Sunday, January 27, 2013

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: Trolls

People like to rant about all the Trolls on the Internet, but do they remember what life was like before the Trolls moved on to message boards and X-Box live? I think not!

Traveling was horrible, having to stop constantly where a Troll was defending a bridge. Then having to answer no less than three questions, at least two of which were riddles. The delays were maddening.

The positive aspect of having the Trolls gather on the Internet could be seen as early as 1990. In 1986 Trolls unleashed a horrible attack on humans, the movie Troll. With humans reeling from that assault they tried to launch the death blow, Troll 2, however the Trolls had moved on to the early Usenet and Gopher based IRC and weren't available for the film. They had to use Goblins instead.

So to all those who complain about Troll gathering on the Internet, I say, “Shut-up Stupid. Having the Trolls on the Internet means we don't have to deal with them in the real world. We can freely cross bridges without having to answer questions. If the Trolls weren't busy on the Internet we might have to face the horror of all horrors, Troll 3!”

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Monday, January 21, 2013

Showgirls and Aliens: Chapter 1

I tried to think of a witty intro, but couldn't. Here is the first chapter of my soon to be released novel. SHOWGIRLS AND ALIENS

Showgirls and Aliens
Chapter 1: Snakes on a Stage

Nomi had no problem getting naked in front of the crowd. It was the snakes that bothered her.

Beneath her feet two dozen snakes appeared. A less devoted stripper might lose their rhythm, but she was a pro. Using her dancing skills she managed to gracefully high step and kick to the beat of Duran Duran's “Union of the Snake”, a song that was older than she was, avoiding the snakes.

A giant boa entered stage right. She glanced stage left to see if she could avoid it. The twenty-foot python made that a problem. How do I work this into my routine?

The crowd cheered when she ripped off her top. She wasn't the most endowed stripper at the club, but the crowd enjoyed her energy. She tossed her top stage left. It landed on the python covering its head. It laid down defeated.

One ringleader down. She only had to avoid the boa stage right, while stepping over its minions at her feet. If things weren't bad enough the song was halfway over. If I don't get naked soon I'll get a warning.

She smiled as she came up with a plan. The crowd cheered almost as loudly seeing her smile as they did seeing her boobs. Slipping out of her skirt, she flung it in a high arch so it landed on the boa. She hoped it would cover its head. The boa would be defeated like the python. The skirt landed perfectly on the boa but slipped halfway down its body.

The boa was swaying to the music wearing only her skirt. Unfortunately its routine was pretty good. I'm not losing tips to a snake.

She flung her gold g-string at it, which landed on the snake's head, making a perfect gold eye patch. There, no one is going to tip a pirate snake.

With the ringleaders taken care of, she only had to worry about the minions at her feet. She jumped up on the pole as high she could. Spinning down she had to focus on one spot or she would get dizzy. She choose the front table where two man sized reptiles were sipping their drinks. She couldn't help notice they had a stack of bills on the table so it was better to focus on that.

Nomi had spun down waist high on the pole when she noticed a problem. All the minion snakes had gathered at the bottom of the pole. They took up the all space for three feet around it. She couldn't do a normal dismount. She'd have to get some distance.

She had done a flying dismount from a pommel horse in gymnastics, but never from a pole. How different can it be other than my hands will be vertical, I'll be landing on a hard stage instead of padding, and the boa couldn't spot me if it tried. No arms.

Her abs strained as she swung up to grab the pole. Her forearms complained when she released her legs and used only her arms to swing horizontal. Then she let go and floated through the air. It didn't matter if she was stripping or competing, she always loved the feeling of free-fall. She came back to the present with her legs split, two feet above the stage. Not quite in the right position. Next to her the ghost of Patrick Swayze appeared. Would that be Sam Wheat?

“Pain don't hurt!” he said.

Half a second later her body confirmed that Swayze was wrong. Pain, by definition, does in fact hurt. She smiled through the pain and finished her split to the cheers of the crowd.

The snakes were coming after her. She wouldn't be able to recover from the split before they were on her. She remembered seeing a film about the snake charmers in India. It was worth a shot. She put her palms together, centered in front of her body and swung back and forth to the fading rhythm of the song.

