Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas Tale, Sweaters, & Porgs

I sat down to write a real blog post the other day and realized that I don't really do that anymore.  Anything I have to say is easier (and more profitable, thanks to a couple of messed-up fans of the Dunesteef) to just record and insert in a podcast somewhere down the line.  In fact, I have at least two little rants that I recorded and await use in an episode that runs short (which seems unlikely, considering the last three shows I've edited have all run long).

But I'll try one more time, though I am tempted to just turn on my microphone and spend the next twenty minutes on the post (since typing it will certainly take longer, and I can't do something else while I'm writing).

Traditionally, my family has always gotten together for a Christmas party at a member of my mother's side's house (the Mexican side) and ate posole* and exchanged white elephant gifts as a get-together, and we've done it since I was a little boy and my grandmother Tita was alive (although in her day, she preferred to make tamales** and nobody else really makes them anymore).

The last few years, it has been somebody's job to tell a story during the white elephant exchange, and every time the storyteller says "Right" the group passes their present to the right, or "Left," they pass it to the left.  I don't know how fun it is, but it's at least potentially so.

Last year, I was asked to present the story, so I quickly sat down and wrote a children's holiday story about a little boy trying to find somebody to wish a "Merry Christmas" to (apparently Trump and Kirk Cameron were right, and there was literally nobody celebrating Christmas in the boy's town, vexing him greatly).  I made sure to liberally include the words Right and Left, so that pandemonium would ensue.

The story wasn't particularly good, but someone apparently remembered it because, a couple of days before the party, I was informed that in addition to providing something called Pomegranate 7-Up (it actually exists, though I couldn't find it at Walmart when I looked), they wanted me to tell another story.

Well, not to be accused of only pretending to be a writer, I sat down*** and wrote a much more grown-up tale about a young woman, new at her job, who goes to the office Christmas party, and terrible things keep happening to her new (expensive) sweater.

My mom suggested, when I told her the premise, that I insert the names of all the children that would be present into the story, so that they would pay attention while I was reading.  This was vexing because I worried that a) the more grown-up story would be offensive to somebody, since I have always been offensive (and ever shall be, Spock), and b) that using the names of the people present would offend someone because, in the past, it has.

I called my aunt (one of those I deemed most likely to be offended), and asked her about the second part.  She assured me that everybody would love it, and no one would be upset, so I sat down again and finished the story, swapping out the characters' names with the kids that would be there, naming the main character Katie after my cousin's oldest daughter.

Oh, I almost forgot, my niece and I had gotten it into our heads that it would be fun to, just once, have an ugly sweater theme for the get-together, and to my surprise, everybody went along with it.****  Because of that, I got the inspiration for my story, and was impressed by how all-out most of the guests went, either buying something awful, or decorating their own sweaters with bells, ribbons, holly, and in my uncle's case, with a string of Christmas lights.

I couldn't quite manage to come up with a second sweater as garish as the first, but I still think mine was unsightly.

Here is a photo of the group at the end of the night:

My story went over well, even though I recognize it was too long (but I had written it, and would be damned if I was gonna waste even more time cutting it down like something I'd done for a contest).  I only worry that next year they'll want another one, and I'll feel the need to outdo myself by including rhymes or something.

Oh, I was gonna say something about Porgs, the annoying/cute little bird-creatures in STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.  I don't think they should be capitalized, since they're just animals (you don't capitalize "womp rats," do you?), but you capitalize Wookiee, so maybe alien species names are automatically capitalized, like Martians.

My sister had a baby this year, and I got him a little stuffed Porg for Christmas, which he promptly put in his mouth.

But hey, TOY STORY 2 taught us that that's where toys long to be.

I was at my family cabin at the end of August, and driving home from there, my cousin called me to ask if I had gone to the second Force Friday (a silly event Hasbro puts on to make available all the new Star Wars merchandise from their upcoming movie).  I was at the one for THE FORCE AWAKENS, and I had missed this one, but I stopped by the nearest Walmart to look things over and buy up whatever I couldn't live without (in this case, it was a new Rey figure, which still sits, headless on my desk, because I can't figure out how to get the alternate head on, and am too cheap to buy a dremmel).

There was way too much stuff to buy, with a big display right in the middle of the main aisle (not even the toy aisle even), with pretty much everything still there.  Except for one thing: someone had bought up the plush Porg animal I had been hearing rumblings about since that Vanity Fair pictorial that had one in it.

Well, I got it into my head that Porgs just might be the big thing people were wanting this Christmas from the new movie, and maybe I should buy as many as I could.

It wasn't hard.  Every store had their version of the porg--large ones, talking ones, moving ones, tiny ones, ones with hard plastic eyes, ones with soft felt eyes, ones with yellow around the eyes, ones with white in their place.  And Target stores apparently even gave out huge (four foot tall) Porgs to one "lucky" customer at their Force Friday event (I saw one on eBay for a five hundred dollars, and another for seven hundred).

All in all, at one time, I had between twenty-five and thirty Porgs, and I never once considered taking a picture of me covered with them, like something out of a 21st Century "Trouble with Tribbles."  The best I could manage was this selfie of me with the deluxe, expensive one (which I only sold two of, leaving me with some overpriced electronic critters with absolutely no neighbors):

Because, kids, I was right.  Even before the movie came out, I discovered that Target's talking one ($19.99, but on sale for $17.99 for a week) was nowhere to be found, and soon, even the ugly Disney Store one was selling out.  As the 25th of December got closer and closer, the demand got greater, and inexplicably, my asking price got larger and larger.

In the end, I not only sold out of every Porg I had (except for the one in the above photo), I had to refund a guy's money because I sold one more than I could find (I did find it after Christmas, and somebody still bought it at the inflated "last-minute desperation" price).

