Friday, December 24, 2010

Could Be Worse . . . Could Be Better

Holy frickin' crap . . . Christmas is tomorrow!  This Christmas season has definitely had its ups and downs for me, but in the end, the very idea of family, good food and boxes wrapped in pretty paper just outweighs all those negative feelings attributed to debt, uncertain futures and bad eggs.

Kayla often says I'm quite the negative individual, so I've set a goal for a New Year's resolution to think more positively and politely.  And with Christmas just around the corner (in fact, in exactly twelve hours) how could I possibly be negative?!

My frickin' car died, that's how!

Or rather it's severely wounded.  Earlier in the week, I made it to work okay but when it came time to leave at midnight in the 20-degree weather my car started, but that's about it.  Steering . . . gone . . . acceleration . . . gone; diagnosis . . . it's a 1998 Chevrolet piece of s**t! 

I mean seriously, she was a good car but this was the very end of what became a rapid, spiraling deterioration.  For the past five years I've dealt with the car's alternator crapping out, the driver side window motor crapping out, the back-passenger side window motor completely breaking altogether, the brake-pads and rotors going bad, new tires, a cog/gear for the serpentine-belt broke off and went rattling through my engine while I was driving home one night . . . then there was that whole ordeal with the standard antifreeze Chevrolet uses ruining gaskets, which owners were advised to flush it out and replace it with new antifreeze, which I frickin' did, and yet my gaskets still ended-up in ruins . . . and now, to top it all off, the alternator casing has cracked completely apart, whereby it is disconnected from the car (i.e. in terms of being bolted down) and it now dangles there under the hood, where it subsequently tore the serpentine-belt. 


So . . . frustrated, upset and suffering an existential crisis as my thirtieth birthday approaches, I cried (just a little) three days before Christmas as I stood there in the parking lot, shivering with Kayla while we waited for her father to pick us up at one-in-the-morning. 

But now, it's Christmas eve!  Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells!  Who can be upset on such a holiday as this?!  And why would you want to be?!  So what if I don't have a car, tomorrow I get presents!  Presents!  PRESENTS!  STUFF!  MATERIAL OBJECTS!  Yay!

Seriously though . . . it is rather frustrating that my car chose three days before Christmas to torment me, her engine screaming suffer sucker! as I tried to leave that night.  But within a day, I was smiling once more as Kayla suggested that I step-it up and get a new car, sort of a Happy Thirtieth Birthday to myself.  So I figured, why not?  I'm not going to fix up my old car anymore (I've fixed it her up one-too-many times) and it is time to move forward with life.  What better way to begin said journey than in a new ride?

So hopefully in the next week or so I'll be able to scout out a few dealerships and find some good deals before the end of the year.  I already have a car or two in mind and as my credit is in real good shape, I should be able to get one I want.   

And with Christmas only a day away, I'm so excited right now!  I still have a lot of presents to wrap, then the next few days will be filled with nothing but family parties, joyous occasions, good food, presents and a new car!  Yay!  Stuff!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weekly Writer's Report

Dead Again is still under revision, though thus far I am pleased with the new narration.  It makes the story flow a lot better, but I'm dreading yet another edit/rewrite after this one.

Also, 3 of my poems have been rejected.

Ahh . . . poetry.  A torture of emotions.  I once heard that poetry was a young man's vice . . . I'm not positive who said it, but it's a phrase which has stuck with me for years.  Indeed, it has been many, many years since I last attempted to craft a poem.  In my adolescence (in relation to maturing as a writer) I found poetry to be the penultimate form of expression.  Fine art is far too cryptic and music too blase, but poetry was a way to truly understand one's soul (if indeed such an entity exists).  I filled pages and pages and pages and pages and pages--computer paper, notebook journals, sticky notes at work--with wandering words written with woeful, sorrowful sentiments, that any reader would weep over the weariness of my wanton desires and self-loathing.  And in the end, I would sit back, read my poetic angst, and say to myself: ah, what wonderful alliteration that was.

Yet, in the past few years poetry has become sort of a pastime for the back-burner, like a pot of canned corn slowly simmering, unnoticed, unstirred.  That doesn't mean I don't write a limerick or a haiku or even a few lines of modern prose, but needless to say poetry no longer has the same fascination or wonderment it used to.  I still love to play with words, obscuring the path and altering the craft of word choice and symbolic intent, but such an effort finds its way into my stories more so than a poem.  I shall always have a profound respect for poetry, but I must admit that I find writing stories far more rewarding as it is a pursuit worthy of only serious writers.  Poetry can not only be a professional expression, but a deeply personal one, where almost anyone (specifically the illiterate [figuratively speaking]) can create a sense of flow via simple schemes of end-rhyme.

Yet, this is the beauty of poetry is it not?  From the most professional poet . . . to a writer with a woeful poetry collection withering away in dusty box of journals . . . to an immature, amateur writer that has yet to be met, chucking words on the Internet . . . such lives best expressed and easily shared through that the enigma of the poetic craft.  It doesn't matter if you have a degree in Creative Writing or are a survivor of war or are a housewife in Ohio or a sing or simply a kid that's bored during study hall in high school, poetry is poetry.  But your poem is definitely you.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I'm a winner . . . again!

The company loves to share the wealth, and every holiday they like to have a little feast and a party and every once and awhile they have a raffle . . . but today, I walked in to work and the next thing I know a number of co-workers (a small handful out of the thousands employed at our location) start congratulating me. 


Turns out I won an Ipod!  And I didn't even do anything!  No raffle ticket; no honorary-super-star employee award; and come to think of it, I totally did a no-call/no-show last Saturday!  But it matters not!  In the spirit of the holiday the company gave away thousands of dollars in prizes . . . one of which was a lovely new Ipod which I won via random drawing!  Though I'm not scheduled tomorrow, I'm going to go in and proclaim my new prize.

I like winning.

And I like music more than I like winning.  I'm a super hardcore musical fanatic, albeit of a sub-genre variety, and despite my age (crawling towards 30) I still head-bang and pine over emotional tones like a teenager at a heavy-metal vomit party.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


What a lazy week I had . . . and this is actually stemming over from last week as well.  I haven't done much of anything, except sit around and stare at things on the Internet.  I did however contact the local music academy about a possible teaching position, but other than that . . .

