Smoke & Hips


The mood was devilishly sour, which matched my Whiskey Sour in a Reeves’ ‘most-excellent’ manner.  I’m prone to alcoholism, but I forget often.  Something with how the world hazes over when you’re properly inebriated…it makes life seem more real.  A moment of clarity in a world that is bent on capitalizing on broken, lovestruck people like myself.  I arched my back to desperately try and pop the ache, but like most things of late…I failed miserably.  I finished off the whiskey, ordered a shot of ironic Skyy, drank that, and ordered a Sex on the Beach.  It was a bit out of character, but (hey) you only live a blurry once.  Someone brushes my shoulder and taps it twice in quick secession—   Quick, but light.  I turned.  Amidst the cliché club lights and the deep boom of the bass I saw a beautiful brunette with long curly locks staring back into my grey eyes.  We embraced—our lips touching gently (at first) and then exploded into something more…  Suddenly the Skyy seemed not so ironic, nor the Sex on the Beach.  We parted, she tipsied, and I caught her by the small of her back.  We leaned in close—  One of the beauties of cliché nightclubs.

“Where are John and Greg?”

“Who?”

“Who?” I owled.

She firmly grasped my hand and led us through a haze of smoke and hips.  Dreams, wet and dry alike, were being forged between all of the lonesome souls that we cascaded through—  Emotions compounding upon emotions, ad infinitum.  We weaved and parried between those looking for love in all the wrong places, or those looking to forget all together.  Eventually, we arrived back at our nice nook nestled within the cranny of sin. We slumped together in loud whispers.  Chiding each other for not being close enough—  Asking superficial questions just to pass the time between stolen kisses.  As my hands inched closer and closer to the prize…my thoughts…my drunken thoughts…wafted to yet another brunette.  This one was tearing off her ring in muted frustration and driving…driving away.  The music suddenly shifted, and those that were dancing scuttled as those that weren’t filled the newly created void like flotsam washing upon the dance floor.  A quick peck snapped me back to the moment…and to Diana.

“Do you want another drink?”

“Is that rhetorical?”

“Is that?” she smirked.

I watched her as she walked and weaved back into the sea of people.  My best friend John—and Diana’s friend Greg—slid into the booth beside me.  Greg seemed to be an introspective, giant of a man who had never gained the courage to tell Diana his true feelings.  John and I had only met him tonight, but even with just a few brief comments we both saw how Greg felt.  Diana was either clueless or never had the heart to let him down properly.

I heavily bet on the latter, while John the former.

John was a different beast all together.  John is a stocky Irishman who pounded drinks to drown his own recent and equitable sorrow.  Who knew that fucking a married woman, who was engaged to yet another man, would end so badly?  Clambering out of low-hung windows in the dead of night and sprinting across Cheney farm fields was never what our old Track & Field coach had in mind, but John used what he was taught and he did it well.

I swear when John chased the worm the worm ran.

For whatever reason, there was an electricity that clung in the air about us that evening.  It hovered and crackled with intensity.  John and Greg lamented, while my sorrow extended elsewhere.  Whether it be sex, sorrow, or sex to mask sorrow we all found our reprieve that night.

“Where’d you guys head off to?” I shouted above the music.

“Outside.  We both needed some air.”

“You okay to drive?”

“No, not yet— man.  I need to sober up a bit.”

“No worries.  I’m in no hurry.”

Diana slid in close next me.  She sipped both drinks before passing me one.

“What is it?”

“Just drink it,” she smiled.

I took a large swig, which finished half the cup, “It’s got bite.”

“That’s because it’s 151 and Coke.”

“Nice!  If I didn’t know any better I’d say you were trying to get me drunk?”

“Nah, just loose.”

“I’m already loose.”

“Cool, your jets turbo.”

I grinned, “You started it.”

She returned my grin, and kissed me yet again.  By this time Greg and John and begun instinctively conversing to avoid the awkwardness that would have come at a table filled with more-sober company.  However, no one noticed the intimacy building between Diana and I…save for perhaps Greg, but even he was distracted with light-hearted conversation.

John leaned over to me and shouted once more, “I think we’re going to go outside, again.”

“You alright?”

