Monthly Archives: September 2012

Nik Korpon

C&C: What do you have in your pockets?

I only wear (Levi’s) 511s so I don’t have a lot of pocket space. Right now, I’ve got my phone, a button from the Cock Sparrer show a couple weeks ago that I can’t seem to take out of my pocket because I’m still trying to relive that set, a receipt for parking from the MWA dinner last night, a to-do list for writing, a to-do list for the house, a grocery list and a to-do list of my to-do lists. I’m not joking about the last one. I really wish I was. I can’t help it.


C&C: You’re a tattoo artist? What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to tattoo on someone/the strangest story of a tattoo session (or both)?

I help run a shop but don’t actually tattoo. A couple of my friends said I could tattoo them but I’ve never gotten round to it. That aside, I’ve been hanging out at shops for the last ten years and have seen a bunch of weird stuff. Probably my favorite was at Inksmith and Rogers in Jacksonville. This dude wanted a super-realistic indian chief head on his shoulder with an American flag waving behind it and an eagle somewhere in there. I said, ‘You do understand the relationship between indians and Americans, right?’ to which he replied, ‘Yeah, but I wanted the flag waving, like the wind’s blowing real hard.’ Another guy down there wanted USMC written in Kanji. I asked him the same question (but with Chinese subbed for indian) and mentioned the threat of nuclear oblivion and he called me a hippie faggot. Florida’s got all kinds of great stories for tattoos.

 The ones we see most now are either meaningful words/Beatles lyrics in script on the ribs or all these college girls who come in to get a cross on their wrist. When you get a tattoo, it should be oriented for the viewer, not the wearer. They don’t listen to us when we tell them that so there are a bunch of Prada girls walking around Baltimore with upside-down crosses on their wrists. It’s the small things in life you have to appreciate.


C&C: How many tattoos do you have? 

Five: My arms, my legs and my torso.


C&C: What was your first job?

I worked at a steak stand then a sausage stand in the Renaissance Festival for two years when I was 14 and 15. If you haven’t seen the Ren Fest, it’s basically people dressing up in medieval swag and drinking beer from oversized steins and eating drumsticks of meat and it’s an excuse for debauchery and public vomiting. My bosses liked me because I was clever and people wanted to see a fourteen-year-old kid yelling out these incredibly innuendo-laden calls for people to eat my meat and whatnot. It was horribly inappropriate but I thought it was funny. I always wanted to be one of the jouster-people but the guy told me I was too fat. He was a dick.

 There was a dumpling stand a couple doors down from us. We’d trade steak and sausage for their whipped cream cans and do whip-its in the back path area. It looked like a teenage Vietnam, all these kids laid out from whip-its. The customers always complained because there was never any whipped cream for their dumplings.


C&C: What did you scribble and draw on your notebooks/desks in school? 

When I was in kindergarten I drew turtles with speech bubbles that said School Sucks. I’d show them to this girl, Kathy, who sat beside me and she’d laugh, so I’d draw more. My family went to the same church as my teachers, so they’d tell my parents and they’d ground me. I think middle/high school was mainly Guns-n-Roses pictures, Nirvana, Bones Brigade and Kryptonics logos and those little flipbook drawing of people doing tricks I couldn’t figure out how to do on a real board. I still can’t do them, actually; even 25 years later, all I do is big slow ollies and power slides. I’d also copy these creepy drawings I found in various books that Kurt Cobain did. I was big into Nirvana. Real big. Hearing ‘Lithium’ for first time changed the way I thought about things and I’m convinced if it wasn’t for that song, I wouldn’t be who I am today. That got me heavily into punk rock (because I could never find the bands that were in the old Powell Peralta videos when my mom took me to Sam Goody [remember when CDs came in those gigantic packages? Like the liner cards or whatever they’re called for books? And you could grip a rack of cassettes like an eight-track Wolverine?]) I started writing songs–which led into shitty Beat poems which led to shitty Nick Hornby stories which led to the shitty Jim Thompson stories I write now–when I was around thirteen and would find these random Nirvana bootlegs and appropriate his lyrics as my own because my friends hadn’t heard the songs. They said, ‘Man! That sounds just like Nirvana!’ and I’d say, ‘Yeah, I was just messing around and it happened.’ I remember crying when my Bestamor (grandmother) died, and crying when my parents told me they were getting divorced, but I bawled when I heard Kurt Cobain did himself. Well, I don’t think he actually killed himself and have heard pretty convincing arguments from people in that circle, but that’s a different story.

 What was the question again? Oh yeah. Courtney Love can suck it.


C&C: Is Halloween your favorite holiday? And do you trick-or-treat?

Totally, though I also really like the four weeks leading up to Christmas, what with all the decorations and music and people being relatively civil with each other. I don’t care much about Christmas Day because I feel uncomfortable with people buying me stuff (residual Catholic Guilt) and I’ve been working since I was fourteen, so I can buy what I need myself.

