It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

hd TV

Or at least it used to be. As a proud TV nerd the premiere of fall TV is one of the most sacred of times for those of us that worship at the altar of the remote control. Every year I devour the various fall TV preview guides and set my DVR accordingly as I embrace my dorkiness and get to watching a blend of old favorites that left jaw dropping cliffhangers and new shows that seem to be full of promise and at least one or two surprises.

But this year feels weird. And not good weird. There is not much to get excited about in an era where two of TVs most obnoxious trends continue to fuck viewers in the not so fun way.

Let’s start with the continuation of this mind-numbing trend of rebooting and reviving everything that was good from the 80s and 90s.

Magnum PI‘s original eight season run was done at a time before the concept of “blue sky shows” had saturated all aspects of TV. Giving a fresh coat of paint to this relic is out-of-place in an overdone genre that has passed it by. Plus, doesn’t CBS already have Hawaii 5.0? How many excuses do they need to shoot in the Aloha State?

Murphy Brown was iconic during its original run. It was witty, engaging, and established that a show with a strong career-minded female lead could be successful and dominant. It blended comedy with the tough issues of the day. We have other shows that do that for us now. And as great as Candice Bergen is, I don’t think she can haul this show into a new century. Also, I saw the preview during the Chiefs game yesterday and fuck it was terrible.

The Charmed reboot is way too soon. And they were lucky enough to capture lightning in a bottle twice (both with Shannon Daugherty and her replacement Rose McGowan) in terms of casting chemistry. I don’t think they can replicate that a third time. The CW network doesn’t need this. Their lineup is pretty solid. At their core reboots are a publicity stunt, and the network doesn’t need the attention and I hate seeing their limited hours wasted on this.

The Connors will only prove that Roseanne, as awful as it is, cannot survive without Roseanne, as awful as she is. Not even John Goodman (or President Walken as he will always be to me) is strong enough to carry this shit-show. I am actively rooting against this one and it’s death rattle cannot come soon enough.

And it wouldn’t be TV season without the endless parade of police and medical procedurals. Because eighty-seven versions of NCIS, CSI and Law & Order aren’t enough. The assholes that voted for Trump are the same assholes that give these shows the ratings that keep them on television.

The Rookie looks like a bad mashup of competing clichés made worse by staring Nathan Fillion, who I love. I loved him on Buffy and Firefly and I would really like it if he would stop making absolute shit like Rookie and Castle, he has a bad habit of playing down to the drivel when he is on shows like this. and go back to the Whedon-verse where he shines.

FBI? Procedurals are so lazy they don’t even try with the names. This show promises to be every bit as unoriginal as its name and all the others that came before it. These shows just prove that this genre will not be dying until the baby boomer generation leaves this earth and takes CBS with it.

I’ll admit that when I saw the name New Amsterdam I got hopeful for a second as I thought they were bringing back a short-lived show starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldauing before he went off to be Jamie Lannister on a little known show called Game of Thrones. But nope, they lied. It is (another) show about (another) pubic hospital where they save lives while navigating ER politics and personal issues. Don’t talk to me about medical dramas unless you’ve found the next House.

Netflix is spending a fuck-ton of money on original programming and have definitely developed the mindset that quantity is more important than quality. The Good Cop is one of the mutilated fetuses produced by this misguided mentality. A show starting Tony Danza and Josh Groban as father and son odd couple roommates and cops. What could possibly be so bad about that. Everything. Everything will be bad about that. This show isn’t even gonna pretend not to be terrible.

There are a thousand other shows that look terrible for various reasons and I could spend thousands of words sniping at most of the shows that fall TV has to offer. For your sake and my sanity I won’t be doing do that.

But not everyone in Hollywood has lost their fucking minds. There are some shows that have some promise, and others that promise to break my heart.

The Purge has been the surprise of the season for me. I watched the first episode mainly out of curiosity about how the concept of the movie franchise would translate to the small screen, and whether or not they could make a show about one (murderous, violent) night engaging. The answer is yes. Yes they can. The show is surprisingly multi-layered with some slow burn appeal.

My jury is still out on Mayans. I loved Sons of Anarchy and Kurt Sutter’s unique style has been missing from TV for far too long. It’s intriguing enough to keep me going so far, but I’m gonna need to see something more dynamic soon in order to stay engaged.

