Friday, December 30, 2016

Oh Princess, My Princess

(I originally wrote this post on the 27th, but accidentally unplugged my computer and lost it all.  I like to think it was better the first time.)

When I was just a child, my aunt Barbara came to my grandma's house, crying (this was August 1977).  Grandma comforted her, and all I got was that my aunt was upset.

When she left, I asked what was going on.  "Oh, Elvis died," my grandmother told me.  "He was Barbara's first love."


I interpreted that as an old boyfriend of my aunt's dying, until my mother explained it to me that Elvis was a singer, someone my aunt had never even met.  Now I was really confused, but I never forgot that day (for some reason), though I didn't understand it.

Today, I understand.  Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia Organa is gone.  And it struck me hard--harder than it should have maybe, to hear of her death at only age sixty.


Except for some girl I saw on a Burger King commercial, and then got all weird in my stomach, Princess Leia was my first crush.  When Luke Skywalker saw her hologram and said, "Who is she?  She's beautiful!" I took note and said, "Okay, now I know what beautiful is.  If I'm going to pass for human, I'd better pay attention."


One of the many times I was watching STAR WARS, my dad was on the couch with his newspaper.  THAT's the girl you like so much?" he asked (he had seen the movie when it first came out, and hadn't bothered to take me, which I always regretted, even if he didn't).  "She's pretty homely."

That was the first time I remember hearing that word, and I always think of him saying it in the scant occasions I hear it said.  But to me, Princess Leia wasn't at all homely.  To you either, I'll wager.


I was a little boy, and STAR WARS was my world (or worlds, technically).  And she was queen of that world.  Well, technically Princess, but with her parents gone, wouldn't that mean . . .

No, I'd guess that with her world gone, so would any title associated with it.  Sigh.

I didn't mention the slave bikini in JEDI.  I think I was just too young for that to make as much of an impression on me.*  Oh, I would later, sure, think that was the bee's knees, but even then, it was relegated to gawking at young women cosplaying the outfit.  Princess Leia was sacred.


Of course, Carrie Fisher wasn't just Princess Leia.  She appeared in THE BLUES BROTHERS, SHAMPOO, THE 'BURBS, AUSTIN POWERS, WHEN HARRY MET SALLY..., one of the SCREAM sequels (I think 3), HANNAH & HER SISTERS, UNDER THE RAINBOW, and JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK.  And those are just the ones that immediately come to mind.

I never read any of her books, but she was hilarious in interviews, and I fully expect the books to be sharp and entertaining.  The last one was called "The Princess Diarist," and yeah, I think I'll pick it up.

This is a pic I took of myself when it was announced that Disney would no longer allow "Slave Leia" merchandise to be sold.  I self-took a bunch while wiggling my finger, thinking I could make a gif of it.  But I never did (big surprise).


Speaking of which, I always intended to write a Princess Leia fanfiction story about how she was a young Senator from Alderaan and came to understand just how corrupt the Empire was, ultimately joining the Rebel Alliance, only to discover that her father was already a part of it.  But I never did.

Maybe I will now.


Unlike my Aunt Barbara, I actually met Carrie Fisher once.  It was at the Star Wars Celebration 2 in Indianapolis.  They had a big signing room for all the SW celebrities, and the lines ranged from zero to about fifteen minutes.  I stood in Fisher's line for about two and a half hours.  When I got up to the front, I expected her to be grouchy and frustrated from all the mouth-breathers* wanting her to autograph metal bikini pictures.


But I was surprised when she thanked ME for waiting so long just to meet her, and was funny and cordial.  She looked at the photo I had her sign (Leia with the bun hairdo) and said, "I don't know who this was, but I'll sign it anyway."  Sure, she had probably said that a hundred other times that day, but I appreciated the hell out of it.

Here's a picture I like of Carrie and Anthony Daniels during the EMPIRE shoot.  But I never noticed before today, that's George Lucas on the left of the frame . . . which film was always his least favorite in the series again?


