$0.25 a day plus expenses. No case too small.

The toughest thing for me when it comes to writing a review for my site is the starting sentence or graph. Hell, that’s tough for most writers. But (again) for me, I find it far easier to jump right into a blog post (when I bother to do one) than to start the first words of a review.

As I was pondering how I was going to start the review for this book I recently finished, the words came to me rather quickly. It’s going to start with, “When I was a kid, my favorite things to read — before King became part of my library — were…” And as I was finishing that thought in my head, I realized not only was I happy with where that’s going to go, but I had the idea for a new blog entry as well.

When I was  kid, my favorite things to read — before King became part of my library — were Encyclopedia Brown, Choose Your Own Adventure, and anything Bigfoot, UFO, or Loch Ness. The latter three I’ll be discussing in said upcoming review, but the first two? Let’s talk about them now.

For those that didn’t have the luxury of growing up with Leroy “Encyclopedia” Brown, he was a kid that solved mysteries for $0.25 a day (plus expenses). I have to be honest here, I don’t remember any stories (c’mon! It’s been over 30 years, easy), but I do remember the solution for one because at the time it was so damn slick. I don’t recall what, exactly, Brown was investigating, I just remember it happened to do with a lady in white who was seen on the beach at night, BUT SHE LEFT NO TRACKS! Was she a ghost? Had someone murdered her, forever making her wander the last place she took a breath? It certainly was a mystery…and Encyclopedia Brown was on the case! Eventually, it turned out that whoever was walking on the beach in that white dress (seriously, I can’t remember) had put a piece of cardboard in the train (maybe it was a wedding dress) and it was weighted just enough that it was smoothing out the sand behind her, thus leaving no footprints. How genius is that? And that kid Brown, well he’s a smart cookie. As I was looking for pictures of covers, it appears that the series is still in print, so I’m pleased that a younger generation will get the same glee as me from reading these.

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When I wasn’t reading Encyclopedia Brown solving mysteries, I was tearing into Choose Your Own Adventure books. If you didn’t experience CYOA as a kid, well, I’m sorry your childhood sucked.

If you don’t know what a CYOA book is, it’s exactly what it sounds like…you choose your own adventure. Basically, you read a page or two, and then you make a choice. If you choose one way, go to page five. If you choose another, go to page nine. And you kept making choices until you ran out of them. Then you started all over. And these books were so popular, which was fantastic for us fans because there were TONS of them. Below are just a few of the titles, and you can see a nice sized picture of even more here.

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In addition to having a ton to choose from, the series’ popularity of course spawned knockoffs. The best of which were the Dungeons and Dragons’ Endless Quest books. It was like two of my favorite things got smashed together into something wonderful.

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I’m not the type to pine over the things I had in childhood, wishing I still had them. But, man, outside of all of my Star Wars toys (if only to sell), I would love to have all of these sitting on my bookshelf now.

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Film set ramblings.

Kevin, Mike, Laura, Me

Kevin, Mike, Laura, Me

I have said before and I’ll say again, I have some pretty cool friends. One of the sweetest things I’ve gained from the site I co-run is the friendship of many of the local filmmakers in my area. And if there’s one thing all low-budget filmmakers have in common, it’s the fact that they are always looking for someone to help out. Because of this, I’ve been on quite a few film sets to lend a hand. I really have zero interest in either starring in a movie or even making one, but I do like watching the process quite a bit, and being eager to help them out gets me right there in the thick of it.

For the past few months, one of my buddies has been part of an anthology project. So far I’ve been part of two of the three (?) stories, and two weeks ago I helped out on a Friday and Saturday (late night shoots, no less) with the wraparound story of the film. (On a side note, if you ever want to hear a fantastic tale about one of the days we shot in the woods, just ask. If I know you well enough, I’ll tell you. Just say, “choke me” and I’ll fill you in.)

For those that may not know, an anthology film consists of a couple stories, and the wraparound is the piece that holds them all together. For example, in Creepshow, the wraparound was the cartoon with the kid and the comic. That’s what we were to be working on two weeks ago (not the kid and the comic, but the wraparound for the movie my buddy is making). It was great because it was going to be a small set, I knew most of the people there, and it was going to be indoors the entire time. That last part was a blessing, for various reasons. The only two people I didn’t know were Brad and Laura, two actors who are the stars of the wraparound. Also on hand were Matt (who is playing two roles in this movie, interestingly enough), Kevin the director, Zig (who was only there Friday and had to leave due to an emergency called LAZINESS, just kidding, it was a real emergency), and Mike, who is a wizard and was there for wizardry and other helpful things. Oh, there were some special effects folks and two of Kevin’s friends there on Saturday too.

