My Gameplan for the Apocalypse

Since everyone is doing it, I thought it right to detail my plans for the end of society. What’s that? Of course, it’s vogue. If there’s one thing it’s Ben Ditmars knows, it’s what’s vogue. And if there are two things I know, it’s probably how off-putting third-person portrayals can be. Regardless, in the events that follow, I will have a full-proof survival strategy: unless Pet Rocks arrive from the ’80s with revenge in their hearts.

  1. Zombie or Large-Scale Epidemic
    Assuming the Umbrella Corporation buys Dow Chemicals or acquires a massive government contract, we can expect human experimentation that will lead to murderous monsters. It’s just good business. And my chance at living out the future my adolescence prepared me for. How would I survive? There wouldn’t be near enough bullets or hedge clippers to go Tallahassee from the movie Zombieland. I would have to improvise and cure all the deformed hippies being vagrants in my yard. First, I would go to the medicine cabinet and find the rubbing alcohol. Then scream about cotton balls. Why are they never where I left them? Once I tore the bathroom apart like the undead monsters I want to re-kill, the alcohol goes on the cotton balls. Then, BAM! I stand on the roof and huck them at passing brain Nazis. You know it will work, because rubbing alcohol is good at killing bacteria – and probably the T-Virus.
  2. Asteroid or Comet Collision
    There aren’t many places you can hide when the earth has angry sex with a space rock. My initial reaction might be to seek high ground as the oceans engulf my last hope for Chicken McNuggets (I don’t miss them now, but I know after the earth has descended into eternal darkness I will want the flavor only processed meat dipped in ranch dressing can provide). My best bet? I’ve long suspected the highest setting on my ceiling fan has  a greater purpose than shaking the walls like a demonic helicopter. Obviously the creators of this contraption never intended any mere mortal to pull the cord three times. If I so dare (an am worthy of this Zeus-like power) the upward force of my fan should push the asteroid to another unsuspecting solar system, preferably without fans of their own.
  3. Trump Becoming President
    The Donald receiving the Republican nomination for President of the United States is scary enough, let alone him actually fitting his hair into Oval Office. There is an easier solution than living under a demagogue bent on denying basic freedoms to Muslims and women. Mexico pays to build the wall… around Trump. Think about it: Trump gets to rant all he wants and we don’t have to hear him speak. His supporters can hop in Cask of Amontilado style as we brick them in. They can even go down in the manner of Pharoahs with their life-size love-dolls of David Duke and copies of Mein Kampf.
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Highlights of 2015

2015 has all but come and gone. Let’s take a look at some of the headlines that made it happen:

10. Adele is the Oprah of music.  (I see the Adele Network in her future.)

9. Gwen Stefani realized for the first time since she hated me that she used to love me. (Because Used to Love You has Ben Ditmars written all over it.)

8. Secure servers do not refer to beach volleyball. Politicians should not shout their personal information across the court while playing. (Yes. That means you, Hillary.)

7. ISIS is a terrorist organization. The CIA suspects its supporters enjoy Faygo and responding to, “whoop, whoop” calls. Please report any and all insane clown activities.

6. Muslims ban all billionaire blowhards with fake hair. Oh, wait.

5. Bruce Jenner becomes first Kardashian woman with accomplishments. The world quickly implodes.

4. The Force Awakens… as do Furries with a Wookie fetish.

3. Despite recent Supreme Court decision, Katniss does not marry Greasy Sae in Hunger Games. Peeta rejoices and bakes bread.

2. The Dab and Nay Nay continue to perplex older white men.

1. Clemson coach Swinney refuses comment on demon butcher accusations. (But we all know he served more than pizza to the fans.)

