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A blog for poetry, prose, and pop culture.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Amidst the Night

Hey all,

I am supposed to be working right now, but I thought I would take a few moments to upload a poem I wrote yesterday. I had the day mostly all to myself and headed for familiar ground in my poetry. It just feels good to get really moody sometimes.

I have a lot of pent up angst and aggression I think. I don't know how to handle it most of the time. I am generally pretty even-keeled guy, I just have trouble with the incredible loneliness I feel sometimes. For all I am blessed with, I sometimes feel cursed. Anyone else ever feel that way?

Anyway, enjoy the poem and I will be back for sure on Wednesday, though as it is the first the next installment of The Darkest Dawn will be Thursday so I can devote the proper attention to the post, unless I can find some time Tuesday to get started but I have a very heavy workload Tuesday and Wednesday, so no guarantees. I CAN guarantee that we will be back on track every Wednesday and Sunday for Flash Fiction. Keep reading.

Amidst the Night

Dimly lit in shadow state,

Darkness round a silent gate.

No more noise amidst the night,

The silence sounds a lowly sight.

Trouble brews from deep within,

A loneliness in my chagrin.

When will call the end of days?

For I've spent my youth away.

Wasted moments I wish I kept,

Lost these years my heart has wept.

This blackened wound in matching hue,

In the deepest end this drowning pool.

It pulls me lower, I've no escape,

From the dark this soul formed shape.

Trapped by fear I know not love,

Beneath a sky blotted above.

Its bleeding rain a darkened trail,

Submerging me in all I've failed.

I've lost all prayers or hope in life,

Hand in hand I've suckled strife.

Leave me now, resigned to fate,

For tragedy's my only mate.

End of Line.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun

Chapter 30

The creatures had surged through the doors and walls of the general store, coming through faster than they could draw aim. Billy emptied his revolver into 2 of the beasts as Root and Reny each frantically loaded shells into their rifles.


It was to late though as the three men grew quickly cut off from the staircase. Reny let out a strangled roar and gave up loading his shells, swinging the rifle around like a club at anything that drew near. Billy tried to reload but there were too many creatures, far to close and he looked around for a weapon. The Sheriff held up his rifle and fired his remaining rounds, trying to clear a path to the stairs.

"I think this is our last stand Root."

The Sheriff looked around for an answer, but had none. Reny was still tearing into the creatures like a madman, you could see long cuts across his arms and back but he still swung with wild abandon. Yet just as all seemed lost, salvation arrived from upstairs.

Two loud gunshots erupted from the staircase as three creatures were cut apart by the fire of a scattergun. Then Elma appeared, rifle in hand firing at the creatures, Over her shoulder, Katee had dropped her sscattergun and pulled her old Navy revolver, squeezing careful shots at the monsters, Even Reny's young daughter Clair stood at the base of the stairs, holding ammunition.


Root reversed the grip on his rifle, brandishing it like Reny and cleared the way for Billy, who quickly grabbed Katee's scattergun and jammed two rounds into it. Drawing a dead, he cut down 2 creatures as a desperate Reny surged for the staircase. Elma, with a fierce look, dropped another two to allow Reny to dive into the staircase. Root and Billy grabbed him by the arms and drug him up the stairs, the girls in tow. Elma and Katee turned and headed up, but watched helplessly as Clair slipped and tumbled backwards, into the waiting mouths of the undead.

End of Line.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Movie Time: Rewind: The Towering Inferno

Hey all,

Today is a sad day, marking the death of one of Hollywood's last great classic actors, Paul Newman, who died of cancer at the age of 83. Newman was the first breakout actor of the late 1950's and early 60's. A particularly turbulent time in Hollywood. The old studio ways were dying with the popularization of television, and more and more actors were working freelance, moving from studio to studio and setting up their own production companies to make their own pictures. The old garde of Hollywood were also fading out, stars like Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, and the like were fading out at the box office.

Hollywood had to start creating new actors to take their place as big box office draws, and that is what brings us to Paul Newman. Breaking out in the late 50's, Newman, along with Marlon Brando and Steve McQueen a little later, set about making a new type of Hollywood. Full of young, brash characters that displayed emotion and action. New faces for a new decade.

To be totally honest, I have never been a big fan of Newman, preferring the edginess of McQueen or the method acting of Brando to be truthful. That doesn't mean I don't respect Newman, both as a humanitarian and as an actor. In his honor I wanted to dedicate this month's Rewind to my favorite Newman film, The Towering Inferno.

Newman made so many classic films, The Hustler, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke, Slap Shot, but for obvious reason I would think that The Towering Inferno would be my choice. One, it co-stars Steve McQueen. It also features a veritable who's who of great actors, including Richard Chamberlain, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Robert Wagner, and the always excellent William Holden. Two, it is the first big budget action movie, the sort of summer blockbuster.

Made in 1974, 2 years after the Poseidon Adventure and 1 year before JAWS, I think it raises the bar in terms of what you expect at the movies. The Poseidon Adventure has all of the elements of a summer blockbuster disaster film except the cast. The Towering Inferno stars the two biggest movie stars of the 1960's and 1970's, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman. JAWS a year later by many is considered the first summer blockbuster, but for my money The Towering Inferno has it beat by a year.

The story is actually based on two books, both disaster skyscraper novels, called The Glass Inferno and The Tower. Producer Irwin Allen, having been successful with The Poseidon Adventure, approached both Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox, each of whom had the rights to one of the books and proposed a joint venture. Instead of flooding the market with two of the same movies, they would split the profits and proceeds and combine the two. The studios agreed, and Allen and screenwriter Stirling Silliphant took the main characters and concepts from each book and combined them.

The movie starts out with the return of Paul Newman from vacation, he is the architect that designed the building and has discovered that several shortcuts were taken in the construction of his building, specifically in terms of fire safety. The chief electrical engineer, played by Richard Chamberlain, insists that it is up to the minimum code, failing to tell Newman that the building financier, played by William Holden, has directed him to do so.

Turning on all the lights to highlight the building magnificence to the visiting dignitaries on opening night exacerbates the faulty electrical system causing a fire in a utility room that quickly spreads. Even after the fire is reported, Holden orders the party to continue insisting that it is safe, but it is soon out of control.

By the time the fire department arrives, led by McQueen, the guests are cut off and the fire is blazing over several floors, between the ground team and the party goers up top. McQueen and Newman battle to save the frighten guests through a variety of rescue attempts, including helicopter rescues and running a line between two buildings and guiding guests across a rope line. Eventually McQueen and Newman launch a desperate plan to blow a gigantic water tank on the roof, which should cull the fire but may also kill many of the people still trapped a top.

McQueen was fiercely competitive with Newman before this picture went underway. Many people considered Newman the better actor and he drew bigger paydays. For this film, they got equal billings and the same amount of lines in the script. McQueen wanted to prove that he was the better actor. McQueen arguably had the better part in terms of action, but Newman works better as the architect. The two originally were to have teamed up in 1969 in Butch Cassiday with McQueen as Sundance, but McQueen withdrew over on screen billing.

What I love about this film is the drama going on behind the scenes. McQueen trying to prove he is the better actor, and Newman proving why he is the more mature one. Each actor owns the screen and despite all the pre-filming tensions, many report that the two got along quite well during filming. It shows why Newman is so respected by managing to shine alongside an actor like McQueen who is notoriously hard to work with.

The effects are also pretty good for the 70's. The actors had real fire on set, and the sheer spectacle of the movie is huge. The movie was huge when it was released, allowing McQueen to take a 4 year sabbatical from film, and spurning Newman onto legendary status.

I know many people will spurn my choice of Newman films as not a true Newman film, but I feel honestly is the best policy. This is the only Newman film I have ever re-watched, and while I liked the Hustler, I was never a Newman guy. I am of the opinion that Newman and McQueen are like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, you can like both but you always like one a little more. It just doesn't mean that both weren't great.

Do yourself a favor, pick up a Newman film, either The Towering Inferno or one of the others I mentioned. Great films should be remembered.

End of Line.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Flash Fiction: The Darkest Dawn

Chapter 8

I made my way from the graveyard and headed hurriedly towards St. Augustine's. I glanced at my watch and saw that it was just past 10 and decided against grabbing another cab. The church was just a few blocks over, I could make it in plenty of time before I had promised to meet Quint.

Once I had gotten a little way down the street, I yanked the crumpled pack of smokes from my pocket and pulled out the least bent one. Flicking my zippo open, I cupped my hand against the slight breeze and took a deep pull. Continuing my pace, I made for the church, sucking on that cigarette.

