(In Just Seven Years) Rocky Horror Made Me a Man

 

The Watchmage Is Coming

Pick up your copy of The Watchmage of Old New York here. If you like history, fantasy, and all-around weirdness, you won’t regret it. 4.8 stars on Amazon (23 reviews)!

Some of you will get the title reference. You are my people. Thank you for existing.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show turns 40 this year. I’m not sure if this is old or young, because it’s always been an old movie for me. Even though I’ve seen it hundreds (literally) of times, it’s always seemed like something from the past, brought into the present for lonely souls like me. It was a holy relic, and we were the cult that formed around it.

For better or worse, Rocky Horror made me who I am.

I was always different, quiet, weird. I suppose the term is “socially awkward.” I was more comfortable playing alone or reading than with hanging out with friends. I had some success with sports (particularly baseball), but it never won me any friends. I was bullied in school, and no matter how many times I fought back, it never stopped (Every time someone says that if you stand up to a bully, they’ll stop, I want to laugh at them. It doesn’t stop, it escalates). I hid behind my long, greasy hair and didn’t speak to anyone. Eventually I stopped going to school and just lived my life as far from people as possible.

The doctors diagnosed me with Bipolar Syndrome. I got loaded up with Lithium (the only drug available at the time) and sent to a special school. It was the best thing that ever happened to me, but that’s a different story.

I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but that school was the link to Rocky. Like I said, it was Rocky that transformed me from a shy, awkward kid to a semi-outgoing, but even more awkward, adult.

I was 16, and I went with a friend from the special school and some of his friends. Suddenly I was surrounded by people in half-naked costumes and makeup, yelling, joking, and…hugging! I don’t think I had ever been hugged by a stranger until that first night, definitely the first time I was ever hugged by a man in fishnets. People were actually friendly to me. I was confused, titillated, and entranced. When the movie started and people started yelling awful things in unison, it was all over for me. It became an addiction. I ended up going every Saturday night, getting home at 3 or 4 in the morning (because you have to take over the local diner afterwards, order one plate of disco fries between 10 people, and drink coffee until you vibrate).

I think it was the anonymity of it all. In the dark, no one could judge you. You shed your outer self–the mask you wear for acceptance–and just let go. The thing was, I never had a mask, so I never had acceptance. Suddenly I was in a place where everyone was like me. For two hours a week, we were all equals.

I memorized every line and every call back. I made friends with other socially awkward people, so we could be awkward together. Yelling terrible things at a movie screen brought us together (like how Cards Against Humanity is such a great party game). Rocky was a vehicle that allowed me to be social in a judgment-free area.

As I got older, I got bolder. In college, me and my friend (I had friends now) staged a bi-weekly Rocky in our dorm lounge. I played Riff Raff and sometimes Eddie (and I was freaking good at it). It empowered me. In a few short years I went from hiding in corners to dancing in a spotlight.

I really wish I had pics of me performing.

So what did going to hundreds of Rocky Horror performances teach me? It taught me to get over it. I was so busy worrying about what people thought of me that I couldn’t be myself. There will always be people that judge, and those that will never accept you. Fuck them. Be yourself, be weird, and the people you want to be around will find you.

I’m proud of my weirdness now. I used to be afraid to say that I love D&D and cartoons. Now I shout it out. I’ll sing and dance in public. I’ll wear facepaint at a football game. I’ll embarrass myself, and I don’t care what people think.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Rocky in the theater, yet it’s still latched firmly in my heart. It makes me sad that there are only a few places to see it live now. Every generation needs something like Rocky, a place where the weird can be weird without fear of judgment.

The one near me closed down a good 15 years ago. There’s one within an hour of me, but I can never get up the will to go. I have no idea why. Maybe I don’t need Rocky anymore. Maybe I used to go as social therapy, and now I’m confident enough that I don’t need it. No. It’s because I can’t stay up till 3 or 4 in the morning anymore.

