Blog Archives

I Am The World’s Worst Writer And I Totally Suck

I go through crippling periods of self-doubt when it comes to my writing.  Luckily, at the moment, I am not in one of those trenches of despair where every word I type including “Sincerely, Aravan” looks ungainly and wrong.  Bad word choice.  Probably spelled wrong even though there isn’t another way to spell it.  Tone is flat, metaphors lame, characters boring, setting insipid, point pointless, and everything I’ve ever written should probably just be gathered and burned so I can crawl into the supply closet of some abandoned factory somewhere and never have to reveal my stupid face to the world.

Other days, I feel even worse.

If you’re a writer, or have ever written, or ever plan on writing so much as an email in the future, then I hope you go through this feeling of utter self-loathing several times in your life.  Why?  Because I am a small bitter person who takes some measure of meager self-satisfaction from the joint suffering of others and will take whatever mean-spirited path I need to in order to make myself feel better.  But also because I think it makes you a better writer in the long run. Read the rest of this entry

The Horror of the Mundane

Much horror fiction involves some sort of supernatural agency visiting despair, terror, and suffering on the living.  Most of the rest features depraved mortals whose love of torture and sadism borders on the fantastic.  It’s cathartic for the reader and writer both, letting the fear and worry and stress that builds up during the course of everyday humdrum human existence relieve the pressure.  Stephen King’s Danse Macabre does an excellent job exploring horror in this light – if you like horror at all, you should read it; it’s fun, funny, and informative – and talks about some of the everyday anxiety that ends up being expressed through popular movies and books.  For example, he posits that the reason The Amityville Horror was such a success when it was first released is that it hit a nerve among people going through the financial instability of the inflation-crazy 1970’s (what if your house was haunted and you couldn’t sell it?  The horror!).  He also talks about the 1950’s era of giant bug movies (fear of living in the Nuclear Age) and alien invasions (fear of the Soviet Union).  Basically, it forms a road map of national anxiety as expressed in horror films and books up to the early 1980’s.  The book came to mind after this morning. Read the rest of this entry

Weapon of Choice: Zombie Apocalypse Style Part Tres

In my last two posts, I’ve been the exploring the concept of what weapons I would want with me during a zombie apocalypse.  My assumptions are that I can only use weapons that are commonly available to civilians and can reasonably be obtained fairly easily, and also that I’m in the Worst Case Scenario: on foot, traveling by myself.  First I dealt with shotguns, then I dealt with other firearms.  Along the way I discussed Unitaskers, objects that are good for just one thing and for nothing else, and which I want to avoid.

Today: hand weapons. Read the rest of this entry

Weapon of Choice: Zombie Apocalypse Style Part Duo

In my first post, I started a conversation about what my weapon choices would be during a zombie apocalypse.  It’s gotten other people to post their thoughts too, which is cool.  I’m restricting my thoughts to weapons I already own, or could realistically acquire with little trouble in today’s world, so any civilian-accessible weapon that could reasonably be acquired.  I’m not going to worry about being ultra-specific, since I’m assuming this would be a long-term loadout, and things will break and need to be replaced with similar objects, so specifying a particular type of scope or stock will not be part of the plan.  Part 1 dealt with shotguns, due to their near-synonymous nature with zombie-fighting, and today I will go a little further, spending much of this post dealing with two things, one of them being firearms.

But first, the Most Important Thing: addressing Unitaskers. Read the rest of this entry

Weapon of Choice: Zombie Apocalypse Style

A comment on my Zombieland post from yesterday has had me thinking.  In a zombie apocalypse, what would be my weapon, or weapons, of choice?  Nearly always, someone asked that question would answer “shotgun” without hesitation.  I can understand this, to a degree: a shotgun does horrific damage at close range, capable of ripping through an undead head with deadly efficacy; the action of pumping a shotgun just before a fight just sounds cool; and it’s nearly fetishized in Zombie Culture at this point. 

That said, I would never carry one, with two exceptions.

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Disputing the Zombieland Rules: Rule 1: Cardio

I really enjoyed the movie Zombieland – it was funny, acted well for the most part, had plenty of memorable scenes, and introduced a great concept: The Rules, presented as an ironclad set of laws designed to keep a person alive during a zombie apocalypse.  Many of them I agree with or have no problem with: Check the Back Seat, When In Doubt, Know Your Way Out, and Hygiene are all great rules.  Some of them, though, can be somewhat misleading in my opinion, and that includes the very first rule: Cardio.

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The Lure of the Apocalypse

Imagine: in an instant, all your credit card debt is wiped away.  School loans?  Gone.  The mortgage or rent payment is no longer an issue.  That job you schlep to with the boss that by rights shouldn’t be qualified to flip burgers is a thing of the past, its entire purpose dissolved and rendered meaningless.  No more homework, or working nights and weekends, or being burdened with the thousand trivial idiocies that consume every second of our lives, from political bullshit to scare-tactic news to nosy neighbors and irritating phone calls.  Welcome to the Apocalypse. Read the rest of this entry

My Investment Strategy

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been told how to invest and grow my money.  The stock market.  Mutual funds.  IRAs, 401(k)s, blah blah blah.  By doing so, I’m told, I can expect a good rate of return over the long haul, making my money “work for me” (a nice bit of bullshit wordsmithing that means precisely nothing) instead of hanging around doing nothing.  This way, when I get old enough, I can Retire.  Ahhh, what a word.  Retire.  Days spent leisurely sipping lemonade on the porch – that’s what retirement seems to mean, at least according to the commercials.  Oh, and golf.  Lots of fucking golf in peach-colored pants and white belts.

I fucking hate golf.

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The Art of the Short Story

I’ve been reading a compilation of Fritz Leiber short stories for the last few weeks, savoring them at a rate of one over a day or two.  I thoroughly enjoy his work and style.  Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser are two absolutely iconic and genre-shaping characters – as much the root of DnD and the current fantasy tropes as Lord of the Rings – and I don’t think Leiber gets enough credit for that. Read the rest of this entry

Modern-Day Myths

It seems to me that sometime shortly after Man began taking his first tottering, uncertain steps without using his knuckles, he became totally, utterly bored.  Reality was so disenchanting and dull.  The tribe was unimpressed by the truth of the deer Grog brought back from the hunt: sick from disease and weakened by thirst and fever, the animal fell behind the pack and just sort of laid down on the ground and Grog just hit in the head with the big rock.  It’s Truth, but it is also Dull.  So one day, Grog decided to embellish the story just a little: now, Grog let fly with a rock just as the majestic deer was in mid-leap across the stream that would forever deny the lucky tribe their tasty venison, and his powerful throw that struck the deer in the head saved them all from starvation.

On the one hand, it’s true: Grog hit a deer in the head with a rock, killed it, and took it back to camp where everyone fed.  It’s just the circumstances behind the Truth that are subtly changed.  And thus, as Man realized how exciting the world could be, he began to copulate like mad to fill this exciting new world.  And along with all of the children who would, millenia later, be genetically honed to become department-store perfume salespeople and middle managers, the Myth was born.

It might have happened something like that.  The Truth is undoubtedly more dull and obvious.

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