Friday, December 31, 2010

B-Sides and Hidden Tracks

  Now I know both of these terms are outdated because there is no b-side of itunes and no hidden tracks for that matter.  When I was in high school, it was a hobby of mine to search for hidden tracks on CDs.  That was the band's chance to let their hair down and just be themselves.  Sometimes, it was my favorite track on the album.  I have a playlist on my MP3 player that is comprised entirely of hidden tracks.
  Bands often had a lot of fun with their hidden tracks.  Tool had some sort of poem recited at the end of their Undertow album.  Nirvana had their Endless Nameless, in which Kurt smashes his guitar audibly. Aaron of Staind performed an unnamed song at the end of their Dysfunction album which was just him and a guitar.  Before he starts the song, you can hear him set up a chair, take a drink and light up a cigarette.  At the end of MateFeedKillRepeat, Slipknot perform an unnamed live song that sounds like it was recorded in a bar or a restaurant.  Mushroomhead did a cover of Crazy by Seal on a hidden track on their album, XIII.  Strangely enough, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes also did a cover of Crazy that year.
  Speaking of Me First, here's a funny thing I noticed.  This takes some setting up.  At the end of NOFX's album, Punk In Drublic, there was a track where the singer was having trouble finding the note that starts the chorus of the song "Perfect Government".  As you may know, Fat Mike is in both NOFX and Me First.  He decided it would be funny to mock that hidden track as an intro to "Blowing In The Wind" as covered by Me First on their Blowin' In The Wind album.  It's hilarious!
  In the past, many bands would put out an album or b-sides, rarities and previously unreleased tracks.  One thing I've noticed is that that was often my favorite album of theirs.  Here's a list of what I mean:
-Pearl Jam: Lost Dogs
-Nirvana: Incesticide
-Blind Melon: Nico
-Smashing Pumpkins: Pisces Iscariot
  That's just to name a few.  I think that often, bands put out the songs that are the most polished and catchy for their albums.  It's the songs they only do live or weren't deemed to be good enough to include on an album that often show you a more personal side of them.  That's what I love about them.  I like to know that a band I admire, who has made it huge, is really just like me behind the curtains.  It makes me feel as if I can achieve my dreams.
  On a related note, just not about music, my favorite Far Side compilation is where Gary Larson reveals some of the inspirations for his cartoons, his humble beginnings, some rejected ideas, as well as some sketches that never got developed into cartoons.  It gives me a glimpse into his head.  I guess that's kinda what I'm doing with this blog.  It's as much for me as it is for anyone else.  I'm trying to get out what's in my head to attempt to make sense of my rambling thoughts.  If I can set things in order, maybe my writing can be more cohesive and concise.
  I don't even know what I'm doing on a day to day basis, but when I go back and read my blogs, I can recognize patterns in my thought processes.  I have cycles rolling around in my head, alternating between cynical, philosophical, spiritual, thoughtful, mean, happy, angry, depressed, whiny and so forth.  I'm sure you can point out which mood I've been in when I was writing which blog.  Writing really is like therapy for me. My only hope is that people out there can see a bit of themselves in my incoherent ramblings.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Saint Yoda

  Alright, I know.  I was a little early putting out the newest chapter of the Nocent.  I think it was about 11:09pm when I put it out, so it wasn't exactly Friday yet.  I couldn't resist.  I'm just so excited to put this stuff out there for the world to see!  And thank you to my newest reader from Russia!  I almost feel like I've got the whole world in my hands.  Everyone, sing along.  Nah, I'm just grateful to all of my readers out there from places I can't even find on a map.  That's four continents!  It's only Africa, Australia and them damn fuckers in Antarctica that ain't reading my shit.
  Tonight, my wife told me the best thing I ever did as a kid was admire Yoda.  From him I learned that it doesn't matter what you look like on the outside.  It is your faith that makes you as wise, strong, humble and cunning as you believe you can be.  I had learned early on that I can't always trust those who may look like me on the outside.  I should also not distrust someone merely because of the color of their skin.  Those are important life lessons that have served me well even through my adult years.
  It still makes me cry when I watch that seen in Empire where Yoda lifts the X-Wing out of the swamp and sets it on dry land armed with only his faith.  When he chastises Luke for his failure, I take it as a reprimand for my own failures.  If you happened to be sitting behind me in the theatre when I watched Episode 2 for the first time, I apologize for blocking your view of the screen.  I gave Yoda a standing ovation when he walked into the cave at the end to confront Count Dooku.  I cried my eyes out when I finally got to see Yoda in action and wielding a light saber.  I felt like I was five years old again.  As a matter of fact, I probably felt the same way some people feel when they go to church.  May the Force be with you.  And also with you.
  Speaking of church, I wanted to leave you with this little anecdote.  When I was younger, my parents took me on a trip to Europe.  We went all kinds of places, but it was interesting when we visited the Vatican in Rome, Italy.  It just happened to be some sort of special Catholic day.  There were thousands of people gathered in a courtyard that had an obelisk, I think.  Anyway, there was a figure dressed in white up in a window of the building there.  Someone told me it was the Pope (John Paul 2 before he died) and that he was giving some sort of speech.  The tour guide translated, but I don't remember.  Then the guide stopped translating and bowed his head silently even though the little white dot was still talking.  When the speaking stopped, the tour guide told us the Pope had said a prayer of blessing for the crowd.  I had just been blessed by the Pope.  I looked up to the window and said, "Thanks, Pope".
  I know I said I wanted to leave you with that anecdote, but it reminded me of something else.  My sister and I were eating at Popeye's Chicken (those damn Chinamen with their fried chicken again) one day and I asked her, "You know Popeye's is a Catholic organization, right?  It's really Pope Yes Chicken.  You see, years ago, some disgruntled workers left because they were Protestant.  They started their own chicken franchise, called Church's Chicken".  She looked at me all wide eyed and was all like, "Wow, really?" and shit.  I can't believe she fell for that!  Boy, I was a mean older brother.

Pet Peeves

  One day I was taking a shower and I saw the water going down the drain.  I laughed out loud because I imagined how funny it would be if Australia did a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.  In the shower scene, the blood going down the drain would be going in the opposite direction than in the American version.  Boy I would laugh my head off if I saw that.  If I was in a theatre at the time, I'd probably be both baffling and annoying other viewers.  At least if y'all was there, you'd know what I'm laughing at.
  Speaking of annoying-there are a few things that get my goat every time.  I hate it when people question my grammatical integrity.  "Don't you have a degree in Creative Writing?" they usually ask.  Why yes.  Yes I do.  Here's a question for you.  Does an auto mechanic always do everything by the book?  As a matter of fact, does any expert in any field do things by the book?  No, says I.  You learn the rules and procedures so that you know what you're doing, but that is only how you start.  Over the years you find little tricks, short cuts and personal nuances that are comfortable to you.
  Here's another one that always gets me: religious people who try to censure your speech while you're in their presence.  Let's say, for example, you say something like, "Oh, God".  They come back with something like, "Don't take the Lord's name in vain".  Even complete strangers will try to pull that shit.  Hmm.  And I know you how?  And I became a Christian when?  I've come up with a response that so far has not had a successful refutation: "My freedom of speech doesn't infringe upon your freedom of religion".  Next time you're in that situation, try it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

