Friday, April 29, 2016

Violent Fantasies

***VIOLENT FANTASIES***

Nobody will ever come out and admit to having violent fantasies about their enemies, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Everybody has that one person in their lives who they feel deserves double hand strangulation, a blast from a flamethrower, a Columbian Necktie, or any other savage means of torture or murder. Some fantasize about violence more than others, but it’s something we all do whether we’re open about it or not. Anybody who says otherwise is a goddamn liar. Even the most peaceful people have angry thoughts every once and a while. That’s what the mind is for: it’s the last sanctuary of privacy we have. If we actually had psychomantic powers (a.k.a. telekinesis), then we would all be shit out of luck.

Having violent thoughts doesn’t make you an evil person. Hell, it’s the sanest thing a human being can do without actually committing those acts. The moral crusaders like to complain that videogames make the youth of today violent people and we all know that’s serious bullshit. Videogames, martial arts cinema, horror novels, these things don’t promote violence, but they give the average human being a channel to release their most hateful thoughts. When I was in high school, my favorite form of violent entertainment was watching old school ECW (not the WWE revival of it, which sucked). Watching The Sandman and Tommy Dreamer smack their opponents with kendo sticks and suplex them onto barbed wire made me feel giddy inside. Did I actually do any of these things to my fellow classmates? No, I didn’t, because that’s considered assault and it’s highly illegal.

Being able to separate fantasy from reality is the most important thing a person with angry thoughts can do. There are kids who play Gears of War or Call of Duty on their X-Boxes and think they can go overseas and do actual military service. When you step on a landmine in a videogame, that’s okay, because there’s always a reset button. If you step on a landmine in the real world, you’ll either lose your legs or you’ll die instantly. And trust me when I say this: real life war has no reset button. The same thing is true when you are the aggressor and another person is the victim. If you think about shooting another human being with an AK-47 and that fantasy makes you smile on the inside, congratulations, you’re a human being. But if you actually shoot someone with an automatic weapon, it’ll fuck with your mind for the rest of your life.

There are plenty of ways to channel violent fantasies into productive and creative results. I, for example, wrote a heavy metal song last night called “Chainsaw Samurai”. Not only was it about a samurai who preferred a chainsaw over a katana, but that samurai was a murderous psychopath who left seas of blood everywhere he went. In the fictional world, a chainsaw-wielding samurai is cool to me. Hell, I’d even watch a movie, read a book, or play a videogame if that person was the lead character. But if someone like that popped up in real life, I’d be scared out of my mind. I might not even want to come out of my room for several months if I knew such a vicious person was coming to Port Orchard. Of course, violence in Port Orchard is about as unnatural as a fireball falling from the skies, so I don’t know why a chainsaw-wielding samurai would ever want to come here, but that’s beside the point.

So go ahead, ladies and gentlemen. Relax in your easy chair and visualize your worst enemies chained to wooden posts with tires stacked around their bodies and a blazing fire crawling up their soon-to-be corpses. As long as you don’t do it in real life, you’ll be just fine. That’s what made the 2000’s detective show The Shield so cool. We cheered like animals when Vic Mackey pressed Armadillo Quintaro’s face against a burning stovetop. If Darren Wilson did that to Michael Brown, however, the media shit storm would never end. It would just become a biblical flood of brown juices stinking up the entire country and making everyone sick to their stomach. We’ve got ears, say cheers!


***DARK FANTASY WARRIORS***

Speaking of violence and burning people alive, my next Dark Fantasy Warrior will be Debra Cameron from the “American Darkness” short story “The Pyrocrats”. Does it seem strange that a woman who burns everything to the ground for a living is considered the sensible one in that story? This is a violent fantasy at its most brutal level. I’ve already drawn a picture of her psychotic partner Eduardo Mendez, so Debra Cameron is naturally the next one to be featured. I probably won’t draw a picture of The Fire Marshal (because we never actually see his face) or Xavier Melanson (because he’s not a warrior; he’s a puss-bag).


***MUSIC DIALOGUE OF THE DAY***

“Dear Diary, it was cold today. The sun came out later, so I strolled about looking at the shops. Didn’t see anything I liked, so I didn’t buy anything. On my way home, I posted a letter. It’s been quite a nice day. Somebody exploded an H-bomb today, but it wasn’t anybody I knew.”


-“Dear Diary” by The Moody Blues-

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Chainsaw Samurai

OPENING SCREAM
Chainsaw Samurai!

VERSE 1
Forget about your fucking dishonor
And focus on your eventual slaughter
Which one of your limbs must go first?
Your arms, legs, or German bratwurst?
Slice off your head, a mummified trophy
He opens your mouth and says, “Blow me!”
A bloodbath is coming from the Rising Sun
Violence and gore became a shit-load of fun!

CHORUS
Chainsaw Samurai!
It’s too late to beg and cry!
Enter the dragon, bitch!
Death is a business; he is rich!

VERSE 2
Hara-kiri has never been so easy
But the anxiety makes you queasy
He’ll choose for you; kick down your door
Squeeze every drop of blood from your pores
Chug your red juices like a bottle of sake
Chew your flesh with an appetite so sloppy
Dinner is served to the disgraced samurai
He’s hungry for more, get ready to die!

CHORUS
Chainsaw Samurai!
It’s too late to beg and cry!
Enter the dragon, bitch!
Death is a business; he is rich!

VERSE 3
The beast from the east has enjoyed his feast
And he doesn’t feel sorry in the fucking least
He’s going back to the Land of the Rising Sun
But his war with the world is far from done!

EXTENDED CHORUS
Chainsaw Samurai!
It’s too late to beg and cry!
Enter the dragon, bitch!
Death is a business; he is rich!
Kill Bill he fucking will!
He’ll cut quickly if you hold still!
Ninja Assassin, your life is passing!
“Who can stop him?” is what you’re asking!

CLOSING SCREAM

Chainsaw Samurai!

The Hydromancer

Clint Magnus barreled through the forest like a stampede of buffalos. His metal boots pounded into the ground with resounding thuds. His exhaling released clouds of steam into the chilly morning air. His ribs and legs felt like they were on fire. His tongue was drier than desert air. But if he stopped now, that twenty grand bounty was as good as gone.

The bounty hunter could smell the fear emanating from Fatima Rose. It was a sweeter scent than any perfume and gave Clint a massive boost of energy. He was so close that any minute during this chase he could grab a hold of that wet raven hair and have her to himself. The sweat pouring off of the witch’s body as she ran smelled like sweet autumn rain. Clint continued to dash after the witchcraft practitioner until he was fingertips away from clutching that heavenly neck of hers.

Clint was so distracted by this maiden’s terrified charm that he didn’t realize until falling face first that she had led him to the river. The bounty hunter’s heavy breathing caused him to suck water through his nostrils before pulling his head out and coughing up a storm. He shivered from the sudden cold splash like he was trapped in a meat locker.

While on his knees catching his breath and coughing out the water from his lungs, he saw Fatima lying on the other side of the river breathing heavily and holding her ribs. She looked so beautiful to him in her vulnerable state. Her wet green dress clung to her body like a chilling, frostbitten embrace. She was so exhausted that Clint could just scoop her up and take her to the authorities anytime he wanted.

When the middle-aged cowboy stood up and brushed his damp gray hair back, however, he saw two fountains of water bursting up from the river on either side of him. Another one formed behind him and another in front. Clint Magnus danced around in fear and shivered for a different reason than being soaked.

The bounty hunter could see Fatima’s hands raised from her sides while she was still laying down. They were clouded with a blue and purple mist of energy while her eyes glowed a brilliant and hauntingly beautiful neon green. The hydromancer levitated to her feet and gazed at her assailant with scorn and power.

“You…you really are a witch!” said a shaky Clint Magnus while pointing his wrinkled finger at her.

“Witch?” asked Fatima. “And what exactly is a witch? Is it supposed to be one of your disgusting slurs? Is it a label you put on anybody you disagree with? Or do you just reserve it for someone you want to exploit for money? I know this is a post-apocalyptic nightmare for all of us, but you, sir, are out of excuses!”

The four fountain bursts of water grew taller as Fatima’s energy-covered hands rose over her head. “Oh, shit!” said Clint to himself before the rising water came crashing down over his head, pinning him to the river bed and drowning him as well. He struggled and flailed in the raging waters to where his face was turning purple.

The water torture was mercifully over when Fatima swept her hands to the side and cast the freezing liquid away from Clint, who was hacking and wheezing while pathetically on his knees. “Get up, you fool!” ordered Fatima. “You’re supposed to be a goddamn bounty hunter, not a fucking amateur.”