 But, yeah, Halloween. We actually just brought up our decorations and are super stoked to scare-up the house. Last year was the first time I’d gone trick-or-treating because I took my son, but I went all the time when I was younger. Probably the reason I’ve had most of my teeth filled. My Wee One is going as a bee this year and wife will be the queen bee, but I can’t find a costume to look like Yaritza Burgos, so I don’t know what I’ll be. Possibly a skeleton or werewolf. They’re classic for a reason.

 On a related note, they should make sequel to Trick-R-Treat every year rather than remaking all the good old movies.


C&C: No meat at all? Health or philosophy, or both?

I started eating seafood when I was 22 because my doctor told me I’d have a stroke in ten years if I didn’t change my diet, so I’m not a vegetarian. Well, I call myself an 80s-vegetarian, back when fish wasn’t meat and ketchup was a vegetable. It started at philosophy, though the hardline stance has softened over the years. As long as the animals are humanely raised and slaughtered with no hormones and crap, I don’t have a problem with it. I do think everyone should see an animal both before it’s slaughtered and during, just so they have an appreciation for it. That’s my whole outlook on food, though, is that there’s a very large disconnect between what’s in the fields and what’s on our tables. Industrial farming has ruined our relationship with our meals for a number of years. It’s nice to see the local-food movement taking our bodies back from government subsidies.


C&C: Which Batmobile is your favorite? Go back to Adam West’s for the show, all the way through Bale’s Tumbler, give it a think and tell me your honest opinion.

Tim Burton’s. I like Adam West’s as an actual car more than the Batmobile, and though the Nolan one is pretty gnarly, it’s a little too high-tech for me. Don’t get me started on that Bat-wing thing. I wanted to see Batman, not Independence Day dressed in black.


 C&C: What was your first pet?

A box turtle called Boxey, a chameleon called Chameley, a beta fish called Betty and a huge tortoise called Biggie. If you read my books, you’ll see that same creativity at work. The first pet I had who was actually mine was a cat called Isabela, named after Bela Lugosi because she drew blood from me on a regular basis. She was my homegirl for ten years and I had to put her down last winter. I bawled like a little girl with a skinned knee. I wanted to get a tattoo for her, but a dude with a picture of his cat on him isn’t very tough.


C&C: How many times have you seen Back to the Future?

Enough that I’ve used it to build a class lecture on narrative chronology (which none of the class understood because they’d never seen BttF [Fitzgerald did not write about The Damned Generation; I teach them]) and written an essay about the inherent time-ism (prejudice regarding era as opposed to race or class) of the movie for my Masters program. My professors weren’t nearly as impressed as I’d thought they’d be. Sometimes Brits have no sense of humor. I also wrote the main points of that essay into a conversation in my book Stay God but cut it out because it wandered a bit too far.

So, a couple times.


Michael J. Seidlinger

C&C: What do you have in your pockets?

 A tattered notepad full of various thoughts and ideas that, at the time of my writing, seemed to be worth jotting down but more often than not the ideas are scribbled out. Not that the handwriting is very legible anyway. Hmm, what else. Phone, not a smartphone; I’m too poor for that. A wallet with no money in it. Same reason: poor. A lighter in the event that I have something to smoke. Keys because we all carry keys even if we don’t know what they’re for. And… yeah, that’s about it.

C&C: Do you wear shoes in the house? Why or why not?

 Nope. It’s probably due to the way I was raised. We never wore shoes in the house. The house was always clean, with some sort of order. Very homely.

C&C: Who do you fight??

 Myself? Words? I fight to stay awake. I fight to stay interested in what’s around me. Other than that, I’ve fought a few people in the ring with boxing gloves and weeks/months of training. A number of rounds to make a statement or to KO the other guy.

C&C: I cheated and read an interview with you – you say you can never relax. This makes us very good friends automatically, as I can never relax either. What are some of the ways you’ve TRIED to relax? Jig-saw puzzles, vivisection, coffee, yoga, etc.

 I’ve tried thinking of nothing – getting all Zen – doesn’t work. I’ve tried staying up until I’m beyond exhausted… doesn’t work. I end up staying up all night into the new day. By then I’m wired and tired. But still no relaxing. I’ve tried long walks, which works surprisingly well; I’ve tried extensive exercise, but that just makes me tired. I’ve tried liquor, but that’s a temporary kind of relief because inevitably I end up fighting back the groggy feeling post-inebriation with whatever I have on my plate to finish. Like right now, I’m writing this after a number of drinks and having completely sobered up and yet I feel a need to answer these questions.

 Coffee is effective until enough caffeine gives me that rapid jolt of upbeat energy. Umm. I think the long walks and casual exercise proved to be the most effective.

C&C: Can you dance?

 No, but we can pretend that I do.