I’m old, Rocky is immortal.

mailing list twitter shape

Sign up here for a free PDF of short stories. They kick ass.

guinea pig card

Inside Out Was the Movie of the Summer

I finally got around to seeing Inside Out last week, and I was stunned at how great it was. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie that managed to be funny, moving, and intellectually compelling. Disney continues to nail it.

Inside_Out_(2015_film)_poster

Disney always puts out excellent movies, and I think that the big reason is that they hire the best writers and directors. Pete Docter–the director and one of the writers on Inside Out–is a certified genius. He’s been nominated for 6 Oscars, and won 1 (For Up, a beautiful movie) Check out his filmography. He’s hardly had a single miss.

It doesn’t matter if it’s in a song, a book, tv show, or a movie, story must always come first. Disney gets that.

Warning: Some spoilers below

Feelings suck

What really struck me was how well they portrayed how the human brain works, and especially the function of Sadness. It’s all a metaphor of course, but it’s true. Sadness is the hero of the story. The other emotions stifling her is what causes the trouble, and her taking control at the end is what ends it. As Rosey Grier once sang: “It’s alright to cry. Crying gets the sad out of you.”

It also created a great allegory for depression. One by one, the aspects of her personality crumbled until her emotions were locked out of the controls and she felt nothing. That’s what Depression is. it’s not Sadness, it’s Apathy. You don’t feel joy, you don’t feel anger. You don’t feel. You lose your personality. As someone who has fought with depression (and mania, and anxiety) for most of my life, I understand. I hope other people understand too.

And when Bing Bong (Riley’s childhood imaginary friend) sacrificed himself…

Feelings suck

Yep

The moral of the story is that as you age, your emotions and memories become more complex. A memory can be colored (in the movie, literally) with joy, sadness, fear, anger, and disgust. To a child, everything is one emotion or another. To an adult, nothing is.

inside out emotion overlap

This chart only shows when two emotions combine. What do you get when three, four, or five do?

Feelings suck.

On a side note, the short in the beginning, Lava, was emotionally manipulative and made me cry. Fuck that shit. I hate crying at movies, and I hate having my buttons pushed.

Feelings suck.

Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (they both exist). Song of Simon currently has a 4.7/5.0 rating on Amazon, so it’s pretty damn good. If you’re looking for something FREE, you can read my serial (soon to be an expanded series of novels) The Watchmage of Old New York. Though it ended in February, 2014, it remains one of the most popular serials on JukePop OF ALL TIME!

doge in space card redux

The Underrated Genius of Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle

I’ve written before about how much I love this movie (the sequels, not so much) but it’s not for the absurd comedy and stoner jokes. There’s more to this movie than you might notice, especially if you’re high, and let’s face it, when you watched it, you were probably high.

Yes, you

Despite this, Harold and Kumar is a great absurdist comedy, with excellent story structure and character development. Yes, it has NPH, Chris Meloni covered in boils, and a cheetah going for it too, but follow this logic.

Story Structure: H&K has near-perfect story structure, a retelling of the Hero’s Journey that would make Joseph Campbell proud (and very confused). They leave their Ordinary World–one where Harold is bullied by coworkers and longs for his neighbor Maria, and Kumar resists his father’s demands and destiny to become a brilliant doctor–to search out the prize that will make their lives complete: White Castle Sliders.

Along their journey through fearsome New Jersey (brave the Parkway…if you dare) they meet Allies and Enemies (Freakshow, The Extreme Kids, Bradley the Hippie Dealer, Neil Patrick Harris on Ecstasy, overenthusiastic suburban cops, the cheetah, etc), suffer terrible ordeals (NPH steals Harold’s car, the cheetah breaks Harold’s laptop, Harold gets thrown in jail…all the bad things really happen to Harold), but come out stronger and transformed at the end, defeating their enemies, both within (Kumar and his inner fears) and without (Harold’s coworkers). They return to their home in Hoboken transformed. Kumar is ready to go to med school, and Harold finally makes a move on Maria.

