Posted in Travel and Diversions

Promoting My Books Or Not.

your voice

On Tuesday, I decided to blow off my day job, protecting the citizens of the commonwealth, to promote my science fiction books, so I hopped on a train to Red Bank, NJ home to Kevin Smith’s comic book store. I took some of the small posters for Q Runner. This was not my first pilgrimage to a comic book store, in the mid-80’s I had gone to Mile High Comics in Denver which back then was probably the most famous comic store in the country, it being listed in every comic book I ever bought, so now I was off to Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash.

My intention was to see if I could put up one of the small posters in the store and maybe if the god’s smiled on me get on the AMC show Comic Book Men and promote my book.  The Q Runner poster is up at Blue Line Collectibles, where I get my comics, and a few laying on the freebies tables at South Philly Comics and Comics and More, so it was strategy I had tried before, and met with a modicum of success.

Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash is a great comic book store, the place is well lite, organized logically with plenty of space to move around, and the AC was great on a hot summer day. Working in the store were Mike Zapcic, Bryan Johnson and an unknown staff member. Sitting near the rear counter was Rob Bruce a frequent guest on the TV show. About ten to fifteen customer moved in and out during the twenty minutes I was there so the place was not crowded. The store front was different from the television show, you could not see in from outside and after some post trip internet research I discovered it was changed because of the reality show.

I did ask Mike Zapcic if they had any of the Buddy Christ Statues from the movie Dogma and he briskly told me ‘no never had them, never will’, and he continued with store business. I was a little put off by his terseness at first but then while looking thru the View Askewniverse merchandise I heard him on the phone with two callers. Just from his end of the call it sounded like the people were asking some very asinine questions. One question I am betting was something along the lines of “Is Jay or Silent Bob there?” or “Is Kevin Smith or Jason Mewes there?” To which Mr. Zapcic responded ‘no they are never here’. Another answer I heard was, ‘no sorry I am not your friend because I do not know you’, which I am guessing was something about Facebook. He then had a conversation with some customers and then posed for pictures and joked around with them.

I know I would not be as polite as he was over the phone if people asked me extremely stupid questions when I was trying to get other things accomplished. It was not till I saw Mr. Zapcic doing inventory that the significance of it being Tuesday dawned on me. The next day was Wednesday making it new comics day in the universe. (That might have been why so many slots on the wall were empty of new issues.)

I eventually wandered back to the graphic novels after a quick search thru the bagged and boarded older comic books for some missing stuff in my collection. Brian Johnson (who looks like he lost some weight) and Rob Bruce seemed to be just talking, and by this point I had decided not attempt to promote my book, the store did not appear to have a freebie table, and no bulletin board for local events or announcements. Plus by this time I had the distinct impression that if I asked the question the answer would have been ‘no’. (Not that this is uncommon a store in Philadelphia told me the same thing.)

I found a trade paperback novel I wanted, The Return of Superman, from 1993, a 480 some page book for only $20.00, a good deal anywhere. I also decided to buy two Buddy Jesus postcards, $3.50 a piece (only $1.25 on the Website, so I feel a little cheated)


and went to the front counter. Mr. Zapcic was continuing with his inventory work and the other staff member waited on me, I told him I was surprised by the size of the store because it looked smaller from the street but I chalked that up to not being able to see inside.

I left Red Bank a while later taking the train back to Philly, and on the way I came to a couple of conclusions.

1. It must suck to have a reality show at your place of work, especially one where you are in the public eye all the time like in retail when you never know who is going to wander in the front door. (I am sure the money is nice of course), but to be constantly under the microscope like those guys are now, would be more than I would care for. Don’t get me wrong I want my books to sell, heck I would love to be a full time professional writer with my books having a good bit of success (movies, comic books, animation, merchandizing, anyone wants to offer I will gladly jump and on the way up ask how high). But to live in the public eye, even as reality show star does not interest me. Luckily very few writers are recognizable walking down the street. If Spider Robinson walked by me I would never know it. (Some people are out there are saying ‘I have read your stuff A.A., no chance in you becoming famous for writing, you suck.’)

2. I need to just concentrate on writing. I want my books to be good enough that the content sells itself, word of mouth is the most surefire way to sell anything because everyone ,especially readers, want to share good stuff. I will just put my book out there in the universe if someone comes upon it and they like it they will tell someone. Just like I like to promote the podcast, Fatman on Batman, to anyone who is interested in storytelling or creativity, or if they are into travel/history then I tell them to read Bill Bryson. If my stuff is good enough, it will sell itself. (I have made some attempts to promote my books that I have not heard back from yet, if they come thru I will be follow up on them.)

What would I do if I suddenly became independently wealthy, well I would write a lot more.

Mike Zapcic
Bryan Johnson bryan johnson  Rob Bruce rob bruce




This post then lead to Travel and Diversions:  Walt Disney World’s Wilderness Lodge Lobby   

and Bellows Beach, Windward Side, Oahu

Posted in Outrageous Lies and Tales

Unscripted Alien Programming


“Are your parents home?” Bublle asked as he slid past his best friend into the house.
“No, but my mother will be home in a while.” Kennaall said as he closed the door.
“Well then we better watch what I got up in your room.” Bublle said waving around a shiny memory cube.
“It came?” Kennall said as they climbed the stairs to the upper level.
“Yep, just came. My cousin sent a note saying there was some really sick stuff on it.”
Kennall locked the door behind them and motioned for his best friend to plug in the cube into the entertainment center. The entertainment center came to life and the multi-screen system came to life. They watched the stolen images and ohhed and ahaaaed for the next half an hour.
“Is this the stuff your cousin’s ship is just getting from them broadcasting out into space?”
“Sure is, sick aren’t they?” He looked for his friends acknowledgment and was relieved when he nodded. Bublle put the cube back in its case. “He says they are about to make contact soon and then we are going to watch some real stuff, not this ‘fiction’ stuff as they call it.”

