10 Long Nights at Camp Blood: Friday the 13th

It’s a movie that one of its stars called, “a piece of shit”. Gene Siskel loathed it so much he referred to the director, Sean Cunningham as “one of the most despicable creatures ever to infest the movie business.”  The late Chicago critic even went so far as to publish the address of the chairman of the board for Gulf+Western, which owned Paramount at the time, to express contempt for the movie. It also of course sparked one of the most notorious episodes of Siskel and Ebert’s Sneak Previews. In fact, if you can bare the pomposity, they do have some interesting points to make, and offer some food for thought.

            The brunt of their wrath was aimed at this year’s franchise review, Friday the 13th. I find it odd as the hero of the movie is a woman, and manages to kill the murderer, though the same can’t be said I suppose, for the other victims in the movie. Still, compared to what’s come afterwards, including many of the F13 sequels, the original seem very tame by today’s standards. Aside from the violence, the most gratuitous thing in the movie is Kevin Bacon’s schlong bouncing around in a Speedo.

The Snake Plisken award goes to…

            Much has been written about the history of this particular franchise, so there won’t be a lot of that mentioned. I’m simply going to talk about the movies, how much I enjoyed them (or didn’t), and make snarky comments along the way. Having said that, I will mention that F13 was a direct result of the success of Carpenter’s Halloween (a better made movie perhaps, but a much slower pace). Sean Cunningham had previously worked with Wes Craven on the classic Last House on the Left, so if anyone was made to make a Halloween knock off, it was Cunningham.

            Friday the 13th starts off in 1958 at Camp Crystal Lake. The counselors are sitting by the fireplace singing songs (as teens are wont to do), and before you can say Tom Dooley, a couple sneak off for some good old fashioned 1950’s nookie. The duo find a secluded spot, only to have a case of coitus interruptus as both are slashed to death (talk about a boner killer).  We then flash forward 20 years and see groups of teens in their early to mid twenties making their way to the camp.

Camp food really does give you pains.

            We’re introduced to Annie as she backpacks her way to the camp. As she stops in town for directions, and eventually a lift from a truck driver, she’s accosted by Ralph, the town crazy, who tells her the camp has a “death curse”. Even the trucker who gives her a lift part way tells her it’s not a good idea and to stay away. Annie has other plans, and when she’s dropped off at a crossroads, she’s picked up by another driver who is unseen. After the turn off to the camp is passed, Annie starts screaming to be let out, and ultimately jumps from the moving jeep where she’s pursued by the driver, and then has her throat cut. Always listen to the town lunatic!

Harvey, is that you?

            Another group, including Kevin Bacon and his penis, arrive at Crystal Lake and are immediately put to work by the owner, Steve. We know Steve is in charge because he’s the only one sporting a porn ‘stache. Being that he’s in charge, he leaves the other counselors to ignore his orders while he goes into town to get supplies. He says he’ll be back after lunch, but…well, we’ll get to him after a bit.

They don’t call it a pussy tickler for nothin’ y’know!

            Once Steve leaves they all strip to their swimming gear and take a dive into the lake, where Kevin Bacon’s penis seems to be having a lot more fun than anyone else. All throughout the movie, including this scene, there are camera shots that look as if they could be someone watching. Indeed, that is the case much of the time, but Cunningham mixes up the shots to such a degree that you never quite know if it’s the killer’s POV or not. It creates an uneasy atmosphere, and one of the reasons why the film works so well, when others do not.

I Saw What You Did Last Summer

            A thunderstorm approaches, and we have our first kill of the counselors, which surprisingly, takes place off screen. Ned, the jokester of the group goes wandering off into a cabin after he thinks he sees something, never to take a breath again. Kevin Bacon and his girlfriend (I could look up their names, but it doesn’t matter they won’t be around long), sneak off for some god old fashioned 1970’s nookie, with Ned’s corpse in the top bunk. Sadly it’s here we say goodbye to Bacon and his penis, as he gets an arrow through the throat.

When deep throating goes awry.

            Rather than go through all the kills, we know everyone dies, including Steve who doesn’t manage to make his way back to camp until after dinner! No one likes a liar Steve. The only counselor left is Alice and she does an admirable job facing off against the villain, who it turns out is the mother of the child who drowned there 20 years earlier. I know! I was just as shocked as anyone else!  This also makes me take what Siskel and Ebert said about F13, with a grain of salt as it not only had a female hero, it had a female villain (in a bit of a twist on the Norman Bates character).

