10 Questions with Paul Bartholomew

1. With over 35 years of paranormal research, how did your focus end up being on Bigfoot?

I’ve always had an intense interest in various paranormal phenomena. Two childhood standout incidents would be the 1973 national UFO flap (in which there were many UFO sightings in the Northeast) and the August 1976 Abair Road Sasquatch outbreak. To study Sasquatch in the Pacific Northwest was fascinating, however to have “Bigfoot” in your own backyard (symbolically) was intoxicating. Most people back then ignored the New York and New England sightings. Later, I would attend Vermont’s Castleton State College and study under the late Dr. Warren L. Cook. I had contacted Cook in the 1970’s and we had exchanged information on UFO’s and cryptozoology for years. A loose network of researchers formed and interest in the topic often drew overflow crowds at lectures. Bruce Hallenbeck, a great researcher and writer from Kinderhook, N.Y., documented what became known as “The Kinderhook Creature.” Interviews with New York residents turned up many creature encounters that had been socially hidden or ignored.

So in short, our research showed that Northeastern Sasquatch reports were often overlooked and under-reported. In reality there was a long history of such sightings from Native American traditional accounts. The Iroquois, Algonquin and Abanaki referred to the “Windigo” and “Stone Giants,” or giant men of the mountains. Champlain wrote of a creature called the “Gou gou.” Sightings continued into the 1800’s of what were often called “wild men” or strange bears. And we have similar accounts right up to present day.

2. People generally focus on Washington state, and the Pacific Northwest in general, when they think of Bigfoot. How do they react when you start discussing the Bigfoot history of New York state?

Most people are simply unaware of Sasquatch sightings in the Northeast. That concept is getting better however. One of my major goals is to show that there is a rich history of Sasquatch sightings right here in the Northeast. Credible sightings by respectable witnesses are hard to ignore. Most people aren’t aware of such a history. You have to remember that the witnesses have everything to lose and nothing to gain by coming forward with their accounts. Many view their sightings as negative experiences– they open themselves up to ridicule. Perhaps with a better understanding of the entire Sasquatch phenomenon on a whole, one day witnesses may be able to report their encounters without fearing retribution.

3. Most of my readers don’t realize, but Whitehall, NY has an official protective habitat for Bigfoot (or Sasquatch). What was the process like to create the measure and have it passed?

Back in 2003 and 2004 I wrote a legislation and presented it to the Village and Town of Whitehall to create a “protective ordinance” for Sasquatch. It worked on various levels. It recognized and drew attention to the fact that there is a rich history of reports here and that these accounts should be embraced by the region. In that respect, it would help to create a better understanding of the Northeast Sasquatch, while promoting eco-tourism. Also, the measure was passed in honor of the late Dr. Warren L. Cook, who had done pioneering research into this.

4. After so many years of research what prompted you and your brother Robert to finally write “Bigfoot Encounters in New York and New England”?

BIGFOOT ENCOUNTERS IN NEW YORK AND NEW ENGLAND helped to establish that Sasquatch accounts are plentiful in the Northeast. With an intense public interest in this topic, our goal is to push this mystery out of the darkness of ignorance and into the light of scientific respect and scrutiny. Hopefully, witnesses will find comfort in knowing that they are not alone in their experiences. If anyone has an experience, I would love to hear from them at: bfcreature@yahoo.com

5. For my readers who may be interested in researching Bigfoot, where would you suggest they begin (besides by reading your book, obviously)?

For anyone beginning to study the Sasquatch phenomenon, I would suggest they get a copy of John Green’s “SASQUATCH: THE APES AMONG US.” This is the best book ever written on the topic. Green even included the 1976 Abair Road Whitehall, N.Y. encounter. Also, the History and Discovery Channels continually run specials and show episodes on cryptozoology.

6. What’s your favorite piece of Bigfoot evidence?

What is impressive about the Bigfoot or Sasquatch mystery is the collective case for it’s existence. The late Professor Grover Krantz (Washington State) felt that there was compelling evidence just based on footprint evidence alone. You add to this scores of respectable eyewitness encounters, hair samples that defy classification, the rich traditional history, strange recorded vocalizations– and you build a compelling scientific case. Unfortunately, a body may be the only thing that settles the issue.

7. Harry and the Hendersons, Six Million Dollar Man “The Secret of Bigfoot” episode, or Sasquatch Mountain?

I grew up on “The Six Million Dollar Man” and can remember professional wrestler “Andre The Giant” playing Sasquatch. There was also a UFO-connection in those episodes. Another from that era that should be noted as well was The Creature From Black Lake (1976). I guess I am a fan of the early 1970’s low-budget films– they are a lot of fun. Also, I can recall an episode of “Fantasy island” in which Peter Graves playing a Sasquatch hunter. This was a neat episode because it portrayed these creatures in a positive and compassionate nature. But I have to say that my all-time favorite show was “Kolchak: The Night Stalker.”

8. Obviously I’ve been focusing on your Bigfoot work, but what areas of paranormal research, as opposed to cryptozoological research, are you particularly interested in?

UFO research is what I first became fascinated in. Pioneering researchers like John Keel and Brad Steiger drew connections between the paranormal on a whole. Keel felt that these enigmas were differing manifestations from the same same source. So i am interested in the entire scope of the paranormal thanks to Ufology.

9. With all the research you’re doing, what can my readers expect to see from you next?

More research on cryptozoology, Ufology and hauntings. I have a UFO manuscript I am developing right now and hope to have it published soon. There are some documentaries pending. I hope to be able to do more lectures and am collecting new information all the time

10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Magical Buffet any one question.

Will the Magical Buffet be publishing manuscripts of struggling authors in the future?

It’s funny you ask. I’m continually amazed that many people think that I not only have The Magical Buffet website, but that I’m also an actual book publisher. From my experiences working with publishing companies ranging from relatively large to almost unheard of there is one common thread: publishing is HARD! It takes a lot of time and money, two things which I never seem to have.

