Posts Tagged ‘buffalo news’

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 32: ‘Prima Facie’

December 10, 2016

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…which is a legal term for ‘on the face of it.’  I thought it was a good fit for a title because a) Guest Michael Bly is a litigation attorney in addition to being a musician and b) There’s a lot more to him than his party-loving rockstar facade.  This was an episode that was originally scheduled back in November of 2014, but Mike had to cancel at the last minute due to traffic coming home from a Bills game in Michigan or something like that.

I’ve known Michael Bly since somewhere around 2005.  Recollection is hazy because I drank quite a bit back then, but I’m pretty sure longtime pal Gregg Sansone introduced me to him at The Hidden Shamrock (now shuttered) in Depew during a Night Life magazine assignment.  We just keep bumping into each other.  Mike was kind enough to do 2 hours of the Big Words Radio podcast back in its’ heyday and even circled back for the Big Words Radio Finale Roast that was supposed to be a joke but actually came true.  For those of you who want to hear the podcasts, you can click the link to the right on the page here or just search it on the Internet Archive.  Not sure if this is too much backstory, but again, I’m trying to do a bit more than just ‘Here’s the episode, please watch it.’  He’s a charming person, a talented musician and yes, he’s a really, really nice guy.  I met Co Host Jason Garra during a Buffalo News review assignment at Woody’s Pub in Lackawanna when he was with band-in-residence Helicopter Pilot.  It made for a cozy, hopefully entertaining show:

Thanks to Bly, Garra and producer Richard Wicka for another enjoyable outing.  Now that I’m don’t hit the bars anymore, it’s good to find an excuse to catch up with old friends who are still on the circuit.  For the love of God and all that’s holy, SUBSCRIBE for new shows, bonus clips and additional unlockable content!  Comedian Clayton Williams will be joining me at month’s end along with actress/comedienne/cosplayer Becca Barnum.  Don’t adjust your laptops, monitors and tablets!

Tom

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Milkie’s On Elmwood: ‘Pull The Other One’

July 30, 2015

Since it’s been awhile (and since I’m at the halfway point where it’s been 3 months since my last reading and 3 months out from the next one), I decided to upload a clip from the Reading & Signing I did last April at Milkie’s On Elmwood in Buffalo on YouTube.  It’s a short rant (‘Pull The Other One’) from my upcoming book Travesty about the Mayan Apocolypse that was supposed to happen in 2012.  We had so much fun that I booked another reading this Fall.  So, without further adeau, let’s roll that clip!:

You may be tired of hearing me say this, but please to Like & Share on YouTube!

I’ll have a brand new essay right here this Monday, so don’t touch that dial!

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart X: ‘The Hot Dog Dance’

June 2, 2015

Before producer Richard Wicka and I even started filming the webisodes last August, I booked all of my guests for the first season of the show in an effort to keep the guests balanced and ensure that the show got off to a strong start.  Jon Elston (Episode I) recommended poet and playwright Justin Karcher as someone who would work as a guest for the show and Karcher certainly didn’t disappoint.

Publicity still for Big Words Video X by Richard Wicka.  Pictured (clockwise): Waters, Justin Karcher and co-host Pete.

Publicity still for Big Words Video X by Richard Wicka. Pictured (clockwise): Waters, Justin Karcher and co-host Pete.

Having never met Karcher before, I had no idea what to expect.  While researching the show I was struck by the amount of published work he’d amassed and the distinctive voice he’d forged as a poet.  He’s a very genuine person in a world where sincerity is in short supply.  We had a great time during the filming and a few long discussions before and after the show.  This episode marks a slight departure from the early format of blindsiding guests without giving them much of a breather between questions.  The show is evolving into a goofy comedy show with some very candid responses and a very real organic back and forth.  So ten episodes in, Big Words Video is beginning to grow up a little.  I have a four year plan for this show and I’m very proud of how it’s gone so far.  I hope you feel the same way after watching a few episodes.  You can view Episode X: ‘The Hot Dog Dance’ right HERE:

Please take the time to ‘Like’ the show on YouTube as well as ‘Sharing’ it on any of your various social networking platforms and apps.  Thanks are in order to Justin for delivering on his mystique, Pete for coming to the table with some research of his own and of course producer Richard Wicka for letting me run around his studio like a bull in a china shop.

I’ve been excited about next month’s guest since August, but why spoil the surprise now?

We’ll see you on the other side of the screen in a month,

Tom

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Big Words Video 10.5: ‘Phonaesthetics’

June 2, 2015

Justin Karcher was like a force of nature once the camera started rolling for this bonus segment.  I’ve seen a lot of poetry readings in my time and I’ve been around that world more than a bit and it was pretty clear watching him work that he has a well-worn place in his head where he goes when he reads from his poems. It was something to see in person behind the camera and that energy translated very well into the segment. Check out Big Words Video 10.5 right HERE:

Karcher is the real deal when it comes to poets.  He’s not a tourist and not a ‘hobbyist’.  I look forward to seeing how his bibliography plays out.  Please take an extra minute to SUBSCRIBE to the Big Words Video Channel to receive updates on new shows as they arrive.  There are only a few episodes left before Season One comes to a close and there are still some great guests down the road!

Tom

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‘Out With The Old, In With The Newborn’, a recently rejected essay submitted to The Buffalo News

July 24, 2013

For those of you who may have enjoyed reading this-T.W.

Four hours ago my baby son came into the world and I couldn’t be more overjoyed.  Friends warned me that everything would change.  Now I know that it wasn’t a dark prediction so much as a wish fulfilled, or a positive and much needed redirection in our lives.  After crying my eyes out and holding my wife’s hand in the operating room afterwards, I can’t wait for the new road ahead of us.  At six pounds and six ounces (and about a month ahead of schedule), Benjamin Waters made his smashing debut.    

            For the last three years my wife Lindsay and I have been trying for a child and our efforts finally bore fruit last September.  When she broke the news to me with a pregnancy test in one hand after work and a wry joke (‘Honey, we’ve got a problem’), I cracked a grin and embraced her in the kitchen.  It’s cemented in my mind just like our first date on October 15th in 2004.  There are moments you never forget when you’re building a life together.  Our first date, the day I told her I loved her (New Year’s Eve that same year), our wedding day and now, the birth of our child.

            Since we got married there’ve been a lot of hard times and lean months.  Worse along with the better.  I’ve often said that you can’t appreciate the great moments unless you’ve gone through some tough days.  We’ve weathered out most of the worst and moved along to the best time of our lives.  The rough times we’ve suffered through together have made us stronger as a couple and make the wonderful experiences that much more magical. 

            I’ve always been uneasy around newborns.  I even wrote an essay about it (‘March Of The Newborns’ from my third book, First Person, Last Straw).  This little guy was different.  Benjamin Waters turned me around on the entire concept.  Looking through his tiny eyes and cradling his little body in my arms in the Recovery Room I saw an entire universe that was new and fresh to a being that was about to experience everything for the first time.  Not a carbon copy of myself, but a fresh amalgamation of my wife, myself and the generations before us.  Living proof that all of our accomplishments pale in comparison to the life we create, the true legacy that we leave behind some day.

            Parents warned me about getting no sleep, changing a never-ending supply of diapers and getting peed on in the face.  Another friend explained the situation much better by saying that he never understood the concept of being willing to die for someone until he had a child.  Single people spurned the very idea of it and challenged my love of barhopping, going out on a whim or the freedom of independence.  I gladly give it all up to raise a life that we made together. 

            My study has been transformed into a baby room.  Curios, collectibles and knick knacks from my former life have been relocated, packed up, boxed away and retired.  We bought a new, safer car (not a minivan, thank God) so that my transmission wouldn’t die out when I’m taxiing little Benjamin around.  Since the shower, we have clothes for every occasion, accessories for any contingency and enough blankets and homemade quilts to cover the entire household.  Out with the old, in with the newborn. 