Now, I realize that it's possible that somebody reading this is thinking, "You jagoff, YOU'RE what's wrong with America/Christmas/Capitalism/Star Wars today!"  And to that, I can merely shrug.  If I had any qualms about reselling rare (or "rare") toys, I'd have stopped the first time someone referred to me as "a fucking scalper."

I have made a pretty penny on this sort of stuff before, and it's actually kind of fun.  But I have literally BOXES filled with worthless unsold items I was wrong about, or held onto too long, or paid too much for and was unwilling to take a loss on, or simply was too lazy to put up for sale and now nobody gives a tinker's bell about.  If that doesn't make me less of a jagoff, well, I'm okay with it.

Porgs have been controversial (heck, all the THE LAST JEDI has been).  But me, I flippin' love 'em.

And ugly sweaters too, before I forget.

Rish Benjamin Porgfield

P.S.  I do wish I'd done this in audio instead of typing it.  I gave myself twenty minutes to do it, shrugged when that twenty was up . . . and typed this sentence an hour later.  Sigh.

*A soup made of (either white or yellow) hominy with lettuce, tomatoes and salsa.

**You know what those are, right?

***The night before, it's always last minute for me.  And when I complained to Big about it, he said, "Well, you always boast that you love deadlines, so eff you."  Although he may not have said the eff you part--it was a bad connection.

****Finding ugly sweaters turned out to be a fun activity, with us going to thrift stores and trying to find the most gaudy, tasteless, or simply wrong-colored.  My mom and I hit one and bought some for her, my sister, brother-in-law, other sister, and brother . . . which I insisted he would never, ever, ever wear, because he's too cool for such things.  I turned out to be wrong (though he did take it off as soon as the photo was taken).
The first time we went looking in second-hand stores, I found one with a fireplace, snowflakes, bright gold buttons, and the American flag (inexplicably) that I knew would win the contest as soon as I laid eyes on it.  It was so ugly as to be used in an old "Saturday Night Live" sketch with Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon pretending to be NPR broadcasters.  I tried it on, and actually felt embarrassed to have it on me, but knew that we'd never find its rival (before I took it off, I also ran to storage to see if my uncle's old Judy Garland records were still there . . . which they were, thank you very much).  We also picked out a sweater for my two nephews and one for my niece.
Unfortunately, because they were from a Goodwill-type location and hence had that smell (you know the one), my niece made sure to wash all the sweaters, and when they were put in the dryer, my abominable sweater shrunk not one size, but several sizes, until it was too small for me to even TRY to wear.  Luckily, it was perfect for my nine year old nephew, and he wore it proudly . . . and won the Ugliest Sweater prize at the end of the night.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Rish Outcast 96: A Very Outfield Christmas

So, here's a quickly cobbled-together Christmas episode I recorded after being sick for a week.*

I say a few words about Dickens, "A Christmas Carol," and ask Fake Sean to join me in the holiday.  I'd assure you that, had I not gotten sick, this episode would be a lot better . . . but I think you and I both know that isn't true.

Go ahead and download the episode HERE.

I tried (and tried, and tried) to do a video portion of this episode, and could never quite get the hang of it.  But I did sit down and edit my little excerpt as best I could, if you'd like to see how that went.

Oh, and here's a link to my Scrooge-related story "The Present of the Christmas Ghost."

*Basically, I messed up (again), and got myself behind schedule.  So, we'll run with this episode this week, next week's episode next week, and last week's episode the week after that.  And THEN, we'll get to that show that got bumped in October.  Maybe.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

I Perform "The Christmas Abomination" by Heather Shaw & Tim Pratt

Way back in 2010, I got picked to narrate the holiday story "The Christmas Mummy" by Tim Pratt and Heather Shaw.  It was one of the first projects I got tapped to perform by myself, and despite my then-inferior sound quality, it became a perennial favorite of discerning listeners everywhere.*  Also, the story was pretty great.

Well, here we are a seven year later, with every cell in my body now different than it was, and I got asked to voice the sequel, "The Christmas Abomination from Beyond the Back of the Stars."  Short title, but sweet. 

It picks up a couple of years after the first story, and brings back all the characters** for an amusing island get-together over the holidays.  Everyone's involved in a ritual to either summon or placate an ancient evil from a dark place between worlds, including the delightful-to-perform Doctor Moriarty.**

I was happy to come back to do this story, and I can only hope that this one becomes somebody's tradition like the first one.  Maybe Heather and Tim will collaborate on another of these someday.  Stranger things have happened.

You can find it at THIS LINK.

*It's the story I get the most compliments on, which leads me to think it's the one the most people have heard my narration of.

**I had to go back and make note of how I voiced each of these characters, then attempt to replicate them a year or two down the road.

***I really ought to upload my attempt(s) to pronounce "Peshtirimobdybelig."  It should entertain somebody other than me.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Rish Outcast 95: Occurrence in Hall B

Here's a Broken Mirror story I wrote this year, along with a (probably) overlong explanation.  , based on the line "One by one, all the lights in the hall went out . . . except one."

If you want to download the episode directly, Right-Click HERE.

Sick of money?  Support me on Patreon HERE!

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Rish Outcast 94: Mister Brightside

This was supposed to be my Thanksgiving show, but alas, I'm still a week behind from October.

Rish tries to stay positive, and talks about being an extra in a commercial.  And Fake Sean's gotta be down, because he wants it all.

If you wanna download the episode, Right-Click HERE.

If you wanna support me via Patreon, Right-Click HERE.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Rish Outcast 93: Varcolac (Part Two)

So, here's the rest of that Western/Horror tale with the funny name*  This one's different from the Ben Parks stories, although they both take place in the American West, at the end of the nineteenth century, and focus on a pre-teen boy.

