Friday, June 28, 2013

New Tricks: Now in paperback!

Paperbacks now available on the CreateSpace store, and should be up on Amazon within a week! My comedic fantasy novel New Tricks is now available in paper-and-ink, hold-it-in-your-hands goodness! This book has it all! Danger! Adventure! Laughs! Thrills! Pirates! Henchman Unions! Dungeon Janitors! Three hundred thirty pages of fun! Plus an original drinking song, sheet music included! How can you say no to that?

If money is tight, and you can't get a copy (or maybe it's just not your thing), I understand. If you can please share the link, that's just as appreciated. I have a baby named Penelope coming, and I hear those are expensive.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

New Tricks: A Shameless Shill Post

My first novel, New Tricks, is available on the Kindle Store (and will be available in print once I can get the proof approved).

The Twelve Realms are a land of magic, danger, and prophecy, where Chosen Ones rise to save the world in its darkest hours. But will anyone even notice when the inconsequential village of Barrowsend stands on the brink of destruction?

Everyone, even the legendary hero Olivander, knows that William, a humble boy of fifteen, has been Chosen to save the town.

There's just one slight problem.

William might not be the Chosen One...

A novel for anyone who has ever been picked last

This book has it all! Comedy! Fantasy! Action! Adventure! Pirates! Monsters! Treasure! Henchmen Unions! Dungeon janitors! And at just three bucks, you're looking at a penny a page! What a deal! Plus, Kindle owners (with Amazon Prime) can borrow the book and read it for free! Free laughs! Free thrills! What a better deal!

Plus, my wife says I shouldn't feel bad shamelessly plugging it. I got laid off last week, she's almost eight months pregnant, and diapers don't come cheap. So please, help an unemployed writer take care of his baby. If you can't get a copy or just don't want to, I understand. Things are tight all around, and comedy fantasy isn't for everyone. If you should share the link, however, I'd take that just as kindly. Again, I apologize for being shameless and self-promotey like this, but it's a rough boat I'm in now, and the baby comes before pride.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

10 Unknown Facts About Rutger Hauer

Ladies and Gentlemen, I apologize once again for my absence. I would say that this is becoming a habit, but there is too much time inbetween me apologizing for my absence for it to be considered a habit. I've changed jobs (I now manage a flea market, but feel lied to as I've yet to see a single flea). I've been looking for new lodgings. I wrote two novels since last you saw me and published nothing. I started a new blog/project that has me writing and sharing twenty short stories a month. I started a twitter account for the sole reason of following @SarcasticRover, because he is unafraid to share the truth about Mars. I also discovered MineCraft, but that's a whole other time sink, and an article for another day. Still, I realized that I should share some new truths I've recently uncovered, and today being Tuesday, the timing was perfect.

Today, for your Ten Facts Tuesday, I'll share some juicy tidbits I uncovered about the famed actor Rutger Hauer. Why him? Because I watched Blade Runner the other day, and Roy Batty is awesome. That's why. Fun fact: he improvised that speech he gave in the rain at the end. Rutger Hauer, whom I first saw in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie, not the TV show), is a Dutch actor born in Breukelen, the Netherlands (and namesake for Brooklyn, New York) in 1944. He spent a year at sea swabbing decks. He got his big break in the show Floris, a medieval drama directed by Paul Verhoeven, who in turn brought us cinematic masterpieces like RoboCop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Showgirls, Starship Troopers, and Hollow Man. As well as appearing in such great films as Ladyhawke, Sin City, Batman Begins, and Hobo with a Shotgun, he also is a dedicated environmentalist, the narrator for an audiobook, and the author of his own biography.

But here are a few facts you won't find on his Wikipedia page.

