Grandpa’s Deep Space Diner Where Slumpers Drink for Free

I have a newly published story, and that story is not exactly the title of this blog post. I love the title “Grandpa’s Deep Space Diner” and am a little jealous I didn’t already think of it, but that’s neither here nor there. I’ve even used the name as a locale in a story I’m working on right now, with the title (and this is a mouth full): “Fixed Pseudprime Mortgage Rates in the Post World War V Real Estate Bubble.” Grandpa’s Deep Space Diner (Hereafter abbreviated as “GDSD”) is an anthology of Science Fiction (and some fantasy) Food-Themed Stories.

This is a longer post than usual for a publication notice, but it has a long story behind it. If you think you will find it interesting, read on. If not, go to the end, click on the link, get your copy of GDSD, read my new story, “Slumpers Drink for Free,” and afterward, maybe come back here and read the blog post.

The story of how I got published in this anthology is interesting. It started in May of 2021. I received an email from the Submission Grinder with a call for submissions for a new anthology called GDSD, published by JayHenge.

I had written a story in April (last year) called “Slumpers Drink for Free” (“Slumpers” for short) that was speculative in nature and not so much about food but drink, and thought it might work for the anthology. I submitted it and, in the cover letter, told them I was very interested in being published in the anthology. It was rejected.

Then I sent them another story, “Magical Gastronomy,” the first story I published in the Ginger Collect (sadly, the link is no longer available). Anthologies are a little more open to republishing, but this story was also rejected.

Still not giving up, I sent a third story, “Jintaru’s Intergalactic Hallucinogenic Alphabetic Sushi Bar.” I won’t go into much detail about that story until it is published somewhere. It was not here.

When I got the third rejection letter, I got a personal email from the Editor, Jessica Augustsson. She said she knew I was interested in the anthology and that “Slumpers” was her favorite of what I had submitted, but it needed work, and she gave me examples of where and how and what. So I made the appropriate changes, then the editors made a few more of their own, and just like that, I was included in GDSD.

Please do not get the wrong impression of the editors; I have not written this post in any way to criticize them. I even let them read this post before publishing it, and if you’re still reading this segment, they deemed the story to be an appropriate one to share with the world (or at least the portion of the world that reads this blog). They have been outstanding editors to work with, I wish them all the best in their future, and a future that I hope includes me as I plan to submit to many more of their anthologies in the future (I already have in the past). This is the writing/publishing background that you don’t see or hear about too much.

Of course, I had to sit on this knowledge (telling very few people about it) for 8 months. Why did/do I do this? Superstition. Things can happen, and the more people that would have known about it, the more likely my story and/or anthology wouldn’t be published. For instance, right now, I have one story that I’ve been waiting for almost two years to get published, about which I will say no more; I’m sure you can understand.

The moral of this story is don’t lose heart; believe in yourself. If you want something and try hard enough, it might just happen.

I held off on publishing this post (and telling many people about it) because I wanted to order several copies of the book for myself and give one as a surprise to my parents. Now that that’s all done, and the first part of the blog has been given the okay by the editor, I can post this.

As for the story. Slumpers was written in my “Ellison Era,” an era of my writing (still in progress, though I’ll use past tense for continuity) where I did the following. I collected and read a lot of Harlan Ellison (there is a lot of material of his to read, it will be a long time if ever before I’ve read it all). I have tried to write stories at his level of creativity (a moot point). I have tried to write stories at his pace – impossible; he was very prolific and had over a thousand published stories. And I have tried to write stories that he would have liked, but he was a man of strong opinion, and in all likelihood, he would have hated my writing. His voice varies widely from story to story, so there’s no point in imitating that. There is a blog post about Ellison coming, and he would not have handled the rejections and rewrites the same way I have if all I have read about him is to be believed. Regardless Slumpers is one of my Ellisonion Stories.

When writing this story, I was reading an excellent book by George Saunders called “A Swim in a Pond in the Rain,” which is a collection of translated Russian short stories with lectures on the stories by Saunders. I was a much bigger Russophile when I read the book than I am right now for obvious reasons. One of the stories in the book was “The Darling” by Anton Chekhov, which is considered a “Pattern Story,” i.e., a story that repeats itself with modulations to create a robust narrative from a narrow perspective.

Also, at the time of writing Slumpers, I was watching a lot of Cheers, one of my favorite TV shows. There’s a lot I could say about that, but we’ll leave that for another time. Or you can read more about it here.

Lastly, I won’t say that I am a heavy drinker, but I would say I am a “Borderline Alcohol Aficionado.” I worked at a bar for years, have a thirst/apatite for unusual food and drink (counter-respectively), and am willing to try almost anything.

Now take all of that into consideration, Ellisonion Stories, Pattern Stories, Cheers, and Alcohol; mix it together in a Boston shaker, pour it into a cocktail glass, and we have “Slumpers Drink for Free.”

Cheers, Ompa, L’Chaim, Slainte, Sociable, Budmo*

(That is “Cheers” in English, Greek, Yiddish, Gaelic, Canadian English, and Ukrainian, respectively.)

Slumpers Drink for Free” | Grandpa’s Deep Space Diner

Mega DVD Marathon – Episode 13 – the L’s

Intro – the last 3 letters were not particularly long (all of them fit comfortably in a single cube shelf with room leftover. The L’s are a little longer 17 DVDs, 14 movies, 7 TV shows/series/cartoon shorts complications. These movies were watched between August and December of 2020. There’s a good bit to get through so let’s get started.

It’s been a while since the last DVD Marathon post, so quick review: ^means I opened the DVD, *means it’s the first time watching it if it’s part of a box with things I have seen before then *indicates that something in it was a first time viewing (this will come into play for the “Laugh Out Loud Comedy” DVD).

Labyrinth [8/2] – this is the third time I’ve seen this movie, and it’s a good one, Jennifer Connely, David Bowie, and a bunch of Goblin puppets. And although this is a Jim Henson movie, it’s not really a kids movie; it’s a coming of age teen movie with a dark fantasy bend. I still want to see Dark Chrystal one of these days. 4/5 stars.

Land of the Lost Season 3* [8/2 – 8/3] – I used to watch the 90s version of this show, of which I remember very little (other than the theme song). This show I’ve never seen. It is cheaply made (almost a public access vibe), with C List celebrities… yet it has a cult following, and I can see why. It’s actually really good, with good stories, good side characters, and a good chemistry that may not be immediately present at the superficial viewing. Why season 3 and not the others? Well, this one was the only one available in the grocery store bargain bin. I picked it up for 5$ and is worth every penny. In “King Arthur and the Knights of Justice“, there was an episode about a bad fever that struck the Purple Horde. In this series, there is another episode about a dangerous fever, this time it has struck a fort of Calvary men and a Nez Perce tribe, of which one of each ends up in the land of the lost, and the two work through their bitter rivalry, it’s really good. The show, at least this season, is also really good. If I find the other two seasons, I’ll be picking it up.

Laugh Out Loud Comedies^* [8/4 – 8/19] – this is a collection of 3 classic Bill Murray/Harold Ramis Movies: Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, and Stripes. You’ve already seen my review of the first two movies on the G’s, Stripes I haven’t seen before. So I skipped over Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day, right? You got to be kidding. Of course I watched them again. I watch both of those movies at least once a year anyway and have no problem watching them more than once. I bought this DVD for a friend, but before I gave it to him, he got a copy of Groundhog Day for himself (and he already had the others).

Ghostbusters – I’ve already covered this, so all I’m going to say is this. I’ve seen this movie over a hundred times, and this is the first time I noticed that next to the Ghostbusters Fire House, there is an advertisement on the wall of the next-door building for (of all things) stay puff marshmallows. If you’re a fan of Ghostbusters, you may want to check out this funny little video which is a parody not of Ghostbusters but of a movie called Room 237, which is an analytical documentary about “The Shining.” Though a great movie, I can’t give it 5 stars, as I am one of the very few people that think Ghostbusters 2 is an overall better movie than the first. 4/5 stars.

Groundhog Day – basically, this is my all-time favorite movie; I’ve covered it before, I think a few times on this blog, so I won’t be going Into a whole lot of detail here. I enjoyed watching it even in the Dog Days of Summer. 6/5 stars.

