The Place Without a (Domain) Name

Update: major thanks to WordPress for working to restore my domain name. Though how much this means is questionable: that gesture was enough to ensure Misadventures In Fiction stays with WordPress for the foreseeable future.

Tonight, I decided, was the night to renew my WordPress domain. I’d been putting it off because of holiday expenses and bills and so on, all of which are things I didn’t want to admit but are now moot points anyway. WordPress immediately reminded me upon logging in that had expired as of two months ago, and that I should renew it.

“That’s the plan,” I said to my computer in the way I talk to my computer, except with less swearing about how shitty my WiFi is at any given time (Thanks, Comcast).

The domain name was already in my cart, ready to buy. I just had to enter my new debit card info, right? Right?! And then I sat back, relaxed, and got an error message that made no sense to me. “Enter your first name.”

You mean like the thing I had entered with my card information? I’m pretty sure that Philip is my first name, as it’s been something I’ve had for twenty-nine years now. I hit Enter again, only to be told my Credit Card info is incorrect. I checked the number I’d entered against my card, and it matched perfectly.  Continue reading

A bit more on why fantasy isn’t dead

Oh, no, you might think. He’s not trotting out this tired, old horse again, is he? Yes. Yes, I am. And I’ll keep doing so until voices from behind upturned noses stop declaring fantasy and science fiction as genres that have quietly wandered off into obsolescence. Also: for some reason, I found my brain stuck on this topic again first thing after waking up and so I figured that was a good sign I might as well run with it. Especially since my brain has been, from a creativity standpoint, been reduced to being able to produce little more than Post-It Note short stories during down-time at work.

Someone filled all of the Post-It dispensers with Pepto-Bismol Pink notes while I was away on vacation.

Someone filled all of the Post-It dispensers with Pepto-Bismol Pink notes while I was away on vacation.

Fantasy and Science Fiction are just like any other genre in that they are only limited by the boundaries of imagination, and also in the sense that at least one stuffy academic will point out all of the perceived inherent flaws they hold within.

Before I go too much further, I will admit that there are stories that have been played out a good deal. That’s true of all genres. However, I counter this point by saying that no two writers have identical voices, even if one is trying to imitate another. There will always be some small differences, and as such it could be argued that no two stories written by two different people are ever really the exact same thing. Yes, fantasy has some limitations. If it’s historical fantasy, it’s easy to say that Medieval towns weren’t and were equipped with certain things. Science Fiction has to have some basis in science or it won’t really work. Or we could, perhaps, reflect on these works being of ones of fiction, and their end-goal is to provide some level of fanciful adventure to worlds like and unlike our own. If someone decides, for instance, that the Cloud Dwellers of Stratospheria are why wind turbines are banned in the future as sources of alternative energy as they are perceived as violent acts of war, that’s entirely up to the writer. There’s plenty of room in the world for all variations of science fiction and fantasy, and there will most certainly always be a market for it as there will always be room for escapism.  Continue reading

Lady Ghostbusters won’t actually ruin your childhood

Good evening, readers. And people who happened to click a link to this post while trying to scroll on smart phones, tablets, and other touchscreen devices designed for such misclicks. Welcome to the first of undoubtedly many Throwdown Thursdays, which is a thing I came up with instead of making Throwback Thursday happen on my blog. I avoid posting old pictures of myself because they’ve been known to cause irreversible blindness, but if I were into that sort of thing I would post them on whatever day of the damn week I want.

The purpose of Throwdown Thursday posts is to pick a topic–preferably a relatively relevant one–and…basically rant a bit. I can’t justify dolling up the point of these posts when they’re actually just therapeutic venting with a chance someone else might read it.