A Million Little Things looks like it could be my generation’s Thirtysomething with the right blend of adult angst, secrets and interactions. TV Guide’s preview actually calls it Thirtysomething meets The Big Chill, and I couldn’t have put it better so I won’t even try. ABC needs to start promoting it though. I hadn’t even heard of it before last week, and I devour TV news.

I loved the Dirty John podcast, and if you haven’t given the six episode yarn a listen, you should find the time and do that. I am not at all surprised that they are making this into a show. Add Connie Britton and Eric Bana to the mix and you can count me in. As a side note, is adapting podcasts to TV shows going to be the next thing? If so, I have some suggestions.

The Romanoffs takes a classic historical tale and brings it to the present. The fall of the Russian monarchy is a dynamic piece of history and the theory that some of the Romanoff children actually escaped the palace is one of the most intriguing tales. It also doesn’t hurt that it has an all-star cast and is written by the creator of Mad Men. Although Amazon has had some misses, they have had their hits too, and I’m excited to watch this become one of them.

Escape at Dannemora looks like it could be Showtime’s next hit. And with Homeland winding down and Shameless issuing its death rattle, the network could certainly stand to add to its arsenal. Who doesn’t like a good prison break story that has tones of seduction, Ben Stiller behind the camera and Benicio Del Toro playing one of the leads. It will be interesting to see how far this show can get before it runs out of road.

Hopefully Netflix can make up for the its bad decision to make The Good Cop with the release of Maniac. Fronted by Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, the star power definitely gives this show about a chemical drug trial a boost. This show has some tones of Limitless, both the awesome movie and the too-short-lived show which has my curiosity piqued.

Into the Dark is the anthology I never knew I needed in my life but now can’t wait for. A dark horror anthology that comes out monthly and revolves around specific holidays, starting with Halloween? Yes please. That’s one Christmas special that I will definitely be tuning into.

The Haunting of Hill House definitely checks all the boxes for me. I mean, it’s based on a Shirley Jackson tale, so what isn’t to love. One thing I am looking forward to in seeing it as a series rather than movie is how they can take some of the creepier aspects of being trapped in that house and really do a good, terrifying slithering narrative that I won’t be able to take my eyes off of.

Mr. Inbetween looks compelling. I have always been a sucker for the double-life shows and having the main character being a hitman rather than a spy will be a nice spin on the genre for me. I also think that FX, which brings such great shows as American Horror Story and The Americans is the perfect network for the balancing act.

Of all the shows I am looking forward to, Manifest is the one that is going to break my heart. Disappearing plane, lost time, strained relationships, debates between science and faith with dashes of mystery and mysticism. This show is screaming, no begging, to be the next LOST. So of course I am going to watch it. But that is a tough needle to thread, and every show that has tried has failed. And the betting on how many episodes until I am screaming at the TV begins in three, two, one.

So, just like the real Christmas there isn’t as much to look forward to, the sense of wonder is gone. But unlike Christmas, there are dashes of hope sprinkled in.

The Angel Choir’s Call: Your September Horror-Scope

Angel

September Overview: A choir of the angels sings the deafening death rattle of summer this month until the nefarious nymph frolics in the fall starting on the 23rd. These are not the angels of our better nature, and they use the final blast of heat from summer to scorch the earth beneath them.

Aquarius (Jan 20th – Feb 18): Angels singing and the last days of summer heat wreak havoc on your vampiric senses and set your teeth on edge. September also brings about shorter days, and longer nights. You’ve been cooped up for far too long, and the nighttime brings out the more aggressive nature of your ruling planet Uranus. You can’t wait to litter the dark hours with exsanginated corpses as you make up for lost time.

Pisces (Feb 19 – Mar 20): The vibrant nature of the transitioning seasons speaks to both your inner artist, and your shapeshifter. The beauty you see and feel pushes you to the brink of madness, much like Picasso. As fall draws near the nymphs take over and you use the skin of your victims as the canvass for your blood-red masterpieces.

Aries (Mar 21 – April 19): The volatile times of September definitely pair nicely with your turbulent nature. The choir of angels speak in unison in as the full moon lights your way during the harvest moon, when your inner werewolf is at its peak. They reign in your feral nature as you use the transitioning times to add numbers to your depleted pack.

Taurus (Apr 20 – May 20): As the dog days of summer draw to a close, your inner hell-hound is ready for a break from the stifling heat, even though the transitioning seasons play on your hatred of sudden change. As you sniff in the crisp air your claws grow razor-sharp and you salivate, ready to shred your victims and return them to the soil.

