Sunday, December 6, 2009

winter is cold, beards are itchy, and writing a blog helps

As I look out my window to a bright sun and blue sky,

I find it hard to believe that winter has arrived. Yet arrived it has, and with a cold vengeance. While we certainly don't have the snow in West Michigan, Chicago being along Lake Michigan makes for some bitterly frigid winters.

In response to this, I've unpacked my hat and gloves, dusted off my winter coats, and attempted to grow a beard:

--which I thought would make me look like a "struggling writer" but instead, I think makes me look more like a "potential serial killer." Whatever the case may be, its at least helping to keep my face warm.

Speaking of a struggling writer, after I posted two of my poems in the previous blog entry, one published and one the unofficial, unpublished "sequel", I thought I would check the list of links of my other published stories. And well that I did. It turned out that many of the links were old or bad. So I've updated them. You can listen to the two podcast stories for free, read several online shorts free as well, or order the printed books anthologies. Enjoy!

Now, back to working on my book, which I've been putting off by making this blog entry because A. I'm slightly hungover (damn alcoholic eggnog) and B. I'm a slacker.

Back to work!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

two poems

The first thing I published after graduating from Aquinas in 2004 was the poem "The Pipes of Pan," which was printed in the The Willows magazine back in February 2007. The magazine has since gone under, and the poem is nowhere to be found online, though I do retain one of my contributor's copies.

A colleague of mine noted the (unintentional) similarity between my poem and Christopher Marlowe's poem to Sir Walter Raleigh 'The Passionate Sheperd to His Love.' He mentioned it would be fun to read an answering poem, much in the way Sir Walter answered Marlowe with, 'The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd.'

And so I wrote the poem "The Maenad's Answer." I present them both now here, free of charge, for your enjoyment. Comments are, of course, welcome:

The Pipes of Pan

By Patrick Hurley

Have you heard my pipes,
my lass,
their sweet, seductive call?

They’re chilling, shrilling, trilling,
my lass,
amongst the leaves of fall.

Have you heard them dance,
my lass,
their fey, haunting tune?

They’re cooing, hooing, blewing
my lass,
‘yond the far side of the moon.

They’re calling out for you,
my lass,
to leave both hearth and home.

Come, climb out your window,
my lass,
the night is ours to roam.

We’ll dance and sing and caper and prance,
and frolick the night away.

We’ll whisper, and kiss, and flicker, and drink,
until the dawn of day.

Then we’ll taste your sweet perfume,
naked under cloudless moon,
and when sunrise doth start to loom,

We’ll all fade away.

We’ll all fade away.

Then you shall return,
my lass,
where mother and father wait.

Naked and alone,
my lass,
left adrift by fate.

Count your lucky stars,
my lass,
to walk through father’s hall.

Next time we come a’ calling,
my lass,
you may not return at all.

For the troupe of Pan,
is a hungry troupe,
whose merry-making ne’er ends.

And though we drink and drink and drink,
on food we must depend.

This is why,
oh my fair lass,
we call on thee alone.

For, from time to time,
my lass,
Pan’s troupe needs
flesh and bone.

The Maenad’s Answer to Pan

By Patrick Hurley

Yes I’ve heard your pipes,
my lad,
sounding through my wall.

They’re fleeting, cheating, bleating,
my lad,
hardly seductive at all.

Oh, I’ve seen you dance,
my lad,
prancing like a loon.

Perching, searching, lurching,
my lad,
a hairy, drunk buffoon.

I will walk with you,
my lad,
in the woods so late.

Little do you know,
my lad,
there my sisters wait.

You’ll lie and steal and brag and boast,
idling the night away.

Whilst I pretend to smile and laugh,
thinking of how you’ll pay

Our hungry eyes shine in the gloom,
the beating drums proclaim your doom,
and rising sun will mark you tomb.

Oh how you’ll pay.

Oh how you’ll pay.

Oh you might come through,
my lad,
with naught but aching head.

Winesick and forlorn,
my lad,
wishing you were dead.

Count your stupid blessings
my lad,
to wake w’ both horns intact.

Next time you come a’calling
my lad,
you may leave on your back.

For a Maenad’s claws
are long and sharp
and hunger for taste of man.

Because we take what we can find,
we’ll settle for foolish Pan.