“Yeah, I just don’t feel so hot.”

“You sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah, I just need a couple of minutes.”

“Ok…we’ll be out in a bit.”

Again, the two stumbled off to get some air, and I stayed to get selfishly closer to Diana.  She wasn’t the one, but she was for this evening.  We talked and drank for a while more, and eventually we followed in the footsteps of John and Greg, and headed for the exit.   The cold November air stung like a hard dose of reality.  Diana and I were both drunk enough to be able to ignore it, but John and Greg sat side-by-side along the curb entrenched within the harshness of it.  Together they had cried and swapped stories.

Diana and I gave them their privacy and sauntered off towards our own sort of recovery, but I’ll never forget the tearstained cheeks of Greg…nor my best friend, John’s.

That was a lie.  It was in the moment that a looked back into Diana’s eyes.  My sadness ebbed and my drunken heart punched out, whether Greg was there or not.

Tonight was a night of nights.

Salt Lake City Comicon 2014: The World Premiere of SyFy’s “Z Nation”


Z Nation LogoLast week, during Salt Lake City’s 2nd annual comicon, one of the last panels of the show premiered SyFy’s newest television show, “Z Nation.”  One of the presenter’s had been featured in numerous SyFy feature length films and as she put it, “I’ve been killed, and often.”  The second presenter, Michael Welch, is actually apart of the ensemble cast and hosted the ‘Q&A’ format after the credits had rolled on the pilot episode of “Z Nation.”

For those of you that don’t know “Z Nation” is set in upstate New York (at least on the onset of the pilot), but was primarily shot right here in good ol’ Spokane, WA.  Even though, they never call attention to the fact that it isn’t Spokane, native Spokanites can spot the thicket of pines, sleepy city locales, and myriad of lakes that make this region famous and unique to the rest of the country.

“Z Nation” is an interesting beast though.  It harkens back to old school zombies flicks like any of Romera’s cannon and it does so with gusto.  It doesn’t pull the punches in that quirky, dark sense of humor kind of a way.  It shouts “campy” at you, but for an old school zombie lover like myself…I loved it.  It was catchy and effectively paid homage to the genre.  Not every moment has to be gritty and realistic, sometimes you can let go and have fun with it like filmmakers used to, back in the day.

MILD SPOILER

In particular, there is a great scene involving the group cast, the discovery of an alive, intact baby, and the decision making and consequences that ensue.  To be warned, it is not for the faint of heart.

END OF SPOILER

Z NationHowever, like a well-worn and bloodied coin, “Z Nation” does a hold a flame to AMC’s famed “The Walking Dead”—  And, it does so quite cleverly.  It takes the situations that the characters are dealt and the consequences of a zombie invasion and pits them in a real world context, much like “The Walking Dead.”  How the characters’ behave, proceed, and deal with one another is fairly realistic considering the circumstances.

The pilot does an excellent job introducing the main cast, the time frame, setting, and overall goal.  As an audience member, you could see the logical line of progression and how several seasons worth of episodes could be produced without breaking away from the plot line (e.g. think Star Trek’s “The Voyager”).

Ultimately, I think “Z Nation” has good odds of striking a dent in “The Walking Dead” market share.  “Z Nation” does a little bit of both—  It’s campy like the old shuffle and blood zombie flicks and it tackles supernatural problems with real world engagement.

I recommend at least checking out the pilot for the deciding vote.  At the very least, I see a strong cult following for this television show, and as for me I’ll be buckled in for the native Spokane scenery and strong allure of the zombie.

Ten Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me


ImageThe other day I was finally catching up on my blog readings and I came across NDP’s post, “Ten things you may not know about me…”  It is a great piece.  Oftentimes, writers, bloggers, and artists create these blogs, but as they become more successful and larger than their original roots a new persona is created.  Readers begin to lose sight of the blogger and the blogger loses sight of his or her readers.

A simple post titled, “Ten Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me,” brings it back though.  It closes the gap between the writer and the reader.  I find this to be important.  I write for those to read, and I read to engage those that write.  I should never expect any less of myself.