10 Unknown Facts about Rutger Hauer:
  1. He is such a method actor, he actually became a vampire for his role as Lothos in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He has since recovered.
  2. He once mailed himself from China to Brazil. He said while the travel accommodations weren't terrible (letters make a decent mattress), the worst part was keeping the stamps from falling off.
  3. Speaking of Brail, he has a cameo in the Terry Gilliam movie of the same name as the fly that gums up the machines at the beginning and sets the whole plot in motion.
  4. He once wrestled a bear. It was a cage mage, with standard tables-ladders-chairs, and a "stolen girlfriend" storyline. He lost the girl, but won the belt and then retired to maintain his undefeated status.
  5. He has a favorite color, but it is not visible to the human eye. The color is called glumph, and it is the color of swallowing something too big only to have it get caught in your throat.
  6. Rutger's agents told me you lack the security clearance to know unknown fact #6, but now you know there was a fact you didn't know existed that you aren't cleared to know, so that's something.
  7. Rutger Hauer can tell the time using any sort of dial. Sundial, radio dial, a bar of Dial soap. Even something that's radial, because it has "dial" at the end.
  8. He does on-site tech support for the Mars Curiosity rover.
  9. He owns an exotic dinosaur collection, not to be confused with a collection of local "earthy" dinosaurs.
  10. He has saved the earth seven times (from aliens, asteroids, robot uprisings, etc). His environmental efforts are his long term plans to save it an even tenth (he expects at least two more crises before he finishes the environmental save).
There you have it, ladies and gentleman. A man of action. Actor. Writer. Activist. Bear wrestler. Rutger Hauer.

You have been informed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I apologize for my prolonged (re: 10 month) absence. One would be amazed how much time guiding the future of 130 youths of America can take. Last year, I had sixty-eight, and I struggled to churn out one post per long while. This year, I have twice that number, and it is equally challenging though more time consuming. I can at least rest assured in knowing that some small portion of our future leaders is heading out into the world with an eye on the truth and not that rubbish we're expected to believe.

Still, something caught my attention that I felt needed addressing. Anna Chapman. How did this slip by my radar? And no, I'm not simply referring to her hotness on par with Jewel Staite (though we will discuss the pros and cons of a hot spy later in the program).

Oh, big deal. So she spied for the Russians. It's the Russians. Who cares about them anymore? The Cold War is over, and we're no longer enemies. Maybe neighbors who aren't so keen on the way the other mows his lawn at five in the morning EVERY SATURDAY. If she's passing on secrets, I can't imagine they're beyond the international equivalent of neighborhood gossip. Who didn't return whose rake? Or, I suppose on a more accurate scale, who isn't returning whose scientists. The fact that her discovery led to a highly publicized spy exchange simply proves the no-big-deal nature of the situation. What? You mean you're going to give back the tools we left at your place and we're going to return the stuff you left at ours? Sounds awfully neighborly of you. And the fact that the media heard about it at all says it's nothing to care about. International neighborhood gossip. It's the really big secrets that you never hear about. Which brings us to my point.

She was a spy, alright, but it wasn't the political intrigue that should shiver the very marrow of our bones. No, it's something much more dark and sinister. I'm referring to the clear cut case of techno-corporate espionage that's going on here. Everyone talks about the encrypted files she transferred. No one focuses on the fact that she sent them from Starbucks. And while the press covers her new banking job, people are overlooking the seriousness of the situation. She works in IT. As an advisor. On innovation. This very same woman whose fashion choices are discussed as regularly and as fervently as her... ahem... questionable career choices. I'm not implying that as an attractive, fashion-minded young woman, she is incapable of performing IT work. Quite the contrary. Do a google search on Jewel Staite's character Kaylee Frye from the show Firefly to see what kicks her up and above the competition in the Women Mr. Truth Would Manipulate Circumstances to Ensure When He Gets Stranded on a Desert Isle, She/They Are Stranded with Him Contest.

