Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Year That Totally Kicked Ass

Another year has come and gone. Looking back at the past 365 days isn't easy. Most days are routine and trite: work, eat, sleep, write, yell at the TV, etc. Other days are just a glorious adventure, especially when I seize life by the proverbial cojones. In 2010, I tried new experiences and saw where life took me.

Here are some of the many bizarre happenings over the last 12 months:

* I was a 2010 Peter Jennings Fellow for Journalists and the Constitution at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. An amazing experience. I got to work with a group of reporters and Kenneth Starr on a case and then present it to the group. I never really considered the U.S. Constitution before; now I carry a copy of it with me and practically memorized it.

* Met Tom Brokaw. A photo-op with the esteemed journalist was two seconds. The Harrison Ford character from "Morning Glory" comes to mind...

* Heard Bruce Campbell at Philly Comicon. The Chin gave an excellent and funny talk in front of an auditorium packed with adoring (and weird) fans. Also at Comicon, I saw Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner and the DeLorean from back to the Future.

* Rode on an Airship. The Horizon Blimp gave journalist-types like myself free rides to promote their partnership with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. I'm an airship aficionado, so this was heaven for me.

* Moderated a mayoral debate. Ah, local politics. Where hope goes to die. I was on a panel of reporters who interviewed the two Ocean City mayoral candidates. Prime time, here I come!

* Two gaming supplements published. Reality Blurs published two Ravaged Earth supplements: Relics & Rumors 3 and 4.

* Took Dad to a Father's Day Phillies Game. It was like "Field of Dreams" sans the cornfield and male guilt over lost fathers. We enjoyed the experience besides the Phillies losing to the Twins.

* Got divorced. After years of separation, we finally untied the knot. I now have an ex-wife and a box filled with half a set of china.

* Went to Gencon. Worked the Reality Blurs booth at Gencon and ran a game of Ravaged Earth. While there, I heard Wil Wheaton give a really great talk to fanboys about gaming and gaming culture.

* Fell in love. Reconnected with a woman I haven't seen in 19 years via Facebook and we began dating. She constantly never ceases to fascinate me.

* Re-Booted Ravaged Earth. Spent five months writing the new incarnation of Ravaged Earth, including a new plot point adventure campaign. The toughest thing I've ever written by far, but so rewarding.

* Re-Connected with High School Friends. Spent a great weekend drinking and raising hell with my old high school friends Kevin and Samir. Kevin singing Lada Gaga's "Poker Face" is one of my favorite memories of 2010.

* Cosbython 2010. Cosbython is an event a few friends held around Bill Cosby's birthday in July. We spent the day watching that delightfully bad movie "Ghost Dad", some Jell-O pudding commercials and "Picture Pages", and had fun playing Cosby-themed games.

* Went to Philcon. Participated in gaming panels and bathed in the geekiness of a great science fiction community. The Legion of Doom Dinner. The Masquerade. An awkward encounter with an ex-girlfriend. All memories of a kick-ass Philcon 2010!

* Saw some great standup comedy. John Conte, Mike KC, Big Rick Cahall, Kendra Cunningham, Maddog Mattern, Reese Walters, Alan Kaye.

* Acted in a Zombie Movie. I played the part of a shambling zombie in For Love of Zombies. The makeup people did a fantastic job transforming my rugged, handsome features into a horrific visage of rotting flesh.

* Performed in an Audio Serial. Keeping with the zombie theme, I leant my voice to "HG World", a great audio serial about the zombie apocalypse. I recorded three parts for the show, each one different and challenging.

* Saw a Re-Release of Back to the Future. For one weekend in October, BTTF was released in theaters. For 90 minutes, I was transported back to my teenage years in 1985, watching a movie I'd fall in love with.

* Trivia Kings. My trivia teams, Killer Rabbits and Donkey Punch, kicked some serious cerebral ass at trivia. Gift cards were won, meals ate and laughter (and knowledge) were the order of the day.

* Went on a diet an lost some weight. Not that I don't like eating vegetables, but when your doctor tells you your triglycerides are through the roof, you make sacrifices. So I exercised and stocked up on oatmeal and vegetables and lost about 15 pounds. Now children don't point at me in the street and giggle about the "manopotamus."

* Performed Standup. Returned to the stage to make audiences laugh in their beers. A little rusty, but it was great to write jokes and do the comedian thing again.

* Judged a Hooters Bikini Contest. Got a chance to ogle scantily-clad women in their 20s as a celebrity judge at Hooter's in Atlantic City.

* Spent Christmas with family at a the Hotel Hershey in Hershey, Pa. Relaxing and gorging on milk chocolate with your relatives is a great way to spend the yuletide season.