No Point

  My wife and I watched that movie The Book of Eli a little while back.  The bad guy struck me as a little incompetent.  Or at least, not very resourceful.  Now here's what I mean: at the end, he finds out that the Bible Eli has been carrying around is in braille.  Okay, so what?  Big deal.  He acts like it's the end of the world and there's nothing he can do.  Ever heard of the Rosetta Stone?  All you have to do is take Book 1, chapter 1, verse 1 and translate even just the first sentence.  He claims he had a passing familiarity with the Bible.  Does he not even know "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth."?  With that he'd have the letters: ABCDE_GHI_ _ _ _NO_ _RST_V_ _ _ _.  That would certainly be enough to translate the next sentence in which he would learn the braille symbols for FKLMPUWY.  All he'd need then is JQXZ.  It's not rocket science.  How's he planning to rule the people through fear if he has such a pitiful knowledge of his most valuable weapon?
  Here's an interesting side note.  Out of curiosity, my wife and I went to  We took the personality survey with all the questions about how you think and what you like, etc.  We found that we are perfectly matched for each other, down to the T.  The Chinese Zodiac says that we're not compatible because she's a dog and I'm a dragon.  This is based merely on the fact that we were born six years apart form each other.  Who to believe: a website made by strangers or 1 billion Chinese with millenia of history?
  Speaking of the Chinese, I myself am half Chinese and half Korean.  Regardless of that fact, I am not considered by most people to be a biracial individual.  Kayla is half German and half Polish, but she isn't considered to be biracial either.  She's not even considered foreign in any way.  She's white and I'm Asian.  That's what people see.  Do I have a point?  No, not really.  I'm just blabbering.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Six Shooter

  My wife and I were watching Ghost one night with Patrick Swayze (before he died).  When that scene came where Demi Moore tells him she loves him, I giggled like a hyena.  I was thinking to myself that it's a good thing it was the ditto that became the popular form of copying used in the saying meaning, 'I would like the same thing back to you'.  I mean, could you imagine that scene with Demi saying, "I love you," and Patrick telling Whoopi, "Tell her, Gutenberg (or daguerreotype, Xerox, lithograph, etc.)."?  It would kinda ruin the romantic mood of the scene, at least in my mind.
  Speaking of movies, Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies of all time.  Once, after watching it, I came up with an idea for a story in which a man wakes up in the burned out ruins of an old office building.  He has no memory of how he got there.  He has on him only the clothes on his back and a six shooter.  With various threats that he finds while exploring his surroundings, he uses the handgun to protect himself.  The only problem is, every time he discharges the sixth bullet, he wakes up again in that building.  In order to figure more out, he must find alternate ways to protect himself.
  That reminds me of a story I wrote in high school where a man wakes up wearing a watch that has a countdown on it.  What's going to happen when the countdown reaches the zero hour?  You know, my ultimate dream would be to have my stories made into movies in which I act and Chief Loh does the music.  I'd even love to do the screenplay and direct if I could.  That would be the highest of coolness!

Plot Twists

  As a sailor, I've got to tell you, being on a submarine has its ups and downs.  This one guy at boot camp sat next to me at lunch one day.  He told me, "I had a friend who's uncle was an admiral in World War II.  He was in charge of an entire fleet of destroyers."  He went on to tell me that his fleet was decisive to the outcome of an important naval battle.  I was taken aback.  I said, "Wow!  You had a friend?"
  When I'm considering story ideas, I have several topics I'm fascinated with: zombies, vampires, ghosts, aliens, poltergeists, time travel, cyborgs, alternate universes, mythology, viruses, other dimensions, the future, biblical stories, spirituality, astral projection, psychics, ecto-plasm, hypnosis, clones, twins, science, EVPs, multiple personality disorder, animals, God and dreams, to name a few.  Any story can be made more interesting by throwing in some combination of these elements in a fresh and interesting way.  That's how I come up with some of my plot twists which I love to try to have in every story.
  These are all just things that have occupied my imagination all my life.  My wife and I love visiting cemeteries and locales that are said to be haunted.  When we were in Connecticut, there was a haunted lighthouse that, unfortunately, we were unable to visit.  We were, however, able to go to Salem, Massachusetts.  That was awesome!  We got lots of photos.  One of our hobbies is to capture photos of spiritual orbs.  We've got tons.  We also try to get EVPs.  That seems to be more difficult than orbs.  We've also each seen tons of ghosts.  One of these days, I'll tell you some of my ghost stories, including one I saw while deployed on board the USS Wyoming.

Sea Stories From A Submariner

  You know, for a submariner I ain't never told you none of my sea stories about being on a submarine.  Well, one day after a hard shift of painting the sub, I went to my car at the waterfront parking lot.  Now, the electrical door locking mechanism had been acting up so I tried pushing the door unlocking button on the keys to no avail.  No problem, just use the actual key in the locks.  Problem: the electrical mechanism keeps the manual locks from raising even with the key.  What to do now?
  Aha, the trunk.  If I would be able to push the back seats down, I could get into the car and unlock it from the inside.  Brilliant!  Sometimes I even amaze myself!  Of course, this being a 1999 Dodge Intrepid, the back seats don't go down.  In my mind, it's just because I haven't pushed hard enough yet.  If you've ever seen the trunk of an Intrepid, you know it's quite deep.  I decided to use my legs, braced against the rear-most part of the trunk to add the necessary leverage to propel my arms into the back of the seats to push them forward.  This would require me to climbing entirely into the trunk.  No problem.
  Problem: the momentum I gained while ramming into the back of the seat rocked the entire car forward with just enough of a jerk to cause the trunk door to slam down.  Just to let you know, this was in the middle of summer.  I knew it was gonna get hot in there really quickly.  In the darkness, I groped around to feel if there was an emergency release latch.  Apparently, those didn't become popular until some time after 1999.  Good thing I had my cell phone with me.  I called my sea dad, who is the seasoned sailor assigned to help the inexperienced "sea pup" around while he gets acclimated to the sailing life.  I had the car keys in the trunk with me, but there was a spare set in a special magnetic key box attached to the underside of the chassis.  No problem, I'll just have him come get it and let me out.
  Problem: he can't find it.  Perhaps while driving, I hit a pothole or something which jarred the key box off the bottom of the car.  It was beginning to get hot in the trunk so I took off my outer shirt, leaving only my undershirt on.  I told my sea dad that Kayla has a set of car keys at home.  He drove off to retrieve them.  While I was waiting, it occurred to me that getting out of the trunk was only half the problem.  I would still need to get into the car.  Luckily I had a locksmith's number stored in my cell phone's memory.  I called and told him that I couldn't get into the car.  I described the car to him and gave him the license plate number.  No problem, all I have to do is stand by the car so he can find it easily in the huge ass parking lot.
  Problem: I can't stand by the car if I'm stuck, locked inside the trunk.  I took a deep breath and told him that I couldn't stand by the car.  He asked me if I was with the car.  I said yes.  He asked why then can't I stand by it?  I told him I was in the trunk.  Finally, he understood.  I had been hoping my sea dad would get there before the locksmith showed up, but I didn't realize I'd have to clue in the locksmith as to my predicament.  It was beginning to get stuffy in the trunk as I was running out of air.
  Several minutes later I heard a vehicle pull up beside the car.  It was the locksmith.  He called out to me, "Paul are you there?"  I heard another vehicle pull up.  I thought it would be my sea dad.  Instead, an unfamiliar voice asked, "Mr. Loh, are you alright?"  Apparently, the locksmith had called the police because he thought I might suffer from dehydration, heat stroke or some other malady.  I told them I was okay.  Finally, my sea dad showed up with the spare key.  He let me out of the trunk, much to my relief.  The police man checked my pupils for responsiveness and asked if I knew the year.  Once he was satisfied that I was not in need of an ambulance trip to the Emergency Room, he left.  The locksmith was then able to do his thang with the locks.  Boom boom, I was in my car and ready to drive home.  I guess this hasn't so much been a story of me being a submariner as it has been a story of me being an idiot, but hey.  As the old saying says, "You can lead the horse to the water, but you can't make him think," or something like that.

