Monday, October 26, 2015

Victor the Visitor!

Greetings, people of Earth! Uh . . . and all WYMOP fans, of course.

This week's story starts a couple of years ago. I returned from a trip to Colorado to find my room wasn't as empty as I'd left it. Apparently, we had a visitor from, well, pretty damn far away, and he'd taken up residence in my room as a way to hide from the govern . . . I mean, to try to ease into our society. It seems he lost his luggage, and I had the particular joy of walking into my room at 2:00 am to find a naked stranger standing, a bit bug-eyed, in the corner. For some reason, my mom decided not to warn me that he was there.

Thanks, Mom!

Eventually, I talked the visitor (there was a bit of a communication barrier, but I finally started just calling him Victor--he seems to like it) into coming out of the shadows of my room and borrowing some of my clothes. They were a bit bright for me anyway, and I thought it might help the poor bastard fit in a little if he looked like a tourist. I mean, tourists are supposed to be a little odd, right? Anyway, after his little makeover, Victor seemed to feel a little better about being here. Maybe it was just not being naked? I dunno. But he seemed a bit perkier once he had some pants on--though it was hard to tell if he was smiling at all: I don't think he actually has any teeth.

Once he started to come out of his shell, I decided to greet him properly, and officially welcome him to the Ear--uh, I mean America. Massachusetts, yeah, that's it, I welcomed him to Massachusetts.

So with nothing else to do, Victor stood in the corner of my room. During the day, I'd talk to him, teaching him to understand English, though he never actually spoke a word of it to me. At least, not out loud . . . which is how all people speak, right? Yeah, that's right. Yeah. Nope, he never "spoke" a word to me. Not one word.

Then, last weekend, as I was getting ready to go to Rock and Shock, a three-day horror and music extravaganza in Worcester, and I came home from work on Thursday and found this:

Apparently, someone in the house was watching Wheel of Fortune while I was at work, and Victor became fascinated with Vanna White--not in the eighteen-year-old hormonal young man way, but in the "Hey, I could do that!" way. 

He made it pretty clear he wanted to go to Rock and Shock with me.

In fact, I found him waiting in the car the next morning, all belted in and rarin' to go.

He doesn't have a lot of expression, but he still seemed impatient to get on the road.

He's either waving for me to come on right here, or giving me the finger. Kind of hard to tell . . .

So we drove on to Worcester, and the DCU Center. We did get a few odd looks on the drive:

But Victor took them as his due and moved on. Once we arrived, he did his thing. I have to say, he was surprisingly professional the entire time--though it was a long two days.

The drive home was uneventful.

Once we got home, I started unloading the car. Victor was supposed to be helping, but he disappeared right at the start. It wasn't until I got all of the stuff back into the house that I went into my room and found him:
The poor baby was just exhausted from the big weekend. I didn't have the heart to wake him, so I wound up on the couch for the night.

Now, you'd think that would have been enough for the big galoot, but he was invited back to Worcester for a reading event the very next weekend, and there's been talk of him coming to North East Comic Con in early December. I think he's letting me tag along in December, which is pretty cool, but yesterday he went on an audition that has me wondering just how long I'll still be in the picture.

I just hope, you know, when Victor hits the big time, that he remembers where he came from, and who chauffeured him to his first shows. I hope he remembers who his real friends are, from way back when he was just a naked dude standing in a dark corner.

"Me and Vic - BFFs"

Thanks, Mom!
Talk to you later!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Mini Bennies

Hey there, WYMOP readers!

2002 Blue Jeep GC.jpgAs some of you may know—though most of you may not—I used to drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Early this year I decided I needed a change (read: the Jeep’s motor turned in its pink slip and retired Florida) and picked up a used Mini Cooper.

Mini 1.jpgWas this a bit different? You bet your ass.
“What,” some people still ask me, “were you thinking? Don’t you know what kind of a change that is?”
“You,” I answer these people, “bet your ass.”
Tired of pointing out all of the good things about my Mini ownership on a one-to-one basis, I’ve decided to throw out a short list of the positives that just don’t seem to occur to these people.

  1. Fuel Economy

    I do author events in New England, and even though I try to keep it pretty local (generally less than three hours away), I do drive about Massachusetts and New Hampshire more than I used to. When I drove the Jeep, I found that showing up at a book sale or other event with tears in my eyes from actually watching the gas gauge fall for the past ninety minutes was not the best way to impress and sell books. Now, however, pulling into the lot with a big smile on my face, then having people watch as I unpack a van-load of stuff from inside a red shoe box with wheels (I was pretty good at Tetris when I was a lad) is a sure way to entertain and get people in a buying mood. Of course, that might just be my red, rubber-ball nose and big Bozo wig. And then there’s the huge shoes . . .
  2. Fun to Drive

    Maneuverability, thy name is Mini.