The connection between coffee, clothes, and computers is, in my opinion, far more sinister. I believe, based on the evidence presented before us, that Anna Chapman is a hipster. Let's take a look, shall we?
  1. She did her work from a coffee shop, which hipsters love. True, it's Starbucks, which hipsters hate (at least publicly), but it would be irresponsible to ignore, especially considering Starbucks' Seattle origins, one of the world's Hipster Hotspots. Plus, free wi-fi, and we all know being a hipster is all about spending big bucks on presenting an image of being cool while not spending big bucks.
  2. Her clothes. Yes, they're pretty. And maybe they're expensive, maybe they aren't. But they are nice without looking like they cost a fortune. They look more like lucky finds to me. "OMG! I totally just found the cutest red dress at a thrift store and was able to snag it for twenty rubles!" It's like pre-faded jeans. They look cool AND because they are artificially aged, they make it look like you thought they looked cool way before anyone else thought they looked cool. Being the first on the scene (before it's the scene, actually) is kinda what being a hipster is all about.
  3. She met her husband at a rave. Granted, now that's not the thing for hipsters. They're into out of tune singers with an acoustic guitar and midi samplings from the final levels of MegaMan, but... hipsters, what can you do? Still, they met at a rave in 2001, before they became completely blasé.
  4. She's a spy for Russia. Being a spy for Russia in America is so two decades ago. The feud is over. Which makes it pointless. Which makes it ironic. Which makes it hip. Hipsters love jobs that sound important but actually accomplish little to nothing (such as environmental advocate, speech writer for a third or even fourth party candidate, or undergrad in a liberal art). "Oh, you're doing your dissertation on the development of third world cultures when exposed to the latest album by The Unicorns? Well, I'm a spy for Russia." Score one for Comrade Hottypants.
  5. She's into tech in a big way. Hipsters love tech. If your iPod isn't big enough to hold every band you've never heard of, you're just wasting their time. In fact, for all of their Corporate America hating, they love them some tech corporations (except Microsoft). Sorry, Microsoft. They love their big old Corporate Apple. Why? Because it's pretty, but not good for actually doing much of anything useful. Still, she's an IT girl, which means she's smarter than a mac. Probably runs Linux (because it isn't Windows but you can run programs on it that aren't designed for making music and movies you've never heard of look and sound prettier).
  6. She lived in New York City at the time she was busted. New York City is considered the cultural center of the U.S. It's the place where trends start, where fashion and music have bizarre incestuous relationships producing a myriad of singers/fashion designers. With a history of counter culture (the whole bohemian village thing...), it's Hipster Heaven. Finding bands no one knows about to introduce to others is easy. Finding main stream things to ridicule is even easier.
Let's put it all together, shall we? She's an IT girl who hangs out in coffee shops with Mac loving hipsters, passing herself off as one of them all while spying, and now she's in charge of technological innovation? Sure it's a bank you work for Anna. We know who your real employer is. We know that the Russian spy thing was really just your harmless facade.

You work for the Japanese. Let us not forget that Japan, of course, is an Asian country, and oh yes, tech is big in Asia. Tech is huge. They can make robots for anything and design game systems like it's nobody's business. But how many Japanese products have that "Hipster Flair" the way an iPod does? And let us also not forget that Russia, though we never think of it as such, is situated in Asia. From Japan it's a hop, skip, and a jump to Russia. How difficult would it be for Japan to convince Russia to hire her on as a spy? After all, why pay for a spy yourself when you can have a spy on another country's dime.

Here's the truth, for the first time, regarding the espionage of Anna Chapman. Japan approaches her about spying on them. It seems their tech, though powerful, isn't "cool." Anna, being the sexy woman with a sexy foreign accent, could probably unearth all kinds of secrets of cool if she lived in New York. With their tech and that New York style, Japan would be an unstoppable force. But Japan wants to play it safe. They know about the kind of wrath Steve Jobs can inflict when he gets angry. So they approach Russia, Anna's homeland and former rival to the US. They plant a bug in Russia's ear that Anna Chapman should be their answer to James Bond. Sexy and secretive. Perfect, right? With this cover, Japan feels the U.S. will not care if Anna gets busted. They'll slap her on the wrist, send her home, but all of her true work, the Cool Equation (an equation using her IT based math skills to calculate exactly how cool something is), will come with her. And because she's a spy for Russia (and not a very secretive one if her husband noticed her slipping off to meet with Russians all the time), she's hip and ironic and allowed to infiltrate with open arms her real target, not the U.S. but the In Crowd.

Well played, Japan. You have her back home in Asia doing innovative tech work. Sure, it's for a "bank." A bank with the same initials as Russia's big spy program. Lets face it. That Russian bank is really a front for your shadowy colorful-mp3 cartel. Had to throw in a little irony there, didn't you? Keep her hipster vibe going? You win this time, Japan. But only because I'm fine with you taking Apple down a peg or two.

You have been informed.

P.S. I promised a pros and cons list of having sexy spies.