I had been thinking about Juliet, lost reminiscing of happier days, or I would have caught it sooner. When I was about half a block away something began to tickle at my senses and I pulled to a stop. Looking at the church fully for the first time since the spire had come into view, something felt wrong, almost perverted. Flinging the cigarette aside I broke into a quick jog and shifted my vision.

My Second Sight immediately picked out the presence of magic that shouldn't be there. The orange and blue auras that normally represented the ethereal and holy spells of protection were strained and broken. Large rends appreared throughout the wards. Black rends at that. Black meant that someone was using Dark magic, or necromancy, to overpower the spells or protection. Whoever could overcome place magic like that had to be pretty fucking serious.

The two hardest schools of magic are necromancy and elemental, or Life magic. Two opposites sides of the same coin. They also tend to effect the mind more often. Necromancy begins to pervert your train of thought, promoting control over aspects of magic usually meant for use only by the most powerful of the Night Tribes, demons mainly. Life magic, noted for its green hue works the same, though it can be just as dangerous as Dark magic if left unchecked. God complexes and whatnot. Only Light Walkers are meant to safely use it, though it doesn't mean that plenty of Users think they can handle it.

As the spooling black aura grew more powerful, I grabbed some cover behind a parked car and took a look. I could see three people outside. A human in loose fitting pants and shirt with a deep red cloak. His arms were splayed wide and he was chanting, the swirls surrounding his body, energy crackling from the rings on his fingers. User, probably a conduit for a more powerful User. He had two guards beside him, another human, though a big son of a bitch, close cropped hair and swirling with the aura of a marked man. He also had sawed off shotgun. The third was a card carrying member of Night. I hadn't seen a fucking ogre... well ever, but that HAD to be what it was.

It was easily eight feet tall, with arms and legs the size of tree trunks. His blotchy skin was a medley of mottled greens and browns. Whatever you have EVER read about ogres is probably true. They are big, slow, strong, and as dumb as a bag of hammers. they are also very deadly fighters. I rifled through my pouches until I found the one I was looking for and grabbed two cartridge loads of ammo. Shit like holy water and UV weren't going to work on these guys, I was going to need something more conventional. Well maybe with a hint of the old world.

I slapped in the new bullets, blessed shredder rounds. Bullets that break open after firing and break into razor sharp flechette. Gear had augmented mine and made them silver and Father Quinton had given them his holy blessing. Cupping the grips in each hand, my first target was the human, take out the easiest first then turn and take out the ogre. Whoever, or whatever, was inside would know as soon as the User was down, and I would need any element of surprise. I would just hope that the walls were thick enough to muffle the shots, and that the User was far to occupied to break his spell.

I took a deep breath and rolled around the corner, drawing a bead on the Norm. I was already on my feet into a sprint as two rounds thundered into him, one in the heart, one in the head. It ended with a pretty gory explosion of brains against the church walls. The ogre had turned on me by then. I started channelling my aura, focusing it inward. Senses flared, I could feel my muscles expand and my reflexes grow faster. The ogre was brandishing a big fucking club, guess it was time to punch in.

I dumped the last 7 rounds of my left hand gun into him, aiming for vitals. I could see the flechette burrow into him, hitting knee, arm, and stomach. Aiming for an ogres head won't work, there skulls are like metal, and while it would hurt, most of the damage would be cosmetic. I dropped the gun and it clattered to the floor and I drew in closer. The ogre roared and I could see blood and muscle exposed as he swung the club in my direction. Instinctively I flung myself backwards, landing hard on the asphalt. The club just missed taking my head of, I could feel the wind as it past inches from my face. Once on my back I drew my feet up under me and skittered backwards. Kicking hard of each foot, I fired the gun two more times until I heard the sound of his knee cracking completely.

The ogre roared in pain but the sucker was still on his feet. He lurched to his left, But I saw him pull the club into a vicious overhead swing. I quickly rolled left, driving my body sideways. I was just a bit slow as the club caught my trailing hand, knocking my gun from my hand. Cursing at my bent fingers I pivoted in my dive coming up in a roll. Glancing behind me, I saw the User still locked deep in trance. Well, at least that part hadn't turned to shit yet.

The ogre began slowly dragging his shattered knee towards me and I glanced around. I had some stuff in my harness, but nothing that would help right now. I needed some big time firepower. Looking again, my eyes fell on the Norm's shotgun. That was a start. I slid two silver knives from my sleeve and whipped them at the ogre. Both knives cut in with a sizzle, but didn't seem to do much else. I scrambled around the User, using his body as temporary shield and grabbed the shotgun. I didn't know what this thing was loaded with, but I knew I was going to have to get in close and nasty to really hurt him.

The ogre roared again as it lurched near. I timed it so that when he drew back for his swing I ducked low into a crouch under the arcing swipe and sprang up as his left arm drew past me, exposing his side. At the apex of the swing I darted in and buried another knife hard into his side, causing his turned body to arch even hard to the left, before continuing my roll around to his back. Before the ogre could attempt to turn back around to grab me I dropped down again, channeling all my ethereal energy into my legs, kicking out at the ogres shredded knee with a dropkick that left me flat on my back. I was rewarded with another resounding crack as the overbalanced beast lost his equilibrium and began slowly teetering into a fall.

Already on my back I drew the shotgun up and pumped it, letting a blast fly a close range. The shotgun belched a blue flame as the ogres face erupted in fire. FUCK! Balefire shells are highly illegal, firing rounds magically invoked with the fires of the afterlife. They won't stop burning until it consumes everything it has touched. The ogre, already hurting, began trashing wildly and screaming. Using my boot to hold down his hand, I pumped another round and jammed the barrel down his throat and fired. The back of his necked exploded and blue flame spread over what was left of the body.

There was no way that whoever was inside had not heard the fight out here, so there was no point in leaving the User alive. Any chance for an element of surprise had left when I fired the shotgun. I picked up both my guns and grabbed the bandoleer the Norm had around his chest. The User was still locked in whatever spell he had cast, so I took aim.

That's when I heard a voice behind me, a voice like gravel being drug across broken glass then scraped across a chalkboard.

"Hold Devilin. We just want the girl."

I turned around to see the biggest, scariest thing I had ever seen in my life. It's huge leathery wings were black with red veins. It stood at least ten feet tall, with curled black horns and eyes red with fire. It's skin was a mixture of taunt black leather and red vein, with coarse red and black hair on its chest and arms. It was naked, save a long leathery tabard that hung around his waste. His feet and hands ended on long black claws, and one of those hands held Father Quinton, held high off the floor. The other had a long nail layed across his throat.

"Fuck me hard.....a Demon."

The fathers of the Night Tribes, those who spawned all who walk the Night in the images of fear and death. The right hands of Satan himself. Holding a man of God on sacred holy ground.

Things just got way fucking worse.

End of Line.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Song of Love

Hey all,

Headed back to the poetry well today with a crack at a love poem. Truthfully, I started out writing something different. I have been trying to write a poem about driving down the road alone for about a month and a half, since I took that trip to Las Vegas.

Since then I have had 2 other long car rides by myself and during the drive I come up with all kinds of great poetry ideas that I don't write down (cause I am driving). It is a particularly lonely experience and I have been trying to recapture that for a poem.

Today it just wasn't going. So I took a 180 and tried to do something more positive. I have wanted to do another love poem for a while, it has been several poems since I tried one. I hope you like it. It is sort of how someone wants to tell the world that he is in love. How the mere sound of her voice is a song he hears and wants to match it in kind. Anyway, thanks for reading.

A Song of Love

I want to say these words each day,

You've set the fires of my soul ablaze.

To place my heart on display,

And sing a tune for all your praise.

A song of love and deep devotions,

Played aloud so all my listen,

This bursting music of my emotions,

For all to know a new love is christen.

No melody can sound so sweet,

As the one that holds your voice,

Yet I shall sing a life complete,

So the world will know my choice.

All manner of songs I'd make for you,

A ballad to hold our love on high,

Or a happy song to chase the blues,

Even a cooing, soft nighttime lullaby.

For you I'd write a symphony,

That would shame the greatest composer.

A full and pleasing euphony,

Just to bring us closer.

Yet all the music on this Earth,

Can sound but a sour note,

For nothing compares to your worth,

And the voice in your sweet throat.

I'd gladly trade my others senses,

Taste and touch a simple price,

Even sight and smell are just expenses,

To hear your words my only vice.

