Glass Tap Master Challenge

*** This game does not endorse the consumption of alcohol in excess, the consumption of alcohol by minors or drinking after or while driving. Please drink responsibly, and above all…FOLLOW THE LAW. It is there to save lives. ***

— This is where the link to the app store entry will go —

((( There is a known issue with the Leaderboard and Achievements in Game Center )))

Glassware Guide to Craft Beers

Hello! Welcome to the Support page for the iPhone game Glass Tap Master Challenge. This is a game that I made as a fun side project. I started thinking about what kind of game I would enjoy playing, and made it.

Here’s some basic information about the game. When you’re playing, you tap everything that pops up on the screen except empty glasses. Different sized glasses, and power ups will appear on the screen. Each glass type stays on the screen for a different amount of time, and has a different base point value. The power ups are an ice cube that freezes everything on the screen, a tap that automatically generates glasses on the screen, a bomb that destroys everything on the screen, and a clock that adds more time to the timer.

You can earn in-game credits by simply playing the game. You earn 1 coaster for every 100 points you score, and they can be used to purchase upgrades such as point multipliers and new glasses. Golden mugs will randomly appear on the screen while you’re playing, and they can be used to add more time once the normal game clock has expired.

As much as I have tested the game myself, I would not be surprised if there are issues. I made this game by myself, and I did it in the very limited spare time I have. If you discover an issue then mention it in the comments below, and I’ll look into it when I get time.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my game! I really enjoyed making it, and I hope you have fun playing it!!!

Chasing Elmo

I guess it’s about time for me to post a new blog. It’s about 11:30 PM where I am, and I should be asleep, but I’ve had a few to drink, it’s been a crazy day, and I just feel like blogging.

I have emulated someone else in one way or another for the majority of my life. It sounds odd. It makes it seem like I’ve basically just been a copy cat. Each of these people, however, have helped me find out who I truly am in one way or another.

The first person that I really tried to emulate was a boy named Garrick Jones. Garrick was the cool kid in grade school that everybody wanted to be like. The only thing I really had in common with Garrick was that we both played basketball. Realistically, he was much better at it than I was. I had a good height advantage, and I was pretty accurate with my shooting, but I didn’t really have the speed that Garrick did. His movement was much more fluid than mine was.

Well one day I had Garrick over to hang out. I’m not really sure why he actually came over. Maybe his parents made him. We ended up playing basketball. It was fun until my over competitive nature kicked in. There was one time where I jumped to grab the ball and caught it out of bounds. There was no real out of bounds since it was just in the driveway of my house, but realistically it would have been out of bounds. I don’t know what my little mind was thinking, but I instantly ran inside and started crying, because, well…I was a little kid. That was probably the first instance of me realizing the kind of person I was going to end up being.

Then I met Elmo. No, not the red furry Elmo. Elmo was, and still is probably the coolest person I’ve ever met. He went by the name Elmo Ranelli. The last name is real, but the first name obviously isn’t. There’s a story of why he goes by Elmo, but it really isn’t all that entertaining.

I was a very awkward person in high school. Elmo was one of the different, but cool kids at the high school I went to (are we noticing a trend?) A lot of people thought that I was trying to copy Elmo. I can’t entirely argue against that.

I made an attempt, an incredibly horrible attempt, to grow my hair long like his. My hair doesn’t really grow long. It grows out. I looked like a member of the Beatles. I brought on many of the same speech mannerisms as him. I hung out in many of the same circles as him. Thinking back on it now, I don’t think I was doing that as much to copy him as I was doing it to find out who I really was.

I didn’t have much of an identity before I met Elmo, and although my identity became very similar to his, I think he helped me find parts of my identity that I didn’t know existed. He helped me realize who I truly am. A lot of that personality has stuck with me over the years, because it is me.

In college I ran into a guy we called Weed. It wasn’t because of the obvious reason. It was because of his last name. It was easier to say Weed than it was to pronounce his last name. Well, at Jacksonville State University, Weed became my new Elmo.

I won’t say that I necessarily copied Weed as much as I copied Elmo, but like Elmo he also helped me discover different parts of my personality that I didn’t know existed. Over the years I’ve discovered and developed a large part of who I am by witnessing and to some extent copying the traits of others that I relate with.

Now, my personality is pretty well set. I don’t have many Elmo’s any more, but I still find them every now and then. Right now they are Chuck Wendig and Wil Wheaton. I think it’s because I can see so much of myself in both of these two people. (Hey hey hey…you know what I meant, don’t make this creepy)

Really, I can see a lot of common shared traits between me and both of them. I wouldn’t really say that I’ve done anything to try to copy either of them. Wil is heavy into the beer scene, which is amazing, and Chuck is an incredibly talented writer. If anything, I may have copied his writing style here and there.