Stripes – of the three movies on this DVD, this is the only one I hadn’t seen before (though I had seen a few clips from it on Comedy Central when I was a teenager. It’s about Murray and Ramis as aimless young men who decide to join the army. Certainly not the best Murray/Ramis film, but I still enjoyed it; it’s a fun movie with a fun little adventure. 4/5 stars,

Lawrence of Arabia* [8/23] – this is the second time I’ve seen this movie, and it’s a great one; every frame is a work of art. The story is about a WWI British officer sent to Arabia to unify the Arabs against the Ottomans. Based on a true story, how much of the story is true? I don’t know; it’s hard to believe any of it is. Unfortunately, I made it to the last 10 minutes, and I had to turn it off, and when I went to watch it again, The DVD player wouldn’t let me finish; I think it’s time for an upgrade to a Blu-ray. The player I am using now costs me 10$, and I’ve had it for at least 3 years or more, so I can’t complain too much. I will let you know when I break in the new Blu-ray player and with what. As for the movie, 5/5 stars.

Monty Python’s Life of Brian [8/23 to 8/26] – this is the third time I’ve watched this movie, the second time this year. It’s not as good as “Holy Grail,” and it never will be, but there are few movies that are (Monty Python or otherwise). The story takes place in the time of Christ, but not directly involved with him; the movie is a little more careful and sensitive than “Holy Grail,” and at the same time a little more vulgar and adult. The movie has grown on me; there are quite a few funny scenes, especially the Sermon on the Mount scene, which has a quick bridge into another funny scene about a stoning. Interesting side note, this is (I believe) the only DVD in my collection that is a Criterion (for now at least). If you know anything about DVD collecting at all, you would know the Criterion DVDs are just about the highest quality you can get, chock-full of bonus features, high grade, and usually very expensive. This DVD, however, I got as a gift from a library sale (in the dark days between 2008 and 2015 when I got almost no DVDs at all) and didn’t even realize it was a Criterion until I watched it earlier this year. 4/5 stars.

Little Bear: Feel Better Little Bear [8/27 to 8/28] – this is definitely a show meant for younger children, but that doesn’t mean older people can’t enjoy it. It’s such an innocent, calm, and peaceful show, something meant to be enjoyed with a cup of tea on a cool autumn day, or maybe a rainy day with nothing else to do. That being said, I watched this late in August without the tea. The animation is well done, far better than the cheap CGI of the modern day. The DVD has 12 episodes, 4 are based around being sick, and the other 8 are bonus episodes without a theme. Unfortunately, my favorite episode, “The Solstice” is not included, but there is enough here to relax with after a bad day, to make things better. I believe I picked this DVD up at a library sale. Regardless, I did pick it up well into adulthood because I had fond memories of the show when it was extant… when I was a teenager.

The Little Mermaid*^ [8/28] – I finally gave in a bought a Blu-Ray player, and this movie was the first to break it in (and yes, it is a Blu-ray). Though I was a little surprised and disappointed that the animation didn’t pop the way other animated HD movies have, but I can live with that; maybe I’m just getting used to the style (though I’m still relatively new to the format). I don’t know if I’ve ever actually seen this movie before. Part of me thinks I must have, and at the very least, I must have seen enough of it to have seen nearly the whole thing. It was good, though, not great, not the best Disney movie out there, but it is an important one. This movie was the beginning of the Disney Renaissance, which led to greater movies like Aladdin, The Lion King, Mulan, Hercules, and Pocahontas. These movies are not just rose-tinted because I grew up with them; they are empirically better: higher detail, better stories, terrific music, etc. The Renaissance had a failed start with the previous movie “Oliver and Company,” but that one flopped. The song “Part of Their World” may be the best song from any Disney movie from a purely composition point of view. Unfortunately, Disney seems to be getting pretty stingy with their bonus features on their recent DVD releases. They used to include a couple of shorts; this one only has some behind-the-scenes stuff; a couple of episodes of the Little Mermaid TV show or the Sebastian Shorts from Marsupalami would have been nice. 4/5 stars.

The Littles: the Complete Series [8/29 to 9/7] – I had never heard of this cartoon until 2015 when I picked up the infamous (if you’ve been following this blog for a while) TV Toons to Go DVD, and I instantly fell in love with this series. Two years ago, I picked up the entire series on a separate DVD, the second disk is identical to the disk in TVT2G, but I still watched it this time, even though I’ve seen it many, many times. The Littles are anthropomorphic mice, and the only human that knows about them is a boy named Henry Bigg (“Big” is also their term for humans). The first two disks are standard fare for the show, but the third disk (season 3) has the Littles traveling the world, and in my opinion, had the better theme song; you can compare it here: original and third season. The best episode of the series is “Dinky’s Doomsday Pizza,” aside from just being a kick-ass title. This, The second episode of the second season has Dinkey (the schlemiel braggart, and slightly older, little) revealing their existence to Dr. Hunter (the show’s main antagonist in the first 2 seasons), and the Littles being captured and kept in cadges for study (spoiler alert: it was all a dream). This episode has made me wonder how humans would react to discovering another intelligent race, and I may write an easy or a story or maybe even a novel about the idea; I find it very intriguing. The series ends without any grand finale, and The DVD also includes the two Littles Movies, but they are harsh, especially the first one, which is the origin story of the series, so I didn’t watch them. I do not understand why this show isn’t remembered well; it should be; you should check it out, it’s meant for a younger audience, but it’s very well done. In the 80s, animation was expensive, and this shown did all it could and then some.

The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie [9/7] – This is actually the second Bugs Bunny movie, but that won’t really matter until you read a little further on. This is an anthology movie primarily made up of Looney Tunes shorts with a narrative that combines them all. It starts with Knighty Knight Bugs. Then goes into a segment about the Devil reincarnating Yosemite Sam to try and kill Bugs to be his hell surrogate, a segment focusing on the Bugsy and Mugsy cartoons, and then ending with a segment about the Ozwolds (a cartoon version of the Oscars). As far as the primary cartoons go, they are all AAA toons, in my opinion. The only downside is that the frame narrative seems a bit pieced together. I’ll be upfront my favorite Loony Tune is Yosemite Sam. His chemistry with Bugs Bunny is spot on, making the movie that much better. The shorts used in the movie are Knighty Knight Bugs, Hare Trimmed, Roman Legion-Hare, Devil’s Feud Cake, Sahara Hare, Wild and Woolly Hare, the Unmentionables, Golden Yeggs, Catty Cornered, Three Little Bops, Birds Anonymous, High Diving Hare, and Show Biz Bugs. Overall 4/5 stars, this is the best of the three Bugs Bunny movies, though it’s not an easy choice to make, and the movie is not exactly perfect.

The Looney Tunes Movie Collection [9/7] – this DVD consists of 2 more Looney Tunes movies, the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner movie, and Bugs Bunny’s Third Movie, 1001 Rabbit Tales. I got this as a birthday gift when I was still in college, and of the Looney Tune Box sets (and there are a few more to come), this one is probably my favorite.

The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Movie is sometimes referred to as “the Chase Movie,” and it’s presented almost like a documentary about the history of slapstick comedy. The first portion has several classic Cartoons: Duck Dodgers, Duck Amuck, Long-Haired Hare, Bully for Bugs, What’s Opera Doc, and Operation Rabbit (which has Bugs and the genius Wile E. Coyote), this is then followed by a 20-minute block of unbroken Road Runner cartoons, which works pretty well together since the Road Runner cartoons are sans plot. 4/5 stars

Bugs Bunny’s Third Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales: of the three Bugs Bunny Movies, this one has the best frame narrative; it starts with Bugs and Daffy at a sales meeting for a children’s book company. Bugs ends up in the Sahara, where Yosemite Sam abducts him to read stories to his son Crown Prince Abba Dabba. The selection of cartoons is good but not great. There are many fairytales and uses the “Hansel, Hansel?” Joke, of which I’ve yet to find a good explanation. The movie ends (source material-wise) with “One Froggy Evening,” one of the greatest cartoons ever. I should do a top 10 cartoon shorts. The movie gets 4/5 stars.

Looney Tunes: Spotlight Vol. 1 [9/12 to 9/13] – Warner Brothers have, and I imagine always will, jealousy guard their Looney Tunes IP. You can’t find (easily) Looney Tunes on YouTube, and the DVD releases have been less than generous. Go ahead and do an Amazon search on Looney Tunes DVDs, and you’ll see what I mean. There are over a thousand Looney Tunes and Marry Melody shorts one day; I’ll go through and catalog them all and figure out how many I’ve seen. The “Gold Collections” started coming out in 2003, with about 50 cartoons each and several bonus features. Alongside these, they released the “Spotlight Collections,” which sold at about half the price, had two disks, about 30 cartoons, and fewer features. I have 4 of them, most of them picked up at movie store liquidations. It’s been a while since I’ve watched these, and I forgot how good they were. Some of my favorites from Vol. 1 are: Hair-Raising Hare, Frigged Hare, Baton Bunny, Feed the Kitty, Bunker Hill Bunny, Bugs and Thugs, Lumber Jerks, and Devil May Hare.

