SHUT UP ABOUT MARS!

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I know that we’re screwing up the Earth and badly need to find a new place to stay. In fact, if the sun has its way, it’s a race against time before it eats us in 7 billion years. That said, we need to hustle off this rock asap. Forget the fact that the closest planet to ours is an inhospitable hell zone that we don’t have the necessary technology to even safely visit. That’s just silly semantics. Pack your shit, everybody. We’re gonna make it to the red world of 3-boobed women if it’s the last thing we do! (and it will be.) Continue reading

Book Review: The Belgariad Book 1 – Pawn Of Prophecy

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I’ve had a novel brewing in my head for some time now. It’s fantasy, even though I’ve never been the biggest fan of the genre. But I figured I’d find motivation in reading a few popular books in the line and I began with this one. I was right, as I’ve been banging through my writing and am on Chapter 3 already – and it looks good…

The first book in the series of five starts at the beginning. The VERY beginning of author Dave Eddings’ make-believe universe. A group of Gods create the world and everything in it. But one went bad, as they always do (Silmarilion?). What follows is a very basic premise: a fellowship bands together to recover a sacred orb that was stolen by a minion of the “bad” God. Let’s see how Mr. Eddings fares in the telling of his story, eh?
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Book Review: The Sun Also Rises (Unless You’re Black, Jewish Or Privileged)

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“I’m 34, you know. I’m not going to be one of those bitches that ruins children.”

Lady Brett Ashley’s decision to not “ruin” children with settling down and raising a family works out just fine for her. She is one of a long line of literary Delilahs who turn male characters insane with adoration. Another one is Gatsby’s Daisy. There are more – the early 1900’s were littered with them. For some reason these hapless foolish fellows fall deeply in love with women in words who lead them into their dens of promises and false hopes, only to crush them before the story’s end. The early 1920’s seemed a rough time for men desperately in love. And blacks. Jews too.
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I’ve Been Nominated For The Liebster Award For Bloggers!

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Thanks to Tahir from over at Words Across Borders, I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award! She is a self-described political junkie. I personally despise politics now (long story) so I try to stick to her poetry. Drop by and start clicking LIKE on things!

Liebster is basically an award by bloggers for other bloggers in a sort of chain. You can only nominate blogs with under 1,000 followers, so this is also a great way to give exposure to blogs you enjoy.

Here are the rules:

The Official Liebster Award Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Display the award somewhere on your blog.
  3. List 11 facts about yourself.
  4. Answer 11 questions chosen by the blogger who nominated you.
  5. Come up with 11 new questions to ask your nominees.
  6. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you think deserve the award and who have less than 1,000 followers.  (You many nominate blogs that have already received the award, but you cannot renominate the blog that nominated you.)
  7. Go to their blog and inform them that they’ve been nominated.

Okay here go the…

11 FACTS ABOUT MYSELF!

1. I am from Asbury Park, NJ and, though I’m super glad I don’t live there anymore, I take a great deal of pride in being FROM there. Growing up by the beach has desensitized me from caring much about beach vacations and things of that nature. And while I was growing up, it was a real shithole. They’ve been working hard to bring it up for years and it’s looking pretty good.

2. I worked in television for 20 years. I was a loyal member of CNN’s technical staff in New York City and when they illegally broke our tech contract in order to bust the union, we ended up in court. 0ver 100 former employees have been fighting them ever since and CNN keeps losing and appealing. It’s been 11 years.

3. I’m a hardcore geek. Always have been, as my avatar can tell you. I love comic books and superhero stuff especially. So I have an affinity for looking at cosplay. Not interested in participating in it though.

4. I write Yelp reviews in my spare time. When I moved from NYC to down south, I knew I’d need cool new things to do, so I banged out a ton of reviews until I was offered Yelp Elite, and therefore invited to lots of free events and parties. I’ve met some cool people and have constructed some sort of social life that way.

5. I hate cheese, unless it’s mozz on pizza. I find it so revolting.

6. I was married to a woman in New York City who divorced me and took the dog. The two things I hate the most from losing that union are, 1. she was rich 2. I miss my dog. In truth, I don’t miss the woman though.

7. I am currently unemployed, and have been for over a year.

8. But I’m not without money. My brother owns a detailing business and I work with him a few times a month. I am also a Yelp Brand Ambassador and they send me the occasional gig. I am a freelance Social Media Manager, and my clients include Edutainment, Detailed By Lamont, 319 Media Group and New Hope Outreach Church. I pick up some cash from all these gigs and they keep me from starving. I’m always looking though!