            Everything has changed and this isn’t even the first full day.  After a fourteen hour labor and a day filled with caffeine and one meal, I’m still too excited to sleep.  Two sets of first time grandparents are chomping at the bit to spoil our son rotten and I’m more than ready to slow down, stop being so childish and selfish and take care of our child together.  Children change everything.  For the better. 

Tom Waters

-Tom Waters wrote many Club Watch reviews for the Buffalo News along with ten books of essays and poetry.  He looks forward to an early retirement from all that and a new career in carpeting FaceBook with baby pictures.        

                

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A Fond Farewell To Club Watch

February 20, 2012

As of today, I will no longer be writing Club Watch reviews for The Buffalo News.  After a great deal of soul searching and months of talking it over with my wife, we’ve both come to the conclusion that it’s time to move on.  As a writer, I’ve reached an age where I’ve started closing some doors behind me in order to go forward into more challenging directions.

Back in 2001, I fell into the hobby by accident.  I approached Jeff Miers (the editor of Buffalo Beat at the time) about doing a weekly column.  He suggested that I start a bar review section for their alternative weekly and (after accepting), he titled it ‘Boozin’ In The Buff’.  After four or five weeks of reviews, Buffalo Beat got bought out and turned into Blue Dog Press, which also went the way of the dodo.

In 2002 I spent three months researching strip clubs in the U.S. and Canada and wrote ‘A Fistful Of Loonies’, one large, exhaustive expose’ about the lifestyle, the sociology behind it and how the entire microcosm worked.  I pitched it to Ed Honeck (the editor of Night Life magazine) and he ran it in four sections.  You can still read the essay in my first book, Born Pissed.  Once all four parts had run their course, I came to Ed and said, ‘What now?’

For the next five years I was Night Life’s point man for bar and exotic club reviews.  I settled into a gonzo style of reporting where I focused on two things: how cheap the drinks were and how hot the women were.  In many reviews I spent more time writing about what sort of drunken insanity my friends and I had gotten into than the bars themselves.  I got to interview a lot of prominent adult film stars including Mary Carey, Puma Swede and Regan Anthony.

By the time 2007 rolled around Lindsay and I were living together in Lancaster.  Covering exotic clubs was getting old and thanks to a different campaign by the Buffalo News (YourHub, a social network that came and went), I was introduced to Brian Connolly, who was the editor of the Club Watch section at the time.  I sent out some sample reviews and he gave me the green light to start covering assignments.  I drove to the publishing offices for Night Life magazine downtown to break the news to Ed and pitched him on a weekly column (‘Big Words I Know By Heart’).  He understood and accepted the column, so for quite a few years I was on double duty writing the weekly column for Night Life and Club Watch reviews for The News.  Since the Club Watch format was a more stringent style of who, what, when, where and why reporting, I took a lot of the funniest Night Life reviews and published Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish: A Cheap Degenerate’s Guide To Buffalo Bars.  You can still find that book behind a lot of bars in Buffalo as well as online.

So now, after five years of freelancing with The Buffalo News, it’s time to say goodbye.  While I’ll never say never, I could use a long break.  I don’t ever want to reach a point with any of my writing where an assignment feels like a chore, or I feel like I’m phoning an assignment in for a paycheck or writing on autopilot.  Ten years is a long time to write in any format, and I’m sure you know by now that I’ve got a lot of other plates spinning.

Since 2001 I’ve written for The Buffalo News, ArtVoice, Acid Logic, Buffalo Beat, Buffalo Spree, Buffalo Rising, Boy’s Night Out, Alt Press, The Worldwide Freelancer and a score of other dailies, weeklies and online ‘zines.  I’ve accomplished everything I set out to do and prided myself on getting my assignments in well before deadline where print newspapers were concerned.  For the foreseeable future I’d like to focus more on my books, my publishing house and my radio show.  I’d also just like to sit down on a bar stool for the reasons I fell in love with Buffalo bars in the first place: cheap drinks, great ambience and some of the best conversation in the region.

Thanks for all the memories, Buffalo.

Tom Waters

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‘Sweet Is The Smell Of Success’

July 11, 2011

After four long rewarding and exhausting months of promoting Mockery as well as Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind  in the newspapers, on the radio, on the web and in bookstores, coffee houses, bars and anywhere else that would have us, Mark McElligott and I have earned a much needed break for the rest of the summer.  Our little tour was tremendously successful despite spotty attendance, unusual time slots, double bookings (in two separate cases) and other Spinal-Tap-esque occurances.  Mockery is on track to outsell every book I’ve released so far and it’s been selling faster than any book I’ve sold so far.  My wife remarks that every book looks better and tighter than the last.

Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick will be fun to promote, but it’s going to be more of a Travelling Wilburys deal: getting together with old friends and just having a good time for the sake of it rather than running full steam ahead to make money.  I’ve decided to wait until September for any serious promotions but I may pop up in a few unusual places in August.  I was asked to be a celebrity bartender for the third week in August and I may accept.  Mark and I have already booked a convention show at the Marriott in October.  Aside from that, I’m at ease for the next month and a half.  I’ve never traditionally enjoyed promoting books in public settings but this time around was different.  Mark McElligott was a true joy to partner with and we had more laughs than I ever would have expected.  I think that carries through on the live concerts that we decided to post on Big Words Radio.

Brennan’s Bowery Bar was a smash hit last night.  We had a solid turnout and it’s the first reading I’ve ever had where the average book sale was three different copies.  We made a boatload of cash and I’m grateful for every penny we made.  Thanks are in order to Dave Shatzel, Eve Barbour, Jen O’Hare, Lynn O’Hare, Eve Barbour, Nicole Cook, Fred Peterson, Joshua Hanzlion, Jeff Collins and everyone else who turned out last night.  It was the best way to end a long and winding promotion and we’re going to head back to Brennan’s in the fall for the same deal.

As for the rest of the Mockery & Random Thoughts junket, thanks are in order, so here goes: Eve Barbour, Brian Platter, Stephanie Rhinehart, Ryan Miller, Jennifer Lysiak of Metro Source, Jolene Zanghi from Bee Group Newspapers, Brian Kahle, RD Pohl from the Buffalo News, Geoff Kelly from ArtVoice, Dee’s Firehouse, Don and Jon from Don’s Atomic Comics, Maryan’s, Nance Gardner Lang, the Lancaster Public Library, Dog Ears Bookstore in South Buffalo, Jonathan from Talking Leaves, Christy from Rust Belt Books, Tom and the rest of the gang at Finnan’s, Dave Waters, Dave Lopian, Duane Muth, Stockman’s Tavern and every single one of you who were kind enough to come out and see us.  It’s been a long strange trip and this tour of duty is finally over.

This autumn will be a whole different animal.  Mark McElligott will be joining me for some of the promotions while Dave Waters and JR Finlayson will be partnering up for others.  We’re setting our sights for larger territory and we won’t stop at any state line either.  We’re well equipped to take Buffalo by storm all over again and we’re popping out to Rochester, Alfred, Philadelphia, NYC and possibly Charlotte, NC if a few free plane tickets come our way.  This year has been an incredible turning point so far and the last ten are truly starting to pay off exponentially.

 

Thanks for being a part of it,

Tom Waters

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Dee Day: Mockery Book Launch & Two New Pieces In The Buffalo News

April 1, 2011

After trimming Mockery to a fault of any essays that were decidedly serious or introspective, there was a lot left on the cutting room floor.  Now whenever I launch into a whirlwind of a book promotion, I try and get some more publishing credits in locally and nationally to raise awareness.  A few months ago I decided to send in an essay about coping with manic depression for most of my life without any regard for what the public’s reaction might be and no idea of the long-range consequences knowing full well that it would be accepted.  It ran today in The Buffalo News’ ‘My View’ Section.  Here’s the link:

 

http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial-page/from-our-readers/my-view/article381948.ece

 

(You’ll also find a new breed of Club Watch review in this week’s Gusto.)

