Nerds Needed

hey nerds what’s janet wearing in this video? is that, like, studded leather? brigandine? elven mithril?

srsly this was one of the first tapes me and my siblings ever had as kids, and it is a jam, son.

The Future of Therapy: Cat GPT

I finally signed into Chat GPT myself instead of just forcing my boyfriend to use it for me. Perhaps it’s for the best I went solo on this because I had an important question about our relationship. How do you feel about Chat GPT’s answer?

Great American Satan:  i accidentally called my boyfriend by my cat’s name.  i also accidentally tried to feed him cat food.  did i do these things because i subconsciously believe he is a cat?  that would not be good.  why did i treat my boyfriend like a cat?

Chat GPT:  As an AI language model, I don’t have access to your subconscious thoughts or feelings, so I cannot say for certain why you made these mistakes. However, it’s important to remember that accidents happen, and it’s possible that you simply made an innocent mistake.

It’s also possible that your mind was preoccupied with your cat, and you were simply distracted when you called your boyfriend by your cat’s name or tried to feed him cat food. It’s important to take a step back and evaluate the situation without jumping to conclusions about your subconscious thoughts or beliefs.

If you’re concerned about your behavior towards your boyfriend, it may be helpful to reflect on your relationship and any underlying feelings or issues that may be causing you to act in this way. Consider talking to a trusted friend, family member, or therapist about your concerns. They can offer an outside perspective and help you work through any issues you may be experiencing.

The struggle is real.  When Mochi was alive and not feeling enthusiastic about eating, I’d taken to tapping his food bowl and scooting it toward him to get his attention and trigger his tracking instinct.  One time I not only put the cat food on my boyfriend’s desk, I tapped it and scooted it toward him.  Just tonight I was low key busting my boyfriend’s chops and started to call him Hecubus.  But then, my boyfriend is what tumblrites are calling “a pathetic little meow-meow.”

I’m running a fundraiser through April 21st!  Donate at least $3 and you can suggest a word to me that I will rhyme in a rap.  If I just get a few bucks, this rap will be a text poem.  If I reach $500 I will record myself rapping.  If I reach $600 I will do a short video.  Help cover a medical situation, thanks! –goal achieved, fundraiser closed.

Wanna be a Mastodon?

I’m not joining Comrade Hornbeck’s FreethoughBlogs-flavored Mastodon Instance myself for a few reasons, most notably that I didn’t have a Twitter to replace, never found that school of social media-ing appealing.  But if you want to join, you can comment here with the handle you’d prefer.  I can see your email in my admin panel and pass along word to HJ within 24 hours or so, and help him vet entrants with the relevant info.

The Midnight Collection, Volume Three!

The Midnight Collection rides for again!  Just in time for xmas, you can read a winter-themed collection of short stories, poems, etc..  My man Joseph Kelly has published this compilation of dark fiction that I’ve previously mentioned.  You have a few options on how to read it – and one is completely gratis. I’ll explain that later.

frosty hell

This third installment of The Midnight Collection is themed “Bitter Cold.”  The collection is basically produced without profit at this point.  I’m just pimping it because I’m a contributor, and I’d love to hear what you think of my writing.  Although I am really curious what reviewers, casual or serious, will think of all the stories.

This is truly an unusual collection. Despite the uniting theme, it’s as diverse as the members of our secret cabal of writers. There’s poetry, comedy, a sprinkle of queer representation, and dark fiction ranging from traditional ’80s style horror to fantasy to sci-fi.  Overall this volume leans toward themes of social isolation and dark moods, as befits the season.  Some of the writers are more conventional, some rather unusual.  A little tour of the table of contents:

A new author for this collection, and what a character.  I did not see where this is going, indeed, still not completely sure what I beheld on the way there.  A brisk read with a bent sense of humor.

VARIOUS POEMS – Saoirse Aimhirghin
Returning from Vol. 2: Dark Harvest, this author serves up a passel of icy poems, interspersed throughout the book.