9. I moved from NYC to NC because my brother and sisters and their families are here. After the divorce, I decided that being with my family was probably a good idea, so I relocated.

10. One of my other jobs is staff writer for Nerd Bastards. It’s a geek entertainment site and it’s lots of fun. Go to the side of the page where it says “Meet All The Bastards” and click on it. I’m presently the only black guy on staff lol. Holy shit, four jobs is pretty good for a guy who’s unemployed…

11. I’ve been shaving my head since 1997. One time in my early 30’s, I decided to grow it out. Not only was it super thin on the very top, but it came in mostly gray. To hell with that idea.

And here are the Questions From Tahir!

The Questions:

1) What is your connection to place?

I have no idea what that means. I will shape it into something: I have an intense connection to France, particularly Paris and the French Riviera. The most beautiful places in the world, if you asked me. I hope to one day have a vacation home there, but hey…reality and all.

2) Who was one of your role models growing up?

As a comic book geek, my role models were superheroes. I also watched wrestling, which showcased a distinct difference between right and wrong, featuring good and bad guy characters. These things shaped within me a very strict code. Outside of fantasy, I was a jock and primarily played baseball. Rickey Henderson of the New York Yankees (at the time) was my favorite player and I worked hard to emulate him.

3) If you could talk to a past version of yourself, what would you tell him/her?

Don’t go into communications. Center on the things you’re deeply passionate about, even if they don’t make you rich. Even if you have ups and downs, at least you’ll love doing it. Some people have ups and downs just doing the things they’ve settled on. Don’t be one of them.

4) Are you political or a-political? Why?

I’m Liberal, leaning Libertarian, but I’m jaded on politics. There is no such thing as an honest politician and anyone who truly believes that their party or their chosen candidate is out for their best interests is fooling himself/herself. Those fuckers are out for themselves ONLY. It’s all bullshit and the only way to find a modicum of sense in that flawed structure is to vote for the person who tells the lies you like to hear. I voted for Obama because his lies were far less destructive to my personal lifestyle than the Conservative candidates’ lies.

5) Aside from writing/reading, is there a particular art form you enjoy?

I’m a junkie for creativity in all its forms, from painting to sketching to building anything from scratch. I respect and love it all. I’m also an artist, so if I had to pick something in particular, I’d have to go with drawing.

6) What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

They are too many to count. I was with my brother today and said, “I’ve done a lot of ill-advised, insane shit. But if I didn’t do them, I think I’d be bored with life.” I sometimes have daredevil behavior. I’m lots more boring with age, tho. There’s this ramped road that crosses a railroad track by my sister’s house. You have to take it gingerly. One night about 20 yrs ago, when coming to visit her, I said “fuck it” and upon approaching the asphalt incline, I hit the gas pedal. I probably jumped that ramp (in a Mercury Tracer no less) about 30 feet. My heart was pounding and the adrenaline rush was incredible. And I kinda messed up my car…

7) What color are your eyes? (Just curious.)

Brown.

8) What are you most afraid of?

Death. Not just death, but the end of life. I treasure my faith, but I weigh it equally with science. And sometimes they don’t meet in the middle. I love the idea of Heaven and an afterlife, but the possibility of being wrong depresses the shit out of me. I hate hate hate the thought of just going black when this is all over, and then there’s nothing. We just cease to exist. It terrifies me…

9) What is something you inherited from your family that has greatly effected how you see the world? (Can be anything including a story, family history, item, language etc.)

I inherited my house in Asbury Park from my dad when he passed away. He had property and all his kids got a house. But my inheritance had to be sold off to pay for my mother’s assisted living expenses and subsequent nursing home charges. It bummed me out at first, but made me stronger. It taught me that hope is nice, luck is awesome, wishes are shit and nothing is set in stone. But, most importantly, material possessions are just dust. Don’t love them too hard. There are better things in life to cherish.

10) If you could talk to one person right now, who would it be and why?

Jesus Christ. Because I gotta know.

11) Dog, cat, or both?

Cats are cool, but I’m allergic. I prefer dogs anyway. A dog’s capacity for unconditional love and affection makes my heart flutter.