So you see,
oh fairy lad,
the truth of my sisterhood.

We’ll save a dance for you,
my lad,
in the end
we will have blood.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

the good and the bad (and the cool)

-great weekend... tons of things got done

-I GOT ANOTHER STORY ACCEPTED FOR PUBLICATION. "The Nature of My Game" is one of my shortest stories, coming in at only 1,000 words, but also one of my favorites. It is perhaps a tad heavy handed, a leetle overtly symbolic, I still love the beat to it, love the ending: it was a lot of fun to finish. I wrote it several years ago, but re-wrote and heavily edited it listening continuously to one of my favorite Rolling Stones songs, a lyric from which the title of story comes from. The magazine to finally accept the piece (I had numerous rejection letters on this story, with editors saying they really liked it, but it was not for them) is called Ghostlight Magazine, a quarterly put out by the Great Lakes Horror Writers association. Such good news!

-I haven't written anything this week. I feel like such a fucking slacker.

-Work has been the pits and the shits. Just this week. Not because of anything I've done... Its just been super fucking busy, and people are losing their minds with all the projects that are careening back and forth. Can't wait for another two weeks to pass. I desperately want to take a week's vacation. Not 'til after Thanksgiving though.

Check out some of the artwork I've been in charge of directin/creating at work, with a really talented artist Rich Lo:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Quick Update

I have a new phone. (T-Mobile Wing, given to me as a gift)

I have taken pictures with my phone, of my apartment, which I enjoy very much:

I have Twitter. I enjoy it very much.

I have a raise. Not much, but enough to order out every once in awhile and not feel guilty.

I am desperately out of shape. Seriously, I had trouble running my favorite two mile lake route.

I haven't written anything for my book in two weeks.

I paid off a credit card. (in large part due to working part time for my friends at Shutterbooth Chicago)

I have had several very nice personal rejections letters for stories recently, all of which tell me how my story was great and almost made it in. I find these maddening since I'm simultaneous grateful for the praise but frustrated that some of my stories are still unpublished.

I am hungry. Time to order out. Hello Cozy Noodle!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Some days its easy, other days it isn't.

Some days its something I'm always meaning to get to, but it keeps eluding me, obscured by life's meaningless repetitive chores.

Other days I hide from it and try not to think about it, to forget it exists.

But it's always there in the back of my mind. It always finds me.

And then...

Then there are the days when it feels like a wife, a lover, a friend. It sounds like the best song I've ever heard or tastes like the best food I've ever eaten.

I realize as I write this that my ramble could just as easily refer to life in general as it does its titular subject. How amazing. How lovely and simple.

Life should be a story.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

blue sky over a blue lake

I woke up this morning after a very late and very fun night with friends. Though still quite tired, I knew that it was past 11am and if I didn't want to waste the day or destroy my sleep schedule, it was time to emerge from my cocoon of soft sheets and warm comforters, open the door from my cavernous and pitch-black room, and start the day.

I stumbled into the kitchen, poured the rest of yesterday's coffee into a cup and heated the mug in the microwave. While the coffee was re-heating, I cracked open two eggs into a bowl, dashed some salt and pepper in, poured in two "gloops" of milk, whisked, and poured the mixture onto a pan to begin making some scrambled eggs. While the eggs cooked to a fluffy white, I toasted a slice of bread, spread Choco-spread on the toast, pulled my coffee out of the microwave and poured in decent helpings of milk and sugar, changing the blackish mixture within the cup into something creamy and brown.

Once my breakfast was ready, I took the book that I'd been reading, set it out on the table on the patio, placed down a hand-woven placemat from Nicaragua that was a gift from a friend on the table, and laid out my breakfast.

There was a brisk wind off Lake Michigan and the sun shone merrily in the sky, transforming the water into a sea of sapphires and diamonds. I sat with book in one hand, fork in the other, enjoying myself by combining my two favorite activities: reading and eating. Without knowing why, I stopped for a moment. I looked around, felt the warm sun on my face, the cool breeze caressing my skin.

Simply put, it was absolutely beautiful. The breakfast, the book, the coffee, the patio, the sun and the wind. The bright sky, confectionary clouds, the azure water. I sat for a minute, taking it all in, as I have before and will again.