Perhaps one day, but it seems highly unlikely unless my financial situation and time constraints change.

Of course I’m always happy to publish essays and articles on the site! I’m quite proud of the diverse collection of authors and topics that have ended up on The Magical Buffet over the years.

About Paul Bartholomew
Paul B. Bartholomew has been researching UFO’s, cryptozoology, and Paranormal Phenomena for over 35 years. In 2003 he appeared on and was the unit field coordinator for an Outdoor Life Network episode of “Mysterious Encounters: The Creature of Whitehall.” In 2005 Bartholomew served as a researcher for the History Channel’s “Giganto: The Real King Kong.” In 2008 Bartholomew appeared in an episode of the History Channel’s “Monster Quest.”

Earning a B.S. in Communications at Castleton State College (Vermont), Bartholomew studied under Dr. Warren L. Cook, Professor of History & Anthropology. Together they investigated many sightings of large unknown bi-pedal creatures in the New York and Vermont area.

In 2004 Bartholomew wrote and lobbied for legislation in Whitehall, New York, to create a protective habitat for Bigfoot or Sasquatch. The measure passed both the village and the town of Whitehall and was dedicated to the research and memory of the late Professor Warren L. Cook.

Bartholomew has given hundreds of lectures across the Northeast to libraries, museums, and schools. He has appeared on scores of radio shows and is a regular on local news programs. He has worked with researchers across the globe including Canada, Australia, France, England, and China.

In 2008 Bartholomew and his brother authored BIGFOOT ENCOUNTERS IN NY AND NEW ENGLAND (www.hancockhouse.com). In it hundreds of Bigfoot and Sasquatch encounters are documented across the Northeastern United States, from the traditional histories of the Algonquin and the Iroquois to the Abanaki. The legend of the Sasquatch is tracked from the “Wildman” encounters of the 1800’s to the Bigfoot experiences of today. The book fully documents how the phenomenon has been a consistent part of the human experience from as long as we have recorded history.

Bartholomew still, writes, researches, and investigates unexplained phenomena and has several future projects and books pending.

A “Deluxe” Review

As a general rule, I hate the “deluxe” album. As someone who worked in music retail, I have an extra reserve of hate for them based on endless customers complaining that “they’re expected to buy the album….again?” Of course the worst is the greatest hits collection with those two extra songs there to annoy the devoted fans who already bought every album the artist ever released, but I digress, we’re discussing the “deluxe” album. In my experience “deluxe” is a meager handful of additional tracks, heavily featuring demo versions (and often times demo versions are better left unearthed) and remixes (which I sometimes enjoy, but to buy an album a second time for a few remixes….not likely). Now you can understand why despite how much I enjoyed the Florence and the Machine album “Lungs”, I kept turning my nose up at the “deluxe” edition out on store shelves.

Well one day in a moment of weakness and curiosity I finally picked it up to see what was so darned “deluxe” about this version of “Lungs”. I bought it that day, so as you may guess a lot. Let’s break it down for you. There are 11 additional tracks. Yep. Eleven. As in someone took the dial for “Lungs” and turned it up to 11. So there is a whole second disc of “deluxe”.

How many demo versions? One. The track “Ghosts” is the origin of the song “I’m Not Calling You A Liar” from the original album. Although not a revelation, it’s quirky and slightly more uptempo feeling demo was fun, and not a regrettable addition. Remixes? I’m going to stretch and say two. The deluxe disc features a remix of “Dog Days are Over” by Yeasayer. Honestly, not that impressed. However, there is also “You’ve Got the Dirtee Love” as performed at the 2010 Brit Awards. Since this introduced me to Florence and the Machine, I’ve got a soft spot for the performance. Also it is a fun mash up of Florence and the Machine’s “You’ve Got the Love” and Dizzee Rascal’s rap “Dirtee Cash”, so we can call that a remix if you like. (Fun fact: Florence won for best British album of the year at that show and Dizzee won best British male.)

A few other common tropes for the “deluxe” album are tracks from other compilation albums and covers of other songs, and the “deluxe” “Lungs” has those too. You’ll find “Heavy in Your Arms” which was originally on “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” soundtrack. I still haven’t seen the movies, but I really should just man up and buy all the soundtracks because I seem to like every song I hear from the darned things, and this song is no exception. It’s almost a death march sound chronicling the overwhelming, unbearable, weight that love can have on a couple. As for the covers, they’re the real stand outs for me. So much so I’m going to toss a couple of videos at you!

Florence and the Machine take Robert Palmer’s gritty, grinding, and all around universally accepted as bad ass song “Addicted to Love” and turn it into a more delicate, pulsating version. (By the way, there was no “official” video for this song but this guy made a video for his Media Studies course at The New School in New York City, so I thought, why not share his work with more people.)

The other stand out cover is “Hospital Beds” which was originally done by the Cold War Kids. The live clip I’ve got here highlights Florence’s powerhouse voice as she adds her personal touch to the song.

Now would be a good time to remind you that there are a few totally 100% new tracks on here too. Technically I think they were part of some iTunes deal, but they’re new to me, so I’m calling it new! These songs reaffirm that Florence continues to have a crazy good voice, an ability to write compelling complex lyrics, and an adventurous spirit when it comes to making music.

Here is a live performance of “Swimming”.

Yes, I bought “Lungs” again, and I don’t regret it one bit.

The Vengeful Djinn Introduction

Not too long ago I received a review copy of “The Vengeful Djinn: Unveiling the Hidden Agendas of Genies” by Rosemary Ellen Guiley and Philip J. Imbrogno. I really enjoyed the book and set about trying to verbalize what the book was about and why it was a worthy read. The problem was, my mind kept wandering back to the introduction written by Philip J. Imbrogno. It was just so good at explaining the book, and it did so in such a way that I couldn’t wait to get into reading the book itself. On a whim I contacted Llewellyn, the publisher of “The Vengeful Djinn” about being able to publish Imbrogno’s introduction on The Magical Buffet for my readers, and much to my delight they said yes.

