Friday, February 22, 2013

Movie Geek: Better off Dead

I’ve been reminiscing about some of my favorite movies and I discovered a lot of my favorites, besides the obvious ones, are not very well known. These movies tend to be low budget, but well done. At least I think they are well done. If they had a run in the theatres it was a very limited run. Another reason a lot of my favorite movies are virtually unknown is because of their age. **groan** Yes, I’m old. We’ve been over this before. Don’t laugh. You’ll be old one of these days and you’ll be telling your kids about Iron Man and they’ll complain how cheesy a movie it is and they’ll wait for the reboot.

But, I digress. 

When I think of my favorite movies, the one that always pops to mind first is, “Better off Dead.” The movie was created by Savage Steve Holland and debuted in 1985. The premise of the movie is about a high schooler who loves to ski and is obsessed with his girlfriend. The high schooler, Lane Meyer starts thinking about suicide when his girlfriend dumps him for the ski team captain. Lane’s life is not much better being surrounded by the outcasts of the school. There were several iconic characters in this movie. The two that stood out were Lane Meyer, played by John Cusack and Charles De Mar, played by Curtis Armstrong. Charles De Mar is a druggy, but can’t score any real drugs, so he resorts to snorting anything else he can get his hands on such as Jello and actual snow.

Some of the other memorable characters in the movie are Ricky, the fat kid across the street, whose mom brings in Monique, a French foreign exchange student, so Ricky can have a chance with a girl. The newspaper boy who terrorizes Lane for the monthly paper bill of $2.00. The two Vietnamese brothers who are always trying to race Lane. One of the brothers learned how to speak English by imitating Howard Cosell. Lane’s mom who creates creatures instead of meals. Lane’s mean and disgusting boss who Lane has had a couple of car accidents with. Lane’s brother who builds hi-tech toys out of the mail away coupons on boxes of cereal and in comic books. Finally, Lane’s dad who is reading self-help books, trying to understand Lane.

I found this movie on video a couple of years after it came
out. I immediately fell in love with the it. It came into my life during a rough time in high school. Whenever I was feeling down I would rent “Better off Dead.” It would have been cheaper for my parents if they had just bought a copy. Even though I had the movie memorized the jokes and gags always lightened my heart. Also, when watching the movie I knew things were never bad enough to try suicide. 

In closing let me share some of my favorite quotes with you. I hope you will find a copy of this movie and watch it. At the very least the quotes will make more sense.

“I want my two dollars!”

“This is pure snow! Do you have any idea the street value of this mountain?!”

“You said you don’t like all the grease from bacon…so I boiled it.”

“Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn.”

“And dying when you're not really sick is really sick, you know.”

“I've been going to this high school for seven and a half years. I'm no dummy.”

“Now that's a real shame when folks be throwin' away a perfectly good white boy like that.”

“Gee, I'm real sorry your mom blew up, Ricky.”

“The K-12 dude. You make a gnarly run like that and girls will get sterile just looking at you.”

Thanks To:
    Watching Your Movie by Diana Gladka @

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Today my Short Story, "Pain & Paranoia" reached 100 DOWNLOADS on YAY!!

My story is available on other e-book websites such as iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, and Diesel. It is thanks to SmashWords that my story has been distributed to these other sites. I wish I could tell you how "Pain & Paranoia" is doing on these other sites, but unfortunately they do not report downloads for free books. That's alright. I use the statistics at SmashWords for a good idea how my story is doing.

I would like to thank everyone out there who has downloaded my book. I hope you enjoyed it!!

Here is a link to where you can find my short story. "Pain & Paranoia"  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Social Media Geek

Across our little blue planet there are hundreds, if not thousands, of social media networks. Some of the top ones are Facebook and Twitter, while some of the once greats were MySpace and AOL. As far as who is at the bottom of the social media food chain I don’t know. That is why they are at the bottom. It is not uncommon for a person to use more than one social network. I myself use Facebook, Twitter, Deviant Art, Pinterest, G+, and the all round text. I believe what qualifies me as a social media Geek is the sad fact that several times per day I check all of my accounts in the hopes there will be some new posting from somewhere in the world. Most of the time I’m left disappointed with no new information of the outside world.

A form of social media networking that fascinates me, but I just do not have time to delve into is social networking through the use of avatars. Such networks are 2nd Life, Sims, and on line games like World of Warcraft. Instead of just talking and watching words scroll across your screen, you can create a virtual look alike, or in most cases not look alike, to walk around and do things. I believe this will become more and more popular as virtual reality becomes more realistic.

Today’s social media networking is a lot simpler than it used to be and far more reaching. E-mail is of course still around and has its uses, but fifteen or so years ago e-mail was a big social networking tool. It did connect a lot of people over long distances, but you needed to know them first and have their e-mail address. E-mails were and still are delivered at the speed of light, but compared to today’s social media, e-mails are incredibly slow. The one that used to scare me were chat rooms. Those things moved lightning fast! I’d try to respond to someone’s comment and the conversation had already changed five times. The other scary part about chat rooms was ending up in the wrong ones. No matter how innocent the title of the chat room, a lot of them were hook ups for people. I go into a room to talk about my favorite anime and the conversations quickly change to…well…Never mind. Let’s just keep this family oriented.