I’ll admit that I was really torn on tonight’s subject. Commenting on how people being shocked by snow in January is actually the most shocking part of winter was a close front-runner. That changed when I saw the reactions to the cast reveal for the Ghostbusters reboot. It’s like someone filled a garbage bag with highly concentrated crazy, held it over the Internet, and tore it open in response to the news of who would be the leading ladies of this brave new version of a Hollywood treasure. Before I even dare leap into the bulk of me losing my mind over just how ridiculous this non-issue is, let’s take a look at what the problem is. What group of B-list, no-named losers did Paul Feig cobble together for this terrible, sad knock-off again? Continue reading

The revenge of the return of me self-destructing through writing

It’s almost a month into the new year. I’m seven chapters and a couple of dreadful, pained paragraphs into chapter eight (because killing a major character is proving more difficult than I’d expected, so that’s regrettable). I’ve also watched three seasons of The Legend of Korra and a whole lot of Parks and Recreation, which is just great for not being productive.

Brianne and I had a delightful conversation about my writing, by which I mean she reminded me to stop focusing on what I haven’t accomplished. There was a specific mention of One Hundred Days of Blogging, the details of which are a bit blurry because I vaguely recall words intermingled with me screaming internally, and then an idea happened. It started as only a couple words, which was enough to lead to it finding a spot in my Miscellaneous Shit Notebook That Deserves a Better Name.

Let me make it perfectly clear that I hate myself so much for the words I’m about to type.  Continue reading

Wibbily wobbily, spoilery-woilery post ahead

That was physically painful to type, by the way. Before I get into the actual post, given my neglect this weekend, I would like to half-apologize for the last couple blog posts. It’s a half-apology because I was having a wonderful time quite some distance away from all of my troubles. It was spent in the company of two of the most fantastic people I know and it gave me a chance to finally meet a couple really terrific people as well. Drinks were had, tabletop games were played, and I had some of the best times I’ve had in a while all crammed into a weekend. I’d also like to point out that the Hyatt House in Dulles, VA, was the best hotel experience I’ve ever had in all of my travels. Great price, great customer service, and the rooms are like tiny homes-away-from-home without that weird feel of actually being in another person’s house using all of their appliances, their bed, and their shower. That’s a universal feeling most people, I imagine, have while staying at a hotel. Continue reading

Reviews shouldn’t be some twisted means of revenge

Or “It took me way longer than it should have to come up with a title for this post because I’m just really pissed off.”

I think it’s safe to say that there’s at least one special someone in everyone’s life who manages to draw a certain level of rage, no matter what they do, for whatever reason. I know I have my fair share of such people. The sort of folks I make genuine efforts to avoid in public places, or make rather unkind comments about when I’m feeling particularly unkind (read as: far too often, probably). However, despite my ever-questionable moral compass, I have some limitations. For example: I would never, ever do something to deliberately harm another person, no matter how angry I am. I use the term harm in this case, because it encompasses so many different things one person can do to something else (another person, an animal, inanimate objects; whatever). Continue reading

Don’t drink the water (and other recent events)

I’m doing that thing again where I try too hard to compel myself to write, only to become frustrated with the efforts I make.  I end up shutting down as a result.  This revelation brought to you by the on-again, off-again functionality of my left Shift key, which has seen more than its fair share of use in college writing.  Good old Satellite 5 (why yes, my computer is named in reference to something from Doctor Who).  More on the writing stuff in a couple of paragraphs.  A pair o’ paragraphs?  A herd of the written word?  I’m not sorry, but I’ll stop.  For now.

This has been a strange month, with more parts frustrating than good.  The sighs of relief were, by and large, outnumbered by the groans of frustration, and I have taken so many trips to my Happy Place (to those of you in the know: no, it does not involve a place where I go to set fire to my enemies, thank you very much) I’ve taken up dual citizenship.  My car was deemed totaled, and then through the good graces and unending kindness of my parents it was replaced (I got their car, they got a new car, and everyone but the environment won out I suppose).  There were two instances in which I was double-charged in a way that left my bank account missing at least $200.  Not many people I know are all right with that kind of money just floating about in Limbo, and I am not such a person.  Those problems were, in time, reversed.  Most importantly, or at least I’d like to think, I’ve taken the pile of good things and bad things this month has provided me with and understood that the bad things didn’t make the good ones any less good, and the good didn’t make the bad any less significant.  More Doctor Who references.

