Archive for the 'Writing' Category

Coming soon, to a magazine stand near you

Issue five of Line Zero will be featuring another one of my reviews in print. This one is 6 whole pages written by me about a really awesome dude named Beefy. Check out the mag when it hits the shelves, until then; here’s a sneak peek of my article:

Note: The following review featured in this post is from a draft from before the editors had a look at my submission. Overlook any errors.

Everything Is Better With Sprinkles
A review of Beefy’s album “With Sprinkles”
Eldon K.R.

When you think of the word “Beefy” music isn’t one of the first things you think of, especially when you live as close to a Taco Bell as I do, unless you’re really keen on the Nerdcore scene. In that case you might say, “Oh yeah, I love that guy!”; but more often than not you’ll get an answer regarding burritos.

In a previous review we discussed Chiptune, a feel good offshoot of alt-rock that incorporates nostalgic beeps and boops alongside guitar riffs and drum kicks. Today, for the uninitiated, we’ll learn about Nerdcore; a small yet fast growing offshoot of hip-hop that mixes traditional rap tracks with chip-tune influence that criss-crosses your standard fare quick-tongued lyricist flows with nerdy pop culture references guaranteed to build up your geek-cred.

One of the many talented artists that’s been on the scene since Nerdcore’s conception is Beef Thompson, commonly known by friends and koopa-troopas alike as Beefy. He’s released several albums (most of them are free), but his most recent is With Sprinkles, an amazing album that showcases his volatile skills as a lyricist as well as his encyclopedic knowledge on all things geeky. I really like Beefy’s music because not only do I nostalgia over the nerdy references, but nearly all the beats on his tracks are well-blended and highly instrumental and hearken back to the flavor of hip-hop I used to listen to back in the mid 90s and early 00s. I honestly think that some of his beats wouldn’t be out-of-place on a Tupac album. You know… if Tupac carried a Gameboy and many-sided dice instead of a gun.

The album’s tracks vary in topics from playing Street Fighter and rolling character sheets to working up the courage to ask out the cute girl who works at Gamestop, and stuffed to the gills with lyrical magnificence. Beefy’s cadence and wordplay in his flows really blend and weave well with the beats, which is a good change of pace from the standard rap-in-a-can that’s produced by a majority of hip-hop artists these days, and he’s definitely ahead of the curve in how he doesn’t mutilate his tracks with auto-tune, which is a big plus.

In short, Beefy’s got the beats that will make other drivers bob their heads at the intersection, with enough flows, wordplay, and geeky references to make you the coolest kid at the rejects table in the lunch room; unless you’re sitting next to that kid who eats paste.

I was actually able to get in touch with Beefy for this article, this is what he had to say about his album, and Nerdcore in general:

Eldon KR: To start, why don’t you tell the lovely readers of LZ who you are and what it is that you do.

Beef Thompson: Well my name is Beefy and I make a brand of hip-hop music for and about self described geeks called Nerdcore. I’ve beening making music since 2004 in the Northwest, but it’s only been pretty good for the last couple of years.

EKR: See, now you’re selling yourself short. I think your fans would disagree with that statement. For those who don’t know, what’s Nerdcore?

BT: Nerdcore is a subgenre of hip-hop for people who enjoy pop culture and can relate to the geek mentality and not getting the girl. If mainstream rap is for winners, nerdcore is for the underdogs.

EKR: And what are your songs in particular about in comparison to the rest of the subgenre?

BT: I tend to write songs with feeling and emotion. Some nerd rappers just list references of things they enjoy and that works for them, but I like to make my music personal or to take a concept based on a pop culture item and rap from that perspective. I also write a lot of songs about girls because that is every songwriter’s job.

EKR: What would you say makes Nerdcore Nerdcore? Is it the beats, the words, both? Could one rap about Sonic, Mario, or Warcraft over a traditional hip-hop beat and have the same effect, or is it the beeps and boops of 8-bit with nerd verbiage on top that completes the package?

BT: Nerdcore is still so new that every musican and every fan may give a different answer. I think nerdcore is more about the perspective of the performance moreso than the way their music is constructed. I’ve definetly done tracks with a heavy 8-bit and gamer influence, but I also like to do tracks that sample movie scores or TV theme songs. I’ve also rapped about popular sidekicks over a hard rap beat. So we’re for sure not trying to peg ourselves as “rappers who only rap over chiptune music.” The best in nerdcore have a wide range of topics and musical styling and that is what I would like to accomplish as well

EKR: What did you do before Nerdcore, what made you decide to do it, and how did you make the transition?

BT: I started rapping back in middle school and in those days all I heard was the late 90s dirty south stuff and some East Coasters like Biggie so I thought that was all hip-hop was. So I’d write like them but it was so souless because that wasn’t me at all. I could never perform these songs in front of people I knew because I would be called out for being a major phoney. Then in highschool I heard Fette’s Vette by mc chris and that opened me up to the notion that you can write a good rap song that has humor without being a joke. You don’t have to write about violence towards people but you can for sure rap about wanting to drop kick your xbox when it red rings on you. And as a high school kid that was a huge discovery for me. And since then I’ve been writing music that was honest to my experiences and I’ve been able to find a lot of really amazing fans who seem to feel the same way that I do about geek life

EKR: We’ve already established that Nerdcore isn’t about guns, loose women, or crack. So how do Nerdcore artists settle their disputes since drive-bys are out of the question? Nerf guns? Slap fights?