I’m not going to get too much what happened on set, other than I had a blast. which is interesting because according to Kevin, things were quite difficult. That’s not to say he’s right, he no doubt is, because I’m more or less there to help out. I have no idea what’s going on with the technical side of things. This is basically how I spend my time on set:

Busy checking Facebook.

I’m NOT checking Facebook. I’m…uh…doing some research for Kevin about…uh…sound or something.

When I’m not looking clueless like the above picture and/or helping out setting up the next shot, much of the time on set is spent talking with everyone else there, and that is my second favorite part of helping out these cats. Because, generally, everyone on set is a film fan (naturally) and the main discussion is generally movies or TV (or, in the case of this set, football because two of us were Redskins fans, one was a Eagles fan (boo!) and one was a Miami fan (whateves). Since ‘Skins just lost to Miami and were due to play Eagles, there naturally was some shit talking.

When we weren’t talking about football, Laura and I were dropping lines from Bob’s Burgers (which was AWESOME because not enough people watch that show) and Archer, and then the discussion got even better because we talked about Richard Matheson stories. That’s when the long hours on the set are worth it, the bullshit discussions in a room full of people where everyone has the same interests. It’s kind of like a nerd convention, but far more intimate.

Plus, with Zig gone on Saturday, I got a lot more involved than I normally do on sets. I did a lot of sound and lighting. That’s what I usually do, but I did even more of it and by the end of the shoot, I was more or less (hopefully) rolling with what Kevin wanted without having to ask him (meaning, I was getting the feel for how much light he needed and where he needed me for sound). He still…directed me, don’t get me wrong, but I was better at him directing me less. At least I hope so and it wasn’t him just giving up on me.

It was two long but fun nights, and if I’m not mistaken, Kevin’s done with shooting his part of this anthology. That’s the bittersweet moment for me because I know I won’t be on a set until his next film (assuming he’ll let me hang out) but it also means now the movie is in editing mode, so I’m closer to seeing the fruits of my labor (what little of it there was).

All in all, it was a great weekend, and it always is. Of all the sets I’ve been on, Kevin’s are my favorite. Even if the sonofabitch is a taskmaster.

Oh, one final thing! My new favorite line, “It’s okay, he has glowsticks.” I will always laugh when someone says that too me.

Thumbs up for Jesus!

Your mother sucks cocks in hell.

I’m overdue for another entry (but, all things considered, I’m doing pretty fucking good here lately), but I think I’m going to start dropping stuff I find interesting here too. I posted this video on my Facebook wall awhile back, as well as the HorrorTalk Facebook wall, but I still find it rather fascinating and I want to have it someplace that’s easily searchable.

Plus, my buddy James and I will be watching The Exorcist in a few weeks here for a pretty cool reason (it will be his first time seeing it, I’m very excited for him), so this is going to be pretty timely for a few reasons.

Anyway, if you have ever seen The Exorcist, this is a pretty damn cool 20-minute mini-documentary on its impact. Well worth the time to watch. (James, if you are reading this, wait until after you see the film.)

The night Deebo saved the little girl from the child slavery.

This past weekend was spent at the second Scares That Care convention in Williamsburg, Va. I’ve been to a ton of these conventions at this point, but I always have a good time whenever I go to one, even if I’m not going for the guests. I should clarify that when I say  I don’t necessarily go for the guests, I don’t mean the authors, but that’s another (upcoming) entry. Plus, the fact that a friend of mine generally gets a vendor’s table at these cons makes the decision to go a lot easier because I can hang out in the vendor’s room the majority of the time.

This particular convention is a young one. As mentioned, it was just the second year for it and has yet to build a huge (film) guest list. Don’t get me wrong, Piper Laurie of Carrie and The Hustler (among others) was there, as well as Kim Coats (Tig on Sons of Anarchy), but there wasn’t really anyone else there that I either hadn’t seen or met before, or wow’d me enough to want to meet. Plus it’s really gotten to the point that what these people are charging is fucking ridiculous. Coats was charging $40 for an autograph. That’s insanity. Granted, his character is fantastic on Sons, but that price is not justifiable, especially for a working actor. But if there are people are willing to pay it, I guess he can charge whatever he wants. I’m just patiently (and hopefully) waiting for the day when fans as a whole say “fuck it” and decide they want to stop being raped by the people they admire and that fee comes down to what it used to be when I first started going to cons: $20 for the headliners, $10 – $15 for everyone else.

