Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fuck Off, 2012

2012 was one of the worst years of my life; a stinking cesspool of utter suckitude, punctuated by a diarrhea typhoon shooting from the assholes of a million flatulent gorillas.

2012 was a festering, bloated whale corpse washed on the beach, one whose fetid miasma causes you to violently projectile vomit Cheetos at Baby Jesus.

2012 was so utterly awful, so mind-numbingly rank and disgusting, that spending 365 days in a windowless room watching “The Human Centipede” on an endless loop while engaging in a three-way with Courtney Love and Amy Winehouse’s rotting cadaver would seem like a glorious respite in comparison.

2012, you can go fuck yourself.


Sans the lube.

This year was filled with loss, not just for me, but for my friends. It’s one thing when you’re at the end of a karmic ass-whipping, but when your friends are pulled into the vortex of misfortune, that’s something altogether different. It’s a cosmic conspiracy. A real galactic screwing, where bad things happen to good people and where Donald Trump becomes Dictator and Hierophant of Earth.

This year, my friends lost spouses, pets and parents. Some were involved in accidents and required surgery. Others found themselves out of work or still desperately searching for employment.

For me, 2012 was where I played Russian roulette with my health. I’d been feeling slightly off for months, and experienced random pains and illness. In February, I was hit with a stomach virus. March saw me tired with headaches. In April, I was stressed at work – really stressed – and my health began declining. Because of the stress, in May I developed shingles, an experience I don’t recommend. In June I began having temporary pains in my forehead. My doctor prescribed blood pressure medication and I’ve been taking that every day. It seemed to be working in the beginning, because my blood pressure registered as normal for the first time in years.

Yay! I’m a fat fuck!

Yay! I’m at death’s door!

My girlfriend tells me I’m just a hypochondriac. I might even exhibit random Munchausen syndrome if I remember to.

In July, my girlfriend developed a respiratory illness. She was sick for a month, wheezing and coughing. She even needed an inhaler to help her breathe. Rarely does she get sick, but this hit her like a ton of anvils.

My cat, Smuttynose, had fleas. The little biters got him and he was miserable in September. Poor kitty had to have a few baths, take a special pill and have ointment put on his back.

This was the year I saw a few concerts, a rarity because my financial situation doesn’t normally allow me to leave the house except to forage for food. Entertainment is quite scarce in my life, but this year I saw the Go-Go’s in concert, and went to live performances by comedians Eddie Pepitone and Louis C.K. I also saw a few movies, which is also a rarity for me.

Traveled to a few conventions this year, most notably to GenCon in Indianapolis, where I briefly spoke with Wil Wheaton about gaming, especially the games Reality Blurs published. Spoke on a panel at GenCon about the upcoming Ravaged Earth revised edition. Also spoke about the gaming industry at PhilCon, a smallish science fiction convention in Cherry Hill. This marked my eighth year attending PhilCon and my fifth GenCon.

Me and a few friends saw the film "The Room" live. "The Room" is like "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" if you're a hipster and enjoy throwing spoons at the screen. It probably was one of the year's highlights, an indication as to how horrible 2012 was.

Hurricane Sandy proved to be the most significant event of 2012 for me. Losing most of my furniture, books, clothing and possessions and being forced from my apartment changed me. My life plodded along nonchalantly. I was simply existing, pouring my life into a regular routine. Yet the hurricane propelled me from that hum-drum life and set me on another course. I wasn’t merely existing anymore. Now I had to survive. I had to dig deep inside myself and let the reality suddenly sink in so I could cope with what had happened. I shifted into a grim, survivalist mode. I did what I needed to do; packed up everything, transported it into a storage facility, and relocated myself within a few days.

Everything I lost, all I had to discard, I shut off my emotions beforehand. I didn’t need sentimentality, depression or sorrow. The general feeling I had was one of annoyance. I was helpless, really, because Mother Nature’s swift hands throttled my world and set it askew. Mercilessly, the storm saturated my furnishings and some belongings. Some stuff did survive unscathed, and I’m amazed what made it and what didn’t.

After the flood waters receded, after the wreckage and debris were piled in heaps, as curious onlookers peered at the utter devastation, we slowly began to reorient ourselves and became grounded once more.

I couldn’t have packed or moved without my girlfriend’s assistance. She helped immensely with organizing and storing my belongings.

She’s the brightest spot in a year filled with strife and bullshit.

See, in June, she moved in with me. Before she walked into my life, I barely held it together. Life seemed like one arduous line at the DMV, a frustrating experience surrounded by a plethora of idiots. She moved in and has been keeping me sane ever since.