Looney Tunes: Spotlight Vol. 2 [9/13 to 9/18] – another tempting schemer of classic Looney Tunes, the first disk is largely Tweety Pie cartoons, and the second disk is primarily music-based cartoons. Some of the highlights are: Old Glory, Porky in Wackyland, Book Revue, Hollywood Steps Out, I Love To Singa, the Three Little Bops, One Froggy Evening, Rhapsody Rabbit, What’s Opera Doc, and You Ought to Be in Pictures. “Porky in Wackyland” is a B&W that introduces Dodo. “Old Glory” is a patriotic American cartoon where Porky learns the importance of the pledge of allegiance. My feelings are mixed on the message, but it’s important for historical reasons and not one of the better-known ones. “Three Little Bops” is a modernized version of the “Three Little Pigs,” told through a very catchy jazz song and rhymed verse. “You Ought to Be in Pictures” is a live-action/animation with one of the great cartoon directors, Leon Schlesinger, playing himself, also B&W.

Looney Tunes: Spotlight Vol. 4 [11/27 – 11/28] – Unlike the other two Looney Tunes spotlight collection DVD’s these are presented in slimmer cases and can be kind of finicky to put back in, but that doesn’t really matter. It’s the content that does. And the contents on this one is quite good, the first disk in the box is all Bugs Bunny, 14 cartoons, and they include some of Bugs’ best work: it starts out with Roman Legion Hare, and also has Mississippi Hair (a semi banned short with an alternate Yosemite Sam called Colonial Shuffle), Barbary Coast Bunny (which had Bugs Bunny constantly winning at a Casio opened by a crook who ripped him off), Nightmare Hair, Forward March Hare (an interesting look at American conscription and basic training), Sahara Hare (loosely based on Beau Guest), and Knightly-Knight Bugs (which won an academy award – I should try to see all the academy award-winning cartoon shorts, that would make an interesting project, I’m sure I’ve seen more than a few of them at this point). The second disk is all cat-related cartoons: The Night Watchman (an interesting older color cartoon where a young cat fills in for his sick father to watch over the kitchen and is bullied by some rats), Cat Feud (another Mark Anthony/Pussyfoot cartoon, good but not quite as cute as “Feed the Kitty”), and Mouse and Garden (which is a great little bitter rivalry between Silvester and Sam Cat). The second disk is good, but not as good as the first, but that’s to be expected; nobody survives against Bugs Bunny. Vol. 4 is the best of the Looney Tunes DVDs (spotlight and others).

Looney Tunes: Spotlight Vol. 5 [12/13] – disk one has Bugs and Daffy (but not too many of them working with each other), and disk two is all fairytales. Some of the highlights from the DVD: 14 Carrot Rabbit (I love the old prospector archetypal story, and this one does a good job; also the art in this short has always stood out to me for some reason, can’t really explain why, funny too Bugs and Sam at their best), Bugs Bonnets (I believe this one his taught in psychology classes, different hats on Bugs and Elmer cause them to act in different ways, it may not be the best Looney Tune, but it’s worth looking at for analytical reasons), Transylvanian 6-5000 (once upon a time I had the movie with the same title on VHS, I saw it once but don’t remember it. I think it was a Rocky Horror knockoff from the 80s, but I could be wrong, a funny cartoon though, Bugs gets lost and ends up in Transylvania and takes on a vampire with magic words, classic. The title comes from an old big band song called “Pennsylvania 6-5000,” which was [at the time of the song] a phone number). Bewitching Bunny (a take on “Hansel and Gretel,” and the primary short for the character Witch Hazel). There are also several variations of Little Red Riding Hood on the DVD.

Loaded Weapon 1* [12/20/20] – this one is slightly out of place, alphabetically. I received it as a Christmas gift, but since I was still in the same letter, I decided to watch it away. And oh man, this is a goofy and great movie in every way, from the opening scene of Emilio Estiveze over delivering the dialogue to the Wayne’s World Parody at the end, with cameos from a lot of unexpected actors. I remember when this movie came out, and I don’t understand why it never hit the same groove as other parody movies like the Naked Gun or Airplane! This will be a movie I will watch closely, quite a few more times, and I think every time I will pick up on something new. 5/5 stars.

The Lord of the Rings Part 1: The Fellowship of the Ring [12/27/20] – it takes a special kind of movie that is 12 hours long and still does not feel like it’s dragging at any point. I’ve seen this movie over a hundred times, and I mean that literally, I used to keep a running tally, and for a time, this was my favorite movie. Upon watching it again, I can not understand why I haven’t watched it in so long. Most people say the second movie is their favorite of the three; the third one won all the awards; I count all three as a single movie, but, if I had to choose among them, the first movie “The Fellowship of the Ring” is the best one, it has the best score, the best cinematography, and it doesn’t rely on the epic battles to keep the viewer interested. The movie is much more pastoral and peaceful than the other two. It’s also the one I watched the most, but that’s a bit unfair because I was binge-watching it for half a year before the next one came out. If you’re wondering, this movie (along with the next two) are all the 4 disk leather-bound extended edition DVDs. Yes, I watched the 12-hour compendium documentary as well (a few times), but I haven’t watched them for this Mega DVD Marathon, as bonus features are not a high priority for this review. Like “Groundhog Day,” This movie gets the rare 6 out of 5 stars.

The Lord of the Rings Part 2: The Two Towers [12/27/20 – 12/29/20] – Although lacking in the peace and pastoral nature of the first movies, it is hard (if not impossible) to watch the first movie to the end and not wonder what happens next. Frodo and Sam meet up with Golom/Schmeegle, reach the black gate, and then turn for a different hidden path. Mary and Pippen meet up with an Ent (a walking tree – a creature that is sorely lacking in fantasy fiction IMO), and the others go to Rohan to defend it against an orc army. The story gets more complicated in this movie, with the divergent narratives, and the true reality of the ring and the situation becomes more apparent. It’s my least favorite of the 3, but still easily 4 out of 5 stars.

The Lord of the Rings part 3: The Return of the King [12/29 – 12/30] – Such a good ending to a great movie or trilogy (depending on how you look at it), but I always forget just how sad of an ending it is. Spoiler warning here (though this isn’t the most obscure of movies, so how many people would I actually be spoiling it for?) in my opinion Froto does not really make it back to the shire. Sure he returns physically, but mentally and spiritually, he is far too damaged to really return. And that’s okay, many people in the movie gave their lives to save the world (few of them named), so one damaged hobbit is a fair trade, yes it’s sad, but the world is not a perfect one (our world or Middle Earth). Now I’ve watched these movies many, many times, but I haven’t seen them in a while; I think I need to add them to my yearly viewing (I think I can leave them on in the background and do other things given that I’ve seen them recently) but I’m not sure when. Logical would suggest that they go in the Halloween/fall movie list since that was when I first saw the first movie, but that list is already pretty full. I may put them into the summer list (which has little else in it at this juncture). Part of me wants to put it in the seasonal selection; 20 years ago, this would have been the obvious choice, but that list is getting a bit too full. I’ll probably end up putting them on the summer list. I should also point out here that these movies significantly influenced me in both writing and even reading. I may not write very much High Fantasy, but I do write a lot, so thank you J.R.R. Tolkien and Peter Jackson, and the fans of this blog (by proxy) thank you as well. 4 out of 5 stars.

Letter in review – And so we close out a pretty crappy year with a pretty good movie or a single five-star 12-hour movie in three volumes. I could have started the following letter before the New Year, but I didn’t really want to continue anything from 2020 into 2021, so I held off and finished watching Seinfeld (never a bad choice). I’m about halfway through this project, and I’ll be taking a harder stance on it. The average score for the letter (movies only) is 4.4.

Rhinoplantiquity

Only two weeks ago I published a story called “Let the Clutch Out Slowly” which got a good response. Well today, I have another for your enjoyment. It was published on the Short Humor Site (same at the last story) and it was written the day after I wrote (the first draft of) “Let the Clutch Out Slowly.”

