Saturday, June 30, 2007

Death Camp (a Burlesque Top Ten List)

Reading Joe's post about summer camps for pyromaniacs got me thinkin'...

In Washington--probably other places, as well--we force our children into 6th grade humiliation camps. These "camps" are hidden deep in the woods, far from fast food and civilization. There purpose is to break the child's spirit as they prepare to enter Junior High. Noble enough.

I remember it, well.

I'd broken my arm the week prior, so shoved in my duffel along with my tees, husky size jeans, and a few books, was a box of garbage bags to tie around the cast. As if an 11-year old is conscientious about those things. We gathered at the bus bay an hour before we'd normally show up for school. The teacher and some parents marched us onto a bus that hadn't been cleaned all school year. The scents were, obviously, old grandma dust, prepubescent butt, and the hidden Twinkie molds of doom. That would have been bad enough, had we not stopped at two other school to cram more kids in. By the time we got rolling, the seating was so cramped you'd think we were headed for Treblinka.

Two hours (days) later, we arrived. Pilgrim Firs, as Diana Fall put it, looked just like Camp Crystal Lake from Friday the 13th. Smattering of cabins amidst the evergreens, big lake with floating wooden docks, archery range, nowhere to run. We were going to die. Now, Diana was known for two things. One, her ability to get into R-rated movies, and two, wearing Big Mac overalls that pooched at the crotch, transforming her into Southgate Elementary's first trannie student. That kind of a fashion statement takes guts, so you know she's pretty reliable.

I didn't know it then 'cause I hadn't seen the movie, but as it turned out, Pilgrim Firs WAS remarkably similar to that early slasher flick. With one notable exception, Mrs. Voorhees got it right: those counselors deserved to die.

I'm not sure how I arrived at that opinion, exactly. Maybe it was the late night flashlight raids on the cabins. Or perhaps, the death march into the hills, followed by the terrifying tale of the hermit who stalked and killed children the year prior. Maybe it was the whoreanus singing at campfire. Who knows?

Which leads me in a roundabout way to my point. The criminally neglected Burlesque of the Damned top ten list. I decided I had so much fun with the previous audience participation list that I'm doing it again. I'll start you guys off with number 10. Add yours in the comment section and I'll try to rank them fairly.

Top Ten Reasons Camp Counselors Make Great Victims!*

10. Personality Disorders. Let's examine the type of individual drawn to volunteering to be a camp counselor. They seem to fall into two groups, peppy overachievers (ala Election's Tracy Flick) or sick sadists (see: Marquis de Sade, wickepedia, or your average meat-headed jock). As far as I know there is no in between. Reason enough!

9. College Bound. "Some people take on extracurricular activities, in case it impresses the university admissions staff," Tez says. "All the universities I applied to rejected me, possibly because I wasn't a camp counsellor. I WANT REVENGE!" Valid points. Kill Kill Kill!
5. Teen Sex. Joe Schreiber (EAT THE DARK) writes: "skinny teenager counsellors in cutoffs looking for a chance to get naked together in some musty cabin where dust motes stick to sweaty bare backs and the only way to scratch that itch is with a butcher knife." Absolutely. Sex is the product of dirty filthy minds. There's only one response.

2. Masochism. Tez Miller suggests, "Anyone who signs up to work with children is a masochist, and therefore won't mind being hurt." As a former child therapist, I can assure you she's right, now where are those Goddamn nipple clamps?

Look at all those empty spots people! You've got work to do.

*Now dripping with extra blood and gore!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Heinrich Maneuver

Of course, the song is awesome, but now I'm starting to like the video.

It's something about the time displacement. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Brand New Irrational Fear

Although, this could technically fit under the terrifying clown umbrella, and would then be not brand new just ongoing. I'm having a bit of anxiety just considering adding the picture here, but I'll force myself...

If there's anyone out there who can honestly say they crave Burger King because of this thing, please help me understand. I've been scared since this commercial...