Reese looked around his very small bedroom. Everything was neat and orderly, he had always been organized and now that he had even less space than when he was growing up it was even more important for him to have everything precisely in its own place. His sisters called him a little obsessive but he did not mind, it gave him some comfort, in a world that was so out of control it felt good to control his own space.
At one time, when he was about 13 the world made sense, and then they came, the aliens. At first things were insane, no one knew what they wanted and for a week the world seemed to be frozen in place as the alien ship came closer and closer to earth. They had broadcast peaceful intentions but no one knew for sure. Then they had landed in Kansas, as directed by the government.
The strangeness of them was incredible, multi colored, multi-eyed, and slug like, that was the Framitts. But after a while they proved their peaceful intentions. They gave the human race nano-technology and cold fusion electricity. Nanites the tiny self reproducing robots that if programmed right, restored a person’s health, fixed broken and rusted cars to their original glory, the could change dirty polluted posioned water to crystal clear magnificence, the machines could do almost anything. The cold fusion eliminated the need for massive amounts fossil fuels and changed the world overnight. Reese went all thru high school watching the world getting to be a better and better place.
It was thought that this was the golden age, disease was almost totally eradicated, hunger, pollution, cheap energy, it was all that mankind could hope for. There were skeptics of course; people asking at what price all this miraculous technology was going to cost, but most people were happy and glad the Framitts were here. Reese was happy, his parents were happy, heck all most everyone he knew was content with the Framitts
The only thing the Framitts did that was strange was to send their probes all over the world. Floating cameras that hovered all over the place. Some people thought tried to shoot them down or capture them, but when and if they did, all they turned out to be was what the Framitts claimed they were, floating transmitting cameras. The aliens stated they were just interested in humans and the government back on their home planet demanded as much information as possible. It got so that Reese and his friends made a game shooting the local cameras with paint balls and seeing how many they could tag in a day. The Framitts multiple eyes needed constant stimulation and the probes gave it to them. Their ships were incredible arrays of screens feeding the aliens information all the time, at any one time a Framitt could watch anywhere from 20 to 100 screens at a time.
So the cameras stayed and most people didn’t even acknowledge them after a while, they just became a fixture, like a stop sign or a low flying bird. They never came into private residences or caused any privacy problems. In fact the Framitts helped solve some crimes with footage they happened to gather. It got so that the crime rate took a serious nose dive when criminals noted how many cameras there were out and about and how thoroughly they were prosecuted with the alien tech.
It came about in the sixth year that everything changed. A new head Framitt Ambassador came to the mother ship that was parked in gesyncounuos orbit above Washington D.C. It was then we learned that the original expedition that came to Earth was just a University Exploration Ship. A ship filled with academics who just wanted to study humans in their natural environment. But like it happened on Earth academics eventually lost out to capitalism and exploitation. An entertainment conglomerate had bought up all the rights and broadcast futures for Earth, and they wanted drama, action, and adventure. So with just a day’s notice they reprogrammed all the nanites on the planet, to make things in their opinion a bit more interesting on Earth.

The world became a dangerously themed amusement park with with motifs from history, horror and fiction all for the entertainment of an alien entertainment conglomerate. Human beings went to bed on Saturday night a world that was safe, predictable and getting progressively closer to a utopia. Reese shuddered remembering that first Sunday morning. The Southeastern and Northwestern sections of the United States was dealing with a Zombie Apocalypse. New York City and New Jersey had people with super hero powers, some just like famous comic book characters, and it addition some criminals got super powers as well.The central portion of North America reverted back to technology from the Wild West, with all the cars and motorized vehicles changing into horses, cows or buffalos. The Appalachian mountain range and some surrounding area from Maine to Northern Virginian reverted back to colonial times, with most houses being changed into log cabins. Florida and the Caribbean were serviced by wooden sailing ships with numerous pirate ships sailing around.
Of course nanites were responsible, they had gotten into everything, fixing houses, cars, people, animals, entire cities. And when the Framitts had reprogrammed them the miniature robots re-made the world into the image that they wanted. Reanimating dead bodies, changing guns into swords, giving superhuman strength to some. Europe was back to Napoleonic times with muzzle loading  weapons, Godzilla was trashing Japan on regular basis, and there was an Emperor on the rise in China with armies carrying spears and shields. The Aztecs and the Mayans were fighting over Mexico and Central America.

Reese was not sure if he was blessed to have been in California at the time. The Framitts had wanted to have some native audience reactions, so California had been spared, spared to watch their fellow human beings go thru reality television. Reality as warped by an alien species, using history and our own fictions to produce television shows, unscripted, violent and unpredictable, all for their consumers back home. So now Reese and everyone he knew just watched television all day. He was wired up with sensors for his heart rate and forced to watch 16 hours a day. He was safe, he was well fed, but he was a slave like everyone else on Earth. Currently he was being forced to watch the competitive Zombie seasons of events in Georgia and the state of Oregon.

Kennaall pulled up a screen of the fifty-two he was currently watching and called Bublle. “What are you watching?” It was an old stale joke between the two of them.
They had kept in contact all these years. Kenall was in charge of water purification for his district and Bublle had been very successful in editing for one of the major entertainment conglomerates. Bublle responded. “Just some old stuff from Earth, we are wrapping up a couple final seasons.”
“Yeah Earth stuff is so stale now.”
“Are you alone?”
Kenaall nodded.
“My cousin has a new lead on from stuff a little further along the spiral arm of the Negan galaxy.”
“Two headed four legs. Intelligence level three.”