I want to yell something profane every time I see someone infinitely more affluent than I am driving around in a Ferrari. I get all petty and jealous and desperately try to find something about them that’s worthy of some sort of negativity. “Oh yeah? Well you’re fat!” I’m a hater. And if this aforementioned fan of Italian cars were to notice me in my Chevy with the jealousy painted on my face, he’d have every right to dub me as such. I suppose it’s something that rich and famous people have to deal with all the time. I’m pretty sure Nicki Minaj says “hater” at least three times in every song of hers and I’m sure she has a valid complaint. People see her success and then juxtapose it against their lack thereof. They get all pissy thanks to the disparity, and rather than take an introspective look at their shortcomings, they lash out at Nicki and her fame and her money and her ridiculous butt implants. See? I just did it.

But the people that really piss me off are all those douche kabobs that claim to have “haters” when in reality, they’re just delusional idiots. You’ve seen them; the trashy suburban gangster wannabes that drive around in shitty cars hoping that the depth of their booming bass will distract you from the fact that they’re driving a rusted out Cutlass. They’re even easier to spot when they proclaim their retardation with a bumper sticker that says something like “haters gunna hate” or “I heart my haters” and every time I spot one, the frustration is a palpable sensation that makes me twitch a little bit. No, you idiot, we don’t despise you because we’re jealous of your super sweet neck tattoo, we hate you because you’re a waste of flesh and a walking advertisement for birth control. You aren’t rich. You aren’t famous. You don’t have “haters”; people don’t like you because you aren’t likeable. Duh.

I guess that type of disillusionment would be vastly more comfortable than the truth though, right? Instead of reappraising the choices that they’ve made thus far and trying to figure out why people frown and slowly shake their heads when they see them, they could just slap a stupid sticker on their car and tell themselves that everyone else is the problem. Easy cheesy lemon squeezy. Hell, all those trendy rappers that they imitate complain about their haters all the time so maybe it’s the same for everybody. Makes sense.

Once this delusion sets in, these asses have a go-to tool that works in almost every situation. “What, you don’t like the fact that I bump my music in your neighborhood at two in the morning? This is my car fool; you’re a hater. What, you don’t like the fact that I deal meth? I’m just out there making ends; you’re a hater. What, you don’t like the fact that I’m wearing a leopard body suit that’s three sizes too small? I’m super hot and you’re just a jealous hater.”

I’d like to think that some of these idiots know that they’re wrong, and that maybe, just maybe, when they’re all alone and there’s nobody around that can take the blame for their idiocy through some sort of emotional osmosis, they look in the mirror and say “dear god, I am dumb.” But I know that they don’t. Delusion is the most debilitating drug on the market.

And I love it when these people brag about their “swag.” I’d like to avoid sounding like one of those old has-beens that talks about how things “used to be”, but I’ll risk it. When did swag become a more marketable attribute than class? I feel as if class is for men while swag is for little boys who leave the stickers on their hats. Oh you have swag? That’s cute. Why don’t you put that on your resume and see if it helps you get that coveted swing shift at Taco Bell. And as a side note, rappers and professional basketball players leave the stickers on their hats because they can afford to always wear brand new hats. When you leave that shiny sticker on your two year-old grungy hat, it doesn’t make you look cool. It just highlights the fact that you’re a broke idiot.

I live in Farmington, New Mexico, and we have our fair share of fools. I see “hater” bumper stickers all the time and if you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I always like to attach a picture that relates to the post. I wanted to get a picture of some broke-ass “Fast and Furious” inspired Honda or something similar sporting a “hater” sticker but I simply couldn’t find one today. I even drove through the parking lot at Wal-Mart because that place is usually rife with the fuckers. But alas, no luck. I guess it’s the inverse of that old idiom “there’s never a cop when you need one”, you know: “you can never find a delusional douche kabob declaring his idiocy with a sticker when you need a picture for your trite little blog.”

