My first post of 2016

Hello ladies and gentlemen of the Internet, it is I!

“Wait, it’s the 25th of January, how are you just now posting and are so handsome?” You might be thinking to yourselves, maybe not so much that last part, but still, a man can dream…

The reason why I haven’t been so active here is because over the course of December, as we closed out 2015, I came to realize that I was working a lot and not spending as much time with my wife. With every New Year, you set yourself almost the same goals:

  • Write a novel
  • Get published
  • Finish something
  • Learn how to be a blacksmith

And while those are worthwhile goals, many of us get caught up in the minutiae of trying to achieve these goals and zone out on everything else. You write everyday, post everyday, engage your audience, but the ability to be present with your loved ones is usually not a goal people set for themselves.

Except that’s what I set for myself this year.

My wife and I are expecting our first kid, this will literally be the last year it is the two of us and I want to make the most of this by sitting on the couch and binge watching The Flash and reading. Many would think that we would travel and such, and we are going to do that, but the important part of any relationship is being there for the small moments that are forgotten or blur together in the great links between the show pieces that stick in the fabric of our memories. Those small pieces are what help build up to the larger, more grandiose moments that every movie or TV show makes you think should happen on an almost daily basis.

And it was something that I was sorely missing out on last year. So, I decided to still rock the shit out of my writing and creative projects, but do them in concentrated bursts. Does this mean the blog is dead? No, the blog lives. Long live the blog!

It does mean that whatever work I push out will be higher quality rather than quantity. I will be writing everyday in February moving forward, but I am going to be making time for my favorite human in my life everyday as well, my wife.

P.S. If you vomit because of this post, I understand, but do not care.

Fallout 4 Entry 1- Minuteman Bang Bang

We all know the story, scared people running governments with supplies dwindling that ended in atomic fire. Great way to start summer. Hot enough already, but hey, let’s be stupid and add more heat to the surface of our already hot planet.

I could go over the details about who I was before, but those don’t matter here, it is what I do that defines me.

My name is Nick and I live in a Red Rocket gas station with my dog, Dogmeat. It’s a name, nothing morbid about it, but it fit, you know? Also, he wouldn’t answer to any other name I threw at him, so there.

My days are rather routine, go out there, get stuff, bring stuff back, make things. It’s a rather mundane existence, but in this world, I’ll take it over having to deal with slavers or ghouls. Sometimes those bastards pop-up, and when they do, I put them down.

Today was just a day unlike any other, I needed some copper for wiring so I could get my generator connected to my call beacon running and start to attract some local employees. Getting staff in this day and age is just atrocious! And you can forget about checking references because more than likely they’re dead and phones aren’t really a thing. I had an idea of making the Red Rocket to be a kind of farmer’s market for the traveler looking for food that won’t make them grow a third arm or an extra set of balls.

That’s when the minuteman showed up. Said he was looking for some help. I usually don’t talk to door-to-door salesman, but then I remembered that profession probably hadn’t existed in 200 years, so I addressed him.

There was a settlement being harassed by some raiders. Said they needed help. I usually brush off this kind of non-sense, I mind for myself and I at this point in my life; but that’s when the old woman spoke. She looks blind and high, so typical of most who wander the wastes for too long, but she said that I would find the man I’ve been looking for.

“A man who owes you.”

I dropped everything, joined the minuteman, and made my way to the Corvega planet in Lexington, I killed everything in my path that so much as hissed or growled at me.

I never saw the plant where they made Corvega’s before. I heard when you buy one you can pick it up from the factory and road trip it back home. Now, it’s full of raiders who are active readers of the famous cookbook How to Serve Man.

I showed them how I serve dinner: I started with a shotgun appetizer, followed by the main course of 10mm bullets, and topped off with a mini-gun surprise! The surprise part came in the form of an explosion that wrapped the head of the raiders in a fiery blanket of death as I unleashed a storm of bullets that tore through some canisters sitting around the factory.

After the killing had been completed, I found the rat bastard among the dead. Could hardly recognize him, but when I found my alien toy on his body, I knew I got him.

I might have some anger issues, possibly some slight problems upstairs, maybe. Only thing that matters is I got my toy back! Teaches him to borrow and not return! You know what you get when you do that? Shot!

