My Inner Poet

So yesterday, I took one of those silly internet quizzes. (If you follow me on Facebook, you know I take a lot of silly internet quizzes.) The topic of this one was “Who is your Inner Poet”. After I answered questions like “pick a color” and “who would you rather smoke a bowl with Che Guevara, a bored llama, or Cthulhu” and “Pick an cute animal”, I received my answer: Charles Bukowski.

Now before I explain how I had no idea who Charles Bukowski was, let me in my defense say, I am not ignorant to world of poetry and poets. I like most people was exposed to the classics in school: Whitman, Cummings, Poe, Dickinson, Shakespeare, etc. But also like most people, I was to young to appreciate poetry when I was in school. I have grown a greater appreciation of poetry as an adult, but I have found that I enjoy the work very few poets. Most recently, I have found myself reading (and enjoying) the work of Michael A. Arnzen, Robert E. Howard (yes, Howard wrote more than just Conan and Solomon Kane stories, and he was an excellent poet), Milton, Dickinson, and Poe. All that being said to say I am not ignorant of poetry, but I had never heard of Charles Bukowski.

Now because it was an internet quiz, I could have just said “whatever” and went on with my life, but so some reason I became intrigued and headed over to the knower of all things the NSA, er… … I mean Google. Google lead me to Charles Bukowski website (http://bukowski.net/) where I learned that Bukowski was poet, artist, writer, postal worker, and odd, provocative character who’s life reminds me a bit of Earnest Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson. His site also has a lot of poetry, a bibliography of his books, his FBI file, interviews, articles, etc. I read a few of his poems there. I enjoyed a poem titled “Locks” the best.

Based on all I have learn of Charles Bukowski may actually be my inner poet (curse you internet quizzes for knowing me so well), but as Mojo Nixon said about the Elvis in Joan Rivers, “but he’s trying to get out, man! He’s trying to get out!”

2010 Recap

Well, this year has been a challenge, especially the last couple of months. You will have noticed, if you are a regular reader of this blog, that I have me absent here for a while. This is for a number of reasons, none of which include Minecraft (which I have not played since the end of October), that I will not go into an great detail here. Everything kinda fell apart during NaNoWriMo because of an assume opportunity that came up at the Digital Drive In (http://digitaldrivein.crossroadpress.com) and my “day job” getting crazy.

There was much good in 2010. I met some great people (many of whom I interviewed) like David N. Wilson, John Skipp, Craig Spector, Steve Savile, Tina Murphy, Mary SanGiovanni, and Kate Jones to name a few. I put out 31 plus shows in October to entertain people around Halloween. Got a couple of articles published at Abattoir Magazine. Read (and listened to) a lot of books many of which I reviewed (or will soon). Watched a few movies. Worked to many hours for “the man”. Joined a writing group. Played some D&D and Gamma World. Lost over 30 pounds and got into a lot better shape. And spend time with my wife. So I can’t complain too much. (I will anyway).

In 2011, you will see a lot more of me at the Digital Drive In (there will be more info on this over at the Digital Drive In shortly I am really excited about what is planned for Digital Drive In for 2011 and beyond), and, if everything goes right, the return of the The Adventures of The Snarky Avenger web comic. I also intend to focus more on writing especially articles, short stories, and The Adventures of The Snarky Avenger.

All that being said, I am going to leave you with my top three to five picks (those that I enjoyed the most) in a few categories for 2010:

Movies:

TV Shows:

  • Top Gear (The original not the American abomination)
  • Better Off Ted
  • Walking Dead

Books (both print and audio):

Short Stories (both print and audio):

Computer/Video Games:

Board/Card/Role Playing Games: (Okay… I didn’t play a lot of Board/Card/Role Playing games this year.)

Podcasts:

Best Magazine (Print or Electronic):

Mill Creek Entertainment

I recently picked up a collection of old horror films titled Night Screams (a collection of 50 classic horror flims on DVD) produced by Mill Creek Entertainment. I picked it up for a for a few reasons, but one of them was it contained a film titled Manfish, which stars Lon Chaney Jr. I saw the film as a kid and really enjoyed it, and wanted to relive the magic for Halloween. Unfortunately, when I got it home I discovered that the DVD containing Manfish was missing and I had received a duplicate of another DVD in the collection. Needless to say I was disappointed.

I decided that I would see if I could find contact information for Mill Creek Entertainment online in hopes that maybe they could replace the missing DVD. I didn’t have high hopes because I have purchased other collections like this from other companies that have contained defective DVDs only to find no recourse other than returning it to the place of purchase, which much like this case, is not always possible. But good fortune was with me and I found an email address for customer service on their website.

I sent an email explaining the situation, and to my surprise I receive a prompt reply the next business day. The customer service rep, who I will not name for privacy reasons, explained that they no longer make the Night Screams collection, but that they had the film, Manfish, in a different collection and asked if I would like that DVD instead. I agreed.

Within two business days, I received the replacement DVD with the film Manfish on it and another collection of 20 films from Mill Creek Entertainment titled: Undead: The Vampire Collection. That is great customer service. Not only did they find a DVD with the film I was interested in on it, they gave me 20 more movies to boot. I have been made more than whole in this matter, and would recommend Mill Creek Entertainments collections (which include more than just horror films) to anyone.

Thank you very much Mill Creek Entertainment, you rock!