As I was driving down the aisles at Wal-Mart with my camera in my lap, I happened to look up into my rear view, and there, about six inches off my back bumper, was the biggest monstrosity of a truck I had ever seen. You know how they say that dudes with big trucks are just trying to compensate for a lack of genitalia? Judging by the size of this dude’s truck, he was born with an inny. I could see the white-knuckle grip his pudgy fingers had on the steering wheel and the rage in his sunken eyes. Some damn yuppie was in his way and there’d be hell to pay if he didn’t move his liberal ass!

Anyway, I got out of his way and circled around so I could see where he parked. He revved his engine in a “hear me roar” type of way as noxious black smoke bellowed out of twin smoke stacks that’d been mounted in his truck bed. I started laughing when he got out. He walked almost as if the world was stuck in slow motion. The duck face he was sporting was epic. He had a sleeveless “T” shirt and an enormous gut and a smattering of hackneyed tattoos. He was like Larry the Cable guy without all the class. Seriously.

Have you noticed that booming trend wherein tawdry people embrace their trashy nature out of a truculent sense of pride? I guess if you’re going to sit in the mud, you might as well wallow in it, right? That was this guy. He didn’t say anything as he strutted into Wal-Mart to stock up on Fritos and Miller Highlife, but I could just picture him shouting ’Merica! I just knew for a fact that if I were to make eye contact with him and then frown and slowly shake my head, he’d mutter something about haters as he walked by.

Anyway, I write and sell books and they’ll both be free tomorrow. If you’re a fan of fiction, you should check out Trailer Park Juggernauts here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00704HK6Q If you’re a fan of real life with just a sprinkling of fiction, you should check out Ephemeral Truths and Short Fiction here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AYRAXNI

Begging for a Cult Classic

I’m not nearly delusional enough to think that I’ll ever earn a Pulitzer or any of those other shinny little stickers they put on the front of critically acclaimed books. I’ve come to terms with the fact that my name will never be marked anywhere in the New York Times. That’s not what I want, and that’s not just because I can’t have it. I want to write a cult classic. You know; the literary equivalent of “Army of Darkness”. Don’t you just love that movie? That question was rhetorical. This is my BOOM stick!

Anywho, I don’t have the chops to write the great American novel, nor do I have the prerequisite intellect. I have shit-tons of imagination and humor, but when it comes to all those tricky mechanical rules of syntax, my eyes glaze over and I start drooling like a zombie. I’ve got better things to do with my time and creative energy than to worry about whether or not some pompous fool in a sweater vest will consider my work to be in the confines of “masterpiece”. When I started writing, I set my sights on my subjective version of awesome. I want to write books that all the cool kids read.

But how do you do that intentionally? I’m pretty sure most cult classics are accidental. And what is a cult classic? My wife defines it as something that “is loved by retarded nerds but hated by the establishment”. As a side note, if my wife married a retarded nerd, what does that make her? I guess it fits in a way. Anybody that has ever stood on a skateboard can rattle off at least three quotes from “Army of Darkness” but the film was light-years away from an Oscar nod. There’s no accounting for taste.

I’ve had little spikes of success that give me hope. Tales of the Talisman published one of my short stories a couple years ago and Martian Lit will be publishing one this coming March. Both publications are well received by nerds. I’ve published two books so far and in total, I’d guess that at least one thousand bona fide nerds have read them. The reviews are promising. I made my first book, Trailer Park Juggernauts, free this weekend and it shot up to 17th place out of all the free science fiction books available on Amazon (at which point I might’ve squealed like a little girl). Out of all the free books that Amazon offers, I made it into 655th place. Considering the fact that they offer something like nine hundred thousand free books, I think that kicks ass. Seriously; look:

17th Place

Look, I know that Amazon’s rankings are an equation of sales per a given period of time and my brief spike was due to a short period wherein my work was free. I know that whomever was in 18th place has probably had more success than I have. I also know that rankings don’t matter and I shouldn’t look at these myopic little numbers for validation, but whatever. I was in 17th place so na-na na-na boo-boo, stick your head in do-do.