And I realized one simple thing: despite the tiredness of the morning, the mild hangover, the stress at work, the frustrations with writing a book, despite all the turmoils of growing up, letting go and saying goodbye: I am happy.

To realize one's happiness is a simple but joyous thing. And while I have yet to achieve all the goals I have set forth in my life, I realize that, for the most part, I have made a good beginning.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Not my bitch, nor yours

George R.R. Martin is one of my favorite authors. His epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire is one of the most amazing things I've ever read. (and re-read, several times) Here's a good synopsis of it from one of its best fansites around,

Imagine a feudal kingdom on a massive continent in a world filled with many cultures and half-legendary lands and an ancient history. Imagine a time where dragons once lived but magic is now dwindling, yet the seasons can be long or short, bringing glorious summers or terrible winters that last years at a time. Imagine a massive iron throne from which seven kingdoms are ruled, with false knights and true all gathered about it in hopes of blood or glory or profit, and shadows behind it pushing the pieces that make up the game of thrones.

It is as of now, unfinished. Currently, Mr. Martin is working on book five of seven, titled A Dance with Dragons. This volume has taken longer than he initially expected, causing a very small, but somewhat trollish, whiny, and wah-entitlement-me-now! cadre of fans to actively and quite rudely complain on his website and in other chatrooms.

They are, quite simply, douchebags.

One of said d-bags actually wrote to Neil Gaiman (another favorite author of mine) asking if he had a right to feel entitled to have Mr. Martin finish the series. To which Neil simply replied in his very famous blog "George Martin is not your bitch." (read the awesome post here)

The quote "George Martin is not your bitch" has since grown to become somewhat of a meme against these trolls. Which leads me to the original reason I had for posting this blog entry, one of the funniest songs I've heard in a while:

Sci Fi Songs: Sci-Fi Song #20: George R.R. Martin is Not Your Bitch

The song is funny, true, and quite catchy. Well played Mr. John Anealio!

Monday, August 3, 2009

writing a book rant

Goddam you Chapter 2. Every other chapter does what its supposed to. Only you, you bloody cheeky monkey, you convoluted mish-mash of POV shifts, scene changes, and flash-backs, continue to vex me. One day, you will pay for your insolence. This I do so swear.

Fuck you, Chapter 2. Seriously. Do not make me resort to Extreme Measures. I'm not afraid to take Arthur Quilling Crouch's advice and Kill My Darlings.

You best get in line.

/takes deep breath

Okay, done now. :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

warm up blog--getting back in the game!

Yes, I know. Its been quite a while since last I wrote anything for this blog. In my defense, it has been one of the busiest summers I've had in a while, both in professional and social sense. A three million dollar publishing project for work (more on that in another entry perhaps) and three weddings, a funeral, bachelor party, moving into a new apartment and my youngest brother's high school graduation open house.

So yes, busy summer. Not only that, but I'm still trying to write a book. And usually, when it comes to hoarding my creative energy, its a choice between struggling with the book or blogging. And, much as I hate to say it, working on the book will win every time.

But this weekend I spent a satisfying amount of time working on the book (my first--working title The Constable of Bridge) and I felt that I could blog guilt-free.

So this is a warm up blog entry, one to get myself back in the swing of things. Nothing too long or too thoughtful, just random bylines and funny links. Including a comparison between traditional archeological methods vs. doing things the Indiana Jones way:

Things like this just make me a happy panda. Now, I don't know if you've anyone reading this has ever played any old school role-playing games, such as Dungeon & Dragons or Shadowrun. I have, though back in high school I took great pains to hide this little habit from all of my "normal" friends.

If you have played an old-school role-playing game (with metal miniatures, dice, hexagon maps, and the works--no, World of Warcraft doesn't count) and if you are a fan of Lord of the Rings, you have GOT to check out this website.

DM of the Rings

Using screen stills from the movie, the scenario is: what-if LOTR never existed and someone tried to make it a D&D campaign? My synopsis doesn't do it justice. But for those who ever rolled a twenty-sided die and hoped for a 19 or 20, this is absolutely fucking hilarious.

