school, so imagine my surprise when I saw he was on the Vertigo panel. (He was promoting this.) I felt giddy. I don't go all fanboy very much, but I felt it rising in my throat.

When it came time for questions, you bet I had my hand up. Much to my dismay, I was never chosen. I learned later that Karen Berger (who moderated the panel) ignored me because I was wearing a suit, and she thought I was a convention worker. I never wore a suit at a convention again.

The panel ended, and I went into the bathroom to piss. I sensed someone approaching the urinal next to me. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Peter Straub himself. I thought, "Holy shit! I'm pissing next to Peter Straub!" I'd been getting interviews all day, and my next thought was: "Is now a good time to ask him for an interview?" I almost asked him. I came within a hair of blurting it out.

I decided not to ask. I zipped up and washed my hands. Outside the bathroom, I decided I'd wait for him to come out and then introduce myself. My first book hadn't been released yet, so there was no way he'd know me. Hell, even if it had been published, he still wouldn't know me. I felt the giddiness returning.

And then I started feeling like a creep. I never asked for the interview. But looking back, I think I should have. It would at least make this story more interesting.

It's funny. When you go to cons, you never expect to be pissing with the guests. I also ran into Garth Ennis at a urinal, and I almost pissed next to Tom Atkins. You know how Seinfeld has that comedians and cars and coffee show? I think I should have a show about meeting authors at urinals.

Anyway, if you haven't read any of Straub's work (you fucking heathen), you should start with the one that will still be talked about 100 years from now: Ghost Story. But my favorite is Shadowland. Go forth and read.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


I don't know why I've been thinking of my childhood of late, but here are two episodes from my youth. I must have been the same age I was when I first saw The Empire Strikes Back, as described last time.

My grandparents on my step-father's side got me a piggy bank when I was a kid. They said that whenever I find loose change, I should put it in the bank until it's full. I asked them what I should do when the piggy bank (which was transparent) got full of coins. They told me that I should break it open with a hammer and get the coins exchanged for paper money.

The very idea that I had to smash this wonderful gift with a hammer drove me crazy. There was no fucking way that I was going to break this glass pig. It broke my heart, thinking I would have to do this eventually.

I never did break that piggy bank. I held it upside-down and jerked it back and forth until all the coins had slipped out of it. I still have that piggy bank to this day. Whenever I find coins in my basement, I toss 'em in there. And when it looks full, I'll get each coin out the hard way.

Another time: my step-father (in one of his rare moments of giving; usually he was only giving when it came to negative comments and physical abuse) gave me a pinata for my birthday. I loved that pinata. I had no idea that I was supposed to break it open and get the goodies inside. When he told me that was what I was supposed to do, I absolutely refused to do it. As I recall, I got a beating out of it, but I held onto that pinata for a long time. I wonder whatever happened to it.

I'm a fucking weirdo. I obsess over things like that. I really want that pinata, even though I'm 37 fucking years old. I lost a baseball when I was a kid, and I still have horrible dreams about it. I still wonder if maybe it's still in the bushes across the street, and it takes all of my self control to not go and look for it. I lost it 25 years ago. It can't possibly still be there, but I still think about it in my OCD kind of way.

I gotta learn how to let things go.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


I'm going to post something about a spoiler for the new Star Wars movie. I know it's still pretty new, and people are still pretty sensitive, so if you're concerned about The Force Awakens spoilers, turn back now.

I don't fully remember this, but I do have some vague recollection. I'm told that the first time I saw The Empire Strikes Back, I did something. I'd watched the original episode back when it was just known as Star Wars many times. I had it on a Beta tape with scenes that were cut from the theatrical movie. I watched it obsessively.

But the first time I saw The Empire Strikes Back? I freaked out. You remember the scene. Luke and Vader have been fighting for a good deal of the climax, and finally, near the end, Vader savagely severs Luke's lightsaber hand.

I'm told that when I saw this scene for the first time, I screamed. I jumped up and ran into my mother's arms, weeping my eyes out and kissing her face, begging her to let it not be true. It horrified me beyond all belief. It's the second piece of fiction to have ever hurt me. (The first being the end of Night of the Living Dead. But that's a story for another day.)

Fast forward a few decades. I'm watching the new Star Wars movie, and there's a scene that makes me feel like I did when I saw Luke's hand get cut off.

You know the scene. But don't get me wrong: it's not the moment when Kylo Ren's lightsaber goes through Han Solo's chest. No.

It's seconds later, when Han Solo caresses his son's face before he falls off the OSHA-disapproved bridge. That one moment, his hand on his son's face, that I felt the very same as when I was a kid watching Luke's hand fly off into oblivion. The young-dumb-full-of-cum Han Solo we met in episode 4 would never have done that. The aged, knowledgeable Han Solo he became? It hurts my heart just thinking about it.

If my mother was still alive, I probably wouldn't have done the same thing. I would have gone to her and told her about it, though. I miss her. We had a lot of problems, but goddammit. I miss her.

Fuck. For the most part, I've healed from my mother's death. Every once in a while, though, it sneaks up on me, and it cripples me. I have tears in my eyes right now. It hurts after all these years. I cry uncontrollably. I can't help it.

I miss you, Mom. Thank you for teaching me that endings don't have to be happy with Night of the Living Dead. And thank you for showing me that heroes struggle. They don't always make it through in one piece. I wouldn't be the writer I am today without you.