  • Easier to get secrets out of people with large libidos. Or even medium libidos.
  • Easier to get away with cheesy puns and one-liners.
  • Nobody wants to tango with the fat, sweaty, balding spy at the Embassy Ball.
  • Makes your country look like you have standards. "We have so much talent to choose from, we only hire those who can do the job AND look good on the cover of a magazine."
  • Gives enemy spies self-esteem issues.
  • Better scenery during boring mission briefings and debriefings.
  • Gives the impression that all of your spies are sexy, letting the nerdy, schlubby spies slip by unnoticed.
  • Increased risk of being frisked at airport security.
  • When caught, rest assured, their picture will be all over the internet.
  • Won't have much time to spy due to a full dance card at the Embassy Ball.
  • Makes other spies more likely to kill them in a jealous rage.
  • Will invariably shag every other attractive person around while on a mission, people who usually end up being spies and capturing them in their moments of vulnerability.
  • Insist on dressing in the sexiest of clothes regardless of the mission. "Sniper skiing in the Alps? I think I'll wear the bright red evening gown with stiletto heels."
  • Hard to slip by enemy security when they're undressing you with their X-Ray scanners and their eyes.
Don't get me wrong. I think the sexy spy is, well, sexy. To an insane degree. But I just don't see it being that effective for you in the long run. Still, what a steamy, Hollywood run it would be.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Prayers Do Come True

Ladies and Gentlemen, I know I've been away for a long time. Work devours my time like a lion devours wildebeests, birthday boys devour cake, and Oprah devours small children.* However, lately, work has been giving me anxiety attacks and gastritis, which is kinda like baby ulcers that one day grow up to be real ulcers. So what do I do? I panic. I freak out. I talk to myself. And then, like Big Oprah, I turn to a higher power and ask for help. And do you know what He does? He helps me.

Oh yes, on Sunday night, I was having awful anxiety. I was stressed beyond all reason, chanting to myself to keep myself doing lesson plans. And I begged the universe for something to happen to keep me from having to go in and take that abuse from 7:30 to 4:30. Do you know what the universe did? You do if you read ahead. If you didn't, however, I'll go ahead and tell you and let you in on what the other readers have already looked at.

The universe, kind and loving, gave me debilitating, stress-induced stomach pains. I woke in so much glorious pain. I couldn't help but smile as I slumped my way to the phone. "Thank you, universe, for making it hurt so much!" And I called in. And no sooner did I call in then all that stress related pain started to fade away. A little. But the universe, kind and loving as it is, continued to keep my best interests at heart. That cold front last week that promised to close schools for snow but fell through? It came back and froze pipes all over the city, busting water mains, sending water gushing into the streets, water that would turn to ice in those freezing predawn temperatures. Schools closed early Monday and are still closed today.

Thank you, All Mighty Power. You've given me a gift. You gave me awful stomach pains, that I would not have to deal with emotional pains. You took out an entire city's water supply and made the roads slick and dangerous so that I wouldn't have to go to work today. You gave me time off from work that I wouldn't need to spend a sick day on. AMP, I know you care about me because you're willing to put everyone else in danger with those icy roads and boil water notices all so I can avoid being disrespected by a handful of children for eight to nine hours. That's the nicest, sweetest thing anyone's ever done for me.

I could do something nice for you, AMP, but I've decided instead to pay it forward and do nice things for others. I was thinking this morning about how maligned air conditioners are sometimes. During the summers, the toil ceaselessly to keep a home at a cozy sixty-five degrees when it's thirty degrees or more hotter outside. But when those same people you keep cool overburden an electrical outlet and accidentally set the house on fire through negligent abuse of electricity, do they ever stop and say, "Hey, that poor, hard-working air conditioner is killing itself trying to keep us cool. I should turn it off before I leave this burning building so its last moments of mechanical life aren't spent killing itself trying to keep a five hundred degree inferno a cozy sixty-five degrees." No, it's all "family albums" this, and "get the pets and children" that. But not me. I'm paying it forward, AC. I'm going to shut you off when one of my many overburdened electrical sockets catches fire. Because I'm a nice guy like that.

You have been informed.