I guess the point of this post is that I’ve found myself chasing Elmo in one way or another my entire life. It hasn’t always been the actual Elmo, but it’s always been the same circumstance. I don’t think that’s every really going to change. I think now that I’ve realized my patterns that I can learn to approach it in a healthier fashion.

I’m no longer going to be jealous of the successes of others that I think I relate with. That’s my newest resolution, and I plan on sticking with it. I plan on realizing that not everybody wants to be my friend. Just because I think I relate with someone personality wise doesn’t mean that I will ever actually meet that person or that they will every want to meet me, and that’s perfectly fine.

The truth of the matter is that I’m probably going to spend my entire life chasing Elmo, and that’s fine with me, because that’s what helped me find out who I am today. I wouldn’t be who I am right now if it had not been for my varíous Elmo’s. So thanks to all of you, especially you…Elmo.

A New Novel

I’ve started writing a new novel. I’m pretty happy about where it’s going, so I’m going to post an excerpt from it. It’s definitely a VERY rough draft so keep that in mind as you’re reading it.

Chapter 1

“The dreams have become increasingly difficult to deal with lately. They’re always the same. It seems to be the only thing I dream about anymore. Every minute sensation sticks out in my head like I’m reliving that moment again.”

Peter sits back and shifts in his seat. Sweat beads on his forehead, and he wipes it off with one swift motion, leaving a large damp spot on his sleeve. Collapsing his head into his cupped hands, chest heaving and collapsing in a rhythmic pattern, he does his best to recollect himself and settle in front of his laptop.

“Veronica and I were walking across the street from her house to mine. It was something we had done nearly every day for the majority of our childhood lives. We were half way across the street when it happened.

I’ve never been a particularly observant person. I tend to spend the majority of the time in a haze induced fog. Veronica yelled and shocked me out of my trance just in time for me to turn and see an out of control car hurling in our direction. We both managed to jump out of the way, but I can still see the car screaming past within inches of my face. I can feel the heat emanating from the car against my skin. I can hear the screeching of the wheels, and blacking out as my head struck the pavement.

Every night I wake up at the point where I blacked out. Every night I relive that moment. I can’t even begin to count the times I’ve woken up in the middle of the night to find myself shaking and drenched in sweat. Veronica is always there for me though. She gets up with me, and hugs me, and tells me that everything is going to be fine.

She thinks that I should start seeing a psychiatrist. I don’t see the point in it. I don’t think it will stop the dreams, because none of this is real anyway.”

Peter stands up and goes to pour a cold glass of water. It’s still early in the morning and he hasn’t yet changed out of the shorts and shirt that he had slept in the night before. The dream was fresh in his mind when he woke up and he wanted to start writing while the iron ‘was still hot. He walks by the bed and runs his fingers along the side of Veronica’s face before settling in front of his laptop.

“Oh, how I wish that this was real.”

“And this! This is where I usually lose my new readers. Those of you who have been reading my blog since the beginning know exactly what’s coming, and I talk about it in every blog so why break from tradition now. Here comes the crazy Peter theory. It needs to be explained to fully understand why going to a psychiatrist cannot possibly help me.

The car hit me. There’s not a single doubt in my mind that the car hit me. The blacking out wasn’t from my head hitting the road. It was from the grill of the car cracking against my cranium. Ever since that day I have been living in a coma. I have been traveling through a predetermined world that my subconscious has placed in front of me.

I’ve thought about killing myself, but what would it really accomplish? Would I die in the real world? That’s hardly likely. It is more likely that my subconscious will weave its web of deception and come up with some rationality for why my attempt at fleeing this mortal coil failed.

If I try to shoot myself in the head, then I botched the shot and will live my life as a disfigured mutant. Drown myself? Someone, probably Veronica, saves me from the depths of my self loathing at the last possible moment. Every possibility I can think of, I can also think of a reason why it would be a failed attempt, and I know that if I can come up with a way then my subconscious can come up with a way.

Really take a moment to think about it. How many times have you narrowly escaped death? That time you almost got in a car accident. What about when something magically prevented you from sliding off a cliff on your bike? People don’t give the mind credit for how great and powerful it truly is. The mind will do whatever it needs to do to protect the body, because it knows that it is nothing without the body and that the body is nothing without it.”

Veronica slips a robe over her petite, alabaster body as she goes up and wraps her arms around Peter’s shoulders. Her red hair looks like fire in the light shining through the apartment window. “It’s almost time to go meet our friends Peter.”

Peter shrugs and points to the screen. “I’m almost done. I just have a couple more paragraphs to write for my blog, and then I’ll be ready to leave. I’ll just throw on some jeans and a different shirt.