Next year I hope to get involved with more standup comedy, perform in an original podcast, have Ravaged Earth Rebooted published and other crazy, outrageous escapades.

Stay tuned if you dare, gentle reader!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Back To Work

I’m reticent to post anything on this blog because, quite frankly, I’ve enjoyed the nearly two-month hiatus. During that time, I’ve completed a few important writing projects, spent quality time with my girlfriend sharing and laughing and dancing in dewy meadows while watching sunsets. Yet this blog is like the Damocles sword hanging over my head, suspended by a single gossamer strand.

Sooner or later, that bitch is going to snap.

As of this writing, the Angry Reporter blog has been viewed over 6,000 times by people in several countries. I know this because I can track where the hits are coming from.

Most of you arrived here after web searches for the angry Hitler meme or King Tut, since I blogged about both of those things. During this year’s election, you searched for Christine O’Donnell and found this blog. Glad you enjoyed that.

A few of you even bothered to post a response to my rants and ramblings. Some of those brave enough to post their responses should be commended, whether you agreed with me or not. Thanks for the time it took to tap on your keyboards and let me know how you feel.

The Internet is a vast electronic sewer overflowing with information, opinions and colorful photos of spread-eagled Russian girls. Once in a while in this decadent pornographic soup, you actually find something useful. Not that the Russian girls aren’t useful, but they’re not trying to change the world, no matter how outlandishly they contort their bodies.

Into this quagmire of ones and zeroes floats a morass of opinions written by people who cannot write, people who think they’re funny but aren’t, and people who believe American should exist preserved in a comforting amniotic sac of the 1950s.

Those who wish to take this country back to an Eisenhower utopia that never existed in the first place are delusional. Not content to keep their paranoia and instability to themselves, they rant online about the dangerous liberals, the socialism creeping into America via the mass media and Obama administration and how Sarah Palin will be the Den Mother of Boy Scout Troop America.

And for expressing my opinion that this country is slipping down a dark incline into the wood chipper due to greed, arrogance and a tide of pseudo-nationalistic fervor unseen since the dark days of Joseph McCarthy, I’m branded a radical Democrat and loose cannon.

I am neither a radical, a Democrat nor a loose cannon.

Because I write for a newspaper and try to shed light on the corrupt dealings of petty tyrants and millionaires whose sweetheart deals keep the fat cats fat and the citizens in the dark, I’m mocked and ridiculed. They said journalism is not an honorable profession and all reporters are lumped into one category with the dreaded “lamestream corporate media”.

If I have offended anyone with this blog, either with its subject matter or salty language or graphic descriptions contained herein, I make no apologies. My writing is my sword I use for slaying the kowtowing sycophants and bloviating assholes who have clambered their way into political machines on scaly lizard legs and turned this country into the redneck paradise it is; a backward-thinking, superstitious corporate gulag where the intelligent, the free-thinkers and the peacemakers are persecuted as hippie weirdos and communists. Both parties are to blame for dumbing this country down and failing to produce competent, honest leadership.

Want to get depressed and lose all faith in humanity? Read the comments section of any Yahoo News story. It’s a nauseating heap of dispassionate, uncaring remarks that will make you root for a pandemic just to thin the herd. It’s amazing how unmoved and apathetic people are to human tragedy and how they think their jokes are somehow amusing. If they want to tell jokes, go to an open mike night. Don’t post your quips on a news site meant for discussing the articles like adults.

That brings me back to my reason for taking a break. I’m weary of the general public bashing journalists, but I shouldn’t be surprised. There’s a large disconnect between what I do and what the public perceives. No matter how you explain it to them, the public will still view all journalists in a negative light, particularly when the corporate-run media continually under-report, fail to correct discrepancies and present themselves and their product with supreme arrogance.

It’s incumbent upon me to use this blog and carve out a space online where people can go if they’re fed up with the status quo and want change. For the good of our species and our country, things have to change. America must educate itself about the world outside of its borders. We’ve got to shun the superstitious and the corrupt forces that seek to control all of us. This country is already in the throes of bad science fiction, where cameras watch our every move and overzealous politicians are purging our Constitutional rights. The worst part about this Orwellian nightmare is the Tea Party has become the champions of freedom. This is a group of linear-thinking people in cardigans who are to the 2000s what the Liberty League was in the 1930s.

We need the truth and the unvarnished facts and we need them now, or we’re in danger of rapidly devolving to the point where the country will be populated by morbidly-obese American ape creatures hollering lyrics to Toby Keith songs while campfires from a million plastic hovels glimmer against the twilight of a once great civilization rolling into its grave.