Saturday, April 29, 2017

I Apologize

Assassins live by a code of silence
Leave no trace of forensic science
Leave behind a trail of violence
Escape the sounds of police sirens
Weapon of choice isn’t a knife or gun
Motive isn’t the thrill of the hunt
Vicarious visions the camera caught
All I did was sit back and watch

I apologize for not being your savior
I apologize for being your traitor
All I had to do was speak my mind
But another innocent got left behind

You’re all grown up and standing tall
You just can’t wait for your next brawl
Lashing out at everyone in sight
Someone’s going to the hospital tonight
It’s too late to recapture innocence
It’s too late to close the distance
It’s too late to give you your love
You fought like a hawk, slew all the doves

I apologize for not being your savior
I apologize for being your traitor
All I had to do was speak my mind
But another innocent got left behind

If I could, I’d hug you tightly forever
Tell you it’s okay and never say never
Tell you I’m sorry for shutting my mouth
I’m sorry for taking the easy way out
You won’t forgive me for my deadly sins
You threw my apology in the garbage bin
I can’t blame you for even a short second
Silence is an assassin’s favorite weapon

I apologize for not being your savior
I apologize for being your traitor
All I had to do was speak my mind
But another innocent got left behind
I apologize for leaving you for dead
I apologize for the trauma in your head
I apologize for the monster you’ve become
The pain is now yours to sooth and numb


I’m sorry…

Friday, April 28, 2017

Seaside Vacation


From May 3rd to the 5th (Wednesday through Friday), I’m headed out to Seaside, Oregon for a vacation with my parents. I’ve been to this city three different times and it never loses its beauty. Dog friendliness, fun beaches, lovely weather, good food, and lots to do; that’s Seaside in a nutshell. During these three days of rest and relaxation, there will be no creative output from me other than reading my book and maybe some photography (which I won’t upload until after I get home). However, since the WSS contests begin every Wednesday with a new prompt, I’ll only be gone until Friday, so that means I have Saturday to recover and Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday to pump out the next chapter of Demon Axe. Keep your fingers crossed that I get to do some writing before the next contest. There will be another vacation I’ll tell you guys about two weeks from the Seaside one, so look forward to that blog entry in the near future. I may be gone, but I’ll always come back and chitchat with my awesome audience. I may even do some of that when I’m using the hotel computer or an internet café. See you later, alligators!


The novel’s almost over, folks. Just this chapter and an epilogue are all I have left. I don’t want to give away too much of chapter 22 because I ended chapter 21 on a cliffhanger. Roger Zee sees something out in the distance that keeps him from slashing the hell out of our main heroes. If you’ve figured out what this is, then congratulations to you. If you haven’t, enjoy the surprise. Hopefully it won’t translate to a Deus Ex Machina surprise.


If John Cena and Nikki Bella ever decide to have a child together and it’s a daughter, they probably shouldn’t name her Tina. Nothing says “Gooker Award Winner” like a grown woman named Tina Cena.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Demon Axe, Chapter 21

Arthur Triscloud stared at Raven and Shawn with intense neon fury, his sword gripped tightly by his side, his other hand stretched out like a monster’s claw. His daughter and her cop friend held their ground with their own weapons in hand, though they secretly hoped they wouldn’t need them in this unnecessary battle of family bloodlines. The elf princess and the cop nodded at each other and made a mad scramble towards the once noble king.

Arthur held them back with quick and technical swings of his sword, but Raven swung back even harder in an attempt to knock the weapon out of her father’s hands. Shawn tried circling around his opponent, but he was met with wild slashes as well, which he barely dodged. The only thing Mr. Triscloud managed to hit was a piece of Shawn’s black T-shirt. A conservative amount of blood trickled down, but the hardnosed detective brushed it off all the same.

Raven tried to enter her father’s range with more aggressive swings of her blade, but her weapon was chopped in two by the king’s mighty sword. The zombie-like warrior held his blade against his daughter’s throat with her hands high in the air. Shawn ran in from behind and bear hugged Arthur around the middle of his arms.

“Get the crown! Get it off his head!” shouted Shawn, who was being tossed from side to side by Arthur’s thrashing. Raven rushed up to her father with her chopped up blade in hand in an attempt to pry the thorns loose. After one lethal spin from the monstrous king, both of his assailants were chucked through the air and down the steep hill. The two of them lost their weapons along the violent roll down, which left them with bumps and cuts everywhere. They didn’t stop rolling until they were halfway down the hill, where the animal skeletons halted their momentum.

The two fighters felt sore enough to barely move after such a rough tumble. Shawn slowly reached for his shotgun, his lack of speed the result of not wanting to aggravate his injuries. He had his fingers on the barrel when Arthur appeared out of nowhere and stomped on Shawn’s hand, creating a cluster-fuck of popping sounds and getting a painful cry out of the detective’s voice.

Arthur picked up the shotgun and aimed it at the fallen cop, still with his foot on Shawn’s hand. A resounding pump-action later and Raven yelled, “Stop! Stop it, Father!” The king looked at her with deadly hatred in his eyes, but she stood firm with a human arm bone in hand. “That look you’re giving me doesn’t mean shit right now! Roger Zee is out there somewhere and you’re just halting progress!”

“Progress? Progress?!” bellowed Arthur in his demonic voice. “Master Roger hates that word. It’s a word associated with fruity values. It’s a word associated with reverse discrimination. It’s a word associated with disdain for traditional beliefs. Come to think of it, I hate that word just as much as he does!”

Raven raised her bone club and threatened in a low voice, “If you hurt my friend, I swear to god, I’m going to…”

“You’re in no position to be making threats, my dear daughter!” shouted Arthur. “I am the king around here and Roger is going to be my successor! If you take another step closer, I’m going to blow this faggot’s head clean right off his shoulders! Your friend knows exactly what kind of danger he’s in. Look at him shivering like a little bitch!”

Shawn had had enough of being talked down to by a guy who was clearly brainwashed by a torture device. He wanted to restore the dignity of the Paulson City Police Department to its former glory. He wanted to be the hero that he couldn’t be to his wife and daughter. With clenched teeth and trembling muscles, Shawn whispered, “Go fuck yourself, you demagogue piece of shit!”

With one jerk of his hand, Shawn pulled King Triscloud off his feet and caused the shotgun to fire a round into the sky. Raven used this opportunity to run up to her fallen father and perform a body splash on his torso. Both Raven and Shawn pinned the corrupted politician to the ground while the former lodged the bone club into the base of the thorns. The more she pried, the louder Arthur’s screams became. Thrash around with newfound strength he might, he still couldn’t get all of that weight off of his chest and legs.

Arthur managed to free one of his legs and kick Shawn in the face hard enough to break his nose. With nobody to hold his legs and the detective grunting in hardcore pain, the king’s leg thrashing gave him more power to toss around Raven while he was on his back. And then the sound of wood snapping echoed across the Holy Mountains. As Arthur laid still and bellowed in agony, Raven jammed the bone club in further and pried even more pieces out of his head until the crown was completely broken.

With a bloody ring around his skull, Arthur’s demonic eyes slowly began losing their glow. Raven stood back with Shawn as her father made the transformation from brainwashed zombie to regal king once more. His eyes dimmed some more and he tossed and turned until he ran out of energy and passed out. His body was as limp as lifeless as any corpse found on the mountainside. For the longest few seconds, he didn’t move a muscle.

With Shawn still holding his broken nose, he and Raven approached the elven king for fear that they might have inadvertently killed him. “Come on, Dad! Breathe! Breath, goddamn it!” roared Raven with tears in her eyes. Her father still didn’t move and even more tears poured down her cheeks while Shawn used his free hand to comfort her shoulder. Another death in Roger’s long and torturous campaign of slaughter.