Veronica smiles and Peter can’t help but to smile too. “Oh, alright then, I’ll take a quick shower and then we can walk to the coffee shop together.”

“Now you people, who aren’t really people at all I guess, but really mere fragmentations of my psyche, know why it would be ludicrous for me to visit a psychiatrist. It would be me talking to myself. I’m no help to myself. If I was able to help myself then I wouldn’t have any need to go to a psychiatrist in the first place.

So I continue to write this blog for you, who are me, and somehow my brain has come to the conclusion that the real me thinks that someone would actually pay me to write this shit. Ever since I turned my story into a book entitled ‘A Great and Powerful Thing’, which sold ten copies mind you, one of the ‘people’ who bought a copy has been paying me to write this blog. Apparently my subconscious thinks it’s completely believable for someone to pay me to write this drivel, but it’s not believable that more than ten people would buy my book. Oh, how my subconscious truly does ‘get me.’

Anxiety

(I’ve been holding off on posting something like this. I started this blog several weeks ago and never finished it. It’s a topic that has become somewhat trendy lately, and the last thing I want is to look like I’m just trying to jump on a trend)

I’ve seen several people posting on this topic lately, and I thought I would throw my two cents in. I hate anxiety. It’s a disease. It’s very hard to do anything about it either. It’s not something that can be easily treated, because usually when it is hurting you the most, there’s nobody around to help you through it.

I first experienced true anxiety during my last year of high school. The summer between my Junior and Senior year in high school I was diagnosed with something called a Chiari I malformation. It’s essentially a condition where your brain (the cerebellum) protrudes outside the base of your skull further than it is supposed to. My brain was protruding out of my skull past twice the normal length.

The cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls all of the automatics of the body such as breathing and heart beat. I had brain surgery and everything went fine, but the whole situation freaked me out. Every time I started to get a head ache, I freaked out. Every now and then I would have a hard time breathing and I would freak out. My chest would get tight, which would make it even harder to breath, which would make me freak out even more. It was like a very large person was sitting on my chest and gradually squeezing all of the air out of my body.

Now I’m a computer programmer and I own a small brewery. I’m not worried about the brain condition I had any more, but I’ve never been able to shake the grips of anxiety. I just have different things to be anxious about.

I made a post a couple posts ago about how overly ambitious I am. That is very true! I am uncontrollably ambitious, BUT, I’m also crazy self conscious about my abilities to do things, about my ability to accomplish the things that I want to accomplish.

I ran into a lot of road blocks on my way into opening my current brewpub. I wish nothing more than to have a successful brewery that I can turn into a full time job, but every road block on the way felt like it could be the one to completely derail me.

Breweries like Stone, Dogfish Head, and 3 Flloyds…they were my inspiration on wanting to open my own place. I saw what they were doing, and how freaking cool it was, and I wanted to do it as well. Now, I still want to do the same thing, but anxiety being the jerk it is, is always telling me that you’re not good enough to do this thing you want to do. You’ll never be able to make beer as good as those breweries that you look up to.

This is my second attempt at opening a brewpub. The first time was an attempt at partnering with an already existing restaurant. It didn’t work. That killed my self esteem. I, naively, thought that if I was ever actually able to get things up and running that it would automatically be successful.

I am doing my own thing now, but that doubt is still there. I picked a great time and a horrible time to open a business in this town. It’s great in that business is somewhat slow so we have time to establish our policies and get everything running the way it should be. It’s horrible because half of the town empties out during the summer and we’re incredibly slow at times.

(I thought it might help to explain why half the town empties out during the Summer. Jacksonville is a very small town as it is, but it’s also a college town. The students go home during the Summer and the professors go on vacation. The teachers of the local schools go on vacation. It basically leads to a situation where there aren’t many people in town during the Summer)

It’s hard to be away from the brewery on nights that we’re open. I know my presence isn’t going to magically make people show up, but I feel powerless. It goes both ways though. I feel powerless when I’m at the brewery and nobody shows up. It seems that no matter what I do, anxiety somehow finds a way to rear it’s ugly head.

It really all is beyond worth it though. All of the anxiety, all of the frustration, all of the stress, it’s all worth it. Very few things can match the feeling I get when I see somebody enjoy my beer. It makes me think, “Hey, don’t listen to anxiety. You are good enough to do this! You will succeed at doing this! It may take some time, but in the long run it will be better than anybody could have ever imagined that it would be.”