Huffing and puffing, Clint Magnus slowly made it to his feet while his teeth clicked together from the hard convulsing. As soon as he got his bearings, he pulled out his Desert Eagle pistol and said, “I’ve had just about enough of your bullshit, lady!” When he pulled the trigger, only sand and rocks came out of the barrel.

“Well, look at that! Your pistol’s shooting blanks. Your wife must be so disappointed in you right now. So disappointed that she’ll run off with another man while you’re busy chasing little old me,” taunted Fatima while she giggled.

“That’s grounds for getting your neck snapped, little girl,” growled Clint. “What the fuck do you know about my family? I have to support them every damn day in this screwed up world! Chasing you was all about the money. It was never personal. But if you’d rather mock my family instead of supporting them, that’s fine, I’ll beat your ass anyways!”

“And I’m sure you’ll make an excellent role model for your children one day,” said Fatima sarcastically. “While turning me in will ensure that your family gets paid, you’re also teaching them how to label others. That’s how we got into this post-apocalyptic mess in the first place: by judging each other and slapping labels on our neighbors. And what do your politicians do when they can’t play nicely? They don’t work things out. They drop bombs on each other. Is that what your children are going to grow up to be: bomb-dropping politicians?”

“My children have a better future than that!” shouted Clint.

“Your children have no future at all!” retorted Fatima. As the uncomfortable silence took over, Clint hung his head in sorrow while the hydromancer maintained her authoritative gaze upon him. “Then again, nobody has a future around here. They call it Armageddon for a reason: because it’s all over. As long as we continue to cast hatred on each other, we will never, and I mean NEVER, rebuild to what we once were.”

Clint kept his chin tucked to his chest as he contemplated this harsh talking point. There were even hints of tears in his eyes, which caused Fatima’s deadly stare to soften. The bounty hunter picked his head up and said, “So that’s your solution? We just throw down our weapons and love each other? That hippie-dippie shit sounds good on paper, but how many assholes out there actually want to do that? You can’t make them be nice people!”

“What about you, cowboy?” asked Fatima with her finger pointed at him. “Can you be convinced to carry a message of love across the world? Can one act of kindness spread into several others? Or do you just want to shoot people for the rest of your life and collect your blood money?”

Another beat of uncomfortable silence washed over the scene. Clint had a decision to make. Would he continue to perpetuate the hateful sins of the apocalypse or will he show them that they are all capable of change? He shook his head and said, “You are so full of shit, lady. You are so full of disgusting shit!”

Clint quickly pulled a knife from his belt and chucked it into Fatima’s shoulder, causing her to drop to her knees and scream demonically in pain. The bounty hunter had a ghoulish grin on his face as he slowly approached the wounded witch. He even cracked his knuckles, wrists, and neck for dramatic effect.

He held his hands out in an attempt to grab Fatima by the throat and choke her, but the hydromancer still had one good arm and used it to work her magic. The river turned into a violent whirlpool that sucked Clint Magnus into the center. He flailed his arms and kicked his legs like a small child, but it was hardly any resistance against the much stronger waters. The river rose and Clint’s head sunk beneath the freezing liquid. He swam and stroked as hard as he could, but soon enough, his eyes would close and body would go limp. His last few bubbles of breath reached the surface and popped just as quickly as his life faded out.

Clint bathed in darkness with nothing but his final thoughts. He saw his wife’s beautiful face and gorgeous brown locks while she donned her favorite while dress. He saw his two toddler sons clinging to their mother’s legs and bouncing up and down while waiting for daddy to come home. Daddy would be coming home soon, Clint kept telling himself. But those twenty thousand credits were out of reach the minute he drowned in Fatima’s watery magic.

And then the cowboy coughed up another puddle of icy water while shivering some more. He slowly opened his eyes and found that he was lying alongside the river while holding a shining blue pendant with a note attached to it. Clint took a few more deep breaths before rolling over onto his knees and letting his eyes adjust to the fading light of the day.

The note read, “Water is something we all need in this dying world. Your family can’t drink money, but they can drink clean and healthy water thanks to this pendant I’ve left with you. The pendant is charged with hydromantic powers. Use it on any source of water and it will multiply and purify it for drinking. Neither you nor your family will ever go thirsty again. One act of kindness can soften the heart of even the coldest people. I hope it softened yours as well. Don’t give up on humanity just yet. Yours forever, Fatima Rose. P.S.: Don’t worry about my shoulder wound. I’ve suffered worse wounds from worse people.”


Clint stared at the pendant in his wrinkly hand and began to shed tears over the marble orb. “Thank you, Fatima,” he sobbed silently. “Thank you for everything!” He spent the last few moments of the day crying to himself, something his “manly” stereotype wouldn’t allow him to do for the longest time. Getting it all out felt as good as a nice chug of clean drinking water.

Monday, April 25, 2016

"Cowboys and Aliens" by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg

BOOK TITLE: Cowboys and Aliens
AUTHOR: Scott Mitchell Rosenberg
YEAR: 2006
GENRE: Graphic Novel
SUBGENRE: Western Science Fiction
GRADE: Pass

In the year 1874, Westward Expansion is in full effect in the state of Arizona. White settlers are purging the land of Indian tribes and claiming the territories as their own. In the middle of this conquest, a race of extra-terrestrial aliens crash lands in the desert and begins wiping out every human in their path, white or Indian. The only way for this new threat to be confronted is if the warring humans can put aside their differences and work together for the common good. They’ve already gotten a hold of some alien technology during the crash, so they might as well put it to good use and save the world from invasion.

My favorite part about this graphic novel has to be the blatant use of irony. White settlers were invading Indian territories only to have their world invaded by aliens. Maybe that’s what we need to solve the “immigration crisis” in this country: an alien invasion carried out by slimy green creatures with superior weaponry and technology. Maybe we just need to shown what kind of hypocrites we really are. This graphic novel is a good first step into exposing our beastly nature. Then again, some people like to shrug off hypocrisy claims with nationalistic or religious justifications. There’s just no reaching some people.

And here I thought the irony would be easier to swallow for those people considering how action-packed and violent this graphic novel is. If you’re going to be taught a lesson in getting along with your neighbors for a greater good, then it should at least be entertaining, which “Cowboys and Aliens” is. We’re Americans; we love violent entertainment. We like gunfights, martial arts, and science-fiction energy slinging. This graphic novel not only has all of that in their choreography, but the fight scenes are so frequent that it’s like riding a rollercoaster. The breaks are few and far between, so buckle up and get ready for the adrenaline rush your American blood so desperately craves.

As long as you’re going to read a graphic novel with violence and irony, you might as well read one with as many genres blended into it as possible. In addition to being bloodthirsty, we also have a nerdy side to us, though some people don’t like to admit it. Our nerdy sides get tickled whenever we read a book about genre mixing. In this case, it’s a combination of spaghetti westerns, hardcore action, and soft science fiction. UFC commentators say all the time that styles make fights. Gun-slinging cowboys and brawling Indians vs. hulking aliens with even better guns? That’s the kind of fight you’d want to see on pay-per-view. Maybe that’s why “Cowboys and Aliens” was adopted into a movie.


A quick read, deadly violence, and a bold political statement are all things you can expect from this graphic novel. Yes, it’s short. Yes, it ends too quickly (even though it is technically a complete story). So if you’re going to enjoy the ride, you’d better savor the adrenaline boost. In the words of heavy metal band In This Moment, “Welcome to the gun show!” A passing grade for a wonderful piece of graphic fiction. I don’t care what other readers say, because I loved the hell out of this book!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Overlooking the Cons

***OVERLOOKING THE CONS***

This is going to come as a shock to most of you, but nobody is perfect. We all have our flaws, though some are more forgivable than others. This journal details the flaws we as human beings are willing to forgive. If you love someone enough, you can learn to forgive a lot of their wrongdoings, opposing beliefs, or miscellaneous flaws. But if all you know about a person is their negative side, then you’ll have a hard time warming up to that person. It’s the reason we love our friends and families, but hate strangers who appear to be negative, such as politicians, celebrities, or people we only have a chance encounter with.