BT: Nerdcore disputes only end when they meet face to face. Otherwise they just flame each other for an eternity because we’re all net nerd trolls deep down on the inside. but when faced with real life confrontation, we always come down on the side of friendship. I’ve yet to hear of any physical scuffle within the nerdcore ranks. Marriages have ended and I didn’t hear about so much as a black eye

EKR: Marriages?

BT: Nerdcore is full of drama

EKR: How’s that?

BT: When we started out we were this small yet close community. But at the same time we were all internet strangers so there were a lot of people fanning flames and excalating drama, myself included sadly. But now that we’ve grown in numbers and more and more people are going on the road and doing shows like Nerdapalooza together, a lot of the online beef has been put to rest. but there are still the instances of real life drama going down

EKR: How well were you recieved when you started out, and what’s your take on folks who still think that Nerdcore is a joke and doesn’t take the genre seriously. What’s your advice on how to handle the criticism?

BT: I was well received by the few nerdcore fans there were when I started. I got into it relatively early on and I’ve been able to grow that fanbase. I feel that people who judge nerdcore poorly do so based on a lot of the very early music we were making. A new listener may also listen to someone’s 2nd ever demo and assume that all nerdcore is just like that. So there is a lot of criticism we deserve, but I feel that overall the musicians who are working hard are putting out a quality product I’m proud to be associated with

EKR: How often do you do shows? And are you able to do tech support for your fans after shows?

BT: I was doing regular gigs in Northwest for a few years, but now I work and go to school and help raise a 4 year old, so going out and doing shows is a rare event for me these days. But then I remember that the nerdcore rappers who are on tour these days all finished their schooling before they started putting on albums, so I just did things a little out of order. As for tech support, it depends of how messed their system is. I could possibly help with an iphone though. Give em advice on final boss battles

EKR: What occupies your time when you’re not rolling doubles, or putting sprinkles on things? Do you traverse pipes in search of mushrooms?

BT: I spend a good chunk of time watching tv shows and movies, or what I call “research.” Recently I’ve been playing a lot of Team Fortress 2 but now that school is in full swing and I’ve got a full time job it is becoming difficult to get my TF2 time in. With a 4 year old girl around I have a lot more tea parties than a lot of other rappers

EKR: So what does a Nerdcore artist do to keep the server bill paid, does your schooling have any relevance to what you rhyme about?

BT: My schooling is actually the complete opposite of musical pursuits. I’m going to school to become an American Sign Language interpreter at the moment. And for dollars I work with people with developmental disabilities. So basically I’m a lot like P. Diddy and Jay-Z, slight differences

EKR: How does the creative proccess for your music start, where does it go from there? Where do you find your inspiration, and how do you motivate yourself to throw lyrics around instead of reaching for the sticks?

BT: Sometimes it’s a struggle. Sometimes I’ll have an idea in my head for years and just can’t find the right way to get it onto the paper. Other times I’ll hear the beat and it’ll inspire a track I write and record that night. So it really depends. It helps to be in the right mindset and to be in a good mood, otherwise my tracks just get mopey and depressing. When I’m doing grammar club tracks with shael he’ll come up with a concept or even just a chorus, and I write around what he’s already produced, and I think I like that collab process the most

EKR: Speaking of collabs in hip-hop in general, where do you think that all comes from? You see a lot more collaboration among rappers than in any other genre.

BT: We’re a family. Starting out the public thought we were a gimmick and established rap artists were keeping us away with 10 foot poles. We’ve all come up doing shows together or seeing each other at cons. So it’s only natual for us to hop on each others tracks. Some of my favorite musical acts are nerdcore artists and I’m honored when they wanna work with me

EKR: Where does the name Beefy come from?

BT: I’m a big guy. When I was a kid and I joined my first forum I posted a pic and some dude took the image and turned into a rap album and called me MC Beefy B and the title was something about how I like to eat food. I was not impressed with the insult, but I did enjoy the name beefy and it kind of stuck. Now even my mom calls me Beefy

EKR: And where do you get the ideas for the naming convention behind your albums? Whitesican, Rolling Doubles, With Sprinkles, The Adventures of BT, etc.

BT: Usually just inside jokes or nerd references. With sprinkles came from our household motto that everything is better with sprinkles and i liked the idea of the cover says “Beefy With Sprinkles.” Rolling Doubles refers to my song table top and the dope feeling you get when you get to roll again. And the Adventures of BT started as a way to label my free albums. If it’s an adventure of BT, it’s always a free adventure!