That’s what I want more than anything. Anxiety sucks, it’s a real thing, and a lot of people battle with it without saying anything. So I’m going to do this thing, and it’s going to be amazing! F you anxiety! Yay me! 😉

(Edit: If you have any interest in knowing, my brewery is in Jacksonville, AL and it’s called Joe Beer, Hand Crafted Ales. Right now the only page we have is our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/JoeBeerHandCraftedAles)

Fan Fiction using @ChuckWendig character Miriam Black

————–WARNING————–
I can not stress enough that this posting contains explicit language and graphic scenes. If you do not like curse words or graphic language then I implore you not to read this posting. Miriam Black is a very foul mouthed character and I could not do her justice without including some colorful language. Continue reading at your own discretion.

Now, with that out of the way, I guess I should describe what this post is all about. Readers of my blog will know that I recently read Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig. It is an amazing book. Miriam Black is such a vibrant character and while I was reading it, I couldn’t help but to have a couple ideas for Miriam Black fan fiction come to me. So, that’s what this is. I haven’t read Mockingbird, so this takes place sometime after Blackbirds. It also has some cross over fan fiction involved, but you will figure that out if you actually read it.

Find out more about Chuck Wendig at his blog terribleminds.com

Here is the story. I planned on it being a short, but it ended up being more of an intro to a larger piece than I’d planned. I probably won’t do anything else with it, but I’m not going to close the door on writing more if people like it.

A massive orgy of potential death swarms around Miriam as she squeezes her way down the city sidewalk. Covered by gloves, each hand is shoved firmly in the pockets of her tattered jeans. The last thing she wants is to come into contact with hundreds of people, only to find out how their miserable existence is going to end.

Her destination looms ominously in the distance. It’s a giant monolith of a building. Based on the appearance, it seems to be some kind of lawyer office. Miriam hates lawyers. She’s dealt with all kinds of nasty vermin and horrible people, but she’s never been able to handle lawyers. At least nasty vermin and horrible people tend to wear their colors out in the open.

What would be worse, being surrounded by a sea of people or being in a room with a couple lawyers? Inhaling deeply, she extends her hand towards the door. Why, oh fuck why, did Louis want her to meet him here of all places? Cursing under her breath, tightly cocooned fingers hesitantly linger just a breath away from the handle, and something smashes against her face hard and fast.

Flying violently through the air like a rag doll, she smashes into a bystander. The person simply keeps walking and lets her body slump down to the ground. It’s far from the hardest she’s ever been hit, but it catches her off guard. Violently blinking and sputtering, she attempts to catch her breath and open her eyes. A sea of blurry figures can be seen flowing above as a man pounces on top of her and grasps her throat.

Pepto Bismol colored pink light permeates the smoke filled alleyway. Blood drips down the side of the mans face. He runs as quickly as he can, but is not entirely sure where he’s trying to go. A dark, dense metallic door swings open in front of him and his head smashes into it like a ripe melon smacking against a mallet. Miriam starts to think that maybe she’s been watching too much Gallagher. He slides down, and his blood stained tears paint the frame of the door.

A tall man with paper white skin and matted black hair steps out from behind the door. He has a circulating saw in one hand and a pick axe in the other. Dried blood spatter covers his black and white striped clothing. He peers around the corner, and then walks back through the door, dragging the man behind him. A trail of blood leads from where the body was to the inside of the building. The door slams.

The man reaches to see if Miriam is carrying a purse or wallet or anything that might hold money. She grabs him by the arm and slings him into a nearby wall. The mans head smacks against the corner of a metal sign, digging a long scrape into the side of his face.

“Get out of here fuckwad! You’re going to have a bad enough day as it is.”

The man scrambles to his feet and runs down a dark alleyway with blood dripping down the side of his face. Miriam just stays where she is. There is no need to follow him. She knows what’s going to happen. There is no reason to add insult to injury. He was just trying to get some money to feed his family. Desperate people do desperate things.

As people walk around her, she just sits there contemplating what is about to happen. She can see it in her head. Louis walks up behind her, reaches one of his pitchers mit sized hands down, and pulls her up to her feet. She’s happy to see him.
“I was going to step in there at the end and help, but it looks like you have everything pretty well taken care of.” Louis grins and gives her a big burly hug. He squeezes tighter than he realized and her back pops under the pressure.

Miriam sighs and gives him a peck on the cheek. “Help me? Help me with that guy? Why the fuck do you think I would need help with that guy?” She takes a small mirror out of her pocket and looks at the bruise that’s starting to form on the side of her face. It would eventually go away. They always do. “It doesn’t matter. That guy’s about to die anyway.” She takes a cigarette out of her pocket. It falls out of her trembling hands before she can get it to her mouth.

She continues walking forward and steps on it. The object of her desire is smashed into a ball of tar, nicotine, ice, and random street trash. “Damn’t! Damn’t! Damn’t piece of monkey shit! That was my last cigarette! What the hell am I going to do now, suck on a smoldering rat carcass?”

