Saturday, December 31, 2011

That Time Of Year Again

Hi folks.

I've been gone a loooong time from the blogs, I know. Sorry about that. I usually get scarce this time of year, as I'm rarely online when I'm on staycation. How's that for irony, huh?

So this means I haven' blogged or read blogs in all this time. And I therefore apologize for my lack of comments, people. Nothing personal, okay?

Anyway, I hope you all are having a good wrap-up to the year. 2011 was not a nice year to me, and to be honest I can't wait for it to be done with already. But I hope the rest of you have had a better year. And even if yours sucked as much as mine did, let us join forces and wish really hard that we ALL have a fantastic 2012!!!

As some of you already know, the end of the year is never a good time for me. New Year's Eve is when my mother was taken from us, as I've already chronicled here and here before. So it's not a happy, merry ol' time for me or my family. We tend to be very low-key on this night, watching the ball drop on Times Square from the comfort of our living rooms, but not much else. I can only remember one time since my mother's passing that I've gone to a NYE party, and that was mostly to take my mind off depressing thoughts than anything else.

Still, don't let me spoil the fun and merry hijinks of this night. I wish you all the best . . . auld lang syne, and all that jazz. May you have a prosperous and joyous 2012.


Monday, December 19, 2011

A Brief History Lesson, Game Of Thrones Style!

So how was your weekend? Mine was fine, filled with a lot of writing done on the ongoing practice novel . . . but also much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the performance of my NYC-area NFL teams. Grrrrr! Way to eff up my Sunday, Giants and Jets! But at least I got to see the Pats embarrass the Broncos. Was looking forward to that the most, actually. And Tom Brady delivered!

Anywho . . .

Got a nice surprise over at Winter Is this morning. Seems they received a specially made press-kit from HBO bearing the sigil of House Stark, and packed with all sorts of goodies for the upcoming home video release of the 1st season of Game of Thrones.  You can click on the link to see what was in the kit, but I'm going to embed a special video below which was taken from the Blu-ray box set. The clip is part of one of the many special features, this one consisting of 24 videos pertaining to various aspects of Westerosi life, culture, and history -- and each containing sketch-art animation with narration provided by various members of the show's cast. This particular one details the religious institutions of Westeros, and is narrated by both Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark) and Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran Stark). This brief history of the dual religions which came to dominate Westeros is information that was spread out in bits and pieces throughout the books, but which is very handy for newcomers to get all in one place like this. Watch for yourselves and enjoy:

I'm impressed. And also, highly excited to get my hands on my own Blu-ray set this March! I'm going to watch all 24 vids as if they're a History Channel doc. It's going to be AWESOME, I just know it!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Batista's 10 Contrarian Rules To Life

I've overcome many obstacles to get to where I am today. Those who know me already know the long of it, so I won't bore you with the details about my chaotic childhood. But do you wanna know a little secret I utilized to get through some of the tougher periods of uncertainty and doubt?

Simple: I did the opposite of what everyone else was doing!

It sounds like a an odd thing to say, right? But somehow it worked! I got through high school, for instance, by taking a look around me and realizing that I didn't want to be like all those other kids I saw because they were obviously headed in a very bad direction. So instead of hanging out, chasing girls, and seeking attention -- I stayed indoors, studied my ass off, and generally avoided people. Getting out of the inner city is really tough when the odds are stacked against you. Even more so if you don't come from a solid nuclear family who's members emphasize working hard to succeed. It's a vicious cycle! I simply did what I had to do to break out.

So, this is when I came up with my "opposite" rule. Do the opposite of what is undesirable, and perhaps you'll achieve that which is desirable.

It worked for me! Well, so far at least.

So, then, here are the 10 most crucial observations I've made about various aspects of this world that should really be obvious to most, but is sometimes not. Generally speaking, doing the complete opposite of these things will make you an all-around better person. These are my "Anti-Asshole" rules, in effect.


1)  Those who constantly talk about how smart they are, usually are not. (So don't be like that)

2)  If it's easy money, it's illegal money. True financial reward can only come from working hard and smart.