    Look, on the highway, my Mini’s darting, hummingbird-like ability to appear to be in three places at once is a bit of an advantage; also it is fun to see the expression on other drivers’ faces when a perfectly good slot in traffic suddenly disappears, filled by a small red package of high-pitched motor whine, and giggling driver (yes, I am a speeding Masshole behind the wheel).  

    Also, since I have a tendency to overrun the instructions coming out of my Garmin GPS unit (speeding Masshole, remember?), some people who have driven with me in
    the past have remarked on my penchant for three-point turns. Now, though, before the Garmin can even finish saying “Recalculating,” I’m pulling a U-turn tighter than anything this side of a Big Wheel and cackling like a psychotic six-year-old on a fifteen Pixie-Stix sugar rush. I once was lost, but now I’m found, as my little red car goes round and round!

  3. Camouflage

    I know. It’s just a little four-cylinder engine. But it’s not pushing a lot of weight, and the Mini Cooper can move. It might take a little longer than a sports car to get to the speed I want, but once it arrives, it stays there pretty damn easily, no matter how many curves and turns I have to take (see “Fun to Drive,” above), so getting from point A to point B happens faster than you’d think.

    But here’s the best part—

    The management would like to take this opportunity to invite officers of the law, anyone who drives a car equipped with flashing blue lights, or anyone otherwise enabled to hand out traffic tickets, to please skip ahead to #4—we know your time is more valuable than the rest of ours, and we wouldn’t want to take you away from your very important business.

    Are they gone? Okay.

    The best part is the strange blind spot the police seem to have regarding cars of a certain type. You can drive a Mini past a parked cop doing 70mph in a 30mph zone (Mom, this is hypothetical, okay?) and it’s like they don’t even see you. Either they see the Mini and assume their radar must be faulty because there’s no way that car can go that fast, or they’re picturing the embarrassment of there being a record of them pulling a speed stop on a vehicle that slows down when the hamster gets tired.

    Either way, if you’ve ever been pulled over for speeding in a Mini, then you were really trying!

  4. Roadside Assistance

    What assistance? You break down, you just put the car in your pocket and walk the hell home.

  5. And the Most Important Difference of All, as of 6:00 This Morning:

    28 degrees.jpg    . . . heated seats!


Talk to you later!

Monday, October 12, 2015

May the Force be With You . . . Always.

Hi there, WYMOP readers.

This is the story of a book. But not just any book: one I was working on.