Louis shrugs and laughs. “We’ll get you some more cigarettes on the way out of town.” His face turns dead serious. “So, that guy huh? You said he’s going to die?”

Miriam shakes her head. “He’s already dead. He was murdered.”

Louis looks shocked. He’s heard about everything one could hear from Miriam, and he would think that nothing would surprise him now, but this really takes him off guard. “Murder?” The word comes out of his mouth sounding more like a declaration than a question. “That’s pretty heavy stuff. Crap! I thought we might be able to have a moment of quiet after you got rid of that guy back at the lighthouse.”

Miriam looks Louis straight in the eyes. “I’m sorry Louis. Things will never be calm or quiet around me. This stuff. It follows me. I attract it like a damn magnet! It follows me everywhere I go! I can’t lose it! I can’t wash it off of me.” A single tear runs down the side of her face.

Louis puts a hand on either shoulder and gives her a gentle, concerned look that shows he understands, and is willing to face whatever he needs to so that he can still be with her.

She wipes the tear from her cheek and tries to look angry, but a lingering appearance of frustration remains in her eyes. “So why the fuck did you have me meet you here anyway? You know I hate lawyers!”

Louis laughs and his whole frame tremors. It seems the whole sidewalk would quake if he laughed any harder. “Oh, that! I never intended to actually let you go in the lawyer office. I just wanted to make you squirm a little. Unfortunately, that guy back there got to you before I could stop you.” He looks back in the direction the guy came from.

“No, I had to drop a haul off a couple blocks from here. Some S&M club was getting a shipment of sex toys. I wanted to get away from there as soon as possible, plus, I figured I could have some fun if I told you to meet me here.”

“Shit Louis! You ass!” She punches him in the shoulder. Louis grabs her arm, pulls her in next to him, and wraps his arm around her shoulder as they walk down the sidewalk. She wishes that he had been around her earlier. The crowd parts in front of his massive frame, and they move forward like a knife slicing through a stick of butter.

“So where are we going?” She looks up to see what his response is going to be when a toddler tornado whizzes past and steps on her foot in the process. It isn’t long before the frantic father follows suit. He stumbles on a crack in the oh so finely manicured sidewalk, and her cheek slightly grazes his before he continues chasing after his son.

Dim light meanders through the room, emanating from a bulb being suspended by a lone, frayed wire that hangs and sways from the ceiling. Occasional sparks pop from the wire and illuminate several small pools of blood that line the floor. Loud, piercing screams of pain and agony reverberate throughout the room. Faintly, in the distance, a small boy can be heard pounding on the door with all his might as he cries out for his daddy.

The image of the boy in the alleyway sticks with her. She becomes violently ill and crumples to the ground. She’s not cold, but her body shivers violently. Looking into a patch of ice just inches away, she can see the reflection of her face. She sees the bruise become ever more prominent on her cheek, she sees the people walking above her, she sees Louis reaching down to help her up, and above all that she sees a red balloon floating off into the distance.

Quickly, standing up to her feet, she brushes Louis off. “Sorry! No time to explain! I need to go!”

He gives a knowing glance. “I’ll follow you.”

“Whatever, I know I can’t stop you, but I need to go!” She rushes off in the direction she saw the man and his toddler heading. When she was on the ground, part of her jacket stuck to the ice. The fabric ripped as she stood. In her haste, she bounced from one person to another like a pinball.

A man hangs upside down in a cage. His face is covered with blood and desperation.

A half alive body is being slid along what seems to be an underground corridor.

A very large woman is being nailed to the wall by her skin flaps.

She turns the corner into the alleyway. The small, frightened boy is curled into a ball next to a dingy wooden door. His chest heaves and sputters as he cries uncontrollably. He doesn’t know it, but his father is already dead.

Miriam walks up to him and lifts him to his feet. Terrified, he diverts his gaze and his body goes limp. He is dead weight in her arms. She puts her finger up to her mouth and calmly shushes him. She doesn’t want to touch him, but also knows that he is young, mortified, and needs comforting. Nestling his chin against her shoulder, she strokes his hair.

An old man, in his late 80’s, sits in a rocking chair surrounded by a very large family. They are watching television. He slowly closes his eyes and lets his life slip away from him.

“You need to leave. You need to leave now. Walk away from here and don’t turn around. Find a local business that you feel comfortable going in. Tell them that you are lost. Tell them what your name is and that you need to find your mother.”

She stands the young boy up and pats him on top of the head. “O ooo ooooh ok. Th thank you.” The boy rubs his eyes and yawns. Dark circles under his eyes show that he is clearly drained from the occurrences of the day. Slowly, he walks away and stops at the edge of the alleyway for a brief moment before disappearing into the crowd.