The Nocent part 5

  The other day I was at work, mopping the floor at the end of the day.  When I was done, I dumped the water from the bucket.  I had forgotten to squeeze the mop out of as much water as possible so it could dry over night.  I didn't want to have to empty the bucket again so I detached the wringer and placed it in the sink.  I put the mop in the wringer expecting an easy time of it.  What I didn't take into account is the pressure required to wring out a mop.  I found out the hard way that a sink isn't designed to accommodate a wringer's specific requirements.  I think I knocked the faucet about half an inch to the left.  I thought to myself, "Paul, if you can successfully think of a dumber way to do this, I won't be forced to smack you upside the head."  Yeah, no I couldn't think of a dumber way.  Oh yeah, but about the Nocent:
  I was sifting through my folder of short stories and I realized that several of them relate in some way to characters from the Nocent.  I went through every story and found the ones that would take place before the Nocent novels and the ones that take place after.  Since I already have a collection of short stories as a prequel to the Nocent trilogy, it was just a matter of adding more stories to it.  It was at that point that I decided to make a fifth book.  I don't have a title for it yet, but there are six stories already to be included in it!  Oh, baby oh, baby oh, baby.  You know, if fried chicken grew on trees, I would say that God's Chinese.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Costumes and Masks

  When I was in the 2nd grade, I was in a school Christmas production of the Night Before Christmas.  I played one of the reindeer.  I remember that deer costume.  It itched like a mofo.  One of the little numbers we did was to sing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer so we had to learn the entire song.  I thought it was the funniest thing in the world that the song starts with the words, "You know Dasher and Dancer. . ." as if they take for granted that we know all the reindeer names.  Most people mumble their way through that part and make up names like Jazzer and Nixon.  Then it goes on to question, "But do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?"  Ironically, it's only at that part that everyone confidently jumps in with "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!"  I used to laugh my head off at that.  I was a weird kid.  A lot has changed about me since then: my height, shoe size and nose hair count.
  I've been fascinated by masks throughout my childhood.  It started with Star Wars.  The stormtroopers, Boba Fett and Darth Vader were the coolest thing!  My aunt brought me to see Episode 4 in the theatres in 1977 when I was a 1 year old.  My parents brought me to see the Empire Strikes Back when I was 4.  The same year of that Christmas play, I went by myself to the theatre on the US Army base in Taegu, Korea to watch Return of the Jedi.  For each of the new Star Wars movies (Episodes 1, 2 and 3), I went to see them in the theatre wherever I happened to be living at the time.  I've watched every single one when it first came out in theatres.
  But I was talking about masks.  When I was in the 4th grade, living in Fort Benning (Columbus), Georgia, there was a cartoon I watched religiously, called Mask.  There were these armed agents who rode around in armored attack vehicles which were disguised as regular cars and trucks.  They also, true to the name of the show, wore masks with visual enhancing eye gear and whatever.  I still have a lot of my Star Wars and Mask toys.  Somehow, the concept of masks always fascinated me (don't tell my shrink).
  Skip ahead to high school and bands like Green Jello and GWAR were big.  Sykotik Sinfoney were not so big, but I liked them.  Anyway, they're all masked bands.  Then in college, Slipknot, Mushroomhead and the Berserker came out.  I began to get the idea that I could make my own masks.  I don't even remember how many I've made so far, but I'm getting better and better at it.  You can see one that I made in Chief Loh's music video for our song, "Equilibrium".
  I will be showcasing my newest creation in the video I'm making for Shadow Puppet's song, "Scar Chasm". A little background on the mew mask: part of it is a respirator.  When I was a member of the crew of the USS Wyoming, SSBN 742, I was part of the paint crew.  Whenever we would come into port, we would chip off rusty areas of the submarine and repaint it.  We had to use a respirator for safety.  I incorporated mine into the mask cuz I think it looks cool.  I'll tell you when I've completed the video so you can watch it and judge for yourself whether or not you like it.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Vampires to the Rescue

  My wife and I saw a preview for the new season of American Idol on TV.  In the past, this show has been addled with allegations of clandestine rendezvous between judges and contestants.  Like you've gotta kiss a little butt to get anywhere in the competition.  That is why we thought it was so funny that the three judges this season include a man notorious for his big lips, a woman famous for her voluptuous rump and a man with a brown nose.  Subliminal message anyone?
  But that's not what I'm here to talk about.  I wanted to talk about the vampires in the Nocent books.  In my books, a vampire is still partly human until he kills his first human.  Then he loses his soul and becomes a full vampire.  Now, if you remember, in these stories, the vampires are the good guys.  That being the case, they can't kill anyone, but need to protect people from zombies and other threats.  I've had to come up with some creative ways for them to do this.
  In one scene, I have a person who has just escaped some zombies at a ski resort by getting on the ski lift.  The only problem is that there are more at the top of the mountain waiting to grab him.  A vampire on the ground has a handgun and aims it at the lunch-to-be's leg.  The vampire then puts his palm over the front of the gun and shoots the bullet through his hand and into the person's leg.  In this way, some of the vamp's blood gets into the person's bloodstream, turning him into a vampire.  Of sourse, the newly made vampire's bullet wound heals quickly.  Upon reaching the top, the new vampire can now fend for himself easily against the zombie horde.  Score one for the home team.
  In another scene, a person is swimming in the ocean and there is a shark nearby.  A vampire on shore sees this but is too far away to help personally.  Keep in mind that a shark can smell a single drop of blood up to a mile away.  Knowing this, the vampire cuts his palm and bleeds into the water.  If the shark can smell the blood, that means there's enough there to also have other effects.  The blood enters the person's body through mucous membranes in the mouth, eyes and nose and he is therefore, turned into a vampire himself.  Now, taking on a shark is easy work.  Chalk it up for the good guys, two for two.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Musical Journey