The prize at the end of the Hero’s Journey: you know you want it

Good story structure is more than just the hero’s journey. H&K open several absurd side plots, but manage to close every one of them. The cheetah escape reported on the news later gives them a ride. The two guys that look like them in Newark show up at the hospital. Bradley is in jail when Harold gets arrested, Bradley’s pot is used to frame and arrest the Extreme Kids, NPH returns the car and pays for their Sliders, and so on.

But wait, there’s more. While Harold and Kumar are having their adventure, their neighbors Rosenberg and Goldstein are having a parallel adventure off screen. This is important, and adds a new level of depth to the movie.

Character Development: Both Harold and Kumar change drastically through their journey. Harold begins as timid and paranoid. He ends as–while not exactly bold–a braver human being, standing up to his rivals and claiming his heart’s desire. Kumar begins as a boorish slacker. Despite his incredible aptitude for medicine, he refuses to do anything besides get high all day. By the end, he realizes that he was resisting for the wrong reasons. He was afraid that he’d be another sterotyped Indian doctor, but to paraphrase him, there are worse things I could be than a great doctor. Plus how cool was saving that guy in the hospital?

Oh yeah, they saved a gunshot victim’s life in the hospital (where they went to get medicinal marijuana)

False Moral: There’s also a false moral in the story, a technique that you don’t often see. While Harold is in jail, he encounters a black man who casually tells him that he was arrested and beaten for being black. When Harold asks how he can be so calm about it, the man says that he’s been harassed by idiots all of his life, and it’s not worth getting upset about. The universe usually works out as it should.

It sounds like it’d be the moral of the story, but it’s a trap. If Harold was to take the man’s advice, he would still be the timid, passive man he was at the beginning. The man was a “shadow mentor” on the journey. Instead, Harold sees an opportunity to beat his enemies and takes it, stealing The Extreme Kids SUV and asserting himself against his coworkers.

Allusions: Remember when I mentioned Rosenberg and Goldstein? Here’s where they come in.

H&K is clearly an absurdist comedy, and alludes to one of the greatest absurdist comedies: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Like in H&K, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are part of a parallel story, the background to Hamlet. Rosenberg and Goldstein (note the similarity of names) play a similar role.

There’s something else. In the beginning of R&GAD, they flip a coin repeatedly, and it keeps coming up heads. That’s a signal to both the characters and the audience that something is wrong with reality. This prepares the audience for the absurdity to follow (though not nearly as absurd as H&K). Early in H&K, Kumar drops the scissors he’s using to trim his pubes. It lands point down and doesn’t fall. Similar to the coin flips, this is a signal that something very strange is about to happen.

Yes, I believe that this was intentional. No, I’m not high.

Why is all of this important (Besides reviving NPH’s Career?: It’s fairly simple to make a stoner comedy. Get a bunch of people high and send them on a misadventure. It sells. People like this stuff. Cheech and Chong made a career out of it (their movies are so freakin’ bad). Adult Swim made a phenomenon out of it (most of it good). But you can still have a stoner comedy and make it well-written. Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle is proof that no matter what the genre, a good story will always prevail.

Also, who doesn’t love White Castle?

cosmic-cat tripping balls redux

10 Observations on DBZ: Battle of Gods

Thanks to my friend Schmitty, I finally watched the DBZ movie Battle of Gods. It was damn good. I felt that it had more of the lightheartedness from the original Dragonball. I loved Dragonball even more than DBZ, which sometimes took itself too seriously.

Here are some things I noticed: There will be spoilers

1) They all got married and had kids young, like, really young. I know that Goku married Chi Chi early, but all of a sudden, Gohan is married with an unborn baby.

2) They talk about Goku being virtuous, but how virtuous is someone whose main passion in life is to fight people?

3) I love that their humor comes from food. It makes me so hungry.

4) If Buu didn’t eat all the pudding, this movie would’ve been very different

5) Why is Bulma aging, but not Chi Chi? Is Goku’s sperm the fountain (hehehe) of youth?