EKR: What advice would you have to offer for fledgling Nerdcore artists just starting out? Is there a Nerdcore primer of sorts? Or is it one of those “How I mine for fish” kind of things where if you ask, you don’t need to know?

BT: Make music. Make a million tracks. Make a song, then make another one. then one more for good measure. You’re only going to get good with practice. there is a lot of growing pains with music, especially hip-hop because it’s a lot harder to piece together bars in a way that is both pleasing to the ear and within your skill set to perform

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Writerly Update: Publication

Wow, I normally know what I’m going to write before I start these blog posts, and I was going to go with the post title and just roll with it but I’m still pretty shocked and thoroughly stoked about the news. I mean, I’ve known about this for a few weeks but I never actually got around to posting it or actually telling many people. But yeah, I’m getting published. I wrote a music review about I Fight Dragons for the independent magazine Line Zero and it’s been accepted to run in their upcoming issue. Check their website for more details, and maybe buy a subscription; it’s a pretty sweet publication. I owe a big thank you to Renda Dodge, without her none of this would be possible. You know, while you’re checking out links and contemplating buying stuff you should check out her book. It’s pretty sweet and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Have a Kindle? She’s got you covered there, too.

Writerly Update: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo has officially kicked off. For a majority of today I thought that I’d have to postpone my writing. My goals for last month was the creation story for Great Hites, My essay, a few short stories, my novel outline, fixing a neighbors computer, and recording a promo for my show. I accomplished all of those goals except for the creation myth, the promo, and fixing the computer. I didn’t really find a whole lot of time to write the creation myth with all of the other projects that I had going. I have all the lines I need for the promo except for the one line from Kyle, and I would have had my neighbors computer fixed were it not from some hard drive issues.

Now I have a promo for the show to finish this month, I’ll spend tomorrow fixing the computer, and I have something to record for something I’ll discuss near the end of this post.

I made time after dinner for writing. I sat down for about an hour and with the help of techno I cranked out 1,995 words. If you’d like to keep track of my NaNo Progress my page can be found here. At least until the writing widget thingies start working, they you will be able to track my progress in the sidebar to the right. If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this year I encourage you to add me as a Writing buddy. You might feel the urge to top my word count and that will keep you motivated through the month of November.

What’s keeping me motivated for this year is the rivalry I’ve set up with my nemesis. Keep your eyes posted on my show blog for more information about that in the form of an audio promo.

Also if you’d like to read what I’m working on I’ve added a two chapter excerpt on my profile on the NaNo site.

Another interesting piece of shameless self promotion is that this weeks episode of BOaC. The feature for this week I chose to talk about NaNoWriMo and had Scott sit in on the feature with me and we discussed some domestic things that can get in your way during the month of November. The distractions that the internet poses, as well as some of the issues you face as a novice writer. And after each one of these pitfalls we describe ways to get around them so that you can achieve success this month. It can be found here.

We can do this people, lets keep ourselves and each other motivated. And, Scott, I will destroy you.

Exploration vs Dehydration: an essay

If you do not wish to read through the whole essay now, you may download the .PDF format of this work at the bottom of the post. If you choose to listen to it instead the audio version can be found on the show blog for my podcast.

When I first started doing research for this essay, I wasn’t sure where I would stand on this subject. And now that I’m sitting down to write it I still haven’t reached a decision. Hopefully in writing it I’ll be able to make up my mind, or at the very least, help you decide where you stand with the information that I provide. The topic of this essay was inspired by a discussion between two characters in Dan Sawyers, “Down From Ten”. Upon hearing of this I felt compelled to do some research on the subject. After a few days of Googling I have come up with quite a bit.

NASA requests billions of dollars every year in funding to do various forms of research, ranging from more advanced global positioning and mapping systems to space exploration, even climate control. According to NASA’s most recent, “NASA FY 2010 Budget Summary Update”, NASA has requested $18.686 billion for the year of 2010. Though this may seem like a lot of money to be asking for, but NASA’s projects can get very expensive. For example it cost NASA over $20 million to build the Spitzer Space Telescope. The sole purpose of this telescope is to fly it into a black hole in the center of the galaxy just to see what will happen. But it’s not as if they squander the money they get for funding. They made several discoveries and ground breaking progress in their projects just this year alone, which will be discussed in later paragraphs.

As stated in the previous paragraph NASA has requested $18.686 billion for their funding for the year of 2010. Just to show you that they’re not squandering the money on ways to build a cooler paper airplane. Here is some of the progress they have made in 2009 alone. Water ice has been discovered on Mars, which could mean that Mars has either at one point in time sustained life, or, it represents the possibility for the red planet to sustain life. The Cassini spacecraft is providing valuable information and stunning photographs of Saturn and it’s moons. Nineteen fly-bys of Titan provided enough information to create a 3D topographic map of the terrain of the moon, revealing mountains, polar lakes, vast dunes, and flows from possible ice volcanoes. And that’s just some of the progress that they’ve made as stated in their 2010 budget summary update.

