The Downside of Welding

For as awful as 2016 was, 2017 is starting off really great. I haven’t been posting as regularly or started my novel, but that’s because I started writing part-time for a local weekly magazine.

And my day job has gotten better as well. I’ve moved up from ‘unskilled labor’ to ‘maintenance apprentice.’ I’m extremely excited about this move. I’ve always wanted to learn a useful skill and now I finally have the chance. It sucks having to work second shift, but it’s a great opportunity and they’re paying for me to go to school.

The only problem with learning to weld?

Every time I spark a stick I get this song stuck in my head.



Awards, Awards, Awards!

When I received a Liebster Award a few weeks ago I though, “Cool. This is something nice and fun. But it probably won’t happen again.”

But then it did happen again. And again. And AGAIN!

It’s all because of this damn keepsmealive blog. Oh wait, one of the things you’re supposed to do to accept the award is thank the person who nominated you. Whoops! Pardon my sarcasm, a very heartfelt thanks guys. These will look great on my mantle between the barb of that stingray who got me and several of my daughters baby dolls.

So without further ado:

(OK, so they didn’t specifically nominate me for the Treasure Trove Award, but at the end of the post they nominate everyone so I’m going to claim one. I need all the self-esteem I can get at this moment.)


treasure trove awardWhat is the Treasure Trove Award?

I’ve created the Treasure Trove Award for bloggers who share treasures.  Treasures can take the form of:  art; community participation and support; creative writing; entertainment; friendship; health and fitness; humor; information; knowledge and insight; life lessons; music; photography; skills and instructions…anything that adds value and is a treasure in the blogosphere.

The Treasure Trove Award is for blogosphere treasures.

What are the rules for the Treasure Trove Award?

The rules are that there are no rules.

You can post the Treasure Trove Award image to your blog — or not.  

You can give the award to other bloggers — or not.


versatile blogger awardVersatile Blogger Award

As it usually goes with these things, there are rules/steps to follow (copied from the PR site):

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and pass it on.
  2. Share the award on your blog
  3. Share random facts about yourself
  4. Tag on 10 bloggers and tell them that they are nominated.

What is the Mystery Blogger Award, you ask?

The Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts.  Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates.  They are one of the best out there and they deserve every recognition they get.  This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.

~ The award was created by Okoto Enigma.

mystery-bloggerThe Rules or Guidelines for the Mystery Blogger Award:

  • Display the award logo on your blog.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link.
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • Answer 5 questions from the nominee.
  • Nominate 10 – 20 bloggers.
  • Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice, including 1 weird or funny question.
  • Share the link to your best post. “Donald Trump Can Suck A Bag of Dicks

So I’m just going to combine the Versatile and Mystery awards into one and only do this once. That’s allowed right?

3 Things about Myself:

  1. I have visited all of the eastern seaboard states from New York south except Delaware and Georgia (and what’s the point of going to Delaware anyway).
  2. I’m the first person in my family to have graduated college (Associate’s Degree).
  3. Sometimes when people ask about my childhood I start reciting the lyrics to Reba McEntire’s “Fancy” just to mess with them.

The Questions I Was Asked:

  1. What’s your favourite album of all time? – Temple of the Dog
  2. Can you describe yourself in one word? No
  3. Can you name one food you could never give up? Pizza
  4. Why did you start blogging? – I couldn’t find a paying job as a writer so I started blogging to keep myself busy and hone my chops.
  5. Weird Question: What is your least favourite word? Exactly. I hate that word because my name is Zack and it sounds so much like my name that whenever I hear it I automatically think someone is trying to get my attention.

The Questions I’m Asking: 

  1. Do you have a pet?
  2. What’s the way you usually describe yourself?
  3. What’s your favorite time of year?
  4. Do you play an instrument?
  5. Weird Question: What’s the grossest food you’ve ever eaten?

The Nominees: (I’m going to try to look outside the box for this one so I’m not just passing stuff around to the same ten bloggers.)

