Online Obsessions: Sites We Can’t Live Without

Christian had this idea that you guys might enjoy knowing a few of our favorite things. Maybe he was wrong, but we’re going to tell you anyway. This week, let’s discuss the website we can’t live without.

Peter: It sounds crap but probably Amazon; I order almost everything I buy from there as I don’t like going out (mostly books and booze).

Christian: Wales Online, for many reasons. I travel a lot, and it’s the best way to keep in touch with things that happen in Wales where I am from. No other website, not even their own, has as much Cardiff City FC coverage. Other than that, I love the wacky news stories they publish, because Wales can be a pretty wacky place. Just the other week, they ran a headline, “MAN ADMITS HAVING SEX WITH HIS TERRIERS, TAFF AND BEN.”

I just love how they gave us the names of the dogs just to, er, ram the point home.

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Renee: You guys can be all “I don’t rely on social media,” snobs or whatever, but I’m just going to say it: I love social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. First, they’re a marketing tool, but second, they’re entertaining and (sometimes) informative. I suppose I could live without them, but I’d be really sad about it. Also, Netflix. Does that count as a website?

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Steve: I used to be such a big fan of Cracked, but these days they’re not as fun as they used to be. I was a serious fan, and the two articles I had published there remain some of my proudest writer achievements. Man, I was a fan boy. There’s was the only forum I frequented, and I’d check them every day religiously. I even had dreams where I’d meet up with the writers. Silly, I know, but that’s how much I loved the site.

They were recently acquired by a larger media company. They jettisoned many of my favourite writers, and steered harder into building readership over building audience. A little bit of my stake in the internet eroded that day, I’m not ashamed to say.

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Liam: I managed to live without any of them for a good while… but I tend to check out what’s going on “behind the wall” at homebrewforums.net several times a day.

Tony: I suppose Yahoo, since that’s my email and I see a lot of the news there. As apps go, Instagram is what I usually check rather than FB. It’s like Playboy back in the day. Just show us the pictures.

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Mike: On British radio there’s a long standing series called Desert Island Discs where minor celebrities discuss six discs they would take with them, interleaved with episodes in their lives. At the end of the programme they have to choose which one of those six discs they would have to take, choose one luxury, and one book other than Shakespeare and the Bible. So, in this context, there is no website I couldn’t live without assuming Google and Bing were a given like Shakespeare and the Bible. And I have my doubts about them – as I do all electronic knowledge. I bought the ‘Complete Works of Edgar Wallace’ on Kindle, and compared its contents with my own battered pulp library of Wallace. There’s one political thriller full of, now laughably, racist comments at the expense of the Chinese. It was written during the ‘yellow peril’ phase in our history. Guess which book wasn’t included in ‘The Complete Works of Edgar Wallace.’ Thing is, who are the guardians, the gatekeepers of websites?

Katrina: Twitter. Like most people, I have an addiction to social media. But since I am old and like my social media to come with a side of intelligent conversations, Facebook and Instagram can fuck off.

Okay, Kittens, now’s your chance to steer us toward something new and wonderful. What’s one site you can’t live without?

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TV Time

Christian had this idea that you guys might enjoy knowing a few of our favorite things. Maybe he was wrong, but we’re going to tell you anyway. This week, let’s all share our favorite TV show. Some of us have a bit of an addiction to television (that would be me), so this question was pretty tough to answer.

Christian: Kolchak: The Night Stalker. I remember watching re-runs as a kid (the two movies preceding the TV series came out before I was born) and being terrified and captivated in equal measures. It’s about a newspaper reporter, played by Darren McGavin, who investigates inexplicable crimes. It’s probably fair to say this show sparked my twin obsessions with writing and the supernatural. It was never very commercially successful, I think it was cancelled after a single season, but has since attained cult status. Well-deserved, too.

Mike: Frasier. Incomparable.

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Liam: This is going to date me, but I’m going to have to go with M*A*S*H*; this only because the ancient, black and white Maverick would really make me seem older than dirt. Today’s television just sucks.