So without further ado, Philip J. Imbrogno’s introduction from “The Vengeful Djinn”!

INTRODUCTION

There has been a growing interest in the paranormal in the past several decades. Ghosts, poltergeists, spook lights, demons, angels, fairies, shadow people, strange creatures, and UFOs have become staples of movies and prime-time television shows. Our attraction to the supernatural is more than a passing fascination—claims of encounters with paranormal entities such as those mentioned above are not restricted to believers or wide-eyed dreamers. Accounts of sometimes frightening experiences are made by people from all walks of life—credible people—who report seemingly incredible things.

I have been investigating paranormal phenomena with an emphasis on UFOs for more than thirty years. I have found myself amazed and sometimes even confused by the variety of reports I’ve received. I’d often ask myself, “Where do these phenomena come from and where do they go when they aren’t seen?” The answer to this question can now be answered by new ideas in theoretical physics. One of these new ideas states that our universe is composed of not one, but multiple dimensions, some very close to our own and many far away in space and time. Periodically, several of these closer dimensions may interact with our world, resulting in the merging of several realities.

My investigations over the years have led me to believe that what we call “the paranormal” takes on a variety of guises, making us humans think we are witnessing multi-faceted phenomena. Actually, this may not be the case at all. In one of these other realities or dimensions close to our own is an intelligent, ancient race that has existed before humans walked the earth—beings with great power who throughout recorded history have been identified by every culture. The Native American shamans call them the “great tricksters,” and to the Hindu of India they are known as “deceivers.” In the West, they are called “devils” and “demons.” New Age spiritualists know them as “the con men of the universe.” This ancient race may be responsible for the majority of paranormal events witnessed over the centuries. We have known very little about them, for only one part of the world has historically documented them and their effect on the human race. Ancient Middle Eastern lore tell tales of a race of mysterious and highly intelligent creatures called the djinn. In the Qur’an, a surah entitled Al-djinn frequently mentions the djinn and refers to them as “God’s other people.” The word djinn is thought to be derived from the Arabic root janna, which means “hidden” and should not be confused with the Arabic word jannah, which means “paradise.”

In the West, the djinn are known as the genies of fairy tales, wish-giving entities trapped in bottles, lamps, and rings. The word genie usually conjures up exotic but harmless images, such as the 1960s television series I Dream of Jeannie, in which Barbara Eden played an obliging, well-meaning, and often ditzy genie freed from a bottle by an astronaut, played by Larry Hagman. “Genie” also has comical associations, such as in the Disney movie Aladdin, based on the tale from Arabian lore. In these depictions, genies may have a bit of prankster in them, but they seem benign, even helpful, and we in the West laugh at them. We have little knowledge and lack fear of the real race, the djinn.

Middle Eastern cultures have a considerably different view of the djinn, however. In many Islamic households, just speaking the name of the djinn will cause the bravest to flee in terror. They consider the djinn to be quite real and a great threat to humanity, causing misfortune, illness, possession, and even death. The djinn hide in the shadows, biding their time and watching us, looking for opportunities to strike, interacting with humans only when it suits their purpose. They are powerful shapeshifters and can live for thousands of years. To cross the djinn is to invite destruction.

My introduction to the world of the djinn began in the mid-1990s while I was traveling through the Middle East researching the Knights Templar and their connection to the Holy Grail. After two weeks of what seemed to be nothing more than a wild goose chase, I began to hear stories about the djinn. At first I had no idea what they were. An old friend, who later became my guide through some very perilous country there, explained the djinn as the origin of the Western “genie.” Like many westerners, I laughed, thinking of those jolly wish-granting spirits. Well, my host took the existence of the djinn very seriously—to him, they were very real. The djinn’s true nature and reality became evident to me as I collected a great deal of information on them and visited some of the places where they are reputed to enter our world. I realized they represent an aspect of the paranormal that had been largely untouched by western researchers. I also realized the djinn could be the hidden source of the diversity of paranormal events everywhere.

I briefly introduced the djinn in two of my previous books, Interdimensional Universe: The New Science of UFOs, Paranormal Phenomena, and Otherdimensional Beings and Files from the Edge: A Paranormal Investigator’s Explorations into High Strangeness. Although I didn’t go into much detail, I found the djinn attracted a lot of curiosity and attention among readers.

Several years ago, noted paranormal investigator Rosemary Ellen Guiley and I began investigating paranormal hot spots in New York that generate a great number of reports relating to UFOs and other types of phenomena. We have been exploring the possibility that in many of these high strangeness locations, portals that connect our world to an unseen world exist. When I mentioned my research on the djinn to Rosemary, she told me she was very interested in them due to her research into angels, demons, fairies, and shadow people. After many long discussions, things began falling into place; we could see the connections among parallel dimensions, the emergence of paranormal phenomena, and the race of ancient beings that exist in a reality very close to our own. During our research, we gathered evidence of the djinn in the Western Hemisphere and applied it to paranormal and UFO phenomena. The result is an interesting and compelling picture that raises many questions about what people are really experiencing. Are the djinn behind our paranormal encounters and experiences? Are they behind some of the terrifying experiences people report? If so, what is their purpose? According to ancient lore, the djinn once occupied this world, and they seek to reclaim it. Are they using paranormal avenues to invade our reality? Is their reality merging with ours? We should consider all of these possibilities. There may be a dark agenda below the surface of our experiences, and we fail to see it because we’re preoccupied with the superficial characteristics of the experiences themselves. No one has the complete solution to this cosmic puzzle yet, but I believe we are offering a number of important pieces to solve the mystery.