I might not be the greatest writer on the planet (nor the most successful or widely read), but I can be a good friend for her. She tells me she loves me every day, chirping it out with a smile.

She lightens my world.

I finally have a loving and caring person in my life, one who accepts me for all my foibles and other weird shit. We laugh together and hold hands. When she peers at me with her almond eyes, everything is beautiful.

2012 was a year of losses and wins. I won a second place award in the New Jersey Better Newspaper Contest for a features story I wrote on Prohibition. I’m a steadfast fan of history.

In other news, after many months of creative blockage, I wrote a short story. It's called "Return of the Crimson Sentinel" and it's about former pulp vigilantes who get back into crime fighting for one fateful night. It's poignant, funny and bittersweet. 

As the past 12 shitty months wrap up, I eagerly await 2013 for the promise it brings.

Will next year be filled with opportunity, good health, happiness and fortune, or will it be one dreadful shitfest 2012 was?

Take care, my frazzled doom-monkeys! See you in 2013, when the future actually begins.

Monday, December 24, 2012


Dear Santa Christ,

Thanks a whole bunch for everything, you jolly old fuck. This year I went from living in an apartment to crashing as a house 20 minutes away from where I work. Lost some valuable, sentimental possessions, such as books, DVDs, collectibles and kitchen appliances. 80 percent of my furniture had to be scrapped. Since Hurricane Sandy blew across New Jersey and pissed over everything, my life has been upended, my future plans urooted and I'm forced to confront this harsh new reality.

Merry Christmas, you ursine, blubbery dickface.

You really raped Shittown and tore it an asshole the size of the Licoln Tunnel. Their altruistic relief organization is helping people cope and survive, yet it's run by the same inbred high school clique that controls the town like a Russian gulag. They're putting the same lunatics in charge of the asylum. Good luck with that.

The only thing bearable about the Christmas holidays are the people close to me. My girlfriend keeps me sane, which is an unbelievably difficult task. She tells me she loves me every day, a first for me. Most women I've dated are too busy struggling to get the cap off their Vicodin to pay me a compliment, much less tell me they love me.

I've had a bad track record of dating. If they're not batshit crazy, they're dumber than a bag of dead monkeys.

All that is ancient history.

Ancient like the Etruscans.

Remember them?

My girlfriend and I celebrated Christmas early. We unwrapped our gifts near our pathetically puny tree and spent the day lounging around and playing with our toys. We watched the DVDs she bought me and I played a few games of Assassin's Creed.  Most of my gifts were gaming-related. She knows gaming is not really so much a hobby, but an obsession. She got me Pathfinder, which I'm looking forward to playing at my local game shop one of these days. Also, she bought Fortune and Glory, a massive boardgame with over 150 pieces and an action-packed pulp theme I've been waiting for.

We celebrated Christmas early because she has to work on Christmas Eve and Christmas. It's just one of those kooky things with her work schedule falling on the holiday.

I traveled to my parent's house and the entire place is like Christmas on steroids. There are three trees, the halls are fully decked, and Christmas carols are playing on a continuous loop. It's enough to make even you shit a bowlful of jelly, Santa.
But I like it here. It's comforting and safe. The world is a chaotic bloodbath filled with lunatics of every stripe and love is as cold and as distant as a fading star in the night's sky, or an elderly Protestant couple, if that's a better mental image for you.

I picked up my 90-year old grandmother from her place and we drove over to my parents'. The first thing they greeted me with was smiles and Armenian food. Tonight we're havingthe traditional Italian fish dishes. Then we open our presents and roast chestnuts by the fire or some other Dickensian trope one does on Christmas.

The entire thing fills me with gratitude and humility. I'm thankful my parents are still alive and everybody is reasonably healthy. We can enjoy the holidays in each other's company, a rare and significant treat we mustn't take for granted. I see my elderly parents, still together and in love, in the home they built. It's this stability, this love transpiring within these walls, is why I turned out as good as I did, and aren't shooting customers in a Costco with an M16.

Christmas is a time forbeing together and giving presents to others, even if you don't know them. It's when we temporarily forget the world is a clusterfuck of danger and corruption and revel in songs and cookies and laughter. We see the eager anticipation in a child's eyes and the smiles of the elderly. We rejoice in ourselves and our loved ones. We reach out to those less fortunate than ourselves and show compassion and peace. This one time of the year when we put down our cudgels and hatchets and just exist with our fellow human beings.