My household also welcomed a second kitten, now named Meowiarty.  He’s an extremely affectionate little kitty who moves with the speed of lightning and all the grace of someone who is about ten beers past their limit (read as: lots of magical moments featuring little M headbutting walls).  I mention his speed, specifically, because his ability to suddenly be places he hadn’t been moments before resulted in nearly getting shut in the fridge today.  He is also co-authoring this post, sporadically running across the keyboard.  That’s totally where the typos are coming from.  Not me at all.  Probably.
Speaking of authoring and co-authoring and writing and so on (I’m being lazy with transitions; just go with it, people), my good friend, all-around entertaining guy, horror movie enthusiast, and author of “Beauties in the Deep”, Zachary T. Owen, has asked me to contribute something to what I think is still a super-secret project.  I mean, in hindsight I could’ve always asked him how secret this is, but this is mostly a chance to point out how it’s close to Halloween.  There’s no better treat to give, to others or yourself, than a copy of “Beauties in the Deep”.

Unless you give it to someone who is easily frightened, in which case it’s the perfect trick to play.  Win-win situation, I think. The plan, as of now, is to at least have one short spooky story, minus the alliteration, posted as a Halloween treat.  Or, in the event I don’t deliver, I can always say it was a trick.  Joking.  Only joking.  I can think of a handful of people who wouldn’t let me live such antics down.

Funny enough: I almost forgot to include any explanation for the title, which was part of why this post is happening to begin with.  Drawing upon my half-hearted reporting skills I learned from one semester of hating my life-choices at Point Park University, I will take a moment to relay recent Hollidaysburg news.  Some asshole left what is being called a “vague threat” (note: the quotation marks are crucial, as they appear in most mentions of this “threat”), and so I’ve been advised against using tap water all weekend long.  Something about bomb threats in Hollidaysburg, too, but I feel like any explosions would have to be cleared as historically appropriate so as to not affect Hollidaysburg’s overall historical aesthetic.

It’s about time I wrapped up this collection of comments, or perhaps these meandering musings, since I’ve got to go back to what amounts to herding cats before a vet appointment.

What I’ve been up to (other than short stories)

I feel like this blog has been neglected in the sense I’ve only been going from short story to short story with less of my typical commentary, which sort of detracts from my overall misadventures in fiction being posted.  And that defeats the real purpose of this blog/web site/whatever, which is to broadcast my rampant narcissism across the internet.  Obviously.

So I’m still adjusting to my very-first full-time job at a place I won’t refer to by name so as to not, you know, get in trouble.  I’ll be honest, though; I love it.  It keeps me busy, and it’s a lot to get used to, but I’m already very happy with the way things are run.  I also have an amazing boss (who has an amazing boss as well, who I have talked to on a few occasions).  However, getting used to forty hour weeks after working sixteen hours one week, thirty-some another, and so on, is a bit taxing.  By a bit I mean a lot.

On top of all of this, I have lots going on that I’m not quite willing to reveal yet as it’s all still very much in the works.  Things I can say, at least: I’ve started keeping notes in my Hobbit Moleskine about my (Un)expected Journeys, and whether or not that ends up manifesting as Misadventures in Nonfiction or something will remain to be seen.  I also am now the proud owner of a Hyundai Sonata, courtesy of my parents’ tremendous generosity.  It also means more responsibility, which is something I was unaware I had so we’ll see how that goes.

I should like to point out I’m not dead, homeless, in some really horrible state, or anything like the previous, so I’m doing pretty damn well, all things considered.  I say that ignoring the way I worry myself to the point of health problems, of course, and those are all things I will never likely post about in great detail on here because reasons.

Lastly, I wish you all a happy Memorial Day, and offer up some serious digital high-fives and salutes for everyone who has ever fought on behalf of the US (or any other country, or for any cause no matter how big or small it may be perceived for that matter).  To see people exhibit such courage in any situation still renews what faith I have in the human condition, and that’s a hell of a feat in itself.