This book will take you on an adventure into a world of the unseen, hidden from us in the shadows for countless centuries. We present to you the truth about the race of beings you thought only existed in your imagination—or your nightmares. If you choose to fear anything in your life, fear the djinn. Enter their world…if you dare!

–Philip J. Imbrogno

Excerpt reproduced from The Vengeful Djinn by Rosemary Ellen Guiley and Philip J. Imbrogno © 2011 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. 2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury MN 55125-2989. Used with the permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

10 Questions with Clinton Boomer

1. Let’s start with, can you tell my readers a little bit about your novel “The Hole Behind Midnight?”

Absolutely, and it would be a pleasure! I often describe the book to friends and/or prospective readers as a darkly-comic, postmodern urban-fantasy crime/mystery noir/pulp tale-of-suspense-and-magic-and-cursing, a rollicking thrill-ride full of nudity, violence, foul language, forgotten gods, a world-ending conspiracy, dick jokes, gunfights, cigarette smoking and one-liners, torture scenes and haunted car chases, an ex-girlfriend and on more than one occasion, a demon clown from Dimension Q with a thing for stabbing people in the throat.

This is my first novel, and I’m more proud of it than anything else I’ve ever worked on. It’s got everything I could ever want in a novel – little shards of 1940s gumshoe detective fiction mixed up with weird, sick magic and wild, strange comedy – and the review I’ve got on the cover says it all:

“Raymond Chandler meets Douglas Adams by way of a fantasy nerd’s fever dream. And it’s AWESOME.” – Daniel O’Brien, Senior Writer for Cracked.com; contributor to the New York Times bestseller You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News

Now, it’s also a weighty 550-page tome, so any summary I could come up with will probably fail to do the bugger justice. But, yeah, in general … that’s a little bit about it.

2. “The Hole Behind Midnight” is a setting where knowledge really does equal power. By being a geek about comic books, mythology, music, religion, politics, etc. your intimate knowledge of all of these things and more manifests itself as real, tangible power. Was this by design as a chance for you to indulge in some of your favorite interests?

Oh, yeah, 111%, that was my goal. I’ve got a thing for etymology and sub-pop-sub-culture, as well as everything else you listed, especially esoteric-religion & conspiracy-history, and there was certainly a part of me that wanted to make that obsession a legitimate source of super-human ability in an urban-fantasy setting; I’ve gotten so burned out by vampires and werewolves and boring old tropes about uninteresting things going dull-bump in the night that I wanted to play with how magic worked, and I think I stumbled ass-backwards into something that people really respond to.

Of course, I can’t forget to mention the huge chunks inspiration I took from Israeli fantasy-author Uri Kurlianchik, or the deep debts of genius I owe to Massachset-based novelist Ashavan Doyon and to New York game-writer Lou Agresta; each of them, and many other members of the WereCabbages Creative Guild, were instrumental to me as friends, collaborators, editors and sounding boards during the creation of this book and the shared universe it inhabits, existing as a first peek into that world. Their interests and weirdnesses influenced the novel a TON.

3. I found the way magic worked in “The Hole Behind Midnight” to be a wonderful blend of sympathetic magic and Chaos magic; a modern interpretation of folk magic. How did you decide on the magic used in your novel? And if you don’t mind, could you share a little bit with my readers about how it works in “The Hole Behind Midnight” universe?

Since I come, first and foremost, from a roleplaying-game background, one of the early things I did was write up a design-document for magic, which ended up in the final version of the novel, slightly truncated, as a series of notes from the protagonist’s mentor in Chapter 14 and later, as an interlude between chapters 19 and 20, with frequent musings on the topic by the main character throughout the rest of the book. All of it is based on conversations between various members of the WereCabbages, and it’s tied to the idea of magicians “claiming territory” of Emptied Empires, and becoming Secret Royalty to lost or fictitious lands.

One of the big elements I wanted to include is that magic, like Photoshop, can do just about anything … but that there’s no guidebook or user’s manual. The main character is sometimes in the dark about how some trick of enchantment actually works, and he’s not much of a magician, himself, which gave me some wiggle-room to play with weird questions and freaky answers.

In short, the rules of the setting are that you gain power by calling yourself nobility of a place that doesn’t exist, and that you can use the power so generated – the Dust of the Empire – to do interesting things, like break various physical laws. Most magicians can use this power all-but-instinctively to enhance their own physical strength or speed, to command the weak-willed, or to perform minor divinations, because rulership so often means having might of arms, domination over the masses, and foresight … but older Kings and Queens have figured out tricks and rituals to teleport, bind monsters, alter memories, create magical items, hide themselves in plain sight, and other, stranger stuff. And, of course, this is all against a backdrop of a secret universe which lurks behind the one we know, and the various players who move back and forth from the Waking World to the Nethertime.

And it’s more complicated than that, obviously, because Secret Royalty also have to deal with the potency of their ancient or fictional empire in mass culture, other claimants to their throne, courtly intrigue from their own friends, and rules about identifying themselves as Kings if anyone asks them. That’s on top, of course, of the Totems of each Empire and creatures from the Deep Sideways and basic stuff like having a job & paying your gas bill.

It’s a joy to play around in, honestly.

4. The protagonist in the book, Royden, is a real asshole. And yet as the book goes on you end up rooting for him. Where did the idea of a gruff, anti-authoritarian, Indian, little person come from?

Royden is the consummate outsider. That much, I knew from before the first word was written. I wanted him to be physically and emotionally remarkable – the diametric opposite of a noir/pulp antihero who can slip unobtrusively from place to place, blending into crowds, keeping his cool … and with a big-ass chip on his shoulder about that. It was a discussion with Lou Agresta, about two days into the initial free-writing, that led to Royden being a little person, and a discussion at about the same time with Uri Kulianchik which led to him very specifically being dark-skinned and ‘ethnic’-looking.

And it works. Which is really awesome.