Check NDP’s blog, “NDPworld.”  It’s a regularly updated and fantastic blog featuring the thoughts and poetics of NDP.  He is acutely aware of social and cultural beats and it is shown within his poetry.  I always gain a new perspective when reading his work.  I urge you to check it out.

Here is my blatant ripoff, “Ten Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me”:

  • I’ve worked as a grocer for the past six-years in various departments and positions.  A jack-of-all-trades if you will.  I enjoy it because it provides health insurance and stories.
  • My favorite band is the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and my favorite album of theirs is “By The Way”; however, my favorite track is “Under the Bridge” from their “Blood. Sugar. Sex. Magik” LP.  *As an aside: vinyl is the only way to go.
  • I enjoy longboarding a great deal.  One of my closest friends and I are building our own longboards, and are considering starting a ‘Spokane Longboarding Group’ for amateurs.  We’re working on several Spokane longboarding guides.
  • I am an atheist.  I appreciate theological and religious scripture from a historical and literary standpoint, but I have difficulties believing in a God.  However, that being said I rarely ever bring it up and it doesn’t bother me to hear of other people’s faith as long as they aren’t trying to indoctrinate me.
  • I have an obese ten-year-old Black and Tan Dachshund named Norman.  I’ve had him for over five-years now and he is the first dog I’ve ever really owned.  He is my best friend, and I don’t know what I would do without him.
  • I am a coffee addict.  It seems cliche, especially coming from a Washingtonian, but I enjoy coffee immensely.  My French Press is my friend.  Luckily for me I work right next to a Starbucks.
  • My best friend and I are currently writing a television screenplay called, “Baggage,” that is about the dark humor found when working in a retail industry, the macabre found in higher education without a job, and crazy girlfriends and boyfriends.
  • I grew up in and around Spokane, WA, USA.  I ended graduating from high school in Cheney Washington and tried to finish a bachelor’s degree at Eastern Washington University, but inevitably found writing to be my calling, rather than academia.
  • I have an immense love of comic books.  I find them to be an ‘American Mythology’ of sorts.  I started my writing career writing reviews about comics books and I still trek down to Merlyn’s Sci-fi and Fantasy Shop every week and pick up my haul.  Funnily enough, my fiancée also enjoys them a great deal and it is a hobby that we started together when we first started dating.
  • I’ve often been described as eccentric.  I try to be a student of all. I love all-types of philosophy, literature, film, and games.  I can be fairly moody, and I think that this plays into my interests.  It has to match my mood, but at the end of the day I will try anything once just to say I have.

 

“Resurrection”


I have definitely been remiss in my posts.  With the holidays, and my reentry into University my time has waned quite considerably.  I do apologize for my lack of updates and posts, especially to those of you who follow regularly or subscribe via Kindle…it truly is not fair to you who are paying for monthly content and not receiving it.  If you’ll stay on board a few months longer I do promise to up the post count by providing (hopefully) quality posts that’ll draw in more readers and keep the ones that have always supported me.

As a sort of symbolic gesture I give you “Resurrection.”  I have never been one to enjoy poetry, but this last quarter I was required to an introductory poetry course at Eastern Washington University that really opened my eyes.  I fell in love with T.S. Eliot…and hard.  “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is magnificent, and after reading it you open up to the world a little bit more than you were before.  Others also caught my eye and others I will always be disdainful of, but in the end I had garnished a bit of appreciation for the art which has led me to the writing of some of my own poetry.

Personally, I find my foray to be a bit shallow, but I am trying to improve.  “Resurrection” is the first hopefully many shallow forays, but for the content of the preface I think it fits quite wonderfully.  Read, comment, and enjoy.

“Resurrection”

His Walther PPK loosely holstered and licensed
A weathered Q Branch hidden with gadgets
to aid in his explosive endeavors;

Globetrotting to gather women–
left garbless & satisfied
they strike and parry in lust

Till the sky fell he was flat,
and
while he slowly declined the world became…
not enough.

The women fade under forgotten title screens
And, now he is grizzled and worn.
But
like his chief hobby

The Double-O is Reborn

Longboarding in Spokane, WA


Photography by Celeste Sievers

As are most of my summers, 2012’s season of heat has been filled with numerous ups and downs, as well as several life altering events.  However, even with the tumultuous ebb and flow of life, I did stick to one of my summer goals: I finally learned to longboard.