And just as the sun rose over the mountainside, Arthur’s fingers twitched slightly. His eyes slowly opened. He stretched out as if he had taken a long nap. Raven and Shawn pulled him up in a seated position and then the elven princess hugged her king with all the tightness and tears she could muster.

“Raven, I’m sorry for any pain I’ve caused you, my dear. I never would have dreamed of doing this to my own flesh and blood,” said Arthur in his warm and loving elderly voice. The father and daughter duo hugged it out for the longest time while Shawn stood up and watched with a smile on his face despite blood pouring down his lips. Arthur then broke the embrace and asked, “Where’s Daniel? Did Roger take him?”

“He pulled Daniel underground once the battle began,” explained Shawn. “Where the hell’s my shotgun; I want to blow this cocksucker’s head off!”

“Did you say you were looking for a cocksucker?” asked Roger, who appeared out of nowhere with a sick grin on his hideous face, his machete in one hand, and Daniel’s microphone in the other. Shawn, Raven, and Arthur gazed at the zealot with horrified eyes as he reached down and pulled Daniel out of the ground by his hair like a vegetable. “Your cocksucker is right here.”

Though still alive and breathing, Daniel was curled up in the fetal position with his shorts and underwear around his ankles and white and red fluids coming out of his mouth and anus. The once intense heavy metal singer was reduced to a thumb-sucking mess who rocked back and forth and held his broken ribs like a mother cradling a child.

While Shawn and Arthur’s eyes grew even bigger and more horrified than before, Raven had a new reason for tears to pour from her eyes like waterfalls. “What have you done to him, you monster!” she shouted at Roger before rushing up to cradle Daniel’s traumatized head in her arms.

“Nothing you wouldn’t have done on your honeymoon, sweetheart,” said Roger in a cold tone. Raven could do nothing but sob for her sodomized boyfriend and rock him back and forth like the baby he felt like being. Even Shawn and Arthur had tears in their own eyes after watching such an evil display of control.

Roger lifted his machete over his shoulders and said nonchalantly, “Well, I had my fun for the day. Should I just kill all four of you now or should I wait until your so-called friends get here, my liege? Heh, some friends they are. What kind of people leave their bestie high and dry like this? Reminds me of someone I know, someone who’s weapon of choice was the almighty Demon Axe. But hey, Daniel, don’t worry about a thing; I’m sure your old band mates forgive you, right? I bet those two blowhard wrestlers forgive you too, considering they come from an industry that just bathes in friendship and love.”

Daniel didn’t respond to these slanderous accusations. He just curled up and allowed Raven to mother him during his moment of psychological numbness and infinite terror. Right or wrong, Roger Zee made more sense to him than anybody telling him it wasn’t his fault. It was always his fault. Anybody who said differently was a bigger liar than any politician on TV.

The sun continued to peak over the horizon, but none of the four heroes felt like fun in the sun. They could do nothing but stand there and watch Roger laugh like a psychotic hyena. They could have just as easily picked a fight with the guy, but what power did they really have? They were just four guys and Roger was the ultimate fighting machine with a penchant for rape and “fun”.

By the time the sun flooded the clouds with intense color, Roger’s laughter mysteriously came to an end as he saw something in the distance. He didn’t know what it was, but he was pretty sure he wasn’t going to like it.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mauro Ranallo


In the 35 years The Wrestling Observer Newsletter has been giving out annual awards, WWE been the recipient of Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic a record 19 times. In 2017 amidst the mistreatment of Smackdown announcer Mauro Ranallo, WWE could be shooting for lucky number twenty. Since this is an issue that involves both bullying and mental illness, it’s a story that’s close to my heart as I have experienced both in my younger days. Even people who don’t watch professional wrestling can relate to Mauro’s story in at least one or two ways.

Mauro Ranallo has been the lead announcer for WWE Smackdown since January of 2016. Week after week, he’s done a phenomenal job with his puns, encyclopedic knowledge, undying energy, and overall intelligence. It’s because of these factors that he has won The Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s award for Best Television Announcer for two years in a row (2015 for his work in Japanese wrestling and 2016 for his work in WWE). If he wanted to, he could rack up a huge winning streak for that award until the end of time itself.

Unfortunately, Mr. Ranallo is also bipolar. It’s a condition he’s had since he was 19 years old. The trigger that set him off was the death of his best friend in 1989 due to a heart attack. Mauro has never attempted suicide before, but he’s had suicidal thoughts. Ever since managing to cope with his disorder, he’s been an outspoken supporter of the mentally ill community and wishes to end the negative stigma surrounding it. As someone with autism and schizophrenia, I look up to this guy every time he speaks on the subject of mental illness. The fact that he can work as hard as he does while still holding bipolarity at bay speaks volumes.

With this much talent and humanity under his belt, you would think that WWE would want to protect this guy as much as possible. But instead, fellow Smackdown announcer John “Bradshaw” Layfield uses the show Bring It to the Table to belittle Ranallo for celebrating his winning of the Best Television Announcer award on Twitter. It should also be known that John Layfield won the Worst Television Announcer award in 2014 and 2015, and with good reason. Layfield has also reportedly picked on Ranallo backstage multiple times and triggered his bipolar disorder to where he wants to quit WWE.

The hashtag #FireJBL has been circulating around the internet ever since this story made it into mainstream media coverage. While firing him would be an easy solution, JBL is just a small part of a much bigger problem within WWE’s corporate culture. Pro-wrestling is a business where the guys on top try to test the toughness of the guys down below on a frequent basis and bullying is the way they do it.

JBL has been accused of grabbing people’s asses, stealing passports, throwing luggage of other wrestlers out on the curb, screaming at them until they cried, stuff like that. His behavior is encouraged by people like Vince McMahon (CEO), Triple H (Vince’s son-in-law), and Stephanie McMahon (Vince’s daughter). Even if the older guard dies of natural causes, there will still be other people in the company who condone this kind of behavior on a daily basis as a way of “weeding out the weak”.

But seriously, what purpose does all of this harassing behavior have other than satisfying sadistic urges? If you really wanted to test the toughness of someone in WWE, pay attention to their body of work. Can they take bumps effectively? Can they endure the grind of world travel? Can they train hard enough to perfect their crafts? I believe WWE wrestlers are self-motivated enough to do these things that they don’t have to be bullied in order to prove it. In my opinion, the upper management bullying has nothing to do with testing toughness and has everything to do with being a dick. Tough or weak, nobody wants to be treated like that. Nobody at all.

Another example of backstage misconduct comes from Bill DeMott, an NXT trainer who back in 2015 resigned from the company when he was being accused of bullying his trainees. He would make them perform dangerous drills, he would make bigoted slurs at them, he’d sexually harass them, and there are even stories of him pulling a gun on his students. Again, this awful human being resigned from WWE; he wasn’t fired. Maybe if there’s enough pressure put on the company, JBL will leave on his own too. It’s farfetched, but there’s no sense in feeling hopeless just yet.

My only wish is that Mauro Ranallo can find peace in his life outside of WWE. Bipolar disorder is no joke and it’s even worse when the person is being bullied or harassed in the way he has. Mental illness dilutes your defenses when it comes to taking in trauma or other negative events. It’s not a matter of not being tough. It’s just the way mental illness works.

Mauro, if you’re reading this somewhere out there, I wish you a speedy recovery from your recent bout of depression. I’m sad to see you leave the WWE, but I’m also happy that you can get away from that troglodyte JBL and everybody who condones his evil behavior. You’re easily my pick for Best Television Announcer in 2017 and every year beyond that.