When Amazon ranks your book and you make it into the top 100, they juxtapose your title right next to whichever book is in the same ranking among the books that aren’t free. When I was in 17th place, I was exactly opposite from something Edgar Allan Poe wrote. When I made it into the thirties, I was across from some author I’d never heard of. But when I was in 52nd place, I was exactly opposite Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Holy shit, there he was. If ever there was a king of “cult classic” it was he. True, Vonnegut isn’t a stranger to critical acclaim, but that’s irrelevant. Thinking I could ever aspire to be half as awesome as that dude is the ultimate delusion of grandeur, but we all need a windmill at which to tilt. Kurt was born more interesting than I’ll ever be; that guy in the Dos Equis commercials bows down to Kurt Vonnegut. His novels are timeless and inspired by real life events that I’ll never experience. Did you know that Slaughterhouse Five was inspired by a subterranean German meat locker in which Vonnegut was imprisoned during one of our world wars? See what I mean? I’m not sure when I’m going to have an experience like that but I can just about guarantee it isn’t going to happen in suburban New Mexico.

All I’m saying is that if and when some esoteric little group of nerds dubs my book a success, I will have accomplished my goal. If any one of the four books I plan two write in the next five years ever becomes a staple decoration upon dorm room coffee tables, right there next to the bong and day-old pizza, I will have attained that status I cherish so much.

Both of my books are free today. If you’re a fan of fiction, you should check out Trailer Park Juggernauts here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00704HK6Q If you’re a fan of real life with just a sprinkling of fiction, you should check out Ephemeral Truths and Short Fiction here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AYRAXNI

Cult Classic

Bathroom Break

The last time I stopped at a Chevron for a bathroom break, there was a fully grown man with his pants pulled down to his knees using one of only two urinals. He had a hairy ass and that indelible image is seared into my memory and there’s nothing I can do to wash it away. I stopped dead in the middle of the tiled floor after walking in; he must’ve sensed my disgusted expression or something because he turned and made eye contact and then reached down to slowly pull up his pants as if nothing were wrong with his decision. Nope, nothing to see here. No forty year old vagrant pissing like a toddler on a camping trip. There was simply no way I was going to walk up beside him and use the other urinal (it was the one closer to the ground for children anyway) so I just washed my hands and left. I’m not quite sure why I took the time to wash my hands either. I guess it could be to save the guy some embarrassment and make it look like I wasn’t just leaving because of him. Or maybe it was a statement, you know, like “your bare ass doesn’t scare me and I just came in here to wash my hands anyway.”

Look, there are a few unwritten laws when it comes to urinal usage. You always leave one empty one between you and the next guy. If you can’t because too many people are in the bathroom, you use one of the stalls. If all the stalls are full and you’re forced to saunter up to a urinal next to some other dude, you don’t say a damn thing, you keep your face perfectly expressionless like a pissing robot, you stare at the wall directly in front of you pretending like peripheral vision doesn’t exist, and you sure as shit don’t let your pants and tighty-whities fall to the ground. Those are just the damn laws. I didn’t write them but I follow them.

Part 2

The wife and I went to Starbucks a week ago because we didn’t have our monsters with us and that’s just what you do in a scenario like that; you find a public place, go there, and revel in the tranquility that comes from being sans children. Before ordering our iced green teas, we each went onto the single bathrooms; one for her, one for him. I walked in and once again froze in front of the toilet. Someone had left a rather large surprise in the toilet and hadn’t flushed and it sure as hell wasn’t a biscotti. As I stared down into that elliptical ring of porcelain, something nagged at me. Something else was wrong with this picture and I just couldn’t figure it out. And that’s when it hit me like a double espresso: there wasn’t any toilet paper in the toilet. Son of a bitch. Someone had gone into the bathroom thirty minutes or so after an enormous meal, done their business, and then failed to do that one thing that separates us from the primates. “Employees must wash their hands before returning to work” my ass; this dude didn’t even wipe.

