Daily Archives: February 18, 2016

RIP George Gaynes

I’d like to take a moment to remember actor George Gaynes, who died this week at 98, which surprised the crap out of me because I thought he was 102 back in the 1980s at the height of his fame.

His two main roles that I remember:

  1. The bumbling Commandant Lassard in the Police Academy movies.
  2. The lovable curmudgeon Henry Warnimont on the TV show, Punky Brewster.

Yes.  Punky Brewster.  The best show ever about a poor elderly man who went to take his trash out one day, found a small girl living in the alley and decided to keep her…because it was the 1980s, simpler times when the automatic assumption was that the old man actually just cared about the kid and wanted to be there for her and wasn’t trying to keep her as a slave locked up in his basement or something.

Ahh how times have changed.  Punky Brewster just wouldn’t fly as a TV show today.  It was a good show.  There was Brandon the dog.  And her friend Cheri.  And Cheri’s feisty grandmother.  You know, Henry and Cheri’s grandmother really should have hooked up.

Anyway, you will be missed George Gaynes.  The 1980s would not have been the same without you.

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Some Thoughts on Zombie Western

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Hello 3.5 Readers,

BQB here.  I’d like to take a minute to thank you fine readers for encouraging me to keep hanging in there with How the West Was Zombed.

The year is still new, we’ve yet to hit March, and this is the first year where I’ve stayed true to at least one resolution: write a novel.

As for my other resolutions, I’m still freebasing cookies and Coca-Cola non-stop, so those are out the window, but the “write a novel” resolution is on track.

I’ve achieved a couple of personal first:

  1.  First time I’ve broke 30,000 words on one novel without throwing in the towel.
  2. First time I’ve completed not one but four parts – i.e. logical sections of a book surrounding something that must occur for the story to progress.
  3. First time I’ve ever seen light at the end of the tunnel.  This rough draft could actually get finished.

It hasn’t been easy.  Part of my problem has been I’ll write for awhile, then come to a conclusion that changes must be made, and then I’ll rewrite rather than continuing to write.  But often when you do that, you’ll find that even after you revise the first part, you’ll need to go back and rewrite some more.

It is hard to keep going when you know changes must be made.  I feel like a marathon runner and every time I see a need for change it is like a new pebble fell in my shoe.  I want to stop, take a seat on a bench and shake out all the pebbles but I know if I do I’ll just lie down on the bench, fall asleep and not finish the race.

I must keep running, no matter how many pebbles collect in my smelly running shoes.

I’m further excited for my sequel ideas.  I’m trying not to get too far ahead of myself, but if all goes well, I foresee Calamity Jane vs. Zombies in the second novel and Wyatt Earp in the third novel.

All three will be tied in to an ongoing cowboys (and girl) vs. the evil vampires of the Legion Corporation, their lackey werewolves, and most importantly, their dumb zombies.

This is a rough draft.  I thank you all for helping me out with your feedback.  When I’m done I’d like to write a second draft and post it on here to see what you think.

Finally, I’ll probably seek the advice of some beta readers and a good editor.  And then of course, a cover designer.

I would love to get three novels out this year and just be like
“Bam, here’s my series!”  That will require life to cooperate and we all know how that works out.

LIFE:  Oh my God!  He’s enjoying his existence!  Quick!  Dump some bullshit on his head!  No!  He’s caring about the world! He’s turning himself into a productive member of society!  Hurry!  Shovel copious amounts of shit on him so he gives up and sits on the couch with a bag of Doritoes all day!!!

That’s how my life usually goes.

3.5 READERS: Oh BQB.  You’re so negative.  Think positive thoughts and positive things will happen.

Yes.  That’s me.  Positivity man.  I can control goodness through my mind.

Anyway.  Thanks.  Keep reading.  I’ll keep writing.  I feel like I’m actually accomplishing something here and may have a shot at getting a book out.

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 39

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If you wanted to buy something in Highwater, whether it was an axe or a suit, Anderson’s General Store was the place to be.