I went to the settlement being harassed and told them the bad guys were very much dead. They mentioned something about joining the minutemen, and we parted ways…after I took some gourds to start my farm.

Business is looking bright, but the copper I need is still out there somewhere. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get it.

Tales of the Mollusk!

I started a new podcast yesterday. A small, simple, and hopefully enjoyable one that I can do more frequently as it requires myself and my rather sick mind to create and publish it.

I am calling it Tales of the Mollusk. It follows the adventures of Captain Eugene Sacks and his pirate submarine The Mollusk as they steal, adventure, and plunder the vast open seas!

We’ll see where this goes, but I got a good feeling about this one. Lastly, pardon the logo, it is a work in progress!

Back to the Future- Why we need it

The Back to the Future series has a special place in my heart, and in the hearts of millions of fans around the world. It is a film series that has struck a cord with anyone who has ever set eyes on it. The music, acting, story, and car make this series an amazing mix of awesome that we have yet to see again. After 30 years, this film still gives kids and adults alike chills when they are watching it, which begs the question: Why?

Back to the Future sticks around and is so good because it has hope for the future.

We live in the future, it’s 2015, and in a few days it will be the 21st of October 2015. The film predicted that we would have flying cars, Pepsi would be perfect, and yes, we would have the damn hover boards too. When it made these predictions the film was looking at how humans came to the present when it was made and assumed we would keep on dreaming toward this better tomorrow.

Only, that tomorrow never came. Granted, the movie didn’t see the events of September 11th coming either, but neither did we as a country and world. Since that day, our future has been one to be afraid of in film, books, and comics. The future isn’t a gleaming ball of hope, and granted in Back to the Future 2 it had its problems with gangs, terrible neighborhoods, and cross-dressing Michael J. Fox’s; but the difference between BttF and today’s films is that the future is something to be excited about and race toward.

You look at most of the sci-fi genre today, you are looking at teenagers in awkward haircuts and strange love triangles (Seriously, how is this still a thing? Just pick the dude who doesn’t suck. There, you win.). The Martian is the closest, in my memory, to a sci-fi film that wasn’t completely depressing from beginning to end.

Booting up any of the three films, you immediately get the sense that we are going on an exciting ride. That we are going to go on some amazing adventure that will never forget. We live in a world that would make Marty and Doc Brown depressed to see, and to me, making these fictional characters depressed just saddens me. That level of sadness would be on par with disappointing Mr. Rogers, which would be crushing!

The world that made this movie was looking forward to innovations and technology that would push humanity toward a better future. At some point, that world changed and we have been worse off ever since. Every day someone somewhere is talking about the end of the world instead of the fact we found water on freaking MARS! People fret over elections with people running in it that talk about nothing and are surrounded by a media that spins everything into a doom storm of lies.

We have electric cars that cost pennies to run. We have power plants that are run by wind, solar, and water. We have fuel sources from hydrogen power to gas made by algae. We are currently finding out more and more about the human body, our planet, and the universe at a rate that is gonzo!

And yet, we will worry ourselves into the smallest corners when something bad happens. When new ideas come up, we shake our fingers at it and smash our heads into the sand.

Today, more than ever, we need Back to the Future. We need it because we need to be reminded that the future is worth fighting for and that it should be a hopeful one and not a bleak landscape. We need these movies to remember that even when we make a mistake, we try our damnedest to fix it.

This world can do with more Doc Brown’s and Marty’s in it.

Buy my book.

Dystopian Job Titles

As the world marches toward its Calvinistic end, where Applebee’s is fine dining, new economies will emerge and with these economies new jobs will become available. In this blog post, we will cover just a few of these job titles and what their duties will include.

Influencer

Description: A person who goes around and influences decision making by taking on the role of being a friend you will never meet.

Method of delivery: Video, audio, social media and blogs.

Statistical chance of this being real: 100%, because it is already here. You can find job titles with this name in it and these people do exactly as it sounds, they influence you. They tell you what they think and influence you to think along with them so that all of mankind thinks rompers are a good idea. Usually they are very personable and come off as being genuine as they talk to a camera lens and think the object to be human.