Moving on, me bitching about the price of autographs isn’t the point of this entry, it’s what happened Saturday night, the night Deebo saved the little girl from child slavery.

For those that don’t know, Deebo is the name of the character Tiny “Zeus” Lister played in the Ice Cube-penned comedy Friday (if you haven’t seen that, go watch it now; I’ll wait). He happened to be a guest at this year’s Scares That Care, which I thought was cool (but not $25 for picture-with-him cool). As it goes, Saturday night, a few of us were chilling in the lobby of the hotel, drinking and having a casual time. Deebo strolls up with his lady and takes the couch that was opposite of where we were sitting. (It was set up as such where he was sitting was facing, say, north, and then I guess this thing that holds plants — like a couch table I suppose — on the back of it, then the two chairs where we were sitting facing south.) Basically, we couldn’t really see him but we could here him. And the first thing we heard was, “HOTEL! Can someone clean this up!?!”

That’s right readers, he shouted “HOTEL!” over to the desk that was approximately 15 – 20 feet away, at 12:00 in the morning, to get the attention of the staff so someone would remove the cups and bottle that had collected on coffee table…in the lobby. To the hotel’s credit, two young ladies ran over and collected the garbage. I thought this was a bit douchey. Well, it was, no two ways about it, but what happened some time later more than made up for it.

At some point not too long after The Coffee Table Incident of 2015, a little girl was seen wandering back and forth from the elevator that Deebo and his lady faced and the bar. I didn’t think too much of it other than, “Wow, it’s kind of late for her to be out here.” Deebo clearly had the same thought because when the little girl stopped in front of the elevator the second or third time, we heard a “HOTEL! WHY IS THIS LITTLE GIRL BY HERSELF?”

Then, to no one in particular, “How old is she!?”

To which my friend Zig replied, “10!”

“What time is it!?”

To which I offered, “12:30!”


A manager ran over to the child and started talking to her, assumedly to find out about her missing parents. As he was doing this, Deebo offered, “You need to go find her mother!”

The manager, clearly nervous and hating his job at this particular moment, made a move to head to the bar that was down the hall.

“Where are you going! Don’t leave that girl alone!” Deebo suggested.

I don’t know what happened then. I think the manager took the girl with him to find the mother. All I remember at this point is Deebo turned his attention to us, where he expressed his (rightful) disbelief. Honestly, what kind of mother let’s her child wander a fucking convention of drunks at 12:30 – 1:00 in the morning. The kid was completely out of eyesight from the mom because apparently she was found down a hallway that was off the main one where we were sitting. And even if the kid was in eyesight, I’m far from a prude, but an 10-year-old 8-year-old (we found out later Zig was two years off) should probably at least be in the room by 12:30. But maybe that’s why I’m not a parent.

Eventually, mom showed up at the elevator with the child. Joy!

“What’s wrong with you?” Pondered Deebo. “Why isn’t that child in her room? Why is she running around the hotel without supervision at 12:30 in the morning? Someone could take her!”

All valid points, to which  the mother-of-the-year said, “Well, it’s her vacation too.”

Uh…yeah. I guess that makes sense, right?

“Child,” Deebo said, “you come to my table tomorrow and I’ll give you THREE pictures. You come see me. Three pictures, any ones you want, and I’ll give them to you.”

That’s a $75 value, y’all. I’m thinking that’s a great deal. Mom wasn’t entirely impressed because she came back with, “We’ll see.”

Deebo did not like that answer. I didn’t actually see the look he gave her from my position, but I sure as fuck felt it.

“That’s it,” he said, “I’m done. I have to leave. I can’t be here. I need to leave. You guys handle this!”

He was talking to us. Luckily for us, I guess, by that point there was nothing to handle. If you’ve ever seen Deebo, you know he can be pretty fucking terrifying when he’s acting. Imagine him mad for real real.

As he was leaving, he said to us, “I love you guys.”

To which I replied, “I LOVE YOU TOO, DEEBO!”

No shame. No apologies.