At this point some readers of this essay are probably thinking, “Sure, they’re doing nifty things with rocket ships and satellites. But what does this have to do with us as a people?” Well, if we advance our space program, we can outlive our sun. In almost every Sci-Fi television program and film, and even in science class, they tell you that one day our sun is going to expand to the point to where it will engulf the Earth. That’s game over for the planet. In theory, if we haven’t made drastic adjustments to out space program, that’s game over for the human race as well. With all of the progress that NASA makes on the space program it is very possible that one day we’ll be able to experience life among the stars. We will outlive our own planet and our sun. We’ll be able to make other planets habitable. Or, if we don’t have the resources it would take to terraform whole planets, we might make large space stations orbiting our sun, or the suns of other star systems.

Earlier I mentioned the Spitzer Space Telescope. It’s sole purpose was for NASA to fly it into the black hole at the center of our galaxy just to see what will happen. NASA will have the telescope sending picture and video information on it’s way through the black hole. The Spitzer will either be compressed into a singularity or it could emerge through the other side at a completely different place in the universe, thus proving the theory of worm holes. And if we’ll be able to travel great distances across space via worm holes, how far off could we be from FTL (Faster-than-light) travel? With an advanced space program the possibilities are endless.

And for those of you who are skeptic towards future advancements and make your judgments solely on what has already put in front of you NASA has made many products that you may or may not use in every day life that were once intended for NASA space missions. Some of these products include: Tang, Velcro, cordless tools, TV satellite dishes, the microwave oven, smoke detectors, medical imaging equipment, edible toothpaste, and invisible braces. This is only a small list of technological advancements created by our space program benefiting the average citizen and the list grows every year. Imagine items that will be in your medicine cabinet, on your kitchen counter, in your tool box, or in our hospitals in a years time. Imagine what will be available to the public in ten years time that was once on a NASA spacecraft.

However, one must also think about the third world countries in the world that either don’t have clean water, or have to walk miles every day to a community pump just to have enough water to cook and drink on a daily basis. Places like Bangladesh, parts of South America, the Middle East, and Africa. Some areas outside of major cities, not to mention entire countries. By contrast have water that is either partially contaminated or altogether undrinkable. They have to rely on foreign aid for their clean water, or walk to community pumps miles away from their homes. When both these options are unavailable some people just take their chances with the water that’s available, while developed countries use less than five per cent of their water supply for drinking, cooking, and cleaning.

But how can we put all of this money into research to get us into space, a process which will possibly take several generations to make any major progress, when there are millions of people who are dying from hunger and thirst in third world countries? In the countries where clean water is scarce the people have to rely on foreign aid. Many of the people of these countries that don’t have clean water readily available have to walk over two kilometers every day to a community water pump to collect twenty to twenty-five liters of water and return to their village. In most places it’s the women in the family that gather the water, this makes a total of over 4 kilometers and almost 30 liters of water per trip, per day. And when there is no foreign aid and no community water pumps available these people have to result to fossil ground water, reusing wastewater or to desalinate their sea water. These methods can prove to either be bad for the environment, or detrimental to the health of citizens. And in the countries where people choose to take their chances with contaminated water sources many forms of waterborne diseases and illnesses take place. Things like parasites, cholera, and diarrhea.

To put this into perspective, 50 million people in middle eastern and Arab countries do not have clean water. Over half the people in rural Morocco do not have clean water. 1.1 billion people worldwide lack safe drinking water, 2.6 billion lack proper sanitation, and and 1.8 million die every year die from contaminated water, over ninety per cent of these people are under 5 years of age. How much would the living conditions of these countries improve if we spent just a fraction of the money that goes into NASA funding went into clean water programs for third world countries? Yes, massive advancements and improvements could be made to technology and our own livelihood if we advance our space programs. But it could take several years to see any kind of feasible return on this program. Whereas providing clean water for less well to do countries sees an almost immediate return. Again, to put it into perspective once more. Every dollar invested into a clean water program would yield $3 to $34 dollars of funding for a clean water program depending on the region, and at least $7.3 million dollars would be saved in medical costs every year in countries where the people are plagued by waterborne afflictions.

But there are also some negative aspects in improving our space program as well as helping third world countries have clean drinking water. If we spend billions of dollars every year to advance our space program we’ll be constantly one-upping other countries with space programs like Russia, and China. I’m sure that the great space race to put a man on the moon created plenty of animosity between America and Russia. And given the war-like nature of any society, who’s to say that dumping all this money into funding our space program won’t result in creating more advanced satellites that are armed with missiles instead of information gathering devices? All it takes is a country with one too many orbital defense systems pointed at a crazy leader to move the hands of the doomsday clock a little bit closer to midnight.

You also have to take into effect the intentions of the leaders of the countries that don’t have clean drinking water. Many of these countries are constantly at war with neighboring countries, or locked in civil wars. Many of these countries are run by vindictive dictators, holy men with nothing on their mind but a religious agenda, or psychotic tribe leaders. So who’s to say that things will only get better if we step in to help. It’s been shown many times that after a country offers foreign aid of some kind that the dictators will step in, hoard all the foreign aid for themselves, or sell it on the world market or black market and leave their people to suffer. And sometimes a country can become flooded with foreign aid, and with an overabundance of aid farmers are unable to make money selling their crops and inevitably lose their land to the dictators who confiscate their property to expand his own territory.