The minion snakes mirrored her moves. The crowd was delighted at her swinging breasts. Even the python peeked out from her top to be enchanted.

The music stopped and the DJ's voice filled the air. “Give it up for Nomi. What a performance.”

The loud cheers spooked the snakes and they retreated to the back of the stage. That left her free to offer her thigh for the line of gentlemen, mostly human, to stuff bills in her garter. She felt the scaly hand of the reptile stick a bill on her inner thigh. Ugh.

Looking down at the bills Andrew Jackson winked at her. At least the reptile tips.

She gathered up her clothes and exited stage right. The next girl, Tara, paused on the steps.

“It will be tough to follow that.”

“You can do it.” Don't tell her about the snakes, she'll find out soon enough.


Dressed in her teasing work clothes and ready for anything, Nomi went back into the club. Meeting with the patrons could be good or bad. The high class club mostly attracted perfect gentlemen, that respectfully appreciated her teasing them. A few jerks came in from time to time, dealing with their insecurities by acting like the performers were trash. Like they didn't whore out their morals to make the money they tipped her. She didn't even want to think about the strange ones.

The guy with the blue glow that matched his tie seemed nice. The next guy, whose face was melting, just grunted when she thanked him. Hope his whole face melts off, serves him right.

Finally she had to thank the reptiles. Note to self, don't do acid before a performance again.

“I'm glad you enjoyed the show.” She knelt down next to the reptile who tipped her. At least she thought it was the one who tipped her, all reptiles looked alike to her. But, I'm not racist, or speciesist.

“You're quite the dancer. I'm Bob.” One eye focused on her while the other stared off ninety degrees.

“Would you like some company?” He might be cold blooded but at least he's not a jerk.

“I'd love some.” He pointed at the chair next to the other reptile. “Randi was commenting you are the most graceful one here.”

She took the hint and grabbed the chair next to Randi, or was it Randy? How do you tell a reptiles gender?

“Thank you,” she said to the reptile.

The second reptile spoke with a softer voice, “Do you do lap dances as well?”

“Sure, it's twenty topless, forty-five for fully nude.”

Bob grabbed a hundred from his stack. “I don't have change, so you'll just have to do two dances.”

She grinned at him. “I think I can deal with problems like that.”

Once Tara left the stage, Nomi stood up in front of the reptiles. She slid out of her top and put it on the chair. Who knows whats on the floor?

She leaned over Randi and gave a little jiggle. Both of her customers smiled. She slid out of her skirt and put it with her top, making sure to lean towards them. She threw her G-string on the pile.

Straddling Randi she looked away. What will the reptile's skin feel like?

The scales weren't rough like she feared, sliding down they had a slick feeling on her skin. It wasn't until she went to slide back up that the scales became a problem. As soon as she did she felt a sharp pain in her inner thigh.

After a minute she figured out how to slip and slide along Randi's body. Making full contact going with the scales pulling away to go back up. She made sure to keep eye contact. Staring at Randi's yellow eyes with a horizontal slit for an iris.

She glanced at Randi's forehead and wondered if she should maintain eye contact with the third, parietal eye as well. It's only photosensitive not capable of forming images, ignore it.

Soon Nomi found herself enjoying the lap dance, it was like rubbing up against soft leather. As long as she remembered to move right. She was a little disappointed when the second song was over.

“Thanks,” she told Randi, “That was fun.”

“Thanks yourself. You're a wonderful, um, dancer.”

“Here's a little tip.” Bob held out the hundred with a twenty. “Worth every penny.”

She walked over to hold out her leg so Bob could slid the bills in her garter. “Thanks, I've really have to be excused for a second, then it's my turn on stage. But if you want I'll be back after.”

Both reptiles nodded and Bob said, “We definitely want your company.”


Nomi finished up on the toilet and grabbed her purse. She opened it up and reached for the small mirror. A little piece of toilet paper stuck in the wrong spot makes a huge difference in tips. As she pulled the mirror out, a joint came with it, bounced off her leg and dropped into the bowl.

Shit, I need that to come down off the acid. Without it I'll be tweaking from midnight until morning. She thought about grabbing it, but that was too disgusting. I'll be paying Edgar a visit after work. Damn.