  When I was in high school, my best friend, Raymond Wallace introduced me to Nirvana.  They are another of my favorite bands.  Anyway, Ray played the guitar and we sang together mostly Nirvana covers as a duo.  We called ourselves the Death Poets.  In 1994 I graduated and moved to Tucson.  That is where I started making my own music for the first time.
  My parents had gotten me an electric guitar as a graduation gift.  I sat in my little studio apartment and used a dual deck cassette recorder to make little songs under the name Rachel's Morbidity.  I made three tapes with six songs each.  I went to a local recording studio to have bulk copies of my tapes produced and had them on consignment at a record store.  The first album, called Deathbed Alarmclock, sold six copies.  The second album, called Mordant Nocturne, only sold one.  I never had enough money to pay for studio time to produce the third album, called Soma Tack.
  For a little while, when I was in the church, I played rhythm guitar for a country band, called Saddle Creek.  The singer was named Karl and the bassist was my best friend at the time, Randy.  The only thing we ever worked on was a cover of the Wolves by Garth Brooks.  I think we were only together for a month before we disbanded.  I wish we had recorded our practice sessions of that song.  We did it quite well.
  Years went by and I became an avid karaoke singer.  One night, a guy named Jamie approached me.  He told me that he admired my singing.  He had put together a band for the purpose of having me sing for it.  He played lead guitar, a guy named Justin played bass and a guy named Matt played rhythm guitar.  We used a drum machine to make our beats.  I named the band, Shadow Puppets after a book title from one of my favorite authors, Orson Scott Card.  We made maybe four songs, but Jamie accidentally erased most of them from his computer.  The only surviving song is called Scar Chasm.  I'm going to put together a music video for it and put it on YouTube and our MySpace page.
  When I met Kayla, I found out she's a drummer.  I wanted her to play drums for Shadow Puppets, but Jamie didn't want her to.  I told him that I was leaving the band to form a new band with Kayla.  Thus was born Chief Loh.  The name comes from my pizza delivery days.  At the pizza shop, the drivers would drop off their money in a cash box to be counted later at the end of shift.  We each had a slot to insert our bills and checks.  Kayla has always told me that when I sing, she can see my chi flow.  I labeled my money slot with the name Chief Loh as a play on words.  When Kayla and I started making music together, it only seemed natural to use that as our name.  It's kinda cool that on my MP3 player I have music from Rachel's Morbidity, Shadow Puppets and Chief Loh.

Music and Memories

  Kayla just recorded me in our living room performing a karaoke version of "How's It Going To Be" in the style of Third Eye Blind.  It's available on our MySpace page, as well as on YouTube.  Please check it out!  In case you didn't know, Kayla and I met at karaoke.  I had put in "Chop Suey!" by System of a Down to sing and was sitting at a table.  She came in, went to the DJ and requested the same song.  He pointed her in my direction and she came to my table.  We agreed to sing it together with me taking Serj's parts while she sung Daron's parts.  Without any practice at all, we got up and performed it like we'd been a duo all our lives!  Early in our relationships I used to write songs about her and surprise her by singing them for her at karaoke.  She was the envy of every woman in the bar.  I also used to sing stuff like "Let It Be Me" by the Everly Brothers to her.
  Ironically enough, it was some members of the church I used to go to who got me into karaoke.  I had been a member of the choir, so I knew how to sing, but I wanted to challenge myself vocally.  I had recently discovered Slipknot in early 2000 so I decided to try to teach myself how to scream.  I practiced all the time in my car and found that I had a decent vocal range.  I can sing Slipknot, Entombed, Cannibal Corpse, Hatebreed, Soulfly, Mushroomhead and Motograter.
  Singing in my car was good because in those days, I was a pizza delivery driver.  I used to call in to the oldies station in Tucson and dedicate a song like "Twilight Time" by the Platters to Kayla.  Then I'd use my cell phone to call her at home and tell her to tune in.
  The music we make together as Chief Loh is some beautiful stuff.  She's usually the one who comes up with melodies and beats.  I usually come up with the words and most harmonies.  We like having multiple harmonies like in "Harmonize", "Make It Make Sense", "Because I Love You So" and "Really A Dream".  We each have lots of different musical influences that we bring to the table.  She knows a lot of 70's and 80's music.  My musical window was between 1989-2003.  Most of what I listen to comes from that era.  Pearl Jam is one of my favorite bands, along with their extensive lineage (Green River, Malfunkshun, Mother Love Bone, Temple of the Dog, Brad, Three Fish and Mad Season).
  I also like music that seems to be a contradiction in terms.  Take, for instance, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, who do metal versions of classical music.  I took Kayla to see them in concert.  There's Apocalyptica who does cello versions of metal music.  There's Richard Cheese who does lounge versions of rock (and other genres) songs, and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes who do punk versions of oldies and other genres.  Another favorite band of mine is Living Sacrifice, which is a Christian death metal band.
  I miss Tucson.  I used to be a teacher's aide at an elementary school.  I especially liked working with the Special Education students.  They were taught a lot of skills that woul be useful in the workplace so that they could get a job when they got out of school.  One of my favorite memories from that time was when they were learning how to wash cars.  There was a boy named Rocky who was so proud to ask me, "Hey Mr. Paul (which is what they called me back then), you want your car washed?"  His enthusiasm and heartfelt sincerity still touch me every time I think about those days.
  Speaking of memories of school, my wife and I rented "American Gangster" from Blockbuster one day.  During the film, I kept telling Kayla that the Puerto Rican woman reminded me of a girl I went to school with at the Northeast Christian Academy in El Paso, Texas.  Her name was Lymari, but I couldn't remember her last name.  After the movie was over, I watched the credit to see the name of the actress.  She actually is named Lymari Nadal.  That's either the biggest coincidence, or I really knew her.  If it is her, I wonder if she'd like to portray any of my characters if any of my stories ever get made into movies.
  Oh yeah, on the topic of actresses.  I used to be a stocker/dog bather/cashier at Petsmart.  One day when I was running a register, a woman came in with her two little gray dogs.  She asked me about dog doors that would be compatible with a sliding glass door.  She looked oddly familiar so I asked her if she was an actress.  She said yes and that her name is Mika Boorem.  I had seen her in "Hearts In Atlantis".  She was attending the University of Arizona at the time.  According to Wikipedia, she still lives in Tucson with her mom.  I wonder if she'd like to act in my movies too?

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Spoiler alert!  If you don't want a plot twist to a story I haven't released yet to be ruined, don't read this!

  Some of my favorite mystery thrillers are Identity with John Cusack, THR3E by Ted Dekker, Fight Club with Brad Pitt and Primal Fear with Edward Norton.  These are all movies where the mystery hinges upon multiple personality disorder.  I understand that the actual disorder is not a matter to be exploited for entertainment, but used fictionally, it can be a powerful plot device.  I've always wanted to write a story involving a mystery hinged upon that concept.
  Of course you know I love a good ghost story too, so I thought to myself, why don't I combine the two? Have a story in which there are several ghosts, but it turns out they are all the different personalities of a person with multiple personality disorder who died.  That's the basic premise, but of course, I had to throw in lots of plot twists so even if you haven't read the story yet and you read this, all will not be ruined.  I'm also not telling you the character's name(s?) or the story in which the character appears.
  On an unrelated note, I've noticed that not many of you have been reading the Nocent book I am putting out online.  I also realize that the first four chapters are kind of unexciting and actionless.  They're just introducing some of the characters.  Well, tomorrow, December 24, 2010, Chapter 5 does get a little more into the meat of the story.  From there, I promise, the rest of the book is a lot more interesting (in my opinion, anyway), so tell all your friends!
  A few more unrelated notes: today is the 7th anniversary of my wife and my wedded bliss.  Also, in less than half a year, we will be grandparents of twins (wow, more multiples)!  May will be a big month for me: I get out of the Navy, move back to Tucson, turn 35 years old and become a grandfather all within the span of around nine days.  Whew!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Random Thoughts