 

I haven’t touched upon this aspect of my life often before (mentioning it briefly in two or three other books) because it’s something I’m incredibly uncomfortable discussing when I’m depressed and I’ve always felt that it was a moot point when I’m manic.  A lot of people treat their diagnosis or an ailment as a crutch and I’ve never thought of bipolar disorder in those terms.  After years of dealing with it, I look at it as a gift that comes with consequences.  While I’m concerned about how the general public will react to it (anger over condoning the avoidance of prescription medications or an outpouring of sympathy over the illness itself), it’s high time to stop hiding it.

We’re at the top half of the 21st century and I won’t be part of the moral minority that still perceives any mental illness with blinders on.  That and I have an autobiography (Icarus On The Mend) due out in another year and a half that delves a lot deeper into my struggles and triumphs with manic depression.  The bottom line is that my wife and I both feel that I can function effectively in society without the benefit of medication for now.  We’ve both researched the topic thoroughly.  Those diagnosed typically get worse as they get older (longer and more debilitating depressions mainly) and our average life spans are drastically shorter due to symptom-related health hazards.

I’m hoping (rather foolishly) that the two of us can find a kind of Beautiful Mind-like cognitive anecdote to stave off the worst of the highs and lows.  This piece will be misunderstood and most likely controversial, but you and I both know that this isn’t my first rodeo in either department.

We’re mere hours away from the official launch for Mockery at Dee’s Firehouse at 7 p.m. tonight.  All in all a pretty good week in terms of print media saturation.  Whatever my life span may be, I truly hope Buffalo remembers me when I’m gone.  In the mean time, let’s have some fun tonight!

 

Tom Waters

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It Begins! Radio Appearances, Print Interviews & A Very Important Birthday…

March 21, 2011

Okay…

There’s a lot of ground to cover this week, so I’ll try and hit all the bases.  This Wednesday, Mark McElligott and I will be high-tailing it out to Lockport to make an appearance on Kahle & Co. on 1340 AM (WLVL) at noon.  We’ll be talking about both our books with my longtime pal Brian Kahle.

ArtVoice has started taking ballots for their 2011 Best Of Buffalo Awards.  I’ve never really rallied the troops for this contest before, but with a new book literally right around the corner, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, so please take the time to log on and vote at:

www.best.artvoice.com

If you’d be kind enough to vote for me for the Best Writer and Best Local Radio Personality, I’d be deeply grateful.  I cast some votes for my favorite bars, comic shops and local artists while I was there, too.

The Mockery Book launch is NEXT FRIDAY at 7 p.m. at Dee’s Firehouse in Depew with special musical guests One Hot Minute!  I really hope to see you out there so you can meet Kathy (one of the best bartenders in Buffalo), Dee and the rest of the gang!  First edition copies of Mockery will be available for the low, low price of $15, so show up on time because they’re going to go fast.

Interviews will be hitting Lancaster Source as well as The Lancaster Bee by the end of this week.  I’ve got a new My View bombshell hitting the Buffalo News either by the end of this month or the beginning of April.  This isn’t exactly a quiet week in terms of promotions, but this is the calm before the storm.  This is the last week of quiet private life (more or less) before a four month junket of readings, signings and book promotions for two books that are definitely going to do very well for Doubt It Publishing.

And finally, my dear friend Gregg Sansonne is celebrating his 50th birthday this Saturday at Griffin’s Irish Pub on 81 Abbott. Rd. in South Buffalo at 8 p.m.  Ten years ago I was starting off with Night Life magazine writing bar reviews when we ran into each other by dumb coincidence while he was starting out as a tremendously talented musician at Route 66 (now closed) downtown.  His performance bowled me over.  His piano playing and his vocals amazed me and they still do.  Please join me, my wife and the rest of Gregg’s friends for such a monumental milestone.  Gregg has been a wonderful person to a lot of people and it’ll be nice to share the occasion with him.

Have a great week and I hope to see you all soon,

Tom Waters

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2011: Veni, Vedi, Veci (‘I came, I saw, I conquered’)

January 2, 2011

Happy New Year everybody!

            2011 is going to be an incredibly busy year for myself and Doubt It Publishing.  I’m not even sure where to begin, but I guess we’ll proceed chronologically.

            The deadline for Doubt It Publishing’s Author Of The Year has come and gone and it’s time to make the announcement.  I’m proud to let you all know that I’ve chosen Mark McElligott’s Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind for publication this year.  It’s an uproariously funny collection of hilarious, ‘out there’ rants that made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions.  His sense of humor is a blend of Woody Allen, Dave Attell and Steve Martin.  He’s goofy, perverse and tremendously talented and we’re both looking forward to showcasing his work to a much larger audience this spring!    

            I’ve got a full slate of new bar assignments for the Buffalo News Gusto that I’ll be knocking out at a rate of one bar per week.  After reviewing The Dog House in Alden, I was saddened to discover that they closed until further notice before I had time to do the write up.  My condolences to the owners as well as the staff there for the unfortunate incident that led to their shutting down.  I had a wonderful time when I went and there was a roofing accident a week later that led to their demise. 

            At the end of this month (on Thursday, January 27th at 6 p.m.), The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour will be recording live on location by hosting a free concert with 2010 Buffalo Music Award winners for Best Rock Duo Of The Year Busted Stuff at Dee’s Firehouse on 4628 Broadway Ave. in Depew.  If you’re free, we’d love to see you at this event!  Dave and Cynthia are great people and they’re incredibly talented, so I look forward to hearing them play again.  They’re also launching a debut CD of original music around the same time frame, so hopefully they’ll have copies on hand to sell.

            As far as my autobiography goes, the first draft is finished.  Icarus On The Mend: Memoirs Of A Manic Depressive clocks in at a hefty 430 pages (so far) and if the book gets any larger upon revision, I may have to split it into two volumes from a cost standpoint.  I’d prefer not to charge more than $30 for the book in a soft cover format, so that could be the direction I take when the book is released in either 2012 or 2013.   The book is unlike anything I’ve written before, and while I’ve been guarding the manuscript for its explosive content and the cacophony of sensational revelations within, I’ll be auctioning off the second draft this spring.  The current bid is at $50.  If you want to read the book before it comes out, feel free to email me with a bid before spring.

            In February, I’ll be interviewing artist/writer Dylan Horrocks (Hicksville), who hails all the way from New Zealand.  This will be a studio show for The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour.  His breakout book was just republished this previous summer from Fantagraphics press and it’s one of the best graphic novels I’ve ever read.  Don will be co-hosting with me.

            By April, my ninth collection (Mockery) will launch online and in stores.  It’s a 130 page collection of nothing but finely tuned rants and the book is layered like a stand up comedy act.  This is the first book where I’ve worked diligently on the pacing of the humor throughout the book and the effect on readers should be noticeably different and vastly improved.  It’ll retail for $14.99 and while I never say never, this may be my final essay collection.  Eve Barbour (of Eve Barbour Designs) will be working on the cover layout and interior and Ryan Miller took the cover photo (a black and white picture of me laughing at a little girl who dropped her ice cream cone).  I’ve started working on a fiction novel which I’m not prepared to discuss in any capacity yet as the work is still fresh. 

            I’m not sure what the back half of 2011 will hold for me, Doubt It Publishing, Mark McElligot and The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour, but I’m certainly looking forward to it.  This is going to be a great year and I look forward to taking the journey with all of you.  As always, stay tuned to the web sites for more details as they emerge.  To sum everything up, get ready to laugh.  A lot. 