A boy’s best friend is his mother…huh, dejavu.

            With all of the movies that have come out since F13’s release in 1980, it’s easy to forget, as I had, that the end was mostly a fist fight. It seems rather antiquated now, but I was surprised because I had forgotten that. And then we have the now classic ending, which Tom Savini suggested, and was directly inspired by the ending of Carrie. That’s right it’s when Jason jumps out of the lake and grabs Alice, thereby giving Ari Lehman a lifetime job at comic conventions. Never has 5 seconds of screen time produced so much. I’d always thought they should have left it there, but we then see Alice in the hospital and she’s told there was no boy that they found. We then cut to the lake and see Jason’s fart bubbles rippling to the surface.

Alright, who farted?

            I was 15 when this came out, and while I loved horror movies, I wasn’t that enthused about the graphic violence I heard people talk about. However, when I finally saw it a few years later on VHS, I was rather amazed by the effects. Watching it now, I’m really rather surprised at how it holds up. There’s a timeless quality about it, which makes it seem as if it could have happened just last week. Cunningham did a great job with the direction, and even if I don’t like jump scares, that’s exactly what these movies are for. Light on atmosphere, heavy on the scares no matter how they’re gotten.

C’mon, you promised me a handy! You always say you have q splitting headache!

            There are also some beautiful shots as well, and a couple I plan on making the background on my laptop. The effects, with the exception of Bacon’s kill, which looks even more fake in higher definition, are Savini doing what he does best. The acting is nothing to write home about, and the dialogue isn’t going to remind anyone of David Mamet (“How do you call a snake?”), but they all work together and make for a fun, scary ride.

It has a death curse! Like my breath!

            If Halloween paved the way for F13, then this franchise really opened the floodgates for the slasher genre, and unfairly or not, will be remembered as the juggernaut of all slasher movies.

Two out of three falls, what do you say?

            Friday the 13th gets 8/10 machetes from me.

 

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Lonely Are the Dead Excerpt!

What follows is the first chapter of my upcoming novel “Lonely Are the Dead”. This is as different from anything else I’ve written as you could possibly get. The violence is mild, the vocabualry clean-well mostly clean-and far more a quiet form of horror. Keep in mind, this is from a second draft, and may change a little or lot when finally released later this year, but it will give you a good idea of the tone of the new work. I hope you enjoy it, and if you have any comments please feel free to leave them.  As per usual, this work is copyrighted by myself, and no excerpts are allowed without my concent. 

 

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My name is Eryle Harrigan, poet, madman, and a traveler of worlds. On October 31st  1899 I vanished from my cell at Bellevue Hospital in New York for the first of a multitude of times. This disappearance was as much a mystery to me at the time, as it was the rest of the world. When I reappeared that first time, I was in a small, weed ridden graveyard some miles away. I have no memory of how I got there, but I was without my clothing, shivering and confused. The caretaker, whose name I do not remember, spotted me huddled in the archway of a crumbling mausoleum. I can still hear the faint echo of his rough hewn voice, chipped away with too many cigarettes and gallons of cheap alcohol. In the darkness I could see the lantern heading closer to me, the flame whipping and threatening extinction with each hurried step he took.

I didn’t move, more from modesty than anything else. I waited until he was close enough for me to shield my eyes from the small but powerful glow of the metal contained light. He held it up in his left hand, a pistol pointed towards me in his right. “Who are you? What are you doing here?”  I tried to answer but couldn’t find my voice. More accurately it was as if I had forgotten how to speak. I certainly couldn’t remember my name, of that I am certain. “I asked you a question!”

I gave a small shrug and looked up, still unable to say anything. Though I had no feeling of sadness, I could sense a trail of tears running down my cheeks, pocketing little specks of the salty water in the corners of my closed mouth. “I’ll not ask you again.” The caretaker’s voice was low, threaded with menace.