She composed herself and went out to do her routine, making sure to maintain eye contact with Bob and Randi. It was easier as the snakes had left. Halfway through the song a man in a black Trilby hat and black overcoat entered the club. Micheal Jackson called, he wants his hat back.

When she looked back over to the reptile table, Bob and Randi were gone.


“Nomi, I thought you were taken care of for the night?” Edgar smiled as he opened the door to his cheap apartment. “Or is this a social call?”

“You're sweet, but I wouldn't drive across town on acid for that? I'd hope you'd pick me up,” she said.

“You're a brave lady, come on in.”

Nomi crossed the living room and tried to ignore the stains on the walls that were morphing into caricatures of the cast of “Red Dawn”. She paused briefly to observe that Jennifer Grey looked better before her nose job. She took a seat on the couch that must have been rejected by Goodwill ten or twenty years earlier. She had to shift her weight as the spot where the reptile's scale brushed her leg was sore.

“I need something to bring me down later.”

“The one joint wasn't enough? No problem.” Edgar went over to the kitchenette.

“I lost it.”

“Bummer, I can give you a joint for five, or you could earn a twenty bag.” Edgar pointed at his crotch.

“Always the charmer. How desperate are you? Wanting head from a girl who's tweaking. I'd have a hard enough time imagining your little worm being tasty normally. Right now I'd probably think it was a real worm.”

“You're in for a surprise when you see it. But you're right it's probably a bad plan. Here you go.” He handed her the joint.

“You're a sweetheart.”

The apartment walls started to ripple and there was a pounding on the door. “Open up.”

“Damn, it's the Police,” Edgar said.

She looked at Edgar. “Don't stand so close to me.”


“Sorry, Every breath you take? Message in a Bottle?”

“Open up or we're coming in!” The voice boomed from the other side of the door.

“Don't say anything. Everything you say will be held against you.” Edgar went to the door.

“Christopher Walken.”

“Ick.” Edgar opened the door to see a man in a black Trilby hat and black overcoat. “Is there a problem?”

“A very large problem if you don't let me in.”

“Cops can't come in without a warrant.”

The man opened his overcoat to reveal a large crossbow slung across his chest. “It's a good thing I'm not with the Police.”

Hope you enjoyed it.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Evil Human Resource Dept.

In setting up an evil tyrannical organization there are many problems to overcome. Technical problems, tyrants tend to jail and kill mathematicians. Logistical problems, I talked about that a few weeks ago. X-Men vs. Van Halen.

One major problem Evil Organizations face is human resources. If your organization is dedicated to crushing the human spirit, it's tough to come up with ways to keep morale up.

STAR WARS shows two evil organizations (the Empire and Jabba the Hut's smuggling ring) each with different Human Resource problems. I realize they would need to come up with a different name as Human doesn't really fit.

The Empire's Human Resource Dept. was the factor that really led to it's downfall. The Personnel officer's were the most incompetent beings they could find. That is to be expected in an organization that doesn't believe in a person's worth and dignity, but they took it to a whole new level.

I can just imagine the conversation when the first Death Star became operational.

Tarkin: I've found a few potential weaknesses in the Death Star. A few squadrons of small fighters could threaten us. We have the resources of the entire Galaxy behind us. We could easily eliminate that threat with a few squadrons of Tie fighters. Call HR and get us some pilots.

Minion: I called HR and they are sending two battalions of Storm Troopers.

Tarkin: Can any of them fly?

Minion: No, just stand around looking intimidating.

Tarkin: What use could that be on the Death Star?

Minion: I have no idea, but that's what they are sending.

The same pattern happened when they noticed the heat vent was venerable and a carpenter with a sheet of plywood could stop the destruction, HR sent a battalion of Storm Troopers. The Empire's whole HR dept seemed to have the feeling whatever the request, send Storm Troopers.

Jabba's organization was the opposite, once someone was hired they seemed to go out of their way to make them fit into the organization.

Pod Racing was a way for Jabba to keep the masses from revolting, however it is a completely lame sport. So Jabba got the best announcer (Greg Proops and Scott Capurro) to spice it up. Star Wars fans will complain that their performance wasn't part of the original script and the commentary on the pod racing was just as nonsensical as the pod racing itself. The two improv actors wrote the comments themselves, but it's part of the Star Wars Universe now so I am sticking with it. To keep the masses in line Jabba got the best talent available.