3)  The man who talks the loudest usually has the least of interest to say. (So speak softly and carry a big stick!)

4)  If your charity needs to be acknowledged by others, then it is not true charity. (The anonymous donation is genuine)

5)  If you begin a sentence: "I'm not racist, but . . ." You are most likely racist.

6)  If you have to say: "My gay friend is coming to the party." You are most likely a bigot.

7)  The popular girl in school has the most admirers, but the least friends. (Cherish your unpopularity)

8)  Angry people die young. (Don't worry, be happy)

9)  Fervent patriotism is not always a good thing. (Hitler was the ultimate patriot)

10) Pride is the ugliest human emotion. No one's ever donned a hood and bombed a church over "humble" power.

I'm sure I could go on and on, but these 10 are a good start. Thinking like this has prevented me from committing some spectacular failures in my lifetime. It also grants me the occasional immunity to "foot-in-mouth" disease.

Useful, that.

If anyone wants to add to the list, feel free to do so in the comments section below.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

G.I. Joe Done Right!

So, I don't think I've talked about it much here . . . but I hated that live-action G.I. Joe film that came out 2 years back: The Rise of Cobra. It wasn't a spectacular fail of my 80s childhood by any means (I liked it a lot better than the Michael Bay Transformers movies, for example), but it still left a lot to be desired by this fan.

Well, looks like that might all be changing when the sequel hits theaters next summer. At least, going by the recently released trailer, that is. Check it out below for yourselves:

Whoa! I like! I like it very, very much. I don't know how this is possible, but in some ways this one little trailer alone is far better than the entire 2009 film. HOLY HELLS! And yes, yes . . . I know that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is now in this as "Roadblock," and that all the talk is about Bruce Willis's surprise cameo as the original "Joe" -- General Joe Colton. That's all cool and all. And, in fact, Willis's delivery at the end of the trailer is just damn hilarious!

But forget all that! Do you know who I'm excited to see in this movie the most? My favorite ninja girl -- Jinx!

You spot her a few times in the trailer with the red blind fold. She's a scion of the famed ninja clan, the Arashikage, and is a disciple of the one and only "Blind Master" (played by the RZA, of all people) -- hence her "blind" fighting style, which I just think is the epitome of AWESOME!

I first fell in love with this character in the original G.I. Joe cartoon movie released back in 1987. She was part of the new rookie recruits known as the "Rawhides", trained by "Beach Head." In fact, one of my all time favorite scenes in the movie is when Beach Head gives her a hard time and tests her to see if she's got what it takes to join his team. Check out the clip below, which I'm sure will bring back tons of memories to you fellow 80s kids out there! :)

They just don't do animation this well anymore, do they?

And, oh how I love this scene! And from this point on, little 10-year old me was a die-hard Jinx fan! I would even dare say I had a huge crush on her. *blushes*

So, imagine how pleased I was to find out that the talented and beautiful French actress, Elodie Yung, would be playing her in the film. Are you serious? SCORE!!!! To be sure, I only know her previously from the movie, District 13: Ultimatum -- but she was one of the more memorable presences in that otherwise forgettable film.

Yeah, I think she might just work out fine!

G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation is currently slated for release on June 29, 2012 -- the weekend before Independence Day here in the States. I, for one, will be there opening day!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Winter Is Still Coming . . .

. . . And the Cold Winds are Rising.

Eh? Not as strong a tagline as I would have liked, but I'll take it. Even if it was never uttered in the books. Anyway, THE DAY HAS ARRIVED. Finally, after so long a wait, the first teaser with any actual footage has been aired for the next season of HBO's Game of Thrones! It aired just before the season finale of Boardwalk Empire last night, and it was GLORIOUS!

Watch it for yourself below, and I'll comment afterwards:

“My brother left no trueborn heirs.
By right, and birth, and blood,
I do this day lay claim,
To the Iron Throne of Westeros.
Let all true men declare their loyalty.
The Iron Throne is mine by right.
They will bend the knee,
Or I will destroy them.
The cold winds are rising.”

