Throwback Thursdays! The Rolling Stones are Liars: My Class Reunion

Originally published 7/27/2013

Reunion

Of course this doesn’t apply to me and all my classmates who are attending our reunion this weekend.  The high school reunion. That American institution where we renew friendships, reminisce, and catch up. We remember who we were and we talk about who we’ve become. Last night I had a very nice time talking with many, many old friends.

Back to my title. The Rolling Stones are big fat liars. Mick, Keith, Ron and Charlie. Every one a liar. Pants on fire. The whole nine yards. What did they lie about? They lied about time. Time is SO not on our side. Judging from how haggard The Rolling Stones look, time isn’t on their side either. Especially Keith.

I know where you think I’m going with this, but you’re wrong. Yeah, sorry about that. I’m not going to bemoan how the years have changed my classmates and I. If anything, I was pleasantly surprised by how good everyone looked. My old friends are happy and healthy and doing well. At least the ones that attended our reunion.

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In addition to attending reunion activities I also went back to the neighborhood of my childhood. I’ve only been there a few times in the last twenty years. Everywhere I looked there were ghosts. If I looked at a street corner I could see the younger versions of my friends and I goofing around and I could hear the echoes of thirty year old conversations about inane topics. Walking by house after house, memories of incidents and adventures came to life in my minds eye as if not a day had passed.

The most startling revelation however is that apparently since I grew up I’ve become a giant. The parents of my childhood friends are smaller and shorter than I remember them. As my friend and I walked the streets it was amazing how much the houses had shrunk and now look old and run down a bit.  The walk around the block which seemed so long  as kids is now barely long enough to be considered much of a walk at all.

Street Sign

I know that all these things are illusions. People age and the neighborhood that was a whole world to us as kids suddenly appears small and old when I return to it from the larger world I’ve explored since I left home. Damn it Mick Jagger, you promised that time was on my side. I blinked and suddenly that naive, wide eyed boy from a small town turned into an adult with a mortgage and acid reflux. I guess more appropriately, this weekend illustrated to me the truth in the title of that Thomas Wolfe novel; You Can’t Go Home Again. I tried and although my home and neighborhood are not what they once were, I’ve enjoyed meeting high school friends again who all seem to be better versions of the kids I knew. Here’s to old friends.

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As always, if you like what you read at #ThePhilFactor please hit the Facebook share button, especially my high school friends that might be reading this. It was great to see you all again. And thank you to Cindy for all the pictures you’ve posted to Facebook. I’m sorry I couldn’t include pictures of everyone that was there.

Have a great Thursday everyone! ~Phil

Wordless Wednesday: Street Art

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A really interesting mural. I’m only posting this because someone painted over the awesome Spider-Man mural I really wanted to get a picture of. I suppose I should call this Relative Few Words Wednesday. Have a great Hump Day! ~Phil

Top Ten Tuesday! The Top Ten Other Uses for Drones

Hopefully I don’t drone on about drones or else someone may send a drone to my house. With the news this week that Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has a four year drone degree, it looks like there’s no putting the toothpaste back in the tube. We should have seen this coming. Operating drones remotely is just an extension of the video game culture that many of today’s leaders grew up in. Seriously though, there can’t be so many terrorist leaders that the drones are working full-time around the clock right? So I thought that there’s got to be some other great ways to put this technology to use.

Picture credit: usatoday.com

Picture credit: usatoday.com

10. That picture is why Amazon can have all my money. Someday I’ll order something from Amazon.com and a drone will deliver it. Once I tried to get Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to do an interview for The Phil Factor and was turned down. Doesn’t matter. I still love Amazon. (BTW all my books are there too)

9. Pizza delivery: It made big news last year when Dominos test drove a drone pizza delivery, but sadly the Russians beat us to it. Last month a drone from DoDo Pizza in Russia delivered a pizza in 30 minutes by unmanned drone. Go ahead and click DoDo Pizza, it’s really the website from Russia! Last year in California some geniuses created The Burrito Bomber, a drone that drops burritos with parachutes.

8. Neighborhood watch: There was a bit of an uproar last year when in the press someone floated the idea of drones performing surveillance in the United States. People were shouting about their civil liberties and rights to privacy. Me? I don’t care. If you’re doing nothing wrong, who cares if someone’s watching? Hey, suns out, guns out. The drones can watch me cut my lawn all day long. I’ll even take off my shirt.

7. Yard Work: If I had a drone I could trim hedges and trees without even leaving the porch.

6Take my dogs for a walk: I’m pretty sure my dogs are not thrilled with this idea, but in the winter I am not a fan of taking my dogs out first thing in the morning. I’ll just tie their leashes to a drone and send them all outdoors.