Sincerely,

Tom Waters

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Monday Big Words Update! Recognition, Expansion & Promotion

July 6, 2009
What a difference a few days make!
    Brian Meyer from The Buffalo News was kind enough to let me know that ‘Cherish Your Freedom On Independence Day’ (the My View piece that ran on July 4th) was their #1 article on buffalonews.com for July 4th and the better part of July 5th!  I was hoping that the article would strike a chord with readers, but I had no idea it would hit home with so many!  I was astonished last year when I found out that the Town Of Lancaster sealed ‘Lancaster Feels Like Home To Me’ into a 100 year time capsule, but this is quite a milestone in its own right.  Thanks to all of you who read My View and thanks for all the kind words of praise.  It means a lot. 
    In addition, I’ve been spending some time this weekend getting the word out online on The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour.  Without getting into too much technical mumbo jumbo, I’ve syndicated some of the earlier shows on to podomatic.com and listed the show on a great deal of directories and feed aggregators.  This basically means that there’ll be more online beacons for the uninitiated to find the show.  While the mypodcast.com site has plenty of room and looks sharp, they’ve been having some problems with tracking accurate statistics in the last six weeks, so I’m looking at some alternatives for setting up shop down the road.  In the mean time, I’ll be experimenting with some of these other free hosting sites and seeing which one works best before setting up shop for good on another site.  If you want to check out, become a fan of, or subscribe to the sister site, here’s the address:
    http://www.bigwordsradio.podOmatic.com
    The stats for the show on podomatic are pretty all-inclusive and they give me a better indicator of how well each show is doing, how many people are listening, etc.  My goals for Big Words Radio Year 2 are to reach a larger audience, book bigger and better celebrities, and scale back on the number of new shows in order to strive for quality over quantity.  I’ll be implementing a lot of these goals over the course of this summer.
    And later this month (as well as the beginning of August), I’ll be taking part in the Buffalo Infringement Festival downtown to promote Slapstick & Superego before the official launch.  I’m still ironing out the details for the launch, but here are the dates, locations and times where you can catch me during Infringement:
    7/25 9pm Nietzsche’s (Part of Space Alien Love Fest)
    7/26 5pm – 7pm Rust Belt Books (Solo)
    7/26 5pm – 8:30pm Rock Harbor Yard (Part of Zombie Fest)
    8/1 9pm Nobody’s Art Center (Part of Nobody’s Pirate Party)
    8/2 8pm Nietzsche’s (Part of Infringement Awards Ceremony and Closing Party)
    A big thanks goes out to organizer Josh Smith for working around my hectic schedule to make this happen as well as the rest of the organizers for the Buffalo Infringement Festival.  This will be the first time I’ve taken part in Infringement, so I’m looking forward to the experience and I’m intrigued to meet and greet with some of the other artists, poets, musicians and writers taking part in the event.  If you’re calendar is free at the end of July or the beginning of August, come out and say hi!
    And finally, Night Life magazine hits the stands with a vengeance today with ‘How To Be A Slob -or- Why Martha Stewart Won’t Return My Phone Calls’, an older essay from Zany Hijinx. 
    That’s all I’ve got for you today.  Lindsay and I are still working on getting a word processing program for our loaner, so I’m holding off on writing anything new since I abhor Wordpad and would rather wait to write on something I’m familiar with.  I’ll talk to you all in two days,
    Tom Waters
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2 poems in AV this week, My View this weekend…

July 3, 2009
    I was thumbing through ArtVoice yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to see that they ran ‘token excuses for block’ and ‘listening to thelonius monk’ (from Breathing Room Volume I) in their ‘in the margins section’ in this week’s issue!  I still don’t have the slightest idea when the Joe Nickell interview is running (if ever) along with another piece I was assigned to write, spent money on and wrote LAST SUMMER, so it was nice to see a few poems that were recently accepted run so soon.  As for the other two, this has happened so many times with no clear indicator as to why the pieces haven’t run that I’ve lost any hope of them seeing print in AV.
    As for other publications, be on the lookout in the Buffalo News My View section this weekend (most likely on July 4th) for ‘Declaration’, a new essay I wrote about how Independence Day means a lot more to me than just fireworks and backyard barbeques.  I showed it to my buddy Brendan (the same one who recently co-hosted Episode 40) and he gave it the thumbs up, so odds are that it’s going to go over like gangbusters.  
     I hope you enjoy your 4th of July and don’t forget to grab a copy of ArtVoice and the Buffalo News this weekend!
    Tom Waters 
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Thoughts on the Flight 3407 Plane Crash…

February 13, 2009
I was very torn about whether or not to write about the horrific plane crash late Thursday night/early this morning, but I feel compelled to. While most people cope with any tragedy of this magnitude, they tend to relate to the event by making it about them. I’ve always shied away from writing about celebrity deaths or Buffalo tragedies because I would rather mourn in my own time than jump onto a bandwagon and vie for recognition in the classic journalistic tradition of grabbing headlines or boosting site hits by banking on the loss and grief of others.

While it’s appropriate and relevant to report an event regarding the who, what, where, why and how, oftentimes writers inject their own egos in situations like these where it’s not warranted (i.e. ‘I met Jimmy Griffin at a church function in ‘76’ or ‘September 11th was important to ME because I was doing THIS on that day and my cousin’s sisters’ husband was down the street’, etc.). While many of my essays are egocentric, I strongly frown on this sort of narcissism in professional writing. Lives have been lost and this has nothing to do with me or anyone else who tries to make it about them. If more people read between the lines in whatever newspaper they read or any cable news station that milked such an awful occurrence for everything it was worth, they’d realize just how exploitative and heartless the field can be.

In this instance, I’d like to say a few things. I was born, raised and lived in Clarence for 26 years before moving out of town to Amherst and then Lancaster. It will always be a part of me and living a half an hour away, that sounds foolish, but there is a definite cultural difference between Clarence and Lancaster. I wrote an article some time back in the Buffalo News My View column about my love for Lancaster and the fact that (like anyone aging and finding out that they ‘can’t go home again’), Clarence has become more populated and less rural over the course of the last twenty years. Over the summer, the Town of Lancaster was kind enough to include this article in a time capsule that was sealed in a building for the next 100 years. Clarence loyalists didn’t take to this article too kindly, but many alumni from high school agreed.

Since my parents’ home is on the border of Williamsville, we spent the majority of our year directly in the flight path leading to and from the Buffalo airport. Most people who live in Clarence can hear the planes that depart and arrive throughout the day and it became so commonplace that we learned to tune it out. It was part of growing up and living in Clarence. For all of us.

In December, I obtained a part time job in Clarence where I remain and work three days a week. It’s given me a great opportunity to reconnect with the town I grew up in and visit with old school chums or familiarize myself with the surrounding townships, bars and roads. The Goodrich Road/Clarence Center Rd. area (where the crash took place) is not only five minutes away from Clarence Central High School, it’s also ten to fifteen minutes away from my place of employment. The Clarence Middle School is also five minutes away from the crash site.

My heart goes out to the victims and families of flight 3407. Early reports are already confirming that most of the 49 people who died in the crash were Buffalonians. It was a horrible, horrible tragedy and most of us will be coping with the loss and grieving in our own ways throughout the weekend and well beyond.

With any unexpected death or national disaster, I try and look for the positive effects and ramifications that weigh out all the negative and saddening events. For those familiar with the Goodrich Rd./Clarence Center area, it’s a highly populated, well-developed suburban area on the border of Amherst and Clarence Center.   With two neighboring schools, a firehall and densely populated neighborhoods, it’s a godsend that more people weren’t hurt. It’s also very fortunate that the crash took place so close to the Clarence Center Fire Hall. Luckily, their response time was much faster than it would have been had the crash taken place further away from their station. What happened was awful. If the crash happened further out, though, the fire could have cost more lives and caused more property damage (during a Buffalo winter where we’ve already had plenty) than it did.

It’s always especially painful when any deaths occur so close to a major holiday. It seems as if the really decent people always die near national holidays. Again, my condolences to the friends and family of the victims in the plane crash. You will be in everyone’s thoughts and prayers in spite of living in a world of exploitative, ulterior and sensationalistic media overexposure where any tragedy is concerned.