I had hoped to have Dead Again all nice and tidy and ready for submission, but instead I chewed it apart and started anew; I'm still in favor of the introduction, but I decided to stick to a more simple third-person narration as opposed to the first-person/stream-of-conscious/dialogue narration I originally had.  Just look at the difference:

First Draft:

He would always come to Mackie’s every so often, boasting himself as he would burst through the busted door frame.  “Robert!  Not just a ghost!” he would announce.  “But rather a host; toasting from east to west to north to south the concerning and yearning for heaven . . . or the learning of burning in hell.”  I never understood what he meant by that; honestly, I think he was trying far too hard to sound intellectually stimulating.  He was an idiot, a goofy quack-nut, a bastard.  He would just go on and on about all these wild experiences he had, as if he was some other worldly explorer.  As if I’m not already dead myself?  Though, some of his stories were fascinating.

He would talk about murderers he stalked, whispering the names of their victims in their ear while they slept; he would tell us about the naughty secrets of politicians and celebrities, as if we cared about such meaningless soulful monstrosities of humanity; and sometimes he would just say he went and had lunch with Elvis.  But most of his stories were about what he really enjoyed: a good, old fashion haunting.

First Rewrite:

He would burst through the busted door frame, announcing himself:  “Robert!  Not just a ghost, but rather a host toasting from coast to coast the concern of yearning for heaven or learning of burning in hell.”  The atmosphere of Mackie’s was always different whenever Robert came to visit; there was a juvenile fascination whenever he shared his tales.  He talked about murderers he stalked, whispering the names of their victims in their ear while they slept; he would share the naughty secrets of politicians and celebrities, which some ghosts took a particular interest in, as if their vote still counted; and sometimes he would just say he had lunch with Elvis.  But the stories Robert loved the sharing the most (which were his best stories) were about what he really enjoyed: a good, old fashion haunting. 

I feel this narration is much tighter and flows better, not too mention it makes the rewrite/editing process a little bit easier . . . although it does imply that there will have to be yet another rewrite following this one.  Oh well . . .

Friday, December 10, 2010

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Lebanon, Ohio . . . a charming, historic town with all the quaint conveniences needed to seduce any would-be wanderer.  Located amidst a stretch of rural America, smack-dab-between Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, the town of Lebanon has such alluring fascinations that anyone who lives there is more than proud to call it home.

The citizens of this small town are a rather eclectic mix of folk, ranging from the young, to hungry artists, to college students (though this isn't a college town), to retirees, senior citizens, the red hat society, upper-middle class, the GOP, and of course stoners and rednecks.  Indeed, this town is picturesque of small-town-America with a philosophy of know thy neighbor, though there's a lingering attitude, charismatic of pretentious citizens, where judgement falls on a bias, yet friendly nature, charming all the while.

The people of Lebanon may hold a snobbish demeanor, but there's no lack of politeness or friendly conversation.  It's a town where people wish to keep it one of a kind, all the way from the historic significance down to the core of local politics and businesses themselves.  It is a town that loves showcasing its history through local shops owned and operated by their owners.

My adventure in Lebanon began with coffee . . . or rather, a triple-shot espresso, peanut butter latte followed shortly thereafter by a double-shot espresso, vanilla and apple-spice latte . . . at the hip and stylish Manna.  A family owned business Manna specializes in cupcakes, offering a tempting range of devilish sweets to help jump-start the day.  It's the type of place where one can easily pass the time with friendly chats, personalized work or simply in the gathering of minds.  It's hard to pull yourself away from such temptations--coffee, cupcakes, conversations . . . what more could one ask for out of life?

From there I meandered about the local train station, which runs every weekend, offering a joyous ride to the nearby town of Mason, Ohio.  I then proceeded (not by train) to the historic district where I visited the town's library, a few shops and a small sub-section of homes and businesses.  Perhaps one of the most attractive features of this town is the vastly diverse, rustic architecture.  Buildings as old as a hundred years or more are still present in the town, and homes even as young as fifty years old are picture-perfect representations of artistic, individualistic fashions portrayed by the towns inhabitants.  No two houses look alike.  There are purple houses, green houses, red houses, firehouses, brick houses, wooden houses, big houses, bigger houses, and there's even a house with a garage fashioned in the exact same architectural style as the home itself!  Even the shops and churches all differ from one another, each offering a beauty all their own.

From there I proceeded on a quest, looking for local trophies, which I was richly awarded by the town's very own personal expression.  Statues, jewels, monuments, whimsical signs and white-boy graffiti all contribute in painting the portrait of this community; where personality, artistry and formality are the key elements in the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  I smiled then, realizing that this town was indeed a home, rather than a place.  I decided to conclude my journey at the Wine Cellar, another of the town's local family businesses.  The Wine Cellar definitely has a smooth, cool vibe, where people can engage in conversations with complete strangers over a glass of fine wine or even finer beer.  It's not a bar that caters to the likes of most American folk; offering an enormous taste of the luxurious and the exotic as opposed to the drab and bland one might find in even the quaintest of fine wine bars.

In the end, I find myself seduced by the alluring charms of Lebanon, Ohio.  The locale might represent an air of right-winged liberalism, private yet proud, but in truth it's a town where one feels safe, welcomed and admired, no matter how unique or how boring your persona may be.  I have been a citizen here for only one year, but I can think of no other place I want to call my future home.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Look, a Book!

Note: from here on the reviews of books I read will be posted at Goodreads.  This is a wonderful site for any book enthusiast, with millions of titles to choose from you can construct your own virtual library to share with the rest of the world.  You can pick the books you've read, look at books you may wish to read, and of course leave your own detailed reviews so others may peruse your thoughts on books they may consider for their own library. 

Ergo, you can find my review of Clive Barker's Galilee at my personal collection at C. D. Brinker Goodreads  (or simply click on the button on the right of my blog) and you can read my review of Galilee here: C. D. Brinker review.