And as for you, JBL, enjoy your Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic award when you eventually get it. Let’s see you mock that on Bring It to the Table.


Speaking of bullies and douche-bags, I bet you all have been waiting patiently for something god-awful to happen to Roger Zee. You’d be right for wanting that. Ever since the beginning of Demon Axe, he slew countless people, tortured his worst enemies, brainwashed the weak-minded, and did it all in the name of anachronistic values. I appreciate your patience throughout this reading adventure, but you’ll have to keep waiting. Chapter 21 will be dedicated to Raven and Shawn doing battle with King Triscloud, though ever so reluctantly since he has a mind-controlling crown of thorns wrapped around his head. Instead of trying to kill him, they’re going to try to hold him down and pry the crown free. Good luck, you two!


“What kind of a name for a gun nut is Wayne La Pierre? Doesn’t that sound kind of fruity to you? “Hi, I’m Wayne and I’m a gun person. Bang, bang!” You know what this asshole’s name ought to be? Biff Webster. Spud Crowley. A man’s name: Chuck Steak.

-George Carlin-


Laughter is the best medicine and the same is true for recovering from mental illness triggers. Remember that, folks.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Demon Axe, Chapter 20

“The Holy Mountains? Are you fucking serious? That’s what Roger Zee calls these big ass piles of dirt and stone? Holy shit!” said Daniel Mercer with a scowl on his face and his arms folded while never letting go of his trustworthy microphone. Shawn Henry had his shotgun locked and loaded while Raven Triscloud had her blade within firm grasp. These were three badasses who were ready to do battle. Even though they had reached their final destination, they wondered what was taking so long for the battle to begin.

Raven explained, “The Holy Mountains as Roger called them were secret places where The Order of the Spider would torture prisoners. I guess he’s feeling nostalgic by bringing my father back here…if he is here at all. The Holy Mountains would be my first guess.”

“It’s almost as if he wants us to find him,” suggested Shawn. “Arrogant little punk. We’ll see how full of himself he is when I put one between his fucking eyes.”

“Just tread carefully, both of you,” warned Raven. “There’s a reason he chose this pile of rocks and dirt as Daniel so eloquently put it. We could we walking right into a trap for all we know. Then again, fighting Roger is a trap in and of itself. Trust me, I know.”

“I’ll take my chances with the Holy-Pile-of-Dog-Shit,” said Daniel. “Let’s get moving.”

The three renegades trekked slowly and carefully up the hillside, the steep angle putting a dull strain on their leg muscles. No traps so far, just piles of bones scattered across the hill whether they belonged to a human, elf, or animal. The stench of this place wasn’t any more pleasant. If a meat truck had crashed into a sewage treatment plant, that’s what the Holy Mountains would have smelled like with all of the dead carcasses lying around. All three warriors kept their noses in their shirts until they reached the top of the hill.

“That’s him! That’s my father!” exclaimed Raven. The three adventurers rushed over to his fallen body and checked to see if the old man was still alive. They all saw the same thing: a crown of thorns around his head and a neon glow in his eyeballs. They slowly edged away from Arthur Triscloud’s body, fearing the absolute worst scenario they could.

The old man rose to his feet like a zombie thirsting for a second life. His smile was contorted, his beard was covered in dirt and worms, his flesh was vein-covered and rotting. He spoke to his opponents in a low growl reminiscent of a demonic tiger. “Master Roger wants death…and I shall give him death!” The brainwashed Arthur unleashed a creepy laugh that only an insane asylum full of psychopaths could utter.

Raven didn’t even try to reason with her father; it would have been useless. Instead, she and Detective Henry stood their ground with battle born looks on their faces and their weapons ready. She said, “Daniel, you know exactly what to do to someone with a crown of thorns.”

“I’m on it, sugar tits,” said Daniel, who cleared his throat of all the snot and bile that the dusty air brought up within him. His mouth was centimeters away from the mouthpiece of the microphone. He was primed and ready to shout every heavy metal lyric he could muster into this deadly piece of musical equipment.

And then while everyone was too focused on Arthur Triscloud’s zombie form, two powerful hands grabbed Daniel around the ankles and dragged him roughly beneath the ground, causing him to drop his microphone in the process. While Raven was shouting for her boyfriend and reaching out her hand, Daniel’s body scraped across the jagged bones and rocks of the underground cavern.

Once he hit the ground, Daniel groaned and wrapped his arms around himself in agonizing pain. He was shrouded in darkness, but only until a familiar being lit a torch on the wall with the most hellish fire. With his retinas burning beneath the flames, the Lord of the Pit could barely make out the features of Roger Zee, same ugly face, same blood soaked uniform, same horrifying machete.

Daniel ignored the wicked smile Roger gave him and instead tried to reach over to retrieve his fallen microphone, to which the elf zealot stepped on his wrist and ground his boot into the fragile bone. Daniel shrieked in pain as he tried to rip his hand away from the heartless soldier.

Roger took his boot off voluntarily and grabbed Daniel by his shirt to hoist him off the ground. The zealot then slammed the heavy metal singer back first against the rocky wall multiple times before holding him in place by his jaw, which emitted quick and painful breaths.

“I bet you’re wondering why we called ourselves the Order of the Spider. Trap door references aside, it’s because we evoke fear in the hearts of everyone who crosses us. I can smell it coming off you for miles, my friend. It smells like a bucket of greasy fried chicken!” Roger emphasized that last word with another slam against the wall. “I bet you taste just like fried chicken too. You have every right in the world to be scared of me, Daniel. I’m going to have some fun with you, buddy. I could just as easily kill your ass right now with my lovely blade. But where’s the excitement in that? Huh?!”

“You know why you’re not killing me right now?” said Daniel through fast and raspy breaths. “Because you’re a fucking coward! Terrorists like you always are! You think you’re hot shit because you killed a crowd full of people, but you’re not different from the high school senior who took my lunch money on a regular basis! You’re a coward, Roger! A chicken shit coward!”

Roger slammed Daniel against the wall yet again and earned another painful cry from the Lord of the Pit. The elf leaned in closer and said, “Right, I’m the coward here. I’m the one shaking in my boots ready to piss myself at a moment’s notice. You sure do have your facts straight, don’t you, buddy.” Daniel hocked up a bloody wad of spit and launched it into Roger’s face, to which the elf smiled even more evilly and slammed Daniel against the wall multiple times. Every pound against the singer’s back was met with a tearful cry of brutal pain. He might have even heard a few pops here and there.

Roger continued to grin at his victim when he asked, “Do you like videogames, Daniel? Believe it or not, I liked them too when I was young. They give me some nice creative fuel. Society likes to blame youth violence on videogames and they’re only halfway right. The other half of it…it comes from within. Let’s see if you remember which videogame this comes from. Tiger Knee!”

The elf terrorist buried his rock-hard knee into Daniel’s ribs, cracking them like glass and forcing the singer to scream through coughed up blood. “Tiger Uppercut!” yelled Roger as he buried his clenched fist right into the other side of Daniel’s ribs, shattering them like china plates and getting even more blood to waterfall from the singer’s mouth.

The singer dropped to the ground and crawled like a snail across gravel toward his microphone, to which Roger just folded his arms and smiled some more. He even said, “What are you waiting for, Mr. Mercer? Isn’t that microphone supposed to be the answer to all of your problems? Didn’t King Triscloud give that to you specifically for slaying me?”

Daniel finally made it to the microphone, but not without scraping his chest across the bone-covered ground and developing rashes along the way. He grabbed a hold of the wall and gingerly pulled himself up, every ounce of effort sending a cataclysm of agony through his chest. Even standing upright felt like he swallowed the spiked ball on a morning star.