Fact Engineer

Description: Someone who creates facts.

Method of delivery: Anything that will make people see their viewpoint is wrong.

Statistical chance of this being real: 95%, this is different than an influencer because a Fact Engineer is trying to make you change your mind on a core belief rather than make you buy something. They will do this by using statistics they’ve made up and by writing hyperbolic articles that will cut straight through the Spam and into the point of their argument. They will post this information on websites, in emails, and in newsletters that look professional. Professionalism is the weapon of choice and the ability to show people’s opinions as fact in order to push an agenda that means nothing.

Social Terrorist

Description: A person who is hired out by corporations to go into a rival’s community and cause unrest by either spreading misinformation or getting people upset over nothing and dissemble an online community.

Method of delivery: Community forums and social media

Statistical chance of this being real: 85%, the first thought is to think that this is a paid trolling job, but it isn’t. This is something more than mere trolling, these people will come into a community and make it turn on the people who put it together. Their job isn’t to joke and have fun, but rather to destroy. And as more and more business are trying to create an online presence, this type of corporate sabotage will be highly sought after.

Dietary Regulator

Description: A person who tells you what is poisonous for your body today and great for it tomorrow.

Method of delivery: Short video clips on social media sites and blog posts containing infographics.

Statistical chance of this being real: 75%, because we already have this flip flop mentality of what is good and isn’t already in our modern media channels. This position would make that information appear and change at an almost constant rate, making the idea of cooking seem like an ancient Mayan ritual. The person in this position will just tell you how eating a specific brand of frozen food will just make life easier and better. Coincidentally, that brand will also be a sponsor of their show.

Guilt Layer

Description: A person whose job it is to make you feel bad and not want to do anything.

Method of delivery: Social media and video posts with some haunting piano music.

Statistical chance of this being real: 70%, and the reason for this high percentage is that many of us already deal with this guilt. It comes in the form of seeing how your pithy problems are well and truly bullshit, even when they are not. Granted, dying in a 3rd world hell hole sucks, and so does getting your hand cut off in the 1st world, but that kid looking at the camera has given up on life and you’ve done nothing for them except lose your hand in a bread slicing accident. How dare you feel bad for the loss of your limb when you’ve done nothing for those in countries you’ve never heard of you piece of shit. Now go watch some cat videos to make yourself feel better while real issues that you can actually do something about slip past your guilt ridden mind you selfish ass!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour through a possible dystopian tomorrow! If you want to know more about the destroyed future, please read my blog post on THREE SIGNS THAT YOU’RE IN THE APOCALYPSE!

Get a Job! Santiago- Old Man and the Sea

Name: Santiago
Job: Fisherman

Santiago is a fisherman in the strictest sense of the word, he makes his living at it, but for 84 days he hasn’t done this very thing. Looking over the story of the formerly banned book The Old Man and The Sea many a reader would think that this evaluation is an open and shut case, be that as it may, let us see if Santiago should keep his job.

1. Patience

A fisherman must have patience when they are out at sea. Start fishing too soon and you scare the fish, too late and you miss them completely. The fact that so many people hate doing this is why they stay away from it entirely. Fishing, while peaceful, isn’t for everyone.

Santiago has patience, almost too much, after 84 days of not catching anything he should have moved on to another profession like becoming a cobbler or maybe a social media manager.

2. Strength

Leaving industrial fishing to the side, actually fighting a fish on a line takes a lot of strength. There’s a reason why most fishing line can hold 500 pounds, its because physics is a bitch, and that fish doesn’t want to go where so many have never returned.

Santiago fights this giant fish, single handedly, for three days. Three days! To train for something like that today would take weeks on a Shake Weight, because our modern bodies are spongy and soft.

3. Luck

A fisherman can stack the odds in their favor by using technology to track the fish down and bait the hook, but no matter how many times they radar the water, they still might not catch a fish.

Santiago is carved from a slab of wood that was unlucky enough to be cut down in the first place and was sent to a mill to be made into boards, but the place burned down during the cutting process. Luck ran away from him like an atheist from church and it was so bad that people from the village were afraid of catching it.

Should he keep his job?

