Archive for the Rants Category

Reunited and it feels so… good?

Posted in Books, Love, News, Rants, Raves on August 3, 2012 by Michael Louis Calvillo

I am a terribly sentimental person. Maudlin, in fact. I admit to having a very self-indulgent attachment to most everything! I probably have movie stubs of every movie Michael and I ever went to since the day we met. I’m bad. I mean, really, really bad. Seriously. If there’s a popcorn kernel lodged at the bottom of my purse, I sit and wonder if it was from a movie that had significant meaning… Better hang on to it just in case, right?

Michael, on the other hand, was not sentimental. He was a very simple man in a lot of ways. He loved music, videogames, books, and movies but never felt the need to hoard the physical casings of any of it. Well, he did collect books… But, if a friend or family member showed the slightest interest in any of the above… Yours! He simply didn’t hang on to many material items. Don’t get me wrong. He saved certain mementos. In fact, just last month I found a restaurant napkin tucked into one of his shoe boxes that I wrote a love message to him on.

Ouch. Love hurts.

Strangely, he also held sentimental value on a pressure washer and an old tripod that his father gave him. (Some of you already know that Michael’s father, “Daddy-o,” suddenly passed away just one day before Michael received his cancer diagnosis.) The pressure washer was a gift from Daddy-o when we bought our first home. Michael used it maybe once? The tripod was very old. We’re talkin’ old-old. I thought, “We have two tripods here. One is very old. The other new.” Seemed simple which one to get rid of but since the old one belonged to Michael, I asked him out of respect whether we should bid farewell to the old rusty tripod. He told me Daddy-o gave him that tripod in his youth and he used it to create videos from his band days. Alas, we have two tripods. One old. One new. These were the only two things I can recall him asking me to hang on to when we were packing up to move out of our home last year while he was sick. (Oh, there were also two buckets of weird orphan wires and cables he refused to part with… don’t ask! I didn’t.)

Snakes? I hate snakes!

Anyhow, some time last year, Michael’s 20 Year High School Reunion was announced. Michael was invited to a “VVHS 1992 High School Reunion” group on Facebook. He silently poked around the group reading the announcements and statuses people posted. One thing Michael found interesting was the amount of alumni that had passed. We’re talking at least 10?  I don’t know. That might not seem like a lot to you but when you’re talking about people your age that you used to know… It just didn’t seem normal. Michael read the “In Memoriams” to me… various cancers, random illnesses, suicides, MURDER!? C’mon, the Class of ’92 are only in their late 30s! As he was reading them to me, we had one of those brief “Elephant in the Room” moments. Neither of us said a word about what Michael was personally battling. It didn’t matter. He wasn’t going to be one of “them.” But honestly, if Stage IV Cancer didn’t make you hyper-aware of your own impending mortality, seeing that list certainly made it clearer. Cancer or not, you have to come to terms that life is quite random and we are not guaranteed tomorrow no matter what your current health status is.

My dear husband mentioned the reunion to me again in early February and pondered whether he wanted to attend or not. The organizers had chosen Las Vegas as the reunion spot. I suppose they all thought it’d be more fun to meet in Sin City rather than the “humble small town” we grew up in. In any case, we talked about possibly attending. We both thought it would be fun to get away to Las Vegas and catch up with some old classmates. (Michael and I both attended the same High School, although he was a grade level higher than me and we were not in each other’s social groups.) However, at some point in late February, we stopped talking about it all together.

The Victor Valley High School Class of 1992 will be reuniting this weekend. I’m actually sad we can’t be there. Today, as I thought about Michael’s reunion, I couldn’t help but reflect upon the legacy Michael left behind. Yes, I know, Michael’s Loyal Readers, my sentimentality is one of the things that makes healing from the loss of my dear sweet Michael so incredibly difficult. But… I wouldn’t have it any other way. Bring on the pain, I say.  In fact, as the old adage goes – misery loves company… So, join me, won’t you? Let’s stroll down Michael’s legacy and reflect upon his endless talent and passion for writing (each image is a link):

Published Novels, Novellas, and Collections

Full Novel
1st Edition
(Lachesis Publishing; 2007)
Finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel

Full Novel
(Bad Moon Books; 2009)
Black Quill Award Winner – “Best Small Press Chill: Readers’ Choice”
Black Quill Award Winner- “Best Cover Art & Design: Editors’ Choice”
Black Quill Award Winner – “Best Cover Art & Design: Readers’ Choice”

Short Story Collection
(Bad Moon Books; 2010)
Bram Stoker Award Finalist – “Superior Achievement in a Collection”
Dark Quill Award Winner- “Best Dark Genre Fiction Collection: Readers’ Choice”

Novella
(Delirium Books; 2011)

Full Novel
(Morning Star Press; 2011)
Preliminary Ballot – Bram Stoker Novel list