Whoa! We only get to see a small amount of new footage, but it was enough to whet this fan's appetite. How about you?

I feel I need to provide a little context for what was just seen, though, as I think it might be difficult to follow for those who are not readers of the books. Or for those to whom the last season is a barely remembered blur. Heh, heh . . . it happens.

First off, the man you hear talking is Stannis Baratheon, younger brother to King Robert (who died in the first season), and older brother to Renly. Renly, if you recall, is the guy who served as King Robert's Master of Laws on the Small Council, and who urged Ned to seize the throne before Queen Cersei could place her illegitimate son on it. Ned, of course, refused and Renly fled King's Landing to marshal his own forces. Both he and Stannis lay equal claim to the Iron Throne now, under the pretense that the new King Joffrey was no seed of their brother Robert. The two younger siblings, in turn, hate each other and seek to eliminate their rival despite the blood they share.

Yeah, it's getting positively Shakespearean up in this piece!

Although it is Stannis's voice you hear doing the narration (acted by the talented Stephen Dillane), the first person you actually see in the clip is Renly Baratheon, astride a horse and wearing the stag crown of his noble house. The next scene--a night time one--shows Stannis himself, accompanied by his wife Selyse and a host of soldiers. These two are new to the show, and were never seen in the first season. Stannis was only ever mentioned by name on several occasions, including once during that now infamous grooming/blowjob scene between Lord Renly and his buddy, Ser Loras Tyrell--aka, the Knight of Flowers.

You remember THAT, now, don't you?

Next we get a series of one-shots featuring many faces you should all be familiar with by now. Of particular note is the quick shot of a short-haired Arya Stark, who should have a sizable role this season if they are closely following the book. Yay!

Pay particular attention to what you're hearing near the very end of the clip (at the 0:30 mark). That's three horn blasts from the top of the Wall. This is significant, if you don't know. One horn blast means a Ranger of the Night's Watch is returning from patrol beyond the Wall. Two blasts means a Wildling attack is imminent.

But three blasts . . . well, that means the White Walkers are approaching. *shudder*

Damn, this season is going to be BAD ASS! Are you as excited as I am?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sports Week Roundup

This has surely been a week for the ages in sports land. Where do I even begin?

West Coast Rattler In The MLB.

It all started with Jose Reyes leaving the Mets for the FL Marlins. Uh-oh, how low can the Mets sink now? As a dyed in the wool Yankees fan, I can only laugh at our poor miserable red-headed stepchild of a sports team we've got there across the East River. Their misfortune is my glee, and for them to lose who is arguably the "Derek Jeter" of the Mets -- well, I can only say good riddance! The Mets are a suck-ass excuse of an MLB team, and I think it's high time the local media admits it. In case some of you don't know, while the Yankees are of course the darlings here in New York, for some reason the actual news anchors who deliver the tv news are heavily slanted in favor of the Mets. I've never quite been able to get a clear explanation why this is the case, but I think it has to do with the "underdog" theory. Well, perhaps now they'll see just why the Mets deserve to continue being underdogs. They can't seem to do anything right!

Staying with the MLB, there was also news mid-week of Albert Pujols getting snatched up by the L.A. Angels. Oh great, as if that city needed MORE superstar sports stars on their local teams. I think this is going to be big trouble for the Yanks next season, as there are times I feel the Angels are a more feared rival than even the hated Boston Red Sux! Still, I'd be lying if I didn't admit to being excited about seeing Pujols on the West Coast. Too bad New York is aging pretty badly and won't really have anything to offer up next season to counter the threat from the West. Oh well, such are the whims of this sport. I still hold out hope that we can pull out some surprises of our own before Spring training begins.

NBA Losing Touch With Reality.