Whoops, guess they're actually pretty close.

Downloading the episode directly?  Well, Right-Click HERE, stranger.

Do you long to give something back to Rish (other than your thoughts and prayers)?  Click HERE to support him on Patreon!

*Romanian for harmful shapeshifter or undead creature.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Rish Performs "Customer Service Hobgoblin" on Far-Fetched Fables

Once again, Gary Dowell contacted me to do another story reading over on the Far-Fetched Fables podcast.  Every time big-shot podcasters ask me to narrate for them, I pray (to Pan, most often) I get a good one.  This particular fable is "Customer Service Hobgoblin" by Paul Hardy.*

Dang, this is a good one, sirs and madam.  Basically, a snarky minor deity has fallen on hard times and is forced to process prayers in a call center, which is humiliating enough for us mere mortals.  It's clever, it's funny, and it's got an awesome narrator.

Check it out RIGHT HERE.

*A right old Englishman, if I ever sawr one.  And a tale obviously written to be read by an Englishman as well.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Rish Outcast 92: Varcolac (Part One)

So, this was the episode that got postponed from October.  I'm presenting my short story/novella* "Varcolac," which is long enough I felt safe in splitting it in two.  No qualms there.

"Varcolac" is the second Western story I ever wrote, but it differs from "Birth of a Sidekick" in that it's a Weird Western (if that's what a Western combined with another genre is called, in this case, Mystery or Horror).  Give it a listen, y'all.

Go right ahead and download the show, when you Right-Click HERE.

Destined to be a Patreon Supporter?  Well, just go HERE.

*Novelette?  Don't get me started.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

My Story "The Sleeping Princess Wakes" over on Delusions of Grandeur

Two years ago, I wrote my young Luke Skywalker story "Beggar's Canyon," which I shared on both my own show and the "Star Wars: Delusions of Grandeur" podcast I do with Grandpa Latham, right before THE FORCE AWAKEN(ed).  Well, following that tradition, here's a similar story presented on the show, "The Sleeping Princess Wakes," which comes out right before the JEDI LAST(s).

This story, which I talked about in 2015 but wasn't ambitious enough to write, tells a vignette about the teenaged Leia Organa, when she first meets Grand Moff Tarkin, and the seeds of rebellion that are planted within her.   It's fan-fiction, sure, but I hope it's enjoyable, quality fan-fiction.

Anyway, head on over to the DoG podcast, as Marshal and I affectionately call it, and hear my reading of it, as well as our discussion afterward.  If you dig it, there could be more to come.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Rish Outcast 91: Short of Expectations

In another TMI episode, Rish talks about being a disappointment to his parents, and generally falling short of expectations.  Fun stuff.

Warning: Oversharing (again).

Next week, we'll get to that delayed two-part episode.

D'you wanna download this episode?  No?  Oh.

Come support my Patreon fund, at THIS LINK.

Oh, and Right-Click HERE if you've changed your mind about downloading the episode.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

More To Come

I haven't posted much here lately, except for my Outcast episodes (which ain't nothin', I freely boast).

But I have recorded a couple of stories for other podcasts (including a sequel to the story I get the most compliments about, so there's that), Abbie tells me she's almost ready to send me stuff to record, and I'm on the edge of actually publishing another novella (there are some just sitting, farting around on my hard drive, helping nobody).

The blame is twofold: 1) Obviously, my lack of ambition.  To me, actually WRITING something is quite an achievement, and years of amateur storytelling has left me without a burning need to share it with anyone.  I feel good when I finish something (even if it's not very good), and that was the goal.

And 2) the bots-damn cover art once again stymies me.  I have ideas in my head and no way to implement them, and whatever I create always looks like what it is: somebody who doesn't know what he's doing putting out the absolute minimum of effort to get it out there.

I wish I could just create cover art like this:

I wonder what would happen if I just put out eight or ten stories with covers like that and, one day in the future, swapped them out with better art.  At least they would be published, which is a start.

Anyway, I do have several Outcast episodes on the schedule, a finished Dunesteef in the Dropbox, and another That Gets My Goat we just recorded.  So, stay tuned.  Like the man said, there is more to come.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Rish Outcast 90: Halloween Night

Wow, check out the calendar.  Looks like I'm getting this right under the wire.*

In honor of my favorite holiday (and yours as well, don't you dare argue), here is my short story "Halloween Night."

This was written fifteen years back, based on the picture down below.

Also, happy birthday, Big Anklevich.

If you're up to downloading this episode, then Right-Click HERE.

Left-Click HERE to head over to my Patreon page.

*And sorry about so many episodes in the month of October.  My math was off.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Rish Outcast 89: Cabin in the Woods

Rish goes to the family cabin by himself for the first time.  And the last?*

Also, Fake Sean and company want it that way.

Hey you.  You wanna download this sucker?  Right-Click HERE.

Unless the link doesn't work.  Then you can't.

As always, I have a Patreon Page HERE where you can support me with money, instead of just thoughts and prayers.

*Spoiler: No, no it's not.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Rish Outcast 88?

If you're interested in the next episode of my solo podcast, I'm performing the uncollected Stephen King short story "The Reploids," about a stranger who comes out from behind the "Tonight Show" curtain when Johnny Carson's name is announced.  It is only available for Patreon supporters, though I'm not charging for that particular show.

You can find my Patreon page HERE.

And be warned: on the same trip, I recorded two more Incentive episodes of the Rish Outcast, which I'll be putting out there in the coming months.