There is plenty of information available on this topic to fuel many a debate. But if we’ve gathered anything from this essay thus far, it’s that there are many pitfalls on either side of this argument. But, in closing, my own personal opinion on the matter is that before we can reach for the stars, we need to provide for our fellow man and be united as a people, and as a planet in order to succeed.

Creative Commons License
Exploration vs Dehydration by Eldon KR is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Sources

NASA FY 2010 Budget Request Summary
344612main_Agency_Summary_Final_updates_5_6_09_R2.pdf (application/pdf Object)

The Space Place: Inventions from space
http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/en/kids/spinoffs2.shtml

Yale Global Online
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/choking-aid-money-africa

Water Supply & Sanitation
http://www.worldwatercouncil.org/index.php?id=23

World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2004/pr58/en/index.html

Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drinking_water

Creative Loafing News & Views
http://atlanta.creativeloafing.com/gyrobase/why_was_cyclone_nargis_so_deadly_/Content?oid=486678

Download the .PDF

Audio available here.

A Dog With Dry Skin

Once more this is a posting of one of my short stories that requires a pretext. I submitted the story as it is and it was rejected for content. So I submitted an edited version to The Great Hites Podcast The unedited version is being run here on this blog.

If you don’t want to read through the story you can figure out why any audio I record refuses to work on wordpress. Once you figure that out I’ll be able to post the audio recording of the story for you to listen to instead of having to read it. Until then you’re going to have to read it.

A Dog With Dry Skin
a short story written by Eldon KR

I don’t know why I didn’t see it coming. In all honesty I should have, and I normally would have. But I had been with her for so long that I really didn’t expect any of this. I had an addon for Firefox that would always reload the tabs that were last viewed when the browser was launched again. Occasionally I’d see things like price checks on plane tickets, rental cars, things like that. I never really thought anything of it. She told me she was leaving me in November. I was blindsided. Everything seemed like we were doing great. She didn’t actually end up leaving to go back to Texas until the second week of December.

The goodbye sex we had before I had to take her to the airport was more an act of pity on her part, I think. I mean, when two years of your life is getting back on a plane for home because she didn’t know what she wanted out of her life, you’re not exactly a stud in the sack are you? But I knew that she was leaving for a month before she actually did, so there was plenty of time for the “I’m never going to see you again” fornication. Except for the fact that for most of this time she led me to believe that I could fix whatever was wrong and that she’d be back. There was also the “I can’t believe you’ve done this to me I wish you were dead” hate sex after I found out that she’d been using my bed, and my car to cheat on me with some guy I knew down the road for that month she was getting ready to leave. The guy that I’d known since the first day I moved up here, the guy I went on odd jobs with in the summer.

Every time I was out in Indy to see my friend, or in class, or somewhere around town they were in my bed. Every time I was at home, she had to go get cigarettes. Or she just felt like going for a drive, or to Walmart. There was even one time when he was at the house and she said she had to take him over to Eric’s house to do some work. At ten o’clock at night. Yeah, the guy who had me spend most of the summer painting his garage and doing work on his house, let the kid use his spare bedroom as a bachelor pad because I was at the house. And she didn’t feel the need to tell me any of this was going on until she thought that she caught something.

I’d like to take this time to reiterate that I should have been able to put all the pieces together. And I know what you’re thinking, if she had already broken up with me why did it matter? Well, it mattered to me because I was led to believe that she’d come back, and that she needed a break, and her sister was about to have a baby and she needed to be there. Oh shut up, it was a really hard time for me and I was going to hold onto any small glimmer of hope that I could like a drowning man to an inner tube. Anyway, it mattered to me because this whole time this was going on, she was being sneaky about it. We were still sharing a room, and a bed. We were still sleeping together. Sometimes she still told me she loved me. I felt wronged.

I played Celldweller on the way to the airport in Indianapolis. It was a band I’d discovered that she actually liked. And the soundtrack would provide no awkward small talk, and no awkward silences. I dropped her off at the airport. She kissed me and told me she loved me. She said if I could find work and get the money that I could fly to Texas to kidnap her and bring her back to Indiana. All I could do was hold back my tears and tell her that I loved her too. It wasn’t until I got back on the highway that I started crying, and screaming, and punching my steering wheel.

My friend in Indy knew this would be a tough time for me and said I could hang out with him and his wife for a few days and we could get drunk, talk about zombies, and play video games. I’ve never been too terribly good with directions in a place I’m not at often. I find one easy to memorize route to get to some place and I stick to that route. If there was another place I needed to learn how to get to in Indianapolis it was usually just a different variation on that one route that I’d have to memorize. So it didn’t take me long to get lost trying to get to his house on the way back from the airport. That and it’s really easy to miss an exit on the highway at night when you’re crying. I’m not down with all the macho manly man crap. If I’m hurting on an emotional level then dammit, I’m going to cry.