But all of the profanity-spitting, heavy-smoking, semi-recovering-alcoholic, kleptomaniacal, poor-impulse-control, oppositional-defiant, anti-social-behavior stuff comes out of a very dark spot in the back of my brain which I usually keep tightly locked up … because if I acted like Royden, I wouldn’t have any friends. And, of course, Royden doesn’t. Still, I’m always pleased to hear that people can root for the son-of-a-bitch, because I have a soft spot in my heart for him.

5. Currently “The Hole Behind Midnight” is available as a self published title. How has the experience of publishing your own book been?

It could have been a real and terrible nightmare, honestly … but I’ve been very lucky to have incredibly supportive friends, family and collaborators, plus the amazing people at Lulu.com watching out for me and cheering me on, and that’s made a world of difference. I wouldn’t wish the anxiety and confusion and self-examination of the publishing process on my worst enemy’s dog, but it’s been worth it, 111%, every time I meet someone who liked the book and shared it with a friend.

6. Many of our readers (especially our Geek Month in Review readers) may recognize you from the work you’ve done on some role-playing games such as Pathfinder. How did you end up writing for the RPG industry?

I’ve been a gamer since 1993, with the release of Planescape, and a lot of my favorite moments and memories with the closest of my friends involve RPGs – talking about them, playing in them, or involved in events closely related to them, like the traditional post-LARP dinner or the Mountain Dew-fueled roadtrip to a convention. I’m probably best known online as the co-creator, writer and producer of the D&D PHB PSAs on YouTube, through the auspices of my channel CreativeJuices7, and that represents the first of my “game writing” in a lot of ways.

But the leap to professional writing occurred with the inaugural RPG Superstar! competition from Paizo Publishing in 2008, in which I placed in the Final Four worldwide; after that, I got the opportunity to lend my pen and my gonzo to the Ennie Award-winning Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting … and the rest has mostly been history. I’m incredibly proud of all of my projects, especially my work for 3rd-party publishers like Rite Publishing and Sean K. Reynolds Games and Open Design and Zombie Sky Press and so many others, and I hope that I get to keep doing this for the rest of my career.

7. What are some of your favorite RPGs and how do they influence your writing?

I’m all-but-obsessed with Planescape, as the Lady of Pain tattoo on my back might give away, and I have an eternal and perhaps unhealthy level of love for the Spelljammer: Shadow of the Spider Moon mini-setting created by Andy Collins and published in 2002 by Paizo in Polyhedron, which I’ve used for a number of campaigns. I still dick around with ideas for that universe in the back of my head almost a decade later – to my mind, that’s the mark of great, inventive writing.

Besides high-fantasy, high-octane, slightly-gonzo d20-based sword-&-sorcery, I also have a lot of love for modern or semi-modern settings: Call of Cthulhu, Unknown Armies, Shadowrun and various White Wolf stuff across the board – my favorites were always the Corax, the Technocracy, the Kuei-Jin and Fomori, for whatever reason. Maybe because they’re more alien, or have a bit more to unpack behind the stories.

All of this bleeds into the rest of my writing, of course – I love dialogue interplay, and trying to ground the really and absurdly fantastic into actual emotion. The real trick is to take an absurd concept like immortal, steam-powered Aztec warriors aboard a rune-scribed ice-ship heading for battle against space demons and give the characters something interesting to say.

8. You’re also a bartender, so I’m obligated to ask, what is your favorite rum drink?

Oh, rum is a beautiful liquor! I pride myself on a lot of my concoctions, from picture-perfect Long Islands to a Bloody Mary that will bring a tear to your eye, and especially on a small arsenal of clever, candy-sweet shots that will leave you wondering if there was any hooch in there at all right up until the moment your ass hits the floor … but rum is one of those alcohols that barely needs encouragement or a massage from the likes of me. Once you’ve learned how to mix a sharp Captain & Coke, your training in the arts of rum is about half over.

Of course, there’s one drink I can make with Malibu, crème de cacao, Bailey’s Irish Crème and two secret ingredients that will knock your socks off, but it’s something of a trade secret.

9. What’s next? Are you working on anything my readers should be on the lookout for?

I’ve got a whole bunch of stuff I’m working on right now, plus the ongoing book-tour, and I’m super-excited to be submitting more work to everyone I’ve worked ever worked with in addition to my just-announced gig with Clark Peterson’s all-new Legendary Games.

Right now I’m working on several novels, novellas or book-ideas, including the direct sequel to the book – ‘The Thirteenth Impossibility’ – and a project called ‘Big American Hell’ for the Hellcrashers setting. There’s also an apocalypse/cyberpunk book called ‘Flickering Degenerate Fluorescent Dystopia’ that’s struggling to get out of my head and on to paper, a very odd piece called ‘Cityskin Pariah’ that’s rattling around back there as well, and of course I can’t forget my old loves: ‘Soapscum Unlimited’ and ‘Brand-New Knockdown’ and ‘Road to Varno’.

If I live to be a million, I’ll never get half of my ideas on paper.

10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Buffet any one question.

Ooooh! Fun! Alright, but this isn’t a poll-question or a right-or-wrong thing. I’m just generally curious, and I find that I spend a lot of time thinking about it, myself:

Which would you prefer as an afterlife: to discover that your own existence was like a super-packed DVD, or that existence itself is like a video game?

Both of them have their upsides, in my opinion.

In the DVD version, you would get to sit down at the end and talk to the cast and crew – or, at the very least, listen to the commentaries and skip around chapter by chapter and check out what you missed on the first viewing. You could pause and rewind, afterward, and clip through to the featurettes and check out behind-the-scenes footage and audition-pieces and a music-video, and maybe see deleted scenes and alternate takes and endings. That would be really cool … and then, maybe, you could browse through all of the other lives that have ever been, watching sequels and remakes and original, experimental projects and watching stuff you’ve heard of but have never seen, before finally choosing to take on another role.