6) Goten and Trunks are adorable

7) Something interesting came out about Goku. He was disappointed by getting the God power, because he had to rely on friends to reach that level. But he fights along his friends all the time. He’s so driven that he doesn’t even want help. Again, not virtuous.

8) Beerus is pretty cool.

9) I like that Goku actually lost, but he impressed Beerus enough that he spared the Earth. He won by losing.

10) Gohan’s unborn child was able to add his chi to the god circle. Apparently, Saiyin life begins at conception.

Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (they both exist). Song of Simon currently has a 4.7/5.0 rating on Amazon, so it’s pretty damn good. If you’re looking for something FREE, you can read my serial (soon to be an expanded series of novels) The Watchmage of Old New York. Though it ended in February, 2014, it remains one of the most popular serials on JukePop OF ALL TIME!

The Muppet Show Returns! Yayyyyyyy!!!!!!

doge in space card redux

I have read from many different sources that ABC is planning a return of The Muppet Show. What have I done that the TV Gods are rewarding me so!? This is incredible news, the kid in me (who’s not very different from the grown up in me) is doing cartwheels. This is bigger news that Dom Deluise telling Kermit that he should go to Hollywood (Holllllleeeeewood)

Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!

I. Love. Muppets. I loved The Muppet Show. I loved Sesame Street. I loved Fraggle Rock. I can quote The Muppet Movie until someone slaps me. Jim Henson was my childhood god.

For you Millennials, let me explain: The Muppet Show was a variety show, with Kermit the Frog as host, and starring Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Rowlf, Doctor Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, and a cast of hundreds of furry creatures. Each week, they had a celebrity as a guest star. I suppose it’s format was a bit like Saturday Night Live, but an equal amount of the show happened backstage and dealt with the chaos of “live theater.”

It was crazy. It was ridiculous. It was silly.

It was the greatest thing ever.

By the way, you can find a lot of old episodes on YouTube.

Here’s my favorite song from the show. Harry Belafonte singing Turn the World Around. It’s beautiful.

But I wonder if the new generation will get it. Times have changed, and while the Muppets seem to have a following among some kids and teens, is it enough to make it work? It didn’t work with the reboot Muppets Tonight. They might have to drastically change the format (and according to Vanity Fair, they are) though I hope not too much.

Either way, I’m watching. I bleed brightly colored fake fur…um I guess to fit the metaphor, I’d have to bleed hand. Does that make any sense?

It doesn’t have to make sense. IT’S THE FREAKING MUPPETS!!!!

SoS Practice Ad 2

Agent Carter Finale

So what did you think of last night’s Agent Carter finale? I was very pleased with it. Writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely should be proud of what they created here. They brought the plot together full circle, with Stark attempting redemption not just for Midnight Oil, but for losing Captain America (which wasn’t his fault anyway, but guilt is a funny thing). Stark was clearly the focus of the episode, and Peggy was the catalyst character for him to change his ways through the series. To paraphrase, “you (Peggy) are the only one that believes in me.”

The climax was fantastic. Stark was hypnotized by Doctor Faustus (the Comic Book name for Ivchenko) into believing that he could save Cap. It took Peggy to bring him down by convincing him that Captain America was dead, and we had to move on. Of course, that’s something that Peggy couldn’t do, at least not yet. When she destroyed his blood sample at the end, well, that’s where she finally achieved peace. It’s not easy getting over a loved ones’ death, but there’s peace at the end of that tearful ride.

Jarvis tailing Stark to shoot him down, was pretty cool too.

I’m hoping that there’s a second season. At the end they brought in Armin Zola. You can’t bring in a major villain like that, have him talk to Faustus, and not have some sort of ramification. Does anyone know if they’ve been renewed?

Settlers of Catan to be a Movie or TV Show?

Looks like Settlers of Catan is trading Sheep for Celluloid…Yes, that’s the best joke I have…Yes, I know that no one uses Celluloid anymore…Yes, I know I suck, work with me here.

Anyway, according to Io9.com, “producer Gail Katz (Air Force One, The Perfect Storm) announced via press release that she has obtained film and television rights to Settlers of Catan.” Since Io9 is usually on the ball with this kind of thing, I’m inclined to believe them.