If you got this far, thank you so much for reading. Here are my nominees…

Sacha Dichter’s Blog

Lam on the Lam

2 sojourners

DIY Made Simple

SPLICED PERSONALITY

Hated Yankees

Here are the questions…

1. What is the most interesting thing to happen to you in 2014?

2. What is your favorite non-writing/non-blogging website outside of WordPress?

3. Hipsters…cool or lame?

4. Name three things you’d rather be doing than this.

5. What was your dream job growing up?

6. What you’d say in your acceptance speech:

7. What is your least favorite food and why?

8. What do you think you have to add to the lives of those who read you on this site?

9. What do you personally get out of the material you produce on this site?

10. Name the two most awesome places you’ve ever been to.

11. Love…is it overrated or underappreciated?

Thanks guys! Not everyone likes to play these things, so it’s okay if you back out! Take care!

Four Questions and Four Answers On Writing.

Writing FLow ChartEver wonder why you do it? What’s the urge? Where wil it take you? Where do you want to go?

This entry is a piggyback to Jodie Llewellyn’s An Inspiration Post, for writers. I liked her post and commented that I was gonna do one of my own and link her. Her motivating tool was four questions…

1. Why did you start writing?
2. What do you love the most about writing?
3. What goals are you working towards, right now?
4. What advice do you have for other writers who may be struggling with a lack of inspiration, right now?

And she gave her four answers. I’ll do the same. Have some fun and play if you want, because I feel like when you ask questions like these out loud, your answers may surprise you. And hopefully jazz you up for some serious creativity.

Here are my answers:

EN GARDE!

1. Why did you start writing?

Couldn’t help it. It called to me. In high school, I had the urge to start a novel. It was crap and I only did one chapter, but I got better and my wordsmithing caught the eyes of some teachers and next thing you knew I was writing for the community paper. Then, I got the Asbury Park Press Scholarship for college and they gave me a job for the summer. I was always writing something somewhere and that has never stopped.
2. What do you love the most about writing?

When I was working for newspapers, I did my job. That was all I could do. But now when I write for the hell of it, I try to create as much as I possibly can. Even when I’m writing a Yelp review, though I’m largely just fucking around, there are times when I will really try and invent a theme or a point or just make something out of nothing that I can feel proud of. Creating something that I like is the most rewarding part of writing.
3. What goals are you working towards, right now?

Right now I’m happy with the Yelp reviews because it fuels my fix, as does this blog. Pushing words into existence without talking gives me a feeling of gratification. Not like I’m a god, but more like a contributor. As if I’m helping build worlds upon worlds upon worlds that we can all take part in and let our imaginations run wild in. Tolkien did that for me, as did King. But the big scheme is to begin writing my novel.
4. What advice do you have for other writers who may be struggling with a lack of inspiration, right now?

Depends on what you’re trying to write. I’m trying to write a novel, and that involves deep characters. When I write stories (screenplays or whatever) I go back to the grandparents of each character. I create origins for them, and that tells me what their children have to work with. Then I work on their children’s children. Next thing you know, I’ve got characters built that are much more interesting than the ideas I began with and I’ve got a whole new and better story. Chapters have built themselves (in my outline so far) because I dug so deep into my characters’ pasts.

Please keep this model going. I thought it was so cool when I saw it on Jodie’s blog. And I’d love to hear about your own journey!

Spri

My Twilight Zone Series Review

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I thought I saw them all as a kid, but lately found out how very wrong I was after marathoning the hell out of the series thanks to Netflix and boredom. In fact, thank goodness for Netflix and boredom because I missed some awesome episodes.

Overall, the series is a winner. It stands bravely in the face of unforgiving years and creator Rod Serling’s writing still manages to amaze and surprise in most cases. There were times when I’d figured out the plot and denouement within the first couple minutes, making it a very boring viewing. Yet, there were other times, as with the creepy “After Hours,” that kept me guessing up until the end.

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Standout episodes in the series include “To Serve Man,” a story about alien inv…uh, visitation; “Time Enough At last,” with Burgess Meredith; the very unsettling “The Hitchhiker;” and the terrorizing “Living Doll,” starring Kojack himself. Part of the fun is seeing well established and retired actors show up in black and white with bright baby faces, like Burt Reynolds and Robert Redford. Conversely, you will see aging actors taking final bows, such as Buster Keaton. All in the same crazy series chock full of martians, space travel, hell breaking loose…absolute FEAR..