Gemini (May 21-Jun 20): There is an unsung duality that goes with transitioning seasons that leaves your doppelgänger singing with the angels. It allows you to camouflage yourself and sneak up on your unsuspecting victims. The indecisiveness of summer’s death rattle could leave anxiety and confusion coursing through your veins.

Cancer (Jun 21 – Jul 22): The angelic choir drowns out your banshee wail for most of the month, leaving you mute and unable to play the way you’re accustomed to. This leaves you moody and overly suspicious of others until the nymphs take over, their nefarious manipulations speaking to the angels of your darker nature as your wail goes out hunting, thirsty for blood.

Leo (July 23 – Aug 22): The swan song of summer leaves your fairy in a playful mood. After a busy month holding court in August you lie on the grass with the fleeting warmth of long days. As the month moves forward your mischievous nature comes back with full force, and you once again begin making deals for the souls of your victims.

Virgo (Aug 23 – Sep 22):  You feel most at home during this month, as you are surrounded by the songs of your choir. This is the month where your dark angel feeds on the fruits of its harvest, your victims called to you by the sweet sound of your wings.

Libra (Sep 23 – Oct 22): Your nymph takes over as fall takes its first steps, leaving you with the first part of the month to focus on your pleasure, and the pain of others. But as fall descends and the harvest moon looms full, you become consumed with what your flock will do with in the darker nights of fall.

Scorpio (Oct 23 – Nov 21): Much like Cancer’s banshee, your siren call is drowned out by the angel choir for most of the month, leaving you feeling restless as your darker angels toil inside you. And your demons shall run once your jealous rage takes over.

Sagittarius (Nov 22 – Dec 21): The song of the angels fills your ghostly spirit almost to the point of being corporal during this month, and the longer nights will give you a better opportunity to do your best haunting and hunting under the harvest moon.

Soul Cleansing

i-have-cleaning-meme

Wow, I’ve been gone for damn near a whole month, and I’m sure your lives have felt empty without me. But I’m back, and I have good(ish) reasons for being gone this long I swear. And I promise never to abandon you like this ever again.

I would love to tell you that August was about landing a dream publishing contract. I would love to tell you that August was about a series of misadventures (okay, there were a few) that make really wild and dramatic stories (not so much). Basically the catalyst for my absence was that my car had a minor issue and my laptop gave its long overdue death rattle at the beginning of the month. So, for the first few days of August I was without both.

It’s amazing what you start to accomplish when two of the things you use most are not available to you.

As a result, I finally got around to my annual deep cleaning of the apartment. I do it once a year. I clean and organize every drawer, cupboard and closet. I dust, sweep, mop and scrub every crevice. I wash all the sheets, towels, slip covers, etc.

I always save the kitchen for last. I could make up some bullshit about food being the energy of life. But in truth the kitchen is a gigantic pain in the ass, so I put it off. But I always feel better when it’s done. Until a week later when I managed to put the underused spices I just happen to need for once in the back of the cupboard and have to dig, and dig, and dig to find them and fuck up the organization.

It’s a two-day process and CrossFit has nothing on all that movement. I’m not too proud to admit my old ass was sore at the end. But it’s the good kind of pain.

It feels daunting at first, but once I get going it’s always cathartic. There’s something soothing about cleaning. It brings clarity and helps me organize my thoughts. It’s also a good time to take stock and realize all the things I truly have to be thankful for.

Don’t worry, I’m not gonna bore you with a full list here, no one wants to read that shit.

The central theme is that I really like my life right now. Although it’s far from perfect, every day it gets molded more and more into what I want it to be. Not enough people can say that about theirs. I have fought hard to create this, and focus on what I want, and my own expectations of myself rather than the expectations of others.

That was a hard-fought battle. That I put my soul into winning. There is a feeling of fulfillment that even as a wordsmith, I lack the words to describe.

The next day my new laptop arrived. It was inexpensive and is pretty basic, but it works, which is a step above the old one. And I don’t care how old you are, new toys are fun. It was also a great opportunity to organize my files, particularly my writing folder. I spent hours getting everything back into its place and set up just how I wanted it.

I also learned a very valuable lesson. Always check your fucking cloud files to make sure everything has been backed up recently. I thought I had it set to automatic. Nope. Not so much. Seriously, if you only take one thing away from this random post about cleaning shit, take that.

Always check your fucking cloud files.