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Renee: I think Liam hasn’t been watching the right shows. Yes, back in the day we had some excellent television, but a lot of it was sugar-coated, because you just couldn’t cover topics and show content we can now. Maybe some people see that as bad, but I don’t.

There are a ton of fantastic series from “today” that I’d list as favorites, including Lucifer, Ozark, House, Ray Donovan, Supernatural, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who (I like the modern shows more than the original, sorrynotsorry), Banshee (first couple of seasons only), and Bosch. Right now, my ultimate, all-time favorite as to be The Handmaid’s Tale. Probably because it’s one of my favorite books. Elizabeth Moss’s portrayal of June Osborne (Offred) is FANTASTIC. I’m often disappointed with film adaptations of books I’ve loved, because the way the actors play favorite characters don’t match what’s in my head. Moss is better than anything I could’ve imagined.

Steve: Three million years into deep space- the mining ship Red Dwarf…

Red Dwarf is the greatest sci-fi comedy tv show ever made. There are slicker, there are better produced, but Red Dwarf stands out precisely because of its embracing of English crapness. When the last human alive is a ludicrous slob, and his only companion is the holographic resurrection of his uptight bunkmate, you already have a great premise for a sitcom. But the show rarely rests on the laurels of its high concept. The best humour is the banter between Lister and Rimmer, possibly one of the greatest comedy duos in TV history. Not only that, but the offhand references to life on earth in the not too distant future belay the low budget and tight sit-com dialogue, creating the kind of casual world building most sci-fi authors take books and book to achieve.

Katrina: I feel like there need to be categories here. One can’t just lump Keeping up With the Kardashians (my favorite mindless television) with Elementary (my favorite crime series) and expect to choose one or the other. However, if I were forced to watch one TV show for the rest of my life, I’d have to go with Doctor Who.

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Peter: This changes all the time, as I discover new things, but most recently I’ve really enjoyed Happy!, 13 Reasons Why, and Ozark. The only show I’ve watched more than once is The Wire which is awesome in my opinion, and I did love Dexter until that last ever episode destroyed everything.

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Tony: Without a doubt, Game of Thrones. Even though this is epic fantasy, something I don’t often read or watch, the series is so well written and played with second-to-none special effects, this is a clear winner. I watched the series twice and enjoyed it so much more the second time through. Runner up is Westworld, which again plays into a common theme I write. Honorable mention, The Wire. This is a genre I don’t often watch but I found this gripping. The portrayal of crime and the inner city culture, for the most part, was honest and revealing.

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We know you guys prefer books. I mean, TV? Pfft. It’s for ignorant heathens. Pick up a book, for crying out loud! Still, most of us have a guilty pleasure and TV is often in the list, so what’s your favorite show?

 

Shrink Wrapped: Renee Miller Edition

(Interview conducted by Katrina Monroe)

When vodka becomes sentient and decides to drink all of US for a change, Renee Miller will be the only one left standing, provided she finds a suitable straw in time. She writes what she lives and that is Fucked Up Shit that ping-pongs between funny as hell and the kind of shit you tell your therapist about. MIND FUCK is of the former; HUNGER is of the latter.

bio-drinkingSTOP FIDGETING, Renee. I was only kidding about the vodka. OKAY. Okay. Fine. You can have some. But you have to share.

When was the last time you saw something that wasn’t there? How could you be sure it wasn’t there in the first place? What’s that pill bottle you keep shaking?

I saw something just the other day. It was a shadow, sort of. When I turned it was gone, so I assumed it wasn’t there. I guess I can’t be sure of that. Maybe my house is haunted.

What pill bottle?

*You can’t fit that entire bottle in your—okay, I guess you can. Still a shitty hiding spot.*

How would you explain ugly Christmas sweaters to an alien?

I have a hard time explaining those to myself. Should an alien ask during my pre-probe interrogation, I’d just bend over and wait.

*Standard operating procedure then, eh?*

You’re walking down the street and you see a human hand blocking a storm drain. Do you assume it’s real or fake? Why?

I assume it’s fake, so I can keep walking. Then, when I’m a safe distance away, I’ll consider that my assumption was wrong and try to figure out where it came from. I didn’t leave it there, that’s for sure and I resent the implication.