Or rather, Commissioner David Stern seems to be. Just when I thought L.A.'s luck couldn't possibly get any better, word came early in the week that the Lakers would be getting coveted super awesome point guard, Chris Paul. HOLY SHIT! I couldn't believe the news. Although, personally, I thought the deal stunk to high heaven from the get-go--I would never give up Gasol for ANY prospect in the entire NBA, period--I thought it was a gutsy move, and one that I could see as possibly paying off huge dividends for the Lake Show if handled properly. But then David Stern had a hissy fit and decided the league was better off without L.A. being an even bigger contender than it already was, nixing the deal in the name of fair balance to all the owners who currently have a shared stake in the N.O. Hornets. The fuck??? I've never seen more shady underhanded switcheroos going down in sports since the 1919 baseball World Series. And since I wasn't even around for that, this goes down as number 1 in my book. I mean, wow.

Still, while it's a shitty thing to have happen to Chris Paul, I guess there is nothing technically illegal with Stern stepping in. The Hornets are owned by the NBA, for all intents and purposes, and the Comish has the power to steer the NBA any way he deems necessary for the maximum revenue generation he sees fit. It still stinks, though. And I for one do not like it at all.

But on a local front, I'm pleased as punch to see our New York Knicks getting an early Christmas present this year. Tyson Chandler is now a Knick! OMG, I can't tell you how thrilled I am by this turn of events! Although it sucks if you are a Mavericks fan, eh? Damn, that must hit hard! But we get to benefit from Chandler's big-D, an area in which New York was sorely lacking. And with 'Mello and Amare already set in place, I think we're going to finally see the most dominant front court we've seen on the Knicks in what seems like AGES. And guess what? We also got veteran Mike Bibby, to boot! Holy shit! I'm a HUGE Bibby fan! Can this actually be the time for the Knicks to truly make their presence known? Christmas day is going to be extra special for me when they take on the Boston Celtics. Wow, what a game in the making!

There are rumblings that Dwight Howard may be coming to the Nets. If he does, this is going to be BIG, people! And I'm actually more of a Nets fan than I am of the Knicks! There's still no telling which way this rumor will turn out, but I have to admit I have my doubts. Will have to wait and see and cross my fingers in the meantime.

Let's Get Ready To RUMBLE!

The week started out huge with the fallout from the Cotto vs Margarito fight last Saturday. I was so glad to see that Mexican bum get his comeuppance, let me tell you. But it was a very good fight, nonetheless. As much as I hate the guy, Margarito does have staying power. But Cotto is the better boxer, and definitely the better man. Cheaters deserve to get punished and suffer in the worst way possible. I only wish the fight could have gone the full 10 and end in a spectacular knock-out! Though, to be honest, that was never going to happen with these two. Margarito, naturally, wanted a rematch immediately. Cotto just laughed it off for now, but personally I think there is one more bout left between these two heated rivals. Margarito's star is hugely diminished, but for the sake of closure I think there needs to be a definitive end to this saga.

HBO Sports had a big boxing event last night. Besides replaying the Cotto fight, they headlined the bout between super lightweights Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson live from Washington, D.C. But before we get to that, I have to say I was greatly entertained by the undercard heavyweight matchup between Timur Ibragimov and Seth Mitchell. The fight was over before the 2nd round even really began, but Mitchell impressed the hell out of me! Wow! The Uzbek, Ibragimov, is a respected technical fighter used to going long in the rounds -- but Mitchell absolutely put him down while barely breaking a sweat. I can't wait to see more from this guy in the future.

The main event of the night, Khan vs Peterson, was one of the better fights I've seen in a long time. I was so not expecting that! I honestly thought the bout would go long, but that Khan would come out on top in every round. Such was not the case. Peterson showed great heart out there, and really gave it as well, if not better, than he was getting. Still, I'm highly upset at the outcome. Although local boy Peterson did fight with real guts out there, there was no doubt in my mind that the fight belonged to Khan. But due to some truly bizarre officiating, the Brit ended up losing on the count of two points deducted for pushing. Pushing? PUSHING??? Are you fucking serious? That was some bullshit right there! The ref never even gave him any hard warnings. He did tell Khan to stop doing it a few times, but never a direct, hard-nosed warning like you would expect before a full deduction. And who the hell takes away points for pushing, anyway? Bizzare, I tell you!