Bitter Ben from Ben’s Bitter Blog


Hard Rock Daddy

Deep in the Music

GraceLess Land

The Hard Times

The Sonic Sensory

Every Number One

Punk Rock Reviews

The Shameful Sheep

The Valley Report


Alright, that wasn’t so bad. Three awards and I only had to answer 5 questions and spew some random facts. Thanks again guys!

Liebster Award

Liebster AwardA few weeks ago I received a Liebster Award from the guys over at Stuff and That. I thought that was pretty awesome. I’ve never won a writing award before. Thanks a lot guys!

Then I realized that I actually had to do stuff to accept the award. I had to answer questions, come up with a few questions of my own and then send it on to eleven other people. At first I was a little disappointed, but I have to say it’s been pretty fun.

Plus it’s always nice to have an extra post to do.

The Rules:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you and answer the 11 questions they’ve written for you.

2. Nominate 11 different people and give them 11 questions to answer.

Here are my answers:

  1. Pitch Your Dream Movie. Actors, directors, plot, whatever. (special thanks to filmsCinefor coming up with that one) – I’d probably want to make my own movie. I’ve written one screenplay about a guy who thinks he might be a werewolf, but he’s not sure. It would be awesome if I could get David Fincher to direct.
  2. Most/Least Favourite Movie – Favorite is probably the Shawshank Redemption. Least favorite is Requiem for a Dream.
  3. Most/Least Favourite Game – Lately I’ve been getting really into Free Cell. My least favorite game is probably dating.
  4. Most/Least Favourite Band – It’s hard to pick a favorite because I like so many different things. Historically I’ve always said either Alice in Chains or Nine Inch Nails, but recently the Descendents are becoming my favorite.
  5. How, or why, did you get into blogging? And what are your favourite aspects of it? I couldn’t get a job as a writer anywhere else. I’ve always loved writing. I’d love to be a world famous novelist, but that’s about as realistic a goal as being a rock star. So, I blog. The best part is getting feedback from other writers and feeling like I’m part of a community.
  6. Last crime you committed? – Well, I do have driving privileges for work and to get groceries, etc. but I abuse the hell out of them. And since I wasn’t caught for the last major crime I committed I’ll just say driving without a license.
  7. Dream supergroup?

  1. Favourite book?Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  2. Favourite hobbies beside blogging and doing what you blog about? – Reading. Watching Movies. Working Out.
  3.  Favourite thing about Stuff And That? (give us praise) – Very in depth reviews.
  4. Least favourite thing about Stuff And That? (tell us we’re crap) – Length. I’m a big fan of posts under 1000 words.

My Questions for you:

  1. Did you go to college? What was your major?
  2. Have you ever been arrested? For What?
  3. Favorite and Least Favorite Band?
  4. Biggest Celebrity Crush?
  5. What is the airborne velocity of an unladen swallow?
  6. When was the last time you went to the hospital? For what?
  7. Who’s your favorite superhero?
  8. What’s your day job?
  9. What’s your dream job?
  10. Where would you most like to visit?
  11. If you had the chance and the time machine, would you kill baby Hitler?
  12. What’s the first thing you would do if you became independently wealthy?

And the nominees are:

Mike Ladano





J. at Resurrection Songs

Heavy Metal OVERLOAD


Boppin’s Blog

Tangled Up In Music

Metal Odyssey

I hope you all have as much fun with this as I did. Thanks for writing great blogs and and giving me stuff to read everyday. I hope we keep this community going for at least another four years!

I’m Not Dead


Seriously, I’m still around.

After my absence during most of the month of April I meant to start posting more regularly during the month of May. But how does that old saying go? The best laid plans of mice and men often go array.

During the week from the 14th – 21st I was on vacation with my sister and her family. Vacation isn’t a great time for writing blogs, but the weather wasn’t agreeable for laying on the beach anyway so I thought I’d give it a go. I was still debating on whether or not to write one when I caught the stingray.

This is the wrong way to pick up a stingray.

This is the wrong way to pick up a stingray.

I love to go fishing on vacations. I live in a landlocked part of the world so the chance to cast a line into the ocean is always a treat for me. Unfortunately, my moronic Yankee ass didn’t realize the correct way to pick up a stingray is by it’s tail… with pliers.