Suffice it to say . . . Good Book, Good Read.

Dead Again - introduction

Dead Again
an excerpt (introduction)

Oh, hello there; glad you could finally make it. It’s sort of eerie, isn’t it—the realization that you’re dead? But hey, relax. It’s not as horrible as it sounds. You’ll get used to it.

But I know . . . I know . . . you’re wondering why you’re here; you’re wondering how you died; you’re wondering what’s next? You want to know why you’re a ghost? Well, I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you, but who the hell knows? I’ve been dead for almost one-hundred and fifty years and I gave up pondering the answer to that riddle a long, long, long time ago. Nowadays I just float about, hanging around, going here, going there; I do whatever I can to kill the time. Most ghosts do. You will too, you’ll see.

Wanderlust will begin to set in. I think most of us all start our ghostly tale the same: lingering in each of our own ethereal homes, searching for some purpose as to our existence, moping as we do so. Those first few years can be rough, but eventually all that lingering and searching will become stagnant, and boredom will start to creep in. You’ll start thinking to yourself: what’s down the street; what’s that thing over there; what are those people doing? You’ll be amazed at how quickly society, culture and technology fairs while you’re dead. It’s all so alien. Why, in my day it was quite the feat to board a train . . . but today . . . my lord, there’s naked folk on the Internet!

Yes, I know what the Internet is. I may have been dead for over one-hundred and fifty years but like I mentioned, I meander about. We all do. And you will too. There’s a whole world out there, and what you missed-out-on while living you’ll surely wish to experience as a ghost. It’s its own reward, honestly. You’re no longer restricted; now you can go anywhere and everywhere, though every once and awhile you’re bound to feel a strong, intoxicating need to return to your ethereal home—I hope you died well. But for the most part you’ll just wander and wonder.

And wander you did! Why, I’m ever so glad you made it here. It’s eerie, isn’t it: all these ghosts just sitting around in this shell of a dead building? Well this shell is quite the hideout for us. It has its charms. It was once a hot-spot of a bar known as Mackie’s, though legend has it that at the turn of the century this was a warehouse of satanic worship and witchcraft. Ooh, spooky. But there are no witches or demonic forces here now; there’s nothing here now but creaking floors, swiveling bar stools, cold drafts, the aroma of lilacs, and of course ghosts.

Over there, that’s Sally. She’s been dead for almost forty years now and she spent most of those years pining over her loved ones, watching them grow year after year after year. Don’t torture yourself like that . . .

And let’s see . . . oh, that there is William, the bartender; you know, he once served a drink to Jesse James? True story. Ask him.

And then there’s Kyle; he’s one of those—

Oh, you’ve already met Kyle? Good. And yeah, there’s . . . oh, let’s see . . . there’s . . .


Aw, yes; Robert.

“Not just a ghost!”

Just ignore his outbursts. He screams out like that every once and awhile, but he’ll calm down once William gives him some whiskey.

Oh, I forgot my manners . . . would you like something to drink? William makes a killer martini. And yes, before you ask, ghosts can drink. People aren’t the only things which die, you know? William has a whole stockpile of liquor lost over the years. So just kick back, relax, and have a drink. In fact, I think—

—“Robert! Not just a ghost!”

Well, I think I may need another drink myself, especially if I am to tell you about Robert. Because being a ghost means there are a number of stories to be shared; everyone has their own ghostly tale. Some are better than others to be sure—but whatever you do, for the love of god, do not ask Sally for her story . . . she’ll bore you with her daughter’s marriage, her grandchildren’s school recitals, her great grandchildren’s teenage angst, the death of her sister and the life of her nephew. Like I said, don’t be that ghost . . . it’s far too depressing and makes for a lousy conversation.

But Robert on the other hand, he has quite the story to tell. Unfortunately, he’s still suffering from the shock and awe, but not before he told it to me. And believe me, it’s quite a story. Maybe you heard about it while you were alive . . . or experienced it first hand? If so, then I know you didn’t die well. But such is life: death. It all comes down to how you died, for that’s how you lived. And Robert is without a doubt the most unfortunate ghost of us all. He was given a second life . . . and a third . . . and a fourth. And now he’s dead . . . again.

So what do you say? Would you like a drink?

Copyright © 2010 C. D. Brinker

Writer's Report - gah, revision!

So I went through the draft of Dead Again (a short story about the misfortunes of being a ghost) and having felt that the previous narration needed some tweaking (including a second person narrative), I added some choppy phrasing, misplaced sentences, poor word choice, a few misspellings, and a lot more words than I had hoped!  My original goal was to try and chop some of it down so it would be better suited for short fiction submissions, but alas I have elongated it into a sloppy pile of words.

Just a tad shy of 6,000 words, even I (the writer) found it difficult to keep pace with the story.  But this is merely the second draft and was, by most accounts, an experiment in narration.  I wanted to give the story a conversational tone and created an introduction centered around a stream-of-conscious-second-person narrative, but I can't seem to wrap my head around the format.  While I like the idea, I feel that this style of narration really limits the scope of the story itself.  What I essentially ended up with was a 6,000 word short fictional-conversation.  The idea has come to me that it may be best if I highlight parts I enjoy and begin molding a fresh, new story around that . . . keeping it more simplistic, with a stream-of-conscious-first/third-person narrative.


Nevertheless, I do like the introduction and wish to share it with you folks in what I hope to be an on curring ordeal here.  Unfortunately, it won't be the whole tale.  After all, I wish to seek publication for this piece . . .

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Writer's Report

I just finished the second draft of what is hopefully a comical ghost story entitled Dead Again (which is in tribute to the band Type O Negative as I'm going through an extreme T.O.N. phase right now).  It's a good-chunk of a short story, just over 5,000 words, but maybe I can shave off a few more to really tighten it up before conisdering it for submission.  I always have to go through multiple drafts before I'm even mildly satisfied with the word-choice.  I scrutinize over every little syllable. 

But for right now I'm going to take a break, get some coffee, pet the kitty, then go kiss my girlfriend awake . . . then I'll be all like: "Get in the kitchen and make breakfast!"