Don't start with me, either. You may see a harmless plastic masked mute actor. I see a combination of...


See? Horrifying.

But don't let that stop you. Go ahead and eat your whoppers, people. Just know that thing's touching your food, 'cause it wants to get in your mouth. It lulls you with its quiet ways. Makes you comfortable. Then jabs you with its crown.

Don't be fooled.

The Burger King is the Antichrist!

Monday, June 25, 2007

I Don't Have a Problem with This...

Online Dating

I'm an adult, you're an adult, or adultish.


What the fuck's the problem? I don't see a fuckin' problem. Beside's it's not like there's penetration up in this bitch.

Dx: I'm Completely Insane

Just got home from the doctor. Apparently, I don't know my medicine so good. My rare skin disorder is somehow linked to that splatterfest of two weeks ago. You remember the one? 102 degree fever, seven days of diarrhea? Sound familiar? On the other hand, the doctor said, we may never know what's causing it. Doesn't that sound hopeful?

What I'm not is (1) diabetic, (2) suffering some cellular breakdown ala The Hulk, and/or (3) nerve disordered. My wife, always overflowing with empathy, diagnosed me with fibromyalgia, that offed maligned and favored disorder of the personality disordered. To which she laughed and guffawed and made general fun. Which is unfortunate for me since...

The doc suggested post-viral myalgia (way too similarly named), wherein that virus took a liking to me and decided to hang out in my skin and soft tissue (including the penile spongiosum). I'm also super-dehydrated. Is it serious, you ask? Only so much that these everyday, over the counter items will fix it. Maybe. And before anyone asks, yes I refill those Voss bottles, no one can afford that shit on a regular basis.

By the time I got home, everyone was aware of my skin issue and offers of advice came pouring in. Sauves from my best friend the witch doctor, my mother suggested I save some money and take her generic ibuprofen that expired twelve years ago (she would have gladly coughed up her supply of Mexican antibiotics had I only asked), my wife chuckled at my diagnosis.

Me: It's post-viral myalgia.
Her: Did you say Fibromyalgia?
Me: No!
Her: It's a non-specific generalized pain of uncertain origin?
Me: Yes.
Her: Isn't that fibromyalgia?
Me: No goddamnit! Well, yes. Shut up!

By the end of the week I'll have a full blown Borderline Personality Disorder sans cutting. My people are so sweet.

I'm Dyin' Here!!!

It started on Thursday with pins and needles stabbing my upper back. Every whisper and creep of fabric brought torture. Something was wrong with my skin. I blamed Walmart for the cheap detergent. Those bastards.

I should probably mention that while I have no fear of doctors, I have no love for them, either. I've nurtured a high pain threshold since childhood ( it runs in the family), so I tend to give minor ailments a while to work themselves out.

By Friday the pain had spread to my chest and arms. Same M.O.: clothing was killing me, but I'd moved on to hidden molds and bacteria as the root of the problem. I cursed the bathtub (and Walmart).

By Saturday, my entire torso was consumed by the fiery sensitivity from Hell. And yes, I do mean my entire torso. Yeah yeah, the dirty bits, too. I blamed nerve damage. Meningitis. Skin Cancer. Walmart.

I woke on Sunday with an odd throbbing in my thighs. My ass screamed as though I'd ridden the Tour de France. The skin pain spread. I remembered a medical factoid. The largest organ in the body? The skin. I'd seen it stripped off a human at The Bodies exhibit. It laid there on lucite; in one piece. I wondered if it was sensitive. I wished someone would strip mine.

I made the mistake of visiting WebMD. Hell, I like to self diagnose. Why not supplant my pain with paralyzing fear of the actual possibilities. I put in my symptoms:

• skin irritation and pain
• no visible rash
• tenderness of the genitals (this is a horror tale)
• pain during urination (see?)