Santa Christ, as you drink spiked eggnog from your rocketship orbiting Earth and peer down through bloodshot eyes at a weary and frazzled planet, remember we're not all monsters. Humans are capble of great acts of heroism and love. We just need a little prodding from time to time to remind us how fragile our lives are. The greatest gift we can give to others is our time and our talents.

Merry Christmas, ya fat fuck.

P.S. Timmy wants a pony. Don't stiff him like you did last year.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Torrid Spam Tales

Oh, Internet. Why do you toy with my emotions and test my patience? If it's not spam for male enhancements or spam for Nigerian investment scams, it's unsolicited spam from "women" who want to engage in amorous activity with me. What scrap of information did the viral marketers get their tentacles on and why would they wish to entrap me in their sordid web of imaginary sexual scenarios? How did my e-mail address fall into their possession? I surmise it must be someone I work with who wasn't too vigilant with their spam filter and a some Trojan horse virus slipped into their computer and rooted for e-mails, found mine and began spamming me.

No matter. I'm quite the Casanova with European women who are looking for "big strong man to make the love to", or however these barbarians speak.

Here's one my spam filter snagged Dec. 5:

"Eric I am glad, that the case was gave to me to write to you the letter! Whether we can get 
acquainted with you more close? I am not assured in true relations while people 
do not investigate each other more close. Today I shall not speak about me directly 
in details. I wish to receive your answer then we can investigate each other more close. 
Write to me on my personal e-mail address
 I send you my photo. Angelina"

So a hot young woman from Germany is making a love connection via some matchmaking service. Love how she mangles the English language. "the case was gave to me..." Why do these women always sound like Borat? "Today I shall not speak about me directly in details." Yeah, way to keep my interested. Be as cryptic and as enigmatic as you want. Builds the mystery, right? Couldn't you part with some detail? Like how old are you? Where are you from? How the fuck did you get my email? 

 I received this beauty in my spam filter Dec. 20:

"Hi sir!
How are you doing?
In this lonely evenings in anticipation of Xmas, we fill alone. And we want
only one thing - love. Love relationships, ,interesting dialogueand of
course passionate lovemaking, this is what we need. Are you interested? I
hope yes, then this email is for you.
A little information about me: My name is Irina, I’ 25 y.o. I'm a free
cheerful lady, sensual, kind, modest, but at the same time very passionate.
I'm looking for a serious man for a relationship. We can develop an
interesting dialogue and share photos, even erotic.
If you are ready to start a new life and enjoy the affection and
tenderness, write me!
I hope that my letter was interesting for you. Waiting for your answer!
Your passionate Irina.

I like the "Sir". Very formal. Like she's going on a job interview or something. Also think the "fill" instead of "feel" is endearing, almost like a kid writing letters backwards. By the second line, there's so much wrong with her message grammatically, with wrong punctuation and words running together, I'd say at that point during the composition, the Zoloft kicked in. 
At least Irina is more candid about herself than Angelina. I get her age and some important personality details. She is "free", "cheerful', sensual", "kind", "modest" and "passionate". I might be going out on a limb here, but isn't that what every man wants in a woman? 
Irina is looking for a "serious man" for a relationship. She's even into photo sharing and sharing "erotic". You mean sharing erotic photos? Is that it? 

Oh, and if you're acting like this is a job interview, put on some pants. You might get hired if you do. 

Here's something totally from Bizarro World. On the same day, I get another e-mail from Irina. This one was worded slightly differently:

"Hi man!
How are you?
In this lonely evenings in expectation of Christmas, we are lonely. And we
want only one thing - love. Serious relationships, ,live dialogueand of
course passionate lovemaking, this is what we need. Are you interested? I
hope yes, then this email is for you.
A little information about me: I’m Irina, I’ 25 years old. I'm a free
cheerful girl, sensual, kind, modest, but at the same time very sexy. I'm
looking for a serious man for a relationship. We can develop an interesting
dialogue and share photos, even erotic.
If you are ready to start a new life and enjoy the affection and
tenderness, write me!
I hope that my letter was interesting for you. Waiting for your answer!
Your passionate Irina.
See you soon!"

So apparently the writer got a little more relaxed and confident this time. The intro, a breezy and casual "Hi man!" makes you think of a beer commercial, or at least playing hackey-sack in the quad while scoping our babes from the Evergreen Dorm. Everyone on campus knows those Evergreen babes are bigger sluts than the Tri Delts, but they at least don't narc on you if you're carrying herb. 

Anyway, at least Irina 2.0 spelled "Christmas" instead of "Xmas". And she sent the same photo of herself...twice. 