Fortunately, I had updated in mid-June when I started to realize my laptop was on death’s door, so most of my shit was fine. But my podcast scripts all came back in a previous format, which was okay since the first four episodes had already been recorded and uploaded. And the audio files all came back corrupted, which means that all the work on the background audio I had done and just copied and pasted for future episodes had to be rebuilt from scratch.

And that sucked balls, because that side of podcasting is not my strong suit.

But it was an opportunity to do it better the second time around since I had learned a thing or two in the months since I built it the first time. And although I’m biased, I think the audio quality of the two most recent episodes is higher as a result.

And I never would have even thought to redo it if I hadn’t been forced.

I also took the opportunity to look at a few other writing projects from a fresh perspective, most notably the novel that I’ve had in development hell for the better part of the year.

Part of it was exploring other writing opportunities to get me out of there, and putting my shoulder into getting the podcast off the ground. But most of it is because the first finished draft of the novel is crap, and no amount of editing can seem to fix it.

At the beginning of the year, I was two-thirds through the rough draft and although I knew it had plenty of holes, decided to go ahead and finish it. And I did. And Jesus fuck is it awful. That thing will never, ever see the light of day.

But the bones are good. And so is the concept. I am not willing to give up the ghost. I had been reluctant to shred it, 100K words is a lot to trash. But when I started reorganizing my files, cleaning my house, and taking all the stock that goes with that, I realized that I would rather take another go at doing it right from the ground up, rather than put what I had out into the world.

So I’ve been going back to basics, filling out character profiles for the major and minor characters I want to put in the work (basically any character that isn’t completely and intentionally flat. I’m not doing this for “beat cop 2” or any crazy shit like that). I’m writing out descriptions of all the settings as well.

Also, I realized I need to do some research other than a few quick articles on the internet. So I’ll be doing more religious reading in the next month than I have ever done in my life. I don’t plan on finding Jesus, but I’ll have a pretty decent line on where he hangs out.

In short, I’m fully embodying Hemingway’s “Iceberg Theory” of writing. And I’m having a ton of fun doing it.

Oh, it turns out that Cards Against Humanity is looking for some freelance writers to work “as needed” or “sometimes.” I don’t have a shot in hell of getting it, but man that application was fun as fuck to write. I may post it at a later date.

So it’s been a busy month of getting organized and getting some shit done that I had been ignoring in pursuit of the more fun and exciting things on my to do list.

And you know what, it turns out all that shit was more fun than I thought.

The Fae Court: Your August Horror-Scope

Fae

Welcome to the second installment of a new feature on Typos of Life: your monthly horror-scope, where predictions about your demonic treachery await.

August Overview: The court of the fae dominates this month before giving way to a choir of angels on the 23rd. Manipulations and mischief run rampant, so watch your back while playing your prey against their own weaknesses. And if anyone makes you a promise, read the fine print. Although the fae can’t go back on their word, they adhere to the letter of the law, not its spirit. And the angels will be too absorbed in self-righteousness to lend voice to your cause.

Aquarius (Jan 20th – Feb 18): The cunning nature of your inner vampire salivates as you take stock of the worthy opponents surrounding you. Many will perish in your battle of wits with the manipulative fae, delightfully twirling their own entrails in their fingers before they realize what they’re doing. Your disdain for broken promises also leaves you in conflict this month, double checking every deal for built-in loopholes.

Pisces (Feb 19 – Mar 20): Although the stifling heat is melting your shapeshifter, it still proves useful as you play both sides against each other in the court of fae. Many will do your bidding and slay your enemies without knowing what master they truly serve. As the month progresses your wisdom comes in conflict with your cruelty.  The angels will speak to your inner martyr turning your violence inward. Your self-inflicted wounds will leave a trail of blood all the way into September.

Aries (Mar 21 – April 19): The long days and blistering sun leave your werewolf little time to howl at the moon, and you’re impatience rises to a rapid boil. You’re compulsion to take actions without thinking them through could make you easy prey for the fae if you’re not careful. You could be a powerful weapon in their hands, becoming their enforcer, collecting payments due from those souls unfortunate enough to sign these tainted deals.

Taurus (Apr 20 – May 20): The heightened senses of your hell-hound are set on edge by the mischief and mayhem of the fae. Their behaviors running in direct opposition to your straightforward and loyal tendencies. Once you’ve caught the fae’s scent you create your own path of blood and carnage tracking them down. You will not rest until their manipulative throats are in your teeth and you silence them for good.

