Russ Eat Meat

This whole Talking About Wordsmiths thing is at a merciful end. Its intended purpose–to purge the final glistening dew drop from the leaf of my life (whatever that means)–has been fulfilled, as I find myself lacking the desire to post anything further. I’ll drop some pictures with brief captions tomorrow, in an effort to blast the final tidbits of favorable memory into the ether, and to honor those who meant more to my efforts than they might realize, but I think this will be it.

I can think of no better way to finish it.

I previously detailed the launch night of Anointed as one of my favorite nights. Though I must admit to the self-centered affixation to that’s night’s purpose, I can’t deny the book launch portion was but a reason why it was my favorite night. You see, Wordsmiths Books became the ring for a rather entertaining (and, admittedly, one-sided) tug of war. One that carried on like a fifty round bout, no ref in sight to stop the continual beatdown suffered by one of the contestants. Or better, it was like watching a train wreck, plane crash, and hundred-car pile-up, all rolled into one, unable to turn away, unwilling to ask why it must go on in perpetuity. It was mesmerizing.

Enter the ring, one Joe Davich. Undefeated. Unbeaten. Indestructable.

The Undisputed Featherweight Champion of the Verbal Smackdown

The Undisputed Featherweight Champion of the Verbal Smackdown.

His opponent, his defensive retorts weighing in at an unprecedented, and immeasurable, Zero G, Russ Marshalek.

Um...

Um…

Every war has an end. Every skirmish a victor. Every moment, a future defined. On February 22nd, 2009, the verbal spat that was Davich v. Marshalek came to a climactic conclusion, on the stage of Wordsmiths Books, before a captivated audience of 150. It will forever be known (by at least one local, who flings it with regularity every time he sees me) as the day the world paused in reflection, uttering the words “Russ Eat Meat” with nary a clue as to what they meant.

Setting the ground rules only encouraged the wine, and the whine.

Setting the ground rules only encouraged the wine, and the whine.

Content is unecessary. In fact, ask me to recount the round by round commentary, and I’ll stare at you blankly for a time, finally bringing myself to say only, “Joe won,” with a notable shiver. I don’t remember the punches. I only remember the result.

I can offer for certainty that Russ fought with great resolve, challenging his opponent with cited passages in defense of … well, no idea really. In defense of something.

The Defense

Joe responded, as only Joe can.

"Dear God, Mother Mary and Madonna" was uttered a few dozen times.

“Dear God, Mother Mary and Madonna” was uttered a few dozen times.

His counter left Russ reeling, coiling into a bottle like an infant to the teet.

At some point, you just have to forgo the glass.

At some point, you just have to forgo the glass.

Posters were brandished, slogans were uttered, Marisha Pessl was slandered, people laughed, people cried (out loud as part of laughter perhaps, but still), I was amused, the wine vanished. In the end, the champion stood, proud and victorious, stepping from the stage with a haughty grin, parting the crowd like Queen Elizabeth (for a more detailed description of anything Queen Elizabeth ever did, please see Sir Davich), off to celebrate his long-sought dominion over the defeated Wonderboy.

If not smug if you're Joe.

It’s not smug if you’re Joe. Neither is it ever misspelled.

It was a great night. A fitting end to a store that was about more than just selling books. It was a sitcom without cameras, a novel without a writer, an entertaining home without a pug. It took a great deal to organize (actually it just took a customer telling the two of them to put up their Hello Kitty purses and hash it out on stage, which was a glorious moment for all), a tremendous amount of wine, and a propoganda war unlike any ever seen, but it happened nonetheless.

Wordsmiths Books: Wage your verbal war on our stage. Please. We’re bored.

The (Book)Life and Times of Wonderboy

There is told the tale of a young man who would one day be the hero of an entire bookstore. Head strong and full of hope, he toiled in the bowels of retail, suffering at the behest of a mighty overlord, packed with his clansmen on a yellow bus heading at breakneck speed toward finality. This young man fought for his survival, tying his fate to that of another, whose entrepreneurial plan for escape whet the young man’s burgeoning need to be free, to bring order to the chaotic world of books. Finding peace within his newly unshackled chains, this young man set forth on a path few would ever walk, eyes set upon the blazing trail of wonder before him. He came to know that path as a facet of self, an enigma of soul, and from the fire within was born a new identity. A masked avenger. A vigilante of Event Coordination. Those who knew him called him Wonderboy, and a legend was born.