  It happened apparently some time in May, but I just found out that Paul Gray, the bassist for Slipknot died.  Also, JJ Righteous, the original guitarist for Mushroomhead died this year.  On the subject of death, I found out recently that an old neighbor of mine committed suicide in October.  Man, everybody's dying all over the place!  Makes my problems not seem so bad when I think about the families and friends of the deceased and how they must face the up-coming holidays mired in their loss.
  On a brighter note, I was just looking at my stats for this blog.  In the audience I found out I've got readers in France, Denmark, Latvia, Chile and all kinds of other places!  I personally want to thank all my readers out there.  At times like this, I'm neither angry nor depressed.  I guess it also helps that I got a Christmas card from my estranged sister.  She gave me some words that my niece made up which are cute:

Momster - mommy monster who's out to "get" her
Saddy - what dad is when something happens to make him sad
Baddy - when dad misbehaves
Zomblebee - cross between a zombie + bumblebee (a girl after my own heart!)
Cattoo - cat tattoo

  As I've written about before, I've recently started writing for  I've also started a Facebook page and a Twitter page.  I'm not very computer savvy so I have no idea what a lot of this shit is for, but if it will help people to be able to find our music or my writing, I'll do whatever I can.  Strange as this may sound, I originally got the idea to start a blog by watching the movie, Julie and Julia.  Kayla told me the name of the blog site Julie used, but I couldn't find it so I Googled blog sites and found and here I am.
  Speaking of music, my wife and I make some amazing music which we both think is better than most of the music that is coming out these days.  I ain't straight outta Compton, I'm straight outta Panda Express!  Also, the crazy shit I come up with to write is at least somewhat cohesive and original in my opinion.  I've also written six or seven children's books, two of which appear on YouTube.  I've written several dozen New Chinese Proverbs (as Urban Confucius).  I've got a comic strip that I draw called, Pompous Circus Dance.  I was an actor in an improv comedy troupe called the Peanut Gallery and I've dabbled in stand-up comedy.  I've made lots of home movies about aliens, zombies, ghosts, etc.  I don't wanna sound egotistical or vain, but in the name of fun and entertainment, I think the world should at least be given exposure to our vast array of goodies that we have to offer.
  I guess I should be grateful that I even get to write and do all those other things because it's therapeutic.  I have just cause, it's not just cuz.  Besides, knowing that I have all my readers worldwide, I've started ramping down on my Celexa (anti-depressant) and Strattera (ADHD medication).  I don't feel quite so depressed or unfocused when I'm writing, singing, spending time with my wife and dog, blogging or eating fried chicken (because you know how much Chinese people love their fried chicken).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Phonebook or Hacksaw?

  Yesterday my wife and I were at a gas pump.  I was pumping while she used the provided squeegee to clean our windows.  Once the tank was full, it started to overflow so I quickly loosened my grip, but it was too late.  There was gasoline all over the side of the car.  My wife said it was bad for the paint job and wiped it clean with the squeegee.  We then had an argument about whether the pump makers were at fault for making pumps that don't stop when the tank is full or if I was at fault for not knowing by the sound of the filling to stop when the tank was full.  We've agreed that next time we get gas together, she'll pump and I will listen to see what it sounds like when the tank is full.
  Later on, we had further discussion as to the differences in her world view and my own.  I observed that she seems to have a deep inner peace and joy that is unreachable by any outer stimulus.  I, on the other hand, rely on outer stimuli to bring me even the briefest glimpses of joy.  My levity has no longevity, only brevity.  I compared it to a pile of shit that occasionally has a butterfly briefly land on it, as opposed to a nest of butterflies which occasionally has a shit fleck bounce off it.  She used the example of the gas tank to help illustrate to me her outlook compared to mine.
  She used a story of a little brother looking at his bigger brother who is tall enough to reach doorknobs to open doors.  Should he admire or resent his brother?  He could look at his brother and want to be like him by maybe putting down a phone book to stand on to reach the doorknob, or he can lay in the grass and have a fit.  At this point in her story I interrupted and gave my own analogy which I felt was closer to our reality.  He could either do the phonebook thing or he could grab a hacksaw and cut his brother's feet off so that he can no longer reach the doorknob.  She agreed that this was an appropriate analogy to describe our differences.
  Her way is to lift herself up above her challenges so that life's circumstances don't have to be a problem to her.  Just like listening to hear when the gas tank is full.  My way is to eliminate the problem at the source by wishing a slow and painful death on anyone who causes me grief.  It occurs to me now that an even closer analogy would be if the younger brother wished that people should either make doorknobs lower on the door or die a horrible tragic death.
  This helps me to see why I keep alternating between anger and depression.  I'm filled with anger that I know I don't want to live my life by, but I don't know what to replace it with so when I try to rid myself of anger, I'm left only with emptiness.  If I took on the responsibility to rise above circumstances and become my own solution to any challenge, I believe I can achieve the inner peace and strength that she possesses.
  This reminds me of a story I wrote called Desultory Rival in which the souls of Cain and Abel have reincarnated all throughout history.  In every lifetime, Cain has killed his brother again and again.  It all started because Cain resented his brother for finding favor in God's eyes through his sacrifice of choice animals as opposed to a bunch of fruit.  Instead of lifting himself above his situation, he cut his brother down.  He chose the hacksaw over the phone book.  In every situation I become faced with from now on, I will ask myself, which I am choosing to use.

Monday, December 20, 2010

On The Inside

  To start off with, I just have to get this tidbit of trivia off my chest.  Whenever I listen to the song, Tusk by Fleetwood Mac off their album, Tusk, it strikes me that the drum breakdown is exactly the same one from Slipknot's song Only One from their eponymous album.  Of course, Fleetwood's album came out in 1979 and Slipknot came out in 1999 so it's clear what came first.  Check it out for yourself and see if I'm crazy.
  But what I really wanted to talk about is how my emotions have helped me to write more meaningful (at least in my opinion) characterizations.  Before I met my amazing wife, I was so closed off to my emotions.  Now I alternate between anger and depression with moments of laughter sprinkled here and there.  My psychologist says she wants to get a second opinion by my psychiatrist before diagnosing me with bipolar disorder because once it's in my medical record, it's permanent.
  Anyway, I enjoy giving some depth to my characters by talking about various emotions they have in response to different situations I place them in.  It gives a satisfying richness to the narrative that I like to read as much as I like to write them.  The biggest problem my wife and I have with horror movies these days is that many of the characters do stupid things that inevitably lead to their demise.  To me, a scary movie would have a character making intelligent choices and doing things exactly the way I would do them, but ends up dying anyway.  What's scary about a killer who knows how to kill idiots?  A revolving door could do that. Man, I come off sounding like a whiny, cynical asshole sometimes.
  Well, at this moment I'm about halfway through writing the sequel to the Nocent book.  I uploaded a chapter from the Nocent part 3: Revenant War on under the heading Novel excerpts: zombies. I wanted to put out a piece that will exhibit emotion-driven characterization.  This is the first morsel of my newest book that I've revealed to the world.  Hope you enjoy it!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Kenn and Damion Varson