So Peterson (right) is the new champ, and honestly it was an awesome fight. He showed great class, too, by immediately agreeing to a rematch. Really, it's the decent thing to do considering the shady circumstances surrounding the decision.

NFL Sunday Is The Place To Be.

Right now I'm watching the Kansas City Chiefs get absolutely demolished by Gang Green as I type this. It's good to see the Jets finally getting their act together, but I only wish it was against a more worthy opponent. I can't say this impending win inspires much confidence in me for where they go after this, but hey . . . one step at a time, eh?

The bigger news today, of course, is the matchup between my beloved NY Giants and that scrappy, little-known team you may have heard of, the Dallas Cowboys. HOO-BOY! I've been antsy ALL FUCKING WEEK for this game! Even today I've been a restless ball of nervous energy for the game to hurry up and BEGIN already! But, of course, the NFL wants to drag out my torture by scheduling it as the premiere lineup later tonight. Pure, unadulterated TORTURE, I tell ya! This is going to be a game to end all games. So much is on the line for the Giants. It's do or die for my team here. It's so big that I really have next to zero interest in whatever the hell else is going on in the NFL right now. I'm vaguely aware that the Pats and Redskins are involved in a major throw-down this current moment, with the Pats on top so far. And that's all good and all, but -- GO BIG BLUE!!!!

And that, as they say, is all the news that's fit to print. Sound off on your own thoughts re: the big sports week we've just had, and are still having, in the comments section below. Also, if you will (and if you follow such things), be sure to include your pick for who you think will survive tonight's big NFC East showdown. Pretty please?

Have a good Sunday, all!

EDIT @ 12:13am:   Phew! That was such a nail biter of a game. Right down to the wire. SWEET MAMMA-JAMMA, JAMBALAYA!!! I must have had a hundred heart attacks during the 4th quarter alone, plus another one when 6 seconds were left on the clock for that attempted field kick. Jesus H. Christ! But, alas, I am so thrilled the G-Men pulled it off. Wow, Eli was looking like a real QB down the stretch there. He showed heart against the Cowgirls on their own turf! It was close, but I'll take that win straight to the bank, thank you very much. WOOOOO!!! :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

In Which I Get My Man Card Revoked

My wife, Lisa, and I just watched this movie (again) tonight, apropos of the season upon us.

I know I risk my masculinity by admitting this . . . but Love, Actually is one of the best Christmas movies of all time! Definitely my favorite romantic comedy bar none. That's right, you heard me. I watch romantic comedies on occasion. Sue me. Of course, I have Lisa to thank for this, as I'd probably want to stab myself in the eye were I single and all angsty about love and what-not. But as it stands, I like a well made romantic comedy. Don't you? And Love, Actually is the most heart-whelming and funniest of them all, in my opinion.

Anyway, watching this film for the umpteenth time now I've decided to officially crack open my special Xmas playlist on the ole iPod. I only ever listen to this playlist in December, before closing it again for yet another year. But I had to listen to Mariah Carey's song "All I Want For Christmas" twice, because honestly it is just that awesome! Click on the link to see her official video of the song. Like Love, Actually is to romantic movies for me, I strongly feel that this is the best Christmas tune of the modern age. Seriously, how can you not get into the holiday spirit after listening to that? It is sublime perfection, I tell ya!

Also, that Mariah sure can sing her heart out! It's only fitting that the song was featured so prominently in the movie, then. And, with that being said, I leave you now with the perfect scene from that movie to set the mood off. This little girl does an impressive cover of the song in question:

And how cute is that little boy with his puppy-love crush? Ah, young love! Where have you gone? (ha, ha)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Motherly Favoritism?

Hmmm, I've been wondering . . .

Why does it seem mothers proffer way more attention on their sons instead of their daughters? It's an observation I've been making among many of my real life and Facebook friends (not that FB isn't real life, but you know what I mean -- ha!). And yes, if you're a mother with both sons and daughters, I already know what you're going to say:

But, Batista, I love ALL my children EQUALLY! Blah, blah, blah.