Immediately his impact was felt. An empty stage hosted a cadre of poets, local authors and musicians. The People were pleased. Publicists took note. Wine was had. People got tipsy. A List was built. Mere months after donning the Mask of Almost-Justice-Like-Kind-of-Action, simple names evolved into Notable Artists. St. Vincent, Amy Sedaris, Ani DiFranco, Rob Sheffield, Dan Kennedy, Tracy Chevalier, James Rollins, R.A. Salvatore, Fonzworth Bentley, Katie Crouch, Frank Delaney, Stuart Woods, Final Fantasy, Christopher Moore, Virginia Willis, and Richard Blais, just to name a few. He gave birth to slam-dunk fan favorites, giving the eager public Open Mic Nights, Wizard Rock, the Black and Red Prom, Storytime for Grown-ups, and so much more.

What once was but a bookstore had become a haven of entertainment. Wonderboy done did good.

Pretty fancy stuff, huh?

I always thought so. I suppose, at this point, it’s all right to reveal the identity of the masked wunderkind known as Wonderboy. After all, he has some new Hipster Musician in Brooklyn identity thing going. Silent Rape Drummers, or something, for a while, getting tons of attention for his bizarre but entertaining re-soundtracking of Twin Peaks. Now he’s in a Place Both Wonderful and Strange, which perhaps brings him full circle, since Wordsmiths was always wonderful and strange. It was also a place. Kudos, fate. Well played.

Russ Marshalek was Wordsmiths Books number one hire, a vital cog to everything Wordsmiths would become. I would have been nothing without his help, and Decatur would have suffered a loss it never knew it needed to recover from had he not taken the job as my Events Coordinator. He took a hell of a lot of grief from me (and a certain other individual with a flair for the dramatic whose one-on-one debate on the Wordsmiths stage was perhaps the defining moment of the store and a blog topic to come), but he trudged on, doing what he did, making the store more than I could have dreamed. I owe him a lifetime of thanks. He owes me a burrito. Or something. There has to be some balance here. After all, he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be so important to me had I not hired him in the first place.

Sure, Wordsmiths didn’t make it. But it wasn’t the fault of Wonderboy. What he did few could have. It’s vital people remember that. I know I will. Danke, mein Freund.

Wonderboy can rest easy knowing, once more, he has saved the day.

Wonderboy can rest easy knowing, once more, he has saved the day.

It’s Not Torture When It’s Fun

It’s no secret that I stopped keeping up with the music scene about the time that hair bands starting losing their hair. I think I’ve bought 2 cd’s in the last decade. Could be longer.  Might also be that one of those was Chinese Democracy, so that might not count at all.  I listened to it once and decided it was best to remember my favorite bands the way they were. When they were still good. So I willfully stepped aside and stuck my nose in the next Harry Potter (or the one before it–who can really tell when you’ve read them all as much as I have). It’s not that I dislike music, I just came to the realization that trying to keep up with writing, reading, paying my bills and watching as many movies as my dollar would allow was as much as I can handle. I’ve taken a beating for this, most notably from a certain NYC bound friend who prides himself on his musical knowledge, book quote tattoos, snazzy vests and pre-show panic attacks. But he did like Zooey Deschanel for a while, no matter how much he denies it, so I’m feeling ok with myself.