Without knowing I was about to do so, I said, “Your accent…from Ireland?” This seemed to take him by surprise, and I couldn’t think to blame him. The last thing one would expect to hear when confronting an unclothed man crouching in a cemetery was a discussion of accents.  I could see his features relax a bit. The gun wielding hand lowered just a bit, and he nodded. “My Mother’s from Dublin. We emigrated ten years hence to New Foundland, then when my Father passed we moved here.”

I had no idea if what I had said was true, at least not then, but it took the caretaker further aback. “From Cork myself, just been here the past year and a few months give or take.” With that, he put the pistol in his pocket, and moved a bit closer. “Been drinking?”

I shook my head, and could feel shoulder length hair dance on the skin on my face. It felt brittle as the working end of a straw broom and smelled about the same. “Are you hurt?” he asked.

Once more I shook my head and added a “No, I’m not,” as well. The man sighed and scratched his temple, moving his cap up enough to show that whatever hair he may have had had taken upon itself to leave. “Well what the hell are you doing here, and without your damn clothes?”

“I don’t know.”

“Where’d you come from?”

“I don’t know.”

“What’s your name?”

“I don’t know”

“What are you, mad?”

“I may well be.”

“Well you can’t stay here and freeze to death.” He set the lamp down, took his coat off, handed it to me and turned around. “Put that on and follow me, I’ve no interest in taking a gander at your manhood.”

That made me smile; I stood, put on the heavy coat lined with lamb’s wool , and walked briskly behind him across the length of the graveyard until we reached a wooden shack that seemed no bigger than an outhouse. He pulled a key from around his neck and used it to release a padlock on the door. I was ushered inside and was able to make out a table and two chairs. There was a book, some papers, as well as a plate with a half eaten chicken leg on the desk. A mug, half empty of a pungent mead scented liquid was to the left of the plate. “Sit,” he said.

I obeyed and sat on one of the rickety chairs which rocked a bit due to a weak leg. The custodian sat in the other chair, in front of the meal I obviously interrupted, reached down and brought up a bottle. He turned and grabbed another mug that had been sitting on a shelf, poured some liquor into the pewter mug and handed it to me. “This will help you warm up.”

I took a sip, grimaced, and coughed at the bitterness. “How did you know I was there?” I asked.

“I didn’t. I saw a flash of light and heard a loud noise. Went to see what it was and found you.”  He stared at me, even going so far as to lean in close enough I could smell his fetid breath. “You’re not the Devil are you?”

“If I were, I’d have dressed warmer,” I answered.  Against my better judgment I took another sip, managed not to cough, but still grimaced, and set the mug down on the table.

“Do you remember anything?”

I closed my eyes. I furrowed my brow with deep thought but for the life of me remembered nothing. It was a blank slate. Nothing but emptiness…no, not emptiness, but an absence of anything. Emptiness would have entailed that my mind was full at some point.  “No. No, I don’t.” Another slight trickle of tears.

“Here now, not to worry, we’ll get this all sorted. Perhaps you were hit on the head in a robbery and your clothes taken.” He said this with such conviction and surety I almost believed him.

I knew better though. I wasn’t sure why, simply that I knew he was wrong. It was something much darker and malevolent.

There was a period of silence, and I could see the wheels turning in the keeper’s head. He wanted to do something. To help, I surmised, but neither of us knew what form that would take. “I need to take a walk around the grounds. You should probably stay here, will you be okay?”

“I believe so.”

“I’d say t’hell with it, but with it being Halloween and kids what they are…” his voice trailed off. The apologetic inflection of his words unmistakable. I also think he really wanted to be away from me as well. My appearance, lack of memory and inability to provide him any information had started to fill him with a slowly dawning dread. I could see the sweat beading on his upper lip. The slight shake to his hand as he lit a spare lantern to leave with me. The way he carefully avoided touching even by accident was as subtle as thunderstorm.  “Shouldn’t be more than half of an hour,” he said, before opening the door to the outside world. Once I was shut in I heard the snap of the padlock, letting me know I wasn’t going anywhere even if I wanted to.

I turned the screw on the lantern to enlarge the flame a bit and looked at the book on the table. I reached out and pulled it across the table closer to me and looked at the cover. The dark green cloth felt warm to the touch. The gold colored imprinting on it was too faded to read, but I didn’t need to.