Roger mockingly held his ear up close to the singer and waved his fingers back and forth like a conductor. “Go ahead, Daniel. Serenade me with your sweet sound. I’m dying to hear that beautiful voices of yours.”

Daniel brought the mouthpiece to his lips and breathed heavily before trying to let out a death metal scream. One decibel of sound and the singer was on the ground clutching his broken ribs and screaming like hell (though the screaming actually made his pain worse). That was the elf and human kingdoms’ last hope in a crumbled heap on the ground looking as pathetic as a dead body.

Roger chuckled at his fallen foe and said, “Well, I’m sorry to hear that your pipes don’t work anymore. It’s kind of hard to have a career in heavy metal music when your ribs are all busted up like that. But don’t worry, Daniel. You still have other parts of your body that are functioning perfectly well. The question now becomes, which one functions better: your pretty little mouth or your sweet little anus?” The question was punctuated with the sound of Roger’s pants zipper coming undone. “Like I told you, I intend to have some fun with you, buddy. I’m going to have the best kind of fun there is. It’s the oldest profession in history and it’s going to be your new career. Open wide!”

“NO!!” shouted Daniel in a prolonged cry that further grinded his ribs like coffee beans.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

"A Nose For Justice" by Rita Mae Brown

BOOK TITLE: A Nose For Justice
AUTHOR: Rita Mae Brown
YEAR: 2010
GENRE: Fiction
SUBGENRE: Cozy Mystery

On a frosty winter in Reno, Nevada, former Wall Street executive Mags Rogers moves in with her great aunt Jeep Reed and brings along her wire-haired dachshund Baxter. During her stay, she becomes entangled in a mystery that involves blown up water pumps and dead bodies. Deputy Pete Meadows and his partner Lonnie investigate these strange events and unravel a conspiracy dealing with water rights, environmentalism, and land purchasing. The entire political landscape of Nevada is at stake and the killer must be found before everything descends into chaos.

As to be expected with a title like “A Nose For Justice”, you’re going to see some animal cuteness during your reading journey. I’ve already mentioned the little dachshund Baxter, but there’s also a bigger puppy-duppy named King, owned by Jeep Reed. The two dogs start off as distrustful strangers, but over time they form a much needed friendship in order to help unravel this water rights conspiracy. They run around together, they nibble on steak bones, they sleep by each other, and they even play in important role in the conclusion of the story, though I won’t give away how. While it’s true that the dogs aren’t seen as often as Pete Meadows and the Reed/Rogers family, you can’t help but want to reach through the pages and rub the dogs’ heads and bellies. They’ve certainly earned it.

The political and historical content is another upside to this story, though some reviewers argue that Miss Brown is too preachy. I don’t believe that’s the case. The lessons she teaches feel more like a college history class rather than a Sunday sermon. She reminds us all how precious water is and how it shouldn’t be squandered so easily. We think we’re going to have it forever, but in places like Nevada, characters in this book would commit acts of terrorism and murder for it, especially if money is involved. Extremism, big business, environmentalism, and even LGBT rights are among the topics discussed in this novel. These topics are handled with sensitivity and the points in favor or against them are made with the skill of a world class debater. You don’t have to agree with everything Rita Mae Brown’s characters talk about, but you’d better listen and give the author a chance.

The final high point I want to talk about is the characters and how quirky and lovable they really are. Mags Rogers is a woman trying to get back on her own two feet and you genuinely want to root for her all the way. Jeep Reed is a salty, but warm-hearted war veteran with more wisdom in her pinky finger than most businessmen and politicians have in their whole bodies. Pete Meadows is a true professional when it comes to his work as a cop; he asks the right questions and evokes the right emotions from his interviewees. Pete even has a little bit of a crush on Mags and she feels the same way. At first they tiptoe around each other, but when they come together for the good of the case and for the sake of true romance, you genuinely feel the love. Even the minor characters are worth investing your emotions into since they’re friendly small town folks you’d want to have as neighbors. There are also characters you love to hate, but I’m here to pick the flowers, not the weeds.

If you’re looking for a well-orchestrated detective novel with a crafty mystery, poignant wisdom, and lovable puppy-dups, pick up a copy of “A Nose For Justice”. At first I was hesitant about reading this since the last Rita Mae Brown book I read (Wish You Were Here) made me feel old due to its small town stereotypes. A Nose For Justice might feel that way for the first few pages, but if patience is one of your virtues, then I encourage you to read on and enjoy this book for the well-written prose it is. A passing grade goes to this amazing author. Great work!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Resting Bitch Face


I don’t take selfies very often unless it’s for Independent Author Day or Halloween (because I’m wearing a mask). I don’t own a smart phone, so I wouldn’t be able to take selfies anyways unless it was with my digital camera and someone else was the photographer. I don’t enjoy the way I look on camera (unless the photographer had some Photoshop magic to make me look like a sexy beast). But the biggest reason I don’t take selfies is because I don’t like to smile for fake reasons. As someone with Resting Bitch Face, smiling isn’t natural for me, so I don’t like being told to do it even for pictures.

Yes, Resting Bitch Face is a real thing for both men and women. It’s when your neutral expression makes you look annoyed, pissed off, or sad even though you’re not any of those things at the moment. If you have RBF, you’ve probably gotten tons of questions like “Are you okay?” and “What’s wrong?” in your lifetime. When I was dating Brianna, she would always ask if I was okay and I’d always answer yes. Whenever I went to a concert at the White River Amphitheater, the security personnel would also ask if I was okay and I’d give them the same answer.

And speaking of concerts, I saw Five Finger Death Punch in Tacoma back in November of last year and the couple sitting in front of me took a selfie with me looking angry in the background. We had a good laugh over it. But yes, it’s true: even when my heavy metal idols Five Finger Death Punch are the entertainment for the evening, I look like I want to strangle someone even though I’m feeling peaceful, if not excited for the music.

I Googled Resting Bitch Face and some search results said that it’s the reason people remain single or don’t get hired. So this is it, huh? I have to pretend to be something I’m not in order to gain an advantage in this world. Sounds familiar. Asking an RBF patient to smile relentlessly is like asking a skinny kid to be interested in football so that the big beefy jocks will like him. Yes, it seems like such an easy thing to just smile all the time. People say the same thing about introverts speaking up in class discussions or making a million friends. Just because it seems easy to an outsider, doesn’t mean it is for the person living the experience.

When it comes to my RBF, I don’t try to change it for other people. I own it. I make it a part of my unique personality. Do I have a million friends? No. Do I make millions of dollars in some job I wouldn’t want anyways? No. As a matter of fact, people in public tend to gravitate away from me, which is alright with me, because I don’t have to engage in small talk with people I don’t give a shit about.

Truth is, there’s no real reason why people make angry expressions when they feel neutral. It’s just the way it is. There’s no reason why people have big noses or pointy ears. It just happens. If you want to get a good feel for what a person is like beyond their rough exterior, show interest instead of just talking for the sake of talking. Maybe the guy with RBF is a poet and you don’t know it. Maybe the chick with RBF is an anime-loving nerd with more creative fuel than she knows what to do with. We’re not trying to push you away (unless you’re just there to chit-chat instead of showing genuine interest).

There are lots of articles and videos out there about RBF. I’m not a scientist who studies this phenomenon; I’m just an opinionated person who’s living through it. If you be nice to me, I’ll be nice to you. If you give me a reason to smile, I’ll give you what you’ve truly earned. Smiles have to be earned in this world; they’re not automatic. Some people deserve smiles, others don’t. We’ve got ears, say cheers!