But they weren’t afraid to experiment and take chances. From hackneyed depictions of the future to outright soapbox preachy-ness, one could even consider the series as a trailblazer in showing what and what NOT to do. It’s safe to assume that, despite the writing, shooting some episodes on video to cut costs was a dismal failure. Indeed, the very last episode suffers from a case of the “fuck its”  where Scout from “To Kill A Mockingbird” plays a little girl with a crumbling home life. When the outside shoot had to be voiced over due to technical difficulties, they decided it would cost too much to fly her back to Hollywood, so her lines were dubbed by June Foray. So, sometimes the little girl sounds like Scout, other times she sounds like Rocky the Flying Squirrel from the Bullwinkle show. Not kidding.

The series also failed at producing two very important elements: funny scripts and showcasing minorities. Not even the comedy timing of Carol Burnett in “Cavender Is Coming” could float the terribly unfunny ship that had to resort to goofy music cues to tell the audience when to laugh. And despite the importance of entries like, “The Big Tall Wish,” we didn’t get any others with an all-black cast. This quote from Serling makes me feel like he’s not at fault for that:

“Television, like its big sister, the motion picture, has been guilty of the sin of omission… Hungry for talent, desperate for the so-called ‘new face,’ constantly searching for a transfusion of new blood, it has overlooked a source of wondrous talent that resides under its nose. This is the Negro actor.”

But, the series is legendary because of its triumphs. It spawned a movie and 1990’s revival. And though the comeback was unsuccessful, it gave us the fine sequel to the epic “It’s A Good life” starring original key cast members. So if you’re not revisiting this fantastic series or checking it out for the first time out of curiosity, then you’re missing out on a great example of TV’s strong childhood.

Does Blogging Still Ruin Marriages?

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Here is a story about something meaningless. Perhaps you’ve heard it before.

One upon a time, I had an extremely popular blog going on Myspace…a once extremely popular site. My name was “The Gringo Gentile” – random words I strung together much as I did with the equally ridiculous “Fate Jacket X.”

Nonetheless, the fun I had posting twice a week or so was enriching and provided me with my fix to create, to write, to socialize, to share. I took it seriously because, as a writer, it needed to happen. Screenplays and Yelp reviews weren’t enough and committing to a novel would’ve been to wage war on my ADD. And since Harper’s and Salon kept friendzoning my short stories, blogging won.

Then blogging lost. As I’m newly returned to the blog-o-sphere, I don’t know what to expect, but back in 2007, it was a sexy place. Female bloggers and commenters who liked me (without ever meeting me in person) didn’t hesitate to splash my page with sexual innuendo. The lurkers would send messages filled with flat-out perversion. And a topless photo or phone number request was normal for the inbox. After awhile, I’d just accepted it as the culture while not really entertaining it. You see, I was madly in love with my wife.

But after months of seething over flirty online comments, she’d grown jealous and could no longer bottle the rage. I knew how she was shortly after we started dating, but grew to love her and that was that. In fact, the things those online ladies liked about me were the very same traits that lured my wife. I felt it unreasonable that she could think that those few personality wins would simply cap around anyone but herself. Yes, there it was – the ultimatum: the blog or the wife.

She won; she beat the blog. And then six years later, the bitch left me. But that’s a different story.

Sure, I missed writing and I missed those connections, some of which I’d renew through Facebook. All of a sudden KittieVicious was Renee’. The Fearless Ferret was just…Doug. It was strange knowing these nutcase blog-folk as real people composing themselves across FB’s vast landscape of accountability. In fact, if someone I knew from the old days tried to add me with a pseudonym, I refused.

Over time I’d be told stories. About Daryl-Ain’t-Right ruining his marriage because he banged Sweet Jess. Another story about C.B.K. traveling 780 miles to fuck JustJen and then she tried to kill him because he wouldn’t leave his wife. One story after another about Myspace bloggers fucking the shit out of each other and burning over it. Those gals must’ve thought I was an oddball prude! How DARE I refuse to send penis pics?? Hmmm…I thought maybe my wife was right to be apprehensive.

But she was wrong. I got no credit for being that oddball prude. Nurse Becky and Vic Vodka having a 3-way in Vegas with xXxDanellaxXx had nothing to do with me. The writer has to write! Simple as that. Never again will I let anyone get in the way of my expression. And, so I’m back. Back with two middle fingers raised high, thinking out loud over the Web, arrogantly convinced that people give a shit about what I have to say. But it doesn’t matter either way…as long as we can get our fix without killjoys fucking up the buzz, it’s all good.

p.s. – I should note that I’m no longer friends with like 80% of those Myspace refugees. Turned out they’re all insane. Yes, internet people are batshit crazy. 0.O