Can a Ticket to Ride movie be far behind?

For those that don’t know, SoC is the big board game of these times, the new Pictionary or Trivial Pursuit. You work on building a better civilization than your using specific resources. You get these resources through trade or strategic luck (I love that turn). It’s a turn-based game with a fairly short time frame, but addicting. It’s hard to play just one game of Settlers of Catan.”

The question is: what are they going to do with it? It’s a pretty straight forward game, but there’s a back story there that can (if they’re smart) be used in a bunch of different directions. Will they make an action-adventure involving pioneers trying to start a new life? They can take on a narrative similar to Lord of the Flies, where one group goes civilized while the other descends into barbarism. They can start mid-game with the wealthy forcing their will on the poorer groups, like every other Western made (think Road Barons instead of rail). Maybe a Game of Thrones style fantasy-political thriller? They could go serious or goofy, complex or simple. There’s a lot to work with here.

Board games turned into visual media does not have a good track record. Battleship stands out as the biggest bomb, or last year’s Ouija. Clue is one of my favorite movies, but that’s primary because of the great acting and clever dialogue. The plot itself is very predictable…but fun.


I’m looking forward to what becomes of one of my favorite games. I think it could be great…or it could be Battleshit.

doge in space card redux

Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (they both exist). Song of Simon currently has a 4.7/5.0 rating on Amazon, so it’s pretty damn good. There’s also my new novel, The Watchmage of Old New York. It’s based on my old serial at JukePop Serials, where it was one of the most popular stories OF ALL TIME!

the-watchmage-is-coming1

David Tennant to Play The Purple Man

Well this was a surprising turn of events. David Tennant, best known as the Tenth Doctor on Doctor Who, will play The Purple Man (Dr. Zebediah Killgrave), in the new Netflix series Aka, Jessica Jones. The Purple Man is one of the most dastardly, depraved villains in the entire Marvel Universe. This should be interesting.

Here Tennant talks about his upcoming part:

“I grew up on Marvel Comics so it’s very exciting to be part of their ever expanding entertainment empire,” he said. “I love the movies, I love the TV shows that they do so I’m very pleased to be part of one.”

The Purple Tie, a beginning

The Purple Man (they’re calling him Kilgrave in the series) is a long time villain of the “street level” Marvel heroes, mostly Daredevil, Jones, Heroes for Hire, and the like. He has mind control powers, and he has no problem using them for horrible acts, including rape. He once abducted and controlled Jessica Jones for several months, subjecting her to all sorts of torture. This will probably be part of her backstory in the series, and his reappearance will cause all sorts of trauma and conflict. With Luke Cage and potentially Iron Fist also in the series, this could be excellent (or terrible).

I’m dying to see how Tennant takes on such an evil role, so unlike his stint as The Doctor. He’s done evil before–he played Barty Crouch Jr in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but that was more of an insane evil (Chaotic Evil, you might say). The Purple Man is a Lawful Evil type, a tyrant hungry for wealth, power, and ultimate control. He’s a master manipulator and true sociopath. In other words, he’s a bastard.

If Marvel wanted to hook me into this series, they did their job well. I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is…well, you get it.

Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (you’ll probably have to order it). Of course, you can always buy an autographed one from me, just send me a message. Song of Simon currently has a 4.7/5.0 rating on Amazon, so people seem to like it. If you’re looking for something FREE, you can read my serial (soon to be an expanded series of novels) The Watchmage of Old New York. Though it ended in February, it remains one of the most popular serials on JukePop OF ALL TIME!

Damn You, Professor Chaos!

I watched a little too much South Park last night, including the ones with Butters/Prof. Chaos. I have decided that he is my arch enemy. As one friend said, “I’ve never met anyone as clenched as you.”

I like his cape though.

I wasn’t always this way. I used to be very easy going, mellow, all loosey goosey hippy blah blah blah. Then my mother died. Then my girlfriend, Valerie died. Then something inside of me died. I need to have everything in its place.