I knew the book was mine. I don’t mean to imply I owned the book, I mean to say, I had written the book. I traced my finger along the spine, and the lettering lit with a deep magma color. I inhaled deeply and closed my eyes. There was a smell of smoke, but not from the lantern. This was something deeper, and far earthier than an oil soaked wick could ever hope to produce.  I place my hand palm down on the cover, and even with my eyes closed could sense the room lighting up. I pressed my hand down, feeling a surge of something electrical start to course through my body. I felt aroused, though not in a carnal nature.

I felt alive in a way I’ve never felt before or since. Opening my eyes, I looked down, the book’s cover flying open, throwing my hand off it violently, the way an unwilling wild horse will buck a rider off. The pages began to flip as if a massive wind were ripping through them. Back and forth they went, an unseen hand desperately trying to find something contained within. I placed both a hand on each side of the book, feeling a magnetic pull drawing me to the pages. I tried to resist and the more I did, the stronger it got. My head moved closer, visions of things I couldn’t begin to comprehend, swam in my consciousness. I could smell the nearby graves. Worse, I could smell the inhabitants of those graves. Some nothing but bones and rags, others recently departed and smelling of rotting flesh. A scream tried to escape my throat, but was denied. The tip of my nose was now in the crease of the book, pages on each side slapping me on each cheek, leaving superficial cuts. As blood from the wounds trickled down and dripped onto the tome, the pull became impossible to resist. The room around me disappeared, as did the book. There was nothing but the sensation of free falling and the horror of knowing I would never land.

 

A Bittersweet Moment

Today was a day of bittersweet moments.  The official cover for Fossil Lake, which includes my story, “The Day Lloyd Campbell’s Mama Came to Town”, was released. Take a gander below for a look:

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I also found out that the publisher of Fossil Lake, Janrae Frank passed away.

It’s hard to believe she’s gone to the land of the eternal, and no doubt, scribbling away at her next novel.  Not even death can slow her pen dipped in equal parts acid and love.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have known Janrae for six years or so. When I started writing again, she was one of the first people I met online, and she struck a very imposing figure. Those who know me well, know that my first published piece was a poem entitled, “Forgotten Son”, from the now out of print poetry anthology,  “Death In Common”.  And though that tomes final resting place was with another publisher, I learned a lot from her and the experience. Some good, and some…not so good. We had a falling out which instigated a couple of years of silence between us. However, I always read her comments on other blogs and forums, and never really lost my respect for her as a person and as a writer. Anything positive I was able to do with Bandersnatch Books was due to her and a couple of others. Its failings were all my own, and my unwillingness to heed her advice.

I am glad to say that over the past few months we were able to mend fences, and became friends again. I’m not always easy to get along with, yet Janrae, to her credit, never let me get in the way of friendship. I could go on, but would rather direct you to a post written by her daughter and daughter in-law, which says far more eloquently, everything you could want to know about this larger than life woman. http://www.daverana.com/blog/2014-01-13/janrae-frank

You’ll be missed ole Cuss, but you’ll never be forgotten.

 

“Fossil Lake” will be released on 1/15/2014

How To Be A Professional The Pacione Way!

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In a response to something I posted on his blog, La Femme Nikita responded with this:

I am not a liar or a fraud. I just don’t publish the faggot nor will I read works from the faggot. I strongly make this suggestion, please refrain from trying to stop people from submitting to my anthologies. It is not professional.

The first thing to notice is his use of faggot twice. Nothing screams professional more than slurs about someone’s sexual orientation.  What else makes someone a professional according to Nickolaus Ablert Pacione? Let’s take a look at just a few things.

First, let’s establish that he’s been a “professional” for a very long time. I’ll go back to a blog entry I wrote on 12/3/08. That’s right, six years ago. That was when he talked about taking a shit on the grave of late writer Joe McGee, a man who in death still has more talent than Nikita ever will.  His response to myself and others in the comments, calling him on it reeks of…well, something.

Melany — I hope you have a miserable social life, well as a matter of fact you can’t hang onto a boyfriend longer than six months after you left me. And yes I am getting published in more places, just I haven’t finished writing new material to send off but should be finishing off I.O.W.A. That anti-abortion yarn that someone pirated the shit out of on AutoLame.org.
You really need to shut your mouth more often because you’re revealing too much of someone’s personal life. You’re just a coat-tail rider as much as this Scott faggot is. Your mother dying is the best day in my life. I wanted to throw a dance on her grave party. As you assholes attempted to do with my publishing company but you sadly failed to see that happen. I already been published a few times within the year but the print appearance is long overdue. Getting published on (link deleted) helped me a little bit.