Just joking.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Bad Plus

Okay . . . sometimes a band comes a long and I just have to scream: "LISTEN TO THIS, DAMMIT!"  And lately, it's a rather ecclectic jazz trio known as The Bad Plus . . . and I know what you're thinking (or at least I do if you know me), you're thinking: wow, Chad, are you listening to something other than ooky-spooky metal music?  And the answer is: Yes.  Yes I am.  But I didn't stray too far . . .

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'm a winner!

Well of course I am . . . because I won:

--from a giveaway by Wag The Fox

I like winning.  And I like books.  I like winning free books even more!  I can't wait to read it . . .

I'm a writer now, huh?!

Well, of course I'm a writer.  I went to college and earned a degree in creative writing and I have spent many years developing a little portfolio(?) . . . catalogue(?) . . . of my work which only saw the light of day amidst friends and coffee-house literary cliches.  It has always been a dream of mine to be a writer, possibly even an accomplished one, but for years I feared the inevitable . . . 


After my first rejection, from a fairly big press publication (for which my ignorance of freelance writing was too blame), I was of course crushed.  Crushed so deeply that I went out and bought books on publishing, subscribed to literary magazines, took a two day course on publishing and read everything I could about this rough industry.  I don't remember a lot of what I read, for there are a lot of words inside my head and my brain is far too spastic, but one line that always stuck out to me (and I do believe I'm paraphrasing here): it takes the average writer 100 rejections before their first acceptance.

I didn't feel so crushed any more, but when rejection followed rejection which followed rejection, that crushed feeling started to creep back in.

Well, I'm proud to announce that it only took me 39 submissions before my first acceptance.  And currently, my 41st submission, has marked my third acceptance. 

Friend or Foe has been accepted by Golden Visions Magazine; Outside the Box has been accepted by Bards and Sages Quarterly; and Careful What You Wish For has been accepted by Title Goes Here:.

So I'm a writer now, huh?!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ghost Story

Egad!  What schlock! 

The idea is there, and the idea interests me, but the first rough draft of my comical ghost story reads like nothing more than a scribbling of ideas strung together incoherently. 

To abandon or not to abandon?

I shall give it one more attempt, and should I fail . . . then it's back to the drafting board for yet another, one of many, stories within my collection.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Writer's Report - oh, those cliches!

Writer's report:

Submissions: 2
Rejections: 1

I started a new story last night--sort of spur of the moment, though the idea has been rolling around in my head for quite some time.  Judging by my last post, I was rather harsh about the over abundance of horror stories centered around zombies and vampires (which annoys me immensely).  I'm not saying that I hate the creatures--quite the contrary.  But it's far too excessive.  I long for a good ole' fashion ghost story, or a demonic possession (not of the teenage girl variety), or maybe even a frightening tale about squirrels.  Therefore, I decided to try my hand with a few of these monsters.

First, I contemplated (and even started) a comical piece centered around a haunted trail (for Halloween) in which two unlucky enthusiasts survive a terrifying night in which the haunted trail is littered with zombies; however, our two main characters are completely oblivious to the concept because A) it's a haunted trail; and B) they're stoned.  But do you see what I did there?  Gah . . . a cliche!  Two stoners, oblivious to the horrifying elements they're enduring, yet comically triumph over a terrifying night of zombies?!  Gah!  Cliche!

I'm better than that.

So I decided to write a vampire story instead in which a vampire enlists as a German medical officer stationed in France during World War II so he may feed on the blood of fallen soldiers.  And then . . . gah!  Cliche!  Not too mention author David Bishop wrote Operation Vampyr: Fiends of the Eastern Front  which is, as you may have guessed, a story about German-allied vampires during World War II, though they were stationed in Russia.

So . . . stepping aside from such embarrassing and cliched outlines for a story, I decided instead to begin a humorous story about a ghost who has the misfortune of returning to the land of the living . . . as a vampire . . . and as a zombie . . . and as a demonic possession.

Okay, so maybe the story stills walks along those conventional cliches.  Vampires.  Zombies.  Psht . . . so what if I am spinning off an idea from the same mundane characters?  At least I know they're mundane.

Ergo,  new story in the works.  I still have a few others which need some serious revision, but for now, enjoying the holidays, I'm going to crank out a little humorous tale.  Thus far: 1,288 words.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Zombies . . . Vampires . . .

"Avoid sending us zombie stories...we get way too many of those and they aren't all that original." - Golden Visions Magazine, submission guidelines

* * *

I don't know about you, but I am sick and tired of zombie and vampire stories.  They're everywhere.  I mean, seriously . . . do you remember the vampires of the '90s--how cliche the idea was to be this ultra-gothic, sexually demonic, mysterious entity with some clever stage name like Drake Alexander.  

I mean seriously, everyone comments on Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series, but that's nothing compared to the past twenty years or so . . .

Not to mention the countless movies and musical acts centered around vampirism.  I won't even list the number of vampire-goth-black-metal bands that took the stage with fangs and long, black, sharpened finger nails.

But today it's zombies.  Zombies, zombies, zombies . . . everywhere!  Zombies!  The apocalypse is truly upon us!  Just look:

Zombies!  They're everywhere!  A countless number of short stories, novels, humorous books, comics, movies, illustrations, conventions--not to mention zombie walks (a public display where numerous individuals dress up in zombie costumes and linger about public places such as malls, parks, city centers)--and the list just goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on.


Could we perhaps, I don't know, move on to something else?  What about mummies?  Why isn't there a mummy craze?  What's so special about zombies anyway?  And for that matter, vampires?

I must admit that I have read my fair share of vampire novels, even loved a few.  Poppy Z. Brite's Lost Souls definitely ranks number one on my vampire novel list.  And I've read a few zombie stories, including Max Brook's Zombie Survival Guide, which I admit was insightful and comical.  But still . . . WHEN IS IT GOING TO END?! 

Zombies . . . vampires . . . vampires . . . zombies . . . vampires . . . zombies . . . zombies . . .

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Intimidation . . .