I think one of the biggest differences of the old school networking and today’s versions is the amount of privacy. With e-mail and chat rooms you were able to control the size of group and type of people you wanted to talk with. Today’s social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, you put something on there and everyone in the world can see it. This has gotten a lot of people in a lot of trouble. There are countless stars, athletes, and politicians that have ruined their careers from something they have shared with the world. There are people who have lost their jobs because of the weekend party pictures and rants about their bosses on Facebook and Twitter. 

So, why are people sucked into social media networks? I really cannot speak personally for anyone. However, from what I have read and seen, it is believed that society is becoming more and more introverted. It is easier for a person to sit in front of their computer and interact with what is on their screen, than it is to go out in public and actually interact face to face with people. The question then becomes, why has this become more appealing?

For me, I do not do well in public, especially in big noisy crowds. There is a level of safety I feel by communicating with people on line, than face to face. On line if someone gets upset, I can simply unfriend them. I’ve tried deleting someone who is yelling at my face. It does not work. It is really easy for me to slip into the thinking that all this social networking is not real, it’s just a game and I get points every time someone replies to my post or clicks like.

These could be the same reasons for other people. They feel safer on line and their pleasure centers are being rewarded just as if they were playing a game. This could also explain why so many people get themselves in trouble. They simply forget there are real people on the other side of what they post. 

Still, there are a lot of great things to social networking. It has given a lot of people a connection to the outside world, who physically cannot go outside. It is amazing to me that with a little searching, I can find people anywhere in the world to talk to. It truly opens up a person’s perspectives to learn about people in other corners of the world.

I really do like social networking. I love being able to talk with people that live around the corner from me or on the other side of the world. This blog allows me to talk with people and it blows me away to see people in South America, Europe, and Asia read my ramblings. Fifty years ago it took years even decades for a writer to reach people in other countries. That is powerful. Just as with any tool we must be careful with how we use it.

Thanks To:
        Posterous by Insane Pilosopo @ 
           Internet by IVchan @
        Second Life by Draic Freeman @
        Information Superhighway by Stardriv @
        World Wide by Enryh @  

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Star Wars Geek

I look at Star Wars with great fondness, just like most everyone else in the world. I was seven years old when the first movie came out. Yes, I’m old. We’ve covered this. Shut up. Back then you could go into the first showing of the movie and stay planted until the last showing. I did that a lot with Star Wars. I lost track of how many times I saw the first movie somewhere after fifty screenings. There has been a lot of contention about the following movies, especially the prequels and the updated versions. This will upset a lot of purists, but I love them all. I think the prequels were great movies and I loved the updates to the originals. 

The adult in me has come to look at Star Wars as a gateway to Geekdom. The first reason is obvious. It does not matter if you are a Geek or not you have heard of Star Wars and it’s one of the safest bets that you have seen at least one of the movies. The second reason is the merchandise. Since the first movie in 1977 there has never been a time you could not buy Star Wars toys, but it’s not just the toys. There are all kinds of merchandise from Star War Lego mini figures and action figures to Stormtrooper uniforms and Wookie costumes and everything in between can be bought.

I am proud to say that I owned every Star Wars set and action figure when I was a kid. I even had action figures you had to send in proof of purchases to get. I am sad to say I ruined my Geek cred when somewhere in my early teens I let all the neighborhood kids come in and take my collection. The saddest day was when my Mom showed me an article of the Star Wars toys being added to the Smithsonian Institute.
When I read that article I realized I lost something special. I have thought about trying to put my collection back together again to redeem myself, but then I found the original Millennium Falcon and Death Star sets are going for thousands of dollars.


The flip side of the merchandise coin is all the other forms of Geekery that are out there. You simply cannot find anywhere near the items for any other movie, book, or TV show like you can for Star Wars. For example I would love to have a model of the Serenity spaceship from Firefly. That is a beautiful creation, but I cannot find one. Do you want an outfit from say Battlestar Galactica? You better learn to sew.

Many of you are probably asking, “What about Star Trek?” I will get to Star Trek in a different posting, but for now suffice it to say that I believe Star Trek is a close second in the grand scheme of Geekery. 

There is more to Star Wars than just the materialistic pursuit of collecting. I believe one of the biggest appeals of the Star Wars movies are the unique characters. Each character has a strong personality and if you have dug into the backstories you will see each character has an amazing history.

When I was a kid I first wanted to be Luke Skywalker, just like everyone else. Then I realized how cool Han Solo was and how awesome it would be to wander the galaxy with a big furry sidekick. Looking back on life, I can see identifying with the Clone Troopers, when I was in the military. Now that I am…old(er)…I feel more like Obi-Wan Kenobi. This is especially true since I have a teenager and I’m trying to warn him about the Dark Side of this world.