The most christmas’d out story in the collection, replete with a big pile of gifts, unethical medicine, and monsters.  Something for the whole family, from a returning author.  The spooky elements were gratifying.

SOUL EATER – Dominique Palma
She’s back from Dark Harvest, again bringing that international flavor, in a story that ranges across the Atlantic Ocean and history as well.  This is the author’s second story for us to include poetry, which is interesting.

My lovin’ man has entries of his own, besides pulling rather extreme labor as the editor of these little beasts.  Watching Trees is a short but immersive creep show, Kiss of the Ancestors is a dark fantasy tale that might trigger those of you who have suffered religious abuse.  The Ice Box is exceptionally well-written, spot-on for the theme of bitter cold, and emotionally brutal.

SLAY RIDE – Emily Socia
In Vol. 2: Dark Harvest, this author brought us a creep show of her own.  This time around, she’s written a narrative poem in that classic genre of christmas horror, each verse a haiku.

A CHRISTMAS NINJA – Christopher Scott Shelton
A poem about a christmas-themed ninja, this thing is my inner 16-yr-old’s fault.  And reflecting on the experience, I’m fucking pissed I didn’t work in a reference to Michael Dudikoff.

Back-to-back poems by Sheltons!  This one mounds archaic language to obscure its true narrative to the last verse.  True dad humor.

Another returning author, Kerchner keeps the family horror and slimy monstrosity, but this time adds seasonal humor, influenced perhaps by the Fallout universe.  Enjoy.

RITES OF MILK – Damian Golfinopoulos
Before the first volume of The Midnight Collection came out, I personally invited this guy from our secret writing cabal to submit something.  His ideas were wild, influenced by stuff like Cronenberg and Burroughs.  And yet the stories he produced in the first two volumes seemed more buttoned-down, serious, even sad?  This is more like what I was originally expecting.  Good and greasy.

In my pencil moustache-having persona, I wrap the collection in my Rod Serling way with I Bought the Ticket.  But earlier in the book I have a proper entry, my first gothic BDSM soap opera.  Will it be my last?  Probably, but it was an interesting experience.

Hinterkaifeck is a true crime essay, A Winter’s Friendship Fair is horror short about cutesy white people facing mysterious peril.

Didn’t like Diana’s job interviews in Supply Chain Banditos and The Pumpkin Spice?  Neither did the employers, so she’s back for another interview.  This might be my best yet, breaking out of the “my mom’s ex-boyfriends” mold to tell us more about her family.  The lore deepens.

TRAPPED IN STONE – Rachel Friend
Aside from a few random F-bombs, this little spook story has a lot of child-like whimsy.  A self-satisfied librarian is snowed in, which seems like a dream come true for her.  Until books start to get mildly damaged.  That shit is uncalled for.

The last proper entry of this volume brings back the big heart.  Set in a fictionalized Arctic land, this has a grim premise, but an interesting path.

a cool boy

“Chill Boy” – Joseph Kelly, 2022


The way that results in the most direct support for future volumes is through Ko-fi.  For a minimum three dollar donation, you can download the e-book in formats that work with most e-readers.  Due to holiday jackanapery, the printed version is not currently available, but may be soon.  And lastly, as promised, you can just read it for free at the Collection’s website.

There are a few original works of art by the authors and editor (nice!) but most of the illustrations are lovingly curated from public domain resources.  Some version of some of most of the illustrations are available on the website, more in the e-book, but yes, the best way to appreciate them is a hard copy… whenever we make that happen.

I’d love to see reviews, either of the whole package or individual stories.  For lowest effort you can drop some general thoughts in the comments below this article.  You can also leave comments on the individual stories at the Midnight Collection’s site.  Thanks!

Note:  I’m given to understand some non-USA people can’t use a card to purchase it through ko-fi, but if somebody specifically requests to make it available through Amazon, we’ll look into it.