Picture credit: news.discovery.com

Picture credit: news.discovery.com

5. Stalking made easy! No more online hacking, Facebook trolling or hiding in bushes!  In the old days stalking was a lot of work, but no more! If you’ve got a sick, psychopathic obsession  let the drones do all the work.

4. Zombie apocalypse preparedness: Why risk your life going outside to kill zombies by hand? With your own weaponized drone you can kill zombies safely  and hole up inside for years, as long as the Domino’s Pizza drones are still delivering.

3. The Bieber Solution: Need I say more?

2. Delivering Phil Factor merchandise! Seriously, if I had stickers and t-shirts made who would want one?

1. Makin’ it rain with The Strip Club Drone: You know how when you’re at a Gentleman’s Club you sometimes need to join the ladies on stage and just throw money everywhere? Yeah, me neither. With The Strip Club Drone you can avoid all that icky physical contact and show your appreciation for the highly skilled professional entertainers by sending your donations by drone.

Please feel free to share your own suggestions in the comments. As always, if you enjoy #ThePhilFactor feel freee to share by Facebook, Twitter or reblogging. Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

It’s a Bieber World After All

Wow. That is one pretty girl next to wheelchair-bound Justin Bieber!  Turns out it is a Bieber world after all and we’re just living in it. If you just got a panicked feeling and shouted “What? Justin’s in a wheelchair?” then you must be a Belieber.  And why wouldn’t you be?

BieberWheelchairPhil

The Biebs again proved how awesome he is by using Disneyland’s policy of allowing those in wheelchairs to go to the front of the line of rides and attractions. He claims he “tweaked” his knee playing basketball.  So in spite of his great pain and suffering, the benevolent Bieber allowed his handlers to wheel him past families and children in hours-long lines so they could get a good look at their hero. Seriously, how many celebrities take the time to do that for their fans. I was so impressed that I decided to write a song about him.

When Bieber Jumped the Queues (sing to the tune of Janis Joplin’s Me and Bobby McGee click link for video

Busted flat in Disneyland, waiting for a train
And I’m feeling jaded and mean.
Bieber thumbed a wheelchair down just before it rained,
And rode it all the way to the front of the lane.I pulled my hair from my head and said “That took no time!”,
I was fuming soft while Bieber jumped the queues.
Biebers handlers slapping fans, I was holding Bieber’s picture in mine,
We sang every song that Bieber knew.Bieber’s just another nerd turned into a kid who drinks the booze,
Nothing he does, nothing’s funny if it ain’t Bieber, now now.
And feeling good was easy, when Bieber jumped the queues,
You know feeling good was good enough for me,
Good enough for me and my Bieber, baby.

From the Canadian sticks to the California sun,
Hey, Bieber shared the secrets of my soul.
Through all kinds of weather, through everything that we done,
Hey Bieber baby kept me from acting old.Ok, that was awful, but the main reason for this whole post was just to put that picture there. If you’re not from the States and don’t know the song, I apologize.  The phrase ‘Me and Bieber McGee’ has been stuck in my head since Thursday. What I really need is my friend Marissa Bergen, who is both brilliantly poetic and musical to take the idea and make a music video  like she did with a parody of Radiohead’s Creep. Have a great Saturday! Please don’t share this. It’s just terrible. ~Phil

 

 

 

Throwback Thursdays! Author Interview with Christopher Moore

This is my second most popular post ever with over 1,600 reads so far. The author, Christopher Moore, who has several NYT bestsellers, couldn’t have been nicer and didn’t care that he was talking to a guy who’s blog only had about 150 followers at the time.

chrisgoofy

Hi Chris and welcome to The Phil Factor. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for my readers. For those of you who may not be familiar with Christopher Moore’s work he is the author of thirteen published novels and a graphic novel. Whether the genre be suspense, fantasy or the skewering of the vampire craze, you can always add the word humor in front of anything Christopher Moore writes. Christopher Moore is also one of the most fan friendly authors you’ll ever meet and if I’ve learned anything from his Facebook page it’s that he is a man who loves Meerkats.

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PT: Chris, speaking of your Facebook page, the Meerkat thing has been a running gag on your page for years. How did it get started?

Chris:  I don’t really remember. I think I was just scrolling through the channel guide on the TV one day and there were all these bizarre animal and vocational shows, and I thought, what if you combined one of those shows and had meerkats who were pizza delivery guys. So the first dozen or so Meerkat Pizza Delivery jokes were just promos on twitter for a non-existent TV show. As it went on, people started sending me pictures, and I started putting captions on them, and it just got out of hand. 

PT: Rumor has it that your novel The Stupidest Angel is in production to be a feature length film to be released later this year. Is it still on track to be out later this year and how much input have you had on the making of the movie?