Scoping out these blogs by various writers, reading their daily rants about achieving success and/or failure, browsing their bibliography . . . wow!

I'm only at the very beginning of this madness (hopefully) and thoroughly envy all of you who at least have a fanbase . . .

I better get to work!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Untitled Fable

I have recently written, and am currently in the process of editing and re-writing (lies!) a little fable-esque story which falls along the adventurous lines of Jim Henson's Labyrinth and possibly Neil Gaiman's Mirrormask while teetering on the edge of Lewis Carrol's Alice In Wonderland.

The story concerns a girl (Ditzy) who loses her baby (Whoopsie) when she is kidnapped by the dreadful Boogeyman.  And so begins Ditzy's quest, with the unlikliest of strangest friends, as she tries to rescue Whoopsie before the Boogeyman turns her into a nightmare.  And like any quest, it isn't easy . . . filled with puzzles and danger and mazes every step of the way.  

I hope to post some examples here soon, but as I have a lot to do today, I will instead post a few pictures which I hope to include amidst this trippy mess . . .


All those forgotten books

The books you've forgotten over the years  . . . those stories, hard to recall.  Are there any books that hide in the shadows of your mind?  Book that make you think: hmm, I read it; but when?  Why?  And what the hell was the title and who the hell was the author?!

Books, like any style of artistic expression, are subject to genre-biases.  For example: there are those who read The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, and then there are those who read The Saga of Seven Suns by Kevin J. Anderson.  And I am proud to be genre-biased.  I own The Saga of Seven Suns; furthermore, I don't even care about this whole Twilight saga [sic] to begin with--read it, don't read it; love it, hate it; emo, artist; tomato, potato--who cares? 

But yeah, yeah . . . who cares?  Right?

Being as I am, (and that doesn't mean I don't read mainstream fiction), I often read randomly.  My tastes change ever-so often and if I see book I think I may like, I'll buy it.  Book stores are a nemesis of my personal monetary goals.  I'm always buying books and magazines.  And some of those books are gone.  Gone to friends, ex-lovers, used book stores . . . the garbage. 

But which books?  What were they?

There are a number of books rolling around inside my head that I just can't seem to recall in grave detail.  I know I read it, I know what it was about, I even remember a scene or two and various descriptions.  But what the title was, who the author was . . . I haven't the faintest.

I wish I could remember these books . . . I mean, I remember reading Weasel by Cynthia C. DeFelice when I was like 12 years old (and that was 17 years ago), but books which came later in my years, like when I was in college . . . poof!  Gone!

I mean, there was this book which had a black cover, with a girl, and gears from a clock tower, and there was a pocket watch; and I remember a scene with a bad guy from her dreams, and she belched this purple light which the bad guy caught and proceeded to eat, ultimately leading to his demise. 

And I remember reading this homo-erotic vampire story, where people are converted into the realm of the undead via Dracula's(?) phallus. 

And then there was that book about farming . . . an entire full-length novel about farming . . . corn . . . soil . . . chickens . . . farming . . . Ohio.

There are others I assure you, books that are just lingering in the deepest crevices of my wrinkled brain.  And it drives me insane . . .

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Kayla says my new layout/design for my personal blog is childish . . . well of course it is!  What am I other than a big child?!  I mean, my blog is titled "The Satanic Teddybear" and that's me to a tee . . . totally cuddly, cute, yet with a touch of the dark.  So yes, this is my personal blog and it's childish! 

In the meantime, I'm going to try getting things rolling over at Wordpress, where I hope to a host a more "professional" blog which really only caters to my dreams, triumphs and failures as a writer.  Check it out, there's a link on the left.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A writer writes . . . and is accepted!

For years I have befriend this machine before me, using it to link letters together to form words into stories and poems.  For years I have hated this machine as I searched and searched and searched for a market that might accept my stories.  And for years I have cried before this machine as I received rejection after rejection after rejection.

But I never gave up.

And so finally, after all those years, I am proud to announce that two of my stories are forthcoming in the short-story market!

Careful What You Wish For is slated for a spring release from Title Goes Here: in there e-zine.  It's a story about a weed which wishes to be a flower.  Befriending a worm, which blossoms into a butterfly, this little plant never loses hope of one day being as beautiful as a flower.  But even beauty has its ugliness.

Outside the Box is also slated for a spring release from Bard's and Sages Quarterly in their spring issue.  It's a story about a crayon . . . the terrible life of a crayon.  What exactly is outside the box? 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rotten Sushi . . .

Yeah, it was rotten . . .

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rotten Sushi?

No such thing!  Who cares if the expiration date is two days ago?!  Rotten, raw squid doesn't bother me!  I'm eating it!

And so I did . . . I ate it.

And it was good.  A little chewier than usual.  I guess I will just have to wait and see later tonight, possibly tomorrow morning, if it truly was rotten . . .

In the meantime, Kayla wants to get latte and cupcakes.

Mmm . . . what a wonderful day!  Rotten squid and an extra-large latte with an extra shot of espresso!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Bitter Button

So Kayla has this dream of running her own lil' business sewing zipper pouches and whatnot, and when we were trying to think of a name, we instantly loved The Bitter Button.  So I, in my ageless pursuit of enjoyment, has been trying to keep her dream alive by entertaining her with my own little mythos behind The Bitter Button.  As such, I made a stupid lil' video . . . enjoy!  Or don't!

Friday, October 8, 2010

In Just 100 Words

Autumn Attacks

Within the forest the fall leaves fly from the trees and swim on the breeze, landing here and there softly, gently. It’s beautifully serene, but the aliens watch cautiously, yet mesmerized as the leaves litter the landscape in an array of autumn colors.
“Interesting,” commander Czulk comments as the alien spaceship settles in a nearby field. “It appears those organic creatures are hurling parts of their extremities.”

Suddenly, the wind changes directions and the leaves float towards the aliens, sticking to their spaceship.

Terrified, horrified, commander Czulk cries, “Holy Knight Rider, we’re under attack! Shields up! Evasive maneuvers! Fire! Fire!”