I long for you to call my name,

Or say those words I want to hear,

Until then I can but proclaim,

Your are what I hold most dear.

End of Line.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun

Chapter 29 (Part 2)

They had broken through the rear somehow. The beats came through in ones or twos, the splintered wood tearing into their decaying flesh, but they seemed not to care. Reny and Root each grabbed rifles and began unloading into the creatures, holding them back. Elma grabbed a rifle herself and headed up the stairs.

Billy grabbed the supplies and started up the stairs, seeing Katee waiting at the top, scattergun loaded and ready. That's when he heard the breaking of glass again over the sound of the gunshots. Looking back he could see more of them surging against the windows, having torn through the shutters.


Tossing the bags up the final few steps, Billy headed back down, drawing his gun. Root and Reny seemed to have the situation in hand, so Billy picked his shots carefully through the windows.


Reny pulled back, quickly reloading the cartridges into his rifle. Turning his head, he saw another arm burst through the front window.

"This shit is getting worse Root."

The Sheriff fired another round into the face of one of the creatures, only to watch two more take it's place. "We can't hold forever here boys."

Reny took aim through the window and fired again. "We hold out as long as we can!" Everyone we take out is one that can't hurt my family!"

The three stayed back to back, alternatively firing at the monsters, each creature that dropped drawing new ones in closer. The gunshots echoed off the walls, intertwined beside the sounds of spent shells hitting the floor. After a few minutes a new sound could be heard, the sound of the wood frames giving away, and the creatures surging through the door.

Billy's eyes widened. "Fuck me."

End of Line.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun

Chapter 29 (Part 1)

Root, Reny, and Billy began barricading the door and windows. The creatures knew that they were inside and seemed insistent to get in, driven by some kind of need to get in. Katee, Elma, and the Reny's two girls were upstairs. Elma kept the girls in the bedroom, while Katee kept watch out of the window.

Reny had started pulling boards off the floor and nailing them over the inside of the windows, having closed the shutters previously. Billy pushed any furniture he could in front of the door. Still the incessant pounding and scratching at the doors and windows could be heard.

Root looked to each man, " This isn't going to work. There is no way that we are going to be able to keep them out of here forever. I still think that we have to make a break for it."

Reny looked at Root, wild-eyed and swore, " There is NO WAY that I will risk my family like that! Have you seen what these things do to people Sheriff?"

"Yes God Dammit! Why do you think we have to keep moving? These things will pick us apart one by one if we wait. Do you honestly think that this shit will keep them out?"

Billy tried to calm the two men down. "Look, no matter what we decide we have to prepare for the worst. I say we start getting supplies together and barricade ourselves upstairs. Those things will have to come up the stairs and we can pick them apart single file like. Worst case, we go out the upper balcony and across the roofs."

Root looked at Billy will a new found respect. "That's some good thinking Billy, what do you say Cargill?"

"I agree."

Reny called his wife downstairs and had her gather foodstuffs while Root and Cargill began loading ammunition and supplies into rucksacks. Reny even loaded several sticks of dynamite into a bag, "Just in case." Billy went back to barricading the front door when they heard the sound of cracking wood and the shattering of glass. Somehow, they had gotten inside.

End of Line.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

From the Sickbed

Hey all,

Sorry for the gap in posts the last few days, I am pretty sick. I started getting a sore throat on Thursday after a kind of long day at work. By the time I got to work Friday I was in bad shape. Working today didn't help much either.

I know its just a cold or mild flu, but I can't seem to shake the lethargy from my bones. I am tired, run down and just exhausted. I am hoping some good rest tonight and a short 2 hour work day tomorrow will allow me to rest up Sunday.

Besides that I am just at kind of an impasse in posts. I still have plenty of Flash Fiction to tell, but I didn't like to drop the same type of posts every time. I think I am going to try to work on a structure, so you always know when new posts are going to be up. I want to start new Dead Sun stories on Sundays, with new Darkest Dawn on Wednesdays. That way the posts in between those days can fill out the month. I am going to try to get a new Dead Sun tomorrow, but no guarantees. My main goal is to get healthy again, and a worse case scenario will start that next week.

Let's see how good I can do at keeping a regular schedule. Wish me luck (and maybe good health)!

End of Line.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Flash Fiction: The Darkest Dawn

Chapter 7

The cabbie made good time as we pulled up to my stop. I dropped a few bills into the front seat and swung out of the car, flowers in hand. I didn't look up as I entered under the iron gate and began the long walk down the path. I started to reach for a fresh smoke but stopped short, crumpling the pack in my pocket. She doesn't like that particular habit.

I stopped short again as I reached my destination. There she was. Slowly I walked the final few steps and looked down to her, at rest. Ever so slowly dropped to my knees and laid my flowers at her feet, clearing away the stray leaves and twigs that had taken residence. The grass was so green, the white marble a reminder of what I had lost. I read the inscription, the one I had read so many times before, and would read so many times again.

Here Lies Juliet Willing
Born April 2, 1980 Died September 14th, 2006
Missed By all Who Loved Her
From The Brightest Night to the Darkest Dawn

I had added that last line, something she use to tell me when I was struggling to control my powers. It had been her little way of telling me that she loved me for who I was, not what I was. I had never knew a girl like Juliet, she was special. She was also a Norm,

After I had came of age my Father had cast me from his house, his obligation fulfilled. He knew long before that moment that I wasn't going to follow in his footsteps. I was too much my Mother's Son, with to much of my Father's pride. I had learned to control by Night side, and I had learned ways to manage my Light half as well. It wasn't perfect, but I knew how to take care of myself for the first time in my life.

Mostly I wandered, performing odd jobs, everything from bouncing at bars to body guard and merc work. Eventually I landed a job working nights at The Copper Cup. The Cup is one of several free-standing local joints that cater to all sides. It's said that you kind find anything at The Cup, and in the three years I worked there I learned you were probably right.

The thing that made the Cup unique was that it was run my a Norm named Julian Willing. See, few Norms ever really get involved with our types of people, preferring not to know the truth about elves, dwarves or the other various species that go bump in the night. Truthfully, not involving Norms is in every ones best interests. They surely outnumber us, and despite our abilities, a full scale fight between the Norms is not what anyone wants. Fell mostly just resent them for taking their place in His eyes and just want to be left alone subsequently. The Night Tribes frankly consider most Norms as a lesser species, like you would a dog or cat. Something to be domesticated and used for amusement or work. Many times they use them as agents or conduits for thier abilities in times when they can't directly be involved. The Light Tribes, well we can just say that they don't much have anything to do with anyone anymore..

Julian, though, was raised in a family that had been apart of this world for generations. The rumor goes that a distant relative had once nursed a hurt elf back to life, and they fell in love afterwards. Whether it is true or not I don't know, but The Cup has been run by his descendants for over 250 years, with any traces of elf heritage long since faded out. Both sides unofficially claim it as a safe zone, but it is pretty rough joint. Fights were a nightly affair, and Julian kept a combination of Fell and Night Walkers on hand, usually with a User or two. It was my time at The Cup that introduced me to Juliet.

She was Julien's daughter, and they were the only people who didn't judge me for being a half breed. She was beautiful, with soft brown hair that fell to her shoulders. I remembered she always wore it in a ponytail when she was working. Her delicate features belied her toned physique. She had a sharp mind and an even sharper wit, someone who could take care of herself.

Julien had treated me with respect, like a person. Juliet....well Juliet showed me how to be one. As time passed and we grew closer together and Juliet opened my eyes to the wider world. She helped me to learn how to control my urges and harness my powers when I needed to. Yet she never had any powers herself, her gentle touch or soft words could reach me no matter what state I was in. She taught me to be myself. A Beauty to my Beast.

I always thought it funny, how a person as gentle and kind as Juliet could be found in a place like The Cup. But beneath her soft exterior, was a fierce heart. She would fight for what she believed in, and for her heritage. Being a Norm in our world isn't something easily accepted, and maybe that was why we fit so well together.

Losing her was the most painful time of my life. I was working the floor when a Fell User started fighting with another from the Night Tribes. Some small time punk who was tied to one of the older clan. He pulled in more power than he could handle and killed a lot of people in the bar that night. I got caught in the blast before I could take him down, and in the ensuing time he escaped. Juliet wasn't as lucky. If I hadn't been so slow...if I hadn't been so weak, I could have saved her.