Thanks, and on with the countdown.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Rish Outcast 87: Mastercard...I'm Bored

A combination episode of my New Year's show (timely, yes), and one from just the other day, wherein I talk about boredom, upcoming goals, and recount an almost-story about the film industry.

Do you wanna download this?  Then Right-Click HERE!

Note: Because time is fleeting (and madness takes its toll), the next episode will be for Patreon supporters only.  That way, the Halloween episode can drop before Halloween.  Listen, but not for very much longer.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Rish's Voice on "Campfire Radio Theater"

Theatre, is it?

So, I was fortunate enough to lend my voice to another of John Ballentine's impressive audio dramas over at "Campfire Radio Theater."  This one was called "Death and Alchemy," adapted by a short story by the bearded Patrick Moody.

This one be just as delightful as the others I've participated in, which is a zombie plague tale set in Victorian London.  I am always impressed by the soundscape and am often surprised by the emotional resonance these guys wrest from the audio drama format.  Check it out at THIS LINK!


John asked me if I could play a cranky old Scottish man, and I smiled big, thinking of my omnipresent imaginary friend and podcast partner.  Unfortunately, once I thought of it, it became difficult NOT to sound like Connery, try as I might.

Oh, John told me that I was the only voice actor in this production not from the UK, and that made me smile.  He also told me I was the only voice actor in this production who would die alone and unmourned.  And soon.

Kind of mean, in retrospect, that John Ballentine.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Rish Outcast 86: Romantic Interlude

In this episode, I present a short story . . . oh, what was it called again?

"Romantic Interlude," that's what it was!  Well, I think so anyway.

It's another meandering Rish Outcast episode, and another day of sun!

Hey, if you want to download the darn thing, Right-Click HERE.

And want to support my Patreon?  Left-Click HERE.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Tom Petty (1950 - 2017)

"Well, I don't know, but I've been told,
You never slow down, you never grow old."

R.I.P., man.

Even the losers get lucky sometimes.

I saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in concert only once, down in Irvine, California, with Jackson Browne as the opening act.  My friend Jeff drove all the way to Los Angeles so we could go together, and the traffic was among the worst I have ever encountered.  We finally got in as Browne played his last song.

But hey, we caught the whole Petty show, and both of us knew almost all the songs.  I had just got my first cellphone, and I used the Voice Memo feature to record his performance of "Free Fallin'."  Just the audio of that one song filled up all the memory of that phone.

My niece told me Petty had died on Monday, and I was bummed and emailed Jeff, who is eight hours ahead and might have never found out otherwise (not sure how the news works on the other side of the world).  Oddly enough, his Wikipedia page said nothing about his death, and the most recent article had been about the last concert he performed, the week early in Hollywood.

Conflicting reports started to show up, some sources saying he had died that morning, but some saying his condition was unclear.  The LAPD issued a statement that they had not, as reported, issued a statement about his death (and that the LAPD didn't tend to issue celebrity death statements), so for a while there, I kept doing new searches to find out whether he was gone or not.  He had suffered cardiac arrest and been pronounced dead at his home, he had been taken to the hospital and doctors were attending to him, he was in a coma, he was resting and looking forward to spending time with his new granddaughter, and most dubiously, he was a twenty-four year old blond woman and had been bassist for Grand Funk Railroad.

But that evening, the news came again, this time officially, that he had died, and a couple of publications stated that, in true rock star fashion, the sixty-six year old had died twice in one day.

"Well, I know what's right;
I've got just one life.
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around,
I will stand my ground."

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Rish Outcast 85: Travels With Father 2

Warning: TMI.

Well, this one has been a long time in coming.  In what'll probably be my longest-ever episode, I record my thoughts about my father, our last times together, and the frustrating and exhausting days after that.

Again, this episode is the MUTHA of over-shares, so if you don't want to see how they make the sausage, and what happens to it when the body is through, you may consider skipping this one.

If that's the case, I'll be back to my regular shenanigans in just a week or so.

Download the show?  Alright, just Right-Click HERE.

Also, I attempted to do a video version of the 2017 introduction, but the video stopped recording after six minutes, leaving only the audio.  If you feel like checking that out, it's here:

Friday, September 29, 2017

I Perform "Perchance To Dream" by David Morrell

I got to narrate another lengthy piece over at Far-Fetched Fables, District o' Wonders's Fantasy podcast.  Have you checked them out?

It was "Perchance to Dream," by David Morrell, about a sleep therapist with a rather problematic new patient, one that struggles with more than just managing to sleep through the night.

This one as quite a challenge.  Not for anything technical (although I did have to say "Clonazepam" four or five times), but because I was a bit vague on what it all meant, hence, how to perform it.

So, I did something I've never done before (although maybe I once did asking Aeryn Rudel how to say his name): I contacted the writer to ask his opinion on how to perform it.  I recognized David Morrell's name from someplace, and realized that this was the guy who wrote The Name of the Rose and First Blood.  So, I guess I was lucky he emailed me back.

Even so, I'd be curious to find out what listeners to the story think it all means, since I came up snake eyes.

Oh, another thing I did on this.  There was a college in Georgia mentioned in the story, and rather than looking it up on YouTube, as I often do with town or celebrity names that may be pronounced a number of ways, I just called the school and asked how to say it.

Here's the link.  Sleep well!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pilot Error

I know close to nothing about television, but it seems to me that a TV pilot is made for two reasons: 1) to sell a network on your show, or, if it's a put pilot, to show the network what the show will look and feel like, and 2) to hook as many viewers as it can from the very start.

Well, "Star Trek: Discovery" premiered this week, and as it was not only sold as a series to CBS, but was ostensibly going to be the flagship to CBS All Access (much like "Voyager" was for UPN what seems like two or three years ago, but was actually more than twenty), all it really had to do was number two.