Spooktober 2022, Day Twelve

Spooktober is a 31 day event of coming up with original horror ideas based on prompts my writing group argues over.  These are my entries.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #12 — Haunted House

TITLE:  The Little Lady

PREMISE:  Young Fasel and Hasna are heirs to an estate on colonized territory.  One hundred years before them, the royal family retained people with various forms of dwarfism as servants to the children, so the children would not have to fear a tall stranger.  When they begin to see a lady of their own height, making friendly gestures, they assume it’s the ghost of one of those servants, reliving her role as a servant to children.  But it’s actually the ghost of a typical sized princess seeking revenge for the invasion, contorting her ectoplasm into child size as a lure for the foreign babes.

HORROR ELEMENT:  The funhouse effect, distorted bodies, children in peril.  Maybe the ghost can do that change-the-distance-in-a-hall gimmick for good measure.

Poster by AI, modified with photoshop.

fake book cover for "The Little Lady"

Spooktober 2022, Day Eleven

Spooktober is a 31 day event of coming up with original horror ideas based on prompts my writing group argues over.  These are my entries.


TITLE:  It’s the Orb for You, Ladies!

PREMISE:  Zinnia and Bernadette were in legal trouble for anarcho-socialist activity at the university, and began to glimpse men in suits spying on them.  To escape the heat, they accept a serendipitous invite to a lady retreat at the luxurious Marbled Heron Lodge in rural Ontario.  Little did they suspect, a cult had seen their activism and assumed it meant they were down with destroying civilization – targets for recruitment.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Stuck in a cabin for a week with cultists seeking your heart by carrot and stick.  Watch what you say or you’ll get the orb too.

Poster by AI, modified with photoshop.

fake book cover for "It's the Orb for You, Ladies!"

Synonyms for Stupid and Insane

The words ‘stupid’ and ‘insane’, along with their synonyms, are still not cool with me. Don’t use them in my comment section, please do consider whether there’s a way for you to write in your own spaces without using them. I know it isn’t easy, but using those words is ableist. We really ought to be trying harder.

For a brutal reminder of why ableism is bad, read Ania on The Orbit again.

Illegal Actions Will Be Necessary

As Caine reports, there are already attempts to take away our legal right to protest. That doesn’t mean protest will be impossible, only that you will be more likely to be shot or arrested for it. There are lots of things we will have to do under trumpence that are or will become illegal. Interfering with immigration officers, recording racist police murdering people, protesting in hundreds of ways, stealing to feed and clothe the needy (no doubt including many of ourselves), possibly hacking communications to discover and reveal evil government actions to the people, so on. Not to sound apocalyptic – a lot of this stuff can be pretty low key. Are you prepared to risk becoming slave labor for the prison industrial complex? Not sure if I am yet, but it may get to where I don’t even have a choice. Many people have already been there.

Black Power Now

stylized raised black fist

Throughout this article I focus on racism in the political process as being about the persecution of African Americans.  Latinx people and others have definitely been oppressed as well, but the number one boogeyman that drives institutional white supremacy has always been fear of black people.  I’d like to give everyone some props and some encouragement.  Rock on!

To me the silver lining of this election is that now I know white people are not even worth trying to reach.  Those of us who are compassionate enough to see suffering and progressive enough to be intolerant of the intolerance that promotes it – we’re going to come correct no matter what.  White moderates and swing voters?  Total trash, useless, racist as fuck, just fuck ’em off.   We tried in so many different ways to win them and it was for jack dick.

People of color, on the other hand, recognized the threat and did what you could to stop it.  Every category of you had a good sized majority voting for the not-completely-depraved candidate.  If we collectively want to believe history has a forward trajectory, that it’s possible to end this fucking rocket train to the abyss, you, people of color, are the only real hope of that.

And I am absolutely not being one of those fools that blames low PoC turnout for Trumpistan.  I’m not saying you have to take responsibility here.  Samantha Bee said we shouldn’t be expecting you to build our country yet again, but then she went on to try and rally white people.  I’m saying that is a lost cause, probably until my generation is in the fucking dirt, and that could literally take eighty years to happen.