Thursday, October 7, 2010

In Just 100 Words

Way To Go Kid

Mommy always said, “Pick your toys up off the floor before someone trips and falls.” But who could’ve guessed that it would’ve been a burglar? It’s an odd sense of justice, but you should’ve done as mommy said; because it’s your fault mommy has to pay the burglar’s hospital bill and reparations for their time off work. Not too mention a small, undisclosed sum, for post-traumatic stress as the burglar now proclaims they can no longer visit any toy stores, for the sake of their children, due to some sense of paranoia and fear. So, do as mommy says.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Astral Conflagration

So here's a little music video for the song "Astral Conflagration" by band Silver Cypher (who I am currently drumming for).  The song is from our upcoming album (as of yet untitlted) and it's still in its pre-mix stages, but I figured it sounded good enough to post . . . by the way, as for the "music video" aspect, it's honestly just some video clips of the band recording but I spent a lot of time (up to six hours) editing the clips, splicing them together, and making it match to the music.  It was honestly a lot of fun, so much fun that I decided to call off work! 

P.S. from the first glance at the video's thumbnail, it appears to be another drum video of me, it's not!  So, enjoy!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

"Living the Nightmare" (music)

Here's another video/song . . . Jon's currently driving to New York to lay down the vocals and work on the mastering, so it shouldn't be too long before this all said and done . . . yay!

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Sequence" (music only)

So here it is . . . a rather rough mix of the music and drums with video.  I'm really impressed with the way this album is turning out and can't wait for the end result.  But, in the meantime . . .

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Look, a Book!

A Lion Among Men
by Gregory Maguire

The third book in Gregory Maguire's "Wicked Years", A Lion Among Men is yet another fresh, daring and ambitious perspective on the reality in the ever familiar world of Oz.  Oz is indeed a world which most of us (at some point in time) wish we could visit, and why shouldn't we?  Oz is beautiful and colorful and filled with many fascinating creatures, all of whom have their own conquests.  Some of its inhabitants wish to go home, some of them want a brain, some of them long for a heart, and then some of them just need a little courage.

Courage is indeed a theme surrounding the protagonist, the enigmatic Brr (yes, Brr . . . the Cowardly Lion of Oz); but in what ways is this theme of courage satisfied?  Though, more importantly, how exactly is the theme of courage re-enlightened?  Most remember the Cowardly Lion as the bushy, lovable beast in the dark forest that feared everything and everyone and picked on poor unsuspecting dogs from Kansas.  He was a wannabe bully who feared even himself, yet with just a little courage his life could be vastly different.  And that quest for courage was ultimately put to the test during the Lion's assistance in the eradication of the Wicked Witch of the West . . . all in all to help Dorothy go back to the boring, black-and-white land of Kansas.  In the end, the Lion is awarded a medal.  But that's just the movie . . .

L. Frank Baum's classic story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has a completely different series, albeit similar, sub-plots for the characters of Oz.  In fact, the Wicked Witch herself barely makes an appearance.  The Wizard still commands her removal from Oz, which Dorothy and her companions set out to do, but in the original story the conquest only lasts a coupls of chapters.  The rest of the book consists of nothing more than exploring Oz, including stumbling upon a small civilization of porcelain dolls and funny slug creatures with spring-style heads which shoot out several feet and butt things out of the way.  As for the Lion, his tale is still the same in both versions of the Oz story: he's a big, scared cat.  All he needs is a little bit of courage.  Which he ultimately does discover, for which he is awarded a medal for his show of bravery in killing the giant, evil spider lurking in the forest, for which he is thus anointed king . . . at least, that's how L. Frank Baum's story goes.  So how does Maguire's version of the Lion's tale hang in the balance?

Well, like the other two volumes in the Wicked Years, the focus (and indeed the plot) attempt to pull you away from the familiarity behind all of our lives (if indeed the Wizard of Oz has had such a lasting affect on society) and show you a new world which both dismisses and reflects the lives we're all accustomed to.  The Wicked Witch isn't that wicked (despite the murders) and her son (who appears in volume two, Son of a Witch) is an honorable (yet wickedly-militant) character, as for the Lion, he's a different beast all together.  Or rather, he's not a beast at all.  He's just a Lion.  He's just a character in Oz.  He does very little, save wonder to and fro, and along the way reaping the rewards of heroism and suffering the anguish of biases.  Why?  Well, because he just happened to be at the right place at the right time; or at the wrong place at the worse time.

Indeed, Brr's character in A Lion Among Men doesn't have any real obstacle to triumph over.  He just wonders about Oz, going from town to city to forest, meeting both man and Animal alike, and at times is befriended and at times out-casted.  But why?  There's definitely a psychological theme in Maguire's latest volume as he contemplates the affects of isolation and abandonment, but there's a deeper existential crisis apparent in Brr's character.  Yes, he is a lonely Lion, but it's not courage he seeks, nor is it a sense of family; what he seeks, in earnest, is nothing at all.  Maguire leads you from idea to idea, planting suspicions behind Brr's motives, but all seem to arrive to no end and without any apparent conclusion.  It would seem that Brr's obstacle is some sort of existential realization: as if understanding that he's the son of a king would fulfill his life, or learning that he's the lost orphan of a great pride would spark an emotional conquest . . . but no.  No such dilemma exists.  Sure, there's the ever apparent mystery of Brr's youth, but even when said mystery is answered it's nothing more than a brief emotional investment if that. 

So how interesting is a character who just lingers about, doing little to nothing and earning a reputation all the same?  Pretty interesting (at least in my eyes).  This novel received quite a few bad reviews (from my research [one of which the very critic surmised Maguire forgot how to write and killed Oz forever]); my own judgement of the novel agrees that this latest installment of the Wicked Years is lacking, but my feelings on the novel are quite different.  I personally loved Brr, finding his rather bleak observations on life refreshing and charming.  All the mayhem and achievements which have accompanied Brr are reflected upon with such innocence, as if Brr's completely oblivious . . . but no, not oblivious, just simply nihilistic to the whole ordeal.  Brr wonders through Oz, and indeed through life, because it's what he does.  He has no real connection to anyone or any place and he's fine with that.  Sure, he likes some of the individuals he meets, but once he's had enough, or if they've had enough, he moves on.  But why?  Is it because his expectations on family and friends are too high, or is it simply because he's a coward to the commitment of a place and its people, or is he still searching for something (and if so, then what)?  The answer is . . . there is no answer.

