Dec 23 2013

week of 12-15-13

holy shit, it’s been a weird week. interactions with people i didn’t expect, a new artist to work with, finally having some motivation to finish some hanging projects while still putting off others, and oh my god is it really only two days until Christmas?

i lieu of posting anything more substantial, i’m just going to post about myself. (insert fat joke here.) i’ve been working for a website for the last few months called Talking Comics where i write comic book reviews nearly every week. They recently decided that they want to keep me around a bit longer, so they asked me to submit a bio. it took me nearly a month to get done, but i finished it this week, so i thought i would post it. Enjoy. Next week i will try to post some pages from projects that i’m working on.

Mike is a husband, father, writer, gamer, and all around geek. His life’s ambition is to write the fictions, either in film, books, or comics. He is currently working on a couple of comics with artists local to his home in Denver, Colorado, which will be available in 2014. He loves all kinds of games–card, board, video, etc. (including the ones you don’t usually tell your friends you like.) He’s been collecting and reading comics since he was a youngster with some gaps to accommodate for things like kids and no money. His favorite stories include anything 2099, Elseworlds-like superhero arcs, and vintage 90’s Vertigo and Image. When he’s not posting reviews on Talking Comic Books, he’s also not posting his writing on his writing blog, or not writing his comic book, etc.

Things you might not know about Mike: He studied film in college–screenwriting as well as film studies–but you wouldn’t know it because he actually likes a lot of the movies he sees.


Dec 13 2013

Sashimi and the Sex Pistols

i was sitting in a drive thru the other day, letting my mind wander, when i saw this guy standing out behind a small strip mall smoking. He was obviously an employee–that’s the only reason anyone would stand out behind that building and not in front of it. Thinking on it further–looking at the door he was standing near–i realized that this guy worked at the sushi joint.

That was when i decided that i want the guy who’s making my sushi to be a smoker. i want him to be into the Ramones and the Sex Pistols. i want him to have tattoos, some of them done with a sewing needle and a ball point pen. i want him to be on the teetering edge of alcoholism. i want him to be abarasive and downright anti-social. i want him to be punk.

i don’t like Gordon Ramsey. i like David Chang but for his ideas and not for his tendency toward self-destruction. i find the concept of the insane, rebel chef to be outdated and a little ridiculous. Then why, you ask, would i feel like making sushi is still unique in a culinary world that has become so transparent and commercial? i don’t know that i can really say.

On the one hand, sushi is, conceptually, an art i don’t really understand. As a cooking enthusiast i have a decent grasp on many of the techniques that take place in any given restaurant, and while i may not be able to perform all of them, i can at least understand the precepts by which a given dish will come into being. Sushi, on the other hand, still feels like magic. But, unlike the molecular gastronomes–those magicians of the ’90s and precursors to the home cooking revolution–the sushi chef performs his art without complicated formulas and unpronounceable ingredients. At it’s heart, all that is required is the chef, a knife, and the ingredients: totally minimal and totally punk. He performs in the open, behind only a sheet of glass, and it seems so easy that anyone should be able to do it. And yet, with so much bad sushi in the world, we all know that’s not the case.

So here i raise my whiskey glass to the sushi chef: the Joey Ramone of the dragon roll, the Sid Vicious of the sashimi. May you always be magic, and may you always be punk.


Dec 11 2013

laid off

i’ve been laid off twice in my time as an employed adult. my work history is populated almost entirely with small opportunities turned into bigger commitments. The problem with this approach is that no matter what your position in the company, there is someone who still sees you as the kid they hired because you know the owner’s son. But more than that, i was just the most expendable person in the place, in both occasions. I’m a serial monogamist when it comes to employment–loyal to the point of being dug-in, usually entrenched long past the point when i should pull the cord. i often stay so long that i force the other person to make the first move, “divorcing” me as i shake my fist and say something idiotic like, “i never liked you anyway!”

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Dec 9 2013

recap

the previous post to this is dated march 19, 2012. the date today is december 9, 2013. this is an almost two year gap in this account, this “blog”, which is fairly disgraceful. however, it is not surprising. i am nothing if not a procrastinator of the highest order. (note to self: write story about free-mason-like order of procrastinators.) Funny enough, 2013 has been among my best years as a writer of fictional things, if not *the* best. what follows is a slapdash account of the past 20+ months of my life, edited as i see fit. Also, this will be in order of thought, which is really no order at all other than that which comes into my head.