In the time after that I lost control of myself. Lost control of my powers and worse of all, lost my way. I shut myself off from the world to wallow in self pity. Even things between Julien and myself grew tense. He blamed himself for getting her in this world and blamed myself for not protecting her. We both took our pain out on each other, fraying our relationship to this day. I try to avoid The Cup nowadays, it's just to painful.

It was the actions of the night that Juliet died that helped forged the Treaty, the bond between the Fell and The Night Walkers to not interfere with the world of man. A treaty that would eventually lead to the formation of my job now. Creating a pact with the Holy Church to represent the Norms, who knew about our side from the beginning, they eventually established my job. The truth was, I was the only option. I cared for Norms, and I didn't have any ones side. I was alone.

I realized that tears were coming down my cheeks as I rested on my knees at the foot of her grave. I moved the flowers under her tombstone and pulled out my rosary beads. Juliet had been a believer. She had claimed that God had brought us together. I wasn't sure that I could care about a God that would take her from me, but I still held her faith in me. Every time I rubbed my rosary, or every time Quint gave a blessing, they were for her.

I spent half an hour at the grave site. Remembering her and missing her so. Before I left I took out the bottle of scotch I had bought and took a small drink, toasting her memory. I gave a last caress of the headstone and said my goodbyes.

"I still love you Juliet, from the brightest night to the darkest dawn....I love you."

With that I turned slowly away and headed back towards the main gate. I reached for a smoke again but thought better of it, tucking them and the bottle into my coat pocket. Touching the pocket, I stopped short and just rubbed the leather, slowly running my hand over the sleeve and lining. I rubbed the coat again, Juliet's coat, and I once again realized that I missed her so.

End of Line.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Hey all,

Yesterday I was checking out MySpace and I saw that my brother had uploaded a bunch of new pictures of his vacation with his step-daughter, Lexie. I pulled up the pictures and starting looking through them. In those pictures I saw something I had never seen before, and it was something I didn't know how to take. I saw my kid brother as an adult. Really for the first time.

I mean my brother is almost 28 years old and married. Hell I performed the wedding. He is raising a child with another on the way. But he was still just my kid brother in my eyes. Looking at those pictures and the way he was with Lexie really caught me off guard. My brother looked....natural. he looked like he had been playing the role of Father for years. I could feel genuine warmth and love in those pictures. I also saw a maturity that I had never noticed before.

Growing up our roles in our family were always well divided. I was the mature smart one, the responsible one. Gregg was always the brash, flighty one. The one prone to acting out and irresponsibility. Now I look at him and I don't see the same person. My brother is an adult.

That got me to thinking. What does that make me now? I don't feel any different than I did 10 years ago. I don't feel like I am almost 32. I still feel like a young adult, still following the same patterns that I have always done. I still read comic books and still follow my interests in movies and pop culture. Still prone to impulse buying and spending money on the things that I want.

Sure, I own a home and a nice car. I pay my bills and work hard at my job, things that you do when you get older. But short of owning a home, my brother is the same, plus he takes car of a family. I am also pretty sure that owning a home isn't to far away from his future. SO does this make me the immature one now?

I can't say that I want marriage and a family right now because I don't think that is a true statement. Sure I want to be in a relationship, but that is what I want it to be. I never really got the opportunity to just be in a relationship and all the fun of dating and courting. Marriage is a responsibility that I think I could handle, its just not something that I want to rush. I certainly don't know how I feel about children. I think that I could be a good dad if given the time, and when I was younger it was something I though was in my future. While I haven't, nor will I, closed the door on that yet, I can't help but think If I am mature enough to have them.

There is still so much I want go do, travel and learn, to write. A child tends to stop those dreams really fast, though to be fair, raises a whole new realm of hopes and dreams.

It is still a strange thing to think that my kid brother may be the mature one on the family. All I can do is try to find out what my identity is now and adapt. Every day is a new day, and everyday can lead to infinite possibilities.

End of Line.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Hey all,

I added a new page element to the site, Ramblings. This element is a quick archive to many of the recurring topics of the blog. Quick access to Flash Fiction, including specific stories Like Under a Dead Sun or The Darkest Dawn. You can also pull up columns like The Word Balloon! or Movie Time: Rewind as well as archival movie reviews.

I took the time to add a label to most of my mainstays in the hopes that if you want you can go back and read full stories or access my poetry easier. It also helps me keep track of running story amounts. For instance I noticed that I skipped two chapters of Under a Dead Sun when I totaled them out, which I was really unhappy about. In order to make up for that I am going to extend the final arc by 5 more entries, targeting the final chapter at 35 instead of 30. One chapter I think i accidentally deleted, because I am missing the story where the zombies break into Reny's General Store. I'll start by making up the two I missed, which will run me to 30, then bring the series closed by stretching the original final 2 arcs out to three, and adding an unplanned prologue and epilogue.

It was weird going back and looking at some of the old posts and seeing the site evolve. I started out with really poor formatting and structure skills in terms of topics, often lumping what would be multiple entries into single dumps, usually very short. Movies reviews that only took up a paragraph, or telling some of my True Stories, but without the form I developed later. It was kind of nice to know that I have grown some.

I really feel positive about the direction of the site and hope you stick with me for more.

End of Line.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Word Balloon: Ultimate Spider Man

Hey all,

I gave a lot of thought to this months Word Balloon choice. I have picked a lot of comics from DC's Vertigo Mature readers imprint as well as several all ages fare. I have also picked my favorite comic writer Alan Moore several times. While I have plenty more great works from Vertigo imprint and Alan Moore to spotlight I realized that I have never really picked a book from Marvel Comics nor any honest to goodness super hero stuff.

Which is weird because I read a lot of Marvel and I really like super hero books. The mainstays of my reading habits are Marvel heroes, yet I haven't done a spotlight on them yet. This month that is going to change with my choice of a straight up old fashioned super hero tale. Spider-man. Specifically Ultimate Spider-man.

In the year 2000, Marvel Comics had just started to come around after a few very bad years, including filing bankruptcy in 1998. They had appointed a new President, Bill Jemas, and a new editor in chief, former comic book writer and artist Joe Quesada. Quesada had helped turned the companies image around as an editor right after the bankruptcy by turning several lower tier characters, such as The Punisher and Daredevil, by re-establishing them with top creators and shaking up the same old status quo. He had also changed many high profile comic creators view of the once controlling Marvel, by giving them a much more leeway in the types of stories they could tell. Jemas believed that after 40 years of continuity and back story, that many of Marvels beloved icons had to much baggage to be accessible to new readers, something the struggling company was concerned about. He also believed that a new book would help draw in readers who would be wanting more Spider-man after the release of the upcoming first film in 2002.

Quesada was unsure of the idea after a failed attempt to relaunch Spider-man in 1998 had almost crippled Marvel. Instead of replacing the Spider-man that everyone had known and grown up with for 40 years, they created a separate universe they called the Ultimate universe. This imprint could tell newly modernized versions of classic Marvel characters without the years of continuity holding them back, while still appealing in their regular Spider-man titles to the original fan base.

Marvel chose a relatively unknown writer at the time for Ultimate Spider-man, Brian Michael Bendis. Mostly known for crime noir books, he had written a well received 4 issue arc on Daredevil and was given the green light. Teaming up with long time regular Spider-man artist Mark Bagley, they launched Ultimate Spider-man that fall.

Spider-man's original origin in Amazing Fantasy #15 in 1962 was only 11 pages. Bendis, in a move that truly introduces decompression to comics, unfolded his Spider-man's origin over the course of 7 issues. Decompression is really breaking down the character beats and allowing the characters to talk and act as they would in real life. Some people love decompression, others don't, but most will agree that Bendis was changing the way we read comics.

Truthfully, the first arc of Ultimate Spider-man isn't about Spidey at all, its about Peter Parker. Bendis put Peter back into the Spider-man equation. The book isn't about the battles he fights as Spidey, but about Peter and why he does what he does. Everyone knows Spider-man's origin, he is bitten by a radioactive spider and given the proportionate speed, strength, and agility of it. In an attempt to make some money off of his new found powers, he lets a burglar escape from a robbery, a burglar who ultimately kills his Uncle Ben, the man who raised him.

Bendis gets us into the head of Peter, a shy awkward teenager who has a crush on the girl next door, Mary Jane Watson. Picked on by the bullies at his high school he is alone with his science projects. Bendis makes us feel for the characters long before Peter even puts on the suit. In fact, you don't see Spider-man in costume until issue 5. But the story never seems drawn out or lagging. Instead he uses this insight to draw you into Peter's supporting cast. He takes Peter's Uncle Ben, who barely appears in the original origin, and fleshes him out into such a developed character you begin to wonder if he will die. Yet when he does, its done with sincere pathos.