Gemini (May 21-Jun 20):  Your love of communication leaves you sickened by the fae’s use of it for their own sinister means. But your dueling doppelgängers leave you conflicted about whether you’re enraged by or envious of their cunning linguistic skills. Your conflict turns inward at first, as you are unsure of what to do with yourselves. But ultimately you decide to seek those that strike deals with the fae, your envy turning to rage as you attempt to claw the answers you seek from their flesh.

Cancer (Jun 21 – Jul 22): Your banshee starts off the month searching for some well-earned down time after a busy July. But you soon find there is no rest for the wicked. You want nothing more than for your manipulative wails to meld with the mischief of the fae, and then drown out the choir of the angels as the month progresses. Unfortunately, your exhaustion intertwines with your insecurity and you lash out at the unsuspecting meat suits that mistakenly scurry across your path.

Leo (July 23 – Aug 22): This is your month as you are both king of the jungle and in control of the court. However, you could end up drunk on the blood of your own power if you aren’t careful, leaving you vulnerable to your many enemies. Your feline prowess combined with your fae cunning ultimately keep you safe, but only after your primal bloodlust carves you a new throne from the corpses of your enemies.

Virgo (Aug 23 – Sep 22): Your angels take over in the back-end of this month, but until then you have to bide your time, and your tongue, while the fae hold court. The frustration of watching the fae rule seeps into the wall between right and wrong as you begin to question your sense of loyalty towards humanity. Michael’s sword sharpens into Lucifer’s blade as the month progresses and the masses hear the voice of your choir until their blood boils with the frequency of the fire flickering within you.

Libra (Sep 23 – Oct 22):  Your diplomatic and fair-minded eyes keep watch over the fae this month. As you try to mother hen your friends and keep them from deals that sound sweet now but are bad in the long run. Your concern leaves you distracted and exhausted as your nymph takes over, his materialistic urges leaving you making a deal  with a steep price. Your hen-house is slick with the blood of those you tried to protect.

Scorpio (Oct 23 – Nov 21): As you are both distrusting and resourceful you have no use for the fae. Their promises remind you of the nefariousness of a crossroads demon. Instead, you use your siren song to coax those close to you only to entice them to do your bidding instead. Unfortunately for them, they discover to late your distrust leads you to discard them when you are done. Strewing their mutilated corpses throughout the street as a warning to those that would threaten to cross you.

Sagittarius (Nov 22 – Dec 21): The ghost has always had a unique relationship with the fae. As ghosts aren’t truly bound by this realm, they aren’t subject to the court of the fae. As such, there is an uneasy truce where you leave each other alone. This unease is amplified as you watch those close to you fall subject to constant manipulation and then mayhem that comes with it. This offends your honest sensibilities, leaving you to want to terrorize your friends into staying home until the threat has passed. You take your haunting too far and many pay the price for your overzealousness.

Capricorn (Dec 22 – Jan 19): If your mermaid could stay submerged in the cool waters of the lake until summer is over and court is in recess you would. But instead you feel lost in a sea of worst expectations. You exercise your frustration by drowning your enemies in a tidal wave of your own unforgiving judgement. Many suffocate, their bloated bodies now serving as cautionary bouys, a warning to those thinking of sharing your waters.

Adjust Your Twig and Giggleberries

Adjustment Day

I need to disclose something before we begin. Chuck Palahniuk is my favorite author. As far as I’m concerned the man could make a grocery list compelling and engaging. And since this was his first novel in 4 fucking years (1460 days, 35,040 hours, 2,102,400 seconds) I could not wait to devour it. Which I did. In one sitting. And I’m still sucking the juices off my fingers.

But more importantly than reviewing the book, this post provides me a great opportunity to tell the story about the time that I shared a stage with who my friend Bryce and I now call “Our good friend Chuck.”

A few years back he came to Kansas City promoting his short story collection Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread and Fight Club 2, a 10 issue limited comic book series (I have signed copies of both). My friend and I not only jumped at the chance to see the awesomeness live, but were also first in line for our first come, first serve seats.

As we came bounding down to the front row, beers and signed first editions in hand, the man himself was checking out the theater before going back stage. I would love to tell you that we had a wonderful and engaging conversation about fiction and literature and the arts, and that I impressed him with my eloquence and knowledge and wit and we are now writing partners.

Fuck, I’d settle for being able to tell you I got through the words “It’s an honor to meet you” without stuttering and fighting the urge to pass out.