Unlike it's predecessors, which were concluded in glorious detail, A Lion Among Men has no real conclusion.  The plot and sub-plots lead you all around, exploring the various parts of Oz and allocating a variety of themes ranging from death to ignorance to destiny . . . all of which have no real lasting impression.  So what is the real message behind Maguire's Oz?  What is this new take on courage?  Well, I for one would conclude (in philosophical elitism) that it takes more courage to live the life of isolation and abandonment than it does to overcome one, but only if you're a Lion.        

So . . . decent-enough book, Good Read!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


This was (I do believe) the first song I helped compose with band Silver Cypher.  I love this song . . .

It Was Good . . . up until the end

Here's me screwing up while recording the intro to my favorite song with band Silver Cypher . . . and up until I hit the damn microphone, I thought it was going pretty good . . .

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bitter Button

Kayla's been sewing lately.  It's a hobby she's taken too rather joyfully.  She wishes to open a shop on Etsy in the future should she start making a bajillion zipper pouches, which she seems intent on doing.  We were thinking up names for her project when I came up with Bitter Button.  Instantly, we laughed and imagined this little angry button standing there, menacing.  And so, I just had to draw it.  Whether or not Kayla actually names her shop Bitter Button is her decision, but nevertheless I just had to draw . . .

Sunday, August 15, 2010

On Writing For Rejections . . .

I'm trying to get published.  I'm following all the rules.  Write, submit, recieve rejection.  That's the way it goes . . . at least, that's what Writer's Digest and Writer's Journal and Writer's Guide and blah, blah, blah all say.  I once read the the average n00b will recieve at least one hundred rejections before finally recieving a letter of acceptance.  It's all about the slush pile baby . . .

There's tricks of course . . . like resubmitting over and over and over to the same magazine so that hopefully, some day, someone will glance down at your piece, see your name and think to their self: C. D. Brinker, why do I know that name?  Because I've submitted to you twenty-two fucking times!

But, whatever.  Rejection slips don't bother me.  What does bother me are those shitty little zines that have like eight issues out (anthologies nonetheless!) and call for open submissions and literally one week after I submit, I get their stupid auto-reply rejection slip!  Like, did my piece even grace their crappy slush pile?!  You formally reject my piece within the span of seven fucking days?!  Are you really that busy compiling pdf formatted issues for your website that you can't wait a solid month before hitting REPLY - REJECTION?!  Bitches.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Future of Coffee Shops

I'm addicted to coffee.  I have been for many, many years.  And I love coffee shops.  I even worked in one for awhile.  But anymore it seems harder and harder to find one.  They're all closing down!  Is it the economy?  Most likely . . .

When I first moved here, Kayla just raved about this little cafe in town that had great coffee.  But, it was CLOSED!  Kayla wasn't aware that it was closed and was rather upset--as was I--but the gods saw fit to bless us with a quaint little coffee shop down the street. 

Roots was a pseudo-artsy cafe that specialized in coffee and bagels.  It was cute.  It had an out-of-tuned piano, chairs and a sofa bought from some thrift-shop, the walls were painted various colors and were stenciled in Etsy-fashion, and there were paintings everywhere for sale.  Ugly paintings that were way too expensive.  Nevertheless, it was cute.  It was owned and operated by some college girls, which I think ultimately was the cafes downfall.  Sure, it had a lot of potential, but with regular brand-name bagels overpriced by one dollar and lattes that tasted like camel feces, I wasn't too upset when that place hung up a giant CLOSED! sign. 

Roots packed their stuff up and sold the lot over to a new place called Manna Cupcake Cafe.  A shop for cupcakes and coffee.  It's been there for quite awhile . . . in fact . . . it's done nothing for quite awhile.  A sign on the door informed possible patrons that the cafe would be open for business sometime in late May.  It's now August and they still have sheets hanging over the windows . . . but at least they have a purple and white Manna Cupcake sign in front!

So, that left only one last place . . . a place that had switched titles over the years but has always remained a coffee shop.  The one, the only, Fullcup Cafe.  Coffee, Christ, and more!  A coffee shop that not only caters to the hopelessly caffeinatede addicts, but to the hopeful and spiritual as well.  Selling everything from coffee to muffins to paintings to crucifixes to Lebanon school-spirit gift baskets.  It wasn't a bad place.  In fact, they made really good white-leprechaun-on-the-beaches . . . my favorite flavored latte! . . . and their muffins were pretty good as well.  And so there I was, headed to Fullcup Cafe this morning for some drinks and muffins when suddenly dread and fear swept over me as I pulled into the parking lot.  It was 9:30am and no one was there.  And of course, there it was . . . CLOSED!

"NNNOOOOOO!!!!!" I screamed.

I jumped out of the car and ran to the door, praying that it was just a temporary thing, something akin to: the staff caught the black plague over the weekend, sorry for the inconvenience.  Instead, what I saw was a little letter taped on the inside of the window.

Dear customer,
We regret to inform you that after much prayer and consideration, Fullcup Cafe will be closing its doors and blah-blah-blah.

I stood there, hopeless.  My mornings, crushed.  I looked to the heavens and cried "Thanks a latte!" (insert flam on snare drum and a hit on a 14" fast crash Zildjian)

In the end, I ended up at the Starbucks in Kroger.  I bought bakery-fresh donuts which were made yesterday and a carmel latte from Starbucks . . . in Kroger . . .



So, I drew a couple of mazes for fun this week.  It was kind of hard, but extremely enriching.  It's like trying to find yourself while attempting to create a solution, and of course a deception, when erecting the correct path to the end . . .

I have a plan in mind, but won't reveal too much right now.  Nevertheless, mazes . . .