I've praised Brian Michael Bendis a lot, let's not forget series penciler Mark Bagley. A long time Marvel mainstay, he had orginally broken in through Marvel's Try-Out book in the mid 1980's. A true story of fan makes good, Bagley had been bumped around on minor projects throughout his career until a run on an unknown team book titled New Warriors landed him a job on Marvel's flagship Spidey title, Amazing Spider-man. He had a long run on the title, including being a part of the infamous Clone Story arc that nearly crippled both Marvel and Spidey, though it actually established Bagley as the pre-eminate Spider-man artist of the 1990's. Jemas knew he would be the perfect fit for the book and he was. Bagley captured the youthful energy and exuberance that Spidey needed. He, in my opinion, is the ultimate (no pun intended) monthly penciler.

In a comics medium, especially in the late '90's and 2000's, that was plagued by late shipping books, Bagley could produce his issues on time with quality. He was never the flashiest artist or the most well known, but every book he worked on was quality. The most important part was that he and Bendis got the book, they knew what made the book look and feel like a young Spider-man and what would appeal to a new generation of Spider-man fans. But at the same time not alienate the old.

Ultimate Spider-man continues to be published today as the flagship book of the ultimate line, which includes modern "Ultimate" versions of The Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and The Avengers (called The Ultimates). Bendis and Bagley worked on the book together for 110 straight issues, no fill in artists or writers, and they never missed a deadline, in fact they produced books at a greater than monthly basis. That mark of 110 is the longest consecutive run of a an artist and writer of all time between any of the major publishers. Bendis continues to write the book currently, as Bagley moved on to DC to work on some of their flagship characters.

My pick this month isn't so much about the re-telling of Spider-man's origin, but of the fun and wonder that comes with great super hero tales. Not every book has to be grim and gritty, or follow adult content to stay compelling. Sometimes the best books just make you feel good. And that is what Ultimate Spider-man is all about. Do yourself a favor and check it out. Ultimate Spider-man Vol 1: Power and Responsibility from Marvel Comics, the essence of Spider-man.

End of Line.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun

Chapter 28

Billy jumped down onto the trains fuel car, balancing on the stacks of wood. He reached back and grabbed Katee by the waist, easing her down from the roof of the Pullman car. Billy's ears were still black and bloody, but his balance had somewhat equalized as he hobbled to the trains engine.

"Katee honey, I don't know what we'll find up ahead. I know Root was hear, but whatever happened to him started up ahead."

Katee pulled in close to Billy as the approached the engine. Katee thumbed back the revolver as Billy grabbed one of the split blocks of kindle. They need not have worried though. The scene was laid out before them, the Engineer laying on the floor, clearly transformed into one of the creatures, his mouth yawning wide to reveal the huge fangs. The back of his head was split open and much of his body had been burnt. The remains of Root's arm lay beside beast.

The engine itself was in even worse shape. The controls looked to have been destroyed and the kindle door had been blown off its hinges, the once fierce flames slowly cooling. Much of the roof and side panels had also been blown away. As they looked around, Billy began to notice signs that they were slowing.

"Root must of fought with the Engineer and lost control. Either that thing got a bite of him or he got caught in that explosion we heard."

"What are we gonna do Billy? The engine looks shot and that train still has more of those things on it."

Billy looked around, trying to gauge their location.

"We gotta get as far from Contention as we can. I say we stick to the plan. We keep feeding the engine until it dies and hope we make it over Hicken's Gorge. We cut the Pullman's just before we reach it, and toss the last of the dynamite and destroy the bridge. It's all we got Katee."

The two of them held each other for a moment until Billy softly pushed her away. He pulled off the remains of his short and tied it about his head and began feeding the engine wood, trying to coax a few more miles out of the battered machine.

"We'll make it Katee. We have to."

End of Line.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Hey all,

Today is a milestone for posting, as it marks my 300th post on the blog. It seems like a long time ago that I was posting my 200th, but the truth is I have already surpassed my output from last year and it is only September. I should have at least 40 more more additional posts than I did in 2007.

I marked my 100th post with a poem, and I thought about whether to repeat that theme with this post. I skipped celebrating 200 with a poem and instead took several moments to reflect on the blogs goals and progress. I think 300 posts is an important milestone for me. It proves I haven't given up on my dream of writing. Though I really haven't broadened my sphere of readers, I at least know that I haven't quit. I'd like to think that I would keep writing even if it was only for me.

I went back and looked at the type of poem I wrote for 100, and I don't know if I can repeat that format. But I am going to do something I have vary rarely done in the past. Sit down to write a poem with no thought or precursor. Just the title and start writing from there. Hopefully I can find some measure of success, but even if I don't, you'll get whatever comes out.


I am writing this after turning out the poem below. The poem turned out to be kind of a celebratory review of my website, very different in theme from what I normally write. I am pretty happy with how it turned out and I think fit the point of marking a 300th post. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Another word or turn of phrase,

Writing poems to fill my days.

On love and loss found common theme,

Poetry to fight my self-esteem.

Some were scribed in happy days,

To offset those darker ways.

More will come from topics unknown,

Words written from a heart alone.

Here a post, pop culture viewed,

Praise or scorn, my version skewed.

Typed short stories, some so true,

Others written in fiction's milieu.

Of topics varied whether pulp or truth,

Each new yarn holds my youth.

Of truest tales that happened then,

And more to come in future penned.

Wrote of films both young and old,

From comedies to adventures bold.

I spoke of actors from golden years,

Reviewed some films with rousing cheers.

Saw even more that left bad taste,

Features viewed that were a waste.

In movies I could find a world,

Where written word could come unfurled.

300 posts upon this blog,

A tiny element of a greater cog.

When options are plenty upon the 'Net,

Here's a world cast in my silhouette.

A place to which I can create,

Showcase my works both poor and great.

Writing my thoughts may be minor in scope,

But each new post bring my dreams hope.

End of line.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Flash Fiction: The Darkest Dawn

Chapter 6

I could feel the onset on False Dawn even before I was awake. Part of my heritage I guess, but when you spend as much time as I do trying not to transform, it is certainly a handy talent. Slowly I rubbed my eyes and sat up on the side of the bed.

My apartment wasn't much, I rented a basement unit with only one window, a small rectangle I left heavily draped that dumped out onto the street. I had put bars over the outside as a protective measure, but mostly for the Norms. The drapes were more important by far, depending on the time of day the Sun or the Moon could trigger something I may not be able to control. The rest of the apartment wasn't much.

I had a big living space with a TV and stereo that I rarely touched. A faded old couch sat in front of a table littered with empty food cartons and ashtrays. My bedroom was just as simple, just a bed and dresser, and an overstuffed closet where I kept my clothes. The spare room was the only thing that didn't fit. I grabbed my smokes from the nightstand and headed towards the spare room, pulling an old grey gym shirt on.

I stopped to check out my back in the mirror, grinning after seeing the wounds from last night completely healed. I opened the door to the spare room and stopped to light up a smoke. As I inhaled I took a look around the room. It was filled with all manners of books and lore. Ancient tomes that traced lineage and heritage covered the walls. Spell books, lore, and history, I had one of the best collections in Santa Diego. It paid to be well read when you faced the kind of shit I did on a nightly basis.

The center of the room held an old oak desk, relatively clean compared to the rest of the house. My laptop and the rest of my computer station sat on it, as well as a few earmarked books on Were's that I had been leafing through the night before. I took a few moments to resort the books before firing up my PC and checking my email. I had gotten through about a quarter of he spam that had filled my inbox over the last few days when I heard my phone chirp.

The caller ID had identified it as Father Quinton so I slapped open the receiver.

"Develin here."

"Alex, I need you to come by the church tonight. I have received some information that I think we should discuss."

Quint sounded more high strung than normal, and that got my attention real quick.

"Can't you just fill me in over the phone Padre?"

"This is something you should hear.....and see..... face to face."

"SEE? What the fuck is goin' on Quint? First my Father pays me a visit last night and now you acting all weird. Something is going on and you need to cut the shit."

"Your Father saw you last night? Things may be progressing faster than I have been lead to believe."

Quint seemed to say that last part more to himself than me, but he wouldn't tell me more over the phone no matter how much I pressured him. I finally agreed to come over.