Gosh, I was excited to watch this thing.  "Star Trek: Discovery" was so long delayed that my friend Jeff signed up for CBS All Access (their evil streaming service) in early 2016 and assured me we'd be able to see every episode that way (he did use it to watch "NCIS," though, so all was not entirely wasted).  Even though I only had to wait two days to watch it with my cousin, I was tempted a couple of times to just watch the first few minutes, just to whet my whistle.  Can't remember when I last anticipated a show that much.

Also, in the spirit of full disclosure, the gigantic, unscrupulous, no-tax-paying organization that used to own the channel the pilot aired on sold the station, so I was forced to watch it not only in Standard Definition, but in a cropped substandard definition that reminded me of how I used to watch TOS on Channel 20 adjusting rabbit-ears to try and get a clearer picture.

I really ought to sit down and watch it a second time, to fill out this review better.  But I won't.

So, there was a lot of positive in the pilot (called "The Vulcan Hello"): it looked good, must have cost a fortune, had lots of lenseflares, and was two-thirds in English.  But, as a longime Trek fan, it didn't speak to me, even less so than the Abrams movies (which were all quite enjoyable, say what you will about the scripts or treatment of the material).  And if you were a newcomer to the franchise . . . jeez, would you even be able to make heads or tails of this?

Aside from the ridiculously familiar main theme, there wasn't any moment where my heart swelled, knowing that THIS is "Star Trek:" positive, optimistic, fun Science Fiction with a lot of wonder thrown in.  Sure, there were wheelbarrows of diversity and conflict in this thing . . . but great, what else you got?

I didn't hate it, don't get me wrong.  But as the second reason stated above to make this pilot, it absolutely failed.  Not only am I not going to sign up for CBS All Access (something I considered doing once Jeff moved away, so that my cousin and I could watch it each week when we got together), but the episode, such as it was, ended on a cliffhanger, and I'm not even all that excited about watching the next one.

Part of that his due to the weirdness of the pilot's setup.  The ship and crew we are meeting here is not The U.S.S. Discovery.  It's a different ship, The Georgiu, with a different captain (though she does have a bit of noble gravitas).  It introduces TWO characters that will go on to be regulars on the rest of the series, and we don't even meet the ship or its captain in this first hour.  So why show just the first hour, why not show the introductory two hours, and let those who are hooked go on to greater adventures with the "real" ship and her valiant crew?

It's a brave, Psycho-like move to introduce a bunch of characters at the start and then kill them all off (which is what I assume happens in Part Two), but it doesn't work as an introduction to the world, characters, and series itself.  It's like one of those prequel novels you always find for big blockbuster movies now, where you can read all about where the characters came from, or how the universe got to be where it was the the movie's opening credits rolled.  And I kind of like reading those . . . but not before seeing the movie or knowing anything about it, and certainly not instead of.

Could we at least meet (and hopefully) like our new captain and starship, so we'll want to see these people again and find out where they're going?

I was actually tempted to scrap this blog post and, I don't know, go look for worms in the backyard or check to see if the internet has any gifs of Reese Witherspoon vomiting, but I'll make myself type just a little more.

It's funny how a little thing can bother you to the point where it starts to not feel like a little thing anymore.  I often use a friend of mine's dislike of SPIDER-MAN 2 due to its depiction of the isotope Tritium, but an example for me is the song "Come Dancing" by the Kinks.  It's a lovely, fun tune, with nostalgia and . . . and the following line:

"My sister should've come in at midnight,
And my mom would always sit up and wait;
It always ended up in a big row,
When my sister used to get home late."

And once I heard that line, and really heard it, I couldn't help but focus on that part, and how the inexplicable substitution of "row" for "fight" made the rhyme no longer work.  It frustrated me, then did more than that.  And today, I can't even listen to that song, even though it's such a little thing it should embarrass me to mention it on here today.  But it doesn't.

"Star Trek: Discovery" has a couple of those little things.  A lot of folks complaining online focused on the redesign of the Klingons, which seemed to take J.J. Abrams's reimagining of them in INTO DARKNESS (or the cool deleted scene in STAR TREK '09) and continued running, like Forrest Gump leaving the Touchdown line far behind.  This bugged a lot of people (and this is just one example; a lot of stuff bugged a lot of people), and though I tried to keep an open mind, I felt like a third of the episode focused on the subtitled machinations of these ugly, indistinguishable, personality-free creatures.*

The main character ( was hard to like.  It made me wonder if Spock himself could've been unlikable if he had been played by a different, less-charismatic actor.  I think he could have.  She came across as smug, impatient, brash, and a bit of an asshole.  She questioned her captain's orders in front of the crew after serving seven years under her, then physically attacks her in her ready room and lies to the crew about it?  Tom Paris did less than that on his whole run of "Voyager," and he got demoted and placed in the brig.  Obviously, we're supposed to like Burnham--she's our main character and this isn't the last season of "Breaking Bad"--but I wonder.

Okay, let me nickpick.  Her name is Michael.  Yeah, that fuggin' bothers me.  I know it's not entirely unheard-of (there was an actress on "e.r." called Michael Michele) and Bryan Fuller does it on all his shows, but dude, eff you.

And speaking of eff you, there has been a lot of talk that this new "Trek" wants nothing to do with the folks like me, that saw that borefest THE MOTION PICTURE in the theater, or were watching "Encounter At Farpoint" when it aired, or even a fan of 21th Century "Trek" before the reboot. I find that hard to believe, even having lived through the "This is not your father's Star Trek" era of the franchise.  But . . . well . . .

I did feel a little bit like the show was not for me, and that it would prefer not to have someone who knows what "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra" means watching week to week.