Yes it’s a weird title, and not a real word, but it will make perfect sense once you read the story. It wasn’t the first title I had in mind, but the better one, in my opinion.

The idea for this story came to me after my Dad and I had gone on a bike ride in 2020 and we were driving home. I wrote the idea in my phone, but wasn’t sure how to turn it into a story, at the time.

Hopefully you will enjoy it.

Rhinoplantiquity | The Short Humour Site | February 20th, 2022

Let the Clutch Out Slowly

I am pleased to announce my first story published this year, it is the second story to be written (entirely) this year, and took me exactly 2 hours and 22 minutes to write and edit, from first word to final published version.

The actual wait time from submission to publication was 6 hours, which is extremely fast.

Usually the submission to publication process takes months (without rejection – of which there usually are many). I currently have a story that was submitted in July of 2020, accepted in September of that year, and as of February 2022 still isn’t published… but it should be soon.

The entire time from first word typed to publication was 4 days, though not all of that time was spent actively working on the story (obviously).

This story is my 12th story published on Short Humour and 57th story published overall. And yes, this is a true story, something called “Creative Non-Fiction,” This is my 8th published creative non-fiction.

The story is also part of a longer and more interesting piece, where I show this story in it’s first draft, followed by each subsequent draft, along with notes on the process of writing. That whole piece is called “Zooooooooooom” and will probably be saved for my future creative non-fiction collection aptly titled “If Life Was Good it Wouldn’t be so Funny,” But we have a ways to go before we get there.

Until Then you can read “Let the Clutch Out Slowly” here.

“Let the Clutch Out Slowly” | the Short Humour Site | February 7, 2022

2021 Review – The Numbers

Hours Spent Writing: 448

Hours Spent Reading: 295

Hours Spent Watching Movies: 157

Hours Spent Playing Video Games: 338

Hours Spent Video Editing: 51

Pieces Published: 2

New Pieces Written:

  • 8 Short Stories
  • 1 Long Story
  • 1 NaNoWriMo Novel (in Rough)
  • 1 Creative Non-Fiction

Blog Posts Posted: 13

Books Read: 31

Books Read (1st time): 23

Books Read (on paper): 10

Movies Watched (1st time): 46

Movies Watched (total): 99

Video Games Beaten: 15

Video Games Collected: 14

Vinyl Records Collected: 40

DVD’s Collected: 47

Toys Collected: 10

Pulps Collected: 5

Books Collected: 24

2021 Review – Wake Up Songs

1/3 Lilly the Pink by the Irish Rovers* (we used to sing this song in boy scouts, and I didn’t even realize this was that song until I bought this record. Also, I hope you don’t mind, but i’ve added notes to a lot of the songs here.)

1/4 well the first weird in is early In the year. Maggie’s Farm but sung/spoken by Joe Caswell (the pro/antagonist from the “Execution” episode of the Twilight Zone.

1/7 Human Nature by Michael Jackson

1/8 One Love (People Get Ready) by Bob Marley

1/11 Arabian Nights from Aladdin* (one of my traditions every winter is to put on my Aladdin T-Shirt, watch the movie (the 1992 version), play the Aladdin Genesis game, and play this record while I’m doing it.)

1/12 Jason and the Argonauts Sketch from Robot chicken

1/19 I’m Gonna Fly by Sydney Forest (this was the theme song from the American commercials for “Kiki’s Delivery Service” though the song is not actually in the movie unfortunately it should have been.)

1/25 E-240 by Power Glove

1/26 Strike of the Ninja by DragonForce

1/30 Blinding Lights by The Weeknd (when songs like this are released and become popular, I have less to worry about the future of popular music)

1/31 Marmalade Boy Theme Song

2/1 Hello I Must Be Going from Animal Crackers

2/2 You Still Don’t Know Me by Ray Charles

2/3 Hail Hail Freedonia from Duck Soup

2/5 Mother Russia by Iron Maiden

2/6 Yarilo by Arkon (the band does a great little dance at the beginning of the song, it’s worth watching just for that)

2/9 Athletic Theme from Super Mario World

2/12 RIPTide by RIPTide (if you’ve ever listened to speed metal without distortion, it sounds like surf music. This band decided to take that to the next level and make Surf Metal)

2/13 If I Could Make a Living by Clay Walker (Im not a fan of country, especially like this… but this one I find enjoyable for some unknown reason)

2/14 Rare Old Mountain Dew by Orthodox Celts (I do love Irish Folk and Irish Rock, and this is damn near my favorite of it all. so throw away your pills that will cure all ills be ya Pegan or Christian or Jew. so put down your beers and please your ears with this “Rare Old Mountain Dew”)

2/16 Cryin’ by Aerosmith

2/17 Stand Up by the Specials

2/18 If I Could Make a Living by Clay Walker

2/19 Amos Moses by Jerry Reed

2/21 The Wellermen by Nathan Evens (of all the strange things that happened in 2020, the comeback in popularity of the sea shanty has to be up there. i knew this song, word for word, years before it became so popular.)

2/22 Dead Man’s Party by Oingo Boingo

2/23 With a Rebel Yell She Cried Sand Up For Your Right (Yes it’s an intermesh of the two songs, almost as weird as one of my dreams, and close to perfect)

2/26 Flying Battery Theme from Sonic Mania

3/1 Witchy Woman by the Eagles

3/3 Tubthumpin by Chumbawumba (everyoe by age remembers when this song came out, it was everywhere, what a lot of us didn’t know, is that this was the single hit from a band that had been around for almost 20 years at that point.)

3/4 Tubthumpin by Chumbawumba

3/6 The Parting Glass from Waking Ned Devine (Great movie, if you ever get the opportunity to see it, make sure you do. this is the last scene of the movie, but don’t worry it doesn’t spoil anything)

3/10 How Great Thou Art (I am not a religious person, but there are a few hymns that I really like, this one particularly. I really like the line “thy power throughout the universe displayed” I found a heavy metal version of this song, by an Unblack Metal band, but i think they missed the mark, so I’m not going to link it)

3/11 Put a Little Love in Your Heart by Jackie DeShannon

3/12 Emerald City by the Tossers

3/13 Tinka De Tonka De Tonka Tonk Tink from Family Guy

3/15 Oh Susanna

3/17 Erin Go Bragh by the Tossers

3/18 The Irish Rover by Happy O’ McWeezle

3/19 Streets of Philadelphia by Bruce Springsteen

3/20 Peace Sells by Megadeth merged with Who Said I Would by Phil Collins*

3/23 When the Light Comes Up on New York City by Zoltan

3/24 All Through the Night by Cindy Lauper (the second most “woken up to” song of the year with 4 instances. I didn’t realize until this year that this was a Cindy Lauper Song. And it has a very special meaning to me.)

3/25 You Are My Sunshine by Reflector

3/26 Enchanted Forest theme from Castle of Illusions

3/30 Around the World by Daft Punk

3/31 Judas at the Opera by Edguy

4/1 Hey Jude by the Beatles

4/4 Ridin by Classic & 86

4/7 Fields of Gold by Sting

4/8 Goodmorning from Singing in the Rain

4/9 Rough Riders Anthem by DMX

4/12 High Hopes by Panic at the Disco (Great video if you haven’t seen it yet)

4/13 Auld Lang Sine from Its a Wonderful Life (yes I know that’s not where the song is originally from, and no I can’t watch this clip without tearing up, and no I don’t know why I would wake up with this song in my head in April)

4/15 Confessions in the Dark by Swimware

4/17 Woah by Black Rob

4/19 I Got You Babe by Sonny & Cher

4/20 Because I Got High by Afroman

4/21 Duke of Earl by Gene Chandler

4/23 the Humpty Dance by Digits Underground

4/24 Average Homeboy by Danny Blazin Hayzen (this one is so bad it’s good, trust me.)