*Because you’re SO CAREFUL about your discards, right? Do we need to bring up the couch incident?*

You’re stranded on a desert island with the last five people you talked to. Cannibalism is inevitable, so let’s skip to the good stuff. Who gets eaten first?

So, I’d be stranded with you (Katrina), Christian, my daughter, a lovely woman named Laurie and Mike, who works in frozen foods at our grocery store. I won’t be eaten first, because I’m an aggressive personality and I only get worse when I’m hungry, so good luck trying to eat me, Katrina. Get that out of your head right now.

*I will not and you can’t make me.*

Christian talks fancy, so I’d like to keep him around for a while. He’d probably be second or third, depending on how he plays his cards. My daughter is obviously not on the menu, because I ruined my bikini body to give her life. Not taking it away just yet. Laurie would be chewy, so she’d have to marinate too long, and I was going to say I could never eat you, but then I laughed, because… never mind.

It’d have to be Mike. I’m sure he’ll understand.

*Working in frozen foods does give you a certain viewpoint toward life. *

Now that you’re full, it’s sexin’ time. Same five people (though I guess we’re down one, aren’t we?), which one will end up under the banana-leaf shelter for a night of grunting with you? Why?

Ha! Well, again, the kid is out. Mike’s dead, and I’m not into that shit. Laurie would probably stab me for trying, so it’s between you and Christian. How about both? Is that greedy? Come on. I bet it’d be a learning experience for all of us.

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*Unless Christian somehow grew a vagina (wouldn’t THAT be a trick), no thanks. Although, if he were to be a distant participant, VERY distant, and he closed his eyes… No. Never mind. I’ll just wait over here roasting bits of Mike thigh.*

Drop the bottle, Miller. You’re not quite done yet. Take a look at this. With both eyes, please, you’re not a fucking pirate. What do you see?

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I saw this picture once of a dog costume on Amazon, but I can’t find it now. Basically, it’s a baby costume. When you put it on your dog the poor thing looks like some kind of horrific alien doll thing, and it’s pissed at you. Probably going to shit in your boots or something. Maybe eat your face off while you sleep.

*If you so much as look at my cat that way again, you and I will have words. Also, I’m pretty sure Christian is squatting over your shoe. Going to need to take care of that. No, it’s not my fault. Just go.*

Shrink Wrapped: C.M. Saunders Edition

As we’ve already explained in previous interviews, this is not a meet the author and find out all the writerly things he does kind of thing. Instead, we took questions a doctor or cop searching for a serial killer might ask and tweaked them a little.

Christian bio picToday, we’re grilling C.M. Saunders (also known as Christian or ‘little bitch’ around here). He writes horror fiction and he talks funny. Everything is just a big, twisty, dark thing to him. Everything.

* Katrina, he’s doing it again. Where’s the restraints? No, he won’t get it on you. Christ… have to do everything myself…*

 Anyway, Mr. Saunders is releasing a collection of dark fiction in January, 2017, and we highly recommend you give it a read. For now, check out his most recent work in Deadman’s Tome. It’s gooey.

Now, let’s get to analyzing Christian.

When you get mad, do you:

  • Get even

  • Lash out

  • Pitch a tantrum, and then get over it

  • Do nothing.  

Please explain.

I always had a low tolerance level for assholery. People don’t always set out to be assholes, and sometimes they don’t even know they are doing it. I can accept a certain amount of that, people being the imperfect creatures that we are. It’s the deliberate, pre-meditated assholery that gets on my tits. Liars, cheats, users. As a younger, more hotheaded man, I would definitely lash out. Problem being, I’m not that tough so I usually got my ass kicked. These days, being older and wiser, if someone pisses me off I pay some guys to ‘take care of the problem,’ thereby saving myself the hassle and a lot of potentially damaging court cases. I do believe in karma. If you are a cunt, you’ll get fucked eventually.

How would you explain 2 Girls, 1 Cup to an alien? (Editor’s Note: Please don’t Google this kids)

I don’t know what that is. Kidding. Okay, I would tell the aliens it’s a film depicting some perfectly normal human behaviour. The kind most of us do on a daily basis, usually before breakfast. Then the aliens might fuck off and leave us alone.

