Blog Archives

Welcome to the Blog Home of Tabula Rasa, Indie Author

Welcome to my blog. What you see is what you get.

Anybody that reads my blog with any frequency knows what an eclectic mess of random subjects and styles and curse words it is. Everything is just strewn around everywhere, making my blog a hoarder’s living room. Exercise reviews lay piled up on NFL season discussions, writing “advice” tossed all over a collection of Walking Dead reviews so filled with vitriol that a puddle of green ooze is slowly spreading from them, all with an occasional sprinkling of excerpts from my work like rat droppings behind the cardboard boxes of everything else. It’s a mess. And like any committed hoarder, I refuse to clean it up. I don’t care how many experts tell me I should. I am going to remain here, squatting in the fetid morass of my own filth. Well, filthy collection of random thoughts, rants, reviews, and bouts of whining.

Oh, and it’s all my opinion, just like this piece here. It might be wrong, but it’s wrong with a string of eff-words splattered all over it.

Of course, this means I’m Doing It Wrong.

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What I Did Over My Vacation

I went on vacation Thursday, November 17th. Here is a list of things I did.

  • Flew on Southwest Airlines, just like I do every four years. Four years is enough time for me to forget why I hate flying Southwest. The airline has a lot going for it: free bag check, the friendliest and coolest flight attendants I’ve ever seen, cheap fares, and a direct flight to Fort Myers, Florida. I’d happily fly Southwest if I was traveling alone. However, flying Southwest hoping that you’ll be able to sit with your wife is apparently too much to ask for. We barely managed to do it on the return trip that we were advised had plenty of room by sitting in the very last row. Why Southwest doesn’t let you pick your seats is beyond me.
  • Bought an incredibly tacky Florida outfit with cream-colored pants, a shirt with palm trees, and a pair of shoes that are so hideous they’re actually kinda cool. I did this because of a game we played where I was… you know what? Never mind. I Will Not Tell You About My Character, as a gesture of kindness.
  • Got wasted on spiked punch, entirely by accident. Here’s a tip: if someone tells you the punch is spiked, ask if it’s grain alcohol doing the spiking BEFORE drinking multiple 16-ounce glasses of it with a straw.
  • Spent time with my in-laws. High point: shooting an AR-15. Low point: being forced to watch the Countdown to the Something-or-Other Music Awards while the in-laws comment the entire time that they don’t know who any of those people on TV are and insist on watching anyway.
  • Installed a new wireless router.
  • Watched 20 Stephen Lynch videos in a row.
  • Finished Assassin’s Creed (finally), played through Alan Wake again, plus 2 downloaded episodes. Played Arrival DLC for Mass Effect 2. Dreamed of Skyrim.
  • Cooked a huge Thanksgiving spread with my wife for the two of us. Leftovers now threaten to reach critical mass. Discovered that too much Xylitol in cranberry sauce can create a laxative effect. Yes, yes it can.

Things I did not do during my vacation:

  • Check email. I had over 200 emails in my inbox this morning.
  • Watch The Walking Dead. I am now 3 episodes behind. I WILL watch them and review them all. I have too much fun not too.
  • Write enough for NaNoWriMo. The 3 days before vacation were hectic from work and my car deciding that it liked the front window down so much that it refused to let it go up again. Rental cars and racing around and mass chaos ensued. So no writing at all those three days. Then no writing at all while in Florida. Then none on Tuesday after we got back. Then some on Wednesday. Then none on Thanksgiving day. Then a bunch on Friday. Then none after. I am NaNo fail. Unless a miracle happens, like November getting a one-week extension, I’m not gonna make it. Sadness. At least I have gotten a lot in on Waiting on the Dead. Just not gonna be 50k in 30 days.

I’d say it’s good to be back, but since I have to be back at work that would be a lie. It IS nice to chat with you all again.

Hey Look! Overpriced Crap!

You may have noticed… oh, you didn’t? OK, well, move your eyes over to the right side of the screen. There. Yep, now, below the book cover… almost… there you go! By now you’ve seen the picture of a t-shirt on the right side there. That’s right! You now have the opportunity to purchase the EXACT SAME SHIRT worn by the protagonist of Waiting on the Dead: A Zombie Survivor’s Story. You too can pretend to be a server at Raphaelo’s, just like the guy in that book you haven’t read because it’s not finished yet. WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT? On the pocket you have the name of the restaurant and in fine print below the name of the book. On the back the restaurant’s slogan – OUR FOOD IS OFFAL – is prominently displayed with the full book title in fine print below. And it comes in a multitude of colors like black! And black! Or even black!