In the video game version, there’s less finality – you could go back to any save point and pick it up again, or restart as a different character on a harder setting, or try to unlock extra levels and achievements on various modes. It’s never, ever really complete because you can always make new challenges for yourself or go back and try it a different way this time.

I think about this sort of thing a lot, I guess.

I just wonder which one would be more satisfying.

Honestly, I’d go with none of the above. When this is over, I want it to be over. No reflections, no time to ponder “what might have beens”, no do overs. I’m quite looking forward to nonexistence.

About Clinton Boomer:
Clinton J. Boomer, known to his friends as ‘Booms,’ resides in the quaint, leafy, idyllic paradise of Macomb, Illinois, where he attended 4th grade through college. He began writing before the time of his own recollection, predominantly dictating stories to his ever-patient mother about fire-monsters and ice-monsters throwing children into garbage cans. He began gaming with the 1993 release of Planescape, which shaped his Jr. High years, and he was first published professionally in the Ennie Award-winning “Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting” from Paizo Publishing after placing in the Final Four of Paizo’s inaugural RPG Superstar! Competition. He currently devotes a full 99.9% of his waking hours to thinking about fantasy-adventure in general or ninjas, more specifically. Boomer is a writer, filmmaker, gamer and bartender; his short comedic films, the “D&D PHB PSAs,” have over 3900 subscribers on YouTube and and have been viewed more than a million times. A member of the WereCabbages creative guild, a frequent freelance contributor to Rite Publishing, Sean K. Reynolds Games, Paizo Publishing, Reality Deviants Press, Zombie Sky Press, Legendary Games and the Hellcrashers setting, his debut novel “The Hole Behind Midnight” was released in 2011; Daniel O’Brien, columnist for Cracked.com and contributor to the New York Times bestseller You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News called it “ … Raymond Chandler meets Douglas Adams by way of a fantasy nerd’s fever dream. And it’s AWESOME.” Boomer is currently the happiest he has ever been in his whole life. He can be found online at www.clintonjboomer.com

Quest for the Giant Squid

It’s no secret that I love me the giant squid. Back in 2009 when I wrote “Loving the Lusca” I outlined my love quite thoroughly, “For some reason I love the idea of giant sea creatures. All those in search of the giant squid shows on the Discovery Channel – watched them. Ditto when they bust out the giant octopus stuff – I’m there. I don’t know what about them that I like so much. Perhaps, oddly, it’s the romanticism of the giant sea creature. I know it sounds funny, but for some reason a giant sea squid makes me think of multi-masted ships getting taken into the briny deep for venturing off the map. The ocean is still so vast that we continually discover new things living there. And that although doubtful, I can still entertain the idea that one day I’ll be watching BBC America news in the morning (because it’s back!) and hear a neutral voice with a British accent explain that a ship has been destroyed off the coast of some country by some giant tentacled thing from the deep.”

You can imagine how excited I was when I stumbled across Matt Walker’s blog on the BBC website that asked, “Is the giant squid the new giant panda?” Hecks yeah! “Can a 13-metre long beastie, all tentacles and suckers, be a conservation icon for our time? Scientists are proposing that the giant squid Architeuthis be emblemised and celebrated to help promote the conservation of marine diversity. The giant squid would become the giant panda of the seas; a single species that captures the imagination, and stands for the world in which it lives.”

Walker’s article goes on to outline the possible importance of a marine conservation emblem, the reasons why the giant squid makes a reasonable candidate, and a little bit about the history of the World Wildlife Foundation’s iconic panda. It packs a lot of information in a nice bite sized article, you should check it out.

In scrolling through reader comments to the article, I was pleased to find many people getting behind the giant squid proposal. However, there is a strong whale lobby going on as well. To that I say, the giant squid is associated with the pirates of old; rum swilling, scurvy dogs. Whales; well they get hippies. I love me some hippy stuff, but put up against the likes of Captain Jack Sparrow, this lady will be choosing pirate every time. When a pirate map said, “Here There Be Monsters”, it was creatures like the giant squid they were talking about. Check and mate.

Or as Walker says, “But this outsized, almost monstrous sea creature of lore is perhaps the more enigmatic, secretive, bizarre and fascinating animal. It may also better represent the ecosystem in which it lives, and the threats to it.” I bet he picks pirates too.

Plug-O-Rama

Before we dive in let me be upfront about this particular post. It is plug-o-centric. Plug-a-ma-tastic. Loaded with pluggy goodness. (And by the way, why isn’t spell check telling me that “pluggy” isn’t a word?) So yes, this is a whole lot of me just blabbing about how awesome something is, but I want to state for the record that I’m not being compensated in anyway for my endless blathering to follow and that the items I discuss were even purchased as opposed to being given to me as promotional items. With that boring bit out of the way, on with the awesome!

You may remember that while I was at TempleFest 2011 I purchased Intense Lotion from the guys at FairySpa. Holy crap do I love it! They describe it as “One of our most popular products, Intense, an extra moisturizing lotion with the addition of three natural skin healing herbs, lavender, chamomile and calendula, for extremely dry or cracked skin. Perfect for gardeners, sensitive skin or anyone in need of extra-moisturizing without greasy residue!” It doesn’t leave a greasy residue, but much to my surprise it moisturizes so well that the first time I end up washing my hands after using it I still find my hands feeling soft and supple. My stupidly dried out fingernails do better with no nail polish and me using the Intense Lotion regularly than they do with nail polish! I have sensitive skin and the lotion doesn’t bother me any, and I’m thrilled that it doesn’t feature an annoying fragrance. If you’re in the market for a great hand lotion, I heartily recommend FairySpa!

I didn’t mention that while I was at TempleFest visiting Dawn Hunt at Cucina Aurora that Jim and I purchased a pack of all sorts of infused olive oils. We’ve been loving this bad boy here.