4/25 Cherry Pie by Warrent (Hair Metal at it’s absolute best)

4/26 I Fought the Law by Bobby Fuller Four (punk before punk, and a really good MV with the go-go dancers)

4/27 My Pancreas by Weird Al

4/28 Supercalaphragilosticexpialadoshus from Marry Poppins

4/29 Rabbit of Seville from Looney Tunes

4/30 Self Esteem by Offspring

5/1 Symphony of War by Magic Kingdom

5/4 Летаешь ли ты во сне ? by ВнутриЯ (this is the first of several Sovietwave songs that i woke up with stuck in my head. Sovietwave is a subgenre of Synthwave that comes from eastern block countries, and is part of the Nostalgia for the Soviet Union Phenomenon. And just an excellent form of music. however the one problem is, i don’t have a clue what these titles are, and reproducing’s them for the list is a difficult task. there is a Sovietwave Radio Station on YouTube, which is where i came across most (if not all) of these)

5/5 Nannerpuss from the Denny’s Commercial

5/6 All Through the Night by Cindy Lauper

5/12 Brando by Scott Walker + Sunn O))) (Sunn O))) is a very difficult band to understand, this is about the best song to approach them with. they are Drone Metal the heaviest and slowest form of metal and music in general)

5/14 Iron Clad Angels by Nobel Beast

5/15 Made of Metal by Iron Savior

5/16 Play That Song by Train

5/18 Feel it Still by Portugal the Man

5/19 The Living Years by Mike and the Mechanics (oh man this is one hell of a song, sad and powerfully uplifting. and “Mike” if you didn’t know is Mike Rutherford the Guitar Player from Genesis.)

5/23 Trapped In the Drive Through by Weird Al

5/24 Magic School Bus Theme song ????

5/27 Ain’t That a Shame by the 4 Seasons

6/1 The Marines Hymn

6/3 Stuck in the Middle With You by Steve Miller Band (no link, I hate this song)

6/5 Carry On My Wayward Son by Anthrax*

6/8 Tight rope by Stevie Ray Vaughan

6/10 When I See You by Fantasia

6/11 Woah by Black Rob

6/12 In the Loop of the Octoraro Bend (I can’t even begin to describe what this song means to me)

6/13 When I See You by Foolio (a harsh rap song, spawned from a Florida gang beef that has claimed several lives so far.)

6/14 Who I Smoke by Spinabenz, Whoppa Wit Da Choppa, Yungeen Ace, & FastMoney Goon (one of the most violent Rap song’s I’ve ever heard and sampling one of the most peaceful and white songs ever written. great video. It is specifically a response to the Foolio song from yesterday. weather you like rap or not, you really need to check out this song.)

6/15 Happy Fun Candy Time from AVGN Adventure

6/16 Penalty Box by Bobot Adrenaline

6/17 More Than This by Roxy Music

6/21 Noble Beast by Noble Beast (the best American Power Metal Band ever, Full Stop. and this is their best song. sadly they only released one album.)

6/23 I Am Woman Hear Me Roar by Helen Ready

6/25 Neon Valley by Matthew Jones

7/2 Sugar Sugar by the Archies

7/3 Blue Moon by the Miracles

7/4 The Marines Hymn

7/5 Born Slippy by Moonrunner83

7/6 Polkarama by Weird Al

7/8 G.I. Joe Theme Song (their is a 24 hour G.I. Joe live webcast on YouTube that I had watched a good bit of this summer. not my favorite cartoon growing up, but a solid production and worth watching.)

7/10 Police Truck by the Dead Kennedy’s

7/12 West Cost by Fidlar

7/14 Police Truck by the Dead Kennedy’s

7/15 Blood Clot by Pkew Pkew Pkew

7/16 I Used to Think by Face to Face

7/21 All Through the Night by Cindy Lauper

7/23 Everybody Have Fun Tonight by Wang Chung

7/27 The Twist by Chubby Checker (Chubby lives not too far from where I do, and I used to work at the Wawa that was right up the road from his house, and I met his wife once, unfortunate he never came in when I was there.)

7/28 Завод роботехники by Сила Кориолиса

7/30 All in Music by Motion Range (despite the English title and band name, this is Sovietwave, there is a difference between that and Synthwave, that you can hear if you listen to enough of it.)

8/6 Everywhere I Go by 2pac (more specifically the spoken word part at the end of the song)

8/7 Tulip Time in Holland from Bosco in Dutch

8/12 The International (Sovietwave Remix)

8/14 The War Song by Culture Club*

8/16 Twilight Zone by Golden Earring (the most “woken up to” song of the year with 5 instances)

8/17 White Christmas by the Drifters???

8/22 Rocky Road to Dublin by Dropkick Murphy’s

8/23 FRKA by Nipplepeople

8/25 He’s Gone Away from the Munsters (really good song and good episode, unfortunately I can’t find the specific clip, but this is the audio from it)

8/26 Happy Fun Candy Time from AVGN Adventure

8/27 Bluffington Diaries by Sexy Heroes (people my age will quickly realize what this song is about.)

8/28 She’s Famous Now by Reel Big Fish

8/29 Program Tvog Kompjutera by Denis & Denis (so this one is not Sovietwave, mostly becuse it came out some 30 years before Sovietwave was even a thing, definently a progenetor of the genre though. this song (in my opinion) falls into the catagory of Doomer Music, which is the Russian/Soviet equivelent of Darkwave, a subgenre of New Wave. tough tis song is way more poppy (and happy) then Doomer music usually is, so it can be considered “Bloomer” music.)

8/30 Greensleeves by Gregorian (if you’ve never heard of Gregorian, they are a German cover band that covers songs in the style of Gregorian Chant. this is not the best song to really get their full flavor. in that case i would recomend Kashmir.)

8/31 Lu Yehe by Chava Alberstein* (I’ll tell the story behind this song (and album) when i get to it in the Vinyl Review but it’s going to be a while before i get to it. it’s a funny story through.)

9/2 Do Me Like a Caveman by Edguy*

9/3 Maniac Monday by the Bangles (no link, like the band, hate this song)

9/4 Twilight Zone by Golden Earring

9/5 Twilight Zone by Golden Earring

9/6 All Through the Night by Cindy Lauper

9/7 Mid Twenties Skateboarder by Pkew Pkew Pkew

9/12 Vincent by Don McClain*

9/13 I Don’t Care by Ed Sheeren & Justin Bieber (I love this song, I don’t care who knows)

9/14 the Cloning from Aqua Teen Hunger Force (not a song but an episode, specifically the line “hey wake up you missing some good TV.” If you have HBO Max i would recomend checking it out the whole episode it’s one of their creepier ones.)

9/15 Candy Shop by the Dan Band

9/17 Realms of Fantasy by Visions of Atlantis (Oh Visions of Atlantis, an Austrian band that was in my opinion set to give Nightwish a run for their money. Then sadly their female vocalist died of cancer at a very young age.)

9/18 Twilight Zone by Golden Earring

9/19 Rocky Road to Dublin by Dropkick Murphy’s

9/22 I Don’t Care by Ed Sheeren & Justin Bieber

9/23 Happy Fun Candy Time from AVGN Adventure

9/25 Счастливая юность by Электроника 302

9/26 Joy to the World by Isaac Watts???

9/27 I Don’t Like Mondays by the Boomtown Rats*

9/28 the International (Techno Remix)

9/30 Keep on Rocking by Steve Miller Band (with the acceptation of one song, I hate this band)

10/5 I Don’t Like Mondays by the Boomtown Rats*

10/7 the West Side by Phil Collins*

10/8 I Want My Shit by ICP

10/9 House on Fire by the Boomtown Rats*

10/13 Танцедром by Марксэн

10/14 Twilight Zone by Golden Earring

10/29 Remove Kebab (there’s a lot of political stuff connected with this song, which I’m not going to go into here. a friend of mine heard me playing Russian war music, and sent me a link to this song. it’s catchy if you ignore who and what this song is about.)

10/30 Krasno-zheltye dni by Kino (this is Russian Doomer Music. Kino is one of the biggest bands in Russia. there’s no telling what culture/music I will invest in next year i know early in the year it was City Pop, but that didn’t last for too long.)