Photography by Celeste Sievers

I am fairly athletic person.  I am about six-feet tall, and incredibly lean.  My metabolism is incredibly fast-paced (even at twenty-three), and my buck-forty frame has been pretty-well locked in for the past five-years or so.  I tend to be very coordinated and quick, compared to most people; this is most likely due to my slender frame and years of throwing freight as a grocer.

Essentially, I wanted to enjoy the summer weather with my friends, and longboarding became that means.  I enjoy being outside; my girlfriend (Celeste) and I go hiking every now and again, but on the whole I’m generally an inside guy—hermit-like really.  I do a lot of reading and writing, and my primary occupation has me usually working indoors at a local Fred Meyer for eight+ hours at a stretch.

Although, some part of me has  always been interested in skateboarding, and by extension longboarding, but I never really had that push to actually try it out until recently.  I am the type of person to dive head first into a new project or activity, and this coupled with the fact that I have quite a few friends who just recently started longboarding again, I did exactly that—dived head first…with no regrets.  Longboarding is a sport that seems to have really come back in the Spokane area in recent years, so with all of these things in mind I found myself finally giving it a go.

Photography by Celeste Sievers

I went out with my friend, John ‘A1 Sauce’ McDonell, to our local “Big 5” and bought myself a relatively cheap (approximately $79.99 with tax) “Golden Beach” 46’ pin tailed longboard (featured left).  It is a tad on the long side (there are longer though!), but because I was first starting out I wanted a board more built for cruising and stability, rather than tricks.

After practicing quite a bit, I have really gotten into it.  I live in the historic Browne’s Addition of Spokane, WA, and because of the age of the district there are some spectacular hills and stretches to skate on and down.  I’ve actually got so into the sport, that I’m finally brazen enough to try and start learning how to do some basic slides and manuals with my board.  My friend, John, and I decided to buy sliding gloves and begin practicing.  For those of you who don’t know (because hell…I sure didn’t know until a couple months ago!) sliding gloves are essentially a pair of utility gloves with plastic pieces (called pucks) attached to the glove via Velcro.  Some gloves just have pucks for the palms, but others have pieces for the fingertips and thumb, as well as the palm.

Photography by Celeste Sievers

I ended up picking up a pair of Loaded sliding gloves from “The Mountain Goat” on Sprague in downtown Spokane (featured right).  They ran me $54.99, but what is nice about the Loaded gloves is that they have pucks for the fingers and thumb, instead of just the palm.  My buddy John picked up his gloves from a “Zumiez” for $39.99, but because it only has the palm puck the fingertips are already shredding after only a couple weeks of use.

(As an aside, John and I are planning on trying to make our own sliding gloves, and we’ll probably post a tutorial on YouTube—I’ll link here if it comes to fruition)

We’ve slowly been perfecting the Coleman Slide and the Front Slide for the past several weeks, and save for one serious wipeout, it has been phenomenal.  I would highly recommend it.  It is fun to cruise and chat without really having a care in the world.  It sheds me of my responsibilities for a brief moment, and in the moment I’ve been able strengthen my friendships—what’s to complain about?

If you have the interest and the ambition this is most-definitely a sport that doesn’t cost much right off the bat, and if you really enjoy it you can always improve on your equipment.  There are a million different styles of boards and gear for body shape and type of enthusiast.

I’ll post videos and pictures as they become available.  My friend and I aren’t terribly good, but we do like to snap a picture or two of our desperate plans to be better, and I’d love to share them with everyone.

What are your summer sports?  Do you live in area that promotes the outdoors, or do you have to go out of your way to find it?

“Alien”


Alien” with Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, and Yaphet Kotto

Directed by Ridley Scott

Science Fiction will always have a special place in my heart, whether it be in literature or in film, I have always found certain gems to latch on to throughout the years.  Personally, I find Ridley Scott’s work to be phenomenal, and his classic sci-fi movies are some of the best in the business.

Unfortunately, certain Ridley staples like “Alien” and “Blade Runner” released before my birth, and I was never fully able to appreciate them on the big screen.  Luckily for me, Merlyn’s Sci-fi and Fantasy Shop, has decided to host a monthly film night featuring sci-fi movies at the Magic Lantern Theater in downtown Spokane.  To start the monthly event off Merlyn’s began with a showing of “Alien.”

