For those that have, or may want to order the electronic version of Cube Wars (link at top of page), I have been informed that there are some display issues with the Nook. The drawings and diagrams do not show at all :( and on occasion, the text on the enlarged setting gets fragmented. I believe these are both issues specific to the Nook (and possibly other portable e-readers) as everything shows fine on a computer screen. Just a bit of warning for the readers.
Madison Roper is Skankarella, a shy purple haired pixie trapped under the oppressive thumb of her religious stepmother and whatever tortures her morally and cranially vacant stepsisters can devise. She dreams of a day when her artistic talents are accepted and appreciated rather than trashed and debased and her homosexuality doesn't have to be her dirty little secret.
Julia Prince is a tomboyish and athletic freshman at the University of Kansas. Pushed towards an engineering major by a father that always wanted a son, and towards a stereotypical boy-chasing feminine life by a mother who wants 'another one of the girls,' Julia is often frustrated as her clandestine desires to both write for a living and date women mean she will inevitably be a disappointment.
The collision course the girls are on with one another begins with a whimper as they innocuously meet while shopping for groceries. Brushing off the encounter, neither realizes the others' instant affections. However a mutual love of comic books and a release party in their small town for the latest issue of the Uncanny X-Men has them hurtling towards each other once again.
The two take different paths to the release, as Madison requires help from an old friend, Fagan, also a fairy in orientation, and Julia emphatically discloses her sexuality to her stunned parents as she storms out of her house. However both wind up together in costume, and after some flirting, in each others' arms as their affections are realized. Unfortunately Shirley, Madison's dogmatic stepmother, interrupts their rendezvous leaving Julia with nothing more than Madison's first name, and her sketchbook with which to find her.
A chance encounter with one of the Uncanny X-Men's creators finds Julia with a unique opportunity to pursue a career as a graphic novelist. Unfortunately half of what she's used to secure the opportunity, Madison's immaculate artwork and her role as Julia's illustrator, is a lie. With the chance to do what she's always wanted for a living within her grasp, Julia sets out on a ferocious flyer campaign to discover the identity, location, and a few more intimate details about Madison.
The obstacles they face are numerous and steep; they know nothing about each other, Madison's evil stepmother is willingly, and Julia's well-meaning but ignorant parents are unwillingly standing in their way while the disapproving eyes of rural Kansas look down upon them. Nevertheless, the two are determined to find each other. There is nothing that can stop Julia from finding the one known as Skankarella, and even less that can keep Madison from her Prince.
Skankarella is a 65,000 word adaptation of the Cinderella fairy tale with the notable difference that both dashing Prince, and fair maiden...are women. Currently twenty-four years old, I have been writing fantasy since the age of fifteen. Skankarella is the fourth work I have completed and the third I am attempting to query. Should Skankarella interest you, the completed manuscript is available upon request.
The ice-time breakdown for the Sabres in their game against Edmonton:
1). Jordan Leopold - 25:37 - Rightfully so.
2). Andrej Sekera - 25:23 - It bothers me that people are just starting to notice how good Sekera has been for all but the first three games of the season.
3). Steve Montador - 21:18 - Again, rightfully so.
4). Mike Weber - 21:00 - Kid had a good game.
5). Jochen Hecht - 18:06 - Um...okay...
And the bottom five:
14). Cody McCormick - 12:38 - Alright, these are solid minutes for McCormick.
15). Thomas Vanek - 12:33 - Uh what the hell, the objective of the game is to score goals...
16). Shaone Morrisonn - 12:25 - Meh, whatever, average defenseman.
17). Tyler Ennis - 11:44 - About that scoring thing...
18). Nathan Gerbe - 11:29 - Good riddance, I hope you get hit by a tiny bus.
Now to be fair, it is just one game, and there is a possibility that there were extenuating circumstances at work. For example, a few fans have posited that Tyler Myers' flu that kept him out of the lineup might have been affecting other players as well, notably Vanek, Ennis, and Stafford (who only had 12:45 of icetime himself) and that actually sounds like a decent explanation. (Then again Vanek rooms with Sekera who had no trouble piling up minutes.) And hey, we won so clearly something worked, but it makes you wonder just what the hell it is that keeps the teams most talented players from seeing the ice in favor of guys like Jason Pominville or (at times, and most obnoxiously) Paul Gaustad.
The top three forwards in terms of ice time per game for the Sabres are Roy, which makes sense since he had been the best forward most often, Pominville, which doesn't make sense because he's been pretty forgettable, and Vanek, who should probably be higher. Vanek comes in at 17:18 per game which, quite simply, isn't enough for a player of his caliber. Yes, he doesn't play on the penalty kill which has a negative effect on his ice time, but neither does Marian Gaborik and he still finds a way to notch 19+ minutes in New York.
Even more frustrating is that Lindy Ruff only seems to leave his lines together when they suck, or that he too often moves away from something that is working. Now I don't profess to be an expert (sorry Andy Sutton), but what happened to Vanek on the penalty kill? What happened to Vanek on the point on the power play? What happened to the Ennis - Roy - Vanek line? Frustratingly, Lindy didn't stick with any of these things for very long, instead preferring to treat us to Gerbe - McCormick - Vanek for an entire game.
Nathan Gerbe is cute and all as a five game a year call-up when he can bust his ass and not score and no one cares. If he's going to be doing that for an entire season, well we had a guy for that already who wasn't tiny and a complete liability on the ice called Matt Ellis. At least Ellis isn't so much of a dumbass that he can't see that getting Thomas Vanek the puck on a two on none break is probably a great idea. After almost forty game this year, I want to fire whoever thought that Gerbe was an NHL talent, especially over guys like Tim Kennedy and Matt Ellis and Mark Mancari (rather have big and useless than small and useless), and I want to fire Lindy Ruff for putting him with Thomas Vanek.
I listen to the Roostcasts over at TGR pretty regularly and for the most part I find myself nodding my head a lot. However today, Corey Griswold said something that I don't quite agree with. He pointed out that Buffalonians are sensitive when it comes to outsiders making fun of their city, which is completely true. It's his criticism of that fact that I don't quite agree with. Emerson Etem, an American player on the World Juniors Team called Buffalo a ghost town and said it was worse than Medicine Hat. The response the Buffalo crowds at the World Junior Championship tournament was to boo one of their own guys every time he touched the puck.
Corey had a bit of an issue with this, and I do not, and I'll tell you why (it is my blog after all and telling you things is kind of what I do). Buffalonians are well aware of the problems that the city has, so being told by some asshat who just wants to sit on a pedestal and take shots while they don't have to actually deal with any of those issues on a daily basis is annoying at best. And Buffalonians have a connection to their city beyond most people. For many, the city is like family. Sure, it's okay for you to make fun of your family members' alcohol problems and other issues because you have that kind of relationship, but when an outsider calls your dad a boozed up piece of shit or your sister a slut (to use a few examples), you're not going to take kindly to those comments. You might punch that guy in the face.
So we had to have our dog put down today. Since the beginning of December she'd gone from mediocre control of her back legs to an inability to get up on her own to poor control of her front legs, and these past two days, an inability to stand up on her own at all. Dogs are different than cats, I think, in that they try to hold on a bit longer just to please you. Cats will stop eating when they're ready to go as if to say, 'f- this, if you won't do it, I will.'
Thus I think that Sparkles has been in more pain than her calm demeanor and wagging tail have let on this past month. I don't know that you can ever be okay with something like this, but that our love was the only thing keeping her happy does make the euthanasia easier, at least for me. Sometimes letting go is the best thing you can do.
I'm glad we were the only people at the vet's at the time. One of the things I did not want to happen was to subject some little kid to the five of us walking in crying, carrying our dog who can barely walk. Only my father, mother and myself stayed in the room when the injection was made. My dad wanted my sisters to leave, and they had no objections. People deal with these things differently. Personally I'm glad that I was in the room as the dog went to sleep for the last time. I was probably reacting worse than the rest of my family, but as she fell silent, it was oddly comforting. I don't know if it was merely being there with her in her final moments, or if it was sensing the pain that she felt disappearing, but in some way it made things make sense, like it was a confirmation that it was the right thing to do.
Sparkles was around for thirteen years, you can't ask for much more than that from a dog. I know that she loved being around, even in her finals days, and we loved having her. Knowing that, I can rest easy.