Oz, the Lackluster and Disappointing

I would’ve just added this to my scheduled posts, but I’m at least trying to write this in a time frame that allows it to pretend it’s still relevant.  Some important notes to get out of the way, first.  Yes, I caved and saw “Oz The Great and Powerful” (and every time I type that I want to add a comma in after Oz; you know, so it could be read without all being forced into one breath).  I considered trying to do a spoiler-free review, but it’s honestly not worth bothering.  Instead, most of it will be hidden within a cut.  If you’re really set on not having this “cinematic masterpiece” (those air quotes are the only thing bigger than Disney’s special effects budget for this film, by the way), you’ll want to skip this post completely.  Oh, and I do get a bit winded with my ranting, so you’ve also been warned of that much as well. Continue reading

Wheel…of…Tax Season!

For most people I know, with myself included in that figure so as to artificially inflate it a teensy bit, it’s getting to be tax season.  This largely means digging up any and every piece of paper that might, oh please dear god, add a little bit more to that oh-so-very-lovely tax return (or, in my case from last year, reminding the government I somehow won $1,000 on a scratch-off lottery ticket, which is so going to bite me in the ass).

Fair Warning brand Disclaimer: this post will get a little on the rantier side of things, as it is well-known by those who are familiar with me that money-related stress is my least favorite kind of stress.  Waking up to an obvious, straight-from-90’s-era-horror-movies standing in my bedroom is a pretty close second.  The point is there are many, many other web sites on the internet, and if you’re not a fan of money-related things, or rants, you may want to go elsewhere.  Then come back here for the other posts, obviously.

So anyway, I’m a huge fan of bitching about money.  It’s something most people want more of, nobody ever seems to have enough of, and not very many people are willing to part with unless they’re damn sure it’s going to something good (read as “it’s got to be for personal gain through material possessions, mostly”).  There’s also a whole lot of people who are very good, apparently, at saying how everyone else should use their money for whatever reason (like, say, I don’t know…politicians, for an example).  I’m not an expert with money, either, nor am I an expert with math, numbers, or people.  I am pretty good at opinions, however, since I’ve been giving mine freely since as long as I can remember.  As an important aside before I continue, however, I would like to point out to any eccentric billionaires who happen to find themselves perusing my blog that I am always willing to accept large donations to the Phil Likes Large Sums of Untaxed Cash Even Though He’ll Never, Ever Get Such Things fund.

Here’s what we do: set up a Hunger Games-style selecting process by which so many people are selected to participate in a game show for their tax returns.  I’m going to pause for a moment to note most of the people who know me even a little bit probably expected me to suggest we start killing people, but that’s totally not where I was going with this and if you thought that you should feel bad (but accept I’d probably have gone there under other circumstances, so you were essentially right).  Each player goes individually, which means television networks get to benefit from it lasting a good while and advertising agencies can give viewers ALL the commercials, and completes some sort of task or another (I never said it was a complete idea, and I’m really loving parenthetical asides in this post so I’m sort of sorry for that but not really).

Now for the important bits, though.  The bits that will really bring in viewers.  Each contestant is given a choice at the end of their run on the show.  They can either accept their tax return, as is, no questions asked, or they can pick from one of three mystery prizes behind a door.  The prizes would range anywhere from various denominations of cash to amazing vacation getaways.  What?  That’s boring, you say?  Because the flip-side to that is there would also be rather unfortunate mystery prizes.  Is it a brand new Ford Mustang behind curtain number three?  Nope.  Sorry, Timmy or Tammy Everyperson, it looks like you just forfeited your tax return for a big old bag of beef jerky.  The money players would have gotten in these situations could go to, say, charities of their choice.  Or the national deficit, I guess.  Whatever.  And, because I’m not an entirely horrible person all of the time, everyone would still get to leave with a little bit of money because, let’s face it, nobody really ever wants to live solely off of ramen noodles boiled in their bitter tears (even if it’s a necessary evil sometimes*).

Ultimately, anything that makes money less horrifying and misery-inducing would be pretty cool by my standards, but I really just thinking about the chance to watch, say, a high-paid politician or some crazy-as-all-hell oil baron risk big and end up with something like a boxful of deep-fried cow hearts or something.

*Spicy Pork cooked in vintage Self-Loathing-filled English Major Tears are a personal favorite of mine, as it was one-stop shopping.