Because I’m a wrestling psychotic and you knew an example from WWE was coming, the first one I’d like to site is Chris Benoit. When people hear that man’s name, all they can think about is his 2007 double-murder suicide, in which he killed his wife and son before himself. Nobody in the wrestling community wanted to talk about him. Whenever one of his matches comes up on the WWE Network, there’s a warning before the show about how the “content and insensitive dialogue” don’t represent their corporate views. But this is just one side of the coin. If you’ve been a fan of Chris Benoit before 2007, you would see that he put on five-star matches on a regular basis in a profession where small guys like him were shunned in the land of giants. You don’t necessarily have to forgive what he did to his wife and son, and really, why would you? But if you’d rather see him as a badass wrestler who entertained the fans with his quick pace and crisp techniques, then you are indeed overlooking the cons. It takes serious devotion to do so and it’s something not all wrestling fans can do. I’m one of the diehard fans who can.

But then you have an example from mixed-martial arts, particularly in the UFC, where I’m not willing to overlook the flaw in question. Such is the case with heavyweight fighter Matt Mitrione, who in 2013 threw a whole bunch of hateful transphobic slurs at male-to-female fighter Fallon Fox. What makes this hard to swallow is that Mitrione’s punishment was extremely minimal coming from a corporation that prides itself on being a friend of the LGBT community. He was suspended for two weeks and was fined an “undisclosed” amount of money, which could have been anywhere between a million bucks and two pennies, probably closer to the latter. Mixed-martial arts is by no means a friendly business, but Matt Mitrione is not alone in feeling the way he does. The entire community wanted to chase Fallon Fox away with pitchforks and torches. That kind of bigoted attitude is common in MMA and wrestling and instead of teaching acceptance, people choose to hate each other and make some dough off of it. At least Chris Benoit got his comeuppance. When are the transphobic bigots of the UFC and WWE going to get theirs?

So where exactly does one draw the line when it comes to accepting other people’s personal baggage? Hell, there used to be a game show on GSN called Baggage (hosted by Jerry Springer, of course) where a bachelor had to choose between three suitors based on their most forgivable flaws. How do you judge overlookable criteria without coming off as a hypocrite? Hell, I probably seem like a big hypocrite right now because I’d rather be a fan of a murderer who got punished than a bigot who didn’t.

Drawing the line is something everybody has to do. Famous musician Bryan Adams drew the line when he refused to do a concert in Mississippi (because of their anti-LGBT laws) but played one in Egypt (a country with worse LGBT laws). I don’t speak for Bryan Adams, so he’s going to have to explain this one on his own. Roger Waters also has explaining to do since he’s boycotting Israel (a country with a history of genocide) and gladly playing concerts in America (a country with a history of genocide AND slavery). I don’t speak for Roger Waters either; he’s perfectly capable of putting the Howard Sterns and Adam Sandlers in their places.

So where do you guys draw the line when it comes to forgiving flaws? Is it only something you do with friends and family or can you do it with public figures as well? Consider this: the more you get to know someone, the less likely you are to judge that person. We’ve got ears, say cheers!


***WRESTLING JOKE OF THE DAY***

If Stephanie McMahon was a Mexican luchador, her name would be MILF Mascaras.

"Swamplandia!" by Karen Russell

BOOK TITLE: Swamplandia!
AUTHOR: Karen Russell
YEAR: 2011
GENRE: Fiction
SUBGENRE: Magic Realism
GRADE: Mixed

In the Everglades-based theme park Swamplandia, Hilola Bigtree wrestles alligators for a live crowd of stereotypical tourists. The entertaining action is enough to keep the Bigtree clan financially stable. And then one tragedy after another strikes the family. Hilola gets cancer and passes away. Hilola’s husband, simply known as Chief Bigtree, ventures out to the mainland for a “business trip” (which feels more like crazy abandonment). Grandpa Sawtooth becomes senile and is confined to a nursing home. The eldest son Kiwi tries to earn the minimum wage at a rival theme park called World of Darkness. The middle child Oscela becomes obsessed with dark magic and runs off with a ghost to marry him. And now it’s up to Ava Bigtree, Hilola’s daughter and understudy, to bring them all back together and save Swamplandia from becoming foreclosed on.

If I could use one word to describe the mood of this novel, it’s heartbreaking. One moment of depression snowballs into several other tearjerking moments. Losing a mother is bad enough. But then the financial burdens stemming from her loss become all too real for any reader. We’re currently living in an economy where homes are being taken away, people are becoming broke from healthcare costs, and the only people who are hiring the new blood are minimum wage employers. Sometimes, working to exhaustion isn’t the answer no matter how many times the Republican Party says it is. In fact, exhaustion is what makes this novel so depressing, because we see the aftermath of trying to scrape together enough money and stay alive. It’s stressful to think about and I wouldn’t wish this kind of poverty on my worst enemies. In terms of putting together a realistic picture of economic worries, Swamplandia does that job perfectly.

I know the World of Darkness theme park is supposed to be a horrible place to work judging from how poorly Kiwi Bigtree is treated by everyone there. It is, after all, a hell-themed amusement park. The swimming pools are dyed red (to resemble fire), the merchandise has devil horns on it, the food is fattening (because gluttony is a sin), and all of the rides are basically comparable to being swallowed by a ferocious, fiery demon. While I condemn the working conditions of the World of Darkness, I praise Karen Russell for inventing such a place in her novel. I am a dark fantasy nerd and the diabolic themes of this place make me think of barreling through Diablo II: Lord of Destruction dungeons with a dual-wielding barbarian. But I know why Karen Russell had this theme park in her story: because she wanted to parody Disneyworld and hold a mirror up to their horrible working conditions. It tickles my dark fantasy urges and depresses me at the same time.

However, there is one thing that irks me about this novel and it’s the reason I’m giving it a three-star review instead of a four or five-star one. The pacing of Swamplandia feels like I’m dragging my eyes across sandpaper just to make it to the next chapter. In other words, it’s slow and it’s tiring. I don’t know if I should owe the exhausting pace to the purple prose writing style, the obscure references, the over-thinking and overanalyzing, or the constant dips into the past. I can’t quite pinpoint what makes this book such a slow read, but if Karen Russell wanted me to feel just as exhausted as the main characters after they work their fingers to the bone to protect their theme park, then mission accomplished. It may have been by design, but that doesn’t mean it’s an effective technique.


If you want to read a story about Murphy’s Law on steroids and have the patience of a saint, I would gladly recommend Swamplandia to you. A warning to the wise: if you manage to make it towards the middle and you haven’t figured out if this is a fantasy or modern day drama book, I don’t blame you. The only reason why I know it’s labeled “Magic Realism” is because I looked it up on Wikipedia. Maybe the genre confusion is all part of the suspense. That would have been a great tactic if the suspense wasn’t reserved for the near-end of the book. A mixed grade goes to Karen Russell’s debut novel. Will I ever pick up another Karen Russell book again? I haven’t decided yet.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Weapons and Warriors

“What are we looking at here? Formaldehyde, necrolium, nitro benzene. This thing actually has over seven thousand chemicals. Don’t get me started on what they do to you. Prematurely wrinkled skin, stunted lung growth, tooth loss, cancer…”

“Cut the bullshit, Dr. Archer, you know damn well this is wrong,” said Nurse Taylor Patrick, who stood across the mad scientist’s lab in pink scrubs with her arms folded tightly to her chest.

“Wrong? I’ll tell you what’s wrong, Miss Patrick,” said Dr. Adam Archer as he ate a slice of pepperoni pizza while twisting the last few bolts on his “project” with a monkey wrench. “You know those goddamn hippies outside of our lab? They just so happen to be getting in the way of production. And if it wasn’t for the hard work of these loyal CEO’s, you’d be out of a job. Well, not really a job. More like an internship. Or indentured slavery. Haha!”

Dr. Archer dropped a slice of pepperoni into the “life core” of his machine and ate it shamelessly, causing Taylor to cover her mouth in disgust. “Look, I need this internship, I really do, but putting a serial killer’s mind into a robot body? That’s just sick and twisted. Not only that, but it’s probably illegal too! You know, there’s always that remote possibility of prosecution.”

“Don’t worry about the legal shit, Miss Patrick,” said Dr. Archer as he finished tightening the last bolt on his robot. “It’s nothing a little hush money can’t fix. And trust me, we’ve got enough hush money to go around, kind of like that welfare shit you hippie liberals love so much. Haha!” Taylor rolled her eyes and shook her head.

The puffy white haired scientist in a dark lab coat stepped backwards to admire his handiwork…and to uncomfortably wrap his arm around Taylor’s shoulders. “You see this, my dear?” said Dr. Archer as he waved his hand about for theatrical purposes. “I want you to meet the new enforcer for Sexton-Naylor Oil Trade.”

“SNOT?” said Taylor when putting the company name into an acronym.