Death and I have always had an odd sort of relationship. Every time our paths have crossed there has been some level of aloofness, some disconnect.
My first experience came when I was seven or eight years old when my 92 year old great-grandmother died. I'd visited her several times, but her senility had long outstripped all the other aspects of her personality. She thought I was my father, and my young self didn't know quite what to make of that. I actually made the trip to North Carolina with my dad to attend the funeral, of which I remember very little. I don't think there was very much sadness for she had been clinging to a few threads of life for some time. I think everyone was very comforted by her passing, she had been old and in poor health. It was her time.
Probably the worst death for me, came in 1998 when the cat I'd had since I was two years old, and who was a part of the earliest memory I have, was put to sleep. He'd been losing weight for weeks, and eventually had gone blind and stopped eating. I cried for days leading up to when he was finally put to sleep, but I attended school that day, so there was still some level of detachment there. Now he rests in the back yard, his grave overgrown by the ever expanding woods behind our house.
Then in 2005 our other cat, whom I had brought home with my mom when I was four, (and also remember very vividly) died while I was away at school. One day, early in the year, my dad called me to tell me that he had been put to sleep. He'd also been fading for some time, so it didn't come as a shock, and sitting at my desk a hundred and sixty miles away from home, I was removed from the tragedy.
Also during my years at college, two teachers that I had and liked and knew well had died. Mrs. Myers succumbed to cancer and Mr. Olson had a heart attack. No disrespect to Mrs. Myers, but Mr. Olson had been one of my favorite teachers when I took his ninth grade earth science class and remained so all throughout high school. He and his class played a huge factor in my eventual decision to go to college as an environmental engineer. An eclectically brilliant man, he was a joy to talk to about a variety of things, and I miss being able to pick his brain on a number of topics.
Somewhere in between my step-grandfather on my mom's side died. I say step only because we were not biologically related, but since both my biological grandfathers died before I had a chance to know them, I will always remember him as my grandfather. He had been a long time smoker, so in his later years he was battling a number of ailments. Most of my memories of him involve a respirator and a comfortable seat. I rather liked him, he always used to sit and watch me run around outside with our dog when she was younger, or watch me play solitaire while he and my mother talked. I wish I had known him when he were younger. Old photos of him from his army days show a cocky young man that looked like he would be devilishly entertaining to be around.
About a month after I'd first started dating my then girlfriend, her best friend fell in a battle with cancer that had been waged throughout her youth. She was fourteen and my girlfriend was emotionally devastated. That one might have been the hardest to deal with. Just having to watch, with nothing to give but words that seemed so empty...that helplessness as you stand by while someone is torn asunder... It's why I've vowed to outlive everyone, I don't want to see people go through that, ever. And I certainly don't want it to be at my expense.
In the summer of 2006, a guy I knew well in high school and had enjoyed playing baseball with died in a freak car accident. I know that the deceased often have their good qualities highlighted and exaggerated because that's how we want to remember them. No one at my funeral is going to talk about how cranky and impatient I can be (actually please do, that will make me smile from wherever I go). That really wasn't necessary with Keith though...he was nice to everybody. Maybe that's what made his wake so hard since I really hadn't known him all that well, and I hadn't seen or talked to him in at least a few years. It's always worse when bad things happen to good people...or to young people...or both.
Then my Uncle Dave, my dad's brother, died this past year of a heart attack in his late fifties. He was one of my favorite Uncles, but I probably hadn't talked to him in close to a year, and hadn't seen him in about five so it was a surreal moment. Without the contact, and with the distance of about eight hundred miles, it was as though he simply disappeared. I hope to see the life he left in a much more tangible way as my family has a small memorial for him planned the next time we are together on the beaches of North Carolina.
And here I sit now, about to see, the passing of our only dog (most likely some time this week) and I confront death yet again. This time there will be no distractions, no filter of distance, or degrees of separation as she passes, probably the first time I can say that about the death of anyone or anything in my life.
It seems appropriately dramatic that I would say that I don't know how to react, but that isn't true. I can cry with the best of them. Luckily for you, you did not get to see the mast few minutes where I cried and snotted into my favorite t-shirt...lovely. I worry more about the impact it will have on my family than myself. It's not that I don't care, but entrenched deep within my beliefs are two facts. That everybody dies, and that time heals all wounds. There is nothing as final and as resolute as death. It's comforting in a way that there is something that can be relied on without question, and I know that in spite of those facts, the time that was spent with Sparkles, and with the people I mentioned above will endure.
I try and remember the quote from the movie Harold and Maude "I try not to get too attached to things." And it's not an attempt to neuter any emotional connection, in fact I think it's just the opposite. What we are attached to is not the tangible object, nor the pet, nor the person for that matter. We are attached to the thoughts and feelings and memories, and even senses that surround that thing. The physical nature of anything is not what makes it loved. No one holds a connection to me because I am blood and skin and organs and plasma, and whatever the hell else I'm made out of. They hold a connection to me because of what comes out of that shell, my thoughts, my emotions, my words, my actions, and even then, all of those things are simplified even further into memories. And at the end of the day that's all we are left with is memories.
People will die, pictures will decay, digital images will corrupt, and stone etchings will weather. But the experiences and the memories are eternal. And better, those experiences and memories shape who we are. Those memories are always a part of us even if they are forgotten, or warped, or cannot be readily accessed by our addled brains. Everything we come across, no matter how seemingly insignificant at the time, affects how we interact with the world from that point forward. I think that's why my response to a death has always been to go out and do something I enjoy. To me, it's the ultimate sign of respect because you're taking those memories and experiences, and that mentoring and growth and using them in the best way you can, by simply being yourself.
I don't know that I have anything more to say, and I don't quite know how to end this either. The other day on facebook, I asked whether a drawn out death or a sudden death was better. I think a lot of people were afraid to answer for fear of offending me (not bloody likely), but the two that did both said the same thing. So with that sentiment, I will end this blog entry.
I don't think it needs too much setup, but basically Madison has met Julia for the first (real, having briefly run into her in Wal-Mart before) time at the midnight release of the latest issue of Uncanny X-Men. Madison, due to circumstances that you'll just have to buy the book and read for, has gone to the release dressed as Mystique/Raven Darkhölme, while Julia has come as Destiny/Irene Adler. Neither one knows that the other is a lesbian having only just met.
“Well since you possess the requisite knowledge, let me say that I love your costume,” Julia said smiling. “Very sexy.”
Madison’s mind stalled again. Innocuous compliment? Flirtation? She was hopelessly lost. “I like yours too,” she finally blurted. “Especially the hair,” her eyes flitted upwards to the ribbons and bun, though they so desperately wanted to travel south.
“Thanks,” Julia said. “Not quite accurate, I know, but I didn’t want to be carrying a giant bulge around on top of my head all night. I’ll probably get half a dozen comments about it from nerds too serious for their own good,” she mused. “I think they’ve finally got a few of the vendors set up over there. I don’t know about you, but I’m starving.” She held out her elbow, “shall we?”
Madison stared at it for so long, she almost wanted to look around to see if Fagan had arrived to pick her up yet. The soup was still sitting pleasantly in her stomach, but Julia’s offer was much too enticing to pass up. Putting on what she hoped was her best smile and linking arms with Julia, the two wandered towards the entrance to the temporary perimeter that had been set up.
A short line had formed in front of a tall reedy boy with glasses who appeared to be about twelve years old. ‘Oh my god, is this happening?’ Madison’s mind asked herself.
Meanwhile, Julia's asked its own questions. ‘This girl seems like she might be familiar. Well, familiar or not, what she definitely is, is cute. I wonder how close to home the costume is. How can I find out?’
“Five dollars,” the youth bleated nasally as the two neared the gate. Julia conjured the money from inside of one of her thigh high socks while Madison reached into the left cup of her bra for the money Fagan had given her. Was it just her imagination, or did Julia’s eyes follow her fingers beneath the soft fabric.
“Are you sure you’re not here to tease the boys?” Julia asked her with a grin.
“No,” was all Madison managed to work out.
‘What did you expect her to do, rip off the bra and stick her tongue in your mouth?’ Julia’s mind chided her.
“What’s your pleasure?” Julia asked.
“Excuse me?” Madison said, not sure how to take the question.