I really like this video.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Sketchbook Project

Kayla stumbled upon this today while surfing the world wide interweb! 
It's a tour of sketchbooks submitted by anyone and everyone who wishes to participate!  Registration for the 2011 tour is open currently and the fee is a mere $25 . . . which includes a sketchbook and a theme of your choice.  Then, when finished, simply return your sketchbook and it will be gauranteed (as long as it's within the rules) an exhibition on the tour.  And for another small fee you can have it uploaded!  Check it out!

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

The Most Horrible Person Alive . . .

. . . is living in my town. 

I'm sorry to say this but I do believe that some people are nothing more than a plague of humanity.  That's a rather hateful statement, borderline so many levels of -ists and -isms that it probably lumps me into that plague-like group as well.  But sometimes hate is justified . . . and I do believe that if anyone had been in my position, they too would've had one thought in their mind: you, sir, are the biggest piece of shit alive

It was 2:30pm and Kayla and I were on our way to work.  We stopped by a little gas station for some much needed provisions--energy drinks, cigarettes and chewy cow-tails--and it was I who was elected to acquire said items of interests.  And so there I was, standing in line, behind a rather un-comely man and his daughter. 

The daughter was a mess.  An absolute mess.  It looked as if it had been days since she had bathed, her hair was a matted and disheveled, and the gia-normous tee-shirt she was wearing was quite possibly the only thing she was wearing as it hung down to her knees.  Yet, despite such an appearance, one cannot blame the young and innocent.  Instead, one could only smile as she attempted to buy a piece of candy.  She had a handful of change, but was short about twenty-five cents.  And so, she turned to her father who smiled and handed over a quarter, like a father should.  His daughter was happy and waited by the door for her father.

when the father approached the counter it was evident he was of the low-life category.  His clothes were dirty, with holes in them, and he had an enormous wound on his face (like the result of a fight) and he wore a gold chain despite talking like a true-blooded country boy.  And he placed on the counter a forty ounce bottle of some cheap, fizzy beer and a giant forty ounce Styrofoam cup filled with ice . . . filled only with ice.  (Gee, I wonder what he was going to pour into that forty ounce cup of ice while he drove around town with his daughter?)  And guess what . . . when all was said and done, he was twenty-five cents short of the total. Twenty-five cents which he had given to his daughter so she may buy a piece of candy.  The man was not pleased . . .

And so he begged his daughter to come back to counter and refund her candy so he could get his twenty-five cents back and quench his alcoholic-low-life thirst.  He did, however, promise to buy his daughter ice cream.   

That really ruined my day yesterday.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Look, a Book!

A Storm of Swords
by: George R. R. Martin

This is the third installment of George R. R. Martin's magnificent series: A Song of Ice and Fire.  Chances are you've already heard of it.  George R. R. Martin has been in the lime-light of fantasy for a number of years now, winning numerous awards; this particular novel was nominated for the Hugo award.   Undoubtedly, this epic fantasy is his most famous work.  And with good reason . . .

A Storm of Swords continues to tell the story of war and its participants.  The whole premise of this novel, and it's two predecessors--A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings--is centered around the political intrigue of a land known as Westeros, which is currently in strife as many lords and QUOTE-UNQUOTE kings battle for the realm.  In what is nick-named the seven kingdoms, the land of Westeros is without one great king, though the family occupying its castle at King's Landing would argue differently.  Such is the plot of the story, in which everyone battles everyone else for their right to rule the seven kingdoms.  There are other problems however . . .

The land of Westeros is not only divided up into seven kingdoms with lords and rulers, but the very northern part is cut off by an enormous wall which spans from sea to sea, several hundred feet high.  This wall is controlled by a group known as the Night's Watch, who kneel to no particular king or kings and have no interests in the political struggles that affect Westeros.  Their only interest is to protect the entire realm of Westeros from the monsters (including reanimated corpses [but not in that cliched zombie way . . . at least, not yet] and hideous beasts [including giants and mammoths] and of course the people of the frozen north [including savage killers and toothless women]). 

There's also a land to the east consisting of free cities ruled by various tyrants.  It is here that the last heir of the overthrown king Aerys Targaryen resides with power.  There she builds an army and a vast following of peasants, gaining strength while waiting to head back to Westeros to claim her own right for the throne.  She has a trick up her sleeve . . . or rather a pet . . . or pets, for that matter.  Dragons.  Three dragons.  

In the long run, this book is far too in depth (like its predecessors) to go into very much detail.  And in fact, this is the largest book in the series (at least concerning the ones that have been published).  Roughly, in basic paperback format, the book consisted of 1100+ pages of pure enjoyment.  It's a long book, to be sure, but as it just continues the tale from the first two novels, in the end it's nothing more than just an additions to a great story.  A story, which like I said, is far too complicated to explain. 

It's easier to sum it up as a political intrigue involving a kings and knights and mythical creatures.  There's battles a plenty, as well as drama, and sex, and ultimately what you're dealt is a damn good story.  The story consists of several characters, with overarching plots, some of which criss-cross one another.  There isn't one central plot, other than that everyone is fighting everyone, nor is it easy to pinpoint a protagonist and an antagonist.  Sure, it's easy to spot who leans toward the side of good and who leans toward the side of evil, but ultimately all you're really left with is a mystery.  Who's going to win?!  But just when to start to calculate the chances of this character or that character, thinking that they'll ultimately be force to reckon with towards the end of the series, off goes their head!  And just when you think that this character over here is a horrible menace and a jerk and deserves death, you begin to sympathize with their plight until ultimately they redeem themselves through some act to which you (the reader) find a glimpse of hope in their evil caricature.

So in the end . . . there is no end.  Only another installment in the series.  The last book to be published, sadly, is the fourth novel in the series, A Feast For Crows.  George R. R. Martin has stated that he plans on writing seven novels in the series, but thus far only four have been published while he currently is working on the fifth and sixth one.  Although, it's been five years since his last novel was published in the series and fans are worried about whether or not the series will ever be completed.  With such a huge story consisting of so many characters and plots, it would be incredibly disappointment to have been dragged through the bloody mud of Westeros only to discover . . . nothing.  But I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Anywho . . . GOOD BOOK!  GOOD READ!