Also, for the Star Wars fans, same concept, a homage to the DM of the Rings, here:

Darths & Droids

Anyway, I hope to become a more active presence on this blog once more. I'm still submitting stories to various magazine and working hard on the book. I hope to have it done by year's end. If any new shorts stories get published, you'll hear it here first!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

This made my day...

Stumbled across this link today and it filled my day with happiness and wonder. If I had had this sleeping bag as a child, I would never have slept in a real bed. (note the lightsaber zipper)

It turns out that it was actually an April Fool's joke, but the demand for item became so big that ThinkGeek is contacting Lucasfilm to apply for a license.

(note: if you haven't seen The Empire Strikes Back, you won't get this at all)

(--and if you haven't seen The Empire Strikes Back, why are we friends? Because you clearly hate freedom)

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I think the tagline to the recent action film Taken should be:

"You will believe that Liam Neeson is still a complete bad ass."

If all action movies were this well made, I probably would go to more of them. It wasn't overflowing with intelligence or anything, but there was a modicum of smart believability, just enough to carry it off.

There were some small issues, such as the overabundance of the Daddy Knows Best syndrome, the fact that in reality, those who operate in human trafficking (the bad guys in the film) rarely pick rich Westerners as their target.

However, it was a very satisfying, fun, dark, and brutally gruesome movie. Liam Neeson carried it off well. Its hard NOT to want to watch human traffickers get the living shit kicked out of them.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Oh my Ogame and a Faceoff

I don't know if its because of my addictive personality, because I haven't played a video game in a while, or because I'm a huge nerd, (probably all three) but I'm completely enthralled with Ogame, a free, text-based real-time space empire strategy game. A few months or so ago my friend Adam got my roommate, me, and a few others to sign up and since then I've been playing it more and more. If I paid as much attention to the stock market as I did to this, I think I might be a rich man.

The problem is, of course, that I'm playing the game when I should be writing, editing, or sending stories out. We'll see how my resolution to write first, play later goes.

ps. This story completely fascinated me. A new face!?! How amazing is that? What really impressed me was how the addition of nasal lining actually stimulated olfactory tissue in the brain and how her sense of taste was restored. I'm curious to see if immunosuppressants will actually work so that her body won't reject the new tissue. I've often wondered what long term side effects of taking such immunosuppresants would be on one's overall health.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

tea and taxes

Well I haven't been on here in a while to update this thing, have I?

In my defense, I've been fighting a terrible cold for the past week, the details and symptoms of which I'll keep to myself. Its been hard dragging my sorry self to work and I've pretty much had no leftover energy to devote to such things as writing, working out, chores, or editing. Luckily I think I'm on the mend.

I will say that the illness bore some good fruit. Because coffee was drying my throat out and causing my mouth to feel like I was being choked with toffee, I switched to drinking green tea for my daily caffeine dosage.

And that, my friends, has definitely been a good thing. I did a little research. Green tea is WAY healthier for you. Maybe its psychosomatic, but I definitely feel better as I sip it. Also, I've noticed several overall health benefits. I sleep better. I don't have coffee breath. Not as jittery. Methinks that even after the illness has finally passed through my system, I may still make the switch permanent.

Anyway, I've been sipping tea and getting things done all day today, including cleaning up my bedroom, buying groceries, and... doing my taxes. The good news is, because of the interest I pay every year on my absurdly large student loans, I am getting a decent return.

The bad news is, I pay interest every year on absurdly large student loans. Sigh. But then again, I think of trips I made, the great semesters I had in Costa Rica, Peru, Ireland, and Chicago and even on campus at Aquinas, and I'm grateful. At least that's what I keep telling myself every month when I write the check.

So. Taxes done? Check. Room cleaned? Check? Actual food in kitchen? Check. Now that the bare necessities are out of the way, time to get back to working on my stories.

Speaking of which, the editor of Well Told Tales just informed me that, in addition to the audio version of my story being available on their podcast website, its also going to be broadcast on the radio this Saturday night. Here's what he had to say:

"One of our readers -- J.B. Goodspeed (a.k.a. Jacob Keebler) -- set it up. He has a three-hour block on Saturday nights, so after a couple of hours of his own music show, we'll get the third hour for "The Well Told Tales Radio Hour," slated to run at 11 p.m. PT on 92.5 The Why ("

How cool is that!?!