15 Nerdy Reasons Why She Stopped Texting…

Have you ever been on a date you felt really well about, but it turns out the other party did not? I might be the poster child for this feeling. Honestly, why am I surprised when a girl drops off the face of the earth after one, two, or even three dates? Nevertheless, I can’t help but wonder what happened. I think it’s human nature to seek closure. So, I’ve collected the most plausible explanations for why my last date (I’ll call her Hermione) has not responded to texts or phone calls for the past week:

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Image Source: Flickr

15. She was abducted by aliens who periodically update her social media accounts.

I don’t try to be a creeper but a guy notices after he’s seen someone for a while. And if the History Channel has taught me anything it’s that the most logical explanation for any uncertainty involves probing and interstellar spacecraft.

14. I was sucked into a parallel universe where we never dated and Donald Trump wants to be President.

It kind of feels that way, when things are going good and you’re really into someone. It suddenly stops and you’re left thinking reality has disintegrated in some fashion. Trump talking on the television does not help matters.

13. Hermione is actually a superhero trying to protect me from an assortment of villains.

Now, if I could believe any of these, it might be this one. I have seen A LOT of superhero films and I would feel comfortable knowing she had my safety in mind. Plus, the Green Goblin freaks me out.

12. Her Hogwarts acceptance letter came and she chose magic over being a Muggle.

Building on the last, I can totally understand the desire to perform spells and spontaneously appear places. I’m a pretty sweet guy, but I can’t find you a real unicorn.

11. Doctor Who enlisted her as a new companion.

Zipping around the galaxy? I really think we could have done this Amy and Rory style, Hermione.

10. A higher power called and she’s building a MySpace page for Jesus.

Pamphlets will soon follow.

9. She’s joined the Borg collective.

Ironically, she never tried to assimilate me.

8. She’s secretly a cylon.

I didn’t get a chance to check her programming, but earth might be in danger.

7. The internet absorbed her like the TV in Poltergeist.

If she’s avoiding the light, it would explain her reluctance to return my texts.

6. George R.R. Martin named a character after her and now she’s dead.

Martin really does kill everyone. Women you go on dates with are no exception.

5. Spontaneous vacation to Alderaan. Oops.

I tried to tell her the Death Star was ready, but she stopped responding.

4. She volunteered as tribute in the Hunger Games.

But, hey, she’s happy with Peeta. I just need to find my Katniss. Or Luna Lovegood.

3. She’s on the run from Terminators.

I can forgive her for this lapse. Clearly, we’ve all been on the run from murderous cyborgs. Most of us just call them bill collectors.

2. A vindictive dinosaur took her captive

Unfortunately, I’m not a plumber…

1. Ganon has the Triforce.

Holy shit. There’s only one option when Hyrule is in danger. Get on Epona and ride!

Rotten Leaves

Every month I meet with my poetry group, as part of The Mid-Ohio Fine Art Society. We discuss crazy revenge stories and share poetry. It’s a lot of fun and if you’re in the Marion Ohio area, I encourage you to join us. You can find the Facebook group here. During the last meeting three of our members, including me, wrote a short poem together. I would like to share it with you today.

Poem composed by Agnew Pickens, Pilar Edler, and Ben Ditmars.

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rotten leaves decaying on the ground
better than tomatoes
in the summer
the worms that turn rejoice
in the musky smell
they leave behind for spring’s return
feeding my loins…
with rich nutrients storage
the air once hot and heavy
now frosted
preserving the promise
that our love
will return.

IndieVengeance Day 2015

Last week I traveled to Dallas for an annual book signing known as IndieVengeance Day. We get together, the indies and I, once a year and hang out. We also sell books: small books, big books, books that climb on rocks. Okay, none of them climbed rocks, but a couple have ghosts, and that’s just as good.

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The journey started in the air…

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Photograph by Jacqueline Smith

But quickly involved books and stress cubes.

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Photograph by Jacqueline Smith

Hey, poetry!

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Photograph by Jacqueline Smith
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Photograph by Jacqueline Smith

The books and their Davros. Muahaha.

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Scott’s fortune cookie predicted a photo bomb.