11/10 Turn Turn Turn by the Byrds

11/11 Альянс by На заре

11/12 Simple As That by Huey Lewis and the News*

11/18 Panama by Van Halen

11/20 The Hop by Left Wing Fascists

11/27 Declaration Day by Iced Earth (I won’t support Iced Earth and link to this song)

11/30 Kombat by Lube

12/2 Tomorrow from Annie

12/3 Альянс by На заре

12/4 Tonight Tonight by Hot Chelie Rae

12/6 Score by Slyder

12/15 Vincent by Don McClain*

12/21 Ghetto Life by Rick James

12/22 Love Yer Feller Man from Squidbillies

12/25 Little Saint Nick by the Beach Boys

12/26 Apple Bottom Jeans by the Beach Boys

12/27 מקהלת שירה מבצעת את ׳אם השם לא יבנה בית

2021 Review – Collection

for collecting: * = New/Sealed Product

DVDs Collected

  • Uncut Gems*
  • The Story of Mankind*
  • Philadelphia*
  • The Walk*
  • Night Court Season 3
  • South Park Season 4
  • Dick Tracy Double Feature
  • Lost in Translation
  • What Dreams My Come
  • Metropolis (Restored Authorized Keno Edition)
  • Haunted & Hunted – Whistlestop/Detour
  • Strangers on a Train (Blu-ray)*
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh*
  • A Fish Called Wanda/Dirty Rotten Scoundrels/Throw Mama From the Train*
  • Rush Hour 3 (Blu-Ray)*
  • Strange Brew*
  • Transcendence*
  • Lost Horizons*
  • The Triplets of Belleville*
  • The Wild Bunch*
  • Mulan Two Movie Pack (Blu-Ray)*
  • Talespine Vol. 2*
  • American Beauty (Blu-Ray)*
  • Always Sunny in Philadelphia Seasons 1&2
  • Shameless Season 1
  • Exporting Raymond
  • The Hangover*
  • The Jetsons: The Complete Series*
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Gilart Grindelwold*
  • Twilight Zone: The Complete 80s Series*
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force 6
  • Robot Chicken Season 3*
  • Ghostbusters 1&2 (Blu-ray)*
  • Please Twins
  • 3:10 to Yuma (Blu-ray)
  • The Big Lebowski
  • Get Shorty
  • In the Heat of the Night
  • Running With Scissors
  • Color of Money
  • Taxi Driver
  • Hook
  • Death to Smoochy
  • the Godfather Trilogy
  • Married With Children (Season 1)
  • Married With Children (Season 2)
  • Thundercats 2010 (Complete Series – Blue Ray)*

Video Games Collected

  • Super Mario Maker 2 (Switch)*
  • Syberia 1&2 (Switch – Download)
  • AVGN 1&2 (Switch – Download)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch – Download)
  • Tony Hawk 1+2 (Switch)*
  • Nights into Dreams (Saturn – Disk Only)
  • Virtua Fighter 2 (Saturn – Disk Only)
  • Virtual On (Saturn – Disk Only)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD (Switch)*
  • Mario Golf Super Rush (Switch)*
  • Where in Time is Carman San Diego (NES)
  • Road Rash II (Genesis – Complete)
  • Crusin’ Blast (Switch)*
  • Grand Theft Auto Trilogy: the Definitive Edition (Switch – Download)

Vinyl Collected

  • Stockhousen-Beethoven Opus 1970 by Karlheinz Stockhousen
  • Block 4 Episodes/Britten Sinfonia by Izler Solomon
  • Concerto for Group and Orchestra by Deep Purple
  • Tarzan Boy (7”) by Baltimora
  • Pete’s Dragon Read Along Book and Record
  • The Complete Works of Anton Webern
  • American Pie by Don McClain
  • String Quartet No. 2 by Arnold Schoenburg / Little Companion Pieces by Mel Powell
  • Time’s Encomium by Charles Wuorinen
  • Paino Concertos No. 2 & No. 5 by Saint Saens
  • Kissing to be Clever by Culture Club
  • Santa Claus’ Christmas Party
  • Nine Tonight by Bob Segar and the Silver Bullet Band
  • Piano Concertos No. 1 & 2 by Bela Bartok
  • Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt. 1 by Helloween*
  • Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt. 2 by Helloween*
  • Folk of the 80s Part III by Men Without Hats
  • Business as Usual by Men at Work
  • Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite / Bizet’s L’Arleienne
  • Sonata’s for Recorder by Handle
  • Optical Race by Tangerine Dream
  • Russian Folk Songs
  • 1812 Overture/Caprico Italian by Tchaikovsky
  • Concerto in A Minor for Piano and Orchestra by Grieg / Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini by Rachmaninoff
  • Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral” by Beethoven
  • Gaite Parisienne by Offenbach
  • Greatest Science Fiction Hits by Neal Norman and His Cosmic Orchestra
  • the Goldberg Variations (Glen Gould on Piano) by Bach
  • Piano Sonatas Nos. 14, 8, 26 by Beethoven
  • Fore! By Huey Lewis and the News
  • Rockihn Roll by the Greg Kihn Band
  • Concerto for Sitar and Orchestra by Ravi Shabkar
  • The Last Domino by Genesis*
  • Ghostbusters II Original Motion Picture Score*
  • Duke by Genesis*
  • Handle’s Messiah
  • Newborn Light by Urszula Dudziak
  • The New Trumpet performed by Gerard Schwartz
  • Percussion Music directed by Raymond DesRoches

Toys Collected

  • Human Torch – Marvel Legends Retro*
  • Bob Ross – Neca*
  • Devo – Satisfaction – Funko Pop*
  • Nerf Dog – Tennis Ball Canon*
  • Nerf Elite 2.0 – Volt SD-1*
  • Nerf Elite 2.0 – Echo CS-10*
  • Nerf Fortnite – BASR-L Blaster*
  • Nerf Fortnite – 6-SH Dart Blaster*
  • Dart Zone – Stryker*
  • Nerf Rival – Takedown*

Pulp Magazines

  • Real West – May 1973
  • Fantastic Stories – March 1968
  • Fantastic Stories – May 1968
  • If February 1973
  • Amazing Stories March 1973

Books

  • Best American Short Stories 2020*
  • How Few Remain by Harry Turtledove
  • Stay Out of the Basement (Goosebumps) by R.L. Stine
  • Monster Blood (Goosebumps) by R.L. Stine
  • Goosebumps: The Campfire Collection by R.L. Stine
  • Strange Wine by Harlan Ellison
  • Mind Fields by Harlan Ellison*
  • Bicycles by Alan Dahsen
  • Readers Digest’s Great American Short Stories
  • The Pugilist at Rest by Thom Jones
  • Dave Barry Slept Here by Dave Barry
  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg*
  • Eyewitness Train by John Coiley*
  • Ellison Wonderland by Harlan Ellison
  • On the Train by Harry Turtledove
  • The Legend of the Lost Legend (Goosebumps) by R.L. Stine
  • Why I’m Afraid of Bees (Goosebumps) by R.L. Stine
  • Bad Hare Day (Goosebumps) by R.L. Stine
  • The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson
  • To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer
  • Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon
  • Portrait of the Artistis as a Young Man by James Joyce
  • The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John La Carre*
  • Ultraman – The Rise of Ultraman*

2021 Review – Consumption

Books Read

New Books:

(Best to Worst)

(*= Books read on Paper)

  • Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
  • Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
  • Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murikami
  • The Answer Is by Alex Trebek
  • Rare Encounters with Sea Beasts and Other Divine Phenomena by Nick Gregorio
  • A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders
  • Menu Design in America by Jim Heimann*
  • To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini
  • Strange Wine by Harlan Ellison*
  • First Person Singular: Stories by Haruki Murikami
  • The Ultimate Alphabet by Mike Wilkes*
  • Best American Short Stories 2020 edited by Curtis Sittenfeld
  • Mind Fields by Harlan Ellison*
  • Eyewitness Train by John Coiley*
  • Ellison Wonderland by Harlan Ellison*
  • The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John La Carre
  • City on the Edge of Forever by Harlan Ellison
  • Bicycles by Alan Dahsen*
  • The Anarchistic Colossus by A.E. Van Vogt
  • The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursila K. Le Guine
  • Gadsby by Ernest Vincent Wright
  • The Steam Man of the Praries by Edward S. Ellis
  • Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse edited by John Joseph Adams

All Books:

(In Order Read)

  • Menu Design in America by Jim Heimann*
  • Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Answer Is by Alex Trebek
  • This Land Was Made For You and Me (But Mostly Me) by Bruce McCall and David Letterman*
  • Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
  • The Broom of the System
  • The Secrets of the Gnomes by Wil Huygen*
  • Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse edited by John Joseph Adams
  • Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
  • A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders
  • To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini
  • The World of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
  • City on the Edge of Forever by Harlan Ellison
  • The Steam Man of the Praries
  • First Person Singular: Stories by Haruki Murikami
  • Bicycles by Alan Dahsen*
  • Mind Fields by Harlan Ellison*
  • The Anarchistic Colossus by A.E. Van Vogt
  • Strange Wine by Harlan Ellison*
  • Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursila K. Le Guine
  • Eyewitness Train by John Coiley*
  • Gadsby by Earnest Vincent Wright
  • The High Window by Raymond Chandler
  • Best American Short Stories 2020 edited by Curtis Sittenfeld
  • Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murikami
  • Ellison Wonderland by Harlan Ellison*
  • Rare Encounters with Sea Beasts and Other Divine Phenomena by Nick Gregorio*
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • The Ultimate Alphabet by Mike Wilkes*
  • The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John La Carre