There are only two chapters remaining of this ongoing novel and the twentieth one will feature the final battle between Daniel Mercer and Roger Zee. Is it as simple as yelling obscenities into a magical microphone? Not when you have broken ribs and every scream hurts like a bitch. Perhaps someone else can do the dirty work, someone like Raven or Shawn. Nah, those guys are busy enough already trying to fend off King Arthur Triscloud, who has a crown of thorns around his head. If you were expecting an easy victory just because someone has a magical microphone, you’re sadly mistaken. If Daniel and his crew want to win this war, they have to earn it, just like strangers have to earn my smile.

Speaking of people with RBF…


If Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens ever become an official tag team, what will their group name be? Jowens? Samowens? Sevin? Hmm…

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Demon Axe, Chapter 19

The bindings on Arthur Triscloud’s wrists and ankles cut so deeply into him that it felt like it was being branded with an iron. Such slow agony didn’t weigh nearly as heavily on his mind as watching down below from his crucified position, where Roger Zee sharpened his bloodied machete with a whetstone. Arthur could hear the squawks of crows and ravens circling above him. Any minute now they would begin to peck his eyes out and leave him a violent mess. To die atop these holy mountains in such a cruel fashion burned a look of silent rage on Arthur’s face.

“I see the writing on the wall, my old friend,” said Arthur, which garnered no attention from Roger. “This is more than about rightwing politics for you. This runs much deeper. But that’s what I need help in understanding. Where did it all go wrong? What the hell has happened to you?! I once considered you to be a brother of mine! You were next in line for the throne! And then you threw it all away…for what?!”

Roger stopped sharpening his blade and cast a vicious gaze at his king. The zealot stood up and sheathed his weapon before speaking to his captive with venom in his voice. “The throne? Are you sure that title wasn’t reserved for that heavy metal goofball Daniel Mercer? I know all about your plans. I know what you want for this kingdom. For a man of such wisdom, you’ve sure made the dumbest decision of your life in choosing him over me. He can’t even govern his own mind, let alone an entire nation of people.”

“For his tortured state of mind, I blame you, Roger,” snapped Arthur. “You haven’t been the same ever since I’ve dissolved the Order of the Spider. You’re the last of that elite group and now you’ve brought shame with your countless murders. You can never go back to being that noble friend you once were. I broke up the Order of the Spider because you and your group couldn’t stop torturing your prisoners for information. I don’t care if the human kingdom destroys our entire race; torture is not acceptable, not in this nation, not in any other!”

“Is that what this is about?!” roared Roger as he unsheathed his blade once more. “You social justice warriors are all the same to me. You want solutions to the world’s problems, but when someone like me provides the best kind there is, you squeal like a bunch of pigs! And if you want to argue psychological triggers, try arguing with me about the consequences of breaking up the Order! Together, my men and I were an elite team of warriors! In the midst of war, you separated us! Every damn day I would get letters in the mail about one of my crew being slaughtered by those disgusting humans! They were more than just crew members! They were friends! Brothers! Family! I’d die alongside them if I could!”

A beat of uncomfortable silence was broken when Roger marched up to where Arthur was perched and grabbed him by the hair before pulling his face closer and saying in a demonic tone, “Look into my eyes, my lord! Tell me what you see! Do you see the strength of a thousand men or do you see someone who is broken beyond repair?!”

Arthur’s features softened even after having his hair pulled when he realized, “You have PTSD too, just like Daniel.”

“Every damn day it hurts, Arthur! Sometimes I wake up and I don’t know where the fuck I am! Sending those faggots and hippies to the depths of hell was the only way I could shut up the voices of my own men calling me a coward! Take a look into my eyes, my lord! Who’s screaming now?! Who the fuck is screaming now?!” shouted Roger.

Arthur’s teeth were gritted and his face was trembling with anger. “I don’t care how badly you hurt every night. I don’t care what kind of nightmares you wake up from. What you’re doing is wrong. It’s about as wrong as it gets! Torturing prisoners is not what we’re all about and neither is random murder! The sooner you come to terms with that, the sooner your own cohorts will give you peace!”

Roger held his blade to the king’s throat and a trickle of blood ran down the royalty’s neck. Arthur remained brave as he stared death in the face with a poisonous frown. “Go ahead and kill me! I’ve already made up my mind as to who’s taking over my throne! Daniel Mercer is more of a leader than you could ever be in your lifetime! He doesn’t need a machete to get his point across! He has something even more powerful than a blade or a gun: his voice.”

Roger pressed the blade to Arthur’s neck even further without killing him or drawing more blood. After a lengthy stare-down between the two with twitching faces and raging expressions, the zealot sheathed his weapon once more and slowly backed away before folding his arms. He then smiled and said, “Slashing your neck would be too easy. After what you’ve done to my men, you deserve a much slower death than that. I reckon those ravens and crows are getting hungry right about now. It wouldn’t be right of me to deny them a fresh meal.”

“Do your worst, you psychotic bastard,” spat Arthur. “Before the birds dine on my facial features, there’s something you need to know. You can’t win, Roger. Your quest of pain and agony is about to come crashing down around you. The elves and the humans will know peace once again.”

Roger chuckled and said, “Is that really the fantasy that keeps you going throughout your elder years? And here I thought the slow burn of old age would have erased that shit from your head a long time ago!”

“It’s not a fantasy, Roger. It’s the truth,” said the king. “While you were busy waging war with your own kind and committing all sorts of treasonous crimes, I’ve reached out to a few of my brand new friends. As it turns out, you’ve angered a lot of people with your heinous murders.”

“Of course I’ve angered people! At least now those media anchors have something worthwhile to talk about instead of some movie star taking a shit in public!”

“I’m afraid it’s much worse than that, Roger,” said Arthur with a half-smile. “You’ve pissed off…a lot of people. You’ve manipulated the police department from the inside and led many of those people to their deaths. You’ve slaughtered entire arenas full of people. You’ve taken folk heroes away from the public eye. You think their families and friends are going to be afraid of you forever? Fear can only work for so long before these “faggots and hippies” as you call them grow a solid steel spine. It’s over, Roger. It’s all over!”

“Ha!” shouted Roger. “You really think an army of nitwits is going to pose any kind of threat to me?! This whole campaign of mine was based on the idea of me slaughtering large numbers of people! Bring your cops, your bouncers, your social justice warriors, your fan boys, your fan girls, I will slay the shit out of each and every one of them! And the best part about all of this? Their blood will be on your hands, Arty-Boy! You called them over here, and now they’re going to look great lying face down in the mud!”

After the zealot let out a thunderous laughter, Arthur said, “Keep telling yourself that, you vile scum! Maybe if you say it long enough, the voices in your head will agree with you on something other than murder and torture!”

“Enough!” bellowed Roger, creating a chasm of silence between himself and the king of elves. “The more I think about it, the more I start to wonder if crucifying your pathetic ass is too good for you. Yes, I believe I’ve arrived at that point with you, my king. You’ve actually managed to be so annoying that the slowest of slow torture won’t be enough for you.”

Roger reached in his pocket and pulled out a magical crown of thorns not unlike the ones he placed on the heads of Johnny Vega and Sonia Marquez prior to their deaths. Arthur gazed upon the unholy artifact with wide-eyed fear. “Those were supposed to be banned a long time ago! Why did you have one in your pocket?!”

“Once again, your false wisdom amazes me, my king. Just because there’s a law against something, doesn’t mean it’s not going to exist. If the human nation figured that out with guns, we’d have a lot less dead motherfuckers in the earthly realm. You see, my liege, before your little army of halfwits come riding into battle with their horses and their chariots, you and I are going to have some company in the form of your future king and his two protégés Bevis and Butthead. We’ll see how much your daughter loves you when you’re the one slinging the sword instead of me!”