C&C:  Ooooh, what dances do you pretend to be able to do? The running man? Crumping? This pretend-dancing interests me. What is your bad dancing like?
My pretend-dancing knows no bounds. I can dance any dance, many of them haven’t yet been invented yet but, guess what? On the imaginary dance floor, I’m inventing 10 dances a night. My bad dancing consists of average to below-average slow dancing and pretty much nothing else. After a couple pre-teen mishaps, I discovered I couldn’t keep up to any beat faster than the ballad. I was a mean mosher back in my late teens, though. Nowadays, the only dancing I do is the occasional dance of the shadowboxer.
C&C: Did you have super hero underoos as a small child?
Hmm. I’d most likely say that I never wear underwear but, as a child at least, I was familiar with the joy of wearing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pajamas. Does that count?
C&C: Who was your first crush?
Ah, you just had to ask. I’ve had quite a few crushes. I mean, who doesn’t? Unless you’re completely heartless, you tend to find something attractive in another human being. Many of mine begin and end without any pursuit. Its typically something I like about how the person carries herself, the way she half-grins or talks about something she adores. In the case of crushes, I’m more quantity over quality. At any given point in time, there’s probably someone I could fall for. I’ll settle on one that happened during the tail end of high school.
She didn’t have any of my classes and she didn’t go to my school. Rather, she worked at a nearby pharmacy, one of those CVS/Walgreens kind of places, and she was slightly older than me. Probably a year into college. Predictably, I noticed her while picking up something unimportant after school but after I knew she existed, I made a point to show up every day and buy… something. I went through a wide range of snack foods before trying cigarettes just to get to talk to her for more than a few seconds. The only reason I ever bothered smoking cigarettes was to talk to her. Kind of unusual now that I think about it. Anyway, like most of my crushes, they never amount to much. By the time I even thought about asking her out, she had quit her job. I only had a first name, Monica, and so there wasn’t anything to do. I didn’t want to ask any of her former colleagues because that would be too weird.
What a waste, now that I think about it. She was quite the bubbly and intelligent type. Hey Monica, are you out there?
C&C: How did you get into boxing? Was there something specific that made you want to put on the gloves?
I tried other martial arts before I got into boxing. Combat is deeply rooted into my childhood. I always watched kung fu flicks, played fighting games, and practiced various martial arts. I attended Tae-Quan-Do up to purple belt, I believe, and afterwards, I bought a lot of different VHS Sambo training videos.
When I was 19 or so, I gave boxing a shot and got more and more into it. It definitely fit my needs for trading punches and evading danger. A brush with mortality. It reminds me that I’m alive and that I won’t always be so lucky.
C&C: Are birds evil? Do they want to bite you, like ALL of them, do you think? I think that.
If we are talking about women, as in that term nobody uses anymore, then I’d say that birds may in fact be evil but I love evil and I’m more than willing to play with evil.
If we are talking about actual birds, I’d disagree. Birds are, at most, misunderstood. They are prey animals after all. They do what they need to do to survive. Ever talked to a parrot or watched a crow carefully wait out its victim? There’s an eerily high degree of intelligence in such a small and compact skin.
Animals, birds, other human beings, etc… I’d like to think they like me. If they want to bite, it’s only to get my attention. I never bite back.

Trent Zelazny


C&C: What do you have in your pockets?

A pen, 8 cents in change, a pack of cigarettes, a lighter, keys, nail clippers, my wallet, and a 2G memory stick. I guess enough things to create a hole in my pocket, or a “‘ole in me pocket,” as animated Ringo might say. And when these pants do develop a hole, I’ll then be able to play Pocket Pool.

C&C: Steve Nash – when was the magic moment, the moment your everlasting love for him really solidified?

It’s a bit of a long story, actually, and I won’t go into the whole thing. It’s become no secret that I lost my fiancée to suicide in April of 2010. I was living in Florida at the time, and had been struggling with a pretty severe drinking problem already, and this event kind of pushed me over the edge, and I became very suicidal myself. I loved basketball as a kid but had exchanged it for some prepubescent need to be cool, trading punk rock and industrial music and whatnot for everything else, certain at that age that a person wasn’t allowed to like all of it. It was an either this or that kind of thing, which happens to most kids at that age.