Sadly, on Christmas Eve, right before leaving for my childhood home, I read that Fisher had had a heart attack on a flight to Los Angeles.  It was reported, many tributes came in, and I fully expected to return to Internetland to hear that she had passed.  But no, her mother, Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, issued a statement that Fisher had stabilized, and I, at least, breathed a sigh of relief.  We were out of the woods.

No go.  My buddy Big texted me at 11:05am on December 27th, saying "Carrie Fisher didn't make it after all."  He works for the news, and let me know first.

I took it surprisingly badly.  I started writing this post then, then when I lost it, I wasn't willing to do it all again.

Most disturbingly, Carrie's death was announced with reports of the hospitalization of her mother almost immediately after.  Debbie Reynolds too passed away a day later, which is a sad confluence of events.


Death is inevitable, I understand that.  But 2016 really dished it out.  And Princess Leia really meant a lot to me, and to a lot of folks from my generation.  It was really cool to hear other folks talk about what Leia/Fisher meant to them, and I look forward to talking to someone who was a young girl, and saw her as a role model, becoming an actress, a freedom fighter, a soldier, or royalty later on because of that influence.

We've still got one more Star Wars movie with her in it to look forward to, and I wonder what that will be like.  It can't help but paint your response to the film, in the same way that THE DARK KNIGHT did with Heath Ledger or THE CROW with Brandon Lee or (apparently) the last FAST & FURIOUS flick after Paul Walker died.  To see General Leia in, hopefully, a larger role than we did in the last one would be a treat.

I was probably going to see "Episode VIII" anyway, but . . .

So, here's to Princess Leia.  She truly belongs with us among the clouds.

Rish Outfield, Scruffy-Looking Nerf Herder


*That reminds me: I spoke to Warwick Davis once about whether he was intimidated working with Fisher in his scenes, her being hot and all, and he seemed to think that was funny.  "I was eleven years old," he said, laughing.  That was older than I was, but okay.

**Which, technically, I am, no confusion about that.


P.S.  Here's Carrie Fisher one more time, summing up my feelings about 2016:


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Buy My First Audio Collection

Originally, I had typed "My First Audio Collection" as the subject line here.  But hey, why bury the lead?

Currently available exclusively on Audible.com is "The Calling: The Audio Fiction of Rish Outfield Volume One."  It's a collection of a dozen or so short stories, narrated by me, and all together in one place.  It also includes a couple of irritating pieces unavailable anywhere else (I believe this was Big's idea, who used to tell me I was wasting my time when I'd write microfiction, unless, as he put it, "you put it into a story collection as a sort of bonus track").


The collection includes an Introduction and:

Stormy Weather
 A Difficult Age
The Cemetery Tale
Lost and Found
Brighted
MagiClaw
Unconventional
Sleeptalkin' Gal
Passing Notes
Last Night of Freedom
Trick
Memory Lane
The Calling

The tiny stories are in italics.

My pal Gino Moretto created the cover for me . . . and look at that little "volume 1."  What do you think of that?

Before life got hectic once again, I was starting to compile material for a second volume, and I discovered that, without recording anything new, I have enough material for four or five more of these collections.*  Of course, I do keep recording stuff, new and old, and if I ever feel ambitious again, you'll be able to listen to it.

In the meantime, check it out if you get the notion.  I know you'll get to like it if you give a chance now.

Yeah, that was from The Locomotion, what about it?

Rish Outfield, Audio Dork

*This reminds me of something I heard about Johnny Cash.  His wife June Carter Cash died in 2003, and Johnny died four months later.  But during those four months, he went into studios and absolutely buried himself in work, recording track after track.  Then he passed away, and a couple of posthumous albums were released . . . but the producer of those albums said that there was still around SIXTY songs recorded by Cash that have yet to be released.  Wow.

Of course, I'm not comparing myself to Johnny Cash.  But still . . .

Sunday, December 25, 2016

George Michael R.I.P.

I wasn't going to blog about George Michael's death at only 53.  I didn't figure I had anything to say.

Since when has that stopped me, right?

But I'm an enormous fan of Eighties music, and will have words with any man who says otherwise.