I’m saying you have support from some of us, you won’t be completely alone in fighting la revolución, but white people have proven themselves collectively without honor, without courage, without compassion, and cannot be trusted with control of the United States.  It’s bullshit that this falls to you, but I really think you can do it.

Why didn’t it work this time?  Racist voter disenfranchisement policies and the school to prison pipeline, first and foremost.  A full third of African American men in Florida were disqualified from voting due to felony records.  Now some would say felons have proven themselves morally defective and therefore unworthy to vote, but when you look at the demography of prisons now, you’d have to be racist as fuck to believe all those people actually deserve to be there, that they’re all guilty or morally faulty.

In fact, at this point it is safe to say the average white voter is much less moral than the average felon.  So smashing the school to prison pipeline, working this war from multiple angles, it’s all going to be necessary.  But if there was one thing that could swing the balance of power in this nation instantly?  It’s getting felons their vote back.

Now I’m just another fucking white person talking out my ass here and I know this is going to be impossible for a while, but I’m pathologically hopeful and can’t help but think that just maybe you have a shot at it.  Donald Trump got fewer votes than Romney, which means that he was so odious even some republicans couldn’t bring themselves to pull the lever.  That means their turnout is down.

Now your turnout is down as well, because white supremacists engineered it to be that way.  But how did they do it?  Some of the methods they used can be fought against with enough organization, enough will.  For example, you’re more likely to be voting late and without adequate ID to meet their racist requirements.  But what if a big enough push was made to get all of you the ID?  To get you registered?  To get as many of you as possible mail-in ballots and early voting options?

And what if you managed to reach some of the folks you know who – understandably at this late reactionary racist and terrible stage of history – won’t bother trying in the first place?  I don’t know.  White, talking out of ass.  But hopeful.  And I’m certain many of you are already working these angles, have already promoted these ideas.

So if you get the vote you should be entitled to, you manage to turn the tide in some races for legislative seats, what of the Democrats?  There are some situations in which you’ll have no choice but the lesser of two evils and I know you know what to do there, but I’d also like to remind you that it’s a lot more possible for third party candidates to do well in very important local races.  Say you have a state with racist voting laws but you secure a proactive black mayor and sheriff.  They could do a lot to facilitate access to voting even in the face of that.

The Democrats might be able to become worthy of your votes eventually, instead of being the wholly ineffectual stopgap against white terrorism that they have been.  But I can understand giving them all of the side eye.  Here’s a fact that just can’t be disputed:  Democrats could have secured a much stronger position for themselves in government by fighting against racist voter disenfranchisement, but when they had the best shot at it?

They were actively part of the problem.  Bill Clinton used “tough on crime” laws to score points with racist white moderates, helping to bloat the fucking horrifying US prison system.  The Democratic party fears black power.  Maybe they should, but I don’t.  The paranoid dreams of white cowards and race terrorists shouldn’t be allowed to hold sway over the course of this nation, and with the power we have, shouldn’t have this large of a hand on the whole world.  Black Power Now.


Read Ania

Ableism, classism, all the ism. Do you have any idea how much it sucks to be poor? How about poor and disabled? An appropriately sad and horrific post on the topic, if you can deal:

Yes, this again

My household could use some disability income, but like many in “first world” nations, we try to get by without it. Why? “Fiscal conservative” policies aimed at eliminating all social services, by increments if necessary, have led us to this place where even getting a miserably inadequate disability check from the government becomes a full time goddamn job.

Seriously, all fiscal conservatives can get hanged. I have nothing but the bitterest contempt for that shit. You keep us on a razor’s edge of the abyss, you straight up drive us to death, because you think tax money is better kept in your pockets, in the Bahamas, in anything but help for the needy.

And as I see my people suffering, even dying for your ideology, your life becomes less and less important to me. If the poor ever strike back in this class war you’re waging, no amount of cruelty or violence from us should surprise you. Indeed, it could never come close to balancing the scale of history.