“Hot dogs, nachos, burgers?” Julia asked, pointing at various vendors situated throughout the tent. “Candy maybe?”
“Oh I’m not picky, maybe some chocolate?” Madison mumbled.
“Yeah, I’m not much of a hotdog girl myself,” Julia said with a grin and a wink.
‘Subtle,’ her mind taunted.
The two settled on a couple candy bars and decided to share a large smoothie, taking a seat at one of the many picnic tables. There had been several whistles and catcalls, none of which had reached Madison’s ears. She was still too caught up in the presence of Julia to notice anything else around her
Jumping off of what Shelby said earlier today over at Puck Over the Glass (glasscast?) about the Derek Roy injury. She said that it will be interesting to see how various players step up without the leading scorer on the team in the lineup and I share her sentiments.
I'm not happy about the Roy injury, and I think it might be the worst blow the club has faced this season, but it's a fact, and as a fan, I'm interested to see how the players will respond to that fact. With Roy out, that makes our centers Connolly (when healthy), Ennis, Hecht, Niedermayer, Gaustad, and McCormick, which seems like a recipe for disaster. But who knows?! It could work! I totally called the Sekera - Myers pair being awesome based on the logic that they were both sucking and that perhaps two negatives would make a positive, as they can in math (totally legitimate logic by the way). And it worked!
What I see in the second half of the season, especially with Rivet proving that he's only a coin flip to play over Chris Butler or Mike Weber on any given night, is 47 games that can basically be a 'Thomas Vanek for Captain' tryout. There is no question now. Tim Connolly sucks, Tyler Ennis is talented, but young, and Drew Stafford is Drew Stafford, and Jason Pominville is a ghost town. Vanek is the man. He's the only guy that can be an offensive force every night (not buying it Stafford), and he's the only guy that can pile up goals without much help.
I think with Roy out, we're going to see Vanek with the puck more rather than him simply watching a teammate bring it into the zone and setting up shop in front of the net. I don't know if Vanek has ever really been utilized this way, at least not since the Roy - Max - Vanek line was piling up points from 2005-2007. It will be interesting to see and it should do a few things. Convince a few Sabres fans that hey, this guy is pretty damn good, and boost Vanek's confidence (and hopefully simultaneously his point totals).
No sense in crying over spilled Roy, we're sailing in this leaky boat one way or another. Let's see what happens.
Well sadly, or perhaps fortunately, I haven’t had to destroy anyone using statistics this week. While this has been good for my blood pressure and the dignity of others, it is bad for this column because it means I haven’t been forced to generate any ideas. So this week we’re going to run down through some of the interesting, and more disturbing aspects of the Sabres’ record this season.
After thinking about things for a few hours, the idea has started to take on a little more of a shape in my head. Upon speaking to my friend, The Mermaid, I realized that the characters of fantasy realms tend to fall into one of two categories. You have the realm which involves primarily different races Elves, Orcs, Dwarves, Kobold, Goblins, Humans and so on, and you have the realm which involves promarily afflicted humans, Vampires, Werewolves, Demons, Incubi, Succubi, and so on there as well. Occasionally things overlap, but for the most part they stay relatively separate.
I'm pretty sure that my world will encompass the latter. All I've really done so far is jotted down a few races/creatures, Vampires, Lycans, Humans, Incubi/Succubi, Dark Elves, Elemental Nymphs, and Shapeshifters. I like this cast better because it's darker, I think it lends itself better to an erotic story and because they all look relatively human most of the time. No offense, but I don't feel particularly eager to write about orc sex.
I'm fairly certain there will be several "main" characters so to speak. Perhaps they will interact, perhaps they will not. I think one of which is a character I outlined for a novel I still hadn't devised a plot for, a Succubus. I had thought that she might be a lesbian, but I think for the sake of fun, she's going to be bisexual.
Still not sure what the setting is going to be like, past, present, or future. They're all alluring in some way. Writing a hidden world that lies beneath ours is always fun, but I'm not sure it's right for the kind of story I have in mind. The biggest draw to writing things in the past is that there are less rules to follow, and thus fewer inconsistencies and problems that tend to crop up. While useful, cell phones and the internet solve a great many problems far too easily.
This blog entry has been brought to you without proofreading by laziness.
One of the stories that I read and enjoy consistently online is Tales of MU by Erin Alexander. The world is fairly broad and difficult to explain, but to simplify it follows a freshman non-human (demon) student, Mackenzie Blaise in her first year at Magesterius University, a school in which various magical skills are taught. The story follows Mackenzie through her trials as a freshman as she faces challenges such as discrimination (being of a select group of non-human students), coping with her blossoming sexuality, and coming to terms with her ancestry.
The story tends to fall halfway between regular magical fantasy, with all the popular characters, elves, kobold, humans, gnomes, dwarves, etc. and erotica as Mackenzie's sexuality is explored. One of the reasons I enjoy it as erotica is because it touches on a few BDSM-related themes such as D/s lifestyles, and spanking. But the story isn't run by erotica delving into sex maybe once every three or four installments.
Anyways, the reason I am explaining all of this is because I'd like to do something similar. I'm not really sure what at this point, but I like the idea of creating a setting and a few characters and basically running with it indefinitely, updating every week or so. I also don't know where I would host the stories, if they would merely be regular updates on this blog, or if I would want to create something separate. There are pros and cons to both. Hosting them on A Criminally Vulgar blog is the easiest of the two options and they would merely fit in among the regular entries, searchable by the tags. Posting them on their own blog would give the story a brand of its own, and make the episodes easier to read through in succession (although readers would be able to do that using the search tool on A CV blog anyways).
Then there's the question of the setting, the theme, the characters, and so on. I probably don't have to tell anyone that sex will figure heavily into the series, as will themes of BDSM. I would probably end up borrowing a lot of ideas from The Vengeance Series, a collection of pornographic bondage themed stories. They're a bit too focused on the sex and not enough on the characters or the story (which is thin anyways) than what I'd like to accomplish with this particular series.
So the ideas... It definitely has to be a setting in which there are a lot of things to explore, both in terms of the area itself, and in terms of paths for each of the characters. Tales of MU takes place in college giving the author thousands of people, a campus and a nearby town to work with. Likewise there are several conflicts for Alexander to explore. Mackenzie and the other non-human students' fight to be treated as equals and Mackenzie's fight against her own modesty as she is exposed to a sexual world. That's the real difficulty, I think, is having a big enough setting so there are that many avenues down which to travel.
Right, I was going to run through a few of my half-formed ideas in that last paragraph.
My first idea was to basically have a BDSM protocol school in which women are taught how to be properly submissive, but I feel that's a bit too constricting and I don't want to deal with only submissive women. Because that's neither accurate, nor fun.
Then I got to thinking about a female dominated township, kind of similar to the one occasionally portrayed in oglaf's webcomic, but that runs me into the same problem.
So I kind of expanded my thinking into a realm where domination/submission plays an integral part of life, but I don't want to get too close to the Gor series.
Like I said, the ideas are pretty much half formed at this point, but I'm pretty sure they'll continue to grow into something much more encompassing and much more interesting.
When it was 2004/2005 and the whole T.O. saga was taking place, I commented that McNabb should stop being a whiney bitch and work on making himself a better football player (which is all T.O. wanted him to do anyways).
Then when the Eagles drafted Kevin Kolb a few years back, there was much noise from the McNabb camp about how insulting the draft pick was. McNabb should have shut the hell up then too. The NFL is a business, and a more cutthroat one than most. It's pretty easy to tell who is trying to take your job and what you need to do to make that not happen (work harder).
Now Super Bowl puking McNabb is embroiled in a bitter feud with Mike Shanahan, coach of the Redskins, who as far as I know didn't throw up in any Super Bowls. The whole ordeal started a few weeks ago when Shanahan benched McNabb for the final two minutes of the game because McNabb is probably the worst quarterback to run a two minute offense not named Edwards or Losman. Seriously, the guy is something like 2-16 on attempted game-winning drives. McNabb eventually got his job back because his replacement was Rex Grossman and...well...yeah. But Shanahan has decided he's had enough and put the kibosh on McNabb for the remainder of the season. Predictably, McNabb and his agent are complaining.