Chapbook
(Burning Effigy Press; 2011)
Bram Stoker Finalist – “Superior Achievement in Long Fiction”

Full Novel
(DarkFuse Publications; 2012)

Full Novel
2nd Edition
(DarkFuse Publications; 2012)

Full Novel
(Bad Moon Books; TBA 2013)

Published Anthologies

Short Story: “Consumed”
Edited by R.J. Cavender
(Cutting Block Press; 2008)
Preliminary Bram Stoker Ballot – “Superior Achievement in Short Fiction”

Short Story: “There’s No Place in a Sleeping World for a Wakeful Man”
Edited by Shane Ryan Staley
(Delirium Books; 2011)

Poem: “Devolution”
Edited by Christopher Conlon
(Dark Scribe Press; 2011)

Butcher Knives & Body Counts: Essays on the Formula, Frights, and Fun of the Slasher Film

Essay on the Formula, Frights, & Fun of the Slasher Film: “Embracing the Chaos”
Edited by Vince A. Liaguno
(Dark Scribe Press; 2011)

Short Story: “The Sad, Not-So-Sad, Ballad of Goat-Head Jean,
Ambivalent Devil Queen”
Edited by Weldon Burge
(Smart Rhino Publications; 2012)

Reviews Galore!
(These aren’t all of Michael’s reviews…these are only links to the archives for two Horror-Entertainment websites that he frequently wrote reviews for.)

Horror Entertainment Website
Movie and Game Reviews
Edited by Greg Lamberson

Horror-Entertainment Website
Game Reviews
Edited by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares
This website was a finalist for the HWA‘s BRAM STOKER AWARD for Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction (2010)

Screenplays

“Athena”
Original Feature Length Motion Picture
Currently in Production – Summer 2013
Written By: Michael Louis Calvillo
Directed By: Robert W. Filion

https://www.facebook.com/AthenaMovie

“Chekhov’s Children”
Short Film
2009
Written By: Michael Louis Calvillo
Directed By: Robert W. Filion

“The Promise Jar”
Short Film
2010
Written By: Michael Louis Calvillo, Robert W. Filion
Directed By: Robert W. Filion

“Dummy”
Short Film
2012
Written By: Michael Louis Calvillo
Directed By: Robert W. Filion

Gosh, this list doesn’t even include Michael’s cache of completed unpublished novels, novellas, screenplays, poems, etc. OR, the HUNDREDS of songs he wrote for the bands he was in… OR, all the raps he wrote for his students … OR, the raps he wrote just for fun… OR, all the beautiful love letters he wrote for me! (Sigh.)

And, yet… I still feel like I’m overlooking other things he wrote? (Am I? Probably.)

Well, in any case… I wanted to acknowlege all the amazing accomplishments Michael could’ve shared with his fellow alumni this weekend. Of course, if you knew Michael, he would have humbly kept all this to himself. His proud wife, on the other hand, would not have been able to keep herself from bragging!

Cheers, VVHS Class of 1992!

Michael Louis Calvillo
Victor Valley High School
Class of 1992

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My Cup Runneth Over

Posted in Books, General, News, Rants on March 7, 2012 by Michael Louis Calvillo

My damn DVR is damn screwy when it’s nearing full. You miss one long weekend, Thursday thru Sunday, off TV, on vacation, and it’s bloody hell catching up. And worse, the damned DVR starts bugging out.

Rather than watch evening TV (syndicated sitcoms), I’m trying to play catch-up with American Idol, but the DVR it seems would rather have some fun at my expense! Damn technology!

Sorry, I haven’t stayed on top of my blogs lately. If it’s any consolation, Loyal Reader, my classes are being neglected as well. Oh, and that little writing career thing I’ve got going? Yeah, it’s kicking my butt up and down the street (THERE IS SO DAMN MUCH TO DO!!!).

Thing is I a took a bit of a health dip. New medicine and the multitude of adjustments has got my body crazy. I even went to Urgent Care (which I hate because they keep you around for hours and hours over a half-hour issue). One of my main goals in getting well is packing on the calories! Laugh and scoff all you want, but it’s true, and it’s every bit as hard as trying to lose those last ten pounds. In any case, I started feeling bloated. I took some tums and drank prune juice, but the problem wouldn’t go. Eating is tough. I can’t seem to stomach anything. This is not good. I need my calories!

At Urgent Care they determined I needed a blood transfusion (chemo got me so low…) and that some of the bloat needed to be drained from my abdomen.

An ENTIRE day of waiting went by. The drainage procedure took ten minutes tops.

I gotta go back tomorrow for the standard chemo treatment. My stomach is still bloated, so we will hopefully figure a way to make it go away.

Hate to complain.

I do have some good news!