“We don’t call it that, sweetheart,” said Adam before patting Taylor on the shoulder and causing her to shove his arm off. The mad scientist danced happily over to the power box to flip the electrical switch while Taylor sat down in the fetal position with bile coming up from her throat. The poor nurse rocked back and forth silently praying to herself that she would live though this scientific nightmare.

“World? Meet Cain Gutwrench, society’s most sadistic, bloodthirsty, animalistic, and gory serial killer! He’s perfect for slaughtering protesters and anybody else who decides to screw up business for us! Are you ready? I said! Are! You! Ready?!” Adam threw down the electrical switch and lightning bolts flooded through the cords attached to this hellish creation. The robot thrashed and wailed about while Taylor Patrick cried softly to herself. Was this internship really necessary? Were there no other jobs out there for a nurse like her? How did she wind up in this shit-hole of a project? What the fuck was she thinking?!

The lightning flowing through the robot’s body turned purple, green, and blood red whilst crashing into the metallic body in larger waves. Taylor slowly picked her head up from her fetal position to see that the electricity was getting slower and gentler before it fizzed out. The cords running through Cain Gutwrench’s body snapped off and the creature from the ninth circle of hell slowly sat up on the table with an ogre-like groan.

Cain’s face was that of a metallic dragon. His body was that of a robotic skeleton. His hands and feet both held scythe blades that could cut through a telephone pole like a stick of butter. He had black bat wings on his back to make his appearance even more frightening. The life core in his chest had the appearance of blood and ooze in a nuclear container.

Taking one look at this robotic monster caused Taylor to tuck her head and cry a waterfall onto her knees. She wanted so badly to leave this place, but she was too terrified to stand up and move. She shook harder than one of Dr. Archer’s power tools.

“Come on, sweetheart, don’t be like that! It’s going to be amazing! There’s going to be blood everywhere on the streets! It’ll be great!” boasted the sadistic scientist, who received a slash to the gut for his efforts. Taylor screamed like a banshee as Cain Gutwrench stood up from the table and hoisted Dr. Archer’s gushing corpse high in the air. The murderous robot gave a sick laugh before tossing the limp body off to the side and allowing the stomach wound to soak the floor.

As Cain slowly stalked the nurse in the corner, Taylor screamed bloody murder once again before crawling quickly on her hands and knees toward the door. The robot flapped its bat wings and stood in Nurse Patrick’s way, causing her to scream and sob some more while on her knees.

“Please! Please don’t kill me! I’ll do whatever you want! I swear! Just please let me go!” Taylor begged with her hands together prayer style.

Cain held a finger to his monstrous face and creepily shushed her. With tears and snot rushing down the nurse’s face, Cain petted her hair gently and sang in his demonic rasp a lullaby for her. “Hush little baby. Shh! Don’t say a world. Momma’s gonna buy you a mockingbird. And if that mockingbird don’t sing, papa’s gonna buy you a diamond ring. Shh. It’s okay, little princess. I won’t let the big bad monster hurt you.”

Taylor tucked her head down and puked all over Cain’s bladed feet, to which the serial killer said, “Oh, for shit’s sake! You can stop acting now! We all knew you switched out life cores! Well, everybody except Dr. Archer, but you get the point!”

“Sorry,” said Taylor in a weak, shaky voice. “it’s just that seeing the violence for the first time…it’s just a little too much, that’s all.”

“You saw it alright, Taylor. And you’re going to see it again…and again…and again. Did you already forget how angry you were when the CEO stiffed you on your payments? Did you already forget how traumatized you were when they stuck you in this dump basement with that pervert Adam Archer?” Cain leaned his head down so that he was making direct eye contact with his co-conspirator. “Did you also forget that time when Adam offered you money to put your mouth on his…you know what? You’re right. It is a lot to take in at once.”

The trembling voice turned from frightened sadness to volcanic anger when Taylor said, “Trust me, Cain, I didn’t forget about any of that. I had fantasies every night about killing Dr. Archer. I thought about slaughtering every executive in this whole fucking building for the shit they put me through. It’s all I could think about. All those sleepless nights led to this moment. And yet…I still feel empty and cold. This isn’t right, Cain. This isn’t right at all.”

“Do I also need to remind you that it was you who swapped out life cores in my body with out Dr. Archer’s knowledge? Just because you don’t like the results of your actions, doesn’t mean you’re excused from them. There’s no turning back, Taylor. Either you see this whole thing through, or you can puss out and sit in a jail cell. Which will it be?” asked Cain.

Taylor wiped the tears and snot from her face and slowly rose to her feet to give the robotic demon her answer. “I’m sorry, Cain. I really am. I can’t go through with this, not after seeing Dr. Archer looking the way he does. You slaughtered him like a farm animal. It smells awful in here!”

“It’s okay, Taylor. I understand,” said Cain as he put his bony hand on her shoulder. “Not everybody can handle this kind of violence. Which is exactly why…I’m not letting you live a life as a prisoner. Then again…you won’t be living at all!”

In one swift motion, Cain kicked Taylor in the stomach and impaled her body on his scythe feet. Her spine was severed, her life juices poured out of her like a biblical flood, and the room just got a whole lot smellier now that she emptied her intestines and bladder. After discarding her corpse on the floor like common trash, Cain said, “I’m sorry, Taylor. It had to happen. You were going to jail for this one way or another. But since you took the coward’s way out, there was no future for you. Revolution is only for the brave.”

There were heavy knocks on the bolted steel door of the laboratory along with shouts of, “Open up! Security! Open up this goddamn door now before we get the battering ram! Move it!”


Cain Gutwrench reached inside his life core, pressed a few buttons, and detonated a secret bomb that Taylor tucked away in the core should things go south. They went south in a hurry and now a volcanic flow of hellfire blew through the laboratory, taking the SWAT-like security team and anybody else standing around with him to the underworld. Even with the sprinkler system going nuts to put out the fire, it grew and grew until the SNOT building resembled a corporate effigy. One way or another, this shit was going to end badly for somebody. It wasn’t best for business. But then again, if Taylor was still alive, she wouldn’t give the shits that came out of her intestines when she did die.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Debating

***DEBATING***

Even though I post a lot of short stories with controversial topics and post John Oliver videos on my Face Book page, I actually don’t like debating that much. I agree with the idea of being open to new ideas and not being completely coddled from the opposing side. However, if someone tries to engage me in a debate, the most talking points I’ll ever have in that conversation is…maybe two. After those talking points are on the table, I have nothing left and I’m completely vulnerable to the limitless number of talking points the other guy has. Being on this jobber losing streak in a debate has nothing to do with the fact that I’m right or wrong. It just means that I don’t have an unlimited number of talking points. I suppose I could cure that with extensive research, but that only adds maybe two or three more talking points to the already short list.

It didn’t dawn on me just how bad my debating skills were until I moved into my dorm room at Western Washington University in 2007. I had a roommate named Carl who was always helpful to me and an all around nice guy. However, when he tried to engage me in a debate, I would sit there in silence not knowing how to answer his talking points. Carl described himself as a “conservative with a strong liberal twist”, but most of his talking points were right-leaning in nature. He’d present all of these carefully-worded arguments that went on for about a minute or a minute and a half and it always drove me nuts that I couldn’t debunk all of them.

So whenever I hear somebody talk about open-mindedness, I always tell them it’s a two way street. In other words, if you want me to be open to your viewpoints, you have to be open to mine. But that’s the problem: my viewpoints only have a lifespan of one burst of alphabet soup. After that, it’s over. I’m like a bottle rocket when it comes to debating, which is why I avoid it most of the time.

Of course, there’s another reason why I avoid debates and it’s because I have this fear of offending my best friends by justifying the things they hate. It’s the reason why I don’t wave a Richard Dawkins book in the face of one of my Christian friends. Not only is it offensive to do, but it could kill the friendship. I put love and friendship before politics and religion every single time. If somebody gives me a ride when I need one or cooks me a nice meal or gives me twenty bucks to buy my favorite book, why should it matter what side of the political spectrum they’re on? Of course, I wouldn’t accept a million dollars from Donald Trump, but that’s because…well…he’s Donald Trump. But you get what I’m saying, right?

So if you see me back out of an argument, it’s not because I’m closing myself off to that person. It’s because unlike that person, I can’t keep talking forever and ever and ever. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch some more John Oliver videos and chase them down with a rant by Immortal Technique about vegetarianism. Peace! I’m out!