Look, McNabb is old, he's never been accurate, and certainly never been a good pressure quarterback. McNabb should stop talking about feeling "disrespected" and start talking about feeling ashamed that he didn't work harder to address his glaring weakness as a quarterback. But that's not how Donovan McNabb works. He's always been the one to point the finger elsewhere instead of at himself when things weren't working out. It's probably one of the reasons that Philly let him go. Now that he's older and his physical abilities are deteriorating, the fact that he's refused to do the little things to make up for that deterioration will send his career down the drain in a hurry which has me pretty happy because I always hated the guy anyways.
Unfortunately McNabb is not likely to go quietly into the twilight of his career and we'll probably be hearing from him (and his agent) a lot in the coming weeks. Great...I can't wait until the race-card gets played again...
I talk about this a lot, being a Thomas Vanek fan and rooting for a guy who often draws more ire than he deserves, but I think it bears mentioning pretty often. Fans tend to get a bit of a mob mentality when it comes to players. Once a guy earns the title of "scapegoat," it's almost impossible for them to shed it unless they take on the world and win. And if they guy tends to be highly paid, he might never shed it.
Certain players on the team often wear this target, Tim Connolly, Thomas Vanek, Drew Stafford, and Jochen Hecht are probably the most often to don the SG. Ryan Miller, Tyler Myers, Tyler Ennis, and Mike Weber almost never wear it. If it was Hecht or Connolly throwing that pass out in front of the net, everyone would still be pissed at them, but we've all forgotten that Mike Weber did it. Conversely, Ryan Miller puts his face virtually everywhere he can in the national hockey media and dates a celebrity and no one seems to care, but when it comes to Drew Stafford's band or Thomas Vanek's young kids (or Roy's and Connolly's supposed Chippewa antics), suddenly their personal lives are liabilities to their games.
I like that Ryan Miller is a strong face in American hockey, but man his performance on the ice this year makes him a lot less likable. I understand that players have personal lives, and I stuck up for Drew Stafford and his band, but it's tough to see Miller put on a goofy hat and ham it up for ESPN and then come in and make you wonder if he let Patrick Lalime borrow his jersey. Or be forced to wonder if that engagement ring wasn't weighing that glove hand down on Jason Garrison's (who?) goal. I say these things with a lack of seriousness as I've always thought that Miller is one of the most well prepared players in hockey (and said this several times), but the frustration is genuine.
Maybe it's just that I'm not a goalie person, maybe it's time spent standing up for Vanek while Miller walks around under a halo that he doesn't deserve. I admit to some bias here, and I've never really liked Miller beyond simply liking him because he's a Sabre. Just...come on Miller, last year you convinced us you were a superstar. Now play like one.
I'll probably earn some ire for this one, but I've never cared about that before so I'm not going to start now. I have absolutely no desire to see an animated film ever. Movies like Shrek, and Up, and Despicable Me have no interest for me. I think that most of the time I have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to get; a passably amusing story, some PG-rated innuendo, lots of physical comedy, and a few tear-jerking moments. They're just boring to me.
I don't think they're very intelligent, and I don't think they have a lot of value as movies. I know I'll have disagreements there, but when there are a half-dozen that come out each year and 4-5 of those are billed as "good" movies I think the perceived quality of each gets a little diluted. When those movies come out, I just see similar characters and storylines in a slightly different package and they hold no interest for me.
Look, I get that Crosby and Brady are great players, championships, blah, blah, blah whatever. Yeah, they're good. No one cares. The purpose of sports isn't for us to watch the best players go at it. If it were, hockey or rugby would be the most popular sports in the world because in terms of toughness, size, speed, and skill, they have the best athletes. No, the purpose of sports is to entertain us, and in this endeavor, Crosby and Brady fail miserably.
I was watching the highlight of Dan Connolly, a lineman for the New England Patriots return a kickoff 71 yards. When the play was over, the camera panned to Brady. What do you see? Nothing, no smile, no laughing, not even a Philip Rivers style douchesmirk. How can you even watch a guy like that? Look at Brady winning the Super Bowl:
He looks like he's about to watch a prostate exam take place. Now contrast that with Brett Favre and Drew Brees...
Woo hoo! Five more years and Sterger is legal!
Pictured: Apropriate Enthusiasm
Watching Brady and Crosby in interviews is about on par with watching Ben Stein do play by play for flower showing. It is the most soul crushing, god awful, boring thing you could possibly put on a television. For the love of god, have some fucking fun. If we wanted professionalism, we'd watch the security footage from our office buildings. Now I'm not saying that they need to make it rain, or bust a cap in their thigh, or do something abysmally stupid, but they can at least try and convince the rest of us that they're human beings. Is there any question why 24/7 decided that showing Boudreau say fuck approximately 6,488 times and the antics of Crosby's teammates was way more entertaining than showing Crosby himself?
Brady, Crosby, take a page from the Tiger woods book and put your dicks in 14 hookers. Do it to the same hookers at the same time, I don't care. Show Jenn Sterger your penis, that seems to work pretty well. Just do something that doesn't make everyone cringe every time a reporter shoves a mic in your face.
So, in using a few online dating sites, I occasionally come across scammers that are trying to get you to click on malware, trick you out of your credit card number, whatever. This is one of those (and yes it was a BDSM site which accounts for some of the language):
Ms Anne: hi baby how are you and where you from? CV: good from upstate ny
Ms Anne: ok baby i will give you free live show ok?
CV: that depends, do you have coleslaw?
Ms Anne: yes i do
Ms Anne: ok listen
Ms Anne: i will give you my card CV: really?
Ms Anne: so you can access me for free ok? CV: what kind of coleslaw?
Ms Anne: are u slave or what CV: what color, is it pink?
Ms Anne: ur asking many question CV: tell me you have pink coleslaw
Ms Anne: yellow and pink
CV: so where do i get this live cam show?
Ms Anne: ok hun click this link then click JOIN FOR FREE
Ms Anne: (link) Ms Anne: when you are in the signup page tell me so i can give u details CV: okay CV: ill do it if you tell me you have a penis
Ms Anne: i dont have lol CV: just tell me you do though
Ms Anne: yes i do CV: you do what? CV: tell me in those words that you have a penis
Ms Anne: bye CV: please?
Ms Anne: i give u show
Ms Anne: if u dont want its ok CV: im clicking through now
Ms Anne: ok CV: just tell me you have a penis
Ms Anne: yes i have a penis
And the final vote breakdown was as follows:
Alina - Chase
Brenda - Chase
NaOnka - Fabio
Purple Kelly - Fabio
Benry - Fabio
Jane - Chase
Holly - Chase
I'm not even sure where to begin, so I'll just go chronologically. Coming into the episode I thought Fabio was a lock to win if he made it to the final three. I thought that Holly had the next best chance of winning, and I thought that Sash had a decent chance of winning due to his strategic gameplay and jury members like Marty and Alina who claimed to value that. I felt there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell Dan or Chase could even pick up a vote. Man was I wrong.
It's hard to tell with the edits, how much of a comeback Fabio made on the puzzle, but it's pretty clear that the dude had his shit together. He did a few things that Brett (who?) Clouser wasn't able to do in Samoa. He was interesting, he won the immunity challenges he needed to, and he was likable...so good for him. But just as if Brett had won in Samoa, I feel like Fabio was kind of a crappy winner, even if he was clearly the best choice of the three. More on that later.
Anyways, moving on to the third to last tribal, I was a bit surprised that Dan was to be voted out since he wasn't the least bit of a threat to win any money, or screw up any plans with a surprising immunity win. I think Sash banked too much on Fabio not winning the last immunity and should have looked at other ways to make a good final three for himself (probably Dan and CHase being his best options). It was all a moot point anyways though as Sash made abundantly clear at the second to last tribal council.
It's always amusing when people criticizing things like backstabbing and dishonesty in this game. No one comes through it clean, and I get even more annoyed when people criticize the same quality in one person that they laud in another. Jane had no problem with backstabbing when her and Holy were conniving to get Brenda voted out. That having been said, if you're playing that kind of game, you either have to do one of two things. You either have to play it so well that no one notices, (Sandra Diaz-worst winner-Twine), or you have to be able to put on your best apology face (or actually feel remorse) at the final tribal and try to make amends (like Todd "best winner" Herzog). Or you can be Sash, slimey until the end, and tell Fabio things like "I've always been your best friend in this game," and "I don't know if I would have taken you or not." Ironically Sash's abysmally poor performance at the second to last Tribal in which he tried to convince everyone that he was a decnt guy was probably the reason that Fabio voted Holly. He realized, this moron is never going to win.