*Seriously. With her weight fluctuations, when her weight is up, she's all about self control and self-improvement, but when she's down, she's always hanging around some kids who need help. Who's to say she isn't eating one or two of those poor starving children every time she builds a school in a third world nation? Next thing you know, she's Big Oprah again and it's all about loving yourself for who you are and changing yourself into who you want to be.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Alabama Wants Your Vote(rs)

Ladies and Gentlemen, my wife and I went to Atlanta for Dragon*Con for our honeymoon recently and had a lot of fun. But all was not fun and games and alcohol and steam punk and scantily clad women in Princess Leia costumes. You see, my wife and I live in Mississippi, which means if we want to make any kind of decent time, we had to drive through Alabama to reach Georgia. Now, here's a fun fact about Alabama. Statistically speaking, person-for-person they are some of the most insane drivers in the states.* I was cut off countless times, flipped off, yelled at, and otherwise harassed for having the gall to only do 85 in a 65. Often times by people in large vehicles who seem to have forgotten the tail of their vehicle comes so painfully close to the front of my car when they do so. At one point, I even had a car tailgate me so close I couldn't see their headlights. Again, all while doing almost 90 miles per hour. "Alabamans are insane." I thought.

Soon however, I realized that this aggression was more than simple road rage. You see, while driving, my wife and I got stuck in traffic jams FIVE times in as many hours for no good reason. Traffic would inexplicably come to a crawl between two small towns twenty miles apart. There were no roadblocks. There were no accidents. Not once did I ever see anything that even remotely resembled a reasonable (or unreasonable for that matter) explanation for why people violently trying to pass me at speeds in excess of 100 mph would suddenly decide to do ten miles per hour for the next five miles. People. Just. Stopped. Moving. The trip back was no exception. Many times for no good reason, traffic stopped in the middle of nowhere. It wasn't until then that it all began to make sense. It's all about political power.

Electoral votes are determined are determined every year with the census. With this year being 2009, the census is surely underway. Not satisfied with their respectable 9 electoral votes, Alabama has realized that in order to claim a population large enough to warrant an increase in electoral votes, the state has to have new residents who have spent a certain amount of time living within its borders. As such, Alabama has fiendishly trained its drivers to slow down dramatically on its highways so that people from out of state will be stranded in Alabama for weeks, even months at a time. Thus, when the census takers arrive, the State suddenly has a much larger population, and thus, more electoral votes. No wonder people were driving like madmen, I realized. Who knows how long they've been trying to escape the Great State of Alabama?

Perhaps this explains why Mississippi's evil twin state has an inverted number of votes. Alabama and Mississippi are practically mirror images of each other. Mississippi has 6 votes, Alabama 9. Again, same shape, just flipped over. If they get that tenth vote, Mississippi will be reduced to only 01 electoral votes. Oh yes, Alabama is Mississippi's evil twin alright. We know this because the evil twin in movies is always more powerful, hence more votes. Plus, they're stealing the voters we do have away. On top of that, I'm 95% certain Alabama has a goatee, proof once more that they are the evil one.

Ladies and Gentlemen. Friends. As you drive across this wide nation of ours, please heed my warning before Alabama poaches your voice. Drive around. It will be quicker, and in the end, better for the country.

You have been informed.
*All statistics based solely on personal observation.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Germans Re-Animate the Dead!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I realize I've been gone a long time. Teaching sixth graders is the most stressful thing I've ever done. I have panic attacks in the morning at the thought of going in to work sometimes. But that's neither here nor there. I've returned from a prolonged, work-induced absence to share some completely unstartling news. The Germans have been raising the dead. In this case, it's Michael Jackson. The article states that the video was an "experiment." Yeah, we all know what kind of experiments you Germans do when it comes to the dead. The whole thing was allegedly about "how easily rumors spread on the internet." I think the rumor they're going for is that he never really died, that the death was all a hoax (which would make the video not a hoax, as opposed to the video being a hoax and his death real). But neither of those are the REAL hoax. The REAL hoax is that the Germans raised him from the dead, but in order to prevent an ordeal like they had last time (see previous link) with all of the killing and hubris of man, only PRETENDED that he never died by smuggling the re-animated Jackson into L.A. and forcing their creation to slip "discretely" out of a coroner's van. The hoax is that we're meant to believe that he never died, as opposed to the truth. He's back, thanks once again to German science run amok.

Oh Germany, will you never cease trying to overstep man's place in the cosmos via mastery over life and death?

I doubt it.

You have been informed.