“Why am I doing this? I don’t have anything to do with whatever is going on. Fuck! I made sure that the kid is going to be safe. Why should I give a damn if this maniac gets a hard on from killing people? People kill people all of the time. What’s so fucking different about this asshole?”

She just stands there. Losing complete track of time, she just stands there and thinks to herself. “Fuck it, I’m out! I’m going to go find Louis and we’ll go get some lunch, then we’ll get out of this hell hole of a city.” Turning around, walking away, step by step she gets further away from the door.

Something stops her. She can’t walk. She tries. She struggles as hard as she can, but she can’t take a single step forward. It’s like something is calling her back to that door. Even though every fiber of her being tells her not to, somehow, she knows she needs to go back and find out what’s going on.

She walks up to the door. It’s not necessarily that she’s afraid. She’s not afraid! She’s trepidatious. She knows that something very strange is going on. There’s no point in drawing it out any longer than needed. Raising a hand into a fist, she quickly and deliberately knocks on the door as hard as she can.

The sound of metal scraping on cement can be heard on the other side of the door as it slowly swings open. A pair of incredibly wide eyes peek around the door and focus on Miriam. It looks as though they’re the eyes of someone who hasn’t blinked or slept in weeks.

“What?”

“Hi.” She doesn’t have any clue what she should say. She really isn’t even quite sure why she is there.

“Oh. Errr. Hi.” He opens the door the rest of the way. He is wearing black clothes that seem to accent the white of his skin. “What exactly do you want? Are you trying to sell me something?” He abruptly turns around and screams. “No Reverend Meat! I am not going to kill her! She might be a guest. She might also be a disguised member of the evil monkey army of doom! Are you?!”

Miriam cocks her head to the side and looks at him. “You’re a strange one aren’t you?”

He blinks. “Yup, probably. Why do you ask?” Twitching, he keeps looking over his shoulder. “Um, do you want to come in? Would you like a fruity pop?”

Miriam smiles wryly and shrugs. “I guess I don’t really have anything else to do. Well, I do, I tried to leave, but some invisible force pulled me towards here. I guess that doesn’t really make any sense. No thanks to the fruity pop by the way. I’m good for now. Thanks.”

“Hmm, well ok then. There’s a couch over there by the fridge. Make yourself at home? I think that’s what you’re supposed to say.”
Miriam walks into the room. It is one of the most repugnant settings she’s ever witnessed. Even if she had any notion of wanting a fruity pop, whatever that is, she definitely does not want one now. The air is permeated with the scent of vomit, feces, dried blood, and pizza. It also makes her highly questionable about whether or not she will ever want to eat pizza again.

The walls are made of cinder block. One wall is filled with pegs holding various different styles of knives. It’s obvious that he’s not a doctor, but there is something that closely resembles a surgery table. Several cages hang from the ceiling. They contain bodies in various different stages of decomposition. Miriam stands in the middle of the room. It’s the only place where she feels like she can avoid contamination.

The man walks to the far side of the room. The wall is covered with a thick, slimy substance that looks like blood. He walks up to a paint can situated next to the wall. Blood drips from one of the cages and into the bucket. A bubs burger boy figurine sits on the floor. He kneels down and grabs the figurine in one hand, and a paint brush in the other hand.

“See Reverend Meat. We have a visitor.” He appears to be talking to the figurine in his hand.

“My name is Miriam.” There’s a clearly visible, permanent grimace on her face.

“My name is Johnny. Some people call me Nny. This is Reverend Meat. He thinks I should filet you and gut you like a trout. Personally, I’m pretty tired. I don’t really feel like killing anybody else right now. Wait. What?” Johnny puts his ear down to the mouth of the figurine.

“Shut your dirty whore mouth Reverend Meat! Stop it! Stop it right now damn’t! Fuck! Why do you always have to be so damn negative? We’ve already killed 10 people today. I’m tired! If you want to kill her then you need to do it yourself.”

Johnny turns away from the figurine and faces Miriam. “I’m sorry. Where are my manners? I said shut up you worthless piece of shit! Anyway, you said your name is Miriam. As I said earlier, my name is Johnny.”

Johnny approaches Miriam. She takes off her glove to let him shake her hand.

Nothing. She sees absolutely nothing. Surrounding her is a deep, dark, and barren void. Off in the distance she can see a pipe. Blood, tissue, filth, and excrement pours out of the pipe like the burst sewer line outside of a funeral home.
“What the fuck are you?” She jolts back and a look of horror crosses her face.

“What do you mean? What are any of us? The world is full of sheep being led to the slaughter. Every day people die. You are not a sheep. I can sense that. There is something special about you. Damn’t Meat! Shut up! I am definitely not going to kill her just because she is special!”