***SWAMPLANDIA***

As many of you have noticed either from my Deviant Art journals or my Good Reads account, I’ve been chipping away at “Swamplandia” by Karen Russell for a little under two months now. According to my Good Reads account, I’m 83% done with it, which means I’m going to spend one day blowing through the rest of it. Even though I’m not finished with it yet, I’ve already decided that it’s going to receive a mixed grade (three stars) when I review it. The concept is great, the depressing themes are great, and even the idea of a World of Darkness theme part ignites the dark fantasy passion within me. But what gives it a three star rating is the pacing. It’s slow enough to tire my eyes out after five or six pages of reading. I don’t know what exactly to owe the pacing to, but it’s definitely a slow one and that would explain why I’ve spent so much time with this book. That and it’s 400 pages long.


***WRESTLING DIALOGUE OF THE DAY***

JERRY LAWLER: If Emma was a vegetable, she’d be a cute-cumber.
MAURO RANALLO: The world is pun-derful and I’m glad you agree, King.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

In the Corner

VERSE 1
Sitting in the corner with my headphones blasting
How much longer is this party going to be lasting?
How much longer must I sit alone in silence?
How much longer until I can close my eyelids?
I want to burn this fucker to the ground tonight
Run for the highlands until I’m well out of sight
Scream to the moon, the only one who will listen
And not pass judgment for my violent decision

CHORUS
All you partygoers look the same to me
Too busy with your drugs to talk to me
Too busy with your girls, I’m behind borders
So I’ll just go over here and sit in the corner

VERSE 2
The techno music makes my ears bleed buckets
My heavy metal music tells them all to suck it
Why did I come here in the first fucking place?
Was I that desperate for a smile on my face?
Was I so lonely that I needed a quick date?
When it comes to making sense, it’s too late
Getting up and leaving is my favorite option
But I like this corner, got my own party poppin’

CHORUS
All you partygoers look the same to me
Too busy with your drugs to talk to me
Too busy with your girls, I’m behind borders
So I’ll just go over here and sit in the corner

HOOK
It’s not enough, I need more
Being at home is such a bore
A room full of strangers galore
Is what this night has in store

VERSE 3
The cure for fifty of the coldest strangers
Is one friend who will share your danger
Someone to talk to in your darkest hour
Watch your alliance bloom like a flower
Fuck this party; I’ve had all I can stand
My own safe haven is what I demand
Walking home in the pale moon light
Feels good enough to call it a night

CHORUS
All you partygoers look the same to me
Too busy with your drugs to talk to me
Too busy with your girls, I’m behind borders

So I’ll just go over here and sit in the corner

Dog Fucker

CHORUS 1
When you kill a human being, it drives me mad
When you kill an animal, it’s twice as bad
Dog fucker!
Dog fucker!

VERSE 1
A sodomite with a bully’s might
You came to kill in the dead of night
Rape and torture are your tools of trade
Cutting your victims with an iron blade
Your latest kill was a sexual thrill
Man’s best friend now lies down still
The blood on your dick is so damn sick
Now the murder charge is going to stick

CHORUS 2
When you kill a human being, it’s a lifelong curse
When you kill an animal, it’s ten times worse
Dog fucker!
Dog fucker!

VERSE 2
Now you find yourself in a tight corner
Locked up in a cage by the judge’s order
Your new cell mate has a bone to pick
It’s in his pants and it’s called his dick
Knowing the rape of the innocent puppy
Is vicious and violent, not soft and loving
Pornographic passion, metal bunk thrashing
It’s Marvel Comics and Hulk is smashing

CHORUS 3
Murdering a human is a mortal sin
Murdering a dog makes you the devil’s kin
Dog fucker!
Dog fucker!

VERSE 3
Revenge is a fantasy played out in cinema
It’s eating us alive and damn near killing us
But goddamn, it’s so easy to get pissed
Punishment is more than a slap on the wrist
I tried to be nice, friendly, and forgiving
But you’ve stolen that dog from the living
I’ve got furry friends chilling on my couch
Go near them and you’ll be screaming “Ouch!”

LULLABY ENDING
Lullaby and goodnight
You know it’s not right
Close your eyes and start to smile
You’ll be going away for a while
When the dawn lights the sky
You can hear your victims cry
Start your day with a smile

No one believes your guile

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Wounded Angel

VERSE 1
How many times have you been hurt?
How many blood stains are on your shirt?
How many times have you been lied to?
If I was in your shoes, I’d want to cry too
Instead of reaching for the Promised Land
You gathered pills in the palm of your hand
You swallowed them all with a bottle of booze
You’ve got nothing left, what is there to lose?

CHORUS
Wounded angel! Wounded angel!
Say something if you are able!
Burning devil! Burning devil!
You’ve fallen to such a low level!

VERSE 2
We all have a past full of pain and sorrow
We all somehow look forward to tomorrow
What happened to the muscles in your body?
Instead of growing from this, you’re rotting
We all like to travel to those darkest places
Sooner or later, you’ll see the demons’ faces
The same demons you were trying to run from
Instead of escaping, you’ve gone and fucked up

CHORUS
Wounded angel! Wounded angel!
Say something if you are able!
Burning devil! Burning devil!
You’ve fallen to such a low level!

VERSE 3
I don’t blame you for the pain you feel
I blame you for the damage you deal
We tried so hard for you and your future
But nobody’s winning, we all are losers
I can only do so much for you, my friend
Negativity’s bringing our story to an end
All you had do was call out for help
Instead you took a nosedive to hardcore hell

EXTENDED CHORUS
Wounded angel! Wounded angel!
Say something if you are able!
Burning devil! Burning devil!
You’ve fallen to such a low level!
Everybody’s hurting so badly now!
Will things get better? We don’t know how!
You’ve taken more than you’ve ever given!
All you had to do from the start was listen!

HOOK
Into the box with the permanent locks
Into the dirt where it forever will hurt
Past the gates where you sealed your fate

And now here comes the cataclysm of hate

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Laugh Like You're Dumb

The raven stared down upon the two hillbilly gangsters like a judge in his bench giving a lengthy prison sentence. The wasteland was the perfect place to dispose of a dead body since nobody came out here and the heat would cause the corpse to decompose faster. The only witnesses to this crime were the stoic raven and the leafless tree it stood upon. The two rednecks used shovels to dig a shallow grave for their fallen victim: a beautiful young girl in a bloodstained white dress. Even in death, she still had ropes bound around her body and duct tape over her mouth, the latter of which prompted one of the murderers to tell a joke.

“Hey, Billy-Bob, how do you start a conversation about rape? Peel the tape off of the victim’s mouth!” The sociopaths weren’t the only ones who got a good chuckle out of it. A college student named Daniel Jason let out an uncomfortably long hyena howl to where his ribs and back were both aching. And then everything went black and a pause symbol manifested itself on the screen.

The classroom lights went up and Daniel was slowly coming down from his laughter spell. The entire class, including the elderly teacher Jonathan McAvoy, stared at him with fire in their eyes and downward eyebrows. As the final few chuckles departed from Daniel’s belly, the blond-haired frat boy looked around and shrugged his shoulders. “What? What’s everyone looking at me for?”

“I don’t know, Mr. Jason, why is everybody looking at you?” asked the white-haired and fuzzy-bearded Mr. McAvoy rhetorically. “Would somebody like to explain to him why we’re all staring at him in disbelief? Oh, Miss Miller, how about you?”

“Sure, I’d love to,” said the short pink haired Christie Miller. She cleared her throat and said, “You know, Daniel, the reason we’re all staring holes into you right now is because you laughed at something nobody ever should. There’s nothing funny about rape or murder. It’s demoralizing, it’s traumatizing, and it’s the most violent thing you could do to another human being.”

“Give me a break, lady!” said Daniel while throwing his hands up defensively. “Why do you feminists have to ruin everything for the rest of us? We can’t laugh at anything anymore because it might be offensive to someone else. What happened to us? What the hell’s going on here?!”

“I’ll tell you what’s going on,” said Mr. McAvoy as he walked up to Daniel’s desk and placed his palms on the surface while glaring at his student. “This isn’t about political correctness or artistic license. Over the years, some of us, not you included, have learned a simple philosophy that everyone should adopt: basic human decency. In other words, we’re supposed to treat each other like we ourselves want to be treated. Suppose a real life rape victim heard you laughing at that joke. Then what? Are they just supposed to ‘cowboy up’ and take it?”

“Yes! You’re damn right they should!” shouted Daniel back at his teacher, who then backed up a few steps. “I don’t have to dumb down my sense of humor just because there are pussies and wusses in this room! Nobody tells me what I can and can’t laugh at!”