Roger formed a slasher smile on his face as he slowly approached King Arthur Triscloud with the crown of thorns in hand. The elderly ruler struggled and thrashed in his bindings while yelling, “No!” repeatedly. The longest “No!” sounded off like a crack of lightning as Roger wrapped the magical thorns around the king’s head. Every barb and every spike seeped its way into the king’s brain until the last synaptic neuron became Roger’s personal puppet string. Arthur’s eyes glowed a brilliant fiery red while his new master cackled with delight.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017



The Mexican cruise and the Californian trip was without a doubt the most fun I’ve had in a while with the major highlight being the sea lion and stingray encounters in Puerto Vallarta. Coming home from this lengthy vacation was supposed to be a nonstop relaxation fest where I snuggled with kitties and slept soundly in my own bed. But last Wednesday was anything but relaxing. I got some writing done that day, so that was worth celebrating. It was the boiling hot fever I got at the end of the night that set the tone for the rest of the week. And thus begins the very boring blog topic of…(yawn)…physical illness. Grab a pillow. It’s going to be a long one.

The night I had the fever, I also vomited in the toilet several times and had loose diarrhea. My sickness got so bad that I elected not to use my CPAP for fear that I might puke in it in my sleep. My breath was also so hot that it made the mask uncomfortable. I spent most of that night drinking Sparkling Ices and staying awake in my computer and reading chairs. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep well that night and it would get worse over the next two days.

More vomiting ensued, so much so that my ribs were sore afterwards. Every time I would cough or sneeze, my rib pain would flare up. I was practically begging my mom to take me to the chiropractor after my sickness was over. Because I had more loose diarrhea and vomiting, instead of a chiropractor, I spent Friday night in the hospital. I had to be rehydrated with four pounds of water, but I probably lost even more than that throughout the sickness. What a hell of a way to lose weight.

During my stay in the hospital, I had a CAT scan to make sure I didn’t have appendicitis (I had gut pains on the right side of my body). I was greatly relieved when I tested negative, so chances are this whole sickness of mine was due to a virus going around or potentially food poisoning. The bug made more sense because my brother James and step-dad Dale got sick as well. My mom was already dealing with a bout of whooping cough once we got off the cruise ship. This whole week has just been one big barfaroni fest for all of us.

As a result of our collective sicknesses, my family has a shit ton of Gatorade and Campbell’s soup stocked up around the house. I didn’t start eating solid foods until just a few days ago. I’m doing much better today than I was a week ago. In fact, I might even go for a walk to the convenience store later today. It used to be that I was too weak and lazy to do basic chores like clean the litter box or take out the garbage. While I’m still sneezing and coughing like crazy, a sense of normalcy has been restored to the Haines-Temons-Stevens-Wilson household. Normal is good.

I can only hope that we’re all feeling well enough to see Garrison Keillor perform tomorrow night in Tacoma. We need him now more than ever in this Trump-ruled country. It’s going to be me, mom, Dale, and my therapist Rachel tagging along to see Mr. Keillor do his monologues. I hope it’s a wonderful performance! We’ve got ears, say cheers!


In the interest of head-hopping fun (because that’s totally acceptable in literature), this chapter is going to focus on a confrontation between King Arthur Triscloud and Roger Zee. Arthur is bound to a crucifix atop a holy mountain with Roger Zee lecturing him the entire time. The two of them have a conversation about Roger’s motives and wondering just what the hell has gotten into him. It is during this conversation that Arthur reveals that he has some “special friends” coming for him and that Roger should heed his warning. The zealot laughs it off like it’s standup comedy, but is that a wise approach to such a stern threat?


MICHAEL: At least your name isn’t Michael Bolton.

SAMIR: You know, there’s nothing wrong with that name.

MICHAEL: There WAS nothing wrong with it, until I was about twelve years old and that no-talent ass-clown became famous and started winning Grammies.

SAMIR: Why don’t you go by Mike instead of Michael?

MICHAEL: No way! Why should I change? He’s the one who sucks.

-Office Space-

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Shadow Hawk

Shadow Hawk! Let your soul fly free!
Become the destroyer you were meant to be!
Shadow Hawk! Bring darkness to this land!
Bury those fuckers beneath the dirt and sand!
Shadow Hawk! Take back what’s yours!
Even if you have to fight a thousand wars!
Shadow Hawk! Set the world on fire!
Make them call you their immortal messiah!

With dirty blankets and loaded guns
They slaughtered daughters and murdered sons
Smothered mothers with dirt, enslaved the fathers
Shadow Hawk! You’re our only author!

Conquerors! Your day has finally arrived!
To be shot with arrows and butchered with knives!
Conquerors! Run while you still have a chance!
Never mind the rotten smell running down your pants!
Conquerors! You’ve already lost this war!
Shadow Hawk can smell the fear oozing from your pores!
Conquerors! Open season has begun!
We could show you mercy, but where’s the fucking fun?

With dirty blankets and loaded guns
You slaughtered daughters and murdered sons
Smothered mothers with dirt, enslaved the fathers
Conquerors! You shouldn’t have crossed the waters!

Pay the price!
Shadow Hawk!
It’s time to rock!
Vengeance is ours!
Take back the power!

With dirty blankets and loaded guns
History’s lessons rotted in the sun
Smothered graves with dirt, enslaved the sheep
But the Shadow Hawk will never sleep!
Open a book before you open your lips
This is bigger than the .45’s on your hips
This is bigger than what you see on TV

Because staying comfortable is too easy!

Sunday, April 9, 2017


You’re just a ghost
With no love to boast
Gone with the wind
Are all of your sins
The shit in the past
Is never built to last
You’re just a ghost
Whose ass is toast

If I wanted ghost stories, I’d sit at the campfire
Instead all I’m listening to is a fucking bad liar
Twisting the truth like the arms of your victims
Turning the strongest men into prison bitches
A haunted house isn’t good enough for you
A dark cemetery is where you’ll forever stew
Banging on the gates in search of your freedom
As if somewhere beyond is the Garden of Eden

You’re just a ghost
With no love to boast
Gone with the wind
Are all of your sins
The shit in the past
Is never built to last
You’re just a ghost
Whose ass is toast

The spiritual realm has been calling your name
Like a chorus of boos stripping you of your fame
Like a necromantic chant in a sacrificial ritual
Like a street corner sermon of a sick individual
Consider this your one and only eviction notice
It’s extermination time for the swarm of locusts
There’s nothing left here for you to feed on
No more tortured souls for you to beat on

If there’s something strange in your neighborhood
Burn it to the ground with gasoline and wood
If there’s a ghost in your brain that’s causing you pain
Flush that shit out and watch it swirl down the drain

You’re just a ghost
A parasite to the host
Gone with the wind
Let the new wave begin
The shit in the past
Is never coming back
You’re just a ghost
With no bail to post

You’re just a ghost!
You’re just a ghost!
Of all the hatred I could give

You deserve it the most!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Demon Axe, Chapter 18

This heavy metal opera had to end somewhere and Daniel Mercer pictured all the possible ways it could in his sick and twisted mind. He rode in the back of the SWAT van staring daggers into his magical microphone as his imagination ran wild. Was it as easy as screaming in Roger Zee’s ears and making his head explode? Did there have to be a special message behind the song? For all Daniel knew, he could sing the elf zealot a lullaby and slit his throat in his sleep.