Last night, after a riveting mimosa-buzzed performance of female pop icons by the one and only Moss (really, there will be videos in the future–there’s nothing like it), I had to admit–with no fraction of regret–that I never watched any of the videos from Britney, Christina, Mandy Moore, or Jessica Simpson. I apparently had no context to the compelling renderings of these classics that the Moss was pouring heart and soul (and a good dose of nasal pinching) into, so she threatened to make me watch them. And with all good threats by the Moss, it was immediately implemented lest she get busy watching the last season of Will and Grace and forget. She showed me Britney’s Oops, Toxic, and Baby One More Time (Which is obviously about being really cool in high school. I don’t know, you tell me.), and then followed those up with Christina and Genie in a Bottle, that one where she’s all skanky-ho in the boxing ring (whatever that disease of a video is called) and Fighter. I actually liked Fighter, for what that’s worth to you. I don’t even remember what the Mandy Moore song was, but I kept thinking of Saved and wasn’t really paying attention.  Somebody should have told her that she’s about as sexy as Cheerio’s in lime juice, though. Jessica Simpson used to sing, did you know? I saw a video! There was a plane, or something, and she was doing stuff–I don’t know what. She might have even been singing. All I can think of when I see her is one of her many infamous quotes: “I don’t know what it is, but I want it.” What a maroon.

It was after the fourth–or it could have been the fourteenth–apology by the Moss for needing to show me just one more that I realized I wasn’t bothered by it at all. In fact, I was enjoying it. Wait. I wasn’t enjoying it, per se, but I was enjoying how insanely bad they were. I like watching bad videos, movies, and television shows. I get to flex my comedic muscles, while instantly feeling better for myself in the process. I don’t need therapy, I just need more of the Kardashians.

Which leads me to my prevailing point: Torture me with the worst you can show me, I don’t mind. It’s not torture if it’s fun. It’s entertainment. I enjoy it so much, I’m going to make a spectacle of myself in order to make it even more entertaining. The Moss has offered up the first season of Sex and the CityI’m going to pick a day, set aside 12 straight hours and watch them all. I’ll set up a live blog, pipe comments into Facebook and Twitter, let everyone play along, and we’ll see what becomes of me. I’m not sure that my mind is prepared for 12 straight hours of that… can I really call it a show? Four weathered hags and their quest for sex, relationships and, I don’t know, luggage? I’ve never watched an episode, so I really don’t know what it’s about, but I will admit to having seen the first attempt at a movie. Like I said… I like to watch bad movies.

Anyway, if it goes well–whether anyone is paying attention or not–I’ll open it up to the public. You can pick something, I’ll watch it, blog about it, and probably lose my mind over it. I might even become religious to avoid remembering it. I don’t know. It could be fun for everyone. As soon as the Sex and the City marathon is in place, I’ll post about the specifics. I don’t mind doing this for my own entertainment, but it’ll be more fun if people are checking in on me. I’ll need it. That, and pizza.

For the moment, however, I have a song stuck in my head. More than that, a video that makes no damn sense at all. I think, based on Britney’s costume, that it’s sponsored by Trojan. At the very least they hopefully handed out condoms on the set, just in case. If there is a “script” it was written by a very lonely young man living in his mother’s basement, in between shots of Mountain Dew and down time from Halo. Mars? Really? Wait. Now where is she? AND WHY THEY HELL IS THAT GUY BEING HELD UP BY A CHAIN? Then he gives her the Heart of the Ocean, I guess. What an idiot. He makes Taylor Lautner look positively Ivy League. Anyway…

Everyone give your nose a good pinch and say it with me. Ooh baby baby!

Countdown to Finality

So, you have 26 days left until the Rapture.  Are you ready?  Made your Rapture Party Plans yet?  Have you found a home for your pet yet (that is to say, for those of you who will be leaving us)?  Have you made your Bucket List?  Get on it people!  There isn’t time to dilly, or dally, or hesitate!

Then again, utilizing a quote I heard during my recent trip to NYC (I can’t claim right to this one, but I will use the hell out of it): “Why can’t you quit?  Jesus did.”  So, maybe you shouldn’t do anything.  Just let it happen.  Heat up some queso, prop up your feet, refuse to shower and watch 26 days of television.

Hell, forward all your bills to the people at We Can Know, seeing as how they’re so up on this whole Rapture shibang.  I mean, can’t there be some type of legal spin on making plans around their May 21st date…you know, in the unlikely event that they’re wrong?