Final tribal council:
I'll just run through everyone in the order they were voted out.
Alina - What a disappointment. Alina became one of the most likable castaways in her time at Ponderosa and she ruined it all in about three minutes. First of all, saying that she didn't want a "boy" to win the game was stupid. Alina is only two years older than Fabio at twenty-three and Fabio probably didn't want a little girl asking such a stupid question at tribal. I think what she was trying to say is that she wanted to vote for someone who played the game well. Which makes her vote for Chase all the more puzzling since he just let the hottest girl still in the game bat his vote around like a tetherball until it was all hags and men left. Based on her criteria she should have either voted for Sash or just started masturbating in front of the cameras since she clearly wanted to while she was watching the three men go at it. Benry was right, you are a dirt squirrel.
Marty - Gold Medal, and question of the night! "If you were to hand out a dumber than a box of hammers award, who would you give it to?" I'm not sure what Marty expected to hear, I just think he wanted to call Chase the fucking moron that he is. (Kelly Purple would have also been an acceptable choice though. What does it say about a season when you have someone like NaOnka who is neither the first NOR the second stupidest person in the game?) I'll give Chase credit though, he actually realized that Marty was calling him stupid and got rightfully angry about it and gave probably the best response he could have for the rest of the jury in recognizing that he clearly wasn't going to get Marty's vote. I love it when someone calls out a finalist for what they are, especially if a lot of the jury doesn't realize it, and Brenda, Alina, Holly, and Jane needed to know what they were voting for.
Brenda - Look, Brenda is a twat and I didn't expect anything from her. Asing Sash why he didn't do more to help her was a bit stupid since at the time she made it abundantly clear that she felt she was too good for help. For someone who claims to be a dominant and strong woman she had Chase's cock halfway down her throat for the entire question.
Kelly Purple - Kelly Purple said something stupid and uninteresting that I don't remember. I do remember her being confused by the answer she got though, which is pretty predictable. Go sit down, idiot.
NaOnka - NaOnka might have had the best question of the night that didn't involve calling Chase stupid. The fact that she recognized that Fabio started to pick up his game after getting a visit from mom was pretty intuitive and I think it showed a human side to NaOnka that ABSOLUTELY NO ONE thought she had. Rare props to one of the more obnoxious contestants in Survivor history.
Benry - I don't really remember what Benry said, but I'm pretty sure he called Chase stupid in what would be a recurring theme. I don't mind speeches, but unless you're calling someone a rat, a snake, or otherwise insulting them memorably, I could do without them. (Upon watching again, I thought Benry's question, 'why was I a mark?' was decent, but forgettable.)
Jane - "I just realized that you did the exact same thing that Holly and I did to Brenda and therefore I am voting for you Chase. However I need to feel good about it and look like less of a hypocrite so I will ask the easiest question to answer that gets asked at every final tribal." What will you do with the money? Oh gosh *sob* my (friend/relative) died of (ebola/AIDS/cancer/SARS) so I will give $$$ to (charity). Puh-lease. Think of something better next time.
I would have given her more points for calling Sash a slimey gutter rat if it wasn't so obvious to everyone at that point that Sash himself probably would have stood up there and given Jane's exact speech. This may seem hypocritcal since I loved everyone wailing on Chase like a hick pinata, but half the jury had deluded themselves into thinking that Chase was anything but a moron and waste of survivor space because of the pretty packaging. They needed to be reminded he was an idiot.
Dan - "Beauty fades, dumb is forever." Awesome. Dalton Ross at Entertainment Weekly quipped that he could have directed the same words at Kelly Purple, which is true, but at least her stupidity was endearing, Chase's was just frustrating and annoying.
Holly - The only reason she voted for Chase is because Fabio voted her out, plain and simple. Nuts to solid player to nothing, the end.
Sash - Sash was boned going in, and he was just as boned going out so he gets a C.
Chase - Chase actually did okay for himself, but he was given softballs by a lot of people who already had their minds made up. He gets a C+
Fabio - I feel like Kelly Purple and NaOnka were on the fence and Fabio definitely knocked Na's question out of the park. Still his tribal performance was like his game, underwhelming and built on the foundation of him being likable. He gets a B-.
I wish Jeff had talked to Marty more. Sure he was arrogant, but I felt like he was one of the best players on the show and I would LOVE to see him back for an All-Stars season. I think he's the kind of guy who would be able to see his cockiness and learn from it a second time around, like Boston Rob did in All-Stars. And also like Boston Rob, he finished in a bad enough position that he won't be considered a target going into an All-Stars season.
I think Fabio was too shocked at the win to be really intelligible, but it was nice to see him showing some intelligence, even if it was rambling.
Seeing Terry Bradshaw was nice and he definitely did not disappoint.
Even though by the end nobody liked Sash and everyone thought he was worth berating, Shannon STILL elevated his own douche quotient by picking on him. Too bad it wasn't in better humor because it was really funny. "I was calling a duck a duck. It was quacking like one." Awesome.
Wendy is crazy. Seriously like flat out nuts. Holy shit.
There are always people that look way better when they're dirty and gross on the island than when they do when they're cleaned up. Probably the best evidence of this is Laura Morett the 39 year old who somehow thought that being a grandmother made her a half disabled underdog instead of just a shitty parent. This season's "better while dirty" winners are Kelly Bruno who is a legit firecracker, but brought the worst haircut ever to the reunion and Jane and Holly who apparently thought they had to cake on a half ton of whore-makeup to look good in a cast that wasn't very attractive to begin with.
I agree with Dalton Ross, this was the worst season ever (though I haven't seen 11-16). There were too many unlikable people, no one that played the game without a major flaw (Marty, Brenda - arrogance, Chase - stupidity, wishy-washyness, Sash - Sliminess, Fabio - lack of gameplay), and too many characters that never make it past five shows in any other given season such as:
The person no one wants to be around - NaOnka
The useless one - Dan
The crazy chick - Naonka and Holly
The wimpy buff dude - Chase
The Arrogant bitch - Brenda
Right away the tribes seemed hell bent on voting out the most likable people like Jimmy Johnson and Kelly Bruno.
Still Fabio's Colby Donaldson esque heroics and good tribal questions by Marty, Dan, and NaOnka (seriously, wtf) made the finally pretty decent. Until February...
Look, lockouts in sports leagues suck. I suffered through one with the NHL as I was just starting to become a hockey fan. But the NFL needs a big kick in the junk like nothing else. It's gotten so big and so powerful in such a short span of time, it has a feeling of invincibility. The league needs to be shown that if it isn't continually working to improve itself, there's nothing to stop it from going the way of Major League Baseball.
One of the big problems I have with the NFL is that it reacts to "problems" with as much force as it responds to problems. The biggest evidence is the seriousness with which the league has cut down on post-score celebrations compared with the seriousness with which it has addressed concussion and injury issues. The NFL could mandate safer helmets and actually enforce its quarterback protection rules for players other than Brady, Manning, Rivers, and Brees...but it doesn't. It's pretty telling when a league is willing to dole out just as much in fines for dancing around a little too much as it doles out to players who makes hits that endanger another person's health and well being. Especially when the league isn't even willing to listen to players on safety issues. When Vikings punter Chad Kluwe questioned the safety of playing at TCF Bank Stadium, the NFL's response was "duuude...shhhh!" It didn't even issue a blanket statement about how grounds crews were professionals and would have the field plenty safe come gametime, it just told him to stop talking. The first rule about NFL is that you do not talk about NFL. You have two responsibilities NFL, to entertain us, and to protect your players, and you are failing at both.
One of the things that has made the NFL the king of American sports is its accessibility. With only sixteen games, its a pretty good bet that most fans will see every game their team plays in a given year. You can't say the same for many other sports. But in the day of a shrinking economy and teams gouging their middle class fans with Personal Seat Licenses, and the demolition of bleacher seats in favor of luxury boxes, that fan is starting to disappear. Furthermore, the NFL's policy on blackouts is wholly unfair. Teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars are allowed to throw tarps over seats, and the Jaguars and Chargers need only sell 50,000 tickets to achieve a "sellout" while better markets with larger stadiums such as Buffalo and Cleveland are often hung out to dry. And it's not like the solution is difficult. Make the cutoff for a sellout the size of the smallest stadium's capacity (61,500 at Soldier Field in Chicago) so that teams with large stadiums or small markets aren't hurt by those facts. It's better publicity for the league because the NFL can beat its chest and claim more sellouts in a season.