Minecraft, I wish I could quit you

For those of you either not into computer games or living under a rock, a new game is sweeping the Interwebs called Minecraft. Minecraft is a single and multi-player fantasy world crafting and adventure game. In it you mine things like stone and wood and gold and such and us what you have mined to make tools and weapons and buildings and other stuff. It is fun. It is creative. And is as addictive as crack. In fact, it is a new kind of crack for people like me because it offers almost instant gratification to my creative urges. And it is more immediately satisfying than many of my other creative endeavors.

In the short time I have played, I have built a tall tower, dug a mine down to the bedrock of the Minecraft world, built a castle with a lava mote, and bridge across a bay. Unfortunately, these efforts have taken their toll on other creative projects, specifically my writing. And that is a problem. It has put me way behind on articles (specifically reviews I need to get done), on work for The Adventures of The Snark Avenger web comic, and on prep for NaNoWriMo as well as other writing projects.

Minecraft, I wish I could quit you.

In light of all this, and the impending start of NaNoWriMo, I am taking a hiatus from Minecraft for the months of November (in fact, in November I will be avoiding all games) and December and possibly longer. I love the game, but I need to stay away from it for a while.

Halloween (or October) Update

It is here my friends. My favorite month of the year. It is the month of pumpkins (specifically pumpkin lattes, pumpkin mochas, pumpkin pie, and Pumpkin Pie Blizzards at Dairy Queen) and crop harvests and haunted houses and, of course, Halloween. It is that spooky time that transitions us from Summer to Winter. It is really my favorite time of the year. In honor of it being my favorite time of the year I am doing some extra podcasts and stuff to celebrate. Here is an update on that stuff:

First off, I am releasing 37 podcasts this October. 31 of them are branded under “Snark Infested Water’s 30 Days of Halloween”. (I know there are 31 days in October, but I screwed up when I recorded the intro and didn’t realize until I had completed production on the first few show.) The other six shows are interviews with authors and audio producers. My guest list includes authors Michael A Arnzen, Chet Williamson, and Steven Savile; audio producers Jeffery Kafer and Steve Cox; and author and publisher Scott Roche. (The interview with Michael A Arnzen was released on October 5th.) The other shows are mostly spooky and thrilling OTR (Old Time Radio) from great series like Beyond Midnight, Escape, Lux Radio Theater, Mercury Theater, and Light’s Out. So if your looking for some spooky listening to haunt your October listen head over to http://thesnarkyavenger.com and check out the shows .

Second, I have an article up about some cool and unusual haunted house movies over at Abattoir Webzine. Check it out at: http://flyingislandpress.com/abattoir/2010/10/06/five-haunts/

Third, I have a few audio book reviews to post including three books by Chet Williamson (Soul Storm, Ash Wednesday, and Lowland Rider) and one by Steven Salive (The Forgetting Wood). And I have finally finished all the films from Afterdark Horrorfest 4 (2010), so I should get a review of those up this month as well.

So enjoy the extra content for October, and happy Halloween!

50 Books For Geeks

As most of you don’t know, I currently pay the bills by working as a software developer. (Who I do that for is irrelevant to this post.) And as a software developer, I am subscribed to a variety of Tech blogs and email newsletters. One of those is InsideTech (well, I think I got subscribed to it when I signed up for Monster.com anyway), and few weeks back they published an article titled “50 Books Every Geek Should Read”. I found the list of books interesting and decided to see how many of them I had read and pick five to read in the next year. I’m not going to give you the whole list from the original article here as I think it is worth a read, but I will list the ones I have read and those I plan to read in the next year.

The books I have read listed in 50 Books Every Geek Should Read are:

Neuromancer by William Gibson
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
1984 by George Orwell
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte
Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction by Steve McConnell
Getting Things Done by David Allen

The five books I plan to read in the next year or so, that are listed in 50 Books Every Geek Should Read are:

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott
iCon by Jeffrey S. Young and William L. Simon
Cathedral and the Bazaar by Eric S. Raymond

So, how many books have you read from the list in 50 Books Every Geek Should Read are there any you think you might like to read?

Closed on Mondays and other news

I have decided that I am closed, at least to social networking and social media, on Mondays. This means on Mondays I will be ignoring Twitter, Facebook (which is true most of the time anyway), the various forums I am a member on, and the email lists on am a part of. I might even ignore instant messenger but that is unlikely. I will also not be posting to this blog or posting new podcasts on Mondays with rare exception and during the month of October (see details below about Snark Infested Waters’ 30 days of Halloween.) So if you are looking for me at any of these online venues on Mondays with rare exceptions (like this post), you will not find me.

In other news…

Snark Tank Radio is on indefinite hiatus. I decided to put the show on hiatus after the finish of the Summer Serial so I can focus on other things.

For Halloween this year, I have decided to release at least 31 shows (one for each day of the month). Some of them will be interview with horror authors and audio producers, most of them will be some of my favorite Halloween or horror themed OTR episodes. I hope you enjoy all the shows. I am calling it Snark Infested Waters’ 30 days of Halloween. (It would be the 31 days of Halloween, but I wasn’t thinking when I recorded the intro.) And related to this I will not be putting out any new podcasts in the November and December of 2010.

And finally, I will being trying a bit harder to get a post up here at least once at week. I have lot of reviews to write and a few ideas for regular features. And considering the popularity of my article title “Freedom of Religion?“, you might get more opinion pieces as well.