This is why.

This is why.

So that put a bit of a damper on writing for a few days. I still enjoyed the aquarium, Jamestown and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, but I didn’t do a whole lot more fishing.

And no, I didn’t get any super powers.

Then on the way home my car broke down in Hagerstown, Maryland. That would have been the perfect time to do a little bit of blog writing. But alas, my heart wasn’t in it. When you’re 300 miles from home and not sure if or when you’re going to make it back it makes for a pretty stressful day. I had hoped to get back into the swing of things quickly, but I’ve spent the last week taking long naps and catching up on Game of Thrones.

So please excuse my absence. Hopefully you’ve noticed I’ve still been liking your posts and occasionally commenting, but I’m hoping to have a few new posts for you in the next few weeks. Hope you enjoy.

The Best of 2015


Bad Guys “Prostitutes (Are Making Love In My Garden)” Thanks 1537


Eyes Set To Kill – This album actually came out in 2013, but because I only discovered this band in 2015 it meets my rigorous and thorough standards to appear on this list.

Marilyn Manson  “The Pale Emperor

Ghost – Meliora


Coal Chamber/Fear Factory tour

Finntroll – Haxbrygd (Thanks to Mike Ladano)


The Death of Scott Weiland – I’m not trying to say this was one of the best things to happen this year, or even a good thing, but I don’t do a “Most Important” list so it ends up here.


John 5 finally goes on a solo tour

GWAR still Rocks!

Faith No More – Sol Invictus


Happy New Year!


The Problem With Your Local Scene

Recently I’ve seen a blog post making it’s rounds on Facebook explaining the problem with local music. I won’t blame you if you only read the first few paragraphs here, it’s pretty long winded. Really, all of it can be summed up in the opening of the second paragraph: “One of the main things we need in order to get a better music scene is for people to get off their asses, stop complaining, and go to a show. That’s it, it really is that simple.”


I agree with this statement, but I disagree with the way of thinking. Sure, the main thing needed to have a vibrant local scene is an audience, but it is wrong to place all the blame of a scenes failure on the inability of anyone to come to shows. If people aren’t coming to shows there’s probably a reason…

We’re given a few examples: laziness, Netflix, cheapness… probably a few more. Like I said, it wasn’t an extremely interesting post. I’m assuming that most people don’t show up to see the bands because they’re boring. I’m not surprised this post has gained traction among my friends in local bands because it does something they’ve been doing for years; blaming others for their failures.

I find that a lot of my friends in local bands are extremely opposed to constructive criticism. All they want is for people to blow smoke up their asses and tell them they make great music. I’ve heard a lot of excuses for why people don’t come to shows (many of them the same ones features in the No One Likes Your Band Post), and why people will drive 90 miles to see Mushroomhead but not 30 miles to see their band.

But you all miss the point… the problem is that your band isn’t that good. People do pay $200 to see major acts like Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles because they write damn good songs that connect with people. And I have seen a few local bands that connect with people pull in some impressive crowds. They don’t go to see your band for $10 because your band sucks. People go to see Mushroomhead, Dax Riggs, Katy Perry, One Direction or whoever because they enjoy seeing this band and find them worth their time and money.

If no one is coming to see your band it’s because no one feels you’re worth their time or money. 

Don’t get me wrong, I understand how these guys feel. My last band, Bastard Friendly, didn’t achieve the success I hoped we would. But unlike a lot of my peers I don’t blame my audience. I appreciate the people that gave us some time and listened to us. I just wish we could have continued to grow, write and develop so that we could have become the type of band people would spent $10 and an evening with. Because when we went on hiatus, we weren’t.

47057723The sad fact of the matter is that watching Arrested Development on Netflix is a lot more fun than going to see most local bands. And that’s not the fault of Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Ron Howard, Mitchell Hurwitz or some Netflix fat-cat, but the fault of all these local bands that don’t work hard to create great music and just want to coast to super stardom.

You get out of it what you put into it.