I don't know what to make of all of this. there's a subtle art to crafting these e-mails. First, an attractive photograph of an attractive woman, early 20s, bedroom eyes, obvious Eastern European extraction. Second, a message designed to pique the interest of any man gullible enough to believe these photos weren't lifted from a Belarusian smut ring. Third, the promise of unbelievably torrid sex with said 20-something Eastern European woman and the definite possibility of a relationship. 

I don't think any naive dweeb playing 10 hours of World of Warcraft a day and who's only seen a vagina in a medical textbook would fall for this ploy. It's so over-the-top ridiculous and  should be mocked for the obvious troll/phishing/scam it is. 

What ever happened to old fashioned romance, of meeting a woman outside of the home, conversing with her and then developing mutual admiration and respect for one another, then exploring each other's bodies and minds sensually, with wild abandon, probing the deep recesses of their souls and allowing love to blossom naturally?

Well, that's also an old scam. Might not involve cheesecake photos of nubile Estonian women via e-mail, but it's basically bullshit. You want that kind of romance, watch "Bridget Jones's Diary" and cry into a pint of Haagen-Dazs. You want a woman - a real woman with no Russian mob ties - go out and meet one. Maybe you know her all ready. Make your move, then. Don't fear rejection. Just go out and tell her how you feel and what you want. Women like men who are direct and confident. 

However, don't whip out your dick on the first date. Get her good and drunk before you pull anything like that. If things progress favorably, you get lucky. If now, she'll be too drunk to remember, so if she tells the police, the testimony of a drunken woman is not reliable. 

Trust me on this, amigos. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mike Huckabee Is A Dick

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on the shooting in Newtown, Conn. which left 27 people, including 20 children dead: “We don’t have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem. And since we’ve ordered God out of our schools, and communities, the military and public conversations, you know we really shouldn’t act so surprised…when all hell breaks loose.”

Yo, Huck, if you really think America is in a moral malaise because they’re not force-fed Christian prayer on the taxpayer’s dime, then how about gun violence occurring in churches?   

In October 2012, a former maintenance worker at the World Changers Church in College Park, Ga. Shot and killed a church volunteer in the church’s sanctuary during morning prayer.

In May 2009, an anti-abortion activist murdered a physician who performed late-term abortions as the doctor attended worship services at the Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas.

In July 2008, a man killed two and wounded seven at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Church in Knoxville. The gunman was motivated by a hatred of liberals, blacks and gays.

In August 2007, a gunman entered the First Congregational Church in Neosho, Missouri and opened fire, killing three people; the pastor and two deacons.

In December 2007, a gunman killed two and wounded two at the Youth With a Mission center in Arvada, Colorado. The same gunman killed three and injured three at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In May 2006, a gunman killed four people at the Ministry of Jesus Christ Church in Baton Rouge, La. Before abducting his wife and killing her in a nearby apartment.

In March 2005, a gunman killed seven members of the Living Church of God in Brookfield, Wis. during a worship service.

In Sept. 1999, a gunman interrupted a teen prayer rally at the Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas and killed seven people, including four teenagers.

So, Huck. When you talk about ordering God from our schools and communities why have their been shootings in churches? Wasn’t God present there?

This is a tragic time for Newtown, Conn. The parents, teachers, school administration and community are reeling from such a horrible and shocking loss. Instead of comforting those in need (you know, like Jesus would do) you politicize the issue as is the agenda of the 24-hour news media’s horde of talking heads.

Let me get this straight, Huck. You’re saying because Sandy Hook Elementary School doesn’t have a religious curriculum and is one of those secularist public schools you purportedly despise, those 20 children and seven adults are dead?

So by somehow having school prayer would somehow deflect the bullets, or at best, send the victims directly to Heaven after they’re shot?

That’s cold, even for you.

Huck, you and the rest of your slimy, theocratic ilk should sit this one out. You’re totally out of your league. You’ve been giving reach-arounds to the gun lobby for years. Now that a disturbed individual commits this heinous slaughter, you’re getting all self-righteous?

We don’t have a crime problem, a gun problem or a violence problem?

What school shooting were you watching today?

You holy rollers are all alike. You spit fire and brimstone and are too quick with condemnation instead of compassion.

The American people are starting to come around. We’ve suffered through Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Aurora. We’ve seen the media fall over themselves covering these mass shootings whenever a disgruntled former employee goes bonkers and takes out half the company with a semi-automatic.

Newtown is the final straw.

These were children, Huck.


20 kids who don’t get a chance to grow up and experience life.