One of the most unique characters in all of the movies has to be the Force. It is the one thing that has driven almost every story in the Star Wars Galaxy. Without the Force we never would have had the conflict that tortured Anakin Skywalker. It is true that it was the Dark Side of the Force that caused so many problems, but the Light Side had its own problems. For all the power it gave each of the Jedi it also restricted them. These restrictions did cause some internal conflict for many of the Jedi. Qui-Gon Jin was restricted by the whisperings of the Force not to teach Anakin, but felt the need because of the prophecy. So many of the Jedi were conflicted with fighting when they were taught to be peaceful. There is a long back history of Jedi that refused to pick up a lightsaber because of their convictions in peace. Then the most well known conflict was Anakin’s love, but the Jedi teachings refused him to have love.

The Force has given the world the biggest Geekdom ever; a religion. Through all that the Force is, it has a lot of wisdom and good teachings built into it and thousands of people have embraced it and are now members of the Jediism. 

I like to think of myself as a well rounded Geek, with a love for many different genres. I do have to admit that even though there were other sci-fi media I gobbled up way before 1977, Star Wars is my first true love. I believe it was the movie that really opened up my imagination and made me thirst for more of the question that is always at the heart of sci-fi and fantasy, “What if?” 

Thanks To:
        Star Wars Saga by mjmjedi @
        Fistful of Force by Ralph Horsley @
        Star Wars Geek by Quinn-G @  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Can't Do It By Myself

Without going into my personal history, which would be horrifying and boring, it is simple enough to say I do not like being around people. Yes, a lot of people say they do not like being around people. For me it has gotten to the point that it affects my ability to hold down a job and to do several other activities. Another short end of this story is I found my love for writing.

I discovered that I am actually good at writing and I have a lot of fun pulling these stories I see in my head out and putting them on paper. I have published a short story. I am working on two more stories and I have ideas for over a dozen more.

You have all heard me brag about my short story that I published. It was an easy enough task. I published it on and they pushed it out to all the e-reader stores. I did it all on line and without having to deal with a single person.

The truth of the matter is I have not done any of my writing by myself. I have been surrounded by lots of caring and supportive people who have given me lots of help. This is the one thing I want you to take away from this, it does not matter what you are doing. You cannot do it all on your own.

 With my short story the first two people who helped me out were my wife and Mom. My wife read the story and gave me suggestions on things that were missing or needed to be different. True, I did not take all of her suggestions, but it is because of my wife there is the entire section at the end in the hospital, which helped me set up the ending so much easier. My Mom is a great editor. She did a wonderful job correcting all of my horrid grammar.

Then there were two professionals that I met. The first is Mary Keating. She writes articles in local publications and has written several medical texts for doctors. She was kind enough to sit down and read my story. She said it was rough around a few edges, but that I should publish it. She said I needed to get the story out there. So, I went through the story a couple of more times to polish it and then I put the story out to Smashwords. I do not think I would have made the jump without Mary’s push. 

The other professional I met was Bob Beason. He is a great guy and a wonderful artist. He did the cover art for my story. A lot of people were telling me I could grab photos from the web and Photoshop them together and make my own cover. I promise you there is no way I could come up with a cover that is anywhere as good as Bob’s art. I love the cover he did for me. 

So, is that the end? Not even. I have finished a rough draft for a story and I’m about half way through the rough draft of another story. At this time my wife and Mom are going through my finished rough draft. When they are finished I will start revising that story. I am having Bob do the cover art for my next two stories. 

These two stories are much larger than my short story and I will put a lot more time and effort into them. Because of this, my Dad has recommended I find a publisher. As a matter of fact, my Dad talked to one of his old high school buddies, whose son has started up a publishing company. My Dad got me the contact information and they are waiting for me to send them my story. So, in my future it looks like I may have the assistance of an editor and a publisher. This is a lot of people that are helping me.

There is a lot of teamwork for the activity of writing, which seems to be just a one person show. But, isn’t that how life really is? Everyone who reads this should take a minute and think about the people around them that help them. I am positive you will see there are others around you and it is because of them you are able to do the things you do. Maybe you’re thinking you play video games, “how can someone help me with that?” There are people at that gaming store that get you the games. They talk to you about the games. How about friends you play against and you learn from them. At the very least you play with friends and they help make playing the games that much more exciting. Are you into modeling? Sure no one is helping you build the model, but again there were the people at the store where you got the model. They probably even gave you tips on how to do some of the work, like the airbrushing. What about your job. You may think you are on your own, but who is around you? You had someone who taught you to do the job. You have someone who pays you. You do one part of the job and someone else does another part of the job, could you do both parts?

Here is my point. You are not alone. You have people around that help you. Appreciate them. Thank them for their time and efforts with you. We as individuals are incomplete works. We are made whole by those who are in our lives. We do things and create things that become our sums. Those sums add up because of us and those who help us.

Thanks To:
        Year of the Writer by JulieDillon @ 
        My Editor by OuchNegi @
        Buckaroo Bob by DrStrangeBob @
        Publisher by DadviSmit @
        Teamwork by Biokun @