Dressing like a refined gentleman was a new experience for Slade. His collar felt tight. He’d never worn a tie before and couldn’t wait to take it off. He couldn’t believe that he’d allowed himself to be talked into wearing a cummerbund. A red one to boot.

Mrs. Anderson was a boney old hag who reeked of peppermint candy, though her face was sweet enough that looked as though she’d been a head turner in her day. After all, she once turned Jim Anderson’s head, though as the bald chubby man studied his accounts ledger, he didn’t look like a particularly great catch.

“So dashing!” Sarah said. “What do you think?”

Grunt.

“Is that good?” Mrs. Anderson asked.

“I have no idea,” Sarah replied.

“Is it proper to wear a hat in church?” Mrs. Anderson asked. “And those guns…you should lose them.”

“True, it is a wedding, dear,” Sarah said.

Slade cleared his throat. “Non-negotiable…on both fronts.”

Mrs. Anderson shook her head. “Men.”

She walked behind the counter, shooed her husband away from the ledger and began jotting down figures.

Slade stared at himself in the mirror, convinced this get up was the first step toward becoming a prissy, dandified girly man. A familiar voice broke his concentration.

“Christ’s sakes, Jim, don’t give me that top shelf shit! Do I look like a Vanderbilt to you?”

Slade turned his head to see his ex-deputy at the counter, purchasing a bottle of whiskey. Gunther forked over his money, took his bottle, and was about to walk off when he spotted his ex-boss.

“WELL HOLE-E-SHIT!”

There was no making a run for it now. Slade was in for it. Gunther walked over, took off his hat and bowed.

“Excuse me, Mr. City Slicker, which way to the op-a-rah house?”

Grunt.

“Did I take a wrong turn and end up in gay Paree?”

Grunt.

“No one told me the King of England was making an appearance.”

“Shut up,” Slade said.

“What’s with the monkey suit?” Gunther asked. “Someone up and croak?”

“What?” Slade asked.

“Whose funeral?” Gunther asked.

Slade felt like it was his but realized that wasn’t what Gunther meant. “It’s for a…” Slade’s voice trailed off unintelligibly.

“A what?” Gunther asked.

Slade mumbled again. Gunther put his hand up to his ear.

“Speak up, sonny. My ears aren’t as good as they used to be.”

“A wedding!” Slade said.

Gunther smiled. “Get outta town! When?”

“Tonight,” Slade said.

“Shit, you youngsters don’t waist any time do you?” Gunther said.

“I guess not,” Slade replied. Gunther was already off to the counter, shaking Sarah’s hand up and down. “Congratulations on your impending nuptials, Widow Farquhar!”

“Why thank you,” Sarah said. “You’ll join us, won’t you?”

Gunther put his arm around Slade’s shoulder. “Why I wouldn’t miss it for the world and Rain, don’t you worry none, the answer is yes.”

“Huh?” Slade asked.

“Yes,” Gunther replied.

“What the hell’s the question?” Slade asked.

“Will I be your best man?” Gunther said. “Of course I will, ya’ jackass, you don’t even have to ask.”

The thought hadn’t crossed Slade’s mind but realizing there was no other candidate for the job, he didn’t question it. Sarah seconded it.

“I think that’s a lovely idea,” she said.

“Widow Farquhar,” Gunther said. “Could I borrow the groom for a spell? Official best man business.”

“Of course,” Sarah said. She turned her attention to Mrs. Anderson. “You’ll deliver the dress tonight then?”

“Yes honey,” Mrs. Anderson said. “Don’t worry about a thing.”

Gunther led Slade outside. From the steps of the general store, they could see the newly arrived train sitting at the station. Legion employees in conductor uniforms puttered about the platform, loading equipment.

“That is some nefarious and suspicious shit right there,” Gunther said. “What do you think?”

“It’s big,” Slade said. “We rode past it on the way in. Has to be at least three miles long. One of those big guns on every fifth car.”

“Rain, I know I schooled you well in the art of saying ‘fuck it,’” Gunther said. “But now might be one of those times where your ill-advised recklessness is required.”