And he died on Christmas Day . . . and it occurred to me that I got his album "Faith" on Christmas of 1986, and listened to One More Try on my knock-off Walkman while shoveling the driveway.  And I shoveled the driveway today (of a different house, but still), right before my uncle told me Michael had died.

I read what little was posted, and noted that one of the singles from that album, I Want Your Sex, was not released in some areas of the U.S., due to obvious reasons.  So I automatically remembered that Christmas '86 would've been the first time I heard that song as well.

And then I remembered my Uncle Len playing that cassette when we visited Las Vegas shortly after (might even have been my own cassette, though that's unlikely), and when we came to that song, he changed the lyrics to "I Want My Pez Candy."  Which is a bizarre, stupid memory that I think of way more often than I hear the song in question.

I liked Wham!, though never heard any of their records (did they have more than two?), and I think my uncle got that "Listen Without Prejudice" followup to "Faith," but I never did.  I like the cover Michael did of Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me, especially the part where he says, "Ladies and gentlemen, Mister Elton John!" and the crowd goes wild.

The only other thing I remembered was Dana Carvey playing George Michael on "Saturday Night Live," when he'd appear on Weekend Update, and invariably would start shaking his caboose.  "Look at my butt, Dennis!  I've buffed it, shaved it, waxed it, shined it!  It's a perfect circle!  I know, I've measured it!  Scientists calibrate their instruments with my butt!"

It was one of the first impressions I ever learned to do*, and because my best friend was named Dennis, I would often say, "Look at my butt, Dennis!" in that voice, which must've amused kid me, because it made adult me laugh enough remembering it that I sat down and wrote a blog post.

"Kneel down and worship my butt, Dennis!"

I'm sad George Michael is gone, but I have to admit that his passing also made me smile.  Sorry.

Rish "I Need Some Time Off From That Emotion" Outfield

*Practically all of my impressions are Dana Carvey imitating somebody, sadly.

**What's worse, I tried my comedic skills on Facebook by posting:
The world was shocked to hear of George Michael's death today.

However, it was more shocked to discover that Andrew Ridgeley is still alive.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Rish Outcast 59: Stormy Weather (Part 1)

So, sometime around the beginning of spring, Rish went for a walk and presented a story set in the dead of winter.  It's called "Stormy Weather," and it's been sitting around, waiting for the snows to come again.


Please forgive the incessant clicking and planes going on overhead.  Of course, 'twouldn't be the Outcast if the sound was excellent.



*If you don't wanna wait to hear the rest of the story, go HERE to buy it, or HERE for the text version.

*Rish 'n Big's "The Spirit of Christmas" episode over at the Dunesteef.

*Music in this episode was "Ossuary (Air)" by Kevin McLeod of Incompetech.com.

If you feel up to it, go ahead and Right-Click HERE to download the episode.  And bundle up!

Friday, December 16, 2016

I Perform "Charlie the Undying" By Eric Dean

Once again, Eric Dean has posted one of his short stories, narrated by me.  This one is called "Charlie the Undying " about a rather unfortunate drug dealer/manufacturer and the worst day of his life (and yours too).  And it's pretty rough.

Really rough, actually.


But . . . you like it rough, somebody was telling me.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Rish Outcast 58: And Then What Happened?

Remember in the movie STAND BY ME, when Gordie LaChance has just told his "Revenge of Lard-Ass Hogan" story, the music swells, and everyone thrills to the put-upon fat kid's long-awaited vengeance?  It's a great moment . . . and then Corey Feldman's character asks, "And then what happens?"

Right?  Nothing happens, that's the end.


I wish I had thought of that when I recorded this show.  I'm almost tempted to record it myself and stick it in here, so you'd think it was all planned from the beginning.

In this episode, I talk about the idea of writing continuing series, a book every year or so, the further adventures of characters.  It's a tempting thought, though I don't know whether I'm capable of such things.


If I recall correctly, this episode was originally titled "Rish Outfield Will Return."  But that's just too positive for the likes of me, or at least it could be read that way.