Since it was the life of Raven’s father at stake, perhaps she could be the one to finish him off. Slice his head off his shoulders like a circumcision (because he was such a dickhead). Sodomize him with the blade. Cut his legs off and watch him crawl away. Such thoughts brought a wicked smile to Daniel’s face. Watching his newfound love sharpening her blade with a whetstone brought a flutter to his heart that not even a cocaine high was capable of.

Daniel snapped out of his violent fantasy when the SWAT van took a huge bump and bounced his head off the roof. The heavy metal god growled in pain and clutched his head while unleashing a horde of colorful swear words. Raven patted him on the shoulder to see if he was okay and he said in no uncertain terms, “I’m fine!”

Shawn Henry, the driver of the van, slammed on the brakes and caused Daniel and Raven to lurch toward the front, almost like being taken for a nickel ride. The Lord of the Pit shouted, “Hey! Quit driving like a fucking drunk! You got to be careful, damn it!”

Through the partition, the rock and roll couple could hear the door slamming shut and booted feet sloshing in the mud while Shawn appeared to be yelling, “No, no, no, no!” Daniel and Raven looked at each other with confusion and concern before exiting the vehicle themselves to see what was going on.

Shawn stood over two corpses with his muscles tightened, his fists clenched, and a shaking complexion reminiscent of tears. One of the dead bodies was a grown woman in a sundress about Shawn’s age. The other was a small child who looked barely old enough to register what was happening to the Henry clan. Deep gashes covered their bodies to where bones were showing. Organs poured out of those wounds like rotten milk. Their groins and inner thighs had bruises the size of mountains. Shawn Henry had seen a lot of death in his career, but nothing prepared him for this: the sight of his wife and daughter discarded on a muddy rode like common trash.

Raven tiptoed toward Shawn and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder, to which the sobbing detective waved it away and shouted, “Don’t touch me! Please, don’t touch me!” She honored this by slowly backpedaling in the arms of Daniel. The detective dropped to his knees and held the heads of his wife and daughter against his chest before letting out a combination of a lion’s roar and a sorrowful burst of tears. Even a brave warrior like Raven couldn’t help but shed a tear or two.

For Daniel Mercer, watching death never got any easier. He had been exposed to so much of it over the course of this quest. He even glorified it in his music, hence the genre death metal. All he could do was wrap his arm around his girlfriend and stare blankly at the emotional trauma Shawn Henry was going through. When would enough be enough for someone like Roger Zee? How many people had to die because of his strong beliefs? What was the point of all this? Whatever joy Daniel felt fantasizing about Roger’s death was blown away like ashes in the wind at the sight of this honorable cop in a vulnerable moment.

“Great plan, Einstein,” said a familiar voice in Daniel’s head. With wide-eyed hyper-vigilance, he scoped the muddy forest for the source of the voice and saw the mangled ghost of Bear Man haunting his mind. “Complete disregard the safety of someone’s family and now look what happened to them. Nice job, buddy. Sounds familiar to me.”

“You shut the fuck up! I’ve had it up to here with you!” bellowed the Lord of the Pit.

“Daniel, who are you talking to?” asked Raven in a worried tone.

Lady Killer was next poltergeist to invade Daniel’s mind. “Why should we shut up, Daniel, are we saying things that you don’t like to hear? But isn’t that what you’ve been doing this whole time? Didn’t you make your living that way?”

“I’m sick of you motherfuckers blaming me for everything! You want to blame someone for all of this, blame Roger Zee! He’s the one who’s doing this to us! Go torture him instead of me! I’m the one trying to help you guys!” screamed Daniel.

“Daniel, stop it!” cried Raven.

The rest of Daniel’s band mates, Demon Axe or otherwise, floated in a circle around him and barked insults at him to deafening levels. Daniel held his ears and groaned loudly while Raven was trying to shake him out of it. “Daniel, please! Stop it! You’re scaring me!”

“That’s right, Lord of the Pit!” said the ghosts in a unified demonic voice. “You’d better stop it before you drive another loved one to their death!” The ghosts snorted and snickered while bathing in red electricity and purple smoke.

Even more lights began to flash in Daniel’s mind, much like the strobe pattern of when he was tortured with his own music. Right then he was being tortured by people he thought were his friends. True friends didn’t pass blame or judgment. Shawn’s wife and daughter would never blame him for their deaths. Neither should these band mates.

Daniel released his head and shouted into the skies (sans microphone), “Shut up! Shut the fuck up!” The electricity and smoke faded into nothingness and the ghosts were silent with shame. “Nobody put a gun to your heads and made you join my band! You came here on your own volitions! But I can tell you guys don’t want to have anything to do with me anymore! If that’s what you want, then give me your masks! You’ve lost your right to play music with me! Come on, fork ‘em over! I’m sick of this goddamn shit! Hand ‘em over, now!”

The ghosts barely gazed at each other with hung heads before shrugging their shoulders and floating over to Daniel to do what they were told. One by one, the masks came off as the spirits floated away into smoke and dust. As the Lord of the Pit collected the masks, he gave them in return their old identities.

“You’re not Vulture Man. You’re Roman John. You’re not Pig Man. You’re Chris James. You’re not G-Pac. You’re Donald Brock. You sure as shit aren’t Bear Man. Phil Charles you’ll be. Fork it over, Lady Killer. Your real name is CJ Bill. Fuck you, Tarantula Man. Your name is Ahmed Tehran.” Once the last of the masks was collected, Daniel cast his finger off and angrily whispered, “Get the fuck out of my head!” The dust and smoke swirled into a vortex and was sucked into the dark gray skies. The Lord of the Pit threw the masks out in the distance and watched them fizzle out as well.

A solitary tear ran down the singer’s face as his traumatic anger played out in front of him. Whether or not this was a permanent solution for closure was answered when he heard the soothing, opera-style voice of Raven singing into the magical microphone. He snapped out of his trance and gazed at his girlfriend with loving and damp eyes. She sounded beautiful. Where did she learn to sing like that? Did the elves care that deeply about music? Every note of that operatic chant felt as soothing as a warm breeze in a field of flowers, a far cry from the muddy and corpse-ridden forest they had been driving through.

Daniel hugged his girlfriend tightly and said in an emotional voice, “I love you, Raven. Don’t ever forget that.”

“I love you too, Daniel. You’ll always be the Lord of the Pit to me,” she whispered as she hugged him back.

Also snapping out of his traumatic outburst was Shawn Henry, who was now standing over the corpses of his family with vicious confidence on his face instead of sorrow. “I’m going to kill that son of a bitch. I’m going to kill him badly. Daniel, you better not act like that in the middle of battle or that shotgun shell will be meant for you. You’d better scream your fucking head off until Roger can’t stand it anymore.”

“You don’t have to worry about me anymore, Shawn. I want that piece of shit as much as you do. Let’s go!”

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


DIRECTORS: Ron Clements and John Musker
YEAR: 2016
GENRE: Children’s Animation

In ancient Polynesia, the demigod Maui steals a gem from the island goddess, unwittingly causing a lava demon to rise from the sea and spread a disease across the islands. Motunui is the latest target of this blight when its crops and fishes are dying rapidly. A future chieftain girl named Moana must now sail across the ocean and convince Maui to return the stolen gem to the island goddess. When Maui’s arrogance and Moana’s stubbornness clash, the quest to save the world becomes jeopardized. But the more time this unlikely team spends together, the more they get used to each other’s company, giving them a better chance of righting Maui’s wrongs.