My latest novel, LAMBS, is currently up for pre-order from DarkFuse. They are only selling 100, limited edition hard covers (signed by moi). Hopefully folks catch on and it sells out soon. For those of you less inclined to collect, or drool, over beautifully produced books, LAMBS, is also available in all e-formats! Read with wild abandon – there’s no reason to fear mustard stains or cringe at broken spines!

 

 (I pity the fool that don’t order this book!)

 

 

Wild & Free (And Anxious)

Posted in General, Rants on January 17, 2012 by Michael Louis Calvillo

I don’t know how to relax. I’m in my electrolux, electric lounger, feet up, prone, but I’m jumping out of my skin. I can’t cool out. I blame the drugs.

Raised eyebrows, even out – I’m talking about Dr. prescribed pain medication, not party-all-night-and-blow-up-a-car drugs. You see, I am switching from one type of pain meds to another. I’m taking a long-lasting pain pill that works for 12 hours. That’s only two pills a day rather than the four pill a day cycle of my old medication. The less pills I gotta take the better. The big problem here is I’ve been on the four pill system for about a year. Weaning off the routine is tough stuff. My brain feels like scrambled eggs, fiending for the old drug while the new one begins to take hold. It’s kind of a mess.

So I here I sit, too tired to sleep, too anxious to do anything else.

And still the world goes round and round.

Seeking equilibrium, I float away on half thoughts of half things.


(Christopher Carrion, Lord of Midnight – I feel your pain…)

 

 

A pick me up. The 4 minute party…

Treat Me Nice

Posted in Books, General, News, Rants on January 11, 2012 by Michael Louis Calvillo

Oh, Treatment, how I loathe thee. Yes, I know, you are only doing your job. And at the heart of the matter, the reason I keep coming back for more, is because you are trying to save my life. I appreciate it. I really do. But oh, why must you be sooo damn tough? Why must you sap my energy and twist my bones?

I failed to show up yesterday (here on the blog that is) because I was simply too tired to type. After a full day of teaching hyperactive monkeys the fascinating intricacies of the Modern Language Association, I went to good old Hope for a blast of radiation. Today, I woke up and did it again. Tomorrow, I’ll be back at it. I have ten back-to-back treatments with the freaky, interstellar, radiation machine (it’s very Marvin the Martian-ish). The rays have to be administered daily and we live about an hour away from the facility, so, well, the next two weeks pretty much suck.

 

(Prepare yourself, humanoid! Feel the wrathful radiation of my illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator!)

 

You see, I’m tired, Loyal Reader. My propulsive writing schedule / crazy drive has dwindled some. I used to write in superhuman bursts – it was common to turn out about 5000 words a day (on a work day even!).  I got so much done over the past few years that I have a number of projects simply waiting in the wings. These novels and novellas should sustain me for the next three or four years (I have two novels and two novellas releasing in 2012 – if and when I sell these other works, I’ll fill out my future…). In the meantime, at my slower pace, I’ll steadily add to the pool while working the business angle promoting my brand of screwed up fiction.

But man, it’s killing me. I just wanna chill and watch TV. I just wanna power down. I joked with my wife about retiring the other day. We laughed about it, but there’s some truth in the absurdity (retiring at 37 after releasing three novels, a short story collection, and two novellas, seems pretty absurd to me – sheesh, my career has only just begun). Still, sometimes I don’t want to write. Sometimes I want to give up the keys and keep it all inside.

It’s impossible though. It really is. I spent so many years trying to kick that door in, there’s no way I’ll ever take it for granted and let it all go. It’s insanely hard to get published. Money is tight. Folks don’t invest in you unless you prove yourself talented enough to warrant the investment. It’s a huge honor to have a number of go-to publishers willing to give your work preferential treatment. The army of struggling authors trying to sell their work know what I’m talking about. Once that door opens and you develop a working relationship with a publisher, you put your best brain forward, and you write, and you keep your name alive, or, you lose your place to the next eager novelist trying to come up. Legacies are at stake here. Squandering opportunity is unthinkable.

So I type. And I try to endear you. And I work to move you. And hopefully you take to my writing, and our brains commune, and you add my work to your library to be passed on and on into infinity.

 

I especially dig the line, “I miss the comfort in being sad.” It matches my bratty mood.

Saturday Afternoon

Posted in General, News, Rants on December 10, 2011 by Michael Louis Calvillo

I’m waiting on my XBOX 360 to update. It’s damn slow. So slow, I am able to sneak a post in before falling into Skyrim.


(Oh yeah!)

The past twenty-four hours have been emotionally wonderful. Up and down, Loyal Reader. Mostly good though. I got to spend time with my niece and godson and nephew. They make life magic. My niece is two and a half and my nephews are one and a half. They are crazy adorable. Holding one is special. My godson, Matthew, digs buttons. He presses them and marvels at their effects. The window going up and down had him cracking up. I have this little cajun in my pocket – it’s a key ring that makes cajun sounds when you press one of the six buttons. The kid kept hitting the same two or three sayings, cracking up at the funny cajun voice emanating from the tiny speaker in plastic.