He chuckled and took my awkwardness in stride, and said that he was gonna count on us to help him out later. We thought it was a throwaway line, but in that moment it was our throwaway line.

The event was glorious in all the ways you would expect. He has a rabid following and we all drank in his readings from the story collection, the answers he gave to audience questions. Broken up by playing “balls,” a game of batting balls filled with glow sticks around the dark theater. We cultists like exercise with our culture.

Then, at the end, as Chuck’s new trusty friends we were summoned, no beckoned, to join him on stage to help distribute the parting gifts to the masses.

You have not lived until you’ve been on stage with your favorite author, throwing boxes and boxes of severed hands into a hungry, ravenous audience.

To this day I go out of my way to find excuses to tell this story.

“Oh, you got a new car (or kid, or wife, or dog, basically insert object here)? That’s great! Have I ever told you about the time I was on stage with Chuck Palahniuk?”

“I heard you’re dog (or dad, or wife, or kid, or car, basically insert object here) died. I’m so sorry. You know what might cheer you up? Have I ever told you the story about throwing severed hands off a stage with my friend Chuck?”

Yes, I’m an asshole. I absolutely own that shit.

But enough about that, let’s talk about Adjustment Day. The key to good satire, especially dark satire, is to give people a safe place to laugh at the darkest corners of their nature. The key to great satire is to force them to address those dark corners without them knowing they’re doing it.

Jumping into issues of racism, misogyny and bigotry both headlong and feet first takes quite a bit of contortionist maneuvering. And balls. Big, brass, hairy, sweaty balls.

And this book has all of that. And fuck if it isn’t timely in the era of MAGA Trumptards sending their kids to Hitler Youth summer camp.

As with all of Palahniuk’s books, it takes the reader a while to piece together what is actually going on. His non-linear story telling and a fast paced diction propel the reader through the pages at a dizzying pace. If you want to understand what’s going on and keep up, you have to earn it. But rest assured you’ll be glad you did as you follow a variety of POV characters through the challenges of the Brave New World left by what became known as Adjustment Day.

There is a passage early in the book that sets the tone for the novel:

For generations pop culture has been promoting the idea that all men will eventually attain high-status positions in society. Globally, today’s young males have been raised to feel entitled to power an admiration as a birthright. Men in general need to accept their diminished status in the world.

And a little further in we get another nugget of wisdom:

A hard dick was never scared. Porn did to him what spinach did to Popeye or rage to the Incredible Hulk. Putting him in a state where he could Where’s Waldo the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and never find God because the butts of all the angels are so infinitely fuckable.

Porn made Walter a ruthless wolf pack of one.

Speaking as a male, we will never stop mistaking virility with vitality. And it will always keep us in a state of fear masquerading as strength.

For me, this is a direct call back to several lines from Fight Club:

You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We’re all part of the same compost heap. We’re all singing, all dancing crap of the world.

I see in the fight club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables, slaves with white collars, advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of the history man, no purpose or place, we have no Great war, no Great depression, our great war is a spiritual war, our great depression is our lives, we’ve been all raised by television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars, but we won’t and we’re slowly learning that fact. and we’re very very pissed off.

In fact, the whole tone of the book seems to be a throw back to Fight Club. When Palahniuk collapsed the protagonist, antagonist and narrator into one character, he drew stark, searing attention to man’s individual battle for his own soul. The book is the ultimate man vs. himself story, with a message that still slithers through my spirit today.

Adjustment Day draws that same searing attention to mankind’s soul, at least in our nation. The novel essentially says: “Okay bunglecunts, you think races and orientations shouldn’t intermingle? Go suck on this for a while.”

The creation of a website that contains a list of people to be executed Purge style on adjustment day speaks to a level of violent angst that many are feeling about the direction of the country right now. Complete with an all but realized threat to re-institute the draft so that world leaders can blow their load watching the porn of a World War III is terrifying. It causes us to realize how close we are to living that as a reality.

Dark satire hurts the most when it’s closest to the light of truth.

And the whole idea of cutting off the ears of those on “The List” is steeped in some pretty delicious symbolism. From a callback to Native Americans scalping their prey to the idea of taking the ears of politicians and educators because they never listened, with Palahniuk there is always beauty and purpose in violence.

Splitting the United States into three new nations of Caucasia, Blacktopia and Gaysia was also a stroke of genius, showing how each nation-state would choke on its own xenophobic bullshit and hypocrisy no matter how much it tried to play up its strengths and kill its weaknesses. The POV of the chieftains in Caucasia and Blacktopia and of a straight woman trying to make in Gaysia drew both striking contrasts and parallels.

