Friday, April 26, 2019

Podcast Appearance

I did this podcast last Sunday night to promote my new book, The Chaos Cafe, along with my other four books as well: https://youtu.be/33Jw_N2EL6Y It was my second time on the show. The last time was to promote my sci-fi sex comedy, Even on Mars, which came out last year. That podcast was done over Skype. This one, however, was my first face-to-face one. Podcasts are always fun to do.

I felt kind of annoyed with myself afterwards for not clarifying better why exactly the heated political conflict between my protagonist, Chris Connolly, and his parents wouldn’t have worked if it took place in Canada. I should have explained further that I needed it to be between actual American voters (people with a REAL stake in the matter), arguing on American soil, so the reader could better sympathize with the impassioned, polarized positions on both sides, despite how inane and absurd his parents’ ideas and beliefs are. That’s why it couldn’t be in Canada, which would have made it a “what’s happening over there” matter rather than a “what’s happening over here” one. I came off in the interview as sounding like I thought a heated argument about Trump couldn’t happen within a family dynamic in Canada, which is ludicrous (as I’ve had so many such heated debates) and not what I meant at all!

Furthermore, Radley asked me in the interview what my fascination with chaos was, and I gave a very detailed explanation of only half the answer. The other half is my love of the fact that because there’s no intrinsic meaning to be found in existence, no inherent purpose in all this, no grand scheme of things and no divine hand doing any guiding, I’m, then, the one who’s fully responsible for the meaning I give my short time in this world and therefore all my failures and victories are my own, and I love and cherish that. There’s self-empowerment and joy in embracing that fact, that reality of things! There’s no cop-out of consolation for any shortcomings within myself or my life as being part of “God’s plan,” because there simply isn’t a God and therefore no divine plan. THAT’S real freedom, and THAT’S what I find so liberating. I agree with Sartre’s worldview and assessment that if theism were an accurate representation of reality, and therefore a deity was setting things in motion for the fulfillment of some teleological end, that there could be no real, substantial freedom for us because we wouldn’t be in full control of our “destiny.” There’d be no possibility of taking the full load of the responsibility of our very existence, due to the fact that everything would be predestined in accordance with the will of an omnipotent overlord rather than our own will. In fact, my own will wouldn’t mean shit. Most people don’t want that responsibility, though, so they put it on “God’s purpose” as the perfect cop-out for all their foibles and disappointments in life. I say, “Fuck that.” As with Camus, I love affirming the absurdity itself. It’s so freakin’ exciting and fantastic to me, and I wouldn’t want things to be any other way. Fuck grand schemes! I’ve got my own “schemes” that I create and toil towards, the outcome mine and mine alone, along with anyone who may have so graciously helped me along the way.

The other thing I wish I stated in the interview is that, at bottom, what bothers both my lead characters in Screw the Devil’s Daiquiri and The Chaos Cafe in regard to their own mortality, is that they see their own future deaths as leaving a gap in the world. However, that mistaken gap they see is both an illusion and self-delusion, and will not come about at all. And they, of course, know that. And there lies the rub, for that gap they see actually lies within themselves. It’s the unbridgeable distance between what they want to be true (that they be immortal) and what is actually true (that they are very much mortal). That gap, then, can only be closed either with 1) the acceptance that they are nothing and that the universe will go on and on for eons, as per usual, after they die and/or 2) what in Buddhism is called “ego death.” For in that actual gap within themselves, it is their egos that are unable to see (at least without serious introspection or someone pointing it out to them) - that there is a gap at all.

Oh, yeah, and I remembered - there’s a scene in my fourth book, Even on Mars, where two sisters are talking, and there’s no one else around. Whether or not a man is around is irrelevant for passing the Bechdel Test anyway. It’s whether or not the two women are talking about something other than a man, and so, yes, that scene passes it by that standard as well - not that that bullshit matters to me anyway.

You can find my books here: amazon.com/author/raymemichaels


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Faces

Two moons’ faces,
So far yet so close.
They stared at each other in wanting,
Of what they feared and loved most.

Attraction and opposition,
Fleeing and engrossed.
A hope for better chapters,
Enamoured with a ghost!

Two moons’ faces glowing,
Reflecting each other’s sun.
Imposing their own powers,
Too blind to see they’re one.

Each elusive to the other,
Forever lost and out of noon.
If only they had sincere reflection,
To know they’re two sides of the same moon.

4/20/2018

Sunday, March 31, 2019

NEW BOOK RELEASE: THE CHAOS CAFE

I just got back to Tokyo today after a week in Cebu City, Philippines, and boy, is my dick tired. I mean, in comparison to where I'm from - Toronto - Japan is infinitely easier to get laid in, but compared to how easy it is in the Philippines, it feels like mission impossible here. I guess the difference in easiness between Toronto and Tokyo, is the same leap of difference between Tokyo and Cebu. Christ, I ended up banging 6 women in one week! It could have been 7, but I really liked the second one and wanted to see her again on one of the days. I still remember arriving to Japan on July 31, 2013, having only slept with 12 women in my entire life, and now here I am having slept with 109! I was thrilled in November when I finally hit 100, something I promised myself years ago I'd achieve when I saw Runkle do it on Californication, one of the greatest shows of all time!