I'm sick of the NFL thinking it can continue to get away with a substandard product. It's not like it's difficult to use local broadcasters for each non-primetime game like the NHL does so that fans don't have to deal with two guys calling a game that either don't care about either team, don't know anything about either team, or both. I'm sick of seeing some assholes from CBS struggle to find things to talk about when they have to cover a Bills game. Ryan Fitzpatrick is from Harvard! Fred Jackson was undrafted! Holy crap it's cold! I'm tired of being gouged with commercials, it's getting awful. Catch - timeout - commercial - touchdown - extra point - commercial - kickoff - commercial - play - end of half - commercial. God damnit. The pregame shows have gotten so awful and diluted now that they're basically unwatchable and I don't know anyone that likes more than one NFL analyst or announcer. Joe Buck is dispassionate and annoying, Chris Collinsworth and Troy Aikman are cocky douchebags, and Nantz, Simms, and the Gumbels are morons.
And lastly the cranky hockey fan in me wants to see everyone suffer. I want to see ESPN struggle to have something to talk about in August and early September. (Meaningless baseball games vs. cameras watching various NFL owners' grass grow...tough call.) I want to see the NHL and even the NBA gain some ground on the NFL's popularity and I especially want to see ESPN start to wish it had hockey back. I want to see the NFL fall, and not get its numbers back in 2012-2013 because it refused to address any of its problems and I want to see a league like the UFL do whatever it can to capitalize on the NFL's failures.
Mostly I just want to see the NFL held accountable for its shortcomings because up until now, it hasn't been.
It's pretty obvious that the Sabres lack top flight scoring talent beyond Thomas Vanek. Jason Pominville and Derek Roy are decent players in their own right, but neither can be described as a sniper. Some fans would rather see the Sabres lose the majority of their remaining games so that they can secure top flight talent in the draft, a position I do not advocate because losing on purpose, and rooting for losses is for idiots, and because the draft is such a crapshoot anyways.
Yesterday I finished Skankarella. It came in at 132 pages single spaced, and around 60,000 words, somewhere between a 150-200 page novel which is exactly what I expected. The Cinderella fairy tale is fairly insubstantial so I knew that even with my meatier plot, it was still going to be relatively short. Looking through it real quick as I began the first edit, I'm realizing it's a little thin, so it will probably wind up around 65-70,000 words. I'm going to run through it once doing some hand edits, correct them, shore up the parts that need it and give it to a few people to read.
If you'd like to read it and I haven't already asked you, let me know. I understand that people don't necessarily have the time, or the desire to read a full novel in its early stages within a short span (by an unpublished author) and I understand that so don't feel like you need to read it. But if you ask to read it as a raw piece of work, I'll be expecting you to finish relatively quickly, and legitimate comments. If you ask for it, and 'can't get to it,' or something like that and never end up reading it, I'll call you on it repeatedly and with vulgarity and most likely murder you, your entire family and everyone in your town with the same color hair. Just FYI.
This might be my best chance yet at getting something published. Gay and Lesbian fiction is selling pretty well right now, and I feel like this is my best written work to date and possibly the novel with the chance to be the most influential.
1). I am the team by which you have sworn your allegiance. You shall have no other teams before me.
You are only allowed to love one team in each sport. If you're a fan of two teams equally, you're a fan of no one. That having been said, it is perfectly fine to favor some teams over others. If the Sabres aren't on and I want to watch hockey, I tend to gravitate towards the Avalanche, Blues, Predators, Flames, Oilers, and Wild because I like those teams better than the rest of the NHL, but their successes mean little to me. It's the Sabres or nothing...as it should be.
2). Thy name on they front of thy jersey is more important than thy name on thy back.
There is no one person within the organization at any point in time that is more important than the team itself. If your favorite player leaves, you have every right to be upset. You have every right to buy their new jersey and wish them well as an individual. You have no right to jump ship, pout, complain, or hand in your season tickets (cough*sabrescutie*cough) no matter how beloved that player or coach may be.
3). You shalt have a personal connection to thy team.
For me, this is pretty easy. I was born in Buffalo so I root for the Bills and the Sabres. In other sports, I have no real allegiances and do not gain any pleasure out of seeing anyone win a championship, so I don't consider myself a fan of anyone in those sports. I will watch the Yankees, Mets, Twins, and Lakers more than the other teams, but I am not a fan, merely an observer. As Bill Simmons so eloquently put it:
If you're between the ages of 20-40, you're a fan of the Yankees, Cowboys, Braves, Raiders, Steelers, Celtics, Lakers, Bulls, Canadiens and/or Oilers, and you're not actually from those one of those cities ... well, you better have a reason that goes beyond "When I was picking a favorite team as a kid, they were the best team, so I picked them."
Look, I grew up watching Steve Young and Jerry Rice and absolutely idolized them. But I had enough self respect to recognize where my loyalties, and where my personal connection resonated most, and didn't become a 49ers fan. Rooting for the Bills and the Sabres just felt natural, even though I came in at two of the darker times in their history. If rooting for any of the afore mentioned teams (and I would add the Leafs, Red Wings, Penguins, Capitals, Red Sox, Cubs, Patriots, and Colts) feels right to you and you don't have some kind of personal connection, you're not a fan, you're just shallow.
4). You shalt wear thy colors proudly.
None of this keeping your head down when times are tough, that's what bandwagon fans do. The team gives you entertainment, it gives you moments with your friends and family, hell it may even give you friends and family. The least you can do is show your continued support. No putting the Sabres hat away when Miller isn't playing well, no taking the Bills flag off your car because they haven't been good in a decade, no keeping mum on the team or ignoring the sport in general. That's what Cowboys fans did at the end of the previous decade when the team was awful, and what they're starting to do again. Real fans are better.
5). You shalt remember thy gameday and keep it holy.
Look, I understand that real life hits you hard and unexpectedly sometimes and games will be missed. But if there's a game on, and your house isn't pregnant, and your wife isn't on fire (or something like that), your ass should be in front of the TV or in the stands. There isn't a whole lot more annoying than someone who calls themselves a fan, and doesn't have the slightest clue as to what's going on, or when the team is playing. That's what pink hat wearing women are for.
6). You shalt know, honor, and remember thy history.
Sabres fan and don't know who Gilbert Perreault is? Bills fan who doesn't know just how good O.J. Simpson was? See ya later. There is nothing more obnoxious than a shallow fan who doesn't really know or understand anything about the team and where it has come from. These things are important because they drive the desire to make more (and better) memories for future generations.
7). You shalt not root for a loss under ANY circumstances.
I'm sorry, but advocating that the team tank for draft picks, or to get a certain staff member fired goes against the very reason the sport is being played. There are teams such as the Red Sox, the White Sox, and the Cubs that have spent DECADES trying to change a losing culture. That attitude, that a loss is okay and an incomplete effort is acceptable, is far too insidious to be allowed to creep back into a building or a city. Shut the door and keep it locked.
8). You shalt only boo as a last resort.
Players respond to positive crowds far more than they respond to negative crowds. Try to pick the team up with raucousness before you resort to booing. No one wants to play in a building where the ome fans continually shit (or spit, good job Yankees fans) on the team. That having been said if your team gets outshot 15-1 in a period when they look like they're not even trying, let them have it by voice or by sign.
9). You shalt know thy team.
I've always said that to prove themselves, fans should have to be able to name a certain number of players beyond the big names. In the NFL, I've typically said at least a backup quarterback and a starting offensive lineman (Brian Brohm and Eric Wood) and in the NHL, the backup goalie and a prospect (Can Jhonas Enroth be both? Well I guess Patrick Lalime and Brayden McNabb will do). I think we can all expect fans to at least be a little better than the puck bunny in a Crosby/Romo/Kobe/Jeter jersey who doesn't know jack shit.