Mmmmmmm...........

Recently I made the acquaintance of Carol. Carol is a devoted student of transpersonal psychology and has a Master’s in the subject matter. In mid-August she’s planning on offering a 5 week course, with performance coach Michelle, called “Journey to Destiny”. Much of the work will be focused on the subject matter of Carolyn Myss’s book “Sacred Contracts”. It should be noted that Carol has studied with Myss. Carol outlines the 5 week program as thus, “Take a journey designed to move you to your highest possible potential in twelve areas of your life. In Journey to Destiny, discover the patterns in your past that brought you to your present circumstances. Reveal new ways of being that break you out of past patterns to come closer to your Destiny, using the tools of journaling, self-reflection, archetypal depth psychology, performance and creative self-expression.” It’s going to cost $295 for the 5 Saturdays. You can learn more by contacting Carol at 518-783-7317 or by email at cann1221@ymail.com.

I won’t be participating in the workshop, but I was so impressed by the depth of Carol’s knowledge and her bubbly enthusiasm for the subject matter.

Last, in case you missed it on The Magical Buffet’s assorted social network pages (Facebook, Twitter, and My Space), I was recently interviewed for the website Jar O’ Marbles! It’s been a long time since anyone wanted to interview me, and this was my first print interview. It was a lot of fun, so if you haven’t checked it out, why not read it now.

Geek Month in Review: June 2011

By JB Sanders

The hot has begun…

Because This Will End Well
Archaeologists in Mexico have found a previously unknown tunnel under the Temple of the Snake in Teotihuacan. They estimate that it’s been sealed for over 1,800 years and there are chambers at the end of the passage. Those SciFi movie plots don’t just write themselves…

Muppets, Fraggle Rock and Serenity
Nerd and geek combined into one: cross-overs that never existed.

Behind the Scenes Photos
From little movies like Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Other shots:
How they did the Empire Strikes Back text crawl (you’ll be surprised).
A shot of Alfred Hitchcock, Tippi Hedren and some birds.
A shot inside the giant alien spacecraft in Alien.
A picture of Max Schreck lounging creepily. (Bonus geek points if you know the Other Movie this ties into, all too eerily.)

Really, why are you still reading this blurb? Click on the link already!

Scary Great Toy Mashup or Sign of the Toy Apocalypse?
So, combine collectible action figures, with collectible card games, Pokeman, Gauntlet (yes, the venerable arcade game) and console-based video games. Oh, and throw in some old-fashioned leveling-up madness. What do you have? Skylanders. It’s a video game for consoles (all of them, I guess). It’s fairly standard Gauntlet-like collect things and smash monsters. However, the character you play is based on what actual toy action figure you plug into their USB-connected platform. Before your head explodes, you have to use one of the action figures (32 at release) they’re producing for the game. The plus side is that any items you collect or leveling-up you do with that specific action figure are stored — inside the action figure. You can take the guy with you to a friends house and have all those abilities and loot you got before. The game comes with 3 figures, and they’re going to be releasing “booster packs” with random figures inside.

Awesome People Hanging Out Together
It’s the name of the link and the subject matter all in one. Photos of unusual pairings, all looking like they’re candid shots. Lots of pop culture icons in there, plus some geek favorites: Niels Bohr & Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates (many, many years ago, looking all hippy and geeky), Neil Patrick Harris & Stephen Colbert, Chuck Norris & Bruce Lee (that’s a money shot). And something just for a conspiracy-theorist’s dream: Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Warren G. Harding, and Harvey Firestone (I mean, seriously); or Salvador Dali & Walt Disney.

Laser from a Living Cell
Are atomic mutants not far behind?

Well, The Assyrian Dictionary is Done
And it only took 90 years!

Now, This is Graffiti I Can Get Behind
Just an inspired piece of art. Imagine drawing a mustache on a famous portrait, and then take it up about ten notches.

From the ‘Dogs Can Smell Better Than You’ Files
Scientists have discovered that dogs are better at telling twins apart than, wait for it, DNA tests. Turns out there IS a genetic difference between twins, but it’s so small that modern DNA tests have trouble distinguishing between identical twins. Not so with dogs.

This is How Science-Fiction Becomes Reality
Austrian scientists have developed a new way to do what rotors on helicopters and airplanes have done before now. Heck, their flying machines don’t even need wings. They produce thrust by using rotating turbine-like blades, and because those blades can be adjusted, the D-Dalus can produce thrust in any direction, 360 degrees. It’s also fine with rough weather and nearly silent.

How to Build an Awesome Enclosure for Your Telescope
How? You make it into a TARDIS replica. Seriously.

Mars in a Bottle
Scientists create an artificial Mars-like environment and then toss in some Earth microbes to see how they fare. It does sound a little like a SciFi Channel Saturday movie, why do you ask?

Why Are Homo Sapiens the Only Hominids Still Hanging Around?
Maybe because homo erectus used the same axe design for a million years. Yeah, seriously.

The Lego(tm) Barad-dùr
It’s the heart of Mordor in Lego(tm) form. Evil Eye included. Check out the link at the bottom of the article to the Flickr pictures.

Print Anything: Input Just Sand and Sun
Ok, not anything, but lots of things. It’s a 3D printer powered by the sun that just uses sand as a material input.

Slow is Creepy, and Trippy
Ever wondered what that sound a modem makes when it does the initial hand-shaking connection-making with the host computer would sound like if you slowed it down 700%? Well, wonder no more!


Note: if you’re not old enough to know what a dial-up modem is, sounded like or was for, look it up on wikipedia already.

About John:
John’s a geek from way back. He’s been floating between various computer-related jobs for years, until he settled into doing tech support in higher ed. Now he rules the Macs on campus with an iron hand (really, it’s on his desk).