  One day when I was in college, a bunch of us student types drove over to Bisbee, Arizona to stay at the Copper Queen Hotel, which is said to be haunted.  On the counter at the front desk was a registry book in which guests could write in and recount their paranormal encounters.  I read a few pages and found a pattern of people seeing ghostly faces in reflections from TV screens, windows, mirrors and metal surfaces.  That fascinated me to no end and I spent the entire night looking at every reflective surface in our hotel room.  Never saw a dang thing.  That's not the point of this blog.
  Weeks later, back in Tucson, some of my college buddies and I rented some vampire movie to watch one night.  I don't remember the title, but in the movie, the vampire tried to conceal the fact that he didn't have a reflection so that he wouldn't be found out by people.  I thought to myself, he wouldn't have a problem if he just stayed at the Copper Queen Hotel.  That is what sparked an idea in my noggin.
  What if that's how a vampire keeps his secret is by using a ghostly reflection as his own to pass off as human?  I had to think up a plausible scenario to explain such an arrangement between a soulless body and a disembodied soul.  So what if two brothers were walking outside one night and were attacked by a vampire? Okay, so far so good.  Let's say one of them is killed and the other one is turned into a vampire himself.  That's how we can have this non-reflection concealment scheme.  Thus were born the characters of Kenn and Damion Varson who are two of the main characters in my first novel.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Alive Again

  One of my favorite movies is Alive.  It's about that sports team from (I think it's) Brazil whose airplane crashes in the Andes.  They run out of food and have to resort to cannibalism to survive.  Anyway, one day, I rented this movie called Flight of the Living Dead.  It wasn't all that, but it was okay.  The good thing is that it sparked an idea en mi loco cabeza.
  I thought, what if there was a zombie outbreak on land at the same time a group of people is stranded in the middle of a mountain range?  They would have the same moral dilemma about cannibalism as in Alive, but would have the added question of their humanity vs the zombie's humanity.  What makes us any better than them?  The perfect name for this new story was of course, Alive Again.
  I love the moral dilemmas that come along with having monsters that we can each become.  More on this subject can be found in the books: The Undead and Philosophy edited by Richard Greene and K. Silem Mohammad, and Gospel of the Living Dead by Kim Paffenroth.  As they said in George Romero's Night of the Living Dead, "We're them and they're us."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Advice from a Master

  It's just so cool I had to share it with you.  As you know, I recently started publishing my first novel for free online.  I thought it would be wise to seek the advice of someone who has been through the process before and could give me some advice.  I turned to one of my favorite authors and guess what?  He emailed me back with some words of wisdom!  I'm not gonna drop names (out of respect for him and cuz that's just cheesy), but I wanted to provide here my email and his reply:

Hi, _____-

  I am a fan of your books and have written a novel of my own. I'd like to do what you did, and would appreciate any helpful advice you could give me about the process. I am a great admirer of your work and have been inspired by your success as well as your subject matter and original takes on familiar creatures. I look forward to meeting you some day.
Hi, Paul-

The mechanics of putting a book online are pretty straightforward--you want some blogging software, and there are some great free resources out there.  After that it's pretty much a matter of sticking with it.

My best advice is to make a schedule and stick to it.  People appreciate it when you post on a regular basis, so they know when to come back and read the next chapter.  I posted every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Twice a week, or even just once a week, is probably fine.  The key thing is to post on the same day(s) every week.  That way people make a habit of visiting your site on the days they expect an update.  If you don't post for a protracted length of time, typically people will start drifting away.

It's a lot of hard work, but it's quite fulfilling and you'll learn more about writing than you ever will in a workshop or just writing for yourself.  I wish you much luck with it!
  Now, if only someone other than my dad would read my book (and he didn't even like it!).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


  If I was Davidson, I'd be pissed because everyone knows what you're talking about when you say you ride a Harley.  Somehow all my life, I've always been able to relate with the underdogs.  I've always considered myself to be a nerd.  Geek seems too dignified.  In school it was always the outcasts that I got along best with.  I'm only telling you this so you'll understand why so many of my characters are nerdy, live in poverty, are homosexual, have disabilities (learning or otherwise), are socially inept or have OCD, etc.
  As you already know, I have ADD.  I also suffer from depression, anxiety, anger issues and a dissociative disorder.  I'll be meeting with my psychologist soon to see if I may be manic depressive.  I'm not boohooing here, I'm just like everyone else.  We all have problems and those just happen to be my particular crosses to bear.  My point (there is one, I swear) is as follows.
  There are several bands, directors and authors out there who seem to know how I, and people like me,  feel.  The bands, Hatebreed and Soulfly, have a very positive message about how family and friends can help you through tough times and that you are the source of your own strength.  Slipknot stands up for the downtrodden with lines such as, "What the fuck are you looking at?  I'll tell you what you're looking at: everyone you ever fucking laughed at!" from their song, Disasterpiece from the album, Iowa.  I don't need to go into all the songs, movies and books of that nature out there, I think you get the idea.
  Anyway, a big motivation for my writing is to try to connect with people out there who don't feel as if anyone understands them.  If even one person out there is impacted by my writing the way I am when I watch What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, I would feel like my life had some purpose.  Maybe I just have an inflated ego.  Well, the jury's still out on the manic depressive thing.  As they said in The Importance of Being Ernest, "The suspese is terrible!  I hope it'll last."  Now that I think about it, Willy Wonka said that too.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Coming Up With Stories

  Every once in a while I'll be in the shower or eating or driving and an idea for a story will pop into my head.  Oh man, it's so fun when that happens.  What often ends up happening is that two or three of my story ideas will merge into one story with several facets.  Let's say that I come up with an idea for an interesting character.  Later on I may come up with an interesting scenario.  Maybe it would be really cool to put that character in that scenario and see where the story goes from there.
 That is what happened with my idea for the Nocent.  Several ideas dating back all the way to stories, songs and poems I wrote in high school to dreams I've had over the years, culminated into one huge story.  Many of the short stories and poems served as background for some of the characters.  Many nightmares I've had became actual scenes in the book.  I already knew it was scary because of how it affected me while I slept. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

From Within

  When I was a kid, the movie Dumbo made me cry during the scene when, in spite of losing his magic feather, Dumbo finds it in himself to fly.  I never knew why it made me cry.  Years later I heard a song by NOFX from their Punk In Drublic album, called "Happy Guy".  It's a song about a man who is an avid church goer.  In it are the lines, "His hopes may be false, but his happiness is real.  Don't try to judge him.  He's just a man."
  Over the years there have been two particular events I will talk about here that have brought a great deal of emotional scarring to my life.  My favorite childhood memories revolve around going to my aunt's house every summer in Tucson, Arizona.  She was so loving and kind.  I was so happy.  The first event occurred when I turned 18 and went to see her.  She revealed to me her true character.  She is a shallow, crude, crass, rich and snobby woman.  She acted the way she did when I was growing up because she had always envied my mother for having such a lovely family.  She wanted me to prefer being with her.  And I did.  At that moment, I felt so low and used.  It felt like everything I grew up to believe in was a lie.
  Not too long after that, I joined a church.  Over the course of seven years, I learned a lot about faith.  Many people were amazed at the amount of faith I had.  Along the way, I started to notice hypocrisies and inconsistencies between what I was learning and what I was seeing with my own eyes.  I decided to leave the church and I was shunned.  They said I had "fallen away from God."  This shattered my faith and filled me with self-loathing and bitterness toward God.
  Then today, I had a conversation with my wife about Christ and the fact that he never actually healed anyone.  He always made it a point to tell them that it was their faith that healed them.  From this I looked back at Dumbo's feather and the Happy Guy and I realized that nothing had been taken away from me because nothing was ever given to me.  My aunt didn't give me happiness.  That came from within me.  The church didn't give me faith.  That too came from within myself.  So I never lost those things.  They've always been just below the surface of my anger and low self-esteem.  My wife always keeps me on the right path!
  Coming to those realizations made me remember a scene in my Nocent books in which a character who has ADHD falls into a coma after a run in with a zombie.  His father is able to communicate with him through a psychic medium.  The boy, Alex, is no longer stuck within his physical brain.  His spirit self has easy access to all his memories and a wealth of knowledge that he doesn't get to use while he's in the flesh.  This awareness of his hidden intelligence helps him to believe in himself more when he awakens from his coma. So in a way, it was never his brain that limited him, it was his lack of belief in himself.
  The Dalai Lama in his book, The Universe In A Single Atom, says Buddhism teaches that Enlightenment is the reaching of total awareness and focusing of attention.  ADD is the lack of focus of attention.  I know because I, myself have ADD.  If I am to believe what Buddha says, I can achieve focus through meditation. Right now, I take my Strattera, but maybe that's my new magic feather.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Concept of Vampires