New Stories Read (Not from Collections)

New Movies Watched

(Best to Worst – Order EoY)

(*= saw the movie before, but didn’t remember it)

  • (High)
  • Uncut Gems
  • The Walk
  • The Shining
  • The Killing
  • Demolition Man
  • American Beauty
  • Australia
  • Teenage Caveman (MST3K)
  • Hot Shots!
  • Sherlock Jr.
  • A Night in Casablanca
  • Hot Shots Part Deux
  • A Million Way to Die in the West
  • Strangers on a Train
  • Nothing But Trouble
  • Man on Wire
  • Killer Fish (MST3K)
  • Red Sonja
  • Metropolis
  • The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
  • Man of the Year
  • The Hangover
  • Mulan (1998)
  • Mulan (2020)
  • Lion in Winter
  • Go West
  • The Big Store
  • Room Service
  • Love Happy
  • Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome
  • Throw Mama From the Train
  • Gosford Park
  • Moulin Rouge!
  • The Muppets Take Manhattan
  • Squirm (MST3K)
  • 12 to the Moon (MST3K)
  • Mac & Me (MST3K)
  • Lords of the Deep (MST3K)
  • The Day Time Ended (MST3K)
  • Satilite Dishes (MST3K)
  • Atlantic Rim (MST3K)
  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith
  • Munster Go Home
  • Being from Another Planet (MST3K)
  • Ator the Fighting Eagle (MST3K)
  • Musters Revenge

All Movies Watched (in order):

(In Order Watched)

(* = Never seen before/don’t remember)

  • Aladdin
  • The End of the Tour
  • Conan the Barbarian
  • Lion in Winter*
  • Conan the Destroyer
  • Red Sonja*
  • Make Mine Music
  • St. Elmo’s Fire
  • The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)*
  • Man of the Year*
  • Sherlock Jr.*
  • Horse Feathers
  • The Coconuts
  • Animal Crackers
  • Horse Feathers
  • Duck Soup
  • A Night at the Opera
  • A Day at the Races
  • Groundhog Day
  • A Night in Casablanca*
  • Room Service*
  • At the Circus
  • Go West*
  • The Big Store*
  • Love Happy*
  • Monty Python’s Meaning of Life
  • Melody Time
  • Merlin
  • Mickey’s House of Villains
  • Hot Shots!*
  • Hot Shots Part Deux*
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Philadelphia*
  • A Million Way to Die in the West*
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocoholet Factory
  • Who Framed Rodger Rabbit
  • Dick Tracy Meets Greusome*
  • Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle
  • Strangers on a Train*
  • Throw Mama From the Train*
  • Monster Squad
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service
  • Uncut Gems*
  • Gosford Park*
  • Metropolis*
  • The Walk*
  • Nothing But Trouble*
  • Man on Wire*
  • Minority Report
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service
  • Monster Squad
  • 1776
  • What About Bob
  • American Beauty*
  • Fritz the Cat
  • Australia*
  • The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat
  • Mr. Magoo
  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith*
  • Mulan (1998)*
  • Mulan (2020)*
  • The Mummy (1999)
  • Munster Go Home
  • Musters Revenge
  • The Hangover
  • The Great Muppet Caper
  • Ghostbusters
  • The Adventures of Ichebode and Mr. Toad
  • Muppets From Space
  • Ghostbusters 2
  • The Muppets Take Manhattan*
  • My Favorite Year
  • My Five Wives
  • MST3K – the Movie
  • MST3K – Eegaah
  • MST3K – Manos the Hands of Fait
  • MST3K – The Wild Wild World of Bat Woman
  • [Note: I watched a lot of MST3K episodes, for the most part i’ve seen them many times, so I’m not going to list them all, but I will list the new ones I havn’t seen.]
  • MST3K – The Attomic Brain
  • Squirm (MST3K)
  • Teenage Caveman (MST3K)
  • Being from Another Planet (MST3K)
  • 12 to the Moon (MST3K)
  • Ghostbusters
  • Ghostbusters 2
  • Satilite Dishes (MST3K)
  • Mac & Me (MST3K)
  • Atlantic Rim (MST3K)
  • Lords of the Deep (MST3K)
  • The Day Time Ended (MST3K)
  • Killer Fish (MST3K)
  • The Adventures of Ichibod and Mr. Toad
  • Ator the Fighting Eagle (MST3K)
  • The Shining
  • The Killing
  • Demolition Man
  • Christmas Vacation
  • It’s a Wonderful Life

Video Games Beaten:

  • Aladdin (Genesis – Switch)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Switch)
  • Super Mario Maker 2 (Switch)
  • 198X (Switch)
  • Fire N’ Ice (NES – Switch)
  • AVGN Adventures (Switch)
  • AVGN Adventures 2 (Switch)
  • Syberia (Switch)
  • Tony Hawk 1+2 (Solo mode, Roswell Alien, Officer Dick – Switch)
  • Syberia 2 (Switch)
  • Mario Golf Super Rush (Adventure Mode – Switch)
  • Crusin’ Blast (All Golds, All Cars)
  • Grand Theft Auto III (Definitive Edition – Switch)
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (Definitive Edition – Switch)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch Remake)

Video Games Played Heavily (Not Beaten):

  • Super Mario 64 (N64 – Switch)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Switch)

2021 Review – Creation

It’s that time of year again. Time for the year in review update. Sneaking it in right before the New Year as Always. I’ve probably said this before, but next year I plan to do a lot more blog posts. I have some ideas that I would like to share with the world. Plus next year I may be creating things other then writing, specifically music, but we’ll get to that when the time comes.

Published Pieces

New Pieces Written

  • It’s a Long Way Back to Hell’s Kitchen
  • Strange Stars and Stranger Stars
  • That’s Because They Don’t Want You to Know the Title of the Story
  • The Grassless Grave of Erica Saunders
  • Slumpers Drink for Free
  • I Am the Line Color Me Blue
  • An Afternoon at the Voodoo Range
  • Jintaru’s Intergalactic Hallucinogenic Alphabetic Sushi Bar
  • Sydney or Yiddish in a Non-Kosher Deli
  • Full Blown Eigties
  • One Ticket for the Glimmertrain Express as far as it Will Go (NaNoWriMo – Rough Draft)

Blog Posts

14 for 14

In a recent blog post I alluded to a project called “14 for 14” and said that I should do a post on it. Well, here’s that post.

At some point during the year 2014, I noticed that I was writing at a fairly good rate and it just so happened that I was writing a lot of “new” stories. Stories were popping into my head and I was punching them out as best I could. A few months into the year I thought of challenging myself at doing one story a month. And then I realized, this is (was) 2014 so I should do 14 of them, at a slightly higher clip.

I succeeded in this endeavor, though this isn’t too surprising. If I failed I wouldn’t be writing this blog post.

The 14 stories from 2014 are (in the order written):

Rendezvous With the Secular Church of Gasoline

The Last First Days of School

Virtual Jehovah

No Bars at the Gates of Heaven

Clyde Chesterfield’s Invitation to the 1%ers Ball

The First World War Considered as a 2D Tournament Fighter

Small Low-Flying Planes

The Devil’s Playlist

Redacted

Tomorrow and Onward

Legbaugh’s Holistic and Alternative Healing

Scheiskopf 88

The Oppression of the Ziggernauts

Hitching a Ride on Flying Colors

If you’re further interested, here is a brief synopsis of each story, the background story, and the current status w/r/t publishing and such:

Rendezvous With the Secular Church of Gasoline – this is a longer and somewhat experimental story that consists entirely of dialogue between two unnamed characters as they discuss an abandoned gas station/general store and all the things that may have occurred there throughout the years. The story was written after having read a healthy amount of David Foster Wallace. For years I had been writing in the Wallace forged style of “Hyper-Maximalism” which is marked by items such as: long sentences, long paragraphs, heavy detail, obscure references, jargon, and a focus on minor detail. Other (published) stories I’ve written more or less in this vein are: Illogical Traffic Patterns, Tunneling Into Infinity, and The Flute Not Played With Factory Recommended Techniques. This story is kind of the last I’ve written in this style since I have tried to steer closer to a semi-minimalist style. Currently, I essentially blended the two and created my own voice. This story has been submitted to 7 publishers, rejected by 4, withdrawn from 1, lost from 1, and finally published in a Downingtown Doo-Writers Anthology. Because I don’t submit the same story at the same time to multiple places, I can’t tell you how much a non-responses piss me off.