Hopefully Buffalo media outlets won’t milk the crash for their own selfish purposes too much in the coming weeks. It would be nice to see ANY media outlet take the moral high ground by being tasteful and conservative on their take as opposed to disrupting the grieving process by hammering surviving relatives with questions for weeks on end and conducting around-the-clock coverage long after all relevant facts have been released and the news portion of the story is gone and the dead horse portion of the exposure truly begins. Please be tasteful and remember that it’s not always ’all about you’ or ’all about Buffalo’ when handling the story. For once. See also: Tim Russert, Jimmy Griffin, anything having to do with the Goo Goo dolls, etc. Real journalists will attempt to write about the story tastefully and objectively within a short time frame. Again, our thoughts and prayers will be with you.

 

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Monday Big Words Update! December Suprises…

December 22, 2008

After yesterday’s update, I don’t have a whole hell of a lot to get caught up on. There are no less than three new Big Words Radio shows in the pipeline, but time hasn’t been on my side lately and the file uploading process I have makes it infinitely easier to just drop the shows off at the studio when the weather and the roads permit. As for the roads and the weather, lake effect snow: what’s up with that? Since the wife and I are on lockdown due to Lancaster’s ‘State Of Emergency’ and the Driving Ban, perhaps I’ll try and volley a few shows Rich’s way.

This Wednesday (X-Mas Eve) marks my next in-studio date for recording the show with co-host Josh Smith. As for a guest, we’ve got our pick of the litter and I’m not entirely sure who’s going to be on until Wednesday rolls around because I have two people on deck for the guest chair and they’re both call-ins.

As for both Breathing Rooms, I’m taking a hiatus on promoting the new books in addition to the Monsters Of Verse. The holidays are hectic enough and there’s not much point in promoting anything in Buffalo in terms of in-store promotions this late in the winter. JR Finlayson, myself and our third rotating guest poets will kick back into high gear in February once the elements and the economy are off the ropes, if you know what I mean.

It seems like forever since I got a bar review into the Buffalo News, but, well, I’ve been busy and the News has been busy. You can expect a new Club Watch (or two) within the next week or two.

And a new Night Life presumably hit’s the stands today with the final installment of ‘5 Writers, 3 Musicians, A Director, A Teamster, A Painter, A Boxer and a Game Show Host: A Study In Biographical Pictures’, a critical essay on my 15 favorite biopics.

That’s all I’ve got for you today. Stay the hell at home, don’t panic, don’t find an excuse to leave the house to get milk or eggs or some such nonsense and chillax. The way I see it, this is nature’s way of telling us to get some rest and get caught up on things around the house. Thank god we’ve got whiskey, cigarettes, 800 movies, 2,000 comics and a few dozen video games. Who wants to play video games, though? Talk to you all on Christmas Eve with ‘Quixote Wednesday’,

Tom Waters

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2 New Sterlace(?) TV Shows!

December 21, 2008

Oof, the holidays are murder, eh?

Everyone needs a release valve or ten.  Luckily I have a few outlets (whiskey, writing, and cheese) to vent.  If you still have it, the Buffalo News ran a new holiday piece that I wrote in Saturday’s ‘My View’ section.  Yesterday marks the tenth year since my grandfather Franc passed on and I’m not sure if it was an accident or not, but they ran the piece on the same day.  I made mention in the essay.  Early responses seem to be very positive.  It was nice to be able to honor my grandfather’s memory in such a public forum. 

Also, I made two appearances on the Greg Sterlace show this previous Friday and the Friday before.  They are already up online over at sterlace.com (12/15 and 12/19, respectively) and should bew running on Time Warner on Wednesdays and Fridays (check your DVR or local listings for times) on public access.  Last Friday it was the Mr. Ski Mask show with a very special gay proposal for Ski Mask.  This week (due to weather constraints), Sir Face Mask hosted the show and we spent a half hour going off on the Viewer’s Mom.  This show is bananas, yo!  I have no idea how they get away with everything they get away with, but it sure is fun. 

You can also check out some pics from the show along with a new look I’ve been working on.  I stumbled by accident onto a hybrid Dennis Miller code of dress that I’m really digging.  The pictures only run for the current week, so act fast!

Good luck getting all your shopping done and happy holidays,

Tom Waters

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Newsletter Feed: One Bigass Sit. Rep! Two new podcasts, two new articles and a whole bunch of other stuff!

November 7, 2008
Whew!
 
    You’d think that being jobless would resemble some manner of paradise involving sitting on my ass, eating government cheese and doing absolutely nothing, right?  Wrong.  In the last month, I’ve put more time into my career (writing) now that I don’t have gainful employment than ever before.  I can honestly say that I’m going through one of those quantum leaps marketing-wise.  The kind I haven’t enjoyed since way back in 2001.  Most of my days have been spent schmoozing on the phone until the battery dies out on my portable, writing any number of different personal projects and assignments, blogging and working on my sites as well as those of others, and spending what little time is left in the evening taking care of things around the house and spending time with my wife while shoehorning research into other side projects. 
    Yesterday alone, I got up at eight in the morning, got a good running start at life and didn’t stop until around midnight.  Aside from a ten minute nap, I didn’t stop.  When I get a full-time job, it’s going to be a bit of a relief, because I’ll have the sort of structure again where I can allow myself to rest once in a while.  Even after getting a molar pulled last week and suffering from related migraines, I felt guilty taking a portion of two days in the last seven to relax and recuperate.  With as many hours in the day as I have at my disposal, I still feel as if there isn’t enough time to accomplish everything I’ve been setting out to do. 
    Bret Easton Ellis told me during our interview a few years back that he treated writing like a job, ‘clocking in’ at 9 a.m., breaking for lunch and then banging out of work around 5 p.m.  I wish I could stop that early.  While tiring, I realize how crucial the time I’ve been given is.  I’ve decided that I’ll be taking this holiday season away from the horrific nightmare that is retail to actually enjoy spending time with my family (new and old) for the first time in 16 years in addition to working on the multitude of projects that are currently under construction or already in progress.  As you may or may not know, the next two essay collections (Slapstick & Superego as well as Merry Prankster) are complete.  I haven’t penned a shred of new poetry for two weeks, but Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick (the next poetry collection) is well over 140 pages without even including the freaky 50 page project I worked on in July (‘Rock/Pop Goes The Weasel’).  And then there are the freelancing assignments….
    My beloved editor at Gusto (Brian Connelly) is apparently moving me up to the big leagues in terms of freelancing and I couldn’t be more grateful.  In addition to the Club Watch bar reviews, he’ll be phasing me into their ‘Tell Me’ section at the very FRONT of Gusto (page two after the front page), conducting interviews with artists, writers and musicians on the cusp of making their big break inside as well as outside of Buffalo.  In regards to that, I’m going to humbly request that if any of you know of an artist (preferably a musician or band) with an upcoming gig in November or December who doesn’t have a firmly established fan base and deserves a wider audience, please email me at once with biographical as well as contact information.  My musical tastes tend to run about twenty or thirty years behind, so I’m woefully ignorant where current up-and-comers are concerned. 
    ArtVoice has also given me the green light on one of two projects I hatched during the idea-storm I was besieged with on my honeymoon at Silvercreek in early October.  With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I’ll be writing a piece about the hot spots to hit on the day before Thanksgiving, which happens to be the biggest party night of the year, eclipsing even New Year’s Eve and/or St. Patrick’s Day.  Again, if you happen to be ‘in the know’ on a bar, club or pub that blows the doors off business wise before the turkey hits the table, drop me a line.  My deadline window is one week, and I NEVER miss deadline.  It’s one of the qualities that’s reinforced my reputation as a serious writer in Buffalo and I’m certainly not going to call that into question now. 
    Yesterday, I had the pleasure and privelage (sp?) of recording an hour long show plus with my podcasting hero Uncle Hal from the Pissed Off World Of Uncle Hal show.  He was my first choice after being offered my own show at Think Twice and with zero notes, bullet points or questions, we managed to fill 70 minutes worth of the most offensive, irreverent comedy imaginable.  If Hal didn’t have an appointment, I seriously would have gone for two hour-long shows in a row.  I raced Episode XV out as soon as I could and my producer Richard Wicka at Think Twice uploaded it at once.  I strongly encourage you to listen at once over at:
 