Their program listed out 20 possibilities most of them std's, which is impossible because (1) I'm faithful, (2) my wife and I are always together, and (3) I'm a clean freak. I settled on Cellulitis, an infection of the skin and soft tissues, that can spread throughout the body through the blood stream. My favorite bit: if left untreated can lead to a need for surgical intervention.

Goddamn You Sam Walton!!!

It's Monday. The cellulitis (I'm sure now) has made it to the pads of my feet and it's painful to walk. I've had to break down; I called the doctor, the one I haven't seen in fifteen years. After much rigmarole and a thorough tongue lashing by the insurance lady, I scheduled an appointment.

11:30 is coming quick.

Pray to your Gods. Wish. Ponder "The Secret". Burn down your local Walmart. Whatever it takes to get your faithful blogger through this time of exaggerated crisis.

Thank you.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Trip Down Memory Lane: Polyester

I was hopelessly out of the loop when John Water's Polyester was released, so I didn't get to see it in the theater. But a friend did and thank God he's a hoarder, 'cause when it came out on video, I was able to watch it with an honest to gosh Odorama card. Like this one:

Without it, I couldn't follow along with Francine Fishpaw's (Divine) bizarre scent obsession. When scratched, the card triggered glorious odors such as cleaning supplies, farts, and dirty underwear. Pure heaven.

Polyester was my first exposure to "good bad taste" and John Water's brilliance. In it, he revels in foot fetishists, botched home abortions, stormy day hay rides with nuns, retarded princesses, geriatric sex, and, of course, Tab Hunter.

And, now, one of my favorite scenes. A small amount of setup is required. Francine (Divine) is married to a porno theater owner, as the clip begins the two have been accosted by a group of anti-smut picketers. So...

Absolutely is the answer to your question. That was dirty greeting card model Jean Hill in the pivotal role of Sister of the Church.

Hmmmm. Takes me back.

Book Review: Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore

Having the dubious honor of being the first Christopher Moore book to take me a week to read, Island of the Sequined Love Nun is nonetheless a fun book, if a bit too long for its premise. I also was not crazy about the ending. But I can live with it.

Tucker Case is a pilot for the thinly veiled Mary Jean cosmetics company. When a mile-high club sex romp goes horribly awry--and by awry, I do mean genital mutilation--Tucker is sent to fly for Methodist missionaries in Micronesia. Along the way, he runs into ghosts, cargo cults, cannibals, ninjas, a trannie hooker, and a talking fruitbat.

I change my mind. It was fantastic. Laugh out loud funny, but less so than previous novels. This one seemed to require a great deal more research to sound implausible. Funny how that works.

Pick it up.

Next Book:The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Inspiration as Collage

If there's one question that comes up more than any other, whether I'm with friends, family, or complete strangers, it's this: where do your ideas come from? It's the same for all writers, I'm sure, and it's easy to give a rote answer. But, this question is immensely interesting. It asks about childhood experience, thought processes, and our specific interests (some of which we may not be willing to share).

The answer changes, too. From story to story, day to day.

Here's my answer, today, and only for Happy Hour of the Damned...

What's your answer?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Lookie Here...

So, I went out to my mailbox, while the nachos were baking. Sauntering, cat-like, 'cause I'm full of wonder at the magic of creation, and by magic of creation, I do mean the first chapter of Road Trip just wrote itself.


What did I find inside, said postal box, you wonder?

Why it's Joe's new book (galley, ARC, whatever).

Might I just say, it's every bit the tasty treat he promised. But, now, I need a mint.

If only I'd read it first. Hmm.


The garage sale kicked my ass. We sold nearly everything of ours, including the living room furniture, which, mind you, we never used. What didn't sell went straight to the Goodwill or a nearby construction dumpster (I'm not proud).

Now, there's a big vacancy in the front of our house that an aging oriental carpet isn't exactly filling. We'll spend twice to three times as much as we earned replacing what was sold. In hindsight, the choice seems a tad rash. Ah, well. It's the circle of life, or the circle of American consumerism, or whatever.