Kevin Spacey or Kevin Bacon? Explain. (Note: The status of our relationship will be affected significantly by your answer.)

I’m guessing you want me to say Spacey. But I’m going to say Bacon just to piss you off. Nah, I really would choose the Bacon. Now I have to justify it? No problem. One word. Footloose. That was a seminal 80’s flick, right up there with the Breakfast Club and the Risky Business. There’s also the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon to consider. For those who don’t know, it’s a game based on the Six degrees of Separation theory. There’s a website called the Oracle of Kevin Bacon where you type in any name and it will link it to KB. Except mine, apparently. There isn’t an Oracle of Kevin Spacey. Know why? Because he isn’t cool enough. He might be the pretentious arty poser’s favourite, because of Usual Suspects and not much else, but he will never win the people’s vote. There are reasons for that. Ask anyone to name five Kevin Spacey films without Googling. They won’t be able to do it. Two more things that help my case is that Bacon was in the original Friday the 13th film. Not many people know that. And the killer is that he’s in a band with his brother. They are called the Bacon Brothers.

* Actually, I was hoping you’d say Bacon, because of Footloose. Our relationship remains strong and weird. For the record, Kevin Spacey is amazing and cool, and doesn’t get the respect and admiration he deserves. By admiration, I mean lustful fantasies. I love him. *

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Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not?

Yes and no. I firmly believe there is much more to this world than a lot of us realize. But sticking a label on it would be a mistake. Things happen that we can’t explain. People see or experience weird shit all the time, and it’s usually easier to ignore the problem rather than try to address it. Charles Fort talked about having a ‘procession of the damned.’ By ‘damned’ he meant data mainstream science has deliberately excluded because it doesn’t fit the accepted theory. His mission was to collect this data and bring it to light, and he did a pretty good job. Don’t get me wrong, the world of the so-called paranormal is filled with bullshit. A lot of what you hear or see, especially in shows like Ghosthunters, isn’t what it appears to be. But I always say even if 99% is fabrication, disinformation, or plain old lies, the remaining 1% proves the existence of ‘something else’ and that’s all you need. Do I believe ghosts are the returning spirits of dead people? No. But there’s definitely something fucking going on.

* Oh, there’s something going on all right… *

Have you ever had sex with someone you weren’t actually attracted to? Since I know your answer is yes, I’m just going to go ahead and ask you why you did it?

Alcohol.

* Enough said.*

Time for the Ink Blot. Tell us, Christian, what do you see in this?

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I really wanted to see a panda. I like pandas a lot. It was close. But to be honest, I saw an alien’s skull.

Really? Hmm. *puts the straitjacket away* Thanks for playing along. You can pick up your prescription from the dwarf on the way out. Don’t look him in the eye.

Shrink Wrapped: Katrina Monroe Edition

As we’ve already explained in previous interviews, this is not a meet the author and find out all the writerly yawn-fest things she does kind of thing. Instead, we took questions a doctor or cop searching for a serial killer might ask and tweaked them a little. It’s been enlightening… and disturbing.

katrinaKatrina Monroe (Saete) is hilarious. Let’s just get that out of the way so I can get paid. Her most recent book, ALL DARLING CHILDREN, is possibly THE BEST THING EVER, so you should pick it up. If you’re a pussy who can’t handle some darkness, I have to ask what you’re doing here. Seriously, get out.

Now, she helped compile these questions, but had no control over what ones she got. She doesn’t like big surprises, so we had to do it that way or there’d be another “incident.”

Let’s see what we scraped out of her head.

What would you do if you found a dead body in your lover’s freezer?

Since my lover’s freezer is also my freezer, I would probably wonder if I’d been sleepwalking again. A person can only take so much Ambien before the dreams start showing up in the daytime. Wait. Is this a dream?

*Yes. Shouldn’t you be naked? *

Tom Hiddleston or Tom Cruise? Explain your answer

TOM CRUISE IS A BASTARD. YOU TELL HIM THAT. YOU TELL HIM AND THAT ASSHOLE ATTORNEY OF HIS THAT I WON’T BE BOUGHT, YOU HEAR ME?