And a little bit down he adds:

Nah I just got done pissing in your dead boyfriends urn.

Being a professional also entails being banned from several, websites and forums, not just once but over and over again (Goodreads three times and the yuku forums twice); having more blogs closed due to hate speech than I can count; consistently referring to women as bitches and cunts, threatening people with violence (in spite of running away like a little girl when confronted); challenging writers to fist fights-the list goes on ad infinitum.

And the last thing I’ll touch on is his new submission call. A true professional will put it up on Tumblr (because everywhere else doesn’t want his crap there), single space it in the tiniest font possible, and then not even put an email address to send a submission.

If all of that is professional, but warning people away from that behavior in a so-called publisher is unprofessional, I’ll be proud to be wear the mantlle of unprofessional any day.

5 Movies That Inspired Me

One of the great things about being a creative type is the ability to take inspiration from pretty much everything. From music to paintings to movies, all of it can be an inspiration. In the first of an ongoing series, here are my five horror movies that have inspired me. Just as a sidenote, these aren’t necessarily my favorite movies, but had the most impact.

1. Horrors of the Black Museum

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One of the first movies I remember seeing, what sticks out (no pun intended) was an early scene in which this poor woman picks up a pair of binoculars only to have her eyes pierced by spikes hidden within.  While tame by today’s standards, this 1959 release was shocking and visceral to me. I was very young when I saw this (less than 10) and more than 35 years later it still remains one of the most horrifying scenes in my memory. The problem is, it was so well done, I don’t remember anything else about the movie!

2. Jaws

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I was 10 years old the summer this came out and at my one and only times at Camp (Camp LaSalle – a military academy in Oakdale NY, though there was little of the military aspect, just your basic camp activities). I remember everyone talking about having seen it, and how scary it was. I don’t remember when I actually saw it for the first time (probably on cable) but it wasn’t that summer.  What I do remember is in the opening scenes the head of a corpse that seems to pop out of nowhere.  I think it was the eyes of the corpse, white and blind and loose in their sockets that got me. There are of course many other memorable scenes in Jaws, but that one image also has stuck with me-and started my lifelong hatred for jump scares.

3. Carrie 

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The above picture says it all. Nearly 40 (40! holy shit!) years later, this still scares me silly, and I’ve seen it more times than I can count. While it may not have aged well, it still packs a punch, and Sissy Spacek gave one of horror’s best performances ever recorded.  The killing of the pigs, the buckets of blood, the carnage and mayhem. Horror at its finest.

4.Hellraiser

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Hellraiser happens to be one of the crossovers of inspiring me and being one of my all time favorite movies (horror and others). The way Clive Barker was able to weave a tale of love, sex, obsession, death and rebirth is still nothing short of amazing. I remember seeing this with a friend who had no interest in horror at all (but being a good friend he still went with me) and the still above was the scene that made him walk out. I of course stayed, and made him wait until it was over and I still don’t think he’s ever forgiven me for that.

5. John Carpenter’s The Thing

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There’s not much I can say with this one. Perhaps the pinnacle of ’80s horror, The Thing was so intense and edge of your seat, pants shitting scary, I spilled all my popcorn and soda. Even 31 years later, the make up effects and puppets haven’t been surpassed. The scene where the petri dishes with blood samples are being tested is still so terrifying, I’m amazed I haven’t had a heart attack yet. Fantastic performances, monsters, and a great ambiguous ending makes The Thing stand the test of time.

If there’s one thing all these movies have in common is the idea that anything can happen at anytime and no one is safe.

No one.

Fandom Weirdness Part the Third

After nursing a beer for hours, Karen is trapped in a decades old car on the way to somewhere. Seriously, that’s where we’re at (and only took about 3K words to get there).

        “Jesus I think I heard of this.  The author who nearly published Kane dropped him because he criticized gay horror.

That must be it, and not say, due to being a writer as bad as Nikita.

She was staring into the darkness at this point, and in her mind were bugbears that were dark, surreal and wandered within her emotions.