How awesome is that?! It’s what all the cool kids some people I’m wearing! Well, and my wife, because I bought her one. That’s right! It comes in a fashionable v-neck for the ladies! What are you waiting for?! Besides dementia, incipient lottery winnings, the urge to waste your hard-won money, the book to actually come out, the loss of good taste, anything else in the world remotely worth spending money on, a relative that you hate and want to give a useless gift to, or a million other reasons?! Oh. OK. That makes sense, then.

From Waiting on the Dead:

There was a lot of grumpy sullenness as we took our new uniform shirts: tight black tees that said “Our Food is Offal” across the back. Let me tell you, it was seriously offal. It smelled offal, tasted offal, looked offal, and was offally expensive.

NaNoWriMo 2011, and On Being a Crackhead for a Day

It’s November 1st, so that means me and a whole lot of other crazy people are going to try to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days as part of National Novel Writing Month. I’ll personally be attempting to get as much of Waiting on the Dead completed in November as humanly possible, because I think it’ll be quite a bit longer than 50k when it’s all said and done. All of this is a roundabout way of saying that my blogging in November might be a little sparser than normal.

I will, however, still be doing my weekly Walking Dead wrapup specials. I like those too much to stop. Episode 3 will be coming tomorrow, since I haven’t watched it yet.

So am I ready, pumped, and excited? Not yet, honestly. Halloween weekend was very busy for us, since we try to do a big costume party every year which means the day before and day of are so hectic cleaning and decorating and cooking and all that. Plus, my wife and I got the opportunity to take part in a law enforcement training class, playing the part of crackheads as part of a search warrant and seizure training conducted by Center Mass Combat Tactics, a company that provides firearm and tactical training from beginning pistol courses to full-on police tactical courses.

About a dozen of us went to a police-owned run-down abandoned house. Some of us were given fake guns and told to hide in various places in the house. The officers would be busting in and our job was to try to hide, sneak past weapons, be belligerent (verbally), and basically give them a hard time and stress them out as much as possible. The place we were in was a filthy hole and I hid in the attic and apparently laid in a nest of stinkbugs for 15 minutes, then proceeded to f-bomb and antagonize the officers as creatively as I could. Then we got to see the instructors go through the critique of the officers’ performance. I respected the fact that these officers place themselves in dangerous situations voluntarily before the training exercise, but actually seeing and being a part of a simulated operation as the target really reinforced the point. It takes a hell of a lot of courage, guts, and balls to potentially need to deal with this kind of event on any given day at a moment’s notice. Law enforcement officials have always had my respect, but that deepened even further after being a potential deranged suspect and seeing their work close-up.

Plus, trying to hide inside a house that has officers declaring their intention to enter in no uncertain terms, followed 15 seconds later by the slam of a ram against the door and it busting open and loud voices and pounding feet will really get the ole heart pumping. There were pictures being taken for the event, so I’ll be sure to post me and my crackhead buddies for your amusement. Of course I had to dress the part.

Anyway, good luck fellow NaNoers. 50k in 30 days – you got this.

My Favorite Google Searches of the Last 90 Days

WordPress has a handy little feature that shows what search terms people used to get to your blog. I’ve posted on this before, but the searches are getting better and better and I need a distraction from my day, so I will once again highlight some of my favorite bizarre and random things that people type into Google and inexplicably choose my blog as their intended destination.

“unbuttoned to her navel”

I love this one, because the person put it in quotes to make sure they got the full, unadulterated phrase. Somehow, I don’t think they found what they were looking for on my site. I don’t even know which post they ended up on…actually, nevermind, it just came to me. Probably the GenCon photo post.

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Why Look! I Got Interviewed Again!

Steven Montano, the talented writer, accountant, and Haberdasher to the Stars, interviewed me for his site, I urge you to go check it out and learn fascinating things about me, get shitty advice, and read something that contains absolutely no profanity of any kind, even the mild stuff. After that, I urge you to check out Steven’s novels, Blood Skies and the recently-released sequel, Black Scars. Links for all of the different electronic and non-electronic (they call them “books” – quaint how they just drop the “e” and make a new word out of it) are at his site. Good quality entertainment at a cheap price – what more can you ask for?

Seriously, buy his books. You’ll like them. And he gets them out more often than I do, so you won’t get Jordaned, I promise.

This Is Why I Write

I don’t write for a living, although I’d love to. I do it mostly for myself, since there are stories that I’d like to tell, or I need to get some pure hatred tapped out of my veins, or I feel like talking and there isn’t anyone around. So it comes down to the main reason I write: for fun.

Sometimes, though, man. Writing can be a real bitch.

Writing is like trying to build a house with a pile of wood, some nails, a hammer, and your own skill and talent. There are days I feel confident and relaxed, and I can nail some boards together to form a relatively straight wall. Other days, you find your hammer has been replaced with one of those novelty squeaky hammers, and every nail is the size of a harpoon, and the wood turns out to be made of goddamn concrete. You pound and pound and pound and you end up going absolutely nowhere.