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*Still upset about the “Tom” thing. Noted. *

 You’re stranded. Maybe it’s the end of the world. Who knows. What matters is the food situation is pretty damn sketchy. You’re starving. Your friends (no family survived. Sorry about your loss) are starving. Through a few heated rounds of rock, paper, scissors, it’s been decided you’re the first to be eaten. Would you rather they eat you piece by piece, keeping you alive, so you can also eat, thus ensuring everyone has a better chance at survival, even though you’ll have to eat yourself and watch others eating you, and probably lose a few limbs, or do you want them to just kill you and do what they must with your body?

You’re a sick fuck, Miller. Kill me and get it over with.

*We promised no judgments here, didn’t we? THIS IS A SAFE PLACE TO TALK ABOUT HARD THINGS. REMEMBER?! *

Have you ever lied about something just because you knew you could get away with it? Care to elaborate?

When I was in college, I decided to see how long I could get away with pretending to be British. Turns out the answer is a long fucking time, because I went to college in Florida, where high IQs are about as plentiful as snowfall.

*I love British accents. I bet they were all blinded by your sexiness. *

Tomorrow you wake up and you’re the opposite gender. What’s the first thought that comes to your mind and the first thing you do?

“Does this mean I get paid more now?” And, I’d probably pee on something. Because, duh.

*I’d pee on EVERYTHING. *

Now, tell me what you see in this picture:

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The ink blot is obviously two pigs, snouts thrust up in the air, fighting over an ugly dress.

I can’t believe you guessed what it was. Amazing.

Thanks for coming out. The dwarf has your meds. No, you may not have the knives back. They’re community property now. Maybe next time you’ll respect boundaries.

Shrink Wrapped: Tony Bertauski Edition

Welcome to our series of Meet the Dolls interviews we’re calling Shrink Wrapped. Before you run away, let me say these are not a meet the author and find out all the writerly things he does yawn-fest kind of thing. Instead, Katrina and myself (Renee) took questions a doctor or cop searching for a serial killer might ask and tweaked them a little. It’s been enlightening… and disturbing.

tonyLet’s begin with our first patient, Tony Bertauski. Tony is the author of amazing books like the Foreverland Series and The Socket Greeny Saga. He’s also seen a horse’s vagina. More on that later.

Tony’s most recent book, HUMBUG (The Unwinding of Ebenezer Scrooge): A Science Fiction Adventure, is just what you need to read during this festive season. (Even if you hate Christmas, you’ll like this book. If you don’t, you’re a monster.)

Let’s get to digging in Tony’s head, shall we?

Love or Money? Explain.

Love. Unless I’m super hungry.

* I totally understand that answer. *

How would you explain Facebook to an alien?

You know the arguments family have across the table at holidays? That on a global scale.

* Maybe that’s why everyone loves it so much? *

Describe yourself in three words. Now, describe the last person who stood ahead of you in line at the last store you went to in three words.

Hard to understand.

From another planet

*Is anyone else wondering where this man shops?*

The person you love and trust most in this world has called for your help. Keeping in mind you’d catch a grenade for this person, they’ve asked you to help hide a body. First, do you ask any questions and if yes, what questions. Second, do you do it?

We talking a baby, or an old man on his deathbed? Big dif. (Renee: We’re talking adult who probably would’ve lived for many years)

Depends on how much digging is involved.

Which animal do you find sexy and why? According to experts, human beings find at least one animal a little arousing, (that may or may not be true) so spill it.

I saw a close up pic of a horse vagina the other day from a friend who boards horses. Looked just like a vagina. Imagine that.

* Does that mean you find horses sexy? I’m going to go with yes. (makes a note) And now I can’t get that out of my head. *

Finally, tell us, Tony, what do you see in this inkblot:

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Two seahorses smoking genital pipes.

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I did not see that… until now. Thanks, Tony. Genital pipes… wow. Anyway, thanks for playing along. We always love when you come to our play dates. Your parting gift is this lovely genital pipe. Sorry, Forbes ate the seahorses. He’s a dick like that.