The bonus is this: I got the big idea over the weekend (and I can assure you it was not inspired by the piece of crap Silver Surfer movie, which was actually better than the first, but nonetheless, a pile of doodybubbles).

Where was I? Oh yeah, BIG IDEA.

I've got the opening of Road Trip of the Living Dead pounding against my skull, and I'm ecstatic. Zombies, plastic lawn chairs, ghosts playing poker, and a platinum package vampire transformation, all at cut rate pricing.

I'm off to type.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Come to Daddy!

I remember watching this video when it first came out. It holds up. Still freakin' disturbing.

Enjoy your weekend!

Garage Sale Day

Tomorrow marks the 5th annual garage sale at this house (we've lived here 6 years). It's become a huge deal (all the friends come and hawk their wares, as though it were Tiffany stock). The laptop transforms from producing fiction into the monster spreadsheet of sales!

The problem?

We've run out of things to sell. Now we're getting rid of furniture. By the end of the weekend, we'll be sleeping on tatami mats with the dogs. It's a sickness. We can't resist; the entire community does their garage sales on one day a year, the turnout is insane. I just hope we don't run out of stuff. But if we do, we can always turn to the oldest profession and start selling ass.

Happy Garage Sale Day!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Yeah, That's Right. I've Eaten the Dark. You Wanna Make Somethin' Of It?

Some of you know about my friend Joe Schreiber (CHASING THE DEAD). If you don't, let me just tell you, he's a sick sick man. As a contest for the release of his new horrorfest, EAT THE DARK, he solicited his blog readers to send him stories about the "darkest thing they'd ever eaten."

Why? Why does he force me to reveal the intimate and embarassing details of my life?

Why am I going on about this incessantly, droning, babbling, on and on? Well it seems I'm the big weiner. If you'd like to read about my disgusting experience (one of the many, it seems), check out Joe's Scary Parent blog.

The prize for humiliation? A signed galley of EAT THE DARK. Totally worth it.

I Repeat, There Was No Zombie Apocalypse

But if there had been, or, God forbid, it's actually scheduled for tomorrow, shouldn't you prepare yourself by watching this informative and entertaining film from the creators of Shaun of the Dead?

Ladies and Gentleman, Danger 50,000 Volts: Zombies

Book Review: Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

When Showtime optioned Happy Hour, I started to get interested in their current programming. One show hooked me immediately. I'm talking about Dexter, their serial killer as hero series. It just so happens it's based on Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, and wouldn't you know? I just finished it.

Fun stuff. Lindsay injects Dexter with seemingly incongruous qualities. He's creepy and endearing, crazy and caring. But above all, he's smart. He's a forensics guy--'cause who isn't, anymore?--for the Miami PD, a blood splatter analyst, to be specific. When hookers start turning up dead, dismembered and neatly packaged, Deborah, Dexter's sister, a vice squad officer, enlists his help to advance to a detective position and shed her hooker clothes. He agrees, but is disturbed to find that the killer is duplicating his own M.O.

Dexter sets up a truly original character in the mystery genre. I enjoyed the journey, but the destination was mildly disappointing. I won't spoil it, and it's not that it ends poorly, but it does seem abrupt. Still Lindsay's novel is worth a read.

As an aside, there's a sentence in the book that jumped out at me. "Life's only obligation (is) to be interesting." I was surprised to see it here. I've used the phrase as a personal mantra for years, particularly in times of personal crisis.

Next Book: Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

I Survived Blog Like It's the End of the World...

...and all I got was this stupid banner:

No, that whole slew of posts yesterday wasn't my idea. Lots of people were doing it, and virtually everyone in my Fangs, Fur, and Fey lj community. The whole thing started over at My Elves are Different, with this:

How could I refuse? I hope you enjoyed my fictional trauma.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

It wasn't a car. It was Alice's wheelchair. But that thing riding it was certainly no child, and I don't mean Alice had turned into one of those things. No. Her body, or what's left of it, was dragging along behind the straining chair, leaving a trail of gore along the dry concrete. The zombie driving the thing was laughing.