“What do you want me to do?” Slade asked.

“I don’t know,” Gunther said. “You’re the boss. I’m just the help.”

“Not anymore,” Slade said. “And I’m getting hitched.”

Gunther and Slade shared a moment of silence. “You sure that’s what you want?” the old man asked.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Slade said.

“What else is new?” Gunther asked. He pulled the cork out of his bottle, took a sip, then offered Slade some. He declined.

Sarah walked out of the store and took Slade’s arm. “Mrs. Anderson said you’re free to wear your suit out of the store but darling, please don’t get it dirty.”

“I better go pay,” Slade said.

“Oh sweetheart I took care of that,” Sarah said.

Gunther felt like a third wheel. “This sounds like one hell of a shin dig, folks. I better go and get my own fancy duds out of moth balls.”

“Six o’clock, Mr. Beauregard,” Sarah said.

“Ma’am, wild horses could not drag me away,” Gunther said. The old timer walked away.

“Sarah…”

“What is it?” Sarah asked. “You look cross. More so than usual.”

“You can’t just…pay for me.”

“Why not?” Sarah asked.

“It’s like I’m a…” Slade whispered the next part, “…a damn gigolo.”

Sarah led her man down the street. “Don’t be ridiculous! We’re to be married soon. What’s mine is yours and yours is mine. Come now, we have a long day ahead. I hope we can find a photographer.”

Slade craned his neck once more at that train. He knew Gunther was right.

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Do Rom-coms Create Stalkers?

Hey 3.5 Readers.

I read this column, “The Dark Side of Rom-Coms” on the CNN website by Julia Lippman, a post-doctoral fellow in communication studies at the University of Michigan and thought it would make for a good discussion here.

Go read it.  The gist is basically those romantic comedies might not be harmless as you think.  A guy who stands outside a girl’s window holding a boom box in the air a la Say Anything is weird.  A guy who hires a private investigator to track down his prom date thirteen years later a la Something About Mary is even weirder.

Though in the context of movies, we laugh and have fun, men might be taking cues to relentlessly pursue or even stalk women…that they might get it in their heads that their persistent advances on uninterested women aren’t bad behavior but rather, charming displays of romance a la Lloyd Dobler.

Hmmm.  Well, here’s my first observation:

I am a man and I have zero interest in romantic comedies.  Romantic comedies are made for, geared towards, and primarily marketed to women.

There’s Something About Mary isn’t really a good example.  That’s more of a raunchy comedy that just happens to involve romance.  I liked that one, but any other romantic comedy?  No.  No interest.

I’ve never seen a commercial that went like this…

He was a guy down on his luck. She was the girl who had it all.  This summer, Hunky Guy and Hot Girl in Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah.

…and was like “OMG I MUST SEE THIS!”  No.  Never.  I’ve never seen a rom-com on my own.  Any time I’ve seen one involved seeing it because someone else wanted to see it.

Are there all different varieties of men?  Yes.  Are there some men who like romantic comedies?  Sure.

But I don’t like them and while I don’t know if there’s been a study commissioned on this, I’d dare say the lion’s share of men aren’t spending their days thinking “Oh my God I want to see She’s My Gal or Love in the Time of Love or whatever dopey title the latest romantic schlock is called.

So in my opinion, don’t worry.  Men aren’t going to become stalkers because of rom-coms because we’re too busy watching super hero movies.

Why?  That leads us to my next observation:

As a man, I prefer action movies, super hero movies and so on.

Here is the plot of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron:

A billionaire in an iron suit, a Norse God, a scientist who turns into a green rage monster when he gets mad, an invincible WWII veteran, a Russian assassin and an expert arrow shooter join forces to stop an evil robot.

I loved it.  I enjoyed it.  And do you know why?  Though it was sheer, utter fantastic nonsense, it was more believable than any rom com ever written.

Why?  My next observation:

Love rarely works out as perfectly as it does in the movies.