Geek Credentials:
RPG: Blue box D&D, lead minis, been to GenCon in Milwaukee.
Computer: TRS-80 Color Computer, Amiga 1000, UNIX system w/reel-to-reel backup tape
Card games: bought Magic cards at GenCon in 1993
Science: Met Phil Plait, got time on a mainframe for astronomy project in 1983
His Blog: http://glenandtyler.blogspot.com

2011 Lake George Paranormal Expo

This past July 2nd and 3rd was the first ever Lake George Paranormal Expo. The event was put together by the Northern New York Paranormal Research Society and Fort William Henry Hotel and Conference Center, which is where the event was held. The expo featured over 30 vendors and boasted a schedule of 10 presentations.

I need to preface my write up of the event with a little information. I had been feeling under the weather for the better part of June and had actually been home sick two days during the week leading up to this event, so I didn’t even come close to taking in all that the expo had to offer. With that out of the way, let’s talk about what I did get to do at this event!

The vendor room was full of all kinds of fun stuff. Multiple booths were selling gemstones and minerals, there were various psychics, aura photographers and a person doing aura drawings, assorted paranormal groups and more! I got to meet some of the folks in the North East Paranormal Society. It turns out they’re based right out of Albany, NY and do lectures and other events in the area. I also got to talk to Paranormal Security Department, whose Paranormal Science Director has a project going through a grant process. Buffet readers may be seeing some articles from these two groups here on the site in the future. And you know me, I can’t go to anything like this and not do a little shopping, so I visited Kelly at Country Wickhouse Candles. She sells all natural handmade soy candles, and she had some special ones for the expo! There was Ghost Hunter, Witch’s Brew, and more. I picked up Sleepy Hollows.

Kelly and her soy candles.

Now as I said, there were 10 presentations given during the two day expo, but I didn’t have the energy to be there for all of them. I’m particularly bummed that I missed Dan Lowenski’s presentation “UFOs, Humanoids and Related Apparitions” because I’ve seen Dan speak twice prior to this event, and both times he was excellent. I also missed James Annitto, a demonologist and paranormal researcher that the Northern New York Paranormal Research Society was very excited to have in attendance.

But let’s focus on who I got to see! First, I made sure to check out the NNYPRS Tech Team on Saturday. If you go to an event put on by the Northern New York Paranormal Research Society attending one of the talks from Brian Leighton and Carmon Rust of the Tech Council is a must. The work they do to create and test research equipment on the cheap would bring a tear to MacGyver’s eye.

Brian (left) and Carmon (right) of the NNYPRS Tech Council talk about equipment for paranormal investigations.
They passed around their equipment. This is me with TOD. It's a miracle I gave him back.

After them I stuck around to hear Gordie Little discuss “Paranormal Common Threads”. It’s no secret to readers that I just adore Mr. Little, and as per usual, he charmed his audience with the assorted tales of haunted occurrences that he’s heard over the years. If you haven’t picked up his book, “Ghosts of Clinton County“, do yourself a favor a get a copy now.

Gordie Little charming the crowd.

On Sunday I got to the expo early to get a seat for Paul Bartholomew’s presentation “Bigfoot Experiences in New York and New England”. I’m glad I claimed a seat early because his talk was packed to capacity. It’s not surprising, the man is a legend in the Bigfoot research community. In 2008 he and his brother had their book “Bigfoot Encounters in New York and New England” published. The book is 176 pages, but trust me, when listening to him discuss the subject matter it’s apparent he has a whole lot more than 176 pages worth of knowledge. Hopefully there are more talks and more books in Paul Bartholomew’s future.

Paul Bartholomew discussing Bigfoot.

Then guess what happened next? I gave my presentation “Protection from Evil: Religion, Folklore, and Myth”! Better still….there were people who came to hear it! I didn’t pack them in like Mr. Bartholomew, but around 15 people comprised an attentive audience who appeared to have a good time.

Me giving my presentation.

I wish I could have spent more time at the Lake George Paranormal Expo. Hopefully the Northern New York Paranormal Research Society will have another expo in the Lake George area next year. For those of you interested in attending a paranormal expo like this, the 3rd Annual Northern New York Paranormal Expo will be happening in Plattsburgh, NY in October! You can visit the NNYPRS website to get information and be kept up to date as the details solidify.

(There will be more photos from the event on The Magical Buffet’s Facebook page in the near future if you want to check them out too!)

The Pop Up Post

Rejoice pop culture junkies! At the end of May VH1 announced the return of “Pop Up Video”!

“Pop Up Video” would generously sprinkle music videos with facts and trivia about the artist and video heavily laced with sarcasm. For those of you unfamiliar with the awesomeness that is “Pop Up Video”, let me demonstrate the fun with this true classic of the original “Pop Up Video” series, Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna’ Give You Up”.

(It’s well documented that Magical Buffet founder Rebecca Elson is a big fan of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna’ Give You Up”.)

ET.com’s PopWatch writer Jeff Labrecque reports, “After a 10-year hiatus, ‘Pop Up Video’ is coming back to VH1, with 60 new episodes ordered for this fall. This time, not only will the show tackle classic hip-hop and rap music videos for the first time, but the ‘Pop Up’ treatment will feature user-generated pop up content and updated polls in its bubbles.”

(Rebecca copied and pasted this quote while listening to the “Family Guy” television show. She often works this way.)

With 10 years of catching up to do, I can’t wait to see where they start! I mean, one can only assume there will be an all Lady Gaga show, right? One day soon we may get to see “Poker Face” get the kind of treatment that REM’s “Losing My Religion” received.

(Rebecca originally planned on using the “Pop Up Video” version of No Doubt’s “Ex-Girlfriend” but in the end opted for the more iconic “Losing my Religion” video.)

Do you remember “Pop Up Video” too? What videos do you hope to see them tackle?

(Most bloggers end posts with questions like these as a blatant attempt to get readers to leave comments on their website.)

(It rarely works.)