Maybe laughing is too human a description. Hacking would be more accurate. His body dwarfed the contraption in leaking fat rolls, exposed through a shredded Quiznos uniform. At the end of the street, the screaming started again. Alice's mother bolted from the rear of her house, pistol in hand. Firing. Firing. Shots echoed into the cul de sac, and the wheelchair slowed to a stop. She got the bastard, and the attention of the others. I turned away as her screams turned into gargles.

They've almost got my office door open. The top corner is busted in and an arm has been slapping inside the wall. Feeling for something, probably me. I'm going to have to make my way to the roof soon. I won't be able to correspond after that.

It's starting to rain.
The neighbors across the street drove their suv straight through their garage door and tore off down the street. That was about a half hour ago. Some of the zombies shambling outside used to be my neighbors. I recognized Steve by his lawnmowing pants, army green cargos, with one of the pockets torn and dangling. It was the only way to tell him apart from the others, half his face is stripped of skin, the other side stained brown with dried blood, or the remnants of someone's bowels.

That sound earlier was, in fact, screams. They accompanied a bullhorn or megaphone or whatever the hell those things are called. The voice boomed across the neighborhood from the big nursing home nearby. Come and get it, it said. More screams. The doctors must have been cleaning house, or constructing a diversion to escape the back way.

My stomach turned inside out at that. The office is ripe with my hot vomit. That must have been when the dead found my office door. I could hear them sniffing around by the carpet. There's a gap--just next to the file cabinet I've got shoved there--where I've seen fingers, caked with blood and torn open to bone. They dart in and out of that rectangle, almost sexually. The thought makes me gag.

I've given up hiding at the window. I just sit here and watch and listen. There's something coming down the street. I can hear it in the distance. It sounds like a vehicle.

I'm going out on the roof.
I'm still here. They're in the house now, shuffling about. I haven't heard them try to maneuver the deadlock of chairs and bookcases I've crammed into the stairwell, so that's a lucky break. If it comes down to it, I can go through the window onto the porch roof.

I don't want to do that, the crowd of dead outside will spot me for sure. Then I don't know…


I hear something.

There's a low roar coming from the west, not the usual sounds of traffic and congestion. Something different. Guttural.

Are those screams?
Oh shit. shit. shit. shit.

I guess the DSL's working 'cause I just read blackaire's journal entries and if they're accurate, I'm fucked. You see, I live near the military base she reports has been overrun by zombies. I don't hear the dead in the numbers she's described, at least not yet.

The other zombies are still outside, as far as I can tell. I've only snuck a few peeks from the office window. The last time I did, I wished I hadn't.

The neighbor girl, Alicia, Alice, oh shit I can't remember, I've never talked to her. Her face dragged on the left side, as though palsied, a thick rope of pink drool fell from her gaping mouth to her emerald green sweater vest. So, yeah, she looked normal. She rolled by in her electric wheelchair, serpentining down the middle of the road, jostling just out of reach of those dead hands.

I hope she makes it.

I hope I make it.

Is Anyone Out There?

I hope this gets through to someone. Someone nearby who can come get me. Save me from this mess. I don't even know when it started. I haven't turned on the TV, and the phones are giving me busy signals. The DSL probably isn't working but I have to try.

I barricaded myself in my office when the first of the dead came to the door. I've been quiet. Tried to be quiet. But I think they've heard me. They're not moving on, just scratching at the door and groaning.

The worst part is…I can't remember if I locked it.

Death: the Movie

A tidbit nicked from Undented

Neil Gaiman fans will be especially glad to hear that Neil says he’s now working with director Guillermo del Toro on a potential “Death” movie, based on Neil’s character from Death: The High Cost of Living, Death: The Time of Your Life and Sandman:

“Everything is moving, slowly, but it’s moving… Guillermo del Toro is executive producing, which is a wonderful thing… and I’m actually planning on going out to Prague very, very soon to do some stuff with Guillermo on ‘Death.’ I think it definitely seems like it’s going to happen.”