Seeing as how Maui is a muscular human with a barbed wit and heroic athleticism, it only makes sense that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson provides his voice. Fans of WWE know how good of a trash talker he was and fans of his Hollywood resume know how much of a warrior he can be. Whether he’s a WWE champion, a GI Joe soldier with a chain gun, an FBI agent with an insanely fast car, or a self-centered demigod with a magical fish hook that’s bigger than he is, The Rock is a certified stud no matter what role he takes. He’s energetic, he’s hilarious, and he never misses a beat. I wouldn’t want anybody else taking the role of Maui. It just wouldn’t be right. The Rock’s performance is dead-on and justifiable of his million dollar salary.

Another thing I enjoyed about this movie was the environmental overtones. Yes, the fantasy elements such as the mystical gem and the lava monster don’t fit in with modern day politics, but the message is still the same: treat mother earth with respect and she’ll give you everything you’ve ever wanted. If you take too much from her or abuse her in any way, you’re going to feel her wrath. Only take as many fish as you need, plant crops with abundance, and keep the animals and plant-life safe. It’s a simple message that doesn’t get heard enough. Think of Moana as a Disney-animated fantasy version of a Carl Hiaasen novel. Sure, Mr. Hiaasen’s novels don’t have lava monsters, but sometimes the worst monsters are the more realistic ones, like humans.

The final thing I want to touch on is the beauty of the Polynesian world in which Disney created. The clear blue water of the ocean looks like a lot of fun to drink and swim in. The palm tree forests and sandy beaches are vacation-worthy, which is funny considering I watched this movie on a Mexican cruise ship. The character designs are also lovable whether it’s the overly stupid chicken Heihei, the cuddly piggy baby that lives on Moana’s island, or even the gigantic gold and jewel-encrusted crab who’s holding Maui’s magical fishhook hostage. This is a world I wouldn’t mind living in despite the blight spreading across the islands. I would go swimming every day and eat fish until the end of time. Maybe I would even cuddle with Heihei and the piggy. Aww!

Moana is a beautifully executed movie with more high points than I’m capable of listing in this short review. If you like strong female characters, you’ll love the title protagonist. If you like beautiful scenery, you’ll love this movie as a whole. If you love comedic conversations, look no further than Dwayne Johnson and his portrayal of Maui. I would be hard pressed to find a single flaw within this movie. Yes, I know this movie has received a lot of criticism from the Polynesian community, but I prefer to enjoy a good movie instead of dwell in negativity. A passing grade goes to this lovely piece of children’s cinema!

Mexican Cruise and Californian Trip


After a week and a half of fun in the sun, I’ve finally returned to the only place I could truly call home: Port Orchard, Washington. It’s pouring hard in the Pacific Northwest and it feels surprisingly good on my skin after spending so long south of the border. Speaking of water, because most of the places I went to were beaches with rough waters, I didn’t take any pictures due to the possibility of my camera getting short circuited. So instead of a photo gallery, I’m going to write this blog and hopefully that’ll be just as good. The mark of a good author, after all, is to keep a movie going on inside the reader’s head. So let’s get to it.

Mom, Dale, and I left the house on Sunday March 26th at 2:00 in the morning to fly out to Los Angeles, California, where the Mexican cruise ship was docked. This was easily the most exhausting day of the trip since I had to wait so long to sleep in one of my cabin’s beds. I can’t sleep while sitting upright, only while I’m lying down, so resting on the plane was out of the question. When we finally got to our room at 1:00 in the afternoon, there were only two normal beds and then a bunk bed above one of them.

This is where our room attendant Dennis came in handy. This Filipino gentleman brought in a lower bed so that I didn’t have to climb up and down the bunk and potentially fall down or step on my mom. He also won us over with his bright and cheery personality and little animals he made for us out of towels and washcloths. Mom made sure to tip him as much as possible while giving him a glowing review on the feedback cards. I hope he earns a good salary on that ship, because he deserves every dollar he makes and more.

Monday and Tuesday were uneventful since those were the days we were out to sea, so we had to entertain ourselves. I got lots of reading done, I jotted down story and character ideas in my Lego journal, I got some exercise in, and I ate some damn good food. Most of the time during these days was spent catching up on Z’s after such a heavy day of traveling on Sunday. Mom and Dale snored like chainsaws whenever they weren’t watching MSNBC.

The first excursion took place Wednesday in Puerto Vallarta. While Mom and Dale were soaking up the sun on the beach, I climbed up and down god knows how many stairs on my way to a sea lion and stingray adventure. I actually got inside the pools where these cuddly animals were being kept. I petted them, hugged them, and even let the sea lion kiss me on the cheek, to which the creature nodded when asked by the trainer if he liked it. The sea lion and stingray were preparing me for the cuddliness that was waiting for me when I eventually got home with my own animals. I even heard one of the kids say that the sea lion looked like a giant puppy. Aww!

The second excursion was on Thursday and it was in Mazatlan, which when translated into English means “deer land”. My main activity here was riding around on a banana boat…twice. The first time was more thrilling than a rollercoaster and I howled in appreciation the whole ride through. Then I made the boneheaded decision to ride the boat again amidst rough waters and high waves. I got knocked off the side of the boat and yelled “HELP!” a few times before making my way back to shore and huffing and puffing in exhaustion.

Due to the sunburns and scariness of the previous excursion, Mom, Dale, and I decided riding around on a glass bottom boat to look at marine life was a better idea for the Cabo San Lucas excursion. Seals, pelicans, and fish were the main attractions of this ride and they were cuter than a bug’s ear, especially the seals congregated on a giant rock barking like puppy-dups. Every time I see a commercial on TV for Thompson’s Water Seal, I’m going to immediately think of these cuddly seal pies in Cabo San Lucas. I’m not sure if they would have been as friendly as the sea lion in Puerto Vallarta, but I want to snuggle with them anyways!

Saturday was spent sailing back to Los Angeles and Sunday was the official day we got off the ship. We spent a few days in California at a Hilton hotel where the beds were soft and spacious. Lord knows how long we were knocked out and snoring like lawnmowers, but it was dark outside by the time we woke up.

Monday was spent going on a Hollywood bus tour. We made stops at Venice Beach, the Hollywood walk of fame, Santa Monica, and…I forget where else. We chose this low-key activity instead of going to Disneyland since the latter required a lot of walking and my mom had knee surgery only months prior. Besides which, Disneyland was overrun with schoolchildren on spring break, so that would have meant standing in long ass lines to get on the rides. The Hollywood bus tour was plenty of fun on its own since my mom got pictures of Chinese theater handprints, walk of fame stars, and me posing with a guy in a Spiderman costume. Plus, we both got to pet a nameless tuxedo kitty on our way back from Venice Beach. So much cuteness!

Tuesday April 4th was when we finally flew home to sleep in our own beds, snuggle with our own animals, and use our own computers. Vacations can be fun, but there’s no greater feeling than coming back home to your own devices after being gone for so long. Smokey missed me. Maggie left a brown present for me to clean up. Plus, there’s a new addition to our animal family: a gray and white kitty named Chloe. I’ll have to get pictures of her since she’s too darn cute not to photograph.

So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past week and a half. Traveling is exhausting and computer time is minimal, so I didn’t get much done in the way of creativity aside from reading 130 pages of “A Nose For Justice” by Rita Mae Brown. Even now when I write this blog entry, I feel like I’ve gotten rusty since the last time I wrote. But hey, with a little more practice, I can get back in tiptop form. It’s not like I haven’t gone on long vacations before, so I’m definitely capable of coming back to life. We’ve got ears, say cheers!


VIC MACKEY: Do you want to catch this killer or not?

DAVID ACEVEDA: Wow. Going undercover as dirty cops. Do you think you can pull that off?

VIC MACKEY: We can try.

-The Shield, which, like my vacation, took place in Los Angeles and sometimes Mexico-