The book had a projected publication date of October 10th. A deadline, if you will. All it needed was one more proofread—one more go-through with the red pen, in a physical copy of the two-hundred-and-forty-page book (called a “proof copy,” or “proof” for short, because we all have just that little imagination) looking for typo s, mipssellings, grammatical inconsistencies and the like. Is it a fun job? It can be. Is it time consuming? Yes.
My partner was ordering the proof copies, which was fine with me: less for me to worry about, right?
So she ordered hers on Tuesday, September 29, and mine on Wednesday the 30th. We live in different states, and Amazon won’t let you send proof copies of a book to two different places on the same day, because . . . well, okay I have no idea why they do that, other than they’re Amazon, so they just do what they bloody like. Hers then arrived the day after that, October 1, just two days after it shipped.
Fantastic, we thought. Two days. Rob’s copy should arrive on the second, and we can work very hard (sometimes, we call this “busting ass”—it’s an industry term) and have everything ready in time for the October 10 publication date.
So my partner got to work, and I settled down to wait.
And wait.
And wait.
The weekend passed, and I was losing my mind. It was Monday the 5th, and then Tuesday the 6th—I’m sure of the dates, because my extremely deadline-driven editing partner reminded me of them. Repeatedly. The deadline was just four (4!) days away, and I didn’t even have the book in my hands yet. I could hear her grinding her teeth from over a hundred miles away. We (okay, she) located a tracking number and went online, only to discover Amazon had sent it UPS, who took six days to get it from South Carolina to Massachusetts . . . and then started the process again by dropping it in the mail for the rest of the trip.
I was not pleased.
Luckily, though, the Postal Service was right on the ball. UPS had mailed it in Lynnfield, MA, and the very same day it arrived in my local post office in Salem, MA. I called to verify, and yes, they had it there—the man I spoke with had it in his hot little hands.
“That’s terrific!” I said. “I’m actually delivering the mail over here in Marblehead, but I’m out at four thirty, so I should be able to swing by and pick that up before the window closes at five.” If I pick it up at five, I thought, I could be working on it by six, and it’s still only October 6th, so if I really bust some ass, I should—
“I’m sorry,” he said. “We can’t do that.”
I tried to say “I beg your pardon?” and “I’m sorry?” and “What?” and “Why?” all at the same time, but all that came out of me was a flat “Hah?”
“The thing is,” he explained, correctly interpreting my Archie Bunkerian grunt as confusion, “your package is in our system to be delivered tomorrow. If it’s not delivered tomorrow, it’ll be counted against us as a missed delivery.”
“But you’ll have delivered it,” I said. “Early, even. In essence, you’ll be doing the job better.”
“But it’s in there for tomorrow, you see, so we can’t scan it as delivered today. The system won’t let us. And if you take the package tonight, then we won’t have it to scan tomorrow, when the system’s looking for it, which means it’ll show up as a miss. Sorry, man.”
So this system, one that’s giving me things to deliver to customers sometimes up to a month late, is specifically set up so as to not even be able to deliver something early? Even when the customer wants to go pick it up?
So I picked the book up the next morning—the earliest the system would allow—and then had to wait until that afternoon anyway to start proofreading in earnest. The afternoon of October 7, to be precise. Just three days before the deadline.
How does she grind those teeth so loud?
Here are some little bits of what happened over the next couple of days.
  • Spent four and a half hours at the library, sitting in what they laughingly refer to as a “chair.” I call it a “cracking-your-ass-in-the-wrong-direction device.” Either way, I’ll say one thing for it: I was in no danger of falling asleep while reading.
  • I got home at 10:30 and took the book to bed with me at around 11:00, editing on my lap desk. I was in no danger of cracking my ass in the wrong direction, and managed to work, hunched forward over that lap desk until sometime between 12:30 and 1:00 am before . . .
  • I woke at 4:15 am. I was sitting up in bed, all the lights on, the book spilling off the lap desk to the side, my red pen still in hand. I really had to pee, but that wasn’t what wakened me: I’d felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if thirty-two teeth had cracked in pain and were suddenly ground down to powder. I checked the book and saw I only had two and a half pages to finish in that particular story, and decided I didn’t really have to go that bad. I pulled the book onto the desk, hunching forward with my red pen . . .
  • 7:00 am—paid a coworker $5.00 to sit next to me in the break room and tell anyone who tried to talk to me, “I think he’s busy.” I had another hour before I was to start work. I pulled the book closer on the table, hunching forward with my red pen . . .
  • I woke at 4:05 am, upright in bed, lights on, book on lap desk, pen in hand, no need, whatsoever, to pee. But I’d felt a great disturbance in the Force . . . I hunched forward, red pen in hand . . .
  • 8:00 pm—it’s done! I’m done! Whazza! Who’s your daddy? Happy dancing like Snoopy and Woodstock atop that damn red doghouse! I . . . I . . . I still had to get home so I could get the edits to my partner, so she could add them to the file and then upload the whole shebang. Forget the Force, forget the red pen, I was hunched forward over the wheel, cursing like a pirate with stepped-on bunions, speeding through the night like my Mini was an asshole-powered rocket . . .

insanity_tales2_kindle.jpgInsanity Tales II: The Sense of Fear – Publication Date October 10, 2015

by David Daniel (Author), Stacey Longo (Contributor), Vlad V. (Contributor), Rob Smales (Contributor), Ursula Wong(Contributor), Dale T. Phillips (Contributor)

Success! Whazza! Who’s your daddy? Happy dancing like Snoopy and Woodstock atop that damn red doghouse! Now all we have to do is hope the copies we ordered will be here in time to bring to the next event we’re doing, which is Rock and Shock, and it starts this Friday. Only three delivery days away.
What was that? Did you feel it? I . . . I just felt a great disturbance in the Force . . .

Talk to you later!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Night of the Egg

Greetings, WYMOP fans!

            NIGHT OF THE EGG

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Rather than letting Humpty go to waste,
They tucked in their napkins and all had a taste.
They boiled him, scrambled him, poached him and fried,
Even brought several plates to the horses outside.

And though it might seem that they all were quite mean,
All they felt was full as they licked their plates clean.
And the bits that weren’t eaten were buried out back.
All the yolk-covered shell-bits piled in a neat stack.

So, full up with Humpty, they all went to sleep,
Not thinking that as they sowed, so would they reap.
Never thinking that in the night Humpty would rise,
A Rev’nant, that all living things did despise.

As he moved through the night, for King’s men he did look,
Intending to show them good Humpty could cook.
And he found all the houses of all the King’s men
And invited them down to the kitchen again.

Johnson he boiled in a great iron pot,
And as the man screamed, Humpty laughed quite a lot.
Once the yelling died down, Humpty lifted him up,
Then he stuffed Johnson into a giant egg-cup.

Smithers he axed, then he scrambled the man,
And he fit what he could in a well-buttered pan.
In this horrible way Humpty took Smithers’ life,
And to make matters worse, left the mess for his wife.

Poaching was how Barrington met his end,
Held under the water by our shell-covered friend.
Once the simmering pan brought the King’s man his fate,
He finished the night on a nice salad plate.

Only Richards was left, and you know how he died,
Kicking and screaming as his body was fried.
Then Humpty visited the King’s Horses too.
For the next eighteen months there was plenty of glue.

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
And all the King’s Horses and all the King’s Men,
Never were seen in the village again.


Happy October!