Can you believe my XBOX is still updating! It’s been a few. I had to think my way through some of the stuff above us. And still it’s updating. And updating. And updating. This is a perfect chance to paly Skyrim. A free afternoon. After Skyrimming, I’m gonna maybe watch a movie or some TV. We’ll see. It’s going to be a nice afternoon.

Come on XBOX! I’m waiting not so patiently!

How about some more cajun?

 

My XBOX is still updating. I went looking for the Skyrim picture then the cajun bit and I’m all ready to publish, but still, my XBOX is still updating!!!

Okay, I’m gonna go stare it down, Loyal Reader.

Time Machine

Posted in General, Rants on December 7, 2011 by Michael Louis Calvillo

Between sleep and Skyrim (the best), and a crappy subpar comedy (by all means, stay away from 30 MINUTES OR LESS – I refuse to hyperlink it!), I haven’t gotten much done. Sometimes my writing pulls like an albatross around my neck. It’s difficult to get started. I’d rather sleep. Once I get it going, it goes easier, but the beginning isn’t for lazy people. You gotta work. You gotta put in those hours.

It doesn’t feel like there are enough hours in the day.

Where does the time go? A kid in one of my classes asked me if I noticed how time moves faster now than it did before. I agree, but I didn’t feel that way at his age. At his age I thought time was slow as molasses. A year? Sheesh, that seemed like forever.


(Time, time, time, what has become of me?)

Now, it feels like nothing. One year bleeds into the next so fast it’s as if we are traveling at light speed, hurtling through the universe, burning up, then expiring. It the Great Agony of our existence, Loyal Reader. It’s deep, deep heart stuff.

I am trying my hardest to enjoy every second.

I love this…

The Morning After (Or, How MLC Got His Groove Back)

Posted in General, Movies, Music, News, Rants, Raves on December 4, 2011 by Michael Louis Calvillo

Last night we had a Pajama Jammy Jam. A small gathering of friends came over for some pajama wearing fun. Everything went smoothly. We had a good time. I got to break in my new amps (which I’ve been blabbing about on this here blog for weeks and weeks). Though I had an awesome time, I didn’t have one of those transcendent music moments. We played a few cool jams, but I spent a lot of time just trying to find my groove. It was kind of disappointing, but, well, what can you do? You jam, once, twice, three times a year tops, and you’re bound to be rusty. Next time around, I hope to burn this mutha down.

 


(Beware my (eventual) power!)

Until then, I need more practice. I need to practice more. There’s nothing worse than the sound of ill-tuned, ill-timed, sloppy guitar playing (just thinking about it has me cringing).

So then, if you check in here daily, or every few days, or however you do, you may have noticed that I’ve missed a few blogging days. Sorry. I have no excuse, Loyal Reader. Chalk it up to laziness. I guess I can blame my new chemo. I switched from one poison to another (I’ll write about it one of these days) and the transition has been a little rough (not to worry, little being the operative word here).

This new chemo has a host of side effects (don’t they all), one of which being flu-like symptoms. I ache some and feel a bit flush and weak and all I want to do is watch TV and sleep and sleep and watch TV. Alas, it’s nothing I can’t tolerate. I’ll manage (and watch some bad movies on cable while on the mend – speaking of which, I caught HATCHET II the other night – other than the opening titles, set to Ministry’s fabulous Just One Fix, it was uber-terrible).

 


(Chasing that elusive groove…)

I usually don’t rock the bass, but sometimes you gotta take one for the team. I came up with some solid bass lines on a few free form sessions and brought in that back-end on the Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Weezer, Beatles, and U2 covers (to name a few) we attempted (mostly successful – though I must admit, a few songs dissolved into chaotic noise – not that this is a bad thing – sonic discord can be fun).

It’s a shame we are all so busy with real life. Distance makes it impossible (we all live about forty minutes+ from one another), but if we could find a way to practice regularly, we might sound good ALL of the time rather than some of the time. Oh well, we had fun and that’s what it’s all about. It’s not like we’re going to be the next big thing, that opportunity left the building the moment we grew up and started our careers.

That’s life, Loyal Reader. It’s fleeting and fragile.

Which reminds me…

My wife and daughter and I went to see Martin Scorsese’s HUGO. It raised a lump in my throat and got my brain all tripped up on BIG, BIG life themes. It’s more than a sweet, stylish, family movie. It’s a special film, one that deserves a fully dedicated blog post. I promise to write about it some time this week. I’ll get my mind right and try to do it justice in my critique.

Here’s that killer Ministry song (the best part of HATCHET II)…