Then there are the other days. On those days you are just going along, and the next thing you know, you’ve got the Hammer of the fucking Gods in your hands.

Those are the days I live for. Those are the days that make all the days of shit and frustration and anger seem worthwhile. It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world. There is absolutely nothing like it.

Today, man, I found myself holding the Hammer of Thor. I didn’t ask questions. I just smashed the ever-loving shit out of everything in front of me. It was awesome. Maybe no one on earth is gonna like it, and that’s OK by me. I loved it. I still do. I had tears of fucking joy in my eyes today while I wrote something. That – that was a pretty good fucking feeling.

The Storm of Northreach, at this point, is one awful-looking house. It’s ramshackle, meandering, ugly, mismatched, and patchworked all to hell. But there are parts of it that work. There are a couple of rooms were the walls meet the ceiling, and the angles are pure Euclidean. Those are the rooms I’ll keep through edits. The rest… well, there’ll be a little remodeling, some serious spackle, and maybe a few plants to cover a few bad spots. I can live with that. I’m getting really close to having a finished house. That makes it all worthwhile.

15k in 15 Day: The Humiliation is Chosen

Thanks to everyone who made a suggestion. It’s really nice when people come out to lend a hand, suggesting awful things for another person to perform for their amusement as they bask in the glow of another’s failure. I appreciate it, and that’s not even being said sarcastically.

I’ve decided on the Humiliation that will happen if I fail. To quote the author of Blood Skies and its sequel Black Scars, Steven Montano:

If you fail, you’ll have to attend the opening of the new TWILIGHT movie.

You have to go dressed up as Edward…wearing an Edward tee-shirt…and with Edward glitter on your face.

I believe the film opens in November, so you’ll get a full month-and-a-half to look forward to the experience. =D

I’ll even go one better. If I fail my goal of 15,000 words by October 1st, then I will attend the opening of the new Twilight movie wearing my wife’s Team Edward t-shirt (she’s a lot smaller than me, so I think it’ll end up as a belly shirt [shudder]), black skin-tight pleather pants, knee-high boots, body glitter, vampire teeth, and eye makeup. The event will be filmed (although probably not by my wife, who I imagine will be holding her hands over her eyes for 4 straight hours as she shakes her head at me). The film will be posted on YouTube. I will want to eat glass until I die. I may get arrested as a suspected pedo.

The good news for me is that I can prevent it by finishing those 15k words. The good news for you is that I am currently behind on the pace I need to do it.

And for suggesting the “winning” Humiliation, Steven will get a free copy of The Storm of Northreach when it’s done. Of course, he was already getting a free copy of it, so it’s kind’ve anticlimactic, but I will also send him a SIGNED COPY in paperback. So, you know, there’s that.

15k in 15 Day: Help Me Humiliate Myself

So today I was doing my normal lunchtime workout. I spend this time exercising, but I also spend a lot of it thinking about writing and other stuff. Today, sometime halfway through my whey protein shake, an idea struck me. See, I’ve been working on the sequel to The Curse of Troius for a really long fucking time. Too long. WAYYYYY too long. It’s turned into this 1800-pound cackling imp that rides around on my back waiting for people to ask me how my writing’s going so it can grab my earlobes and thrash around wailing and howling with maniacal laughter only I can hear while I try to come up with an articulate answer besides IT’S GOING REALLY REALLY SHITTY RIGHT NOW AND IF YOU’LL EXCUSE ME I’M GOING TO POP OFF AND EAT A GALLON OF DISHWASHING LIQUID.

So anyway, an idea came to me today, as I said. I used the idea once before, last year when I wanted to be able to do 100 pushups in a row. I put it out to my friends that if I couldn’t do those 100 pushups by a certain date, I would do something painful (well, mentally painful; I’m not actually masochistic). With that incentive in mind, I was able to accomplish my goal. So, in the spirit of that successful venture, I am today announcing my new plan:

15k in 15 Day.

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Blog Ideas I’ve Rejected In the Recent Past

A lot of the time, I struggle with exactly what I’m going to write about at any given time. I imagine most bloggers feel the same way. Some of the time, though, an idea hits me and it’s so resonant inside my own head that it just flies out. Believe it or not, I don’t always write them, because of a sense of decorum.

Yes, I have one. It’s very small and goes by the name of Chester and is sad because of how little attention I give it.

But those ideas I’ve rejected in the past still rear up from time to time, eager to be written. I just know I can’t for one reason or another. As caustic as I can be, I avoid certain things just because I don’t necessarily want to come off as a loud, over-opinionated jerk with no regard to the feelings of others.

Hey, you can stop laughing anytime you want. It’s cool. I can wait.

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