http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html
 
    I had some issues finding the new episode with more luck refreshing on Internet Explorer, so if you don’t see Episode XV (and the subsequent ‘Bonus Round’), click Refresh and cross your fingers.  I’m not sure if the site is experiencing technical difficulties, but I’ll be getting to the bottom of it over the weekend.
    In addition to the Big Words One Man Mobile Unit, the Monsters Of Verse are full steam ahead.  I returned to Clarence High School on Tuesday to teach my first workshop on the mechanics of poetry as well as writing in general to Ms. Foster’s Poetry Club while recording the event.  That episode (#3, for those keeping track) can be heard over at:
 
http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/monsters/monsters.html
    
    Once again, I experienced issues finding the newest episode of each show on AOL, so if you have Internet Explorer, you’re better off visiting the site from there. 
    And last night, the Monsters Of Verse launched their second official reading at Talking Leaves on Main St. in Amherst.  JR Finlayson, Carrie Gardner and myself kicked off the evening in alphabetical order with fifteen minute sets of amusing, insightful and philosophical poems that the crowd really seemed to respond well to.  Due to a small snafu regarding our start time (I forgot that we started at 6 p.m. instead of 7), we read for an additional forty minutes for the sake of entertaining those who showed at or shortly after 7 o’clock.  Twenty minutes of the second set were lost from the digital recorder, so if you weren’t there, you won’t get to hear it once the non-stop rock block of genius goes up online.  Depending on where my day (and my weekend) take me, Episode IV of the Monsters Of Verse should be up on the web by Sunday afternoon at the latest.  I’ll shoot you all an email when I’m positive that it’s up. 
    I’ve had a lot of time to think in the last four weeks.  One of the things I was turning around in my head yesterday was just how…overjoyed I am to have two like-minded creative maniacs to tour Buffalo and beyond with for the next six months.  With Jeff Finlayson and Carrie Gardner on deck, I honestly couldn’t ask for two other people I’d rather be out and about reading with.  Aside from sustaining, supporting and inspiring each other, they remain my dear friends and I’m not so much surprised with how well our collective dynamic is growing and improving so much as I’m pleased with the results.  Maybe we’ll hate each other come the beginning of May, but I doubt it.  Their talent, professionalism and their knockout prognostication skills continue to sustain and inform my burgeoning poetry skills.  At the risk of getting gooey, thank you, Jeff and Carrie.  Our events (and this project) are a feather in our cap that I’m very, very proud of.  I realize that putting up with my thousand event-related emails, phone calls and frequent tantrums is far from fun to deal with (just ask my wife), and your respective patience and professionalism is slowly molding me into a better team player.  You two are the best.
    Our next stop on the quest for global spoken word domination hits next Thursday (the 13th) at Spot Coffee on Delaware and Chippewa from 7-9 p.m.  Three days later, we’ll be at my favorite bar, Desiderio’s on Broadway on Sunday the 16th at 7 p.m. with special musical guest Shaky Stage.  Attendance so far has been admirable, but where the hell have you guys been?  Carrie has brought the majority of our audience and I’m embarrassed to say that most of the Big Words army have been missing in action.  PLEASE make the time to show your face for one (if not both) of the next two events.  I’m disappointed in the total lack of support in terms of these promotions where you’re all concerned, and it would be nice to see some if not all of you out during this new experiment in our collective creative careers.  While I realize that our performances are not at the top of your list, you’re missing out.  We’ve had a great big barrel of fun so far and it’s only going to get better as we continue to sharpen our skill set on the road.  Forget everything you know about poetry and give us a try.  I promise that we won’t let you down, and the after-parties thus far have been phenomenal.  I’ll leave it at that.
    And, on a final note, two new articles popped up online this week.  This month’s issue of Acid Logic is rolling out hot at 15 mph with ‘Sawed Off Sam Walton’, a strangely topical essay about spending half of my life in the hell known as retail.  Read all about it over at:
 
http://www.acidlogic.com/retail_sucks.htm
 
    And after a month long unintentional hiatus from comic book reviews, I put my nose back to the grind and started pumping a few new graphic novel critiques and sending them off to my new editor at Comics Bulletin.  You can catch them every Wednesday on www.comicsbulletin.com.  Top Shelf Comics has been kind enough to send me more than my share of advance copies, review copies and entire libraries for research purposes having to do with the radio show, and one of the books they sent me stood head and shoulders above anything I’ve read this year.  Despite what you might think, I actually do read comics that don’t have Batman in the title.  This previous Wednesday, I gave Nate Powell’s Swallow Me Whole the credit it truly deserved.  Check that review out over at:
 
http://www.comicsbulletin.com/reviews/
 
    You may have to scroll down a tad as my show-notes inform me that it is no longer Wednesday and there isn’t a direct link to each review.  Since the Swallow Me Whole review, I’ve been hard at work building up a stockpile of other new reviews so that there aren’t any gaps on that site.  I’m neurotic about taking advantage of each and every site and publication I write for and I hate to be tardy to the party with any of them unless it’s absolutely unavoidable.  Writing comic reviews is a labor of love and it doesn’t even feel like work to fire off 5 or 600 words about every book I shovel into my brain.  Excelsior!
    That should be all the news that’s fit to print for the time being.  Thanks are in order to: JR Finlayson, Carrie Gardner, Richard Wicka, Greg Sterlace (farewell and good luck, new friend!), Jonathan at Talking Leaves, Josh Smith, Uncle Hal, Wil Forbis, Thom Young and last but not least, my wife.  Lindsay has had to endure hell and back and back around again in the last four months.  This wrongful termination from Gamestop was another curveball that we didn’t deserve or anticipate.  She’s a real trooper, and without her love, support and reliability, I’d be well past the point of sanity by now.  I love you, chipmunk! 
    Oof.  One final word.  Now that Hal has popped onto my show, I’ll be doing a walk-on over on his.  We’ll be recording Episode 61 (or is it 62?) next week and you know I’ll give you the head’s up once it’s online.  The two of us are the politically correct equivalent of a keg full of dynamite strapped to a minivan doused in nitroglycerin whenever we get near a microphone.  The Big Words episode was brutal, but now that we’re back in the groove, our show on his site will be worse.  You have been officially warned.  Have a great weekend,

 
Tom Waters
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Greg Sterlace Show #702 Up Online Now/The Big 33/30,000 Served and Beyond Site Hit Update

October 25, 2008

     Last night, I popped in to the non-stop party known as the Greg Sterlace Television programme.  For episode 702 (and as a dry run for this evening), I wore some makeup.  Think Pagliacci only more psychotic.  Think about the man who laughed.  I’m sure you’ll figure it out, and even if you can’t, just follow the bouncing link over to:

http://sterlace.com

There’s a heaping helping of liberal mentalities, but someone had to be on the front lines to report back to base.  No poems were read, but comedically, we had a hell of a time. 

And today, as you may or may not know, is my 33rd birthday.  I’ll be commemorating the event with two of my best friends in the world, JR Finlayson and Carrie Gardner.  In case you haven’t caught the listing yet, we’re rolling out the Monsters Of Verse 2.0 TONIGHT at the Center For Inquiry on Rein Rd. (across from UB North) at 7 p.m.  SHARP.  Books will be available from all of us ranging from $5-$15, so hit your local ATM ahead of time.  We’ll be partying at an undisclosed location nearby afterwards, so if you don’t make the show, you’re not going to know where we’re going.  We’re planning on reading for roughly an hour total for our cumulative performance, as it’s always better to leave listeners wanting more.  By tomorrow night, the inaugural reading (along with all future appearances) will be popping up on the Think Twice Radio site (www.thinktwiceradio.com) under the NEW Monsters Of Verse banner.  Look for it Sunday night! 