Later in Return of the Jedi, we really got to see the HR dept work their tails off.

When Jabba hired C3PO as a translator droid. They could have just had him fill out his paperwork and be done with him, but they went the extra mile.

They gave him a full tour of the lair, pointing out where Jabba kept his pet Rancor, Sarlacc, and other things in the lair. They really wanted him to be comfortable in his new home.

Same thing with Leia dressed as a bounty-hunter. They showed her Han Solo frozen in Carbonite and how to work the controls, they really wanted the new hires to feel at home.

The only real problem with Jabba's HR dept was they weren't that good on doing background checks. That was a major weakness.

If the Empire and Jabba were to work on improving their Human Resource Dept, have the Empire's HR do more than just send Storm Troopers for every request, and teach Jabba's people how to do a proper background check, the Rebels never would have defeated them.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Weird Writing Problem

I'm in the final editing stages of SHOWGIRLS AND ALIENS and I've run into a really weird problem. People are liking the stuff I'm weak at more than the stuff I'm strong at. Really weird.

When I started writing SHOWGIRLS AND ALIENS I wanted to try my hand at action writing, I've got some friends who are really great at it. I knew I couldn't be as good as them so I wrote a comedy filled with action. I know I can do humor. I've done this before, in AN EXTRA TOPPING OF HORROR the last third of the book was sheer action comedy. The comedy covering up my choppy action writing.

I figured I could do the same with SHOWGIRLS AND ALIENS it is the sequel sort of, so what could go wrong?

My first draft's action was a bit choppy, the comedy was gold and somehow the characters were great. So I really worked on getting the action scenes up to par. Somehow I overdid it, the book is a comedy, the number one principal I had when writing and editing it was every scene had to be funny. Slapstick, dark humor, or satire they can all be used to influence the pacing. The second thing I insisted on was the characters had to be interesting in their own world. Even the secondary characters. The action was never supposed to be a selling point.

My second round of readers are in love with the action scenes and feel the comedy takes away from the action. I can't take all the credit for readers liking the actions scenes, I did get a few great action writers to help me polish those scenes, but it surprises me that people are liking the action more than the comedy.

If nothing else it was a great learning experience. I don't have to shy away from action anymore.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: Special FX Guys

Tonight I'm going to watch the Rifftrax version of THE AVENGERS.

I saw the straight version already as well as the individual heroes movies that led up to it. That made me remember one thing that really made it stand out from the others. The lack of the “Aren't we great special effects guys” scene.

Ever since STAR TREK: The Motion Picture, which had the special effects guys do a scene showing the rebuilt Enterprise for what I think was three and half days, at least that's what it felt like, special effects heavy films have put in a long scene that shows off how great the special effects guys are.

In the past this was annoying, now it is pointless. The most pointless time was in CAPTAIN AMERICA.

My vision isn't the greatest, so some people might disagree, but in CAPTAIN AMERICA there was a long scene that was just a skinny guy doing normal stuff in front of a crazy camera man. If it weren't for the crazy camera work I'd think they forgot to turn off the camera. It wasn't until the scene was over that I realized, that was the “Aren't we great special effects guys” scene.

I had to say, “Yes you are great special effects guys, if you hadn't pointed it out I wouldn't know it was special effects.”

Later, after he changed into Captain America, they ran another scene like that. Again if it weren't for them pointing it out I wouldn't have noticed.

In THE AVENGERS, I don't remember any blatant “Aren't we great special effects guys” scenes. I remember special effects, but they were part of the story.

After 40 years of special effects work playing major parts of movies, special effects have reached the point where they aren't “special”. They are as normal as sound or color. These things can be done bad, and when they are they are really noticeable, but when they are done right it's just a way to get the viewer into the story. Special effects should be treated the same way.

So to any director that thinks about putting a “Aren't we great special effects guys” scene in their movie, I say, “Shut-up Stupid. The art of special effects has advanced to the point where if the special effects guys are really good we don't notice that it is special effects, so that scene is pointless. If the special effects guys aren't that good, that scene will point it out. Either way that scene now just takes the viewer out of the story.”

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE