By Kyle B. Stiff
I had an incredible series of synchronicities that was like a peek behind the curtain which revealed evidence of a Director in charge of this strange production we find ourselves acting in.
Some background: I listen to a lot of podcasts at work, mostly fringe theory or paranormal type stuff and a totally, totally grounding dose of video game news shows, too. One show called Hidden Experiences is all about some guy trying to come to terms with his life going off the rails of the mundane. He talks a lot about synchronicities, so I’ve been thinking about them a lot.
One day while thinking on this matter, I started listening to an unrelated podcast while walking down a hallway, and it just so happened that my butthole started to itch really bad. I thought about walking to the bathroom to take care of things, but I’d already been fucking around and needed to get back to my desk, so I decided to risk scratching deep up in my crack right in the hallway. As I turned to make sure no one was behind me, somebody on the podcast I was listening to said, “I can’t live my life looking over my shoulder.” Now, that’s not the mind-blowing synchronicity that the title of this piece is referring to, but it certainly impressed upon me the nature of this wild and unbelievable stuff!
So anyway, the other day I was listening to Hidden Experiences and there was a discussion about the “playfulness” of synchronicities. According to the interviewee, it was almost as if some intelligent force was practically wanting to be seen.
When I got out of work and was walking to the bus stop, I listened to a video game podcast called Rebel FM, in which they discussed the new FORZA racing game and the new Xbox One. My mind drifted because I can’t get into racing games, so I thought about synchronicities. A strange impulse came to me; I wanted to see a synchronicity at that moment. It wasn’t like I was a “skeptic” with his arms crossed and his face puckered up saying, “Alright, let’s see this so-called phenomenon!” No, the impulse was stranger than that, both headstrong and dreamlike.
Anyway, as I leaned back against the bus stop shelter, someone on the podcast said, “… laid back.”
I thought that was pretty cool, but it didn’t exactly blow my hair back. It could just be a coincidence, right? Anyway, I smiled to myself, then thought, “Would it be possible to have another synchronicity?” Immediately some guy on the podcast said, “You can’t turn it on and off.”
Now I was really feeling it, riding on a wave that existed somewhere outside the norm. Sensing that the universe itself was looking directly at me, waiting to see what I would do, I wondered, “I know I’m pushing it, but how about something now?”
At that moment someone on the podcast said, “You have to know how to actually play the game.”
Of course this was just too much. The idea that the universe was playing a game with me made me giddy, overwhelmed by a sense that the physical world was unreal or, at most, a sort of high-end video game constantly being patched and updated by its maker. I turned about on the sidewalk because I couldn’t sit still for this sort of thing, and as I moved the strange sense came upon me again. I was facing traffic and saw many oncoming cars, and at that moment the podcast said, “You see the people facing you are driving…”
Four of these things in a row – are you kidding?! I began laughing uncontrollably, and just then the podcast said (and I shit you not), “You’re laughing, and it sees the appreciation on your face…”
BLAM! Five demonstrations of inscrutable other-worldly machinations brought about by mixing two channels, all in a row!
I realize that a lot of you won’t be interested in this sort of thing. Until the dust gets knocked off your pineal gland by a few encounters with unbelievable strangeness, this sort of thing means nothing. For years and years I was a hardcore materialist, so I get that. But from where I’m sitting, it looks like the universe is totally A*L*I*V*E*!
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Hey readers! If you like to see the veil of reality pulled aside, even if only temporarily, then be sure to check out my piece about Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and its basis in the tarot. That piece can surely suck a bowling ball through a garden hose!
You should probably check out my books, too. I’ve got an epic series called Demonworld, which is equal parts Mad Max and Lord of the Rings (think “science fantasy”), and a much-loved gamebook series called Heavy Metal Thunder which is currently a hyperlinked Kindle book but will be a fancy phone app any day now. I just recently released the second volume of Heavy Metal Thunder, which is called SOL INVICTUS.
Or: Demonworld Five came out a year ago, what the hell have I been doing since then?!
By Kyle B. Stiff
Is it possible that the guy who can knock out a book in two months has had his thumb up his ass for an entire year?
No, of course it’s not possible.