The Last First Days of School – This story is one of my first forays into the genre of Creative Non-Fiction. Heavily inspired by “University Days” by James Thurber. I started writing this story in a very cold house during a power outage caused by a massive ice storm. The story is about my various mostly humorous and mostly negative first days of school. It was originally title “Falling Down a Well of Transitory Players” and it has been published by Independent Noise (which is now defunct and the website no longer accessible), in total it was submitted to 6 other publishers (twice under its original title), rejected by 3 and lost by 2.

Virtual Jehovah – this story is about a guy who invites a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses into his house when they knock on his door during a rainy weekend morning. I was hesitant to submit it to places because it could have been perceived as “possibly offensive” of course the Jehovah’s Witnesses are not a group of people who often receive sympathy. The story isn’t all that offensive really, it focuses more on the idea of how religious people like to share their beliefs with you but are not receptive or open to hearing your own beliefs. Regardless, I didn’t want to offend a specific publisher that I might have a chance with at a later point. I’ve submitted the story to 5 publications, 4 rejected it, and it was picked up by The Library of Rejected Beauty (which publishes only rejected stories… there’s a handful of places like this believe it or not).

Clyde Chesterfield’s Invitation to the 1%ers Ball – back in 2012 I had a summer-long interest in biker gangs, and learned a lot about them. One of these things of course is that the Gang Bikers refer to themselves as “the 1%ers.” Based on the old concept that 99% of bikers are good law-abiding people, the other 1% are the outlaws, some embrace this label. Later on, during the Occupy Wall Street Movement, the term One Percent took on a whole new meaning, referring to the wealthiest people in the world. I started thinking and comparing the two, which lead to this fictional invitation to a dinner/dance celebrating the two, the quasi-narrator of the story is a good combination (if I do say so myself) of a stereotypical biker first name (and the first name of a notorious bank robber) “Clyde” with the stereotypical blue blood WASP last name “Chesterfield.” This story was published by my first (and most loyal) publisher the Short Humour Site, but before it was, it was submitted to 2 other publications, both of which rejected it. Though I tend not to do this, I will mention that one of those publishers was The New Yorker. It was submitted to their “Shouts and Murmurs” section, which publishes generally flash fiction with a humorous bend. It was formally rejected too, which is nice, and atypical, so I guess someone there actually read it. I mention this because a few months after I had submitted it, there was a story in the New Yorker’s Shouts and Murmurs section called “The Dad Restaurant” by Scaachi Koul, that I thought was just a little too similar to my story, not enough to be anything remotely near plagiarism of course, but enough to see that perhaps I inspired someone at the New Yorker? I don’t know, maybe I’m thinking too much on this. I’ve included links to both so you can judge for yourself, and you can also judge which one’s better.

No Bars at the Gates of Heaven – this story occurred after a friend of mine asked me (during a religious discussion) when I die and meet God, what would I say to him. Personally, I am an openly devout atheist, and the question got me thinking about all the questions I might ask. This story is basically a narrative of that list. The title itself is actually a triple entendre, referring to: barriers, saloons, and cellphone reception. I’ve submitted it 7 times, lost by 1 and rejected by the rest. I have another plan for this story but will get to that in a minute.

The First World War Considered as a 2D Tournament Fighter – the spring/summer of 2014 my interest in retro video games leveled up (inspired in large part by AVGN), an interest which is ongoing. My interest in WWI is even older. I read a story back in 2011 called “The Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Considered as a Downhill Motor Race” by J.G. Ballard, which in turn was based on another very similar story called “The Crucifixion Considered as an Uphill Bicycle Race” by Alfred Jarry. My story is considerably different than the other two, and I wouldn’t say nearly as good. But I did my homework with this one and made it fairly accurate. The story has been submitted to 8 publications, formally rejected by 7 (thank you), and finally published in 2017 by the Corvus Review.

Small Low-Flying Planes – this is more or less the best/most important story I wrote in this batch, and easily one of my top 10 favorite stories (that I’ve written). It’s also a major turning point in my writing style, as it is the first to be written using specifically a minimalist style (which was inspired by reading some of my good friend Nick Gregorio’s stories, which are very minimalist). The story is about a man who is agoraphobic but decides to see the country, by driving cross country without leaving his VW Microbus. The story also deals heavily with clouds and depression and drew from many sources of inspiration. It has been submitted 11 times, rejected by 7, lost by 3 (fuck you very much), and was finally published in a beautiful slick literary journal with pictures called “Concinnity” in 2021.

The Devil’s Playlist – I consider this story to be the sister story of “No Bars at the Gates of Heaven” and I’m planning on merging the two together into the same story. This story I kind of based on a practice I do at work. I won’t go into too much detail, but I often have community service helping me with my job, and while they help me I have music going, and I always tell them that they have to name all the songs and if they miss one then they get an extra hour of community service. Taking it a step further, the story is based on the idea that if you die and you still owe community service you have to finish it in hell, the devil plays his music, and the story wrote itself from there. This one is also very minimalist. At this point, it’s been submitted 10 times, rejected 9 times, and lost by 1.

Redacted – this was published under a pseudonym, I’ll go into no more detail than that.

Tomorrow and Onward – this story was inspired by an article that a friend of mine sent me on time capsules. I decided to work on a story about a reverse time capsule, i.e. one that would send future items back to the past. It’s also heavily based on my personal argument that if time travel exists in the future there would be more evidence of it in the past. The story was ultimately submitted to 1 place and was published. Sadly though it was Fast Forward Festival that published it (they also published my stories “A Little Too Smart Phone” and “Wit Thee Well”), and this story was my last to be published there because the publication went defunct. If I’m not mistaken this was in fact the last story to be published there at all.

Legbaugh’s Holistic and Alternative Healing – this story is partially based on something that happened to one of my ancestors, and a story that a friend of mine from Africa told me about the witch doctor in his town. Evidently, if someone has wronged you, then you would go to the witch doctor who would (out of his own pocket) pay you, and then put a curse on the offending party, following which the offending person would have to pay 4 or 5 times the investment to the witch doctor to lift the curse. It might seem goofy, but the fact that the witch doctor would pay you first is interesting. In this story, the main character hires a western witch doctor to put a curse on a family that wronged his family long ago. The story has been submitted to 10 places, rejected by 8, and 1 publication closed before replaying (that was Fast Forward Festival) and was eventually published in the God’s and Services Anthology, it is officially the first (and only) story that I was paid for, a full 20$, plus a copy of the anthology.

Scheisskopf 88 – I wrote this story in October because that’s when my Dad and I go to the Annapolis Boat Show. This is another creative non-fiction covering various episodes of my Dad and I going to the Annapolis Boat Show and the following myriad traditions there, among them lying about the kind of boat we have. This is probably my Dad’s favorite story of mine. I’ve submitted this to 11 places, 2 of which were sailing magazines, 1 was lost, 9 were rejected, and eventually picked up and published on Independent Noise. I got more bummed out when this one was rejected more than others, for two reasons, first it’s my dad’s favorite story and I knew seeing this story published would make him very happy, and second it’s really fucking funny. Since this is kind of a sister story to “The Last First Days of School” I was very happy it was published in Independent Noise, less happy now that Independent Noise is defunct.

The Oppression of the Ziggernauts – this story, along with the next one, were both written at the end of the 2014 NaNoWriMo novel, as bonus stories. It was inspired by another story called “Body Ritual of the Nacirema” by Horace Miner. My story has a punchline ending that changes everything you’ve just read and will make you want to read it again, luckily it’s very short so reading it twice in a row won’t be a problem. This story was submitted once to one place, where it was rejected, re-edited, and then submitted to the Short Humour Site, where it was accepted.

Hitching a Ride on Flying Colors – this story was based partly on something that happened to me back in 2013, and the second half was based on a picture I saw on Deviant Art. It’s hauntingly beautiful, dark, and poetic, in my opinion. My friend who usually is the first to read my stories claimed that this story was his favorite of this particular run of 14. It was been submitted to 10 places, rejected by 8, lost by 1, and finally accepted to the Ginger Collect.

So there you have it, 14 stories, the products of 109 hours of writing, 87 submissions, 66 rejections, and 11 published pieces, as of right now. Currently, I write about 20 stories plus a rough draft novel per year, and perhaps in the future even more. We’ll see what happens.