The uniforms were pretty ugly and GALAXY QUESTy.  But there was a scene with the ship's doctor, and his uniform kicked ass, so I'm not even going to complain there.

Dammit, I've wasted too much time on this.  The kids went out and caught worms without me, and you guessed it, no luck on the Reese Witherspoon thing.

Oh, it wasn't the worst pilot I've ever seen (I remember one a few years ago starring Vera Farmiga that I hated so much, I sorta vowed never to watch anything with her in it after that.  Hell, I even had a hard time watching "American Horror Story" at first, because Taissa Farmiga was in it).  But it should've been engaging, should have been addictive, should have been moving.  Should have been "Star Trek."

Rish Tiberius Outfield

*Oh, so there's a white one.  Guess he's the one we're supposed to notice.  Still doesn't make him palatable to look at.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Rish Outcast 84: Sleeptalkin' Episode 2

So, here's the squeakquel to the last show, finishing up "Sleeptalkin' Gal."

You know, I really expected "squeakquel" to catch on as a saying . . . but it didn't.  Huh.

Actually, I don't know that this show is a sequel (squeaking or otherwise).  Is the third part of a mini-series a sequel?  Or the second part of a two-part "MacGuyver" episode?

Wanna download the episode directly?  Just Right-Click HERE!

Wanna back Rish's Patreon fund?  I just recorded two stories for just Patreon supporters.  HERE?

Wanna see a pic of Rish with Neil Patrick Harris?  Click HERE!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Mid-September Update

Man, I suck.

That is all.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Rish Outcast 83: Sleeptalkin' Episode

Rish presents most of his story "Sleeptalkin' Gal," then goes for a walk around the block to talk about dramatic beats.

A husband with a wife who talks in her sleep starts to pay attention to the things that she says . . . because there's something unexplainable going on every night around three.
I made the (rather arbitrary) decision to split this into two parts, so feel free to curse me in the comments below. Or hey, don't. Up to you.

Here's a link to the full story, if you wanna check it out.

Oh yeah, download this episode by Right-Clicking HERE!

And there's always Patreon.  And the sun.

"Magic Forest" Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Saturday, September 09, 2017

September, Remember?

Shoot, am I still doing this accountability thing?  You realize that was a mistake, right?

Well, I do.

I think it's fair to say that I wrote every single day in August, because I tried to remind myself every night before I slept.  But that doesn't mean I wrote a great deal every day.  I believe the technical term for it is "half-assed."

Also, I was supposed to edit audio every single day.  And I did get a Dunesteef, a That Gets My Goat, two short stories, a Delusions of Grandeur, a Far-Fetched Fables, and three episodes of the Rish Outcast done (one of which is the longest, most dreaded episode since I started doing this thing, so that oughtta count for two).

I could have done more.  But if you don't feel the same way about your accomplishments . . . I am your mortal enemy.

Okay, I really don't know what to do in September.  I ought to write, I ought to edit, I ought to publish (and how), but I couldn't seem to find the gas in the tank to write this blog post, much less set any worthy goals for boring old September.

Wait, was there a band called September Death?  Am I remembering that right?  I don't know what that means or where it comes from, but what a cool name for a band.

So, I got this idea last weekend that I would drive up to the family cabin, sit down, and write five stories.  Five whole stories with beginnings, middles, and whatever comes after.  And they'd be done on that trip, by me, Mister Ambition.  Just stay there and force myself to write them until they were done.  I couldn't come back to civilization until--

Well, I didn't.  My brother showed up at about eleven in the morning, and I pretty much wrote the trip off on my taxes after that.

But I did write down four IDEAS for stories, and I started one of them that same day (the one that seemed easiest to finish, as I knew the ending beforehand).  I could choose that as a goal for the month: write all five in September, and be proud of myself . . . but to what end?  It's not like I'd actually do anything with these stories, and I do have those damn novellas in mid-progress.

But what the hey.  In September, I'm going to finish five stories.  May the Force be with us.

Rish Outf . . . ah, forget it.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Rish Outcast 82: To Thine Own Books Be True

Rish presents two episodes spliced together (one 2016 and one 2017) talking about only doing his own audiobooks from now on.  Part cautionary tale, part confession.

Warning: just a smidge of TMI.

Oh, I could have called this episode "Where's My Line Anyway?"  You're welcome to tell me where yours is.

Feel like downloading the episode directly?  Just Right-Click HERE.

Feel like supporting Rish with his Patreon?  Just go to this link.

Feel like taking your own life?  These guys can help.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

August Check-In 3: The Last Stand

So, I did drive down to the family cabin again, and while it was nice, and I'd gladly do it again, I didn't get nearly as much done this trip as I did the last.  Last time, I started on a secret project (am I still keeping that a secret?) and was quite proud of myself, writing three or four thousand words on it.  This time, I opened up that document (literally on the same scene where I left off), and wrote about two hundred more words before deciding to do something else.

I did edit audio for a few hours, and I did read a great deal--which made it feel like a vacation rather than a writing retreat--and I did record an episode for the Greatest Day of the Year(TM), but all in all, it felt like I did less with more time.*  When I went down in July, I only brought one DVD with me, and when it was finished, I forced myself to write and edit again.  This time, I had planned ahead, and had a lot more to watch when that single DVD ran out.

Even so, I could have done worse.  I have still written every day this month, and edited audio every day as well.  I just need to do it more.

So, in my last check-in (and probably every podcast and blogpost for the past eight months), I mentioned the episode of The Rish Outcast I most dread.  Well, I spent a good long time working on it at the cabin, and it's nearly ready to go.  In my mind, it'll drop next month, in between "Sleeptalk" and "Romantic Interlude."  But wow, I am so not wanting to put it out.  Do I dare charge my Patreons for something like that, or do I have to simply turn off my brain when it comes to that and automatically charge for episodes, whether they're full of encouraging words and poor impressions or not?