  I've read so many vampire books and seen so many movies that I wanted to come up with a unique history and mythos for my vampires.  I mention this because, as you know, the Nocent series revolves around a zombie vs vampire war.  My zombies are unique too, but I'll talk more about them some other time.
  The thing that makes my vampires unique is ectoplasm.  Their flesh is infused with it.  In my stories, ectoplasm is a substance that exists between the spiritual plane and the physical realm, as I mentioned in my blog about time travel.  That is why conventional weapons do not harm vampires.  Bullets pass straight through into the Other Side.  Garlic nullifies the ectoplasmic properties and traps the vampire in our world where it becomes vulnerable to mortal weapons.  Holy water has the opposite effect.  It traps the vampire in the spiritual realm where it can no longer cross over into ours.  Ectoplasm is also photo-sensitive and will dissolve in sunlight.
  The last thing I came up with is that ectoplasm feeds off negative energy.  Fear, anger and hatred will make a vampire stronger.  Faith, hope and love can weaken it.  I'll go into the history of my vampires some other time.  I don't want to go too much into it before you've had a chance to read the stories which will illustrate it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What's A Body To Do?

  Today, while I was at work, I pictured in my head some people being squeamish at the thought of having to kill a zombie.  I imagined a conversation beginning with the usual reservations about killing "friends and family".  I thought someone might point out that "they're dead" and someone asking "are they really?"  "Yes, they're walking around, but they're dead."  Someone might ask, "Don't you have any respect for the dead?"  To which, someone will reply, "With all that's going on right now, I don't have much respect for the dead."
  At this point, I came up with a good answer to that statement.  "That's not being fair.  The respect we should have is for the person they were before they died.  That person is not what you see walking around.  That is just their body.  If we always based our thoughts of the deceased upon the activities of their bodies, we'd think they're lazy, cold and smelling of formaldehyde.  Why would we ever respect the dead if all they do is lie around all day in coffins?"
  Of course, the person might ask, "So we're supposed to respect them while we're killing them?"  "We're not killing them.  They're already dead.  We're only laying their bodies to rest."  "We're still committing atrocious acts against their bodies."  "Yes, but that is merely in self-defense.  Every man has the right to protect himself and the ones he loves, whether it is against a living person, an animal or a walking corpse."
  Conversations like this are common in zombie tales.  Many of these stories delve into issues of morality and acceptable human conduct.  The value of human life is a core issue when faced with what looks like a human on the outside, but has no inner humanizing attributes.  It brings to question the difference between us and them.  Is it that we have a soul.  What is the lifeforce that drives us and what is it that drives them?
  My stories try to explore what happens to their souls once disconnected from their bodies.  These are very deeply personal questions for me and I do not pretend to have all the answers.  I believe this is something we should each be asking ourselves and a fictional story is as good a motivator to bring out such introspection as any I've seen.  I've been to school, I've been to church and I've been all around the world, but it is within the context of zombie movies and literature that I have found some of my deepest convictions on life, love, spirituality, heroism, cowardice, betrayal and ultimate redemption.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Body and Spirit

  In the Nocent series, both the bodies of the zombies and their disembodied spirits are a part of the story.  There is a psychic medium, named Sam, a psychic child and a talking parrot who can also communicate with the dead.  At different times, people are able to speak with their passed on loved ones through these mediums.  In one instance, the body of Lowe's mother is outside while Lowe is speaking to her through a medium.  Her spirit his helped to enter into the light, while someone performs a mercy kill on her body.
  An entire chapter of part 3 is from the point of view of the spirit of a teenaged girl who is watching her body, which is now a zombie, commit terrible acts which she has no control over.  All she can do is silently witness the atrocity.  In one of the sequels, there will be a man who is trapped in a house because a zombie has chased him there.  It turns out that the house is haunted by the very spirit of the zombie who is clawing at the walls trying to kill the man.  Boy, that would freak me out!
  I have really enjoyed writing these stories with the added dynamic of spirits which once possessed the bodies of the undead.  A hallmark of zombie literature and cinema has always been the person who has been bitten and doesn't want to end up as "one of them".  It's a deeply and richly emotional dimension that I've tried to add to my stories.  Zombie stories are, after all, human stories.  Beyond all the blood and guts has always been a heart that you rarely see in other monster tales.  Zombie stories usually explore human relationships and psychology under extreme duress in a way that most stories in any genre usually dare to.  They are usually a backdrop during which conversations of a deeply spiritual nature are shared without condemnations of whose religion is right or wrong.  Where else do you ever see that?  That's why I like watching, reading about and writing about zombies so much.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Nocent part 2: Advent of the Scathing

  This is it, for those of you who didn't purchase my novel from, the entire novel, published chapter by chapter, available free online.  I know this list includes most of you since only seven copies sold.  One I bought.  My dad bought 5 copies to give to various family members.  The last copy was purchased by a Naval officer onboard the USS Wyoming, SSBN 742.  The link to the book is to the right, under Zombie Killer's websites.
  I guess I owe it to you to tell you a bit about the book.  One night, when I was in the barracks on the submarine base in Groton, Connecticut, I came up with an idea for a story where two different races of the same alien species are headed toward Earth in a spacecraft.  Onboard, there is a civil war and every member of both races dies.  When the spacecraft crash lands on Earth, the spirits of both sides possess human beings and continue their civil war here on Earth.  One race is called the Nocent and the people they possess become zombies.  The other race is called the Collective and they manifest as vampires.
  The aliens are from the planet Sypraxia.  They are a species whose bodies are made of liquid.  The Nocent's bodies are controlled by the energy of their minds.  The Collective's bodies are controlled by the energy of their hearts.  That is why you must kill a zombie by destroying its brain and you kill a vampire by destroying its heart.  That's the basic premise of the Nocent series.
  The series starts with part 2, which sets up the zombie/vampire war which is the focus of part 3: Revenant War.  The series is wrapped up in part 4: Dragon's Triangle.  This will be followed by part 1: Dark Betrayals, which will be a collection of short stories expounding on the backgrounds of several of the key players in the series.  I am in the process of writing part 3.  I've decided to publish part 2 online in hopes of gaining some interest in part 3 for when I've finished writing it and seek publication.  I hope you all enjoy it!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Good Friday Killer

  This is a killer who shows up in quite a few of my stories.  He started out as a character in the Nocent series, named Daniel Reese.  Giving Daniel a background was the fun part.  I had to give him a history that involved the Varson brothers, as well as a motive for killing.  In a future blog I will go into detail about his connection to the Varsons, but this is about him.
  I don't know where it was that I read that pigs are good swimmers, but that got me thinking.  In the Bible, when Jesus transferred Legion out of the man and into the herd of 2,000 pigs, they all ran down a hill and into some water and supposedly drowned.  Well, if they were such good swimmers, why the heck would they drown like that?  What if, after Jesus left, the owner of the herd went down to see his pigs and became possessed by Legion?
  Okay, well, since Legion was in a whole herd of 2,000 pigs, it would only be one of the demons who actually possessed the pigherder.  It might then become his obsession to regain the full company of his Legion of demons.  My idea is that he killed his first victim the day Jesus was crucified.  Then, every year on the anniversary of that day, he killed one more person.  Once he reached two thousand, he would be at his full strength.  Supposing that Jesus was around 33 when he was crucified, that would make it about 2033 when Legion was able to be his worst.  Anyway, that's my story and I'm stickin to it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Masked Bands

  These are just the random musings of a nerd with too much time on his hands.  This is not meant to insinuate any copycatting (is that a word?), plagiarism, band wagoning or Johnny-Come-Latelys.  What this is is a bunch of similarities I've noticed between a few masked bands from the past and the present.