And thanks for stopping by the official site yesterday.  You’re continuing interest in the Gamestop fiasco has driven site hits above and beyond the 30,000 served mark.  Here’s the current rundown:

10/24: 111 Unique hits

10/25: 30 Unique hits (so far)

Spread the word.  I’d rather be a Liliputian in an army of them than a lightning rod on a roof by himself.  Any and all assistance is appreciated.  

That’s all I’ve got for today.  Oh, one more thing.  The Buffalo News accepted another one of my My View submissions, which puts me at their 3 submission max for the year.  That’s a big deal to me, as I’ve never reached the max before in a calendar year.  The piece in question should be hitting the paper some time in December, and it’s a good one.  This gives me time to focus on landing some prime real estate in RD Pohl’s poetry section now, which I have yet to find purchase on. 

Time to get into character.  The next six months should be one hell of a snake oil show.  Seeya in the funny papers,

Tom Waters

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 97 on stands/Breathing Room inflation/Episode XII: ‘The Honeymooners’ UP NOW!

October 6, 2008

Oofa!,

Even though I was on honeymoon all last week at what turned out to be Snyder Beach in Irving, NY with my lovely bride (Mrs. Waters), I still got a lot done.  First order of business…

The new Night Life magazine assaults stands today with a month that’s almost completely devoted to poetry.  Except for this week.  This week you’ll find an ‘uncut’ and longer version of ‘My People’ in the Big Words I Know By Heart print column.  ‘My People’, in case you didn’t read it in the Buffalo News My View section, was a piece about inheriting a second family upon marriage.  Topical!

     And unfortunately, Lulu.com (my distributor and marketer for both Breathing Rooms) is implementing an at cost hike across the board for their goods and services.  This is the way the wind blows, and I apologize, but in order to clear a profit from Vol. II, I’ve adjusted the price to $14.95 for the paperback copy.  Again, sorry.  The book is still over 100 pages and from a competitive standpoint, that’s STILL not a bad price.  Check your local retailers and prove me wrong in the poetry market, kids. 

     And last but DEFINITELY not least, Lindsay Waters and myself recorded a knockout Big Words Radio One Man Mobile Unit show on location from the beautiful patio at Root Five in Hamburg during our honeymoon.  It’s very, very offensive and explicit, so if you’re one of those people who doesn’t ‘get it’ or if you can’t handle Don Rickles style comedy, don’t bother listening.  If you’ve got a broad sense of humor and you’re immune to political correctness, then by all means dive in with both feet at:

http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html

Think Episode IV (the ‘Auntie Linda’ episode) squared.  It’s brutal, but my wife gives it as good as she gets it.  And I am now the proud owner of a brand new, right off the production line model of a Roland Edirol portable professional grade digital recorder.  Yeah!  I’m planning on doing one podcast a week until I collapse or until my voice box disintegrates.  Doing the show is just too much fun to stop now, and it’s gathering some great momentum.

That’s all I’ve got today even though there’s a lot more in store.  A little bird told me yesterday that you can look for a nice sidebar on yours truly in the December print issue of Buffalo Spree magazine.  Get your subscriptions in now!  Talk to you later in the week,

Tom Waters

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 95 on stands, Home Stretch!

September 23, 2008

     By this time next week, I won’t be a me anymore.  Legally, I’ll be a we.  In five days (and after almost four years), Lindsay and I are getting married this Saturday.  I want to thank everyone in advance for their generosity, their time and their friendship (whether blood related or otherwise).  The outpouring of help leading up to this wedding has been unexpected and is one of the few things that’s kept both of us from losing it altogther.  ‘Nuff said on that. 

     Now on to more good news: The first 20 copies of Breathing Room Volume I have sold out in a record six days.  I’ve got more on re-order and I’m hoping I’ll have them by Wednesday so that I can give away a comp copy to the boys from UB Generations, who will be interviewing me this Wednesday at a remote location in Amherst that I’ll be podcasting from.  What amazes me so far is that EVERY single person has read almost the entire book in one sitting and tells me that it’s the best book I’ve ever written.  It would be Ironic with a capital I if a book written as an homage to a dying art form actually made me financially independant as a writer once and forever.  All the capital from this point out is going right back into Volume I and Volume II and then after that it’s getting rolled into Slapstick & Superego, my final Print On Demand book with Authorhouse, which will be coming out in May. 

     Since Lindsay and I will be honeymooning in glorious Myrtle Beach next week, this will be my last Monday update for two weeks.  I’m going to try and take a digital recorder down with me for one podcast, but we’ll see what happens.  When I get back, I’ve got work, Monsters Of Verse related promotions and merchandising, radio interviews, public appearances and speaking engagements and oh, yeah, there’s my 33rd birthday to deal with at the end of October.   It’s going to be very busy for the better part of this year as well as fiscal year 2009.  This is a good thing.  As long as I’m busy, I don’t have an opportunity to allow myself to get depressed. 

     So far, ArtVoice, Buffalo Spree and both UB papers are on board for book reviews, interviews or profiles on Breathing Room by November.  I’ve been working really hard on getting the Buffalo News to commit, but I wouldn’t put that in the bank just yet.  After giving them a free copy of every book I’ve ever written and paying the postage (going all the way back to Soup To Nuts), I’ve gotten a one sentence review on ONE book.  Great.  After two years of giving them my soul, I really, really hope that they’ll take care of me on these two books.  We’ll see.

     And I have no idea which essay is running in Night Life this week.  With the computer issue earlier on, my ‘Sent’ mail is still spotty, so it’ll be a surprise to all of us as to which Big Words column runs.  I’ve got to send out all my columns for next month today, so I’m leaving you with that.   If you haven’t done so already, get off your ass and order Breathing Room Volume I: Free Verse.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised.  I can track individual orders too, so don’t think I can’t tell how many copies are going out the door.  Order a print copy or (I make more money on these and they’re cheaper) download a pdf copy to your computer instantaneously at:

http://www.lulu.com/content/2962892

     Not to play the guilt card, but as a newly married couple, we’ve got a house and children to start saving for.  Buy the book, read the book and enjoy it.  Do it.  NOW! 

     Seeya in two weeks, Monday Updaters!

Tom Waters

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Back In The Saddle/Welcome Back To Buffalo!

September 12, 2008

I got back into town yesterday afternoon around 4 o’clock via Southwest airlines after five insane days in cripplingly humid Las Vegas at the luxurious Mandalay Bay Casino and Resort Hotel.  Myself and Curt (my roomate and subsequent co-host) managed to get one episode down for the radio show which is going to transmogrify into the historically epic Big Words One Man Mobile Unit episode 10 some time within the next few days.  I should have pictures up on Myspace by tomorrow night at the latest.  I was a very busy photog while I was out there.  Home again, home again, jiggety jig. 

     It’s good to be back.  I’m in the home stretch on the wedding and autumn is kicking in, which is traditionally a fantastic time of year for me, weather and otherwise.  In three weeks, we’ll be soaking up the sun at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina in the heart of the resort community for the honeymoon and hobnobbing on the Grand Strand during a competing Biker Week at the House of Blues among other things.  Hopefully I can get another podcast down during that, too.

     In classic Murphy’s Law fashion, ‘Our People’ (the rant about my new inlaws) ran in the Buffalo News My View section on Tuesday while I was out of town.  If anyone still has Tuesday’s copy of the Buffalo News, I would truly appreciate a copy of the print run. 

     Hennessey’s Bar and Grill on Broadway review ran this morning in the new issue of Gusto in the Buffalo News this morning.  Scoop it up if you’d like. 