Christie shot up from her seat and retorted, “Fine! Then you don’t get to tell the rest of us what to laugh at either! That means if you slip on a banana peel and smash your head open on the floor, the entire class is allowed to laugh at you because that would pretty much be the same thing as America’s Funniest Home Videos!”

Daniel chuckled sarcastically and said, “Please. You’re missing the whole point of America’s Funniest Home Videos, Crusty. They’re funny because they’re happening to somebody else. Of course it wouldn’t be funny if it happened to me.”

“Congratulations, Mr. Jason, you’ve proven to everyone in this class that you’re not capable of having empathy for others,” said the film studies teacher as he folded his arms. “You know who else doesn’t have empathy for others? Bullies, serial killers, rapists, animal abusers, basically the entire sewage system of our society. You wouldn’t happen to be one of those people, would you, Mr. Jason?”

Daniel scrunched his face and shrugged his shoulders in confusion while saying, “What the hell are you talking about?! Laughing about rape isn’t the same as condoning it! I don’t go around raping random women because I want a good laugh!”

“I’d really like to believe that, Daniel,” said Christie in a low, but tense voice. “I’d like to believe that you’re just a good person with a twisted sense of humor. Those people do exist. But then I go back to the other things you’ve said today, about how feminists are ruining everything and victims of abuse should just toughen up. How are any of us supposed to trust you knowing what kind of stances you take?”

“And just so you know, Daniel,” said Mr. McAvoy. “Feminists aren’t ruining anything in this country. If it wasn’t for them, women wouldn’t have the right to vote, they wouldn’t have the right to divorce their husbands, they wouldn’t have the right to embark on their own careers, basically, they’d still be second class citizens. In some ways, they still are and it’s all because of people like you who perpetuate that ignorant attitude we’re supposed to be fighting.”

During the last few seconds where he was being berated, Daniel sat at his desk looking down at his shoes while his anger boiled over in the form of shaking and heavy nose breathing. He finally pounded the desk with open palms and shouted, “That’s it! I’ve had just about all I can take of you stupid bastards! I’m leaving! If you’ll all excuse me, I’m going to the cafeteria to cool down! I’m going to eat a ham sandwich and watch Anthony fucking Jeselnik on my iPhone! And if none of you like that, you can all go straight to hell! Fuck you guys, I’m out of here!”

Daniel shoved his desk to the ground and flipped the entire class the double birds before picking up his backpack and stomping out of the classroom. “Don’t plan on coming back!” yelled Mr. McAvoy before he received an extra middle finger from the hissy-fit-throwing frat boy.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m really sorry about Mr. Jason’s behavior,” said Mr. McAvoy. “I’ll make sure he’s never allowed to set foot on this campus ever again. We don’t need that kind of ignorance in a place that’s supposed to be about education.”

“No!” yelled Christie while holding up a flat palm. After a brief moment of silence, she said, “Don’t expel him just yet. He may be a sexist pig, but he’s not completely without empathy. If you’ll all excuse me…I’m going to go give him some!”

It had been a whole half hour since Daniel Jason stormed out of Jonathan McAvoy’s film studies class. The frat boy sat at a table in the cafeteria by himself munching on a ham sandwich and watching dark comedian Anthony Jeselnik on his iPhone, just like he said he would. Every demented joke to come out of Anthony’s mouth made Daniel chuckle with delight and forget about the humiliation he suffered in the classroom.

And then the familiar throat-clearing sound got his attention. He looked up from his iPhone and saw Christie Miller standing across the table from him and smiling while waving. “Jesus H. Christ, Christie, what do you want? Are you here to tell me that I just offended a bunch of Christians by saying Jesus H. Christ? Those religious assholes say it all the time and nobody gives them shit about it.”

Still with a roguish smile on her face, Christie brushed her dyed pink hair back and said, “Relax, big boy, I’m not here to chastise you. I just wanted you to meet my new best friend. He’s into the same things you are and you two would really hit it off. Maybe you could let him into your little fraternity.”

Daniel suddenly felt a hard slap on his broad right shoulder as a muscular black arm was wrapped around him in an affectionate way. Daniel gulped a huge wad of saliva and shook nervously as he saw the big black football player standing over him with a seductive grin on his face. “Now hold on there, partner!” said the black dude. “Your ass is about to get some sweet Texas loving!”

The frat boy stared into his offender’s eyes with horror on his face and a quivering lip. He could barely get out a frail, “Uh-oh” before he shot up from his seat and tried to bolt out of the cafeteria in one piece. He didn’t get too far. He banged his knee on one of the tables and collapsed to the ground holding his knee, prompting everybody in the cafeteria, Christie and her “new friend” included, to laugh until their ribs ached.

“Shut up! Shut the fuck up!” yelled Daniel as he rolled around on the ground clutching his knee. They didn’t shut up. They grew louder in their donkey laughs, causing him to have a tear roll down his cheek.


As soon as Christie and her new friend got their back-splitting laughter out of their systems, the pink-haired student pulled out her wallet and handed the football stud a wad of twenty dollar bills. “Keep your money, baby,” he said. “That kid’s sweet little ass is payment enough!”

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Cimarronin" by Neal Stephenson

BOOK TITLE: Cimarronin
AUTHOR: Neal Stephenson
YEAR: 2015
GENRE: Graphic Novel
SUBGENRE: Historical Fiction
GRADE: Pass

In seventeenth century Philippines, a disgraced samurai named Kitazume is on the brink of slicing his own stomach open in a hara-kiri ritual. His longtime Spanish priest friend Luis convinces him to stay alive long enough to journey to Mexico with him alongside a Chinese princess named Irgen. The three of them are now embroiled in a plot to prevent Spain and China from obtaining silver and slaves in Mexico knowing how much power it would give the corrupt nations. This struggle for supremacy in the new world will be covered in blood, shattered bones, and battlefields full of dead bodies. Kitazume wouldn’t have it any other way if it means he’ll find redemption for his past sins.

The first thing I enjoyed about this graphic novel was the action-packed violence that carried the story from page to page. The techniques the warriors used were reminiscent of something from a Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan movie. In other words, the attacks were fast-paced and technical as opposed to a wild, drunken brawl. The blood splatters and shattered bones were the end result of this delicious violence; R-rated brutality at its finest. Come to think of it, there’s another movie reference I’d like to make when describing the martial arts violence in this book: Kill Bill. If Quentin Tarantino wrote historical fiction graphic novels, he would have had Cimarronin in mind. Action genre lovers will get a huge kick out of reading this book, no pun intended. After all, it’s only entertaining when it happens to samurais and conquistadors, not the reader.

Speaking of violence, it’s also satisfying to see African ex-slaves get revenge on their Spanish conquerors. The way slavery is depicted in this graphic novel is how it should be depicted in all platforms: brutal and heartbreaking. They were branded with hot irons, dumped in the ocean during transit, and treated like disposable trash by their white masters. The slaves have waited years to strike back against their masters. When the violence finally takes place, a gigantic wave of relief will wash over the reader and payback will taste like sweet strawberries dipped in gooey cream. There actually are instances in history of slaves attacking their masters as a means of escape. Knowing this is one of them (even though it’s fiction) will put a sick smile on the reader’s face.

Enough about the violence; let’s talk about history. This is after all historical fiction. The countries of the new world all have a past that should be acknowledged and atoned for when discussing them in high school history classes. These new world conquests wouldn’t be possible without committing genocide on the indigenous people and rebuilding the infrastructure with kidnapped slaves. Some people such as me have no problem acknowledging how shameful of a history we have. Others seem to be proud of it to the point where even today they deny the existence of racism in the modern era. For those on the latter side of the spectrum, I have one question for you. How do you expect to change the world into a better place when you keep repeating history’s ugliest features? Cimarronin isn’t just an action-packed fun-filled rollercoaster ride. It’s a look into the darkest parts of our past for those who probably need their eyelids braced open like Alex from “A Clockwork Orange”.