1. Both Slipknot and Sykotik Sinfoney capitalize the S, K and T in their names.
2. Both Slipknot and Sykotik Sinfoney mix musical genres within the context of a single song:
-Slipknot: "Do Nothing (Bitchslap)" from the album, Mate.Feed.Kill.Repeat
-Sikotik Sinfoney: "Cake Fuck" from the album, Eargasm
3. They also both do the rap/metal thing, as does Mushroomhead:
-Slipknot: "No Life" from the album, Slipknot
-Sykotik Sinfoney: "Mr. Cool" from the album, Eargasm
-Mushroomhead: "BWOMP" from the album, XX
4. Sykotic Sinfoney and Green Jello both have singers dressed as cows:
-Sykotik Sinfoney with Crusty Udder
-Green Jello with the Cow God
5. Slipknot and Mushroomhead both have bassists with pig masks:
-Slipknot with Paul Gray
-Mushroomhead with Pig Benis
6. Slipknot and Mushroomhead both have similar analogies for their relationships with their bands:
-Slipknot as the carcass with the fans as maggots feeding off them
-Mushroomhead as the shit with the fans as mushrooms growing off them
7. All four bands have lots of members.
8. Slipknot and Sykotik Sinfoney have each appeared in movies:
-Slipknot in Rollerball
-Sykotic Sinfoney in Bad Channels
9. Mushroomhead and Sykotik Sinfoney both seem to put down Slipknot (in my perception) in songs:
-Mushroomhead with the line "just another number in a long line of no one" on "Just Pretending" from the album, Savior Sorrow.
-Sykotik Sinfoney with the line "he's stupid when he's dressing like a clown" on "Stupid" from the album, Eargasm.
10. Slipknot seems to have a diatribe of their own against Mushroomhead in the song, 'Only One' with the line, "Filthy Hands stay away from mine" (a possible allusion to Mushroomhead's Filthy Hands label).
11. Both Slipknot and Sykotik Sinfoney have someone request the song "Freebird" in one of their songs:
-Slipknot: the hidden live track "Dogfish Rising" on the album, Mate.Feed.Kill.Repeat.
-Sykotik Sinfoney: "Mr. Cool" on the Bad Channels soundtrack.

  There's probably other things I've thought of, but don't remember right now.  There's probably also things you've noticed that I haven't.  Anyway, I love all these bands so this is in no way a putdown on any of them.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Femur Killer

  This is an idea I came up with in the mid-nineties when I was in college: a serial killer who bludgeons his victim with the femur of his last victim, cuts off a leg, then disappears into the night.  One day I was listening to the song "My Soul Flayed Bare" on the album, Shadows by the band, Creepmime.  The guitar part that plays during the chorus was really catchy and I got it stuck in my head.  I started to hear words in my head going along with the rhythm of the riff.  I wrote out these words and a poem called Bludgeon was born.

Bludgeon by Paul Loh

First of all I'll make you a memory
In a way that makes them remember me
And I use the same M.O. every time
I'm a creature of habit and only I
know of where the parts that are missing are
Once you're gone my next victim will I stalk
With your femur shall I hit them from behind
And with a hack saw their leg shall I take away
When the cops come, your femur I'd left behind
the murder weapon and victim is what they'll find
with his leg gone and I shall be far away
so this cycle continues another day

  Years later, I had an idea for a story, but I wanted a really twisted killer as the bad guy.  I thumbed through my box of old writing and found this poem.  It had the makings of a good character, but he needed some background.  What is his motivation?  What got him started on this twisted path?  Then it struck me: what if he's a masochistic empath/empathic masochist?  The greatest thrill in his life was the day he accidentally lost his leg.  He kept his leg and, once he recovered from his injury, he hungered to feel that rush again.  He had always been able to feel other people's pain so he used his own femur to render someone unconscious.  He sawed off his victim's leg, relishing every agonizingly orgasmic sensation.  He vicariously intensifies his phantom feelings.  I still get chills even thinking about it!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Time Travel In My Stories

  At least two of the stories I have written involve time travel.  In one there is a time machine called the Horologe.  It works through the use of ectoplasm.  If you've read my blog on Chief Loh's myspace page, you know that in my stories, ectoplasm acts as a medium between the spirit world and the physical.  In the spirit world, time does not move linearly like it does here.  There is also no spatial location in the spirit world.  All time exists as one moment and all places exist as one point.  If you use ectoplasm to enter into the spirit world, you can re-enter our universe at any time and/or place of your choosing with the Horologe.
  A similar concept appears in Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game series, except they use an artificial intelligence to "pop" a metal box "Outside" and back into our universe.  They only use this box for "faster than light" travel.
  I mostly was inspired by Poltergeist, the way Carol Anne and her mother exited the spirit world covered in ectoplasm and fell out of thin air into their living room.  It wasn't until I saw the pilot episode of Deep Space Nine, "The Emissary", that I made the connection about timelessness in the spirit world.  Commander Sisco had to explain linear time to the beings in the wormhole near Bajor.  From this I asked myself: if there is no time over there, then why would anything that was able to travel into the spirit world have to come back out at the same time they left?  That's the sort of stuff a 15 year old nerd loses sleep over.  To be honest, a 34 year old nerd still loses sleep over it sometimes.  Just ask my wife, Kayla.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A little about my blog

  I am the author of a zombies vs. vampires novel called The Nocent part 2: Advent of the Scathing. My wife bought us a bumper sticker for our car which says, "I'd Rather Be Killing Zombies". I work on a Navy base and every time we pass through the gate, the gate guards see our sticker. We have earned the nickname Zombie Killers.
  I am always in the process of writing new stories, including the sequel to my first novel. It's working title is The Nocent part 3: Revenant War. This blog is for the purpose of sharing with the world some of my crazy ideas. The name of my blogsite, Necrolepsy, comes from one of those crazy ideas. One day I was thinking about A Nightmare On Elm Street and the fact that people were afraid to fall asleep because they might be killed. I came up with the idea: what if instead of becoming a victim when you sleep, you become a killer? I made up a name for such an affliction: Necrolepsy. It can also be called Somnihilism.
  Needless to say, that very concept is the premise of a new story of mine. Most of my stories are short, but I have several novels in the works. I plan to publish a compilation of my short stories along with my book-length stories. I also have a bunch of children's books I've written (not zombie-related).