So I was sitting alone, living alone, drinking more than you can probably imagine, contemplating taking my life every moment I was awake, with the TV constantly on. I’m not a fan of television, but at the time it was my only constant companion. Never in my life did I think I would watch so many episodes of Reba. And one evening I came across a basketball game and it pulled me in. The playoffs had begun, and suddenly I found myself mostly sober, even if it was only for about two hours a night. And every time I woke up, still drunk and wanting to die, a little voice in my head told me that I couldn’t kill myself that day, because Phoenix was playing LA, or Boston was playing Orlando, etc. So the games kept me going. They kept me alive, talking me out of suicide each day. I’d been so out of touch with the sport that I didn’t know who anybody was, but two players stood out to me: LeBron James and, even moreso, Steve Nash. James was still playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers and he impressed me with his power on the court. Steve Nash, on the other hand, impressed me on every level, and was someone I could relate to a little more. A short (for a basketball player) white guy who moved like lightning on the court. Cleveland was eliminated fairly early on but Phoenix, and Steve Nash, made it to the Western Conference Finals against the Lakers, and now I had more reason to stay alive: to see this man who was, suddenly and unexpectedly, becoming a hero to me. I read about him and his struggles to achieve what he had. I read about his philanthropy. Basketball kept me on this planet, especially Steve Nash, and I’m grateful that I caught that first game that night, and grateful that someone like Nash was there, giving me shreds of inspiration and hope every day, and, in a sense, keeping me alive.

C&C: Do you secretly think Elton John was really good before disco ate him and did that to his hair? I do. Tell me about some of the unlikely music you listen to – not the cool stuff.

I never liked Elton John. I’m a big rock and roll fan, but Elton John and Rod Stewart are two I just never liked, though I do like the song “Rocket Man”. As far as my musical taste, and being in bands filled with assholes for years, I don’t really make any distinction between cool music and uncool music. I used to work at a video store and one day I was playing a CD by Tommy James and the Shondells and a woman said, “You’re too young to be listening to this,” to which I responded, “Well, we’re all too young to be listening to Mozart.” She said that was different, and I said, “How? It’s the same twelve notes.” But if you want the dirt, I love Avril Lavigne. I own everything she’s done. I also really like Christina Aguilera, and don’t mind a little Kelly Clarkson from time to time. And y’all know, we down with OPP. And find that juicy double.

C&C: Do you collect anything? Rocks, bones, heads….

I collect old pulp paperbacks, mostly in the crime and sleaze genres. I have some super cool first editions. Sadly, others have now decided to collect them as well, or rather it’s become a little more mainstream, and a book I could’ve gotten for eight bucks a few years back can now go for up to $200. I’m a writer. Of course I don’t have money, so I haven’t been collecting lately.

C&C: A few days ago I saw my dogs making eye contact with a defecating llama. I may never stop thinking about it. Weird, awkward animal moments? Bitten? Kicked in the face? Peed on? Rejected?

I’ve done many kinds of therapy in my life. One I tried was equine therapy, which is a therapeutic measure involving horses to facilitate growth and therapy. I approached the horse calmly, said sweet horse-like things, and right when I reached him he ditched me. The man in charge of the therapy saw this and came to me and said, “You have abandonment issues, don’t you?”

C&C: Who was your first crush?

I’m pretty sure it was Patty Duke. I grew up when Nick at Nite played real classic TV, and I dreamed about Patty Duke a lot, even though I only knew what she looked like in black and white. I still remember my first sexual fantasy about her, which of course I won’t go into. This, of course, may very well have been simultaneous with Shelley Fabares from The Donna Reed Show.

C&C: I’m just going to come right out and say I thnk the Patty Duke thing is pretty twisted. But the skirts in that time period WERE pretty phenomenal. Speaking of old shows, there seems t be among men REALLY strong feelings in the positive or negative towards Eddie Haskell. How do you feel about him?

 Whaddya mean, you goof? You wanna come over to my house and see my razor? It’s gold-plated, and it’s in a genuine plastic case. There aren’t enough Eddie Haskells in the world. If we had more Eddie Haskells, our nation might have less trouble, as Eddie personified trouble in the late fifties and early sixties. And Eddie, well, the worst we might ever have seen out of him would be a bitter garbage man, or maybe, if classed up a bit, a member of Don Corleone’s family. Scratch all I just said. Eddie Haskell rocks.

 C&C: Have the old pulp covers had a large influence towards the covers you choose for your own books, or is that something you even take a huge interest in?

 Yes and no. It depends on whether or not I get a say in the cover art. I LOVE the old pulp covers. One of my reasons for collecting them. Butterfly Potion, which I was given most all say in the cover, is clearly inspired by those covers. But that style would fit every book I’ve written. It’s nice in this day and age that we don’t have to be stuck with one style of cover. To date, I like all the covers to my books, though I have a cover for Shadowboxer I much prefer over the one that’s out there. Given enough time, I hope to wear the publisher down on that one.

C&C: Do you open Christmas presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

 As I have no real feelings toward Christmas one way or the other, these days I just go along with what my mom likes, which is to open them Christmas morning, which is usually actually afternoon, as I really don’t care until I’ve had enough coffee. Plus my brother goes to church. Screwed up as my family is in a lot of ways, we still always celebrate Christmas together.

C&C: Who is your favorite super hero and why?

 Spider-Man. He’s just a normal geeky kid, but he can also climb walls.