Upon leaving the restroom, I started slowly panning my head from left to right trying to figure out who the hygiene shirking culprit was. Was it the effeminate guy in a tweed suit sipping a latte? No frickin’ way; he looked way too uptight to be the perpetrator. Was it the teenish guy in athletic gear doing his best to impress an awkward blonde on what looked to be a second or third date? No frickin’ way; he’d never risk the smell. Was it the disgruntled heavyset and slightly emo dude working the drive through window? Yup. Son of a bitch. We ordered our iced teas and I watched those baristas like a tree-hugger would watch Paul Bunyan. Our drinks never came close to Mr. Too-busy-or-angst-ridden-to-wipe and we went on our way.

Anyway, I write and sell books, and they never cost more than a buck. Hell, tomorrow, they’ll both be free. If you’re a fan of fiction, you should check out Trailer Park Juggernauts here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00704HK6Q If you’re a fan of real life with just a sprinkling of fiction, you should check out Ephemeral Truths and Short Fiction here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AYRAXNI
Bathroom Break

Adam’s Apple Off Center

I originally set this blog up in an attempt to construct a verbal lightning rod that’d lead people to my books, and I suppose that’s happened to a degree, but as of right now, most of my readers come looking for a medical diagnosis. A few months ago, I wrote about a time in my life wherein a weird trip through the desert and a bit of alt-rock was the impetus behind a medical checkup that ultimately taught me more than I ever wanted to know about thyroid nodules. Long story short, I have one, it’s not cancer, and I get to live for a very long time with a lump in my throat that’s annoying at worst. You can read the original post here: https://thevelveteenmaraca.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/eoio-its-off-to-my-biopsy-i-go/

Anyway, WordPress is an ergonomic website and they have this nifty thingy that tells you how people come to read your crap; more specifically, I can read through all the search terms people typed into Google that led them to me. Most are interesting, some are banal, others are explicit, but the king of them all is “my Adam’s apple is off center”. If you count all the weird little variations, close to one hundred people from around the globe have gone to the computer instead of a doctor and ultimately ended up reading my experience from biopsy to diagnosis. As a side note, I can always tell when they’re from overseas because they spell “center” all bass-ackwards like “centre”.

It pisses me off a bit because I know for a fact that they’re not at all interested in my writing, but hey, at least they’re reading it, right? I’ve even considered using other terms that people might search for like “persistent cough” or “chest pain” or “really big boobs” but I decided against it because artifice is a novice’s tool (by the way, I’d like to take a moment to welcome the chain smoking boob fans that just found my blog). But I can’t really be pissed; it’d be a lie to say that I didn’t do a WebMD search just before going to the doctor so I’d be a hypocrite if I got all high and mighty.

And what if I actually did some good? Statistically speaking, at least one of the people that read my blog actually did have thyroid cancer, so maybe something I wrote led them to go get their own fine needle biopsy. Maybe somebody lived that would’ve died. Maybe I’m a hero. On the news or in the movies, whenever someone is accused of being a hero, they always shrug it off with a cliché and a servile grin and say something like “oh heck, I’m no hero. I was just doing what anybody would”. I’m not sure I could be that magnanimous if push ever came to shove. If some blonde bombshell of a reporter ever dubbed me a hero with a microphone instead of a sword, I’d say “why hell yes I’m a hero” as I stood arms akimbo silhouetted by the sun. Can you picture my cape billowing behind me?

Anyway, if you have a pain in your chest and cough up things that look like they come from a cat, stop smoking and get a chest x-ray. If your Adam’s apple is off center it’s probably a nodule that needs to be checked out. Hell, if you spell it “centre” you’ve probably got government funded health care and one less excuse than the rest of us that turn to the computer every time something weird hurts. And if you like really big boobs, you’re in the wrong place.