“Sorry, he always is ready to slaughter.”

Miriam isn’t sure if she should laugh or if she should run away in terror. Deep down she can feel that they are somehow both pieces in the same puzzle. “Everybody does die, that is correct. Well, it seems that everybody dies, but you.”

Johnny moves his face within inches of Miriam’s and stares at her with an unbreakable gaze. “I have died Miriam.” He eases back and goes to sit on the couch. “I went to heaven, but they didn’t want me there. They sent me to hell. That is when the devil explained everything to me. Shit! I forgot what I’m supposed to be doing. I know Reverand Meat! I know I’m supposed to be painting the wall!”

He walks across the room and dips the paint brush in the bucket. A thick mix of fresh and dried blood drips from the brush like some horrific gelatinous ooze. The sight of it makes Miriam heave a little. With long, smooth brush strokes he works on adding another layer onto the hundreds upon hundreds of layers of blood that are already on the wall.

“Ah yes, back to explaining how I died. I had a very interesting conversation with the devil, and he explained a lot of things to me. You see, I am what he called a flusher. Everything wicked, horrible, and vile flows through me like a sewer pipe. I have to keep this wall covered in a thick layer of blood or a monster will escape through it and destroy the world. It’s already happened once. It happened when I died, but of course, no one living knows that it ever happened.”

Miriam laughs. She laughs uncontrollably. Normally she wouldn’t want to touch a single inch of the floor, but she falls and rolls around with body shaking laughter. “I bet most people wouldn’t believe you if you told them that.”

Johnny smiles. “Probably not. I usually don’t talk to many people while I’m killing them. It’s usually oh my god this, and ow my spleen that, and when will the pain end? It really gets tiring to hear their constant wanking. That being said, you’re probably right, I doubt anybody would believe me.”

She stands back up and does her best to brush herself off. Various types of residue fling off of her fingers as she attempts to become clean again. “Shit then Johnny. It looks like we have more in common than I could imagine. Well, don’t get me wrong. I don’t get off on killing people like you do, but there’s something about me that most people don’t see. I see when people are going to die when I touch them.”

He smiles a wide and maniacal grin. “And? You didn’t see anything when you touched me did you?”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Of course you didn’t. He approaches her. We are both pieces on the same side of the chess board. We both see how the sheep are going to be brought to slaughter. You see the end of the line for the sheep. I wait at the end of the line to make sure that they’re slaughtered.” He turns around and goes back to painting the wall.

Interlude

The little boy walks into a coffee shop. His face is red and still shows signs that he has been crying for quite some time. Another boy, several years older, walks up to him. “Hello, my name is Squee.”

Here is where I put the obligatory legal jargon. Miriam Black is the intellectual property of Chuck Wendig and he maintains all rights to said character. Johnny: the Homicidal Maniac is the intellectual property of Johnen Vasquez and he maintains all rights to said character.

If you enjoyed reading this fan fiction, even the slightest bit, you really should buy all of Chuck Wendig’s book. I promise you, I really don’t do Miriam Black the justice she deserves by writing this. I only hope my writing that includes her can contain a fraction of the quality that Chuck Wendig’s fiction so masterfully weaves together. Thanks for reading. I hope you liked it.

Blackbirds @ChuckWendig

Last night I did something I haven’t done in quite some time. I finished reading a book. I know, I know, I know, as someone who wants to be a writer I should be doing a lot more reading than I have been doing. I guess there really isn’t much point in coming up with excuses. I should be reading more.

I don’t think I could have picked a better book than Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig. It was the perfect book to use to reintroduce myself to reading. Now, I’m going to go ahead and say it, because I know I have some friends who aren’t very fond of bad language. This book has it in droves. Just a heads up to those of you who might not like that sort of thing.

Miriam Black is the protagonist, largely unorthodox, incredibly crash, and indomitably steadfast heroine of the book. There are parts of the book where you don’t necessarily know if you should be rooting for her or rooting against her. This book does everything a good book should do. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you cringe, and it makes you say “oh my god for the love of everything good and holy, what just happened?”

Miriam, well, how should I say it? She has a very special gift. That special gift plays a large part in the telling of this story. Heck, what am I saying? It plays a lot more than a large part of the story. It basically tells the story. She has the ability to touch people and see how they are going to die. I don’t necessarily know if that’s a spoiler or not. I don’t think it is. You basically find it out in the first couple pages. Her ability makes for some very interesting plot scenarios and twists along the way.