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Parliament of Me

Last night, I had the immense pleasure of listening to Andy Catt's reading of my short story "A Parliament of Me," broadcast on the excellent podcast website Well Told Tales.

I was blown away.

The special effects, the different voices that Mr. Catt employed, everything was amazing, far beyond what I expected. One of the interesting changes was his use of British accents for the character(s), something that I never intended when I wrote the story, but now that I hear it, very much approve.

I describe "A Parliament of Me" as Jorge Luis Borges meets Stephen King. It is my one Borges-esque story, although I wrote it long before I had ever read Borges.

The story is roughly 18 minutes long and is completely free and very easy to listen to (though I would suggest, if you like the story, and enjoy website, that you might donate a small amount). Check it out when you can! Here's the link.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

inaugaration and my own anticipation

I very much enjoyed watching the inaugural ceremonies this morning and look forward to catching the re-run of The Daily Show's satirical coverage of the event tomorrow evening.

In the meantime, I've been told that one of my stories will be broadcast in two days time, and the editor of the website, Well Told Tales, told me it was one of their best readings yet.

I'm excited beyond words. For both myself and the country.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

This just blew my mind...

Neil Gaiman, one of my heroes, linked to this article from his blog and after reading it, I feel I must do the same:

I'm very much reminded of Edwin Abbott's book Flatland. Perhaps the British teacher and theologian was more right in his geometrical/sociological satire than we knew. I particularly like the part where the universe is described as "pringle" shaped. (though reading further, if the hologram theory proves sound, it might be actually be sphere shaped, if I understood the article correctly--which I probably didn't)

Fascinating stuff, and it actually feeds into an idea for a story I've been toying around with.

All I will say as a hint is that in the kingdom of the blind, the man who can see is king.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


People keep asking me why I can't stop laughing when I'm reading Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching books about the Feegles (or Nac Mac Feegle) (or also the Wee Free Men, as they sometimes call themselves).

I try to explain to them that they are books featuring creatures that are like indestructible Smurfs from Scotland, on crack, who have watched Braveheart 1000 times.

Most of the time, they respond by giving me a puzzled look and backing away slowly.

But for those of you who are wondering, I've found some perfect illustrations by Paul Kidby depicting what Feegles are and why they're so awesome:

Monday, January 5, 2009

Garrison Keillor rocks

One of the only reasons I enjoy Mondays is Garrison Keillor's weekly "News From Lake Wobegone" monologues, available online for free to download and listen to. This week's (1/3/09) story was a repeat, but its one of my favorites, because it combines two of my favorite things: Costa Rica and Lake Wobegone. Check it out, when you can:

Sunday, January 4, 2009

time to clock back in

As much as I would love to keep on doing what I've been doing for the past weeks, which essentially has been taking it easy, reading books and eating far too much unhealthy foods, I'm beginning to feel restless...

I think my uneasy feeling is my intuition telling me that real life is about to start up once more tomorrow, and that I'd better get ready to get back in the game.

Ah well. My mom once told me that heaven for me would probably entail a comfortable couch and an unlimited supply of both books and breakfast cereal. Perhaps she was right (and I'm inclined to think she partially was) but I need to get writing again. Unless I've pushed myself, I find it difficult to relax and "take 'er easy". I guess its just that Catholic guilt at work!

Well, perhaps its time to excise the guilt. Work, here I come!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ah, the Holidays

Overall, I must say that they went rather well!

I had a great, surprisingly drama-free, time visiting the family, sitting around the house watching movies on Sean's new big screen projector. I loved my gifts and I think everyone in the fam appreciated the ones from me.

Both the Hurley and LaForge Christmas gatherings were completely awesome.

Also, I had a lovely time visiting wineries in Canada and catching up with a dear friend.

And finally New Years.

Let's just say that I celebrated this New Year's Eve with a literal "bang" as it were. (no, my pun has nothing to do with sex you pervs).

Apparently, I am no one to be trifled with. In the way of a far, after last night's misadventures I've been given the nicknames "Killer", "Irish Avenger", "Rocky", and most suprisingly "Ghandi." (thanks EJ) Ask me about it and I may tell you what happened.

And that's all.

Merry Christmas!

Happy New Year!


-the Irish Avenging, Killer Ghandi