But it didn’t take me an entire year to write one book. Oh, no, not even close. I don’t fuck around when it comes to fucking around. See, I got this crazy idea in my head that I could illustrate my own cover for Heavy Metal Thunder Book 2. When I found out that my skills had gotten rusty, I didn’t give up (like I should have), but instead I expanded the scope of my plans to include illustrating every Demonworld and Heavy Metal Thunder cover on my own. I even had trouble sleeping at night because all these “amazing” ideas would blast into my head. But when it came time to produce, I kept failing and had to restart over and over again.
Plus I’m working full-time these days. Burning through free time to work on awful-looking covers instead of writing like I should have been eventually beat the snot out of my once-virile body. After several months of this nonsense I had a breakdown and woke up naked in a pile of dried spaghetti next to a wall covered in pentagrams and scratch marks (and all of my fingernails were completely torn off). I took off my sunglasses, reflected on the limits inherent in my current incarnation, and then decided that I would never, ever, ever spend one more second worrying about covers ever again.
So that’s why the cover of Sol Invictus is a recycled palette-swap of the first one. Sorry about that. But anyway, after months of torturing myself, I’m alive again. I’ve got a couple of blog posts to knock out, then I’m going to finally write Demonworld Book 6: The Love of Tyrants. It’s going to be longer than the average Demonworld book, plus I’ve got to spend most of my day polishin’ knobs just to survive, but I’m a freakin’ SOLJAH so the next Demonworld’s gonna be in your hands before you know it!
Once again Kyle B. Stiff sounds off like he’s got a pair when it comes to the mind-numbing terror of non-human sentient neighbors. Read about it… right HERE.
by Kyle B. Stiff
Just like the title says, I had a total blast at Normal-Con! For those of you who don’t know, the subculture of “normality” is getting bigger and bigger all the time, and Normal-Con is a celebration of that. Twenty years ago hardly anyone had ever heard of normal, but these days all kinds of people are dressing up like normal people and talking about the normalest things imaginable. I took some pics while I was there. Check it out!
As you can see, the place was packed with what can only be described as the most normal motherfuckers you will ever see!
Believe it or not, I got to meet Herman Longmember, inventor of the extremely popular “office humor” poster that shows a hamster drinking a cup of coffee and it says, “I can’t suck a cock until I’ve had my coffee!”
EVERYBODY was blown away by twelve-year-old Suzie Strokemember’s cosplay of an office alpha male!
I got to see a fascinating PowerPoint presentation on how to change font sizes. The techniques I learned work in practically any situation – whether you’re writing an email in the office, at home, or even at the beach!
This meeting took place in the hotel’s stadium-size bathroom. You can’t see it from this angle, but the two walls not pictured are lined with urinals (for number one) and doorless toilet stalls (for number two). I took this picture while in the middle of a sweaty forty-five minute battle with the twisted log I had jammed up in my guts!
“Why wait until the last minute to plan next year’s Normal-Con?” said prestigious board member Harry Cox. “Let’s go ahead and plan that fucker while we’re here so we won’t end up in each other’s shit over a bunch of stupid shit, you know what I mean?”
I couldn’t agree more, Mister Cox!
Here’s a picture of the super-prestigious founders of Normal-Con. Some of their suits might look a little iffy in terms of fashion, but believe me, dear readers, these people were at the height of normality in their time. Unfortunately attendance at the first Normal-Con was lower than expected because on the day Normal-Con opened its doors it just so happened that some guy down the street was trying to beat the Guinness world record for how many dicks he could fit in his mouth, so people were lining up around the block to see that. (In case you’re curious, he didn’t beat the record, but he was already the world record-holder so shit worked out in the end.)
God’s in His heaven and all’s right with the world because I finally wrote about the amazing Duncan Trussell. Do you give a shit about one of the most entertaining and enlightening human beings walking around on Penal Colony: EARTH? If so, click HERE!
By Kyle B. Stiff
Artists and writers are usually much less interesting than the stuff they produce. Little Wodi journeying through the wasteland and trying to find an answer to the riddle of the demonic suppression of his species (also known as Demonworld) – now that’s interesting. Or Cromulus from Heavy Metal Thunder fighting against an alien bureaucracy that’s so hungry it had to cross thousands of light-years just to eat his species while Cromulus himself doesn’t even know who he is or why the human species has lost its will to live – that’s interesting, too! Heck, I almost never bother to write about myself on this blog. In a best-case scenario, I’d focus on posting about weird connections between pop culture movies and esoteric occult systems, but today I’m going to deviate and write something about myself. Not because I’m terribly interesting, but because I’m going through some ego-shattering stuff that might help a few others on their own journey.