Chris: The guy who is producing it has been breathlessly close to starting to film at least three times, but he’s missed the deadline if he were going to be able to release it in 2013. It’s been in development with the same guy for like six years, and he works hard and is very earnest, but as you might have guessed, it’s hard to get a movie made. I’m supposed to be in the movie as an animation character, and the producer listens to my suggestions on casting, but beyond that, I just keep writing books and waiting for news like anyone else. I sold my first book for a film twenty-three years ago and that one hasn’t made it to the screen yet, so I’m kind of used to not getting too excited about these things. 

PT: That’s too bad. I’ve often thought many of your novels would make great movies. One of my favorite novels of yours is Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. Did you catch any flack from fans of Jesus Christ for some of the humor in that book?

Chris: Not at all. I think it had a self-correcting audience. In ten years, I’ve gotten perhaps 30,000 e-mails about it and only five have been negative, and four of those people hadn’t even read the book. It’s actually being taught in a number of seminaries and is on the recommended reading list at Harvard Divinity. I guess the people who were supposed to get the joke, got it, and those who wouldn’t, didn’t pick the book up. 

PT: Of all your characters, which one has the most of you in him or her?

Chris: Probably Tommy from my vampire series, although he’s not like me now, but me when I was 19 or 20, which he is in the books. He’s a kid from the Midwest who just sort of throws caution to the wind to goes, all by himself, to California to find his fortune and a career as a writer, and I sort of did that at his age, so his reactions are similar, I think, to what mine would have been in a similar situation, although I didn’t ever have a red-headed vampire as a girlfriend.

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PT: As I alluded to in the introduction, you’re extremely fan friendly. Why?

Chris: I don’t even think of my fans as fans. It always sounds strange to me. They are my readers. They are the people who allow me to do this wonderful thing that I get to do for a living. If my work didn’t resonate with my readers, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do, and I love doing what I do, so I guess I feel like I owe them. Plus, when you make people laugh, they are kindly disposed toward you, so most people I encounter are pretty nice. There are many worse ways to spend your time than entertaining people who love your work. 

PT: On your website, www.chrismoore.com you have apparel, something I doubt any other author has. How did that idea come to fruition and why the tie in with all profits going to MS research?

Chris: All the swag, from Fucksocks to T-shirts came from reader suggestions and requests. I never really wanted to be in the merchandise business, and I didn’t want to have to oversee the product. For a long time there was a volunteer from my old web forum who ran the store, then a few years ago I turned it over to a guy who specialized in making merch. (I think right now he’s had a management meltdown, so I don’t even know what’s available for sale anymore.) Anyway, since I didn’t want to put the effort into it, or feel like I was pimping t-shirts for a living, I decided to give all the proceeds to charity. About the time all of this was being set up, a young friend of mine was diagnosed with MS, so I decided to give all the proceeds to MS research. 

PT: There you have it ladies and gentlemen, the first ever mentions of Meerkats and Fucksocks on The Phil Factor. We are truly in groundbreaking, man on the moon territory, here. Chris, before you go, do you have a preview or teaser about your next book you’d like to share with your readers?

Chris:  It’s called The Serpent of Venice, and it’s the sequel to Fool, and is set in Venice with characters from Othello and The Merchant of Venice.

Fool_US_sm

Chris, thank you again for responding to the interview request of some random internet guy with a blog. For those of you who want to learn more about his hilarious and suspenseful novels you can find them in bookstores and at every online e-book retailer. You can also visit him at www.chrismoore.com, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Also, to thank Chris for his time and kindness I will donate all proceeds from the sale of my book for today and tomorrow to Fast Forward which is the advance applied research wing of the National MS Foundation. As always, please take a moment to hit the Facebook and Twitter share buttons below.

Ok, enough writing/author stuff for this week. If you’ve read this far you deserve to know that on Saturday… The Biebs is back! Have a great Thursday! ~Phil

An Indie Author Gets by With a Little Help From His Friends

I’m trying to improve the ranking and exposure of my books within Amazon and I need your help. You don’t even have to buy one of my books, although if you did I wouldn’t mind too much. One way to help my books rank higher is to get “Likes” on my Amazon author page. It has nothing to do with Facebook, but at the top of the right sidebar of my Amazon page is a button that looks almost just like the Facebook “Like” button. If you have a minute would you mind clicking this link and then clicking the “Like” button in the top right. You might have to sign in to your Amazon to do it though. If you do it, great, thank you so much. It means a lot. If you don’t, no big deal, I know your time is valuable.

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Thanks again! Have a great night! See you in the morning for my Throwback Thursdays post! ~Phil

 

Wordless Wednesday

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I’m looking forward to the weekend.

Have a great Wednesday! ~Phil