"Don't forget Padre, it's the 14th, I have one visit to make before I head over. I'll be there by 11."

Quint was kind of quiet for a minute. I could tell he wanted to argue with me. Whatever he was sitting on must be important but nothing in Heaven or Hell would make me miss this appointment. Quint finally agreed to meet at 11, but there was still that hint of urgency in his words.

I gave up on my email and started to get ready. I threw my old clothes on the bed and jumped in the shower. I took a few minutes and wiped the dirt and dried blood off of me before drying off. I rubbed my fingers over the 3 day old beard stubble and opted for a shave. It wouldn't do to arrive looking to shabby. I quickly shaved, leaving just my long sideburns as they were. I slicked my hair back and got dressed. I grabbed a new pair of black cargo pants, really heavy duty material. I grabbed a long sleeve black T shirt and grabbed my only button down shirt, also black.

As I headed into the living room I grabbed my holster and work harness, sliding them in place. My harness had all sorts of pouches which I kept various working supplies in, and I felt the familiar heft of the gear fall in all the right places. I picked up my two guns and checked the chambers like I did every night. The guns were made special by Gear for me, over sized revolvers that had break open cylinder chambers. They were modified to hold 8 rounds each, and could handle the special rounds that Gear made for me. I caressed the black pearl grips and slammed them home. Lastly I grabbed my smokes and my trusty leather jacket and headed out the door.

I took a few minutes to rig a couple of simple protection spells over the door. Nothing major, I didn't have that kind of ability in this form but it didn't really matter. I'd have to swing by Vicker's again and arrange to meet a User to re-set my wards. One more thing my old man owed me. I didn't really want to hit Vicker's again so soon after the incident with Kade, but my only other option was to hit The Copper Cup, and the way my luck was going, I probably shouldn't be seen in a Night Walker bar right now.

As I got outside I pulled on my sunglasses. False Dawn (or sunset as the Norms call it) had passed enough that I didn't have to worry about changing uncontrollably, but it was more habit at this point. I still gave a small shudder as I locked my normal form in place though. Daytime had its own set of rules for me,by night I had control. I always felt better after resisting the urge to give into my Night Walker side, when you can't control yourself more often than not, you always appreciate it more when you do.

I walked half a block down to the corner market and headed in. I picked up a carton of smokes and a bottle of scotch. I also picked up a dozen kind of wilted flowers. Orchids always were her favorite. I dropped the money on the counter and grabbed a newspaper on the way out, tucking it into my jacket.

I got lucky and managed to hail a cab after only a few minutes. I gave the cabby directions and leaned back in the seat. I fired up another smoke, much to my drivers chagrin, and waited. I'd be there soon enough.

End of Line.

Monday, September 08, 2008


Hey all,

It took me several pass throughs to get this poem out and it's a far cry from what i originally planned. During the drive home from Flagstaff Sunday I had a ton of ideas for the poem that I couldn't write out as I was driving. I was excited to form them into a poem. When I set down to organize my thoughts on the poem this morning I had some trouble remembering everything I had written in my head.

I think ultimately I got the point across. I wanted the poem to have a chorus, like a song, and I think that worked. I feel pretty good about how it turned out, though I think had I been able to write it while driving it may have been stronger. I really wanted to write this poem to sort of help me combat some of the feelings I have been having.

Writing helps me organize my thought and gives me a tactile look at what I am feeling. Faded here was my attempt to organize my feelings of loneliness that I have had the last couple of days and try to vent it out. The poem is about not knowing how much you love someone until it's to late. About unrequited love and how it can hurt both people. Thanks for reading, and I will try to post a new chapter pf Flash Fiction tomorrow.


In the darkness you were beside me,

The cold deep night all around.

Your the only one who knew,

Took what was lost and made it found.

Can't tell what I am feeling,

My prayers for you so devout.

The world has slowed to a blur,

And that spark of light all washed out.

Faded away from you,

A love that I never knew.

Faded away from you,

Once full of color, now just blue.

With the passing of the days,

Each new hour hurts so much more.

Why did I let you leave?

I should have known what lied in store.

Wishing I could change the past,

Missing something I never had.

Lost before I ever got it,

Left so broken and sad.

Faded away from you,

It could have been so true.

Faded away from you,

This sorrow risen anew.

My eyes run dry from the past,

The tears have all been shed,

My life once full now forgotten,

Better to have been left for dead.

How I need you to realize,

The mistakes that I have made,

I would return what you once offered,

Instead of what I unknowingly forbade.

Faded away from you.

These feelings now so new.

Faded away from you.

I had once chance that I blew.

Dropped so many hints,

How could I have been so blind?

I didn't know what I had,

Until it left me behind.

Now you have moved far away,

And I sit all here all alone.

Cursing my foolish choices,

Though it's far to late to atone.

Faded away from you.

My repentance long overdue.

Faded away from you.

And you and I were through.

End of Line.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

True Story Time!

Hey all,

Had kind of a strange weekend. I headed up to Flagstaff for a weekend of fun with my pal Bill, and while I did, I also did not. I know that sounds weird, but that is how it was.

I arrived Saturday afternoon in time to have a few beers in preparation for the UFC pay per view, Chuck Liddell vs Rashard Evans. I am not a big UFC fan, but when a group of like 8 or 9 guys are, what are you going to do? I am a go with the flow kind of person so whatever anyone else wants to do is usually okay with me. As the fight started, we decided to play a little drinking game to go along with it, as a means to spice up the fun. Bill, and a lot of the guys there, all work at Best Buy and they brought home an old Plinko board that their work use to use. Plinko, the peg board game from the Price is Right, is played using the aforementioned peg board and you then drop a puck down one of the randomly set peg slots at the top until it falls into a marked slot at the bottom. Instead of assigning numbers, we assigned values like Drink, Chug, or Shot. Pretty simple, once your puck hit, you either took a drink, chugged your drink, or did a shot of Jack Daniels.

My contribution was to add a slot labeled Slap. You hit this one slot, and someone could slap you by calling dibs first. Some of us liked it, others not so much, but we all agreed to it. I also added another rule allowing Bill's wife to play, despite the fact that she could not drink due to her pregnancy. She would play and assign her pick to one of the other players, including who got slapped and who got to slap. Another great twist that everyone liked. I did fairly well, only getting slapped once, but I got payback so it was fine. One of Bill's co-workers got slapped a lot though, including two ThunderSlaps. A ThunderSlap is when you get slapped on both cheeks at the same time. He kept flinching away so we assigned an additional penalty slap for flinching, which only he thought was unfair. I then suggested the ThunderSlap unbeknownst to him to another of Bill's friends, and the effect was priceless! We played a round basically after every fight, or if a commercial lasted more than 5 minutes. Everyone, except me, was fairly trashed by the time we took a cab downtown.

As the only member of the party who can recall what happens after the first 10 minutes of the first bar, I was left the recount the tale the next day. I drank as much as anyone else, it just effected me a lot less. I know I had a decent buzz as I was dancing, something I never do. We drank and did some more shots at the bar, and one guy even got in trouble for lighting fireworks outside. I had to calm Bill's dancing down a bit after a warning from the bouncer. After a while we headed to another bar to drink.

We were there maybe half an hour, and though I thought the bar wasn't as much fun, I didn't say anything until it was suggested we go to Flagstaff's only strip club. I wasn't much for that despite my normal proclivity towards that idea. I just didn't have the money for that and I know how far I can be trusted once we get in there. My trusty Ho-dar, which allows me to instantly find the best dancer in the place, can get me into trouble. Luckily we didn't last long as two of us got bounced for being to drunk, a third got asked to leave for checking his cell phone to much (apparently against house rules, go figure) and me for touching a girls leg to much. Mostly I think it was just cause the rest of the guys were so trashed that they lumped me in, but I wasn't complaining. I left without paying a cent of my own money.

Next we ventured a lengthy trek through a fairly unsavory part of Flagstaff in search for a group of guys who had allegedly mugged another group member. He had stayed behind at the bar while we headed to the club, and upon being told where we had went, came after us later. Supposedly he had gotten mugged heading down a back alley in which three guys had taken $20.00 from him, though they left him his wallet and cell phone. Personally I didn't believe it, he didn't looked like he had been pushed down, but what do I know. I had never met the guy before tonight. Being the only voice of reason in this situation no one listened to me as they headed toward a really dark section of town. I knew two things, one, no way was I going that way, and two, there was no way this guy got mugged in the direction they were heading. It was completely OPPOSITE the direction of the bar we had left. He would have had to circle several miles on foot to take a circular route to the club. I managed to corral Bill and another of his friends, both far to drunk to know better, and hail us a cab back to his house.