I recently found out why during therapy: Both people died when I wasn’t there. I turned my back, and they were gone. My mother was on vacation when she died. Valerie had just moved to Binghamton to get her PhD is Writing. I went to visit her, and I found her on the floor. Two days later–two years as of tomorrow–she was dead. I still adore her, and I’m madly in love with her ghost.

The world is Chaos and conspires to destroy us, and all we can do is carve out a little piece of happiness while we can, before it’s taken away.

Maybe the Crab People should be my arch enemy. They don’t have capes.

See? No capes.

Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (you’ll probably have to order it). Of course, you can always buy an autographed one from me, just send me a message. Song of Simon currently has a 4.7/5.0 rating on Amazon, so people seem to like it. If you’re looking for something FREE, you can read my serial (soon to be an expanded series of novels) The Watchmage of Old New York. Though it ended in February, it remains one of the most popular serials on JukePop OF ALL TIME!

The Interview, and What it Means for Free Speech

I did not intend to see The Interview, even though I am a fan of Seth Rogan and James Franco. I liked the concept, but it seemed a bit goofy.

It looked like North Korea didn’t get the goofy part.

Yeah, looks serious

You know what happened next.The NK govt hacked Sony and released all sorts of embarrassing crap and exposed the company for the racist, classist, shit bags that we all suspected they were. I found this rather amusing, as I love when elitist pricks get knocked down. I thought that it was a clever move by NK. They were able to strike back without any saber rattling. They beat us by dropping Sony’s pants and showing off their tiny, crooked dicks. They won by using something we hold very dear: the right to free speech and our craving for information.

Then they fucked up.

When North Korea made terrorist threats toward movie theaters, they went from making us look bad to making themselves look bad. They forced Sony to cancel the movie. They turned our embarrassment into pride because they challenged our Free Speech.

Don’t make America angry. You wouldn’t like us when we’re angry. I don’t even like us when we’re angry.

It’s Not Sony’s (or The Movie Theater’s Fault)

Although I’m disappointed that Sony’s capitulated to North Korea’s demands, I don’t blame them. They lost the support of the movie theater chains, and without theaters to show the movie, they had no choice. They may have also had even darker secrets that NK didn’t release, and bowed out because of that (though that’s hearsay)

I don’t blame the movie theaters either. They don’t have the ability to prevent a terrorist attack on their audiences, and crowds wouldn’t come to the show (at least not on the all-important first weekend). People might even stay away from other movies too. It’s a business decision. They couldn’t risk the loss in revenue, not when a bad Christmas season could sink a business.

The problem is that the money issue flows into the free speech issue, and that’s where things get complicated.

Because They Hate Our Freedom…

By threatening with violence, North Korea showed how little they understood America. We’re a country that’s divided–even splintered–in ideology, but when you challenge our basic rights, we join together to say “Fuck You.” This gets us trouble sometimes, but it also unifies us. America, Fuck Yeah!

Where the “they hate our freedom” line regarding Afghanistan and Iraq was bullshit (they hate our interference in their countries) this time someone really does hate our freedom. They hate that we made a movie where they’re the butt of a joke (although it looks like the protagonists were the bumblers). They took something silly to heart, and pissed a lot of people off with their reaction.

The Solution

I see only one feasible solution to this. Let The Interview leak onto Bit Torrent or other pirate websites. It’ll spread like a virus, becoming bigger than it would’ve ever been. It’s Free Speech, and it’s free.

I can’t believe that I’m advocating piracy right now, but if cyber-terrorism is the future, let it go both ways. It’ll be a good lesson in irony. I didn’t want to see The Interview, but now I need to…for Freedom.

Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (they both exist). Song of Simon currently has a 4.8/5.0 rating on Amazon, so it’s pretty damn good. If you’re looking for something FREE, you can read my serial (soon to be an expanded series of novels) The Watchmage of Old New York. Though it ended in February, it remains one of the most popular serials on JukePop OF ALL TIME!