Moving on, I called my friend told him I was lost. He gave me directions to get to his work from where I was because it was easy to get to his house from where he worked. Well, yet again I made a wrong turn and got all turned around and lost again. So he told me to pull off the road and wait for him in the parking lot of a near by White Castle until he got off work. I was sitting in this parking lot for about four maybe five hours. To keep myself awake to decrease my chances of being robbed I spent that time listening to the first book of the Archangel podcast. The sun was starting to come up and I saw. my friends car enter the parking lot and he engaged in an impromptu game of bumper tag to make sure I was awake before he parked his car. We sat in the restaurant and he ate while I talked. I followed him back to his house, got some sleep, and we spent the next few days pickling our livers and playing Gears of War, good therapy in my book.

The next week of December rolled by and I still wasn’t used to sleeping alone. It was the week of Christmas, my grandmother got me a membership to The Smithsonian, still not sure what privileges that entitles me to, but the magazine is pretty good. Christmas day came around, I say day and not morning because nobody wakes up before noon at this house without a legitimate need to. I walked into the living room and there was a cardboard box on the floor. I asked my mom what was in it, she tells me to lift up the box and see what was under it.

As I approached the box I heard a muffled bark from beneath the cardboard. Excited I lifted up the box and was shocked at what I saw. My mother had gotten me one of those robot dogs that you’d find in the toy aisle at Walmart. I was slightly annoyed by this, as it appeared to be a gag. I’d gotten a robot dog, instead of an actual puppy. I’d wanted one since I moved up here and I was finally living in a place that had a yard, instead of an apartment, or a dorm, or in a car. I went along with it anyway seeing as it was Christmas, and a gag gift was better than no gift at all. I didn’t get used to sleeping alone, and having a whole bed to myself until recently. Yeah, I had to brave through the cold winter nights alone. But now I had a dog with dry skin to keep me company.

Creative Commons License
A Dog With Dry Skin by Eldon KR is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

http://www.archive.org/download/ADogWithDrySkin/ADogWithDrySkin_vbr.m3u

Using Great Hites to get myself motivated.

Some of you may or may not know about Great Hites.
I’ve heard about the podcast for some time. For those of you who don’t know what it is, and haven’t clicked on the link yet, Great Hites is a podcast where each week they give you a prompt. You then write your own short story based on the prompt and then you submit it. From my understanding that’s basically it.

Every now and again I post with my progress on the novel I’m working on, “Checking In”. Well, I haven’t actually made any progress on that book in the last couple of months. I haven’t felt really motivated to move the story forward at all. I’m at a key point in the story where act one gives way to act two, if you will. I know where the story needs to go, but I’m not exactly sure how to take it from where it’s at now to where it needs to be in my head. I want the transition to come naturally, I don’t want to force the transition. Being that the story is somewhat character driven I might make decisions in the book that would be outside what that character would normally do.

I’ve been so concerned that I’d fuck something in the story up by forcing something that I haven’t touched the novel. Just yesterday I decided to start participating in the weekly prompt for Great Hites. This will help me to flex my writer muscles to expand my horizons beyond that which I’m comfortable writing. And by writing things that I’m not used to writing and then submitting it whether it sucks or not I believe that I can get past my current writers block on my novel. And might actually gain a few fans of my writing in the process.

I’ve written up the short story for Great Hites, and I made some finishing touches to it. I felt that I should submit it here as well so that those of you that read this can get a feel for what my writing style is, and maybe get some feed back on it.

This weeks prompt for Great Hites is: “Silver bullets, the real reason that some cowboys carried them.”

I personally don’t like writing about vampires and werewolves. I mean, fuck, who isn’t writing a vampire or werewolf themed novel these days? It’s just my own opinion that the whole scene is cliche, overrated, and played out. But a prompt is a prompt. So the rest of this post is going to be my weekly submission to Great Hites. I would appreciate feedback, and would also like to say that this is the first story that I’ve submitted on such a scale. All the other things I’ve written have only been circulated to a small number of friends just to get their opinion on it. Well, this and the first 14 chapters of “Checking In”. But the BOaC blog is dead and you can’t hear any of the audio on that anymore. Don’t worry BOaC will return soon. Anyway, without anymore chatter I present to you my short story for Great Hites:

Suspicions and Silver Bullets

A short story written by Eldon KR

The sun began to crawl it’s way back down below the horizon. Ezekiel felt a cold sweat working it’s way down his spine. As he urged his nervous mount to keep moving forward. There was a 5 hour ride to the next town in front of him. It would have been a good idea to stop for the night. But he was out in the open. He wasn’t going to bed down unless he could conceal himself in some way

He spurred his stolen steed into action once more as the last of the sun seemed to sink below the earth. Ezekiel was going to make it to the next town or outpost if he had to ride this horse into the ground in the process. He didn’t hear it over the frantic beating of hooves at first. But after four failed attempts at lighting a cigarette on a fast moving horse he slowed his mount, struck a match on the saddle and extended it to the hand rolled cigarette between his lips. That’s when he heard it, a howl.