This is apropos of nothing, but I took my nephew to a small town festival last month, and while I had a good time, it was a hundred degrees out, and he liked it less than I did.  The one thing he was impressed by, of all the crafts and costumes and wares being sold and at least one Goth chick with lots of pale cleavage, was a booth where they were raffling off a Nintendo Switch, and if you entered, they'd give you a free fidget spinner.  So, I tossed the guy a buck, filled out a ticket, and, ignorantly gave the guy my email address (he said it was necessary to let us know if we'd won the Nintendo).

My nephew was pretty thrilled with the fidget spinner, and I'll admit that I found it pretty darn fascinating as well (about on the same level as pale-college-student-dressed-as-vampire-cleavage, at least at first) . . . but then, a couple of days later, I started getting spam in my email box.  And not just one or two, which is forgivable, but I just looked, and there were five in my box today, and it's only 9:35 in the morning.

I'm half tempted to write a scene where Lara Demming's sister does this, keeps getting spam, and Lara complains to Old Widow Holcomb about it.  So Holcomb teaches her a "harmless curse of inconvenience" that the girl casts on the spammers.  Later, Lara sees on the news that a local businessman, who sets up booths at town celebrations obtaining email addresses and then selling them overseas, has drowned himself in his own toilet.  "I wonder if he flushed first," the anchorman's partner asks, flashing white teeth.

Lara feels uneasy about this, but chalks it up to a coincidence, or something totally unrelated . . . not knowing that over a dozen others in Bangladesh also drowned themselves in the crapper.


Rish Outfield, Chalupa Guy

*I had made a point of arriving earlier and leaving later than I did the time before, but the only really efficient use of my time is when I fell asleep at one-thirty, and woke when it was still dark, trying to go back to sleep, and ultimately giving up and turning on the light (it was four-twenty-one) to read my book again until I feel asleep.  And when I did, I still woke up as soon as the sun hit me, despite setting my alarm for what I consider to be pretty darn early.  I don't know why the cabin does that to me.  Maybe the bed is just that uncomfortable.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Rish Outcast 81: Have It Your Way

Rish (and Fake Sean) present the short story "Have It Your Way," which Rish may have written (he doesn't remember).  Narrated by Special Guest Star Tena Kolakowsi.  

Be a sport and download the episode by Right-Clicking HERE.

Oh, to purchase Rish's first collection of audio fiction, go to this link.

And to purchase Rish's second collection of audio fiction, go to this link.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Nothing Much To Say, Nothing Much To Say

So, this is the first week in a long time (maybe months?) that I haven't posted an episode of the Rish Outcast (either for the Patreon supporters or on my blog).  I guess that I was busy, going to the cabin and driving out of state to see the swallowing of the sun (not to mention taking time out of each day to feel sorry for myself), but that's not really an excuse.  Ostensibly, I could be in a full-body cast and still post episodes for a month at least.  Sigh.

Anyway, yesterday I worked on a film project with Kevin Costner.  I've been a fan of his for many years, and was sitting around talking about his career, like DANCES WITH WOLVES, and WATERWORLD, and FIELD OF DREAMS, and ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES, and somebody even brought up OPEN RANGE (which I dragged my poor buddy Matthew to on opening night*).  

Then, of course, somebody brought up THE UNTOUCHABLES, and I was suddenly tempted to walk up to Costner and say, "You wanna get Capone, here's how you do it.  He pulls a knife, you pull a gun.  He puts one of your men in the hospital, you put one of his in the MORGUE!"

But I was too much of a coward.  

He seemed like a very nice dude, and thanked the extras when he went home (directors rarely do that, let alone the stars), but you never know how the star of FANDANGO would would react to a stranger approaching him to do his Sean Connery impression.  He might find it hilarious, but he might find it creepy, or worse, an invasion of his privacy.**

Heck maybe it would sound creepy, no matter how good my Connery is.

I mentioned this to Marshal Latham and he reminded me that Costner also played Pa Kent in MAN OF STEEL, and it all came tumbling down.  It's a good thing Marshal hadn't been around to talk about that, because all my admiration for Mr. Costner would've turned to bitterness.

"Thanks," Marshal.

Rish "That's The Chicago Way" Outfield

*He was the only Jewish black guy in the whole theater.  Or pretty much anywhere we went, come to think of it.

**Like that time I was on the Sony lot in 1998 and asked Tom Bosley if I could shake his hand and he told me to go eat a bag of (uncircumcised) dicks.  Oddly specific, in retrospect, that request was.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

August Check-in 2: Freddy's Revenge

You are all my children now!

I have continued to write every day, but I've had no impressive, marathon writing sessions to boast about.  I went to the library twice last week and once this week, but I use that time to type up my novella (and today, the craptop froze on me, and when I restarted it, found that I had lost about a quarter of the stuff I'd typed), so it helps you not at all.

Wait a minute, NONE of this stuff helps you.  Whoops, I had my priorities way off.

But good old Taco Bell, I did go there on Sunday and force myself to write after I had eaten my Double Chalupa (I was the only customer), and I did manage to finish a short story I've been meaning to write since 2015.  It ain't good, but I had to do it now, or I knew I'd never write it.*

I booked work on a TV show last week, and was looking forward to it, not only because I've always enjoyed that kind of work, but because I knew I could use it to write for an hour or six.  But I ended up losing the gig three days later, to much bitterness and self-recrimination.  I had a second chance booking to do it again this week, and then never got a text or a call about it, and no response to my emails . . . which makes me think it's not me, but that the casting director is, how you say in English, part of donkey what makes urine?