Lastly, I write and sell books, and they never cost more than a buck. If you’re a fan of fiction, you should check out Trailer Park Juggernauts here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00704HK6Q If you’re a fan of real life with just a sprinkling of fiction, you should check out Ephemeral Truths and Short Fiction here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AYRAXNI

According to WordPress, people in the colored countries may or may not have read about my Adam’s apple being off-center.

Creepy Shit my Daughter Says

My youngest daughter had been reticent for a good while as we were driving home in my truck when she suddenly turned to look at me from her car-seat in the back. I looked in my rear-view at her ridiculously blue eyes, and in a matter-of-fact tone, she said “dad, I love you guys way more than my last family. You know, the mom and dad I had two thousand years ago.” Frankly it freaked me out a little bit. I turned around when we got to a stop light and made eye contact just to make sure she hadn’t sprouted horns or something; she gave me a content little smile and looked back out her window. That was that. Weirdness came out of her mouth, my eyes got wide, and then she drifted back off to that mystical little place where four-year-olds live.

That’s just some nonsense that children say, right? I mean, it’s not like my precious little monster is actually some reincarnated soul that remembers a past life, right? I guess I’ve got a weird streak too because I my thoughts went down that road. What if she can remember past lives? What if she has some sort of special power that gives her insight alien to the rest of us? What if she’s some sort of reincarnated deity and there’s a group of her followers out there that’ll find this blog via Google and then show up at my door dressed in white and smelling of incense? What if I just took this way too far?

A couple weeks passed and we were on our way home when I heard her say “daddy?” from the backseat again. I took a deep breath and met her eyes in my mirror once more hoping that she just had to go potty or something and I shit you not, she said “don’t worry daddy, it’ll all be over soon because I’m dreaming”. I had to argue with this one so I said “no hunny, we’re awake right now.” She looked at me with that small smile we all reserve for idiots and said “No we’re not. I can always tell when I’m dreaming because I can wake up. Silly daddy.” I wanted to respond but it was too late. She was already looking out her window and our conversation was over.

I guess maybe moments like these might be karmic retribution; sometimes I mess with my children. It’s a father’s right. On a different ride home, my daughter told me that the music was too loud as she covered her perfect little ears with her perpetually sticky hands. I looked at her in the mirror and said “that’s only because you’re not dancing. Music can never be too loud if you’re dancing”. She considered that for a moment, and then broke out into some dance moves that were hard to distinguish from an epileptic seizure. She smiled and told me I was right. A few months ago before the snow stuck to this desert of ours, she and I were outside playing with a pinwheel and laughing. The wind stopped, her pinwheel slowed, and her smile turned upside down. I looked at her with a grave expression and asked her if “daddy should use some of his magic to make the wind come back.” She nodded as if I were asking about something commonplace, I pretended to concentrate and made a vague hand gesture, and luckily, the wind picked up and her pinwheel started spinning. She nodded her little head and smiled; she’s completely convinced that I have wizard like control over the elements and I’m not saying anything to dissuade her. Sue me.

The last bit of creepiness happened only a few nights ago when I heard her start crying in her room and then abruptly go quiet. I went to investigate and comfort, but when I asked her what was wrong, she said “nothing. I was scared of death, but then I remembered that you’re stronger than death and you can squish him.” I gave her a long hug that was just as much for my comfort as it was hers and then I left her in the comfort of a large blanket and the dark. At first, I was only bothered by the fact that she referred to death as “him”. It’s not like we tell her stories of the grim reaper at bed time so I have no clue where she got that. But when I was almost back to my couch and its pillows, I froze in mid stride totally rocked by the implications of what she had said. That little blissful creature that is my youngest daughter had an ungodly amount of faith in me, and I can’t help but think that it might be misplaced. Sometimes, the stresses of my rather comfortable life seem almost insurmountable. Sometimes, it feels as if even the mundane bullshit might crush me. However, this daughter of mine, this pure little blue eyed girl, knows for a fact that her daddy is strong enough to defeat death as if “he” were merely a fly under my mighty boot. That’s a lot to live up to. I went back to my couch hoping that I could be one tenth of what she expects.