I found Chuck Wendig through Twitter. I found his posts very humorous and well written so the next obvious step was to start reading his blog terribleminds.com . His blog is obviously a well crafted extension of his tweets, and not unlike his books, it does not spare on the language. He doesn’t use crass language as a crutch for his writing though. It’s not something to cover blemishes of poor penmanship. No, instead his writing is a delicious ice cream and the naughty language is just the caramel drizzle on top.

I give Blackbirds 4/5 stars. It is an amazing book. Now, I in no way am a book reviewer and have no intention of becoming a book reviewer. I, however, can’t wait to read the next book in the series. I already have it loaded up in my iPad. Reading Blackbirds has also given me some ideas on how I should approach my writing differently in the future.

If you haven’t read anything by Chuck Wendig, and are not averse to some naughty language, then you should definitely read Blackbirds. I can promise you that you won’t want to put it down until you finish reading. You will feel every possible emotion throughout the process of reading it, and yet, somehow…when you are done reading it, you won’t quite be the same.

My Name Is Joe

My name is Joe, and I have a ridiculously unrealistic amount of ambition. 😉 A man with 6 fingers on his hand once said that it would probably get me in trouble one of these days. Honestly, I think he just had a chip on his shoulder because he has 6 fingers on his right hand. But anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, I was talking about how stupidly ambitious I am.

I obsess about things. Those of you who really know me are probably going “really?” My answer to those people is that there’s no need to be a smart ass. You know I obsess about things. It doesn’t take knowing me very long to catch on to that nugget of information. I’d say anybody who has known me for about a week probably knows that I obsess about things. Ugh, see…I’m now obsessing about the fact that I obsess about things.

I want to be the best at everything. I turn everything into a competition. EVERYTHING. I recently wrote a novel. I’m not going to try to sell it here. If you want to find out about it you can look at my old blogs. Well, me being me, not only do I want my novel to be a best seller, (everybody out there should want to read my novel shouldn’t they?) I want the novel to be turned into a movie. I know, it’s really realistic to think a novel that has sold 15 copies will be bought by a major motion picture producer. I guess I should use the correct terminology. It will be “optioned” by a production company to be turned into a movie.

And this is where I obsess! I’ve being thinking about the ideal cast for this non existent movie since well before I even finished the novel. Since you’re all dying to know what my dream cast is (I know you really aren’t, but humor me anyway) I would have Wil Wheaton play the part of Michael, Marina Sirtis as Antonia, and Ian Somerhalder as Antonius. I’ve been thinking Nathan Fillion might make a good Gabriel. I’m not sure who I would get to be Azrael, but I’m sure it would probably be somebody British sounding. I’ve even done research on what would need to be done to sell a screenplay version of my novel. I might just do that, but it’s not going to be anything that I do any time soon, and I’ll just do it gradually. It honestly probably wouldn’t take much work to turn it into a screenplay. I would be able to copy over a lot of the dialogue.

OK, so I bet you’re saying “fine, you’re a writer that wants to be successful and have your works turned into movies. So what? Lots of writers want to do that.” Well, that’s not all. I also own a small brewery. I’m currently in the process of finding a new home for it, so it’s not exactly operational right now. I guess it’s not really out of the ordinary for me to want the brewery to be successful. Every business owner wants their business to be successful. It would be really cool if I could win some awards with it too. I guess right now I’m not really quite as ambitious with the brewery since I’m having such a struggle getting it set up in its new home. Hopefully that will happen soon and I will be completely ecstatic about that.

Lastly, I think everybody wants to be my friend, and I mean EVERYBODY. I don’t know why. I really don’t. It doesn’t matter if you have a 100 followers or several million followers, I think you should want to be my friend. I will try to start a conversation with anybody on the internet. It’s true. Ask Chuck Wendig, Wil Wheaton or anybody else famous that I randomly try to start conversations with. Most of the time they don’t reply, but that doesn’t keep me from trying.

Oh yeah, I also have a bunch of IT ideas in my head that I think all are potential billion dollar projects. So, now you have a better idea of how completely out of control my ambition is. I want to be a popular author, with millions of readers, who has movie producers knocking down his door to option his works, with a world renowned brewery, several billion dollar IT “side projects”, and be on a first name basis with whoever I want to be on a first name basis with. Oh yeah, and I want to own a castle in Belgium…because…reasons.

I also want to homestead with all my cool friends. Ya know, the only ones of you who are actually reading this blog. I’m sure most of you probably stopped reading quite some time ago, but for those of you that finished, now you have a little more insight into why I obsess so much about things. I can’t really help it. My ambition won’t let me. It makes me feed it regularly. At least I’ve been able to get it to relax on the ritual sacrifice requirement.

If I ever do half of what my ambition wants then one of these days you’ll be able to say “hey, I knew that guy when he was just a random crazy guy.” If not…you’ll probably still be able to say the same thing. 😉