But I might drive up to the cabin and sequester myself again, see if that might not be productive and/or enjoyable.  We'll see.

My other goal this month has been to work on audio every single day, and I honestly don't know if I've missed any days.  I think not, since I worked on a Dunesteef episode, a That Gets My Goat, a Delusions of Grandeur, and the most dreaded of the Rish Outcasts, all in the last week.  I've also nearly finished recording my silly Fantasy story with the ridiculous title.  In fact, that's what I was about to work on when I started writing this blog.  I'm not sure if I'll do it now.

Ah well.  At least I did this.

Rish Outfield

*I heard that a project very similar is coming out in the fall, and I'm not sure if I'd forgive myself if I waited until that was out there without at least having TRIED to write my own version.  I probably ought to record a podcast about that sometime, about where the line between "Influenced By" and "Ripped-off" is.
For example, I started reading a book a couple of months back, and something about it reminded me about an idea kind of like it I had had a couple of years ago, but abandoned it after writing the first couple of pages.  So, I unearthed that, and started writing it again (this the YA project I keep mentioning).  It's not going extremely well, but I'm still working on it.
Unfortunately, this week I started reading the second book in the series, and it is so very similar to my YA book, that even I am wondering if I'm just writing a third-rate knock off of it.  It's a little discouraging, whereas reading the first book was quite encouraging.  I wish I could be one of those people who writes a book that's just "Raiders of the Lost Ark" but with high school students (straight down to mathletes as Arabs and football jocks as Nazis), and never even blink an eye.  But I'm not, you know what I mean?
Or "Star Wars" with teenagers, or "Harry Potter" but with American (teenagers), or "The Last Starfighter" but with American teenagers, or "The Silence of the Lambs" but in middle school, etc..

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Rish Outcast 80: Abigail Hilton Interview

Rish sits down with author Abigail Hilton to talk about her recent book, "Jager Thunder," which Rish had a swell time narrating.

Do you wanna download the episode?  Right-Click HERE.

Here's a link to Abbie's Patreon page and the book over at Audible and iTunes!

And of course, here's a link to my own Patreon page.  But you probably already have that on Speed Dial.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

August Check-In 1

So, I have not been too brilliant with this blogging thing this month. Sorry. Although it's more "sorry" with air quotes around it.

Thing is, I don't want to blog about how my writing is going, or my audio work, because then there's some kind of accountability, and who wants that?

Yes, I have written every day this month (though I very nearly missed it yesterday, and forced myself to write last night at about quarter to three, just so I could say I did), though most of the time, it's just a few words/paragraphs here or there.

I did go to the library again on Saturday and stay there until I had "A Mark on the Sky" all typed up. In the end, it looks to be 25,445 words long. That's not too shabby, though it's nowhere near novel length, and apparently that's what you need to make money out there.

Still, in audio, it'll be over four hours long (unless my math is way off, and it might be), and that don't suck. I look forward to recording the audiobook version of this one, though of course, not the editing.

So, speaking of audio, the second goal for August was to work on audio every single day, and that I've also kept up so far. I recorded a short story and an episode to go with it, I began recording "Journey Into Another Dimension," and sadly only got through about twenty percent in the first sitting. I edited a story, "Romantic Interlude," I edited a two-part Rish Outcast story presentation (which was, shame on someone, originally intended to be only a single part), and I finally started editing the episode I most didn't want to run, because it's going on a year now. Oh, and I am nearly done with a That Gets My Goat, and nearly started on a Delusions of Grandeur.

On the writing front, I started on yet another new story on Monday, one that I feel I HAVE to write right now, or I'll never do it (time is sorta of the essence on this one), and I've decided that, unlike my short stories that become novellas (or novellas that become would-be novels), this is a novella that I'm paring down to a short story, because of the time constraint.

More on that later.

I went to the family cabin twice so far this month, both times to do some painting/varnishing, but managed a few pages in my notebook while I was there. I keep trying to figure out a time when I can drive down alone again and really buckle down on my writing and editing, but it's not just MY cabin (in fact, it's not MY cabin at all), and there are other people wanting to go there on any given weekend. Maybe next week.

So, there's my status report for the first week of August. I'm sure the month will be over before I can summon a healthy fart, but I hope I do something (or other) to be proud of before it is.

Rish Outfield, Wankle Rotor

Sunday, August 06, 2017

My Second Audio Collection Available on Audible

So, every once in a while, I try to put out my audio recordings in collections, so people can buy them.  A novel idea, I know.  This was my first one.

Well, the second volume is out there, just waiting for some fool--er, someone discerning enough to buy it.

I got my pal Gino Moretto to do the cover art for this collection too, and while it's not the same as the first one, I feel they have a relation, a thematic consistency.

So, this particular collection consists of:

1.      Introduction
2.      Say Uncle
3.      A Slight Delay
4.      Touching
5.      Unique Combination
6.      All Night Gas
7.      The Awful Tale of the Minnesota Diarrhea Ghost
8.      New Year’s Day
9.      Unpleasant Sensation
10.   Dead Letter
11.   Subtext
12.   Quiddler’s Menagerie
13.   Rest Stop
14.   Overtaken
15.   Leap of Faith
16.   Last Call
17.   Discovery
18.   On Dusty Wings
19.   Greetings from the Ninth Sector

A lot of these stories you have heard (or heard of) before, but with stuff like "Greetings..." it's an extended version than has previously been podcast, and there are a couple flash fiction pieces not available anywhere else.

I already have a story or three in mind for a third collection, but it'll be a while, unless I find some ambition in my travels. 

It'd be cool if you purchased a copy.  If not, hey, you're still cool.  Scoop it up at this link