  • i lost my job in September of this year. it wasn’t a devastating blow or anything–i was considering looking for something new anyway. it was only a matter of time before one of us pulled the trigger. fortunately, the whole thing came down to a lay-off–they eliminated my position. because of this, i got a small severance and a month worth of health insurance. Life has a way of kicking me in the ass when i need it, and i sorely needed it. so, the plan is that i’m going to try to find something new, something closer to what i want to be.
  • in the spring of this year i started working with a group of artists on making our dreams of comic book publishing a reality. we met through our local comic shop, the owner of which is also an aspiring artist. i was well met, eventually, as a writer among artists, and i’ve made some good friends and even better collaborators. once the excitement of the situation really hit me, i ended up fleshing out not one but three comic ideas. the first is the book i’ve been working on for over a decade, Forgive Us Our Tresspasses. the second, a fantastical sci-fi tale based on a dream of my wife’s, called The Life Wound. and the third is a meta-superhero story about a man who ends up inside a comic book, called Paper Universes. each of these has an artist attached and i’m hoping to have physical and digital comics by early 2014. i plan to post some snipets of scripts in the coming weeks
  • we had no small amount of upset and tragedy in our family starting in July of 2012 and continuing to this day. i’m not going to talk about it, except to say that it’s not only made life more difficult, but it’s shaken the foundations of my family and myself. to continue writing throughout all of this difficulty has been no small challenge, but, as i said before, this year has been one of my most professionally satisfying. i hope this means that, as events and circumstances start to lighten up, that forming a daily writing habit will become easier.
  • finally, for this update anyway, i have been writing comic book reviews for a website called Talking Comic Books (dot com) for the last few months. it’s been a wonderful opportunity for me to have a regular writing assignment and to do a different kind of writing for a change. i’ve been turning in as many as four reviews per week for the last several weeks, and 2 to 3 before that. it’s been a lot of work, but it’s also been quite a lot of fun to be able to talk about something i’m enthusiastic about.

i always plan to write more often and update the blog more often and so on and so on. This time i’m not going to make any promises. all that i can say is that it is my intention to get more of myself in this space and to use it to help me get past some of my fear and anxiety about writing and getting a new job.

to anyone out there, thanks for listening.


Mar 19 2012

blurb

via Penny Arcade, Friday, March 16th: ” I’ve always wondered what the conflux of digital goods, interactive storytelling, algorithmic content creation, and democratized funding mean for an idea like authorship. I think we’re beginning to find out.”

i would like to devote my entire life to answering this very thing.


Mar 9 2012

renege

so i actually wrote a short story this week, but i only got a real handle on it today, and i know how useless it is to post things of any kind of substance on a friday afternoon. i’ll get it up sunday night or monday.

fair?


Mar 6 2012

suspension

i had an interesting convergence of events yesterday that led to an equally interesting thought experiment. I’ve decided to share. it’s a little long, but that should not be a surprise.
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Mar 4 2012

from the reading

“The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailors, constables, posse comitatus, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purposes as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. Others as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the Devil, without intending it, as God. A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men, serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it.”

Henry David Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience” as heard on the audio recording of “Repent, Harlequin,” Said the Ticktockman, by Harlan Ellison


Feb 28 2012

fishing for monsters

i love the medium of the short story, and i realized lately that i’ve lost touch with it. in an effort to fix that, i participated in io9.com’s Concept Art Writing Prompt this week. The picture is below, as is my story. i hope you enjoy!

Annie is special. Not like Special Olympics or special ed., but special like those kids you see in horror movies. If I used a made up word to describe it, I would pick ‘hypercognitive.’ She couldn’t read minds or throw things without touching them or start fires with only thoughts and a disturbing stare, but she could tell when a storm was coming, sometimes days before it actually happened. Animals seemed to seek her out; trees and plants seemed to bend her way when she passed. It was a connection with nature that made her special, but that didn’t make it any less scary.
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Feb 28 2012

33

I turned 33 last week. This is significant for absolutely no reason at all.

But that doesn’t mean that i didn’t try to make it significant. i thought about how repetitive number ages like 33 and 111 were significant to the hobbits in the fiction of J.R.R. Tolkein. Frodo, if i remember right, was 33 when he took the first steps on the journey that would ultimately save middle earth. I tried to use this to apply meaning to my own 33rd birthday–like how i’m embarking on a journey of my own in the coming year as a writer and whatever. You know what? It’s all crap. It’s just me trying to attach meaning to an anniversary because that’s what we do with anniversaries, right? It’s me trying to trick myself into action–into following through on the dreams and plans that i talk about here. The reality is that there are things i want to do, but i still, after everything, have trouble moving my feet. Not to the level that i used to, but it’s there: i’m still ankle deep in carmel sometimes. But, if i don’t get something done–if i have nothing to show for myself–i won’t be able to take advantage of the opportunities that i so desperately wish would come my way.

i’m done with contrived meanings and fake deadlines and mind hacks. my goal right now is just awareness–mindfullness. i am aware, in this moment, that i want more than i have and i want to be more than i am. i am aware in this moment that i have the ability and the tools to create the future that i want. i am aware that in order to create it, i will have to chip away at myself a little bit each day, that nothing comes overnight, and that it’s going to be really hard work.

That is all, and that is enough.