Anyway, Cebu really was overwhelming. I wasn't expecting it to be that easy, but it surpassed my expectations, and the women were so fuckin' hot. Two of them I'll flat out call goddesses. And the ages - UGH! So young and fertile! The fifth one was a 21-year-old goddess with a perfectly symmetrical face and the body of a Playboy playmate. She kept wanting to grab my cock at a club called Oqtagon, where I met her, before we left to cab it back to mine. And the sixth lay of the week was a tan-skinned, super thin, plump-assed 19-year-old off Tinder. (All of them had incredible Filipina asses, so nice, toned and squeezable.) It's a great feeling to get both quality and quantity. (To be fair, though, the first two lays I got this year in Japan were both 20. God, I love them young.) But I'm not used to feeling this sated. It was hard to say bye to that beautiful, heavenly place. And, yes, snorkeling and sightseeing were wonderful too. I love nature.

In other news, my new and fifth book (my second one in nine months) went up for sale on Amazon a few days before I left for my glorious vacation trip to that paradise of an island (Cebu) - The Chaos Cafe, my most enthralling, gripping and philosophical book yet. And it's satirical and suspenseful as well, keeping you more and more on the edge of your seat as it goes on. It's a dark, urban, existential comedy and fantasy on chaos and a real mind-blender too. I'm heavily influenced by both Woody Allen and Kevin Smith, and the surrealistic style and existential themes often found in the films of the former are certainly apparent in it and my other books as well (except, of course, for my dark, gory, romantic vampire thriller, Red Love), while the contentious, often wacky, dialogue-driven parts clearly have the influence of Smith, especially my first book, Incorrigibility, which was originally written in screenplay form. Philosophy was my major and what I did my master's degree in, and the existential matters covered by Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre and Camus are motifs in The Chaos Cafe.

"That God does not exist, I cannot deny. That my whole being cries out for God, I cannot forget." - Jean-Paul Sartre

Here's the eBook on the Kindle Store: goo.gl/cYXATJ

And here's the paperback - ENJOY:  http://goo.gl/yqY5Qr

My author page: www.amazon.com/author/raymemichaels

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (a book review)

“In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.” - Page 72

I just finished reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas yesterday. It’s super fun and easy to get through, a wild roller-coaster ride of insane, paranoid delusions and hallucinations on psychedelic drugs, ether and booze. I saw the movie ages ago so knew what to expect. I’d never read anything by Hunter S. Thompson before, but if even half of this gonzo story is true, he was completely insane, which explains why he liked playing with guns so much and always knew that one day he would take his own life with one, which he did in 2005, when he said life stopped being fun for him. But he really was a great writer, and this book is hilarious. The entire premise from the get-go is completely absurd: being sent to Las Vegas to find the American Dream by covering a dirt-bike race? What? But then it changes to him of all people having to report on a police narcotics convention with his attorney, who, like him, was out of his mind and, in real life, probably just a figment of Thompson’s wild imagination.

Anyway, I’m glad I finally got around to reading it, as it wasn’t just funny as hell by virtue of his and his attorney’s paranoid, drug-addled minds, insane antics, preposterous conversations and very interesting past stories that Thompson would recall, but also because of his insight into the strange world of Las Vegas and the drug scene of 1971 in comparison to what it was in San Francisco before the heights of it came to an end:

"Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era—the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run . . . but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant. . . .

History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of 'history' it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.

My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe forty nights—or very early mornings—when I left the Fillmore half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big 650 Lightning across the Bay Bridge at a hundred miles an hour wearing L. L. Bean shorts and a Butte sheepherder's jacket . . . booming through the Treasure Island tunnel at the lights of Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond, not quite sure which turn-off to take when I got to the other end (always stalling at the toll-gate, too twisted to find neutral while I fumbled for change) . . . but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was: No doubt at all about that. . . .

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda. . . . You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. . . .

And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back." - the end of Part One's eighth chapter

My rating: FIVE STARS

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

“Even on Mars” - Paperback Release

Without further ado, the paperback of my new book, Even on Mars, is finally up for sale. The cover had to be fixed for print, and most of it was redone in the process for a much better result, and I’m much happier with it now: https://goo.gl/QcWYuo

Saturday, June 23, 2018

My New Book: Even on Mars

My new and fourth book, Even on Mars, hit the Kindle Store on June 3rd for just 99 cents for a limited time. It’s a fast-paced, screwball sci-fi sex comedy, and if you wanna know whose orange mutant legs those belong to and what it means that her very long mutant tongue is wrapped around Mars, you’ll have to read to find out! 🙂 Paperback coming soon! The cover had some issues when printed, and it needs to be fixed.  https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07DH1S2WF

Hollywood by Charles Bukowski (book review)

So I got around to reading Hollywood by Bukowski. It was a very interesting read, seeing how the making of Barfly came about with all the ups and downs and all the producer assholes that had to be dealt with along the way. It’s very lucky that it ended up being made at all. One of the characters in the book, a Frenchman invested in the screenplay, was a riot! All the names were of course changed, and the movie was renamed The Dance of Jim Beam. I found it interesting that it was shot in the building Bukowski and the woman the movie is about (his first love) actually lived in together over thirty years prior! That’s both eery and surreal, eery because it didn’t end well for her due to her severe alcoholism.  

All and all, I was hoping that the book would be funnier and more entertaining, but it was still a good read with lots of interesting insight into both Bukowski and the world of Hollywood (a much different book than the one I read before it: To Have or to Be? by Erich Fromm). I much preferred Barfly, though, what a fabulous movie. 

On my way home on Thursday night, I stopped by the grocery store near my place here in Tokyo, and in the alcohol aisle (alcohol is sold in supermarkets and convenience stores here), I saw a bottle of Jim Beam whiskey. I bought it, a bottle of Coke Zero, and when I got home, mixed them into a cup and finished off the book. Then I watched Eraserhead for the first time because, in the novel, Chinaski (Bukowski’s name for himself in his books) tells a guy interviewing him for a magazine that it’s his favourite movie. Watching it, I completely understood why.

My rating: 4/5 stars