Cimarronin is a quick and short read that packs a lot of action, drama, and history into that tiny space. A reader could probably blow through this thing in less than twenty-four hours. Is it over too soon? Maybe. Should there be other add-ons to this book? Absolutely. But for now, enjoy the ride while you can. Rollercoasters don’t last forever, you know. A passing grade goes to this deliciously violent and historically poignant piece of graphic fiction.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Zootopia

MOVIE TITLE: Zootopia
DIRECTORS: Byron Howard and Rich Moore
YEAR: 2016
GENRE: Children’s Animation
RATING: PG for comic mischief
GRADE: Extra Credit

In a world where anthropomorphic animals reign, little bunny Judy Hops dreamed of being a Zootopia police officer and making a difference ever since she was a little kid. Everyone from her carrot farming parents to a wise cracking fox named Nick told her that her dreams were worthless and settling for less was the only way to live. Even as a meter maid, Judy is determined to prove that no dream is too far out of reach and any case is solvable. She even decides to go rogue and solve a case involving fourteen missing predators without help from her fellow police cohorts. It starts out as simple lead following (and conning Nick) and evolves into a conspiracy that affects the entire animal kingdom.

When giving this movie high praise, one must point out the elephant in the room. No, not the one with the trunk and tusks. I’m talking about the themes of prejudice and police corruption. In the real world, it means non-white criminals will be given stiffer penalties than white ones despite the severity and circumstances of the crime. In the world of Zootopia, it’s the same racial clash, but with predators and prey. Predators are labeled as savages and criminals while the preys are labeled as automatically innocent and sweet. The makers of this movie were obviously trying to teach younger viewers a lesson in loving and accepting each other despite our differences. It’s an admirable lesson and an important one in today’s modern age with the Ferguson, Missouri and NYPD cases serving as black eyes to American society. Using cute and cuddly animals helps ease the pain enough for small children to digest the message without being disturbed.

The other message of the movie is to never give up on your hopes and dreams no matter how tough things get. As someone who aspires to be a professional author in a tightly competitive market, I always love it when this message is sent loud and clear. Judy Hops appreciated it too since overcoming obstacles is her strongest feature. She’s a teeny-tiny bunny rabbit in a world of hulking buffalos and rhinos. If she can make it in Zootopia, she can make it anywhere. Settling for less seems like a good survival strategy, but surviving isn’t the same as actually living. Walking about like a zombie to a stressful job isn’t healthy and shouldn’t be encouraged by any authority figure.

I mentioned that the animals were cute and cuddly, right? Well, it’s not just a great way to attack the theme of prejudice, but it’s also a good for getting those cutesy-wutesy emotions out in the open. I have tons of cats and two lovable dogs living with me, so I know how important it is to show them love and affection. One of my favorite things to call an animal is a “pie”. Sometimes I’ll attach it on the end of my pets’ names. My Springer Spaniel Bassett Hound mix is called Maggie-Pie. My little Schipperke is called Willem-Pie. The elderly brown kitty that’s currently sleeping on my bed with new age music in the background is called Smokey-Pie. Yes, I know animals aren’t actually dessert pastries, but they don’t seem to mind the affection. In fact, they welcome it. So would it be too out of line if I called the characters Judy-Pie and Nicky-Pie? They’d probably take it as species profiling, but they’ll come around once they get their belly rubs.


Despite the fact that this is a PG-rated Disney movie, it’s one all age groups should see. There are so many reasons to love it, including ones I haven’t outlined in this review. I don’t want to outline too much, because that would lead to spoilers and spoilers take the motivation away. Go buy a ticket and see this wonderful movie in the theaters. If not, you could wait for it to come out on Blu-Ray, DVD, and digital format. If you’re not smiling and giddy by the time this movie is over, check your pulse. Five stars for a movie that was more than just a lovey-dovey parading of animals. It’s a movie that keeps hope alive even after crushing politics leave us all desolate and depressed.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

King Blizzard

Jason Clark was getting sick of waiting around. He aggressively rocked in his wooden chair on the front porch while stoically chewing a piece of wheat. The fields before him were bountiful with vegetables and fruit whether it was corn and potatoes or strawberries and watermelons. They all looked mouthwateringly delicious to even the biggest of appetites. These vast fields of food were all thanks to the backbreaking, sweat dripping hard work of the Clark family.

Middle-aged Jason didn’t want to think about his family too much. Knowing they would never come back from the dead put the occasional tear in his eye. A beautiful wife and two happy children were ripped from his life in a bloody struggle that Jason could never forgive. “Today is the day,” he said to himself in a stern and gravelly voice. “No turning back.”

And then the sounds and tremors of gigantic footsteps rang across the fields. Even though Jason’s two-story house was shaking, he wasn’t in a huge hurry when he stood up and slowly walked in front of the dirt path leading to his home. The source of the earth-shattering footsteps was plain in sight and all the farmer could do was fold his arms and give him a hateful frown.

There he was in all of his fifty-foot tall glory: King Blizzard. He had the golden crown and long red cloak to prove his “royalty”. He looked more like an outlander barbarian with a fur loincloth covering his body and ogre-like dentistry. He acted like one too when he leaned down and screamed at Jason in an attempt to get his bones rattling and adrenaline flowing. The stoic farmer didn’t blink, let alone budge.

“You’re awfully confident for someone who could get stepped on like the insect you are!” grunted King Blizzard in his throaty, demonic voice.

“Why wouldn’t I be?” said Jason. “All I did was put in the best work of my life this year to make sure you have all your food. That is what you came here for, right? An undeserved handout? Hell, I could have used one when you murdered my family.”

Blizzard stood up straight and let out an obnoxious belly laugh. “Trust me, you didn’t need those little twerps anymore. They were doing you no good. If anything, they held you back. You know what happens when farmers don’t give me what I’m entitled to, right? They get smashed!”

The unflinching Jason Clark spit out the wheat straw and said, “Yeah, I’m fully aware of what you’re capable of. But the real question is…do you know what I’m capable of?”

The giant’s next belly laugh caused him to stumble backwards and land on his ass, sending a ripple throughout the ground and nearly knocking Jason on his back. “Wow, you’re quite the comedian today! Maybe instead of being a farmer, you should be a court jester! You’d probably make more money dancing and singing like an idiot than you would feeding my big ass! Speaking of which…”

Blizzard started uprooting various crops around his massive body. He ate handfuls of pumpkins and watermelon like they were candy. He picked his teeth with ears of corn. He stuffed mounds of lettuce in his mouth like it was his last meal. Throughout his banquet, he smacked his lips, drooled rivers all over himself, and burped sonic booms like the annoying bastard he was. “Is this seriously all you’ve got? I’m still hungry! Feed me, you pathetic human!”

“How about instead of eating like a spoiled brat, you actually start being thankful for the bounty these farmers give you! We work our asses off for three hundred and sixty-five days a year just so you could feed that massive belly of yours! And just so you know, Blizzard, we were all secretly hoping that your filthy eating habits would earn you a heart attack! But I guess that’s all wishful thinking, now isn’t it!” screamed Jason with his clinched fists at his sides.

“You’ve got some balls on you, son,” said Blizzard as he started to stand back up. He looked down on Jason as if he was nothing more than a flea. The giant’s eyebrows furrowed. His voice grew angrier. His balled up fists were like wrecking balls. His whole body was a weapon of war, a war he was determined to win within seconds.

He reached down and picked up Jason Clark before squeezing him tightly in his mountainous hand. Aside from a few grunts and groans, the farmer remained as stoic as ever, uncaring about his own life now that his family was torn away from him. The giant could squeeze until the Jason’s head popped like a zit and there would still be courage in the little guy’s heart.

“I should just crush you in the palm of my hand right here right now!” shouted King Blizzard. “But I’m not going to give you the satisfaction of a quick death. No, I’m going to draw this out for as long as I damn well want. The first thing I’m going to do is rip off your arms and legs one at a time.”

In a strained voice, Jason said, “Do your worst! See if I give a shit!”

“Your balls are too big for your own good, little buddy. Maybe I’ll rip them off first!” threatened Blizzard. “But first, I need to have a seat. All that food’s giving me a cramp.” The giant chuckled evilly before sitting down on Jason’s two-story house and crushing it to toothpicks.

And then Blizzard’s threatening mood changed to one of pain and agony. At first he winced and shivered to try and ease himself. He even loosened his grip around Jason long enough for him to get away and roll on the ground to cough up little droplets of blood. Blizzard couldn’t take it anymore. He let out the world’s loudest growl of pain as he rolled over and revealed the source of his agony. He had a column of piled up furniture going up his ass crack. Heat stoves, couches, bookshelves, and even a spiky tube was stacked high from the top to the bottom of the house.

As King Blizzard’s anus was bleeding profusely from the furniture sodomy, Jason, who was on his back breathing painfully, poked his head up and said, “You feel that, big guy? You feel that?! Good! I hope it hurts like hell! I’ve been hurting for a whole year ever since you took my family away from me! But did I back down? No, I didn’t! I kept plowing my fields and I gave you some of the best food you’ve ever eaten! Consider this your last meal before your execution!”