Eventually everybody ended back at Bill's, unsuccessful in their attempts to find the would be robbers. We sat in Bill's front yard, finishing off the last of the beers until one by one the group trickled home. Some of the guys, including Bill, had 7AM meetings and only got about an hour of sleep.

For me, that is when the weekend turned kind of sad. Everyone returned home to their wives and girlfriends, and I crashed on Bill's couch. Bill's other pal Brad had the spare room, and his wife was home in Phoenix.

It just kind of came to me, that it was just me. It got me thinking about the fact that everyone was in a relationship or starting families. The long, lonely drive home the next day didn't help either, listening to music and wondering again why I was the way I was. Bill starting a family soon, my younger brother with his second, several of my co-workers with newborns or babies on the way, it was just kind of sad. I know I am not ready for a family, but I am ready to not be alone. I guess ultimately I have to work out these feelings for myself. Maybe channel some of these melancholy feelings into a new poem tomorrow. Maybe one day I will find my answer.

End of Line.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Hey all,

I have been meaning to post another update on the designer toy scene that I have been into lately but I didn't have enough material for a worthwhile post. Truthfully I have been meaning to post this since Friday, but I was out of town for the weekend and haven't had the time.

Anyway Thursday saw the release of Kidrobot's newest toy line, Dunny Series 5 on Thursday. Great designer vinyl by some really good artists. Guys like Huck Gee, Frank Kozik, Kathy Olivas, Devilrobots, the list is REALLY long. They launched 19 different designs this time and for the first time Jason, his girlfriend Autumn, and myself went in on a case. That's 25 different toys. We had extremely great luck getting the Kozik (one of the rarest) as well as the hard to find Olivas and two hard to find Huck Gee's!. Through some deft trading at the launch party, we completed the whole set!

To be completely honest, this series isn't my favorite of the Dunny line. They usually drop 2 lines a year of Dunny's. The main series (of which this was #5) and a sub series, usually highlighting a specific genre of location, like the Los Angles series or the French series which focused on artists from those locales. Still there are a few I liked alot and it really helps fill out a very nice set. The Dunny line is only 3 inches in height, so they are small fun and collectible. Kidrobot also releases an 8 inch line, of which they usually launch one a month featuring one 8 inch by a popular artist.

The other vinyl craze around here, though not so much by me though I do like him, is vinyl artist Buff Monster and his line of vinyl from Mindstyle. It's really hard to explain his type of toy, sort of a crossbreed between Kaiju (Japanese monsters) and Ice cream, with a dash of sex thrown in. See, I said it was strange, but it also makes for some cool looking toys. I posted some pics up top, one of the Dunny Series 5, and some Buff Monster above that. Check them out! They are fun and they are art!

End of Line.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Line Up

Hey all,

With the Fall TV season upon us I thought it a good time to update on the television schedule. Heck, some shows have already rolled out, specifically on the CW network. Unlike last season for my viewing choices, this season has a lot of the programs I want to watch packed on the same days. I'll break it down by day, then recap my choices at the end. Kind of a long post so grab a drink!

This is by far the number one night for TV in my book. There are so many programs on that I will be unable to watch everything that I want even with the DVR. First off, you have CBS with their great sitcom line up of Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, and a new show called The Worst Week. NBC rocks out hard with Chuck and Heroes returning. Fox Brings Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles and Prison Break, and the CW has it's hit Gossip Girl. Not to mention ABC with Dancing With the Stars and Samantha Who. Also in the late slot CBS has CSI: Miami and NBC has Christian Slater's new show My Own Worst Enemy, about a secret agent who has two personalities in his head. Not to mention Monday Night Football on ESPN.

So far my picks are during the first hour are Chuck and Terminator, then Heroes and Two and a Half Men during hour two. I may give that Worst Week a try as well as Slater's show with the free slot on the DVR. What really hurts is not being able to watch Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother (or HIMYM for short). Those were two sitcoms I really liked, HIMYM especially over the last two seasons, and Big Bang appealed to my nerd sensibilities. My plan is to try to DVR them during the summer hiatus and hope for the best. I'll catch Monday Night Football only when I go out with friends to watch the games, the DVR will pick up what I miss. Still Monday is packed full!

Tuesday, for me, is one of my off nights to be spent clearing out the DVR. Not a lot of shows that appeal to my habits, but here is the rundown. ABC has new programs Opportunity Knocks, and Dancing With the Stars (results show) and in the late slot returning Eli Stone. NBC has NCIS, new detective show The Mentalist (reminds me of Monk honestly), and in the late slot Without a Trace. Fox has House, and J.J. Abrams (of Lost and Alias fame) new show Fringe, which I have heard very little save that it is a drama with Sci-Fi elements. CW has all new programming with the remake of 90210 and The Privileged, about a young tutor adjusting to living with the rich and famous. NBC is out with a 2 hour block of The Biggest Loser and Law and Order: SVU.

I will definitely give Fringe a shot with Abram's track record. My room mate will definitely be on SVU, and I won't rule out the possibility of trying out The Mentalist, but typically I am not a fan of detective or cop shows, with the rare exception.


Wednesday is a little better. ABC has returning my favorite new show from last year Pushing Daisies, along with Private Practice and Dirty Sexy Money in the late slot. CBS has The New Adventures of Old Christine and new sitcom Gary Unmarried, then Criminal Minds and CSI: New York late. The CW has America's Next top Model and new show Stylista, a reality show about aspiring fashion editors. Fox has Bones, then a sitcom block of 'Till Death and new show Do Not Disturb. NBC has the remake of Night Rider, Deal or No Deal, and Lipstick Jungle in the late slot.

My picks are Pushing Daisies for sure and I'll watch 'Till Death, though even I admit that is a guilty pleasure. For some reason, neither myself nor my room mate got into the TV movie of Night Rider last year, despite our love of the show during it's original run in the 80's. I doubt we will watch it.


Thursday has a very strong line up as well, easily the second best of the weeks for my viewing habits. ABC has Ugly Betty and Greys Anatomy returning, and a new cop show Life on Mars, about a cop who awakes from a coma to find himself in 1973, and must find a way home. CBS has reality show mainstay Survivor: Gabon, powerhouse CSI, and against Life on Mars in the late slot The Eleventh Hour, about a scientist working for the government who must investigate a string of weird occurrences during the 11th hour of the day. The CW has returning genre shows Smallville and Supernatural. Fox also has returning shows The Moment of Truth and Kitchen Nightmares. NBC rolls out its sitcom line up with My Name is Earl, new show Kath and Kim, The Office, and 30 Rock (sharing the slot along with SNL Weekend Update coverage of the elections).

For me NBC is the big winner, I'll certainly keep up with Earl and The Office, and Kath and Kim has looked very funny on the reviews. Besides which I am a big fan of Selma Blair. To be honest I hadn't heard much about Life on Mars until researching this entry, but I do like time travel and that will get a look. I also know plenty of people who will be following Supernatural and everybody (but me apparently) loves CSI, so that should mean a lot of busy DVR's this night.


Let's be honest, this and Saturday are the worst nights for television. I'll roll my picks for these two days after recapping both. Friday is slightly better, but still pretty slim. CBS has the Jennifer Love Hewitt's The Ghost Whisper and new show The Ex-List, about a woman who learns from a psychic that her future husband is an ex-boyfriend, and if they don't reunite with in a year she will be single forever. In the late slot is Numbers. ABC is reality TV with Wife Swap and Supernanny, with 20/20late. FOX has reality game shows Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? and Don't Forget the Lyrics. The CW has sitcoms Everybody Hates Chris and The Game leading into repeats of America's Next Top Model. Finally NBC has the television series adaption of Crusoe (about Robinson Crusoe) and more Deal or No Deal with cop drama Life returning.


The only station with new programming is FOX with an hour long block of Cops leading in to America's Most Wanted. NBC has news show Dateline, then repeats of Night Rider and Law and Order: SVU. ABC has College Football. The CW has no new programming, all of it will be locally allotted (meaning reruns of Friends or some such) and CBS has something called Crimetime Saturday (of which I have no idea, probably news briefs or repeats of other shows) leading in to 48 Hours Mystery.

