Monthly Archives: December 2004

Year-End Stuff

Can’t say 2004 was a bad year. My writing continued to improve, and I placed more stories than I had the year before. Okay, so some of those stories never got published due to magazine cancellations, but I’m still chalking them up in the plus column.

So, what did I enjoy this year? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s your duty to track all this stuff down and check it out for yourself, though.

BOOKS

I spent much of this year catching up on things I should have read years ago. Read the gut-wrenching The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum, and it quickly shot to the top of my favorite novels list. On other hand, I also read Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers, and it quickly shot to the bottom of my favorite novels list. I was knocked flat by Brian Keene’s The Rising as well as Richard Laymon’s The Traveling Vampire Show. I read Bentley Little’s The Collection and can now say that he is truly a master of the short form. Brian Keene’s Fear of Gravity was another great short collection, with “The Garden Where My Rain Grows” being the stand out.

COMICS

A good year for comics, too. Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead continues to be the best monthly comic out there, giving me more jaw-dropping character moments than anything else on the stands. Joss Whedon worked with Marvel to create Astonishing X-Men. It started out a little rocky, but soon became everything we expected from Whedon and company. Warren Ellis and John Cassaday got Planetary back into the swing of things, revealing Jacob Greene in a horrifying sequence. The loveliest surprise of the year, though, was Grant Morrison’s We3, a techno-thriller involving a cyber-enhanced doggy, bunny, and kitty. Incredible art, dazzling story-telling, and a few moments that might even make you shed a manly tear.

FILM

The Dawn of the Dead remake was incredible. I loved it even more than the original. Fahrenheit 9/11 was at turns thought-provoking and laughter-inducing. Too bad there wasn’t much else worth mentioning in film this year.

MUSIC

A pretty bad year for music, too. Taking Back Sunday and Straylight Run put out an incredible album each, and The Twilight Singer released a grand album of covers with She Loves You. The big story, though, is Green Day’s absolutely brain-shattering American Idiot. Never has something sounded so vital, so important, and yet so loud. What amazes me, though, is how in such a lackluster musical year, Linkin Park still held onto their worst band in the universe standing.

So that’s the year in things that entertained me. Feel free to drop me a line and let me know about anything else I should be checking out.

The Joys of Christmas Eve

I’ve always prefered Christmas Eve to Christmas. I think it stems from the trips my family used to make from Aurora, IN (and later Cincinnati,OH) to La Grange, KY every year. My grandparents lived out there, and we spent quite a few Christmas Days out on their farm. Thing is, we always had to pass through several town of various sizes on our way out there, and it was always fun to see these town all lit up with lights, yet completely void of human activity.

Years later, after the grandparents moved in with us, I got a job at a riverboat casino, working in the kitchen. This meant that I worked every Christmas Eve. There was something special about leaving work at 11:30PM and standing in the parking lot, just talking to the rest of the cooks, the rest of the world dead around us.

So, that’s what I like about Christmas Eve, watching the world die for a day or two, feeling like you’re the only one out there.

It’s Decmber 24th, 2004.

I’m the last man on Earth.

I’m a liar

A dirty, awful liar.

Looks like my Horror and Comics article won’t be up this weekend. I know, I suck. There’s some good news, though. The article won’t be appearing here, because it will be appearing somewhere else, somewhere with a bit more traffic.

Stay tuned. It’ll be worth it.

Tiny Bombs

The weekend’s illness has faded to a cough. Not just any cough, though. Oh, no way. This cough goes off at irregular intervals with the force of a tactical mortar. This is the kind of cough that makes your eyes hurt because they’re trying to pop out of your head. I think somebody pissed in my lungs while I was sleeping.

And so we roll into the holidays.

It was supposed to be such a productive weekend.

It really was. There was this short comic script I was going to bust out. Sort of an experiment on making horror work in the comics format. It was going to be done by this morning.

But something happened. Maybe I can describe it best through a timeline.

SATURDAY

10AM-3PM: Christmas Shopping

4PM: Sore Throat

6:30PM: Twenty Minute Sneezing Fit

7PM: Go to Holiday Party

7:30PM: Stomach Begins to Feel “Heavy”

8:30PM: Sweats

9:30PM: Toss the Keys to Shawna, Beg Brother to Drive Me Home

10:10PM: Arrive at Home

10:15PM-3AM: Vomiting with Short Breaks for Intense Cold Chills

SUNDAY

3:15AM-9AM: Sleep

9AM-10PM: Sleep, Shiver, Ache, Rehydrate

I Love People

I had to do a little holiday shopping yesterday, and my travels took me to Babies R’ Us in order to procure a gift card. The concept of doing this terrified me. Why? Because of the exchange I had with a cashier the last time I had to venture to Babies R’ Us to procure a gift card.

It was May when I last waltzed into that pastel Hell. My goal was to get in and out as quick as I could, but fate would deal me a harsher hand. I don’t know why the cashiers at Babies R’ Us are so slow. Maybe they’re saddened by their pastel environment. Maybe it’s the giraffe. I don’t know. All I know is that it took close to ten minutes to get through to the cashier.

That’s when the fun started. What follows is a word-for-word transcription of the dumbest interaction two human beings have ever had.

Cashier (glancing at gift card): “That all for you?”

Me: “Yeah. I need fifteen dollars put on it.”

Cashier: “Okay.” (punches buttons) “You need a gift receipt for that?”

Me: “Huh?”

Cashier: “A gift receipt.”

Me: “Why would I need a gift receipt?”

Cashier: “In case they want to exchange the gift card.”

Me: “Exchange for what?”

Cashier: “Well, for anything in the store.”

Me: “No, thanks.”

You can see why I was afraid. Luckily, I arrived at Babies R’ Us roughly twenty seconds after they opened, and I was able to grab my gift card and leave before the really stupid, depressed people showed up for their shifts.

The Printer Hum

The printer makes a sound sandpaper, churning out covers for The Christmas Short Story. Between jobs, it hums at me as if it were angry at me. It’s a low, powerful sound that I find chilling. I think the printer will try to kill me soon.