So which is it her mind or emotions where the bugbears were running amok. No wonder she was staring into the darkness.

 They became infamous for the bullying they would do to self released authors

What have they got against authors who self release? It’s a part of being human! For Nick, it’s the only sex life he has. What? Self publishing? Ohhhhhh, never mind.

The diner was named for a publisher of razorwire fiction named Misty Bobe,

What diner isn’t named after a publisher? None? I thought so.Some definite Oedipublisher issues.

.  It had a lot of stone gargoyles and the atmosphere was that of a Horace Wapole novel

More name dropping instead of description! Drink!

.   Misty Bobe opened the diner to finance her magazine.

So she named it after herself? Could have said that in the first place. Oh, I forget that would actually make sense.

        “We’re here. This is where I get my inspirations for Real Weird

I guess pulling in, parking, getting out of the car and going in wasn’t hint enough they were there.

         “It looks like it was decorated by R.L. Stine,” she added.

Here we go again. For fucks sake man, is it Horace Wapole or R.L. Stine? Pick one, would ya?

from writers who like to scare people in the vein of Wes Craven’s New Nightmare,” Michael laughed as they entered the diner.

You’re not even trying now. Lazy is as lazy does.

        “I will give you a booth. Will that be smoking or non-smoking?” the waitress greeted them.

Is this a door prize? I’d prefer a non smoking booth, it lessens the chance of my ass catching fire.

She kept thinking she was stepping into the works of A.J. Poe and Nicholas Kane of they were co-writing a story together

Nope, just the deluded mind of a short, fat, closeted troll.

where ghosts of abortions torment a doctor after he finds God.

Because ghosts keep up on things like that.

“This place, it reminds me of the imaginations of the bloody pulps,” she inquires to the waitress.

Yes we know, you’ve mentioned it enough in half a page. Get on with the story.

 Karen was whistling the theme from R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps because she was getting the creeps from the atmosphere of the diner.

Lazy, unimaginative fucker.

        “So you know the nightmares that are within different fandoms then,” Karen relates as she looks at the copy of the fanzine.

Where’d he pull the fanzine from? His butt, like the rest of this drek?

        “They would harass Evangelical Christian writers.  They created pages about them and accuse them of monstrous things.  Then would try to fuck them out of publications,” he added.

Literally fuck them out of publications? Were they fornicating on a stack of Playboy?

One blogger called him a retard and he challenged this blogger to a fist fight,” Michael added as he was explaining the things he considered for the fanzine.

Retard was being kind. Very, very kind.

        “I think I heard about that, some editor who rejected one of his short stories calling it a work of fan fiction when it was Lovecraftian Horror,”

He probably meant it was crap. Again, being kind.

The author sent some angry e-mails to him and suggested he died of AIDS,” Karen responded.

Pretty sure the death certificate would list cause of death. And why would you send a dead man an email telling him what he may have died from? What? typo? There are those top notch editing skills.

        “The industry has its horror stories then,” Karen replied.

Of which Pacione is only one, sadly.

 “I noticed you have a weird fiction fanzine.  Mind of I take a look at it?” the waitress asked as she offered the check.

The dialog is breathtaking. Please take my breath away so I don’t have to read any more.

 “He smashed an editor’s car with a sledgehammer charging $10 per hit,”

Can we just smash him for free? It would certainly improve the value of the neighborhood.

“He did even more notorious things.  He took a massive shit on a rival editor’s photograph and uploaded the aftermath.  S.E. Cox

leaked one of his rejected stories

I know I feel like I’m reading massive shit.

Though we leave the fair Karen in a diner, fear not her fate will be determined in tomorrow’s exciting (doubtful) conclusion!

Some Changes

Some of you may notice that I have some headers now. I decided to import all of the posts from my other blogs and roll them into this one.  Some are good, some aren’t and may get cut. With the reemergence of a certain troll, I wanted all of it in one place. Plus there are some cool pieces about things I have an interest in. While much is old news, I like to have it archived and will slowly go through it all and redo the tags. I hope some of it may be of interest to you.

Also, I received another 5 star review on Amazon, so check it out!  http://www.amazon.com/review/R1BDZWP60TZMFE/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00BBMGXMK&nodeID=133140011&store=digital-text