But back to the twig and giggleberries for a minute. From Walter’s obsession with an erection being a source of power to Charlie’s manliness being reduced to goo by some well-placed spider bites and a sprinkle of patience shows how dangerous and misguided my gender’s obsession with our junk really is.

A truly great metaphor for how becoming obsessed with power can cost us control.

Most fiction provides a brief escape from reality in addition to insights and lessons into self and soul. I’m afraid that this one also provided a glimpse into what America’s could become.

There were many things to love about this book. But the thing I love the most is that my “Good Friend Chuck” is back.

Creative Favoritism

Creative Differences

I’m sitting here re-watching the show 24. The post I want to write about going back to old favorites doesn’t seem to want to come crawling out of my head. Nor do the thoughts about a post about how creative people experience the world differently. Instead they just want to play peek-a-boo.

Then I realized that I’m an idiot. These posts don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Not entirely. The way I see the world as a creative is one of the reasons I always have an old favorite on in the background when I work.

I am a writer. I am a creator. I see beauty, inspiration and story everywhere I look.

I’m not a big fan of silence. Unless I’m meditating, reading, editing or taking in the gorgeous views of nature I really don’t have much use for it. Even when I write I have something on in the background. It helps me focus. I’m weird. And I accept that.

Hell, I don’t even sleep in silence. I sleep with either the TV, Stitcher, Overdrive or Audible telling me a story. Yes, I am 39 years old and still fall asleep being read bedtime stories. You should try it sometime, you might like it.

Then again I am also a notorious insomniac and maybe the voices just keep me company.

But the fact is, there’s so much content across all these different mediums that it would be impossible to consume it all and have any kind of actual life. So why waste time going back to old favorites, or things you have seen before?

To be fair I’m not sure that I would if we didn’t live in a world where access to these things came with my streaming services. I would not actually pay real cash money to watch something that I have already seen. I spend enough as it is.

I have a few different reasons for doing this.

One, as I said, I am not a big fan of silence. I feel more comfortable having something on in the background. I have lived alone for years, and absolutely love it, but the silence can get claustrophobic. In this way, I’m similar to people who like having the radio on in the background at work, or while they are tooling away in their garage. I just do it with TV I have seen before.

I also go back to these old favorites because seeing them before means they won’t distract me from what I am doing. It’s one thing to listen to something new while driving or cooking or cleaning, etc. But when I am in the middle of trying to write a post, or a podcast script, or a story or a novel outline, I need to be hanging on my own words, not theirs.

The two shows that I most frequently go back to are West Wing and LOST, which also happen to be my two favorite shows (I’m in the minority I actually liked the ending of LOST). At this point, I could probably recite each episode line by line.

Since I spent years both as a political consultant, and stuck on a remote island, it makes sense that these shows would speak to me. Okay, so only one of those things is true.

But there are only so many times you can re-watch a show. You need some other pieces to throw on this fire. My most recent three have been X-Files, House and currently 24 (which all originally aired on FOX now that I think of it).

If watching Star Trek and Lost in Space re-runs with my mom created my love of Sci Fi when I was a kid, X-Files solidified and turbo-charged it. For a bit, I actually wanted to be an FBI profiler so I could be just like Fox Mulder.

House is the only medical drama that ever actually gripped me (no, I wasn’t an ER fan, judge me if you want). It was based on the character Sherlock Holmes, also not one of my favorites. The fact that two things I didn’t really care for could be blended to create a show that unique and delicious is what creating is all about.

And 24 brought a truly game changing format to the TV medium. Never before had a television show spent an entire season covering one day, hour by hour. Events occuring in real time. Even in the always fast-paced spy game genre, there was a danger of things moving at a snail’s pace without ingenious writing.

Those are the most recent three. The examples go on and on.

None of these shows have much in common other than their quality. And even though I just have them on in the background, I still see something new each time I watch.

The concept of learning something new everytime you go back to an old favorite, or a classic, was a favorite mantra of one of my lit instructors in college. I was so inindated with new material to read and analyze, the concept went right over my head at the time.

I get it now.

Plus there is just something comfortable about having them on in the background. And I swear to God it helps me be a better creative. It keeps me motivated. And makes me hungry.