The horse had heard it too, and with the horse acting as antsy as it was, it was probably close. Ezekiel’s whole body tensed up as the first howl was answered by another, and another, and another.

“Shit!” he cried

He’d let his match burn down and scorch his fingers, he tossed the match and stowed his cigarette. Ezekiel spurred his horse forward again but this time the animal didn’t need much encouragement to run like hell. At this point he only had two options. He could continue to run like hell until the horse died or he could hide. With nowhere to go to ground for the night he only hoped he could outrun those wolves.

“Wolves,” he laughed to himself, “those things are no more wolf than I am a fuckin’ gorilla.”

He pushed his horse for another ten minutes before he chanced a glance behind him, through the dust left in the wake of his frenzied horse he saw two sets of glowing yellow eyes. Panicked he kept spurring his horse, hoping that this animal’s need for survival would make it run even faster. No such luck. It wasn’t much longer before he could actually hear them panting and howling behind him, he could almost feel the fetid breath against the back of his neck. One of the creatures swiped at him, he could feel the claws lightly brush past his leg.

He reached for his holster and drew his gun, the black gunmetal of his M1875 glinted against the moonlight as he thumbed back the hammer. He turned and fired aiming for the closest flurry of fur, and teeth and eye shine. His shot went wide, but they slowed down. He spurred the horse again and kept his gun hand ready. He noticed movement a few yards off to his left. He saw another man riding for his life, pursued by two more of the manwolves. He began to form a plan.

He turned and fired upon his pursuers once more and heard one of them yelp in pain. Ezekiel steered his mount in the direction of the man who was also running from the wolves. They were nearing a small canyon, at the bottom was a river. The only way to traverse said canyon was to cross a bridge, If Zeke could time it just right he could find some measure of safety floating down the river for the night. He positioned his horse so that he was right next to the man and the look of sheer terror etched into his face was met by Ezekiel’s own look of determination. He waited just until they were about to cross the bridge and steered the stolen horse into the scared man’s own mount. Man and horse toppled over one another to the ground as Ezekiel leapt from his horse, over the bridge into the water below.

Before he could clear his own horse he heard a gunshot and felt something bite into his hip. This caused him to miscalculate his jump, he toppled head over heel as the cold water below rushed up to greet him, his shoulder collided with a large stone protruding up from the river. He managed to surface and swim to the bank. He pulled himself out of the water, and lost consciousness to the sound of howls, growls, and the death cries of man and horse alike.

Ezekiel woke up moments later to the sound of gurgling, gasping breaths. He looked down to his feet as he felt a hand on his boot. This unknown man he’d sacrificed to save himself had somehow ended up on the river bank, twenty feet below where he’d been attacked. The man’s body was bent and broken at odd angles. He was moving in ways a man shouldn’t be able to. The man was riddled with places where claws raked across his clothes, and sharp teeth had gouged his flesh. Zeke wasn’t sure but he was willing to bet that the hand that wasn’t grasping his boot was keeping his entrails from spilling out.

“Help me.” The man wheezed.

The damned man tried to gasp for breath once more, he opened his mouth and a blood bubble formed, it popped and sprayed tiny flecks of blood when he inhaled. Ezekiel reached for his holster, finding his pistol he helped the stranger in the only way he knew how.

Zeke woke up from a fitful sleep at first light, he kicked the dead body back into the river. Now he had to climb the 20 feet back up the small canyon, he wasn’t that far from the town now. If he was lucky the wolves weren’t able to finish both of the horses, and he would have some semblance of a breakfast before he got started.

As he stood his body was rocked by a blinding pain in his hip, he could barely move his left leg. There was a rattling in his chest and he doubled over as he was overcome by a coughing fit. In grasping his chest he noticed that his right shoulder hung limply and he remembered vividly the night before. There wasn’t much he could do about his leg, but he couldn’t climb with his shoulder the way it was. He looked around and noticed a bull whip on the bank. The stranger from last night must have had it on him. He grabbed it, put it between his teeth. Zeke bit down on the bull whip as he squared his body up and reset his shoulder. Luckily the pouch he kept his tobacco and matches in was somewhat waterproof. He rolled and smoked a cigarette while waiting for most of the pain to pass.

With one leg completely useless and a shoulder pain that nagged him with every movement it took him the better part of an hour to get back to the top of the canyon. There was a considerable amount of his horse left from the night before. But his stomach lurched with one look of it. He grabbed his saddle bag, slung it over his good shoulder. He saw a rifle laying near the remains of the other horse, it was the right length that he could use it as a crutch and keep his weight off of his shot hip. His slow journey to the town was mainly a blur of pain, and fatigue from the heat. He made his way into town by noon.

His intentions were to head straight for the saloon and drown the noise of his pain out with a cheap bottle of whiskey. He only made it as far as the horse trough just outside of the saloon, where he collapsed. When he woke he noticed that he felt clean and bandaged. He also noticed that his legs were shackled and he was also bereft of weapons.