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And there was this yummy croissant.

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Photograph by Claudette Peercy

The Justice League prepared to fight evil… and sell books.

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Photograph by Claudette Peercy

After Red Lobster. Don’t we look full?

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I found this steer at the airport.

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My last view of Dallas.

*****

It was an incredible event filled with my favorite people on earth. Once more, my deepest thanks to Amber Norrgard for all the hard work she did setting everything up.

You can find information on the authors in attendance here:

Julie Fraynhttp://juliebird.ca

James Peercy: http://www.jameswilliampeercy.com

Amber Jerome-Norrgard: http://amberjeromenorrgard.com

Stacey Roberts: http://www.trailertrashbook.com

Paula Walker Baker: https://paulawalkerbaker.wordpress.com

Jacqueline E. Smith: http://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com

Debbie Watts Reece: http://www.beebopbooks.com

Susie Clevenger: http://www.susieclevenger.com

100 Ways to Read the Harry Potter Series

I posed a question to my Facebook friends, all of whom are incredibly smart, about the many different ways to read the Harry Potter series. I had done several already, but was curious how other people have enjoyed the books. This is what we found. Please feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comment section.

© 2010 Universal Orlando Resort. © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR

1. Backwards
2. Forwards
3. Upside down (preferably the result of Levicorpus)
4. Paperback
5. Hardback
6. In braille
7. First and Seventh, then the rest in order
8. All the books with Voldemort (1, 2, 4, 5, 7)
9. All the books without Voldemort (3, 6)
10. Voldemort in chronological order
11. Fight scenes
12. Love scenes
13. Wizard duels
14. Quidditch matches
15. Parts featuring the Pensieve
16. Harry’s detentions
17. Parts with Snape and Harry
18. Parts featuring Harry Potter’s parents (including the Mirror of Erised)
19. Defense Against the Dark Arts lessons
20. Transfiguration lessons
21. Potions lessons
22. Charms lessons
23. Divination lessons
24. In another language
25. Audiobooks transmitted via Morse-code
26. Parts featuring Hedwig
27. On public transport
28. Dressed as Harry Potter or your favorite character
29. At King’s Cross Station
30. While watching films with subtitles
31. Competitively against friends
32. Aloud from memory
33. Parts featuring Sirius
34. Parts featuring the Marauders
35. Holding a wand
36. Read as Gollum
37. Replacing “Harry” with “Frodo.”
38. Read and write down references and inferences to other works such as Tolkien and C.S. Lewis
39. Sitting in front of a cauldron
40. Read while someone claps coconut shells like Monty Python
41. In sign language
42. At a public library
43. The Quidditch matches out loud on an airplane. It’s just like magic!
44. On a broomstick
45. Inside a Ford Anglia
46. Drinking butterbeer
47. Wearing a turban
48. While everyone watches the Muggle World Cup
49. Scenes featuring polyjuice potion
50. Scenes featuring Fred and George
51. The sortings
52. With a flashlight
53. Arguments between Ron and Hermione
54. Arguments between Ron and Harry
55. While eating cauldron cake
56. While eating jellybeans
57. Scenes involving magical creatures
58. Scenes with Harry and Malfoy
59. With a puppet on your hand
60. With a British accent (Or American if you are British)
61. Take turns reading with a friend
62. Change the genders of characters
63. Singing it
64. Rapping it
65. Wearing a Wizard’s hat
66. Each paragraph as a horse racing commentator or auctioneer
67. Scenes at the Ministry of Magic
68. Scenes in the Room of Requirement
69. Parts with Hogwarts’ ghosts
70. Parts with Nearly Headless Nick
71. Scenes involving Peeves
72. Scenes involving apparition
73. Chapters with Portkeys
74. Chapters with Floo Powder
75. Scenes in The Forbidden Forest
76. Read as Dobby
77. Scenes with Dobby
78. Parts where Horcruxes are destroyed
79. Uses of Patronuses
80. Scenes in the library
81. Scenes in the Great Hall
82. Chapters at Christmastime
83. Each sentence as a question
84. Scenes at the Burrow
85. Scenes at Privet Drive
86. Parts with Luna Lovegood
87. Performing unique voices for each character
88. Pretending you are Rita Skeeter making snide comments
89. Every word in all of the books that doesn’t pertain to the story itself; publishing info, acknowledgments, etc.
90. In jive or street talk
91. While translating into Klingon or another language
92. Only sentences containing words coined in the series
93. Scenes in Dumbledore’s office
94. Scenes in the Hospital Wing
95. Parts with the Invisibility Cloak
96. Performing spells as you read
97. With a real witch
98. Inside a castle
99. Parts with House-elves
100. At Harry Potter World