Dammit.  I just paid off my car.  Should have thought that one through a bit more.

Still, maybe this isn’t really a bad thing at all.

I feel secure that my publisher will still be around, since I know God isn’t terribly fond of Faerie worship or purple highlights, so at least Flutter will still arrive in August.  And since I’m not necessarily targeting Christians with my books (well, targeting, yes, but not in the publicity sense), then I can rest assured that my audience will still be around.  In fact, this may be a boon to the publishing industry, now that I think on it, because it will eliminate…er, I mean, remove all the people who are most traditionally likely to whine about literary content.  Vampire Porn for everyone!  Hopefully Stephanie Meyer is taken.  I can’t stomach anymore of her work.

I’m actually thinking that the bulk of people at Twitter and Facebook will still be around, so we’ll still have that.  To boot, all that Christian clutter will be gone, so no more scrolling through the rants and praise to Mr. Jesus.  Heck, little boys all over the world can roam free, safe and secure in the knowledge that their pants won’t be removed by some God-horny Man of the Cloth, so that’s good.  Then again, won’t all the Men of the Cloth who engaged in that activity still be here?  Hm.  Rule of the land!  It’s time to put these imbeciles on a remote island with a few other undesirables, and have an And Then There Were None reality show.  Given the dearth of candidates, and only 12 slots (should we remain true to the story), I’m thinking several continuous seasons of this will do fine.

Fortunately, we’ll still have this:

So that’s cool.

I’m actually feeling confident that the bulk of television shows, actors and actresses, producers, directors, musicians, writers, artists and executives will still be around, so I guess Hollywood just keeps rolling.  I mean, they didn’t stop for Pearl Harbor or 9/11, did they?  Can’t seem them seeing this any differently.  So, we’ll still have a major portion of our art intact.

This solves our energy crises, doesn’t it?  And food shortages?

Can we get back to community-based lifestyles, and weed out the box stores?  I can promise you all non-Christian based indie bookstores will still be around.  They didn’t break for Amazon or B&N, so I figure the Rapture won’t kill their inspiration either.  Should be plenty of stock and, as mentioned, better quality to choose from, so there you are.  Another win.

Looks like the recession is over.  Jobs for everyone!

May have to entertain that Trump for President thing, after all.  He’ll still be around.  I mean, it would appear that every politician is a Christian, or so they would have you believe.  Surely they weren’t lying about that.  I’ll vote for him.  Although George Clooney might be more interested now that there’s no real backlash to him running, right?  Hell, all of Hollywood might put their name in the hat if they can do so comfortably knowing that there’s no one left to call them out on their loose-running morality issues.

What else?

You know, this may very well be the greatest Litmus test in the whole of testing things that aren’t what they purport to be.  I sense a great deal of finger waggling, post Rapture, with some, “Ahhhhhh, I knew you weren’t a Christian!” in for good measure.  Playground rules apply.  Those shamed are cast into the Pit of the Unwanton Liars Who Used to Be Bullies But Are Now Just Stupid Dummy Butts.

Yeah, I’m liking this post-Rapture world.

I need to go stock up on cheese.  Feel free to do the same.  In the meantime, what did I forget?

The Bookstore #8, Publish What?

The latest in the ongoing series of The Bookstore is one that booksellers everywhere will relate to.  With the advent and ease of print-on-demand publishing, bookstores are hit repeatedly by that customer who want to have their book displayed in the store.  These customers are not only persistent, they refuse to understand why booksellers don’t want to stock their title(s).  Usually it has quite a lot more to do with the lack of editing and skill in the work than it does that the majority of these titles are deemed un-returnable, should they not sell in-store.  So, they’re stuck with a crap book with a crap cover that no one will buy for a dollar.  But worse than that customer is the one who has come to believe that booksellers–because they are so entrenched in the industry–have lead-ins to publishers that may be exploited at a moment’s desire.  And that’s where we find Eddie today.  Face to face with a customer who believes himself to be a writer, and is determined to make use of Eddie’s contacts and/or complete and utter understanding of what publishers want.