I see the awesomeness of these shows that I love and get inspired. It creates a feeling of being nurtured and pulled in the right direction all at the same time. It feels like home.

Creatives see the world differently. We find inspiration everywhere, even from the ghosts of content past while we write in the present, to make it our future.

The Banshee’s Wail: Your July Horror-Scope

Banshee

Welcome to the first installment of a new feature here on Typos of Life: your monthly horror-scope, where predictions about your demonic treachery await.

July Overview: The summer heat is prime time for the Devil’s demons to run. Led by the vocal banshee before shifting on the 22nd to the manipulative fae can leave all creatures with a sense of whiplash, and a good reason to grow eyes in the back of your head.

Aquarius (Jan 20th – Feb 18): The summer heat combines with the violent vocals of the banshee, wreaking havoc on your shy and quiet tendencies. This allows the aggressive aspects from your ruling planet Uranus to come out and play. The vampire inside you seeks shelter from the sun. But you’ll spend the precious hours from dusk to dawn exsanguinating the bodies of all who cross your path.

Pisces (Feb 19 – Mar 20): The abilities of your shapeshifting nature are stifled by the July heat, leaving you feeling like a fish out of water. As you give in to your desire to escape reality, the nefarious fae gaslights your consciousness, making you believe that you are helping those you care for. Until you wake up in a pool of their blood, no memories of your actions against the corpses splayed before you.

Aries (Mar 21 – April 19): The heat of the month is maddening, heightening your inclination to take action without thinking it through. Longer days leave your werewolf caged for far too long. So you take matters into your own hands during the day, your violent temper ripping the limbs from those that seek to contain you, gnawing on the tantalizing flesh once night falls.

Taurus (Apr 20 – May 20): July’s temperament is the perfect environment for your inner hellhound to run wild and inflict carnage on your enemies. Normally practical and reserved, the cries of the banshee put you in a feral state of unquenchable bloodlust, no matter how many times the spoils of your claws refill your dish.

Gemini (May 21-Jun 20): It’s your deepest hope that your doppelgänger will keep you safe from the beasts that run this time of turmoil. But you cannot fight the angst and anxiety of being heat’s captive, the rising temperatures melting your once gentle nature. Your victims this month will include those close to you, manipulatively sucked in by your two-faced demeanor.

Cancer (Jun 21 – Jul 22): Your banshee runs the show for the lions share of this month, making the entire world yours to do with as you choose. Issues with controlling emotion and seeing clearly nearly allow your victims to turn the tables. But you regain control when your ruling body, the moon, lays its steady hand  on you. Your violent cries ultimately controlling the beasts around you through fear and searing sonic pain.

Leo (July 23 – Aug 22): As your ruling body is the sun, you find yourself with enhanced energy during the summer. And your ruling creature fae takes over later in the month, increasing your power. Although your lion’s roar can keep pace with the banshee’s cry, your arrogance could be your downfall, and you could find yourself left swinging from the end of a rope created by your own manipulations.

Virgo (Aug 23 – Sep 22): The demons ruling the roost this month conflict with your normally angelic sensibilities, but Lucifer was once an angel too. Your more nefarious side burns inside you as your worry for society turns inward and becomes paranoia. It will take months to find the bodies of those that go missing for trespassing on your house.

Libra (Sep 23 – Oct 22): Your normal love for the outdoors is suffocating in this heat, leaving you feeling trapped. This feeling will leave your nymph energies turned in an odd direction. Sex is your ultimate weapon as sexual pleasures manifest themselves as violent acts against your suitors. Each violent orgasm leaving you hungry for more.

Scorpio (Oct 23 – Nov 21): Your siren song could meld in unison with your sister banshee this month, but it could just as easily lead to a street fight of shattered windows and souls. Your jealous nature could rear its ugly head as your distrust and violence toward others leaves its mark on those that make the mistake of answering your call.

Sagittarius (Nov 22 – Dec 21): As your ghosts can only come out at night, you find the long days and searing sun to be confining, leaving your rage to backbuild as the darker hours grow near. You spend your nights continuing the terrors caused by other demons during the heat of the day, ensuring that the weary and exhausted souls around you know no rest.

Capricorn (Dec 22 – Jan 19): The mermaid inside you wants nothing more than the tranquil coolness of water this month. However, water can’t save you from the banshee’s cry becoming a catalyst as you begin expecting the worst. Your more aggressive nature is unlocked, leaving your blood to boil as self-preservation causes you to you poison all of those that dare try to join you for a swim.