Santiago sure as hell should! Why? Because he is a fisherman in ever sense of the word. Sure, he didn’t wind up being able to profit from the fish (spoilers), but he still caught it and brought it into town.

Now, get this man a Bass Pro Shop sponsorship and a tie-in video game!

September 11th, 2001- How Mr. Rogers is still teaching us

I was going to write about another topic, one that is funnier than this one, but it’s September 11th and that is a date that is relevant and today I felt a need to talk about it.

To talk about this day you either take one of two routes:

A. Reverent

B. Asshole

It’s either one but never both, I am going to be a little serious here, it’s an experiment, so bare with me.

The events of that day in New York, DC, and Pennsylvania will never leave my mind. I will never forget waking up that morning and seeing the “really fake” news broadcast from whatever B-movie was being shown at 6 am. Only thing was it wasn’t fake, even though I really really wanted it to be, and we have seen images and videos that make sure the weight and horror of that day are remembered.

Those who sorted through the rubble, who ran toward the trouble, and those who are currently serving to protect us all are wonderful and I do pray that you are safe and come home soon.

Do most of you remember what it was like the days after this event? There was confusion, sadness, and great loss. We came together over this event and were just American’s and it didn’t matter your politics, religion, whatever, we mourned as a country. We felt one another and knew we had to support our neighbors and our communities.

It’s something that is missing today and needs to make a come back. Most people go outside and see enemies. They walk around in a state of fear. People look up in the sky and wonder what tragedy is coming next? They talk about it over kitchen tables, preparing themselves mentally so that they never feel that feeling again.

14 years ago something happened to us and we are still recovering from it.

I remember a quote from Fred Rogers and it’s a quote that many of you probably know by now, but it applies to us still today, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”

In order for us to get a world that is better, we have to do it. God gave us two hands and a brain, we should use them for something better than being angry over things that we cannot control or effect.

Be a helper, be a doer, do something for someone else because that is how we rebuild and move forward.

10 Reasons why lists are bullshit

We all love a good listicle (a blog composed primarily of lists) and while they can be fun, fact of the matter is they are the worst. This isn’t because these lists are a sign of the moral decline of independent thought, no, if you’re looking for that you can watch the news; the reason why these things usually suck is due to these 10 things.

1-They are lazy

Nothing says, “Shit, that deadline came up fast” like a listicle blog. As a writer, formulating thoughts into a cohesive little package known as an article takes time. Usually these are initially plotted out in note form and then morphed into a seamless thought. Now, if a writer doesn’t have to do the morphing but instead just has to input their notes into a blog, that is really easy. Just be sure to make a sly comment at the end of each point to keep your audience engaged, because really, this is just a glorified grocery list.

2-Usually they’re about a thing you already know

3-They use click-bait bullshit titles

4-They contain only opinion

5-They are inspired by pure evil

6-They are killing long form articles

7-10-Underwhelmed? Angry that the last few points are not what they seem to be?

Welcome to 95% of listicles on the Internet! They always start off strong but eventually peter out toward the end. By point 4 the writer can visibly be seen crying into a greasy taco bag as they drum up some kind of connection between the last few points.

Hell, I even made one, and even this blog is one! This is meta as hell! I am in your mind now!

More exclamation points!!!!

P.S.- If you don’t like list blogs, don’t read them. The fact I’ve seen multiples of this same kind of article online really chaffs my ass, because guess what? The writers having to write these things have a quota to meet. If they do not meet that quota, they are fired. Gone are the days in which a writer worked on maybe five or ten pieces a month. Newspaper style work is the name of the game now, and if you’re not producing, you better hit them bricks.

These things work because they cater to a specific time frame and medium in which they are being read. Online, a writer has, maybe, 15 seconds to catch your attention long enough to have you read the entire post. These have to be punchy, fast, and entertaining.

Oh, and they have to be original-ish. Copying ideas , now that part is bullshit, but really, they are a product of the audience who is reading them. The reader, you, controls what content is king. Fact of the matter is if you wanted puppet shows in the street to give you the information you wanted, all the socks in all the stores would be gone, drawn on, and terrible voices made behind the cardboard stages.