Blizzard’s breathing became labored and raspy as his anus continued to bleed all over the remains of Jason’s house. “Execution?! You’re the one who’s going to be executed, you little shit!” The giant fumbled and staggered in his attempt to stand back on his feet. He was still bleeding profusely, but for a moment he blocked out the literal pain in his ass and focused on the figurative one lying on the ground below him.

The giant limped and dragged himself over to Jason’s broken body. But the minute he knelt down to pick him up again, the pain in his ass fired up and he screamed some more. After a while of dancing around in pain, King Blizzard’s eyes rolled back in his head and he fell backwards with a resounding thud, shoving the furniture up his ass even more. There was no more movement, no more screaming, and no more tyranny. King Blizzard had just become the world’s biggest rotting corpse.

In his groundbreaking fall, Blizzard landed back first on Jason’s body, crushing it into blood and bones and taking him to the afterlife with the giant. But was this battle considered a draw? Hardly. After a few days of inactivity, several of Jason Clark’s farmer friends visited his fields and saw the proof themselves that he was a hero. King Blizzard was slain and a victory square dance was in order.

Before there could be a grand celebration, a funeral would take place to honor the Clark family. There would be plenty to eat at the ceremony since Blizzard left behind fields and fields of uneaten food. But more importantly, Blizzard himself would be on the menu since his muscular body had more meat on it than the entire world’s cow population.


What did the farmers call this new food company? The name was a no-brainer. Ho, ho, ho! Green Giant!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Dark Fantasy

***DARK FANTASY***

This is going to come as a shock to a lot of people (eye roll)…but I’m a dark fantasy nut. You’ll probably need a crane to pick your jaw up off the floor after that revelation. Every chance I get, I always talk about black magic no matter what the situation is. Here are some examples:


When the power went out in Port Orchard a few weeks ago due to a windstorm, I described the town as being at the mercy of “The Aeromancers”, or wizards who specialize in wind magic. It was really just Mother Nature being an asshole, but I like the dark fantasy version better.

My most painful memories in life are referred to as “Demons”. It’s a common word for a lot of people to use, but I take it to an entirely differently level. I actually see those memories as hellish monsters that must be hunted with barbaric force. That could explain why I like the band Demon Hunter despite not being religious. That and they make good music.

If I ever decide to embark on a career in heavy metal music (beyond writing song lyrics), I’d want my band to be called The Pyrocrats, which is a Greek word that basically means we govern with fire. Granted, I don’t actually want to set buildings on fire, because that would be illegal. They call it “dark fantasy” for a reason.

If I ever decide to get a tattoo (which will never happen because I have a low tolerance for pain), I’d want to have a pair of dragon wings on my back. Why? Because every time I find something in life I want to go to war with, I “breathe dragon fire on it”. But that’s not dark fantasy, that’s high fantasy. It could be dark fantasy one day.

Every fantasy short story or novel I’ve ever written has been described by Good Reads members as “deliciously violent” (or something to that effect). There’s fast-paced martial arts action, energy slinging, and blood (lots and lots of blood). Violence is a necessary part of the dark fantasy genre because it combines magic and horror.

Most of the monsters in my stories are designed to be scary in some way. They can hatch tarantulas, they can cover someone in scorpions, they can be extremely hairy, or they could wear a freaky mask of some kind. Pink Floyd the Wall and WWE are my biggest influences when it comes to scary characters.

You know the drawings of my short story and novel characters? I refer to them as “Dark Fantasy Warriors”. They’re violent, they’re vicious, they’re nasty, and they can take any Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter situation and cover it in blood. Mmmmmm, blood.

Who do you have to thank for all of this delicious darkness? The people at Blizzard, of course. They created Diablo II: Lord of Destruction (a dark fantasy RPG) and I enjoyed the shit out of playing it for nearly all of my life. That computer game is the main reason why I have so many barbarians in my stories, Deus Shadowheart being the most famous example.

I’m currently reading a book called “Swamplandia!” by Karen Russell and there’s a rival theme park called The World of Darkness, which is basically like Disney World, but with a demonic theme. I wouldn’t want to work there due to the way they treat their employees, but I’d love to spend a day there and ride the rides. Eh, maybe I shouldn’t. Kiwi Bigtree is in enough trouble as it is.


That’s all folks! Actually, there are probably more examples, but I can’t think of any right now. We’ve got ears, say cheers!


***WEEKLY SHORT STORY CONTESTS AND COMPANY***

It’s a new week, which means a new story. The theme we’ve got this time around is Contrast. The story this theme produces is called “King Blizzard” (now that we’re on the topic of the dark fantasy genre). It goes like this:

CHARACTERS:

King Blizzard, Tyrannical Giant
Jason Clark, Farmer

PROMPT CONFORMITY: The contrast in size between King Blizzard and Jason Clark is astronomical.

SYNOPSIS: For centuries, King Blizzard has bullied the people of The Zeal Empire by stealing food from their farms and tromping all over the land if he doesn’t get what he wants. In the past, soldiers and mages have all been sent out to slay the giant, but all that did was lead them to the slaughter. For as long as he owned his farm, Jason would always surrender his food without incident. That changes when he decides to stand up to the giant. He might get himself stomped on in the process, but in his mind, it’s better than living life without his family, whom Blizzard killed when his “payment” was late one year.


***TELEVISION DIALOGUE OF THE DAY***

SEBASTIAN LUND: Chris is the one with the funny accent.
CHRIS LASALLE: Y’all are the ones with accents.


-NCIS: New Orleans-

"The Smell of Death & A Taste of Blood" by Marie Krepps

BOOK TITLE: The Smell of Death & A Taste of Blood
AUTHOR: Marie Krepps
YEAR: 2016
GENRE: Fictional Short Stories
SUBGENRE: Vampire Fantasy
GRADE: Extra Credit

The origins of Lord Gerard and his vampire coven are covered in blood, tears, and shattered bones. Life is rarely easy to journey through and any hardships we survive will make us stronger. In the case of the coven, these vampire warriors are strong enough to wage war against their bigoted human brethren. All it takes is an animalistic bite and the sweet and lustful taste of vengeful blood. War has never been so heavenly or so delicious for these sadistic characters.

My favorite short story within this entire collection is the one that made me give this book a full five stars: “Trophy Wife”. All Morgan wanted to do was have a modeling career and a happy life. Instead she did what most women were goaded into doing in the 50’s and 60’s and married a handsome gentleman while doing household chores. The way the husband beat the crap out of Morgan and insulted her was heart-wrenching to me. Even though this part of the book is historical fiction, such mistreatment of women continues to happen in today’s world and the extent of how brutal male supremacy can be is disgusting. The female author of this story has no doubt experienced some kind of sexism in her life and now she’s the teacher of the lesson we all must learn. That lesson is to be kind to our women and show them respect. They won’t all turn out to be vampires like Morgan, but there are consequences for misogyny no matter who the victim is.

Another favorite story of mine that ripped my heart into a million pieces was “Fire Hair”. In this one, a redheaded village girl comes home from a hard day of field work and gets bullied and beaten by a group of other children. The worst part about the beatings is that they happen over and over again for the longest time. We are now in a generation where bullying has to be taken seriously due to the suicides and school shootings we keep hearing about in the news. This particular story highlights just how brutal it can be even though it’s historical fiction. It’s not just the physical beatings that wear children down; it’s the psychological torture and the building anxiety because of it. While going on a blood-splattering rampage is an illegal and dangerous way to solve the bullying crisis, I do commend Ms. Krepps for holding a mirror up to society and showing all of its ugliest features.

Every single one of these short stories deserves praise from even the toughest of critics. She has showing instead of telling down to a science and that is an admirable trait to have in an author. As a reader, you want to feel how badly those punches hurt, how tasty those kisses are, and how relaxing the sounds of nature are. Marie Krepps will take you to her most beautiful and deadliest places in her mind and won’t let you leave. The minute you read the first page, you’re her literary prisoner and your sentence will last until the final page. Your figurative prison sentence will be grueling. It will be heartbreaking. But most importantly, it will be a hell of a lot of fun!


If you want a book that mixes genres into a bundle of nerd heaven and leaves you wanting more, buy a copy of this short story collection. And after you’re done with this, buy another Marie Krepps book. And another. And another. Hell, it’s a lot like taking drugs: the more you have, the more you need. You will become a Marie Krepps book junkie after one read. I promise you that! Five stars for an awesome collection!