Special thank you to Maria Savva, Ford Forkum, Merita King, Darcia Helle, Cathy Sheets, Linda Reis, Jackie Smith, Peter Forster, Claudette Peercy, Jherek Cummings, and Cinta Garcia-Stone for their countless suggestions.

News and a Disney Poem!

Hello, everyone! I mostly post poetry but occasionally I have poetry related news. Next Thursday, July 16th, I will participate in an author fair and sign books at The Findlay-Hancock County Public Library from 6-8 pm. I will be giving out these:

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Pretty cool, right? It should be a lot of fun. For more information, follow the Facebook event.

In other news, I had two poems published in a fantastic online journal, Across the Margin. Be sure and check it out here.

And now, as promised, poetry inspired by the music of Disney.

Kiss the Girl

swoon, you sigh
the moon ain’t heavy,
baby, when you wish
on stars a thousand
years is worth the wait.

© Ben Ditmars 2015

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Famous Quotes Reimagined

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all love is created equal.” – Thomas Jefferson

“To love is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” – Oscar Wilde

“If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it’s that love will not be contained. Love breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously… I’m simply saying that love finds a way.” – Ian Malcolm

“We shall go on to the end, we shall love in France, we shall love on the seas and oceans, we shall love with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our love, whatever the cost may be, we shall love on the beaches, we shall love on the landing grounds, we shall love in the fields and in the streets, we shall love in the hills; we shall never surrender.” – Winston Churchill

Calling All Writers: Fun Facts

The Great Jackie Smith (not unlike the gift giving pumpkin) did an awesome online hangout and wrote a post about it. She challenged other writers to share fun facts and how they got into writing.  Since, I’m reclusive and seldom post more than poetry and the occasional joke, I thought it time to open up.

Admittedly, how poetry became my thing is kind of convoluted and not exactly clear. I wrote a lot of stories when I was young: for friends, myself, siblings, or anyone who would read them really. Poetry was more of my guilty pleasure growing up: something I did secretly and never shared. It’s hard letting people see what goes on inside your head and poetry might reflect that better than anything. I was a shy, insecure kid (though totally different now of course. I mean it. I’VE CHANGED, DANG IT!). I don’t think I really shared any of my poetry publicly until my high school English teacher noticed some of my fiction and started a writing club. Though I mostly did read my fiction for the group, I felt brave enough to try some poetry. And it wasn’t until college I got back into it.

My creative writing professor was really instrumental in that, as was his belief in students submitting to the college literary journal. My first try, I didn’t get in and felt devastated. Like I said, it’s hard to not take rejection personally, especially when poetry comes from somewhere deep inside of you. But I kept writing and tried again. And that’s all you really can do: you can’t fear failure or not being any good. Poetry is brave, even when we aren’t. I managed to get some poems into my college literary journal the next year and placed second in a contest. It was an amazing feeling as I’d never really won anything before.

I wish I could say it was all history from there but frankly I’m not that great and it continues to be a journey. There’s so much life left to live and life more than anything creates words. My greatest cure for poetic writers block has always been to be alive and let it inspire me.

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