Can it, okay? Because, let me tell you: that's sooooo not what I'm seeing! What I see on FB and the blog-o-spheres is a tendency of many mothers to baby the living hell out of their sons, meanwhile giving their daughters what they term a sense of "self dependence." Haha -- but we all know what that really means, right? It means: toughen up, little lady! Because your whole life will be nothing but you fighting for your rights and dignity, and sticking up to the cruel injustices the world inflicts on women.

While there is much truth to all that, of course (girls really need to be taught strong, independent values), I think mothers should take a step back and examine what they're really doing to their kids.

On Facebook, for instance, I've noticed that mothers of both boys and girls constantly praise their sons and record every little motherly greatness they've performed for their male offspring on any given day. And what about their daughters? These they relegate to the occasional reference on birthdays or major milestone moments.

That's it.

But for the 364 other days of the year, it's: "go team Mama's Boy!" all THE DAMN TIME! It's almost as if mothers are making up for a self-perceived inferiority complex they themselves developed growing up in a generation where we were all taught that men RULE THE WORLD!

Which is strange, actually, since nowadays we're very much living in the time of the Super Mom who can never do no wrong. Super Mom is so much smarter, harder working, and a better parent all around than her nameless, helpless spousal partner who gets occasionally referenced as simply "the hubby" whenever Super Mom is feeling magnanimous.

So I find it weird, in this day and age when we're supposed to be more sensitive about empowering the women in our lives, that mothers are STILL practicing the time-worn tradition of holding their sons up on a higher pedestal than daughters. As if to say that boys are lacking in certain areas and actually NEED the boost up? Oh, forget the girl! She's strong and brilliant--JUST LIKE ME--and will therefore be fine. I'm not worried about her.

Admit it, mothers: this is how you rationalize your treatment of your daughters. Right?

But fine? FINE YOU SAY? Hundreds of psychiatrists and millions of dollars spent on therapy say otherwise, methinks. After all, is there anything more fraught with pitfalls than the modern day mother-daughter relationship? By contrast, father-son rifts look like a day at the spa!

Look, I understand the opposite-gender favoritism thing that parents have going on. Mothers favor their sons, fathers favor their daughters. Freud wrote many, many articles on the subject, I think. And I get it. Really, I do. Still, if you're a single mom, or a mom who has a very strong presence in her kids lives (meaning, you actually give a damn), then please stop raising boys who grow up into pampered, egocentric, entitled pricks. Those self-centered ignoramuses who think women exist solely to prop them up and mooch off of.

This is all I'm getting at here. It's becoming an epidemic around these parts nowadays. I can't tell you the number of assholes I know who just so happen to be mama's boys, too. I mean, honestly -- you think there's not some correlation there?

So please, unless you're an ancient Egyptian . . . ease up on that there son worship, ladies. In this day and age where the good, conscientious, self-sufficient man is a dying breed, and where mother-daughter relationships have never been at their most fractured, how about you stop pretending your daughters are thick-skinned and actually reflect her accomplishments on Facebook or the blog for a change?

I'm so tired of hearing how great Billy is, and how he will be your baby FOR-EVAH and EVAH!!! Stop shouting to the world how handsome, tall, and strong your Mark is -- and, oh . . . as an aside, Sally won a scholarship to Yale, too. She takes after me, you know?

I think you know by now which one of those accomplishments I find more pertinent to the real world and, therefore, worthier of praise. Give me brains over good looks any day, I say!

As mentioned earlier: it might not be as apparent to you, but it is to us. Your sons are getting WAY too much of the shout outs and atta-boys from you on the Internet. So let's stop this blatant favoritism before the world is filled with nothing but soft, mewling, pansied man-boys getting absolutely NOTHING done, and hurting the women around them with their gender-elitist attitudes.

Oh wait -- TOO LATE!

And this is coming from a former boy who got pampered and exulted from the female parental figures in his life, you know? Yes, even in my screwed up, shit for luck life I couldn't escape this preferential treatment. Sure, I benefited greatly from it on an emotional level, but holiday get-togethers with my female siblings and our guardians is the stuff social therapy textbooks are made from!