Here’s the short version: I sell my books on Amazon, I was doing good for a while, but sales have recently plummeted. The bottom has fallen out on the whole venture. Hope perched on my shoulder while I looked at my sales, and I spent most of my time writing and looking forward to a time when my meager income would become a stable fountain that could sustain a healthy, wholesome, productive lifestyle. I never asked for much; I’m a work-oriented kind of guy who finds more happiness in following through with projects rather than buying flashy things. Any time I worked a “real job” in the past, I always felt like I was wasting my time. Having my energy drained by masters without vision and rubbing elbows with coworkers lost in drama never seemed all that mature and productive despite any propaganda that said otherwise. I always resented it… always.
I spent years writing, and it’s true that you need to spend about ten thousand hours (or ten years) if you want to come close to mastering any craft. Only in the past few years have I produced anything that would be worth a stranger’s time, much less their money. Plus it’s fun to see the ego diminish as competency increases; I’ve thrown away enough bullshit literary flourishes and pretentious use of language to the point that I don’t have to worry about being completely embarrassed when I look at my own writing. But then again, that’s still just ego talking… because now I’ve got to get a real job, and since I don’t want to be unhappy while doing it, that means I’ve really got to set some ego aside when I put on that necktie-noose.
See, for years I’ve gambled everything on storytelling. I single-mindedly devoted myself to that and let everything else slide. Part-time jobs, poverty, milking unemployment, borrowing, begging, sometimes stealing – and those were the good times! Now that my Amazon sales look like ET when he was dying on the bathroom floor, I have to wonder if maybe I’ve built up a humongous pile of bullshit in my head and sold it to my ego in lieu of living a real life. When you think of those phony artists that dress the part and hang out in bars and spin a big yarn about the bullshit they’re into, don’t we naturally react with disgust once we realize it’s all a farce? Of course we do, but then again, it’s easy to see the bullshit when someone else is spouting it. But what if I’m the one spouting it to myself? What if it’s a fact that not every schmuck who’s decent at storytelling gets to do what he wants to do for forty or fifty hours a week because the world simply can’t sustain that fantasy, and he just ends up using people and draining them because he can’t sustain himself? What if he ends up on his death bed and as his heart finally sputters and chokes on a wad of crusty scabs he breathes his last and the veil is lifted and he sees reality – true reality, not the illusion of endlessly shifting forms – and all he sees is a path paved with regret and the idiotic things he did to other people because he thought that it was all going to pay off once he inevitably “made it”?
Fuck me runnin’! That sounds awful! Citizen Kane, It’s a Wonderful Life, and now… me!
Then again, let me rein it in a little bit. I’m not trying to be a huge drama queen. I’m not giving up on writing. I couldn’t even if I tried! But I’m going to have to scale it back. Heck, most “real” writers who get paid so much that they have to open multiple bank accounts in order to hold all the money that’s thrown at them can’t be asked to crank out more than one book every few years… and how could they? Can you imagine juggling a schedule of vacations, meetings with architects building your mansions, parties with television and movie producers, AND writing a book on top of that? I’ve already got a leg up on those guys; despite being racked by the guilt of not being able to pay my way through existence, I can knock out several books a year, no problem. The only difference is that now I’m going to have to devote most of my time and energy to a job; someone else’s vision, rather than Demonworld, will have to take precedence. Unlike a younger, dumber Kyle B. Stiff, I’m going to devote energy toward finding a way to enjoy it rather than resent it. I probably won’t be able to write during the week because, let’s face it, I’m physically weak and just can’t handle it… but I can still devote a decent chunk of the weekend toward receiving transmissions from the Grand Architect Omni-Mind Entertainer (who gives artists their visions) and chronicling the further adventures of li’l Wodi, Cromulus, and those cute bunnies in my short stories.