“He’s awake.” A gruff man’s voice said from somewhere out of his line of sight.

Ezekiel heard the clanking of keys in a cell door, followed by a door swinging open on old metal hinges. A man with a sheriffs badge and a drawn gun approached him.

“Care to tell me why you and yours saw fit to terrorize our town, and kill our cattle last night, Changeling?” the sheriff asked

The Sheriff thumbed back the hammer on his pistol as punctuation for his question. The chamber rotated and he saw the glint of silver accent the cold black gunmetal of his interrogator’s Peacemaker.

“What the fuck are you talking about?” Zeke asked.

“Last night after the moon rose, all the town folk had to board up their doors and windows to keep the wolfbeasts out that have been antagonizing our town every night for the last week. Every morning we wake up with less and less cattle. Last night some of them got into the saloon and my deputy shot one of them in about the same place our town doctor pulled a silver slug out of you.”

“I was running from the wolves last night, I crossed paths with a man who was also running for his life. He panicked and shot me.”

“We’ll just see about that. The moon is going to rise within the hour. If you don’t change, we’ll apologize and send you on your way with clean clothes, a hot meal, and a fresh horse. If you change, well we’ll have one less hazard to worry about in these parts.”

“Alright, I’ve got nothing to worry about.”

“Bill, Cover me.” The sheriff said as he holstered his weapon and reached for his keys.

The man who was presumably Bill stepped into the cell with a shotgun. The sheriff unshackled him and began to back out of the cell. Once they had locked him in Bill pulled a rope outside the cell that caused a trap door to open above him. The door swung open to revealed a barred opening. He could see the faint shape of the moon. Soon the sun would set and the moon would shine.

Bill and the sheriff stared at him intently. Bill never lowered his shotgun, and the sheriffs hand rested against his holstered pistol. The seconds passed by slowly, Ezekiel never took his eyes off of the moon as it grew in shape and light. The temperature grew in his cell and he began to sweat. He felt sick. He felt the bile in his empty stomach undulate. His stomach lurched and he doubled over, clenching his midsection as he rolled to the floor. He was able to drag himself to a bucket in the corner of his cell and put his head into position as the contents of his stomach, or lack thereof, staged an escape attempt via his esoughagus. With each wretching gasp he felt significantly worse. Sicker, more feverish, shakier.

His left calf began to burn with a white hot pain. A searing pain that penetrated his muscles and shot up his spine. When the pain reached his head it felt like somebody was striking the backs of his eyeballs with hammers as if they were ringing church bells. Ezekiel’s body tried to fold itself in half in the wrong direction as he was rocked by the tremors of pain that ran from his calf to his brain, using his spine as a superhighway. He lifted the leg of his tattered pants, and amongst a latticework of cuts, and bruises he noticed four slight scratches, as if he was barely grazed by claws.

He realized now that he could smell everything around him. The unwashed bodies of Bill and the sheriff, the tobacco tucked behind Bill’s bottom lip, the whiskey on the sheriff’s breath. He could tell you everything that the two men had eaten since they’d last washed their clothes. Their heart rates increased. Ezekiel could actually hear their hearts beating. The full light of the moon came to bear upon Ezekiel through the hatch in the ceiling and his skin began to itch.

He gazed down at his arms and noticed he was becoming hairier. He cried out in shock and blood filled his mouth, With fingers attached to a hand that was growing hairier by the minute he probed the inside of his mouth. He’s just bitten through his tongue. He could feel his teeth changing shape, becoming sharper and elongating. He glanced up at the moon once more. The light that it was giving off was blinding, it was the brightest thing that Zeke had ever seen. Brighter than the sun itself.

And that’s when the trembling started. At first his knees and elbows just felt wobbly as he fell to all fours. But what just started out as a little uneasieness became a full on seizure. He cried out as he felt his face elongate, his cries turned into snarls as spine stretched and his rib cage expanded. Ezekiel was writing on the floor, foaming at the mouth. His eyes were rolled so far up in his skull that he could have been staring at his own brain. The whites that he was showing to the two frightened men outside of his cell were jaundiced and blood shot.

As night fell the air was punctuated by shotgun blasts and pistol fire as they intermingled with howls, and all ended with a whimper.

Creative Commons License
Suspicions and Silver Bullets by Eldon KR is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Checking in on “Checking In”

So I’ve got the new computer up and running, I’m still figuring out how to work xampp so that I can host the audio for the show on my own computer. I’ve also got OpenOffice up and running so I can start writing again. I’m going over what I’ve got written for “Checking In” seeing if there was anything I missed while writing, change typos, clip out a little that doesn’t make sense anymore, etc. It will also help me get re-oriented with the story so that I can get back into where it was going. I mean, I can’t jump into a story I haven’t touched since November and expect myself to know where all the moving parts where going. So when I get back to writing I’ll keep you updated on how I’m doing, you could also start following me on Twitter to find out other things you’d like to know as far as what I do on a daily basis, or my writing process.


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