Just a friendly word (or thousand) of advice this holiday season. I'm all about giving, don't you know . . .

Monday, December 5, 2011

That Time I Dreamed Of Talking Flowers . . .

©2010-2011 Karin Charlotte

Over at the Economic Disconnect, my good buddy GYSC waxes nostalgic about the joys of taking prescribed painkillers, and cautions why it's perhaps not the best time to perform even basic automotive maintenance while under their, er, spell. In the comments section, I mentioned I have my own cautionary tale to tell--which coincidentally also came about from being prescribed painkillers after surviving a sometimes harrowing, though rudimentary, dental procedure.

It was late January, 2007. I was 30 years old and going in for my first major surgical procedure of my life. Fortunately, it was a routine wisdom tooth extraction. Unfortunately, I had opted to get all 4 removed at once! Pretty much since the age of 12 onward I would experience periodic and quite painful gum swelling at the rear of my mouth, just behind the last molars. One time, even, a small space opened up and got infected back there. I needed penicillin that time, and oh how my pee smelled terrible for the next 2 weeks or so!

There was a brief time during and just after college when I had no medical or dental insurance, so I went a few years longer than I should have without regular checkups. But finally, just as I was starting to take all facets of my health more seriously as I entered my 30s, all this negligence caught up to me right quick! In 2006, I learned that some of my wisdom teeth had not come through the gumline completely, and that in fact one of them was actually impacted. A visit to the oral surgeon confirmed that I would need to have all my wisdom teeth removed at some point, and preferably sooner rather than later.

I agreed to the sooner option, and all at once. I hate when jobs are left incomplete, don't you? It's a pet peeve of mine. So I insisted on this. I also insisted that I not be put under, since this is a rule I live by until it becomes absolutely impossible to maintain. If there is an option, in other words, I will never agree to be put under. I simply cannot abide the thought of losing that kind of control even for a mere second, if I can help it.

For some reason, the surgeon didn't seem to think this would be a problem. I know some of you might be thinking I'm crazy right about now. But I actually have a VERY high pain threshold. And I figured that, plus the novacaine, would be enough for me.

And you know what? I was right! No shit.

Yes, I know you were expecting a different outcome. One filled with blood, curses, and prodigious amounts of screaming, right? Well, sorry to disappoint. The entire procedure, once the surgeon rolled up his sleeves and got to work, only lasted 25 minutes. It would have been faster, in fact, if not for the very last tooth getting caught around a nerve ending. The surgeon had to be more delicate with that situation, obviously, and ended up busting the tooth up into little pieces with a drill first, before gingerly removing each chunk by hand.

The entire time I barely felt a thing. I could feel the tug at my jaw as he wrenched each tooth out with those huge pliers, and the crunching sound that ensued was pretty awesome to my ears as well. But, honestly, I felt not even one moment of piecing pain. To this day, I have no idea what people go on about when they talk about the horror of getting wisdom teeth removed. Especially since so many opt to be put under and wouldn't remember the pain anyway. Go figure on that one.

Anyway, after all was said and done, I was given the drill (not literally) on how to keep rinsing out my mouth at home with slightly salted water, flushing the empty sockets out with this water pic type device, and taking my percocet pills on a regular schedule.

At first I didn't think I would even need the pills. The local hadn't worn off yet and, except for the huge wad of gauze inside my mouth, I felt perfectly fine.

And then I came home, and the anesthetic wore off!

Yeah, I felt true pain then. Enough for me to run for the pills. And oh how it hit me, that blasted percocet! At first I felt nothing. Then gradually over the course of a few minutes the pain began to subside. Pretty soon I was feeling fine. A little too fine, perhaps. Then I got sleepy, so I took a nap.

What happened next is too graphic and surreal for me to adequately describe here. My head was spinning, first off. And somehow that had me spiraling down, Alice In Wonderland-style, through the looking glass of a demented Tim Burton-esque experience. I was floating high, I was floating low. Angry colors assaulted me as if they were real, breathing people, and then the happy colors came and chased them away. I heard voices far and near, echoing as if through canyons.