A while ago--at least fifteen years, I call it my comix period--I snapped up the first series of Death: The High Cost of Living, SIGNED! Needless to say, I never opened them. I'd considered having them framed for my office. Now, it's a certainty.

Is anyone else freaking out about this movie?

Speaking of film, we went to see Knocked Up, last night. I'd heard good things, but wasn't expecting the movie to be nearly as charming as I found it. Something about Seth Rogan, maybe his normal guy looks and banter, took what could have been senseless comic bullshit and elevated it to a really smart film about female/male compatibility. Check it out, but don't expect 40 Year Old Virgin humor.

And, totally not in keeping with our regular movie watching cycle, we saw Pirates on Sunday. Let me start by saying: I hated Pirates 2. I think I even fell asleep. The new one's not half bad. There are some interesting character additions and the sets were amazing. I was particularly taken with the fantasy version of Singapore. It had my mind racing about an indo-chinese horror story. Anyway, the movie wraps up the series nicely, with just enough humor to keep it interesting (Thanks primarily to Geoffrey Rush).

Seen any good movies lately?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Okay, Maybe Just One More Vampire Movie...

But just the one.

I know. It's the Barrow, Alaska setting. It just does it for me.

Do People Still Sleep on Excelsior?

The news for today is Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel) is remaking The Bad Seed. Maybe, I'm late getting on this train, but I was excited. Here's why...

Unless you've been fried by Hollywood's magnifying glass, you should remember this li'l darlin':
Yep, that's Rhoda (played viciously by Patty McCormack), and if I'm not mistaken, in this scene she's making threats against the apartment handyman Leroy, or phonetically, le-Roy. Threats she follows through on. Rhoda is a horrifying piece of work. If you haven't seen the film, think Eddie Haskell if he f**ked Mrs. Cleaver and then burnt down the house with the whole family inside. I'm in heaven to think of the horrors that Eli Roth is going to channel through some poor child actress. If we're lucky, he could create another Linda Blair, or Sally Kirkland.

Just imagine the freakish possibilities.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Summer Reading List

I'm writing this list from the tailgate of the the summer reading bandwagon. It's just twelve books, so you should be able to keep up. While some are definitely "beach reads", you'll find no Patterson, Grisham, or Roberts here. What you will discover is a highly technical, rules-oriented reading list, designed to benefit, who else, me.

The rules are: for each month of the summer (that's 3, retards), I'm choosing one book for:

Pleasure (comedies, memoirs of the humorous self-deprecating variety)
• To keep in touch with my Genre (Horror, Urban Fantasy)
• Exposure to the Literary ghetto (NY Times notables)
Okra's Book Club (my response to that other O's choice)

What, what, what, what? Okra's Book Club, you say? Hell yes, and it's an idea that's been a long-time coming. At the end of each month, Okra and her dear friend (and not lover) Kale, will swing by to lead a spirited discussion about that month's selection.

Now, on with the list:

P Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore
G Dead Witch Walking (Rachel Morgan, Book 1) by Kim Harrison
L A Good and Happy Child by Justin Evans
O Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey by Chuck Palahniuk

P Bright Lights, Big Ass: A Self-Indulgent, Surly, Ex-Sorority Girl's Guide to Why it Often Sucks in the City, or Who are These Idiots and Why Do They All Live Next Door to Me? by Jen Lancaster
G Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book 1) by Jim Butcher
L The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
O The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall

P There's a (Slight) Chance I Might Be Going to Hell: A Novel of Sewer Pipes, Pageant Queens, and Big Trouble by Laurie Notaro
G The Scent of Shadows (Sign of the Zodiac, Book 1) by Vicki Pettersson
L The Effect of Living Backwards by Heidi Julavits
O Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

So that's the rundown. What do ya think? What's on your list? Might you join Okra? RSVPs gladly accepted.