It really, really doesn’t.  Which leads to another observation:

Personally, I believe if there is any “risk” involved in rom-coms, it is that they encourage women to yearn for highly unlikely Hollywood generated scenarios that could never happen in real life, all the while ignoring what’s around them.

I’m just going by personal experience.  Over the  years, women have basically trained me to treat a first date like a job interview.  What are the job interview rules?

  • Don’t sneeze.
  • Don’t burp.
  • Don’t fart.
  • Don’t scratch.
  • Make a little eye contact but not too much.  Don’t talk about anything controversial.
  • Don’t say anything that resembles your thoughts, opinions, hopes and or dreams.
  • Ask questions and provide a general sense of interest.  However, not too much interest.  Don’t inquire about anything deep or meaningful.  Stick to the weather.  “Nice weather we are having” will prove that you are alive and have a pulse but cannot be construed as being too intimate.
  • Don’t be yourself at all.  You are horrible.  Wait to be yourself until you’re hired and then it is too much of a chore to replace you.

I mean that’s pretty much what dating has become now, thanks in large part to Hollywood convincing women through romantic movies that they should expect pure, unadulterated perfection out of men at all times or bust.

Men can follow all those rules and still be rejected when women jump to conclusions based on harmless stimuli:

MAN SCRATCHES HEAD.

WOMAN THINKS: He scratched his head sixty seven minutes into the date.  That’s a deal breaker.  I’ll be damned if I’m going to be saddled with a head scratcher!

MAN DROPS HIS KEYS.

WOMAN THINKS: He dropped his keys.  Clearly has reflex issues.  I’ll be picking up his keys until the end of time.

MAN SHOWS UP EARLY.

WOMAN THINKS: Must be obsessed with me.  Clearly thought about me all day.  Probably slept over in the restaurant parking lot all night and day just to be here five minutes early.

MAN SHOWS UP LATE

WOMAN THINKS:  What a self-absorbed psychopath to make me wait five minutes.

You laugh!  You laugh, but this is what men are facing now.  Thanks to handsome, hunky men in romantic comedies who always say and do the right thing, we have to deal with women who aren’t happy unless we’re jacked up and all muscly, picking them up on our white horses with the wind blowing our luxurious hair and we never make a mistake or do anything wrong.

I mean, holy shit, if you’re an average man and you’ve got a wife that Hollywood has trained to think you should look and act like early 1990’s Hugh Grant, then good luck to you if you forget to rinse off your dish before you go to bed one night as she’s going to divorce you, take half your shit and go off in search of Mr. Romantic Comedy Man, who does not exist.

And if you have a pimple, or some minor bodily flaw?  Jesus Christ, forget it.  Just forget it.  Wait for the scientific community to invent robot girlfriends because you’re never getting a human girlfriend when Hollywood is telling women to hold on because Bradley F$%King Cooper is going to swoop in and whisk them away any second.

BQB, this column is getting a little one sided.  Surely there are movies that mess with men’s minds too.

There are.  There are probably dudes who see hot actresses and expect that women who have jobs and commitments should look like they spend 24 hours a day working on their bodies the way actresses do.  There are probably even dudes who like rom coms and expect a woman to be perfect like the rom com leading lady.

Anyway, those are my main observations.  Lippman did end her column by pointing out that she isn’t in favor of banning rom coms or anything.  And she does note, as I would point out too, that only an idiot would take love advice from a movie.

And if you take the rom com part of it out, the more debate worthy topic might be when does pursuit cross the line into stalking?

Everyone probably has a different idea on that.  My general argument would be if you like someone and know your friend is a friend of that someone and said friend is throwing a party and you ask to come so you can chat up the person you’re interested in, that’s just an attempt at kindling amore.

But if you know none of those people and just followed a person you saw walking down the street to a party and you spent the whole night in a dark van waiting to catch a glimpse…yeah, you might be a stalker.

All joking aside, if you like someone, be cool, give it a respectful try, but once rebuffed, realize that there are other fish in the sea, so plant your hook elsewhere.

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