And then the talking flowers showed up. They had a lot to tell me, the petaled folk. I can't say I remember exactly how the conversation went, but I know it was fairly deep. I was being told secrets of the universe I really should have tried harder to retain.

Anyway, next thing I knew I was waking up three hours later from what was supposed to only be a thirty-minute nap. The fuck?

But the last vestiges of that crazy dream was still there, floating around on a euphoric, rainbow-hued cloud in the back of my head. Quickly, before it all vanished, I ran to my PC and started cranking out the hasty outlines of a brand new short story. The concept was bizarre and unlike anything I had conceived up to that point, but already the effects of the drug-fueled dream were fading fast. I managed to get all the important bits down, and then I took another nap.

It wasn't long after that I switched from percocet to maximum strength Tylenol instead. Yes, it meant that I would have to deal with a little more pain . . . but at least my head stayed clear and free of talking plant matter. Honestly, the freaky dreams were cool in that they provided me with great writing material. But the vertigo and spinning rooms I could do without. I really don't know how people get addicted to this stuff, because it quite frankly scared the shit out me.

Anyway, once I could think clearly I sat down and started to type out the story proper. It turned into a pretty long story, in fact, and was very bizarre. Several critiques and revisions later, I had a final draft that I tried to shop around. It got rejected to hell and back again, and eventually I trunked the behemoth.

But this is what blogs are for: to dredge up old ghosts of stories past. If you would like to read the story that resulted from my brief brush with Rock 'n' Roll fun, click here to get to it. Alternatively, you can also find the story, titled "Ascending the Sending Road," by checking out my Unpublished Short Stories sidebar on the upper right-side portion of this blog.

Give it a read if you feel like it, and then come back here and leave comments. But don't feel obligated to. It's a lengthy read at over 30 pages long, so I'll understand if you take a pass.

And also, remember . . . DON'T DO DRUGS!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Boston, Prepare Thyself!

I may be all up in your shiz come President's Day weekend!

Yup, folks, I think this my be it. I think this may be the time I finally pop my cherry (of sorts) . . . and attend my very first ever science fiction book convention! What in the seven hells could I possibly be going on about? Why, take a looksee for yourselves:

Yes. I've been giving it a lot of thought lately, and I think I just might be able to pull this off. I've known about Boskone for quite a few years now, and each year I promise myself that this will be the year I go. And then I never do. But that's it. I'm putting my foot down! This time I will not flake out. Boston is also not very far from NYC, so I really have no excuse. The con itself is being held at the Westin Waterfront, somewhere downtown on Summer St. near the Boston Convention Center.

Of course, my decision is made all the more easy by the fact that the one and only John Scalzi, extraordinaire, will be there in person as next year's Guest of Honor. I missed him the last time he was here in New York promoting his novel, Fuzzy Nation. So this may just be my chance to make up for that oversight.

To be sure, Boskone will have a lot more to offer us con goers than just His Baconess alone, radiant though he may be (or maybe that's his cat?). If you take a gander at last year's program, you can see that Boskone is no joke when it comes to jam packing the weekend with lots and lots of interesting and varying things of a geeky nature for us fans and newbie writers to squee over. Since all this will be new to me, however, I'm pretty sure I'm going to utterly screw up my time management skills during this event. There's just too much to do! But oh well, no time like now to finally learn. And Boskone is a relatively small convention compared to, say, your Worldcons or DragonCons.

I'm very excited, though, but also not yet decided on this course of action. I'm going to give it a few days to stew over the pros and cons of going before finally taking the plunge. But in the meantime, if anyone has been to any Boskones past and/or would like to use your powers of persuasion to convince me to go, the comments section below is at your command. Use your powers for good, though.

Thank you.

Panama Trip - Day 1: Here There Be Balboas!

In late May, 2017 I embarked on a trip of a lifetime. A trip to Panama's steamy tropical province, Bocas del Toro. Now, before 2017 ...