Instead of grieving with the rest of us empathetic Americans, you go on television and blame the secular schools for not teaching kids about God, as if that would’ve stopped Adam Lanza from his deadly rampage.

How do you think the parents of those children feel about you saying there’s no gun problem or violence problem?

If you want to pray for someone’s soul tonight, Huck, pray for your own.


 Of course, you need a soul first. 

Horror in Newtown

A gunman killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. this morning. Among the dead are 18 children. According to media reports, the shooter was Adam Lanza, 20, whose mother worked at the school.

27 people were shot to death.

20 of them were children.

This year - 2012 - has been shitty for several reasons, but the cases of gun violence are spiraling out of control. It's as if the gates of Hell flung open and every murderous psychopath from Perdition now walks the Earth and slakes their hunger on innocent blood.

Another gun massacre.

Another media clusterfuck.

Another deluded, sick individual frustrated with life, carving a violent swath through the American landscape. The act of firing a gun becomes their defiant gesture to a world which somehow let them down, betrayed them, made them feel less than human.

So they enact their vengeance. Spasm of violence. Kill 'em all.

Bang. Bang. Bang.

Just like a video game. Only difference is there's no restart button. The pixelated targets in video games resurrect. Real people don't.

These were children with their whole lives ahead of them, who deserved a chance to grow up. Young lives extinguished in a hail of bullets. These children had parents who are grieving now and are experiencing every parent's worst nightmare.

I'll bet in some office in Washington, the gun lobby is doing damage control. The wheels are turning as they plot and plan how they're going to spin this tragedy into a win for their side.

"Guns don't kill people. People kill people. Right?"

Fuck you.

You don't trot out the 2nd Amendment after one of these terrible mass killings. The gun lobby doesn't get a seat at the table this time. This is about a culture glorifying gun violence and access to guns. This is about jerking off to a cinematic bloodbath and popping a boner for Smith & Wesson. Or Browning. Or Heckler & Koch. Or whatever brand, type or caliber you use.

It's about preventing this shit from happening again.

We need, as a country, to collectively stand against civilian gun violence.

We need to keep guns from the hands of those twisted, sick bastards who shoot up schools, or movie theaters or their places of work.

We need to be more cognizant of mental illness and how to reach these people before they reenact the movie "Natural Born Killers".

We also need to make getting guns difficult - not impossible - but difficult. The screening process should be thorough for every state.

To say New Jersey's gun permit law is stringent is an overstatement. I applied for a permit and had submit to a background check. Nearly five months later the local police department issued me a State of NJ Firearms Purchaser ID card. Five freakin' months for a firearms ID card? What a load of bureaucratic red tape, I thought, until I saw what was happening across the border in Pennsylvania, where access to firearms is cheap and quick. Gun violence in Philadelphia has increased in recent years. Could there be a correlation between the ease of purchasing a firearm and the rising number of shooting deaths?

If New Jerseyans have to wait nearly half a year for a gun permit, isn't that good for the rest of America?

What about stolen guns used in mass shootings or borrowed guns? How about stiffening the penalties for anyone who kills multiple people?

We shouldn't be jaded of mass shootings, even though they're about as commonplace now as Lindsay Lohan getting arrested or Kim Kardashian saying something stupid.

We should be angry and demand action from our so-called leaders.

America has always been a trigger-happy country. Hunting and shooting are as American as your right to wear Crocs or drink Yoo-Hoo from a Mason jar. It's only when the targets become other humans have we truly gone off the deep end. Instead of a recreational activity in the great outdoors, it's a killing spree on bath salts.

I'm not saying marginalize the gun owners or hunters. They're good, rustic people. Besides, without them, how will we ever obtain muskrat jerky and venison?

No, the clarion call must go out to those who seek to do harm to others, to turn offices into killing grounds and elementary schools into slaughterhouses. These are the crazed lone gunmen, the Travis Bickels of the world who are outcasts, pariahs and misanthropes. They trudge along life without so much as a peep until one day something snaps and they rage with whizzing bullets in a cataclysmic outburst and shatter our safety and security.

Also, don't profess this incident could have been avoided if God were in our society and schools. Plenty of Christian zealots have taken up their guns and murdered in the name of Jesus. Religion as a social control has nothing to do with stemming the tide of gun violence. I can point to several cases of religious people who kill for their beliefs. Playing Monday morning quarterback with a Bible in your hand isn't going to lessen the anguish.

It's absolutely fucking senseless, and you know it.

Repeat the words in your head over and over, until you cry, tears of rage welling up.

Today 27 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School were killed by a gunman.

20 of those were children.