Anyway, I’ve decided just to roll with it. Other than searching Craig’s List for a charlatan specializing in exorcisms, I really don’t have much choice. Kids just say crazy things. That has to be it. It’s a fact; Bill Cosby made a fortune on a show based on it once his pudding-pop career started going downhill so it has to be true. She still spouts off with some weird shit now and then but I keep telling myself that it’ll be okay. When she walks up to my wife and tells her that “grandpa Lynn isn’t real anymore because he’s dead” we all laugh (which is weird in and of itself). When she wakes up from a nap and walks over to me and says “dad, I’m sorry for not singing to you for a hundred years” I just hug her (that one’s from today by the way). My daughter is weird, weird is special, and special is wonderful. That’s how we see it.

By the way, my book is free today, so if you have a Kindle, there’s really no reason not to download it: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AYRAXNI


Ephemeral Truths and Short Fiction

Ephemeral Truths and Short Fiction is out. It’ll be free this weekend, but if you feel like giving me 99 cents, you can get it now: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AYRAXNI. I tried to make this book free and keep it that way, but as it turns out, doing so is a bitch. The best I could do for now was to join Amazon’s “KDP” thingamabob which strangely felt like some sort of modern day Faustian embargo, but so be it. It’ll be free for five days out of every ninety, which is arbitrary at best, but Amazon is calling the shots.

I received a rejection letter in the mail today that was two years late. The only thing worse than a rejection is a tardy rejection. I got that spike of excitement before opening the letter; that fluttering sensation of a remote possibility. It’s that same disillusionment that comes with a lottery ticket, but whatever. I was swinging for the fences with this submission anyway. TOR publishes all of the greats and I sent them a copy of my first book quite some time ago hoping that whomever read it would’ve come to work high or something. They were obviously sober.

The TOR magazine, however, came through in a big way. They sent me a personalized letter telling me that I had just missed the mark along with at least a page worth of critiques that if followed to the letter, would help my submission “next time”. How badass is that? One of the busiest editors on the face of the planet takes the time to write paragraphs (notice the plurality) just to help me out because he recognizes the potential. Constructive rejections are about eighty-thousand times better than tardy ones.

Anyway, I’ve published two books and thirty thousand words worth of nonsense here since I made that ill fated submission to TOR and I’m saving that rejection letter so I can frame it next to their acceptance letter that’ll be showing up in ’15.

ETSF 001

There’s a backwoods country road that I travel every Tuesday when I take my oldest monster to her piano lessons. I have no idea how old the road is because I’m not native to these parts, but when they built it, they cut down into the hills thanks to that unyielding desire our species has to keep our roads as flat and strait as possible. As a side note, that desire would probably change if everyone drove Porches.

In the summer, the rock face alongside the road constantly weeps. Some fresh water spring or superficial aquifer leaves the stone wet and dark no matter how hot this ridiculous desert gets. In the winter, the water freezes in rivulets of ice as the earth’s ichor seeps from the wounded sandstone. If you stare at it long enough, it almost looks as if you’ve discovered some new and weird species of tree that grows icicles instead of roots. The locals call it the “glacier”; some of them even think it’s a glacier thanks to their seclusion below the Seward Meridian. I just nod along with ‘em and make affirming noises when I’m told how pretty it is.

Is there a word for formations like these? It’s too slow to be a spring and far too pedestrian to be anything else I can think of. Not to mention the fact that the ice is accidental. It was formed by a bulldozer. Whatever; surrounded by bland sagebrush and trailer parks, the blue icicles stick out like fine art amongst subway graffiti.
Farmington Ice