PAY ATTENTION TO ME!

Ahem.

There are a few side projects that I have going on, whilst awaiting the release of Flutter: An Epic of Mass Distraction, which is due out in August, and I would be remiss not to pool them into my Whoreville of Compilation here on this blog. After all, it’s point is to let you know how utterly awesome–if not just active–I am.  So, that said, here’s the scoop:

First of all, I have officially launched the Ducky Thomas blog in order to keep his persistent quacking about new blogs centered in another room, where he can take care of that himself.  He says that he will have one new blog a week, until he can talk me into taking him to new places on a more regular basis.  I let him know that I have a job, and it is my duty to ensure that we can all continue to eat.  He was a good duck and laughed at the word ‘duty’ for two hours.  Check it out.  For a duck, he has pretty good stories.

Secondly, I have attempted to be more consistent with entries on the bookstore blog, There Are No Words.  Mostly, I’m just filling space with the odd things I hear, and the even odder requests that I get.  Becoming involved once more in that blog led to my third in-the-works project.

If you aren’t familiar with the website Xtranormal, then you’ve likely been under a rock.  It’s one of the most useful sites for writers (or directors for that matter) with time, energy, and a small amount of cash to spare.  I’ll spare the details on how it works (largely because I have an episode coming up for that), and instead post the first 3 episodes in the series simply called The Bookstore. There is some truth to it, to a degree.  I have drawn from some of the bits I’ve dropped on the bookstore blog, and added the rest for entertainment.  In the end, this is not meant to be a representation of life at my day job.  It’s meant to be a series of short films that culminate into a larger story.  Life at The Bookstore, if you will.  Characters will be evolved, a story will unfold, and a certain author’s books (ahem) will be shamelessly promoted.  Oh, and there will be no shortage of loathing for Twilight.  So here they are.  You can subscribe to them on my You Tube account and you’ll get email updates when new videos are posted.  Right now I’m doing one a day, but I would image it will be reduced to 2-3 times per week after I’ve got enough of them created.

Please let me know what you think.  This is a work in progress, and I’m always open to input.

Here is #1:

Here is #2:

Here is #3:

An Apocalyptic Twilight

Today, I offer you what I consider to be a tasty treat.  However, first, here are some links, and feel free to watch this video of Stephen Colbert doing his thing with Biz Stone, Co-Founder of Twitter.  Had trouble posting it, so you’ll have to just click the link.

  • Santana has made a heartfelt, and somewhat desperate plea to our new President.  I can’t think of a better request in these robust economic times, when people are so busy with work and excess that they have nothing better to do.  Thank you, Santana.
  • I’m a statistic!  I’m so proud of myself for involuntarily participating in an American Survey!  You gotta laugh, right?  Right?
  • I am an avid fan of baseball.  I am also an avid fan of Chick Fil-A.  This just rocks my world.
  • Apparantly, wealthy people in Britain are just as prone to excessive snobbery and isolationism as their counterparts in America.  Poor Goolgians, just doing their job, and this is what they get
  • Let’s see…you’re telling me it took a spear to the head to learn this lesson?
  • “Mom!  Dad!  I made it into UC San Diego!  I’m going to college!  My life is finally turning up!”  Uh-oh.  Acceptance Fail.
  • Now you have to hear it as well.  I’m not going to be the only one, dammit.
  • I am both a fan of, and a friend to, Paul Jenkins.  In the world of comics, he is one of the iconic figures.  Great writer, wonderful British wit.  His Origin story of Wolverine is still a revered work in the industry.  Now, it’s becoming a film, and I have to admit, that I am excited.  It would appear that more than 100,000 people were obviously more excited than I am, and have seen the movie before it’s even out.  Lucky bastards.

Here’s a link to the Southern Authors blog.  I did a post yesterday (just scroll down), and somehow managed to decide that the dvd release of Twilight was a great subject matter to discuss.  In fairness to ME, though, that movie was just so awful it was worth every minute.  I mean, it was so poorly directed, so horribly acted, so predictable in its cinematic attrocities, that I was riveted.  Completely spellbound.  Ok, that’s a stretch, but I was entertained.