You want better? Then read better. Find better and post that on your social media. If you’re sick of seeing guilt trip bullshit filling up your feeds, firstly, just drop the people you are following/friends with, second, don’t re-post it. Stupid spreads like a spark in a match factory out here on the Internet.

Now buy my book.

A worn world is best: Introduction

Whether it’s a leather jacket or a two door sports car, worn and used things are better in terms of storytelling.

I don’t make this statement lightly, I, like most people, love new things. I love to get new things on holidays and birthdays or simply buying them myself (though I usually don’t, it’s a conflict between myself now and my inner 5 year-old. Sometimes he wins and I get the Lego set).

Eat it adult me! Picture credit: reliableindex.com
Suck it adult version! Now I’m going to drink ecto cooler… wait, too much sugar, maybe a nice smoothie. Yeah, eat it adulthood! Picture credit: reliableindex.com

Something that I’ve noticed is that the shiny, the nice things that you have in your life do not stick around well in a story. Sure, your character could use that new phone throughout a story, but by the end it will be seen as worn to the audience; and that’s great.

What brought about this blog was my insane driving today on my way to work. I was driving my truck and was bobbing and weaving in and out of traffic the best a humpback whale moving at 85 could do, and as it flew up on a box truck I narrowly weaved in front of a semi-truck before I was pierced by Ahab Moving Company. I then slowed down and took account of my life and my mind in that moment hurled to the chase scene in Bullitt, a scene that was ingrained in me because my Dad had the 68′ Dodge Charger that explodes at the end of that scene.

He continues to remind me how that car could easily outrun the Mustang, as he had done so in real life many times. Fireballs excluded.

And it was then that I thought about how we have had hundreds, if not thousands of car chases in film since Bullitt and yet, everyone looks back on that film and The French Connection as being the best out there. I would chalk it up to the fact that they were the first films to really do the modern car chase, but I think there is something else to those films that keep them up on the pedestal; they feel real.

When you finish seeing those two movies, you think you could be Steve McQueen or Gene Hackman and barrel through the streets like it’s Black Friday at Wal-Mart.

That PS4 is mine, you sonofabitch! Source: telegraph.co.uk
This is your face as you enter the parking lot. Source: telegraph.co.uk

I blame the cars from these two films. Starting from the beginning to the end they are dented, beaten, and obviously used daily. Today, you see the car from a movie and that thing is so shiny you can see the Meguiars product placement billboard in the paint’s reflection. Dodge would shit itself if they saw their car being beaten and cast as the villainous bastard that it was in Bullitt. 

When you watch a movie these days you see the shiny and nice car that the production was provided by whoever threw them the most amount of money. I eye roll at the amount of camera swishes and dollies that accompany the car’s entrance on screen. We get it! This is the bad-ass car that will drive around the closed course by a professional driver so you can double down for both the film and the commercials for the car.

This beaten bond is not strictly tied to cars. Objects, clothes, almost anything a character uses in a film should have some sort of worn texture to it. Props from Alien, Blade Runner, Mad Max, Dredd, Harry Potter are lovingly re-created by fans or bought for massive sums of money. Sometimes a shiny thing might slip through, but really, nothing a character uses will ever be alien or new.

The human touch makes an object something more; we love touching stuff, I mean why do you think clothing stores are setup the way they are? Because they love putting that shirt back where it is supposed to be after you carried it across the store and dropped it? Hell no, they do it because by touching something you create a connection to it, you create a sense of ownership with the item.

Reading about that lucky rabbits foot that’s been rubbed to bare skin, seeing the comic panels erupt from the lightning guns, experiencing the magic of the untuck/tucked thermal of Nathan Drake are all things that tell us about the character we are following. They show us their tendencies, their ticks, and their humanity.

Seriously, that is some magical shit. Source: Giantbomb.com
Seriously, that is some magical shit. Source: Giantbomb.com

We can extend this to the world they inhabit, but that’s another blog for another day, maybe even Thursday. To end this blog, the things that are used, beaten, and loved will stick with your audience a lot longer than the complex and cold thingy that just sits around and looks pretty. You might think this is a rather obvious observation, but there is such a thing as trying to make something cooler than it really is, but that’s, again, another blog for another day.