Let’s look at this transformation in a positive light, you guys! I’m going to set aside my ego and quite possibly become a real human boy! Kyle B. Stiff is dead! The new aeon of Kyle B. Stiff has begun! There are no longer any maps or guideposts to lead the way. Those were only a fantasy, the hallucination of order where no order was even possible. Strange horizons will be our only goal, and the person I’ll meet on the mountaintop will be a mysterious freak I have never met before, dancing out of rhythm and wearing a mask in the shape of my own face…
Watch from front row seats as gladiator-writers from all across the galaxy fight in a vicious, unbelievable battle to the death! If you’ve ever given half a shit about Kyle B. Stiff, then let your voice be heard – by shrieking like a madman alongside thousands of other fans of no-holds-barred slug-fests! Hell, you don’t even have to vote for Kyle B. Stiff. Just vote for whoever destroyed the competition with the most insane series of body-destroying literary combos!
Just go HERE to check out the stories!
Want to see what happened in the previous episode of Kyle B. Stiff’s battle for supremacy in the Iron Writer competition? Then click HERE.
By Kyle B. Stiff
One of Kyle B. Stiff’s personal aides rushed into his meditation sanctuary. His nerves were frazzled due to a fubar state of mind and sleepless nights tossing and turning and worrying like a little punk over the upcoming Iron Writer Tournament, and only his master, the awe-inspiring gladiator Kyle B. Stiff, could put his silly-ass mind at ease.
The aide found Kyle B. Stiff deep in meditation in a very chill room decorated with a few tasteful pieces dedicated to violent destruction – the sort of thing that a master gladiator would contemplate before a battle. One piece was a framed photograph of a nuclear explosion, the mushrooming result of a few physicist-warriors pooling their intellectual resources in order to ruin thousands of civilian lives. Another piece showed the amazing Battle at Kruger, when a few buffalo got their shit together and fought against a gang of lions with a powerful hunger for baby buffalo. Still another piece was a historical representation of Conan slaying Thulsa Doom with the shards of his father’s sword. None of these pieces did anything to set the poor aide at ease.
“Master!” said the aide. “Don’t you know that the Iron Writer Tournament, a brutal, bone-crushing event that pits past Iron Writer winners against one another, begins this Thursday?!”
Kyle B. Stiff slowly turned to his aide. He looked serene as balls. “I know it,” he said.
“Then how can you just sit there?! Th-th-this is suh-suh-serious!!!”
“My dear little fug-nuggler.” Kyle B. Stiff stood and radiated an aura that could be considered overpowering to anyone who hadn’t roamed the stars for endless millennia seeking competitors to ruthlessly grind to a pulp. “I can’t have you tweaking out as you sharpen my weapons, prepare my armor, and keep my industrial-strength toilet in working order. You’re only nervous about this amazing competition because you’re afraid that we’ll lose. You have to remember that setting foot in the arena means death. If you go into battle praying to survive, then death will smell your fear and come to claim you. Chasing after victory means chasing after a ghost.”
Kyle B. Stiff laid a hand on the aide’s shoulder, and the poor little wretch felt the weight of the mitten that had crushed countless worlds in its grip.
“Anyone who competes has already won something,” said Kyle B. Stiff. “We’ve put our dick and balls on the line, and that’s more than many will ever do. Maybe that is enough.”
The aide hummed and hawed for a bit, then said, “Well… to be honest… I wouldn’t mind seeing a whirlwind of destruction. All the competitors are winners from past events, you know… I mean, there’s going to be quite a bit of blood-letting, don’t you think?”
“Like a dance in an abattoir, old friend,” said Kyle B. Stiff. “Now go and duct-tape a battle-axe to a .50 cal sniper rifle for me, will you? Because this one’s going to be a real doozie.”
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Curious about the Iron Writer competition? Check it out HERE.
Want to see the last installment of Kyle B. Stiff’s epic battle in the Iron Writer arena? HERE it is!
(UPDATE! The newest installment in Kyle B. Stiff’s battle is now available. Check it out HERE.)
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If you liked this post, you should check out some of my books. I’ve got an epic series called Demonworld, which is equal parts Mad Max and Lord of the Rings (think “science fantasy”), and a much-loved gamebook series called Heavy Metal Thunder which is currently a hyperlinked Kindle book but will be a fancy phone app any day now.