10). You shalt respect other fans to the extent that they deserve to be respected
I understand that going into an opponent's barn and being loud and obnoxious is part of the fun, and completely justified, but there are a few things you should never do. First of all, remember, it is their house, their game, their money and their time. In this situation, they have standing over you. You should absolutely not do anything to ruin or attempt to ruin the home fans' experience. No being an asshole during the anthems, no attempting to curtail traditions such as the flag pass, and no desicrating the arena in any way. Home fans, no physical violence or otherwise making opposing fans feel threatened. You don't want people walking away saying, "gee, those fans suck." You have two distinct advantages, volume and numbers, use them, not your fists. That having been said, if an opposing fan comes into your building and commits any of the above infractions, don't let them forget it.
Having friends who have held various service-based jobs, I've seen a number of complaints regarding customers who don't tip. While I tend to restrict tipping to food industry jobs, (sorry Cable Guy) I tend to be pretty generous.
There are a few different numbers thrown out, but the most common is probably 15% or double the tax which seems like a fair amount and is easy to calculate. There isn't a certain amount or percentage that I leave in tip every time and I'm not terribly swayed by service quality either. I don't really care if my order is wrong as long as it's corrected in a reasonable amount of time, or if the wrong order is just as appealing to my tastebuds as the correct order. (Hey take what life deals you, and sometimes it deals you chicken tenders instead of a club sandwich.) I understand that these things happen, and it's perfectly fine. If a waiter or waitress is especially attentive, then they'll definitely see it in the way of a few dollars though.
I would say on average, I usually leave between 25% and 40%, but I've left as much as 70% before. I tend not to accumulate a large bill, so I have no problem handing a waitress $20 for a $12 dollar meal if he or she is good, or leaving them $5-$6 if they're merely adequate. I'm not so horribly attached to my money that a couple dollars is going to matter one way or another, and seeing my dad attempt to shortchange several waitresses for no real reason, I'm determined to leave a better stamp on the world.
I figure at the very least I'm making up for the cheapskates that leave $3 on a $50 bill, and at the very best, I'm making someone's day just a little bit better. And hey, who knows, maybe they'll take the extra dollars and pass it on to someone else, or use it to create something awesome that the world can enjoy like a novel, or a song, or a painting.
Great. I always say I never get writers block, which is probably asking to get karmically bitch slapped, but it's true. Perhaps it's just the type of stories that I write, or my writing style, but I always feel like there's a natural progression to the story to be followed. Once in a while I might have to sit back and think about how a character might react, or what needs to happen to move the plot to a certain place, but I don't consider that blockage.
So It Sounds Like You Plan Your Stories?
Yes and no. I tend to write an outline of at least a few chapters before I start writing, but nothing is never set in stone. It's probably easier to go through the process I took for each post CW novel that I've written.
The Chosen - I generally stayed a few chapters ahead in my outline at all times. I do like to write and have a little bit of an idea where things are going because it gives me a goal to work towards. That having been said, I just write what makes sense within the context of the story, which doesn't always end up following the outline. There might be additional chapters necessary, or things might need to be done in a different way. I know that's a little vague but it's difficult to describe. For The Chosen, the middle was originally going to be the ending, and it just didn't feel right. I felt that there was more to the world than what met the eye, so I started thinking about the characters and what they'd resolved when they got to that point, which was absolutely nothing. It was a really bland story. And then it just clicked, well if this guy is this, then all this shit happens...etc. Just read the damn book.
Arnett Tanner Wants to Die - Oh ATWtD. I started this novel with a single concept, and I wrote about the first one hundred pages with absolutely no clue as to what was happening, or how the story was even going to end. The characters, and their motivations, really drove this one hard, and they're what ended up giving me the ideas that ended up being the rest of the book.
Skankarella - My most planned out novel to date. I had the outline of all twenty-one chapters done before I started writing. The book will finish with 31-ish chapters, so you can kind of see how that went. It was the same as The Chosen, I would get to certain parts and realize that the characters needed more growth and more transition, but it does follow the outline pretty closely. The funny thing is, a few pages into the novel, I decided upon what is probably the main theme of the story, that Skankarella is a lesbian. Better late than never I guess.
So What is Writing a Novel Like?
Terrifying. Okay, that's not completely true, only the first 10,000 words or so. I'm always afraid, when I start a new project, that I don't have enough of an idea for a story to actually write a novel. I'm always afraid I'll end up telling the entire story in twenty pages, but things always seem to develop and blossom as I get going.
That aside, I don't know how I'd quite describe it. I am more a thinker than a talker, so being able to insert myself into a world while I am simultaneously creating said world is probably the greatest thing I will ever do.
What is the most difficult part about writing a novel?
Editing the fucking thing after you've written it. I am not a fan of editing. I like it in that I know it's making my work better, but I think it's really tedious. I have gotten better at it though, in seeing what I can add to make things more vivid rather than merely correcting grammar and syntax.
You, as all writers do, base things on parts of your life. Do you ever worry about pissing people off in the way you portray them?
In a word, no. Maybe if I was writing things that presented themselves as truth, but I am a fiction writer. Probably the big one that I could conceivably have issues with is Cube Wars since ever character (except for one) is based on someone I know or knew personally, but Cube Wars is an absurdist piece or work. There is no attempt whatsoever to portray anyone even remotely accurately. I did think about it for a little bit, then I realized that if people are taking their "portrayal" seriously in a work where people are beating each other to death with filing cabinets and in which monkeys and carnies play prominent roles, they have the issues, not me.
What are your favorite scenes to write?
Blowjob scenes. Not really, actually sex scenes aren't that high up on the list. There is a lot of pressure to be serious, to avoid cliches, and to insert sex in a way that either drives the story, or develops a character. Plus I tend to be a little weak as a descriptive writer (at least I think so). My favorite scenes to write involve dialogue because it's so easy and it just makes sense to me. Every character's conversation seems so natural I can just fly through pages of dialogue without blinking.
What's your favorite genre to write?
Well, obviously fantasy since I've written four fantasy novels of various types. I like things that have a bit of a point, so writing straight up action isn't really my thing. Personally I love romance, or things that contain an element of romance. I think it's interesting how love can solve a lot of problems.
So which story was your favorite to write?
That is tough. I love The Chosen because I love a few of the scenes and settings that are in that book. I love ATWtD because I think it's the most meaningful, because it's a little dark, and because Havoc Bentley is such an entertaining character. I love writing Skankarella because I think it's the best thing I've written, I love the two main characters and I love how they interact with each other and the world around them. And I loved writing CW in high school because I didn't worry about my prose being juvenile and ridiculous because the novel was supposed to be juvenile and ridiculous.
Which one is the best?
Four different genres of fantasy, impossible question. Not many people have read them so it's hard to really say. I feel like Skankarealla might be the best written, but I think that ATWtD is the most meaningful and capable of having the most impact. I'm not going to dazzle anyone with intricate story lines and a complex web of plots that all tie in together like Harry Potter or a Michael Crichton novel, it just isn't my style. I like giving the reader characters to follow and bringing them into a world that they can observe and make their own judgments, kind of like how people actually live. When you're living your life, you're not bombarded with the themes or emotions of certain experiences, you just experience them as they come, so that's how I write my characters. You don't really see my characters pontificate on how awful something is like Bella Swan on her period. My characters merely act and talk a certain way based on how they feel and the reader draws the emotion of the moment from that.
How do you honestly rate yourself as a writer?
Probably an eleven million. It's hard to say, I've written it all, so of course I have an attachment to everything. I do know I'm not famous yet, or doing this for a living, so points off on that. I feel like my characters are interesting and realistic, and that readers can relate to them and root for them. That's all you can really ask for, I guess.
I always worry that I'm not going to deliver on a good concept. Take ATWtD. It's a great concept, I knew when I first came up with it that it was a really good idea for a novel. (Not cocky, just honest.) But I wonder if it has enough of an impact on a reader, or at least if it has the impact that I want it to. It can be hard to tell as a writer because you're so close to the story. I'm not even really sure what sort of impact it should have. I think that in life as medical advances continue we have to continually ask ourselves if a less than desirable life is preferable to death. Perhaps the mere fact that ATWtD gets people thinking about that concept is enough. I do like the sheer uncertainty in ATWtD though. Whenever someone asks me how a story ends, I always tell them the same thing, "everybody dies," because it's the truest thing there is. Life has a 100% mortality rate. But in ATWtD, not even that is certain.