To be completely honest, I have little interest in any of these shows. I know a few people following Ghost Whisperer and that is most likely the best choice for your programming needs. I may give Crusoe a try with it having a late premier in October, though it will depend on how many programs make the cut. If I am over invested in programming, it may not.


Another strong night of TV, led by FOX with its animation line up. First off it leads with its NFL recap show The OT, then into The Simpsons, King of The Hill, Family Guy, and American Dad. NBC is all football with its recap show Football Night in America and Sunday Night Football. ABC has America's Funniest Home Videos. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and late Desperate Housewives. It also has a super late 10pm show returning, Brothers and Sisters. CBS has 60 Minutes, The Amazing Race, and Cold Case late. It also runs a later show against Brothers and Sisters, returning special forces action drama The Unit. The CW is all new with sitcoms In Harms Way and Surviving Suburbia. Then into Valentine, a show about a family of Greek Gods that secretly bring soul mates together. The its Easy Money in the late slot, a drama about a family who run a high interest loan business.

My picks are Fox's animation lineup and football. Desperate Housewives and Cold Case will be big with many fans, though they are not my cup of tea.

Several shows will return mid-season. CBS returns a personal favorite, sitcom The Rules of Engagement and a new show Harper's Island (a murder mystery show). FOX has a heavy line up in January with 24, juggernaut American Idol, Hell's Kitchen, and new shows like Joss Whedon's highly buzzed Dollhouse and The Cleveland Show ( a Family Guy spin off). NBC returns perennial Law and Order, Friday Night Lights and Medium, and has new shows called Merlin and Kings. The CW will return Reaper for Season 2. ABC also returns its juggernaut Lost, along with The Bachelor, According to Jim, and acquires Scrubs from NBC.

That is a lot of TV to process, and it can be hard to decide what shows make the time in your busy schedule. So I am going to leave you with my top 5 picks for this fall as well as my top two picks for best new series (at least potentially!) I am not including Lost, BattleStar Galactica, nor Dollhouse, shows I am eagerly awaiting returns on but won't be back on until next year. I'll recap those in January, closer to their debuts.

1- Pushing Daisies- easily one of the best series on TV, unlike anything else being made right now.
2- Heroes- the ship will right this season, just remember the last season finale, it will be great.
3-The Office- By far my favorite sitcom, awkwardness has never been so funny.
4-Chuck- honestly, I have really been looking forward to this returning. Even I am kind of surprised.
5- Terminator- This takes care of my action fix and they need the support to continue making more episodes.

Top 2 new shows
1-Kath and Kim - Molly Shannon and Selma Blair, I am hoping they bring the funny.
2-Fringe - The same guy that made Lost AND Alias. I'll give it a try.

To conclude, a lot of good shows, a lot of tough choices. I'll update you on my picks later into the season, and find out what made the cut. Don't forget, The CW has already started, and FOX rolls out Monday with Terminator. September 22nd will launch most of CBS and NBC's (except Prison Break which debuted this past Monday.)
Happy watching!

End of Line.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Flash Fiction: The Darkest Dawn

Chapter 5

What I saw when I burst through my door caught me totally off guard. He was leaning against my counter top, reading a 3 day old newspaper. He wore loose fitting but neatly pressed black pants with a long sleeve black silk shirt. Around his shoulder was a heavy black cloak and silver silk scarf. His slick black hair starkly contrasted his pale white skin. He also had an assortment of rings on his fingers, different gemstones to channel his energy. From his black and silver walking stick, you could see his Aura radiate around him, the swirling blacks of Dark magic intertwined with the red of Evocation. You could also see the slightest traces of blue mixed in. He lowered his paper, black eyes staring a hole at the twin barrels pointed at him. He smiled, the long fangs of his Vampire heritage showing through.

" Not much of a way for a son to greet a Father is it Alex?"

I hadn't seen much of my father in my life. My mixed heritage hadn't exactly worked out the way he had planned, and for several reasons he hadn't done much for me after I was born. He had arranged for some education on my behalf, though only after my Mother had forged an Oath on her deathbed. One of his Lessers had taught me to control the Nightwalker side of my abilities, skills I could access after nightfall, after the False Dawn. He had also instructed me in the basics of magic use, though I hadn't much aptitude for that, even more so to his disappointment. My father was an Ancient, one of the original Vampires, he was both a powerful User and a powerful Nightwalker. A dangerous combination. Whatever Sebastian Devlin wanted, it wasn't gonna be good for me.

I lowered my guns and put them in my holsters. Shrugging another smoke out of my pack, I searched my pockets for a lighter.

"Christ, just what I fuckin' need. What I do this time Dad? Must be pretty bad for you to be up this far past your bedtime."

I knew my flippant attitude would piss him off, but I was to tired and sore for this shit. Between Able that the Were earlier, my luck was turning shittier by the minute.

He gave me a long cold stare before continuing. I could almost see the fire in his eyes.

" I come to you with a warning.....Son. Whatever game you are playing, you can't walk both sides of the fence forever. Whatever treaty had been written, what ever rules are in place, one day you are going to have to decide. The devil you know... or the devil you don't. Things will get worse, I have seen the signs. I could care less what side you choose, but other Walkers don't see it like I do. They think you could be dangerous. They think you could be the key, but I know. You aren't anything special. There are powers in your grasp you have never comprehended or controlled. Combined with your pathetic concern for the humans, you are nothing but a lost opportunity. Do as you will, but know this. One day you will choose, and others may not care for you as I."

He had said that last part with a smile, the kind that didn't touch his eyes. It was probably the most he had ever said to me at once and I wasn't sure how to react.

" Look here, you were the one who suggested me for this job in the first place. You were one of the ones who helped write the pact between the Fell and the Nightwalker tribes. Now your here telling me that it doesn't mean shit? You haven't given two fucks about me and now your here in my best interests? Pretty fucking convenient I'd say. Now unless you have any more fatherly fucking advice, I suggest you get the fuck out."

I actually saw flames leap from his eyes after that rant and wondered if maybe I had stepped too far. We locked eyes, neither flinching from the other. If I backed down now I would lose any advantage I may have had. To be honest, in a fair fight dear old Dad here should be able to roast me. But I've never been one for fighting fair. If it came down to it, I would have to Turn.

With a final flash of flame, he looked away. Folding the paper back onto the counter he gathered his staff. The energy around him flared as he touched it, a clear reminder to the kind of power he had.

" Take my advice for what you will. Things are about to get decidedly bad, and not just for the Norms. Fell and Nightwalker best be wary, and you most of all. For you will be caught in the middle. Your....heritage... makes you unique among the races. Many people will be after the power you possess, regardless of how much you control it. You have never Pledged, and though I doubt you will, you can still find a measure of protection, if you so desire."

As he headed for the door I wondered if this was a ploy. He had never shown any interest in me before, and now was openly offering a place in his House. Still, I knew in my heart what the answer was.

As he crossed the threshold, I told him the truth.

"You're wrong Dad, I did Pledge. I Pledged the day I took this job. I Pledged to the Norms you so despise. I Pledged to the ones who treated me more like family than you ever did."

He paused, standing still for a second. His energies, so bright a second ago, now shown with a bit more dull. "So be it."

As he entered the hall, he vanished in a puff of black smoke, transporting himself back home, no doubt to avoid the light of True Dawn, though his magic could probably withstand the effects on him.

I stood there, puffing away on my cigarette. My eyes felt heavy, and after finishing it, I headed to my bedroom. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I wondered just what the fuck I had gotten myself into.

End of Line.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Assorted Nuts

Happy September all!

I took the weekend off from writing, on the blog at least. Between the heavy workload and the larger than usual blog output of last month I used the weekend for relaxation purposes. I did map out the last 3 installments of Under a Dead Sun as well as the next few Darkest Dawns.

The best breakthrough was finally getting a full view of my McGuffin for Darkest Dawn. A McGuffin is a plot device that drives your story, sort of the reason for the story happening. So over all I think that I have a better lead on where I am going with it than before. In fact a lot of my original planning for the series was scrapped after mapping out the next installment.

I am headed on vacation after today, with a small intermittent meeting on Friday, so I hope to have the next week or so to get a jump on posts. Definitely be on the lookout for more Flash Fiction, as well as my take on the Fall TV line up and what to be looking for. Football season is also upon us and that should be fun. Oh and Thursday brings brand new vinyl toys from Kid Robot, so expect a post on that as well.

Thanks for reading. My writing has become an important part of my day, and whether I have an audience of one or 100, I appreciate the support.

End of Line.