I liken that movie to a book that I carry around with ME everywhere I go.  I find the temptation to read it at MY signings to be too compelling to resist.  It too, is so bad, it just circles right on around to good.  It’s a cult-classic to all those who have read it, or at least parts of it.  It is Apocalypse South, a print-on-demand book by Kyle Watson.  I hold no pretense that Mr. Watson will wander upon my blog, but if you do, good sir, by all means contact me.  I can sell this book a thousand times over if you want to help out.  Granted, you should be made aware that I would not be selling it on its literary merit, but rather, on its lack of it.  In fact, MY wife Alice had decreed that Mr. Watson’s use of something she calls, “adjectnouns” is, in fact, a groundbreaking technique that is difficult to consistently maintain.  For example, “forest woods”, or, “forest trees”, or, “shirt uniform”.  I’m just randomly opening the book here.  There are a ton more. 

One of the most entertaining bits of this book (and there are SOOOOOO many to choose from), occurs shortly after the rapture takes place–on I-285 in this case, though I debate whether or not this already happens on a daily basis–and general hysteria has taken those “Left Behind” (oops, did I say that?) by a gripping force that is only just a touch over-dramatized.  Judge for yourself, though:

Dakota glances back at the line of gasonline under a car fire.  The sparks from the car are just enough to light up the gasoline trail headed right to Dakota’s shoes.  He takes of running at full speed.  The car explodes and Dakota dives onto the pavement.  He slowly begins to sit up with his clothes torn.  He has sustained cuts and bruises throughout his body.  Dakota tries to maintain his composure when he notices the back of a woman lying on the side of the interstate.  He can hear her crying.  She looks so much like Desiree from behind.  Believing it may be her, he forgets about his pain and rushes over to her.  he presses his hand on her shoulder.  She turns around screaming out loud.

“Where is my baby?”  She grabs a hold of Dakota’s shirt, “have you seen my baby?  He was just in my womb.”  Dakota is stunned that it isn’t his wife and is horrified by what she says about her missing baby.  He is sorrowful for the lady, but his emotions don’t last long as he hears a loud noise approaching them.  he looks up towards the sky and sees a passenger plane coming right at them.  Then he looks straight ahead of him and views a herd of people stampeding toward them.  He realizes everyone is running toward the exit ramp to escape the coming plane.  Dakota helps the lady up off the pavement.

“Lady, we must hurry up and move or we’re both going to be killed.”

“I can’t go,” she replies, “What about my baby?”

“Your baby is gone and we have no time,” he responds, “We must run.”  He begins to run, dragging her along by his waist side.  She is sobbing tears of pain.  The herd of people are gaining ground on Dakota and the lady.  The airliner takes a nose dive onto the interstate.  Thunderous explosions erupt as the plane crashes.  Debris is flying all over the surrounding area.  Dakot realizes that he has to do something quick or they will be killed by the stampeding people or by debris from the plane crash.  They are inches away from being crushed by the people.  Dakota leaps just in time onto a grassy hill under the bridge, and next to the exit ramp.  He holds onto the lady as they roll down the hill and the mass of people pass by them.  Some of the people are being hit by debris, causing injuries and even death.

Even death?  NOOOOOOOO!  Sorry, I had to say something.  It’s near impossible to even type that without wanting to break in and make comments.  The book I own, which I’ve had for nine years now, is actually written in quite thoroughly by MYSELF and others who have braved a read/edit as well.  I actually signed off on page 83, as it was seriously beginning to hamper my writing efforts.  I didn’t hear the whole book until Alice (MY books by Alice professional) read it during a road trip a few years ago.  Since that time, I’ve made a concerted effort to spread the wealth.  If not only for the entertainment value, then for the illustration as to how one does not go about writing a book (and why some POD books are such a negative drain on self-published authors).

Just typing it has worn me out.  Perhaps I should go read Twain, or Tom Robbins, or some other high-grade, literary mind to recharge.  Actually, no, I’d rather have some bacon.  That should do just fine.