If y'all fancy downloading this here episode, just Right-Click on Big Mister Link.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Schweet Novembah

Well, we're into December now, and the next time I look at the calendar, it'll be nearly over (that is the way of things.  The way of the Force.)  But let me look back for a moment, at November, the month writers tend to set aside for novel-writing.

I know one guy who wrote more in the month of November than I have this whole year.  But I can't focus on that, can I?  As Ben Folds said, "There's always someone cooler than you."

So, I set three goals for myself this past November: 1. Publish my novella "Newfound Fame," 2.  Write a story for a the Paradise Lost "Broken Mirror" contest, 3.  Finish my current project, which is a sequel to a story from a few years back, "The Calling."  I hate to do it, but let's look at how I fared.

1.  Well, I finished the audio for NF back in, I dunno, September or October.  I decided to do a section in full-cast, and got lines back from everybody but one.  Even so, I didn't publish the text version, which doesn't have to wait on audio.  I don't have a cover that's ready to go, so I've used that as an excuse not to publish it.

Which sucks.

The thing is, I could publish it right now with either the unfinished cover Austin sent me, or with my own mock-up I created to show him what I want.  It would be out there, readable (ie, purchasable), and when I get the finished art, I could just swap it out, and nobody'd be the poorer.

But I haven't.

I need to man up and do these things, instead of making excuses and pretending that other people are standing in my way.  I DO NOT want to have to replace the 2016 copyright with a 2017 one.

However, I did publish another novella with a similar title, one from 2004, and it is available for purchase.*  My first goal for December is to publish the audio version of that one.

2.  I came up with an idea for this one, and nearly went with it, since it wasn't bad, and would have been easier to write.

And then I stopped, did a podcast about it, and decided to scrap that idea and start over.

I thought up another idea, drove myself over to the library, and would not let myself come home until I'd written it through to the end.

So that one I actually accomplished.  Though I really ought to check their deadline again to make sure I haven't missed it.  If I have, well, you'll be able to listen to the episode sometime in the new year, I'd wager.

3.  So, the sequel to "The Calling" is something I haven't talked much about, because I wasn't sure if it would be a short story, a novella, or a series of short stories.  I've even been told to stick it all together a few years from now and publish it as a novel.

I came up with the beginning back in the spring, thought up and ending in the summer (I think it was during my drive to Comic-Con in July), and have spent the rest of this time trying to come up with (and write) the parts in between.  I really ought to do an episode (or three) about it, since there have been interesting challenges with this project I've not had with anything else.

But I haven't finished it.  I thought I was in the home stretch last week, with only one more scene to write before I got to that ending that came to me in July.  I've been inching toward it, but in a conversation with Big the other night, I realized that there's one important scene that I left out, and I need to go back and find a place for it (information needs to be conveyed, and I forgot to have anybody reveal it).  So, I could either push through to "The End," and then go back (and maybe have to adjust everything in a rewrite), or create the revelation scene, then skip back to the final two scenes.

So, that's a failure there, but I'm close.


Anyhow, that's me looking back on sweet November, or as Fake Sean Connery would say, Schweet Novembah.  I accomplished one of my goals, substituted another, and outright missed the third.  I'm working on it, though.

And December sees a couple of new goals.  One is to finish a story for my own Broken Mirror Contest over at the Dunesteef (a Christmas one).  I have it more than halfway done, and it'll be shorter than I expect (which is quite a change).  I also plan to finish my novella, and get a bunch of recording done for two projects that arrived at my door in the same week.

I also need to finish reading a book I said I'd have done by Thursday, and worry about Christmas.  Maybe we'll have to call the next post "Sour December."

Rish Outfield

*I also put up a short story I discovered, but that one's for free.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Rish Outcast 57: Rest Stop

(written months back, then shelved until winter came 'round again)

Although it's easier (and takes less courage) to just produce episodes of me driving and talking about whatever comes into my head, I thought I'd present another story on the Rish Outcast.  This one is called "Rest Stop," and I highly doubt anybody will like it.  But hey, it's got a dog in it.  Dogs are cool, right?


Yes.  Dogs are cool.



If you're up to downloading the episode, Right-Click on this here link.