I make no secret about the fact that, when dating someone, I am a handsy motherfucker (note: last word not to be taken literally). If you are my girlfriend, I will grope you early, often, and in inappropriate situations. These situations may include, but are not limited to while you sleep, at my house, at your house, in the middle of the afternoon for no apparent reason, while you're in my bed, while you're looking at my bed, while I'm making the bed, while you poop, while you drive, and while I am thinking about any of the above. My life has basically been, and will continue to be, a quest to be touching tits as often as possible. We'll go in chronological order.
A short excerpt from Skankarella; the first meeting of Skankarella and her Prince: (This will also be found in the "Current Projects" page.)
She found her eyes driving downward to the backside that only a life of sports could bring. The long gym shorts covered a bit too much for Madison's liking as she willed her eyes to see right through them. The conversation between mother and daughter faded away as Madison tried to covertly study the rest of the girl.
She was taller, something Madison had always found attractive, and subtlely masculine, another plus for the girl. Her broad shoulders and wiry arms looked like they'd be a perfect haven of security for Madison in another life and her ordinary brown ponytail was somehow alluring and irresistibly sexy. It could have been because Madison wanted to grab it and pull the girl closer as their lips-
"Holy shit, sorry!" Madison jumped back so hard she nearly tumbled to the floor over her own feet. She found herself looking into the very eyes of the girl she'd been ogling. The brunette, who was just as attractive from the front as she had been from the back couldn't possibly have known what she was thinking, but Madison felt like a kid who'd been caught reaching into a forbidden cookie jar. If Shirley knew...
The girl untangled her cart from Madison's. "Are you alright?" she asked.
I know I did this webcomic before, but I feel this phenomenon is worth mentioning again. My fridge and my microwave are in cahoots to ruin what were good dinners.
I don't understand this, one cools shit down, the other heats it up really fast. When those processes are complete, I should have something that at least sort of resembles and tastes like the original product. I am almost entirely nocturnal, so my eating schedule is a little fucked up. I usually have my first meal of the day at around seven at night, and then eat every few hours until I go to bed at seven in the morning. This results in me having to microwave a lot of food (or die) with mixed results.
Probably one of the worst things to attempt to store for later eating is pizza, partially because it is so awesome to begin with. Pizza goes into the fridge warm and crispy, comes out of the fridge cold and hard, and then gets whiskey dick in the microwave. The finished product is a flabby slab of grossness. It doesn't even taste right, becoming bland as you begin to wonder if the pizza was fucking the milk again.
One of the things I have become inured to reheating is gravy for mashed potatoes. Gravy is some kind of bewitched substance that begins as a liquid and then turns into a gelatinous horror in the fridge. Then as you're pulling the container out, the pudding-gravy starts menstruating off color juices in an attempt to destroy your appetite and save itself. Fuck you gravy, I know nature's tricks. Possums aren't really dead, and that is not really ass liquid. Prepare to be eaten!
It's like a food apocalypse. Stuffing becomes dry dirt food, noodles become chewy dick hair, and macaroni and cheese becomes macaroni and tasteless slime. That's probably why I have begun to like dinners over which the fridge and microwave have no power. One of these is meatloaf. Meatloaf is kind of like the cockroach of the dinner foods. You could drop a nuclear warhead on it, and its chemical properties would not change. It laughs as the fridge tries to cool it into something dry and disgusting. It taunts the microwave with its refusal to fully warm without spinning in circles on the little plate for a full thirty minutes. And when all is said and done, it tastes exactly as it did when it was made...like awesome meat jello.
Here's to you meatloaf, for triumphing in feeding me where other foods have failed.
I figured that since I get a lot of questions about what I'm working on novel-wise and how it's coming along, (and believe me, I will never tire of answering those questions) I'm going to put a "Current Projects" page at the top of my blog that I can update regularly to keep people better informed. Since it's 7:17 and I have yet to attend bed to"night" I will most likely have a go at it in the morning.
I should probably defend myself right off the bat here. (Gee, I do that a lot, don't I?) I don't know if its fair to describe myself as a feminist, being male, but the shoe fits pretty good. When I see a woman desiring to break into a stereotypically male dominated field or hobby, my first response is, "Awesome!" Personally I think that having the guts to go against gender stereotypes makes someone impossibly attractive (which is probably why I tend to like tomboys), and if a girl wants to pick up a hockey stick or a video game controller, or whatever, I'll be the first one to welcome her.
But I hate feminists. Okay, that's not true. What I hate is those that do not grasp what feminism is supposed to be. To me, feminism is about equality between the sexes, or at least coming as close to equality as we can manage between different genders. (Because there are differences between men and women, and some things cannot be brought together, only bridged.) In setting equality as the goal, I think that feminism is just as much about men's rights as it is about women's rights because there are several areas in which man are severely lagging behind women (divorce courts and custody battles for example).
I'm not trying to excuse the fact that women have historically gotten the short of the stick far more often than men have. I understand the battles that had to take place to achieve many of the rights that seem like no brainers today, like the ability to vote, or equal pay in the workplace. But that's just it, those things are no brainers today. Those fights are largely over. All we're really waiting on is the rest of the older, chauvinistic generation to die so some of their ideals that are still holding us back, die with them. (Sorry if that's harsh.)
I understand that the man-hating feminist is a common caricature and more fiction than reality, but some of that attitude is existent throughout feminism. I have to recall a conversation that I had with a friend in which she (shocker, right?) was ranting about Rush Limbaugh's term "feminazi," and how horrible it was. Well, to be fair, Rush Limbaugh is a bit of an idiot, and comparison's to Hitler are usually stupid at best, but I think that there are plenty of feminists who completely deserve that moniker. Just because women were at a disadvantage for so long does not mean they are beyond reproach, even if its coming from a guy like Limbaugh. There are shitty feminists just like there are shitty members of every other group that has ever existed, but this fact seems to get lost.
I haven't taken a class on Feminism, but I wish that I had, and not just to be the token intelligent male that provides a dose of realism. I can't say for certain, but based on discussions with friends who have taken those classes, they tend to devolve into support groups for women who want to rant on the little things that the men in their life do that piss them off. To which my reaction is, "who cares if your boyfriend never puts the seat down, is this really a conflict that has any importance whatsoever?"
And I think there are a few important issues facing women, and facing feminists today. Men are still at a huge disadvantage in divorce courts and custody battles. These are things that feminists (if they believe in equality) should be racing to rectify, but they won't because they benefit men. Title IX, the education amendment best known for evening the playing field in college and high school athletics is becoming increasingly obsolete. With more women than men attending college, it is now the men that are being deprived of opportunities. The basic criticism of Title IX is that while there's been an increase of women attending college, there hasn't been much of an increase in the percentage of those women that want to participate in sports. Even with fewer men attending a school, an equal number, or even a great number of them tend to want to play sports. However, Title IX states that the proportion of men's and women's sports teams must be proportional to the number of men and women that attend that school. Huh?
It's like this. Let's say you have a small university that is split evenly between men and women at 1,000 apiece. The percentage of women that endeavor to play college sports is around 30-40%, and the percentage of men is higher. I couldn't find exact figures, but I want to guess about 60%. (If you want to lambaste me for using an assumption, that's fine, but when you consider your male and female friends, which gender has more avid sports fans? Yeah, that's what I thought.) So by Title IX's proportionality clause, that school must have an equal number of male and female athletes. Since at most, 400 women want to play sports, and around 600 men do, that means 200 men get the short end of the stick as the school struggles to comply with Title IX.
I think that Title IX was a good thing during, and immediately after its inception. It's real goal was to bolster the number of female college students as the men were enjoying a 60-40 advantage. Now women enjoy the opposite advantage with the same numbers, and male athletes are suffering (I saw three men's teams get disbanded in my four years at Clarkson), but the outcry over this injustice is muted.
Where are the professed equality seeking feminists? Are they too busy gloating as the tables are turned? Is the core concept of feminism, gender equality, just a lie?
So I'm conflicted when I consider feminism. I love when people step outside gender roles, and I love women that have the guts to break into male dominated areas. But at the same time, I feel like a lot of women just don't understand what feminism is, or what it's supposed to be. And that is just sad.