I was ecstatic!  I haven’t seen “Alien” in years, and it was the perfect opportunity to brush up on the “Alien” franchise, before “Prometheus,” in a fairly intimate setting.

“Alien” was released in 1979 too much critical acclaim.  The film follows a mining ship’s return to Earth when suddenly they are awoken out of stasis and diverted to a nearby planetoid at the urging of a distress signal.  The film then progresses as the seven-member crew stumbles across a highly antagonistic and aggressive creature merely known as the Alien as they search a long abandoned alien ship.

The Magic Lantern Theater in Spokane, WA

I won’t go to in depth into the film’s castings and plot within this post, because honestly it is one that should be watched and not read about.  And, if it hasn’t been watched after 30+ years then odds are it is not your cup of tea to begin with.  That being said, I found Ridley Scott’s art direction and style to be superb, and unlike the films to follow, “Alien” was as much about mystery, intrigue, and the unknown as it was about the horror elements.  It had that right genre blend that so few films hit nowadays.

If you get a chance to see one of your favorite films on the big screen nab it up, because sadly art houses and small theaters are dying off and chances are it won’t come back again.

Did you enjoy Ridley Scott’s “Alien”?  Have you seen “Prometheus”?  What’s your favorite sci-fi film of all-time?  

Jack and the Lilac Butcher, Part II


Spokane 

Jack awoke with a sudden heart-gripping jolt; his head was aching and his esophagus was scratchy like sandpaper.  He clumsily searched for the bedside lamp switch.  He lay naked, atop the covers, merely thinking.  He finally found the light and it slowly flickered to life.  The hotel was one of the nicest Jack had ever stayed at, which was proven by the comfortable warmth of the room.  Jack lay there for another couple of minutes letting the light wash over and his eyes to adjust till he finally sat to the edge of the mattress.  He got up and made his way to the washroom where he promptly grabbed a cup of water to quench his parched throat.  He tilted the glass at an angle with a slight of his wrist to look at the etched glass and the clear, crisp water.

“Certainly looks half empty to me,” Jack chuckled.

He stared into the mirror.  He was scruffy.  His brown hair was cropped short, but his face was covered in stubble.  He was taller then most men and was firmly built.  He had been a decent boxer in the military and had kept up the habits after he was out.  It showed in the mirror, but with a suit it was difficult to tell.  His brown eyes were the color of a Greek coffee; they were darker than most and spotted with black flecks.

“Still look like shit though,” he muttered to himself as he placed his glass back onto the sink ledge.

He’d shave in the morning he thought, and at that note he sauntered back to his bed and in exhaustion collapsed into it.  His body was tired, but his mind was still whirling.  Some included the trials of the past day others were much older and much more heart wrenching.  He was analyzing, contemplating, and planning for every eventuality whether Jack wanted to or not.  He finally fell asleep early in the morning, but tossed and turned as nightmares visited him. 

The Butcher lay there contemplating.  It was late and the smell of decay clung around him like a cologne.  He hated where he lived, but it was cheap and no one ever came looking for him.  He lay in bed pondering and toying with an innumerable amount of possibilities concerning the most trivial of circumstances.  He joyously went over all of the little details from the other evening.  How warm he felt on the inside, how the air bristled against the hair on his arms, the way his heart pounded when he crossed the threshold in her room, the way her lips and hot breath felt against the palm of his hand when he held her.

He lay there blinking for several minutes grinning to himself in the darkness before he finally got up.  Stark naked and alone in his greased up little shit stain of a shack he made his way to the washroom.  Even with the windows closed he could still smell the green river as if it where running right through his room.

He grabbed a dirty glass of water and looked at it intensely before chuckling to himself, “Looks half full to me.”   The killer looked at himself in the mirror.  He was scruffy, but handsome.  Plain features, but a nice square jaw and emerald colored eyes that almost matched the river outside.  He was about six feet tall and carried himself with confidence.  Muscularly built he could have been a boxer if he had been trained right.

The structure of the sport probably would have saved him to, but he personally didn’t believe in that religious, savoir complex bullshit that seemed to hang around the aristocratic like a dust cloud of pretension.  They were always the ones to sponsor and ogle the sport in the name of ‘structure’ and teamwork.  If it wasn’t them it was the God damn military brats; the killer’s hatred for those pricks stemmed almost as deep as his hatred for wealthy women.  The list of people he loathed was long, but carefully prioritized and catalogued and even in its irony it made him happy to think about.

Before heading back to bed he looked at his reflection in the cracked, warped mirror he said, “Not half bad,” and then sleepily shuffled back to bed where he promptly shut his mind up and fell into a slumber filled with what most men would call nightmares, but what the Butcher called pleasant dreams.

7am 

“How’d ya sleep?”

“Horrible,” replied a sleep deprived Jack.

“Wanna a drink?” said Ryan.

“At seven in the morning…,” Jack hesitated and thought for a quick moment, “…nah.”

“So what will be lookin’ at first, this morning, the body? The scene? The police house?  All of the above?”

“I figure we’ll hit the morgue first and then will head on over to the crime scene.”

“Sounds good,” replied Ryan through a mouthful of muffin.

8:30am 

Jack and Ryan sauntered into the little shit-in-the-hole that Spokane called their morgue.  It was grimy, wreaked of death, and was dimly lit.  Ryan had seen ‘A Symphony of Horror’ recently and this place reminded him of Orlok’s castle in Bremen -In other words, not pleasant-.  Jack showed the receptionist their credentials and she let them pass without even a nod.

“We’d probably be able waltz in here with a fuckin’ grocery list as an ID,” Jack whispered.

Ryan snickered.  At that they reached the end of the hallway and passed through a pair of doors loosely hanging upon their hinges.  As soon as they passed the threshold they both realized that the doors where more for keeping the odor at bay and not for security.  Their nostrils where bombarded with the smell of decay and rot.  An old man by the name of Herbert skulked out the shadows to greet them.

“How are you this fine evening?” Herbert asked?

“Good, considering it’s almost 9am,” Jack replied.

Again, Ryan snickered at the sarcasm; Herbert was oblivious.

“Can we have a look at the body found in the Browne’s manor?”

“Of course, of course.”

Herbert led them through another archway; this one covered by plastic strips, and into a smaller, more foul smelling room than the last.

“Here she is.  Pretty little thing, isn’t she?”

Ryan felt tingles spike across as skin as the man spoke.  The hair on his arm was standing at attention.  Neither Jack nor Ryan replied to Herbert’s inquiry, but proceeded to take a closer look at the body.

Her face was intact, but from the throat down her body was mangled.  She was chopped and butchered beyond recognition.  Her hair was ash blonde, she was in her mid-thirties by the look of it, and according to Herbert she had been sexually assaulted post mortem.  Her skin was pulverized and it was difficult to tell what was flesh.  She had obviously been stabbed multiple times by a long blade but other than that it was hard to tell what was a wound and what wasn’t.

Ryan was getting a sick feeling in his stomach.  Between the way Herbert stood off to the side smiling, the smell, and the horrendousness of the body Ryan needed to step out for a moment.  As Jack continued to look over the body and scribble down notes upon his vellum pad Ryan stepped outside to take a breather.  Once he was outside he lit up a cigarette and glanced at the baseball card that came with the pack.  It was no Honus Wagner, but still better than those cheap caramel cards.  Jack followed suit a couple minutes later and lit up as well.

“So what do you think?” said Jack.

“I think Herbert’s a fuckin’ sicko is what I think.”

“I mean about the woman,” as Jack exhaled.

“I think who ever cut her up is a twisted son of a bitch and he should be put down.  I’ve never seen someone so tore up before.  And, to be fucked afterwards…takes a real kind of evil to do that,” Ryan said.

“I agree,” stated Jack simply, “Where do we proceed?”

“I think that we should go to the crime scene.  We should scout out for anything left behind that the locals might have overlooked.  Maybe interview a couple of the neighbors and see if anything unusual crops up.”

“Perfect I was hoping you’d say that,” Jack grinned, “I like a good feather rufflin’”

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