     And finally, the first 20 copies of Breathing Room vol. I: Free Verse are en route via UPS as we speak.  The layout couldn’t look any more perfect.  Nick Peterson did a phenomenal job on the internal mechanisms for the book and I’m really excited about gearing up for the upcoming promotional junket!  If you’re interested in obtaining a signed copy of the book, contact me poste haste as there is a week delay in ordering/receiving more copies. 

     That’s all the news that’s fit to print for one day.  I’ll holler back on Monday for the routine update with any more developments.  Thank god I’m back in Buffalo.  Vegas is too crazy for me and there are too many opportunities for trouble out there, so it’s comforting to be back home.  Talk to you soon,

Tom Waters

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Sunday Newsletter Update: Radio Episodes 8.5 & 9 Up!

August 31, 2008

 

Yep,
    I wanted to write sooner.  I wanted to get the last episode up sooner, but it wasn’t meant to be.  Rich (my producer) had to go in for some medical tests and everything came up rosy.  If there’s one thing the two of us have in common, it’s our love for a holistic lifestyle.  Right.
    Life has just been insanely busy lately.  I’ve been wanting to write more comic reviews, but I haven’t had time.  A week and a half ago, I had a Gusto assignment at Hennessey’s Pub out in Alden.  Last Saturday was my bachelor party, which I decided to make a podcast out of.  That turned into episode 8.5 (since I spent more time partying than recording, it was only a half an hour).  On Sunday (amidst a shit storm of aggravation), I wrote three poems.  Then I got lost somewhere on the 279 and ended up sleeping in my car.  This is why I hate large highways. 
    On Monday (after explaining to my wife, her parents and a few other people that the ‘reports of my death were greatly exaggerated’), I met up with ArtVoice Managing Editor Geoff Kelly at Mulligan’s Brick Bar downtown to record on location.  We had a knockout show and for some reason on a Monday afternoon at a bar on Allen there were six people who were unfamiliar with the term ‘inside voices’.  The podcast turned out great regardless. 
    Tuesday was my night at Desi’s.  On Wednesday, I returned to Buff State to chime in and sit in to enjoy Lisa Forrest’s Rooftop Poetry Club get together.  It was therapy that was well needed.  Weds. night I had a quiet night in with the wife.  That was well needed too.
    Thursday I was at work all day for the most part.  Friday was more work and another quiet night in with the wife. 
    Yesterday I had an assignment for ArtVoice that I had to be vague about.  I’ll just say that if you’re a true Elton John fan, you might be familiar with a certain reverse psuedonym that’s going to be popping up soon in their pages. 
    Check out the podcasts, though.  You can find both over at:
 
http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html
 
Episode 8.5 Tag Line
 
Tom commemorates his bachelor party with the drunkest podcast yet, strange boobs in the face, Mighty Taco, and projectile vomiting.
 
Episode 9 Tag Line:    
    
Tom sits down and pounds out the magic with Buffalo Wonder Boy and ArtVoice’s Managing Editor in Chief Geoff Kelly. Mayhem ensues, stout is purchased on Jamie Moses’ corporate credit card.card.
 
    The two Breathing Room poetry books STILL aren’t done.  I am now a month over my personal deadline for them and the first volume had better be finished come next week or somebody is going to be in hot water.  My layout person is still working on them and I don’t understand how the pdf can be so difficult when I knocked out Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish in a weekend.  I guess we’ll see what next week brings.  Volume I should be ready for order by the second week of September.  I’ll be in Las Vegas that week for work. 
    I think that’s just about everything.  I’m about three weeks away from my wedding and the majority of my immediate families (and friends, for that matter) hate my guts or think I’ve lost my mind altogether or both.  These things will happen.  In September, the Buffalo News will be running an essay I wrote about my new in-laws in their ‘My View’ section.  That makes my second accepted submission for the year and they allow three per person, so I’ll have to whip something else up as soon as ‘Our People’ runs.   
     Things are really starting to come together career-wise.  Word of mouth on something or other (or perhaps ALL of it) is hitting the ground running and I’d like to think that the money should be around the corner.  Geoff Kelly and I were talking about career goals, aspirations and objectives on Monday and I told him my conclusion was that ultimately, I wanted to keep busy.  Writing is a compulsive therapy for me now.  It’s something I’m going to do no matter what.  I’m knocking on wood here, because every time I say something like that, I block up for eight to twelve months.  There’s still too much to be done.  And I don’t give a shit about recognition anymore, inclusion, or critical fanfare.  I want to make money.  I want to provide for my new three unit family.  I want to be able to leave my job in two to five years so that I can do this full time.  I’m ready.  The steps are in place.  All I have to do now is keep at it.
    I’ll drop you a line again when I have a chance.  Take care of yourselves, Big Words readers.  Seeya on the flip side.
 
    Tom Waters
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Monday Big Words Update: Stop The Press, I Wanna Get Off!

August 5, 2008

     If I had a request to pass along to the Fates, it would be that they didn’t let all the important things happen in the last week of each month this summer.  This makes twice now that I’ve had to phone in to Night Life magazine and essentially tell them to ‘Stop The Press!’  With a four rant block of essays already in place, I changed tack in light of last week’s events and decided to publish the Buffalo Rising campaign ala Lenny Bruce by serializing the ordeal.  Every email, every column and every late breaking event will be disseminated in a two or three part column series IN print in Night Life magazine under the auspicious title of ‘Alia Iacta Est’ (or, for those of you familiar with your Latin, ‘The Die Is Cast’. 

     There were a lot of updates I wanted to write over the weekend, but Linds and I skipped town and set sail for Lake Erie.  Some time late on Friday, I finally (after many hits, misses and total mistakes for the notion) came up with a lasting title for Essay Book Six (technically Book 9.  Are you ready for it?  Maybe we should get a drum roll going because the title is unbelievably perfect for the content.

-Drum Roll Please

First of all, you’re all (most of you) familiar with the next Rant Book Title, Slapstick & Superego.  We’ve got that one covered at least.  I’m looking at May or June of next year depending on how long the Breathing Room promotions will spill over.   But the book after that, the rant collection that’s clocking in around 107 pages thus far, is:

-Drum Roll, Please!

Merry Prankster

     I agonize over the naming of things.  This title knocks my socks off, though.  It’s an obscure reference to the ’60s, The Tarot, my lifestyle, the material and my way of life.  It works.  If it turns out that someone else has used that handle, I’m still using it.  It’s perfect, it has a nice ring to it, and I can’t think of Rant Book Six as anything other than.

     I spoke with a lot of Buffalo Industry Veterans today regarding the Buffalo Rising fiasco and they’ve all given me some sagely advice.  Whether I follow it is irrelevant, but it was nice to get their opinions.  People who have been toiling away in the business of newspapers for over a decade (and in some cases, two or three).  In many cases, this experience has opened (or re-opened) a lot of doors for me into new endeavors with old friends and new alike.  A few interviews will be finding their way into the pages of Buffalo Spree, a slick magazine publication with nationwide circulation that Elena was blinded with rage over being unable to trump.  A few others still will be finding a home with ArtVoice after Editor in Chief Geoff Kelly and I manage to trade some old journalistic muckracking anecdotes over a stout or two and come to agreement on the Buffalo Police series.  And I’m going to find a way to work something out with WNY Media, as I think they deserve a few fresh pieces from me after sticking their necks out along with me last week when no one else would.  That takes guts.

     Nicholas Peterson has joined the brigade with myself and Carrie Gardner in putting the finishing polish on both Breathing Room manuscripts.  He’s a wiz on formatting, desktop publishing and layout and he’s been kind enough to volunteer his efforts on rescuing the headers, footers, fonts and formatting headaches that have just about gotten the best of me.  I’ve already begun work on a THIRD volume of poetry (shooting for 3-400 pages for the next tome) entitled Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick which, if I’m lucky, will not be complete for another two years or so with all of the other plates spinning in the air. 

     RD Pohl didn’t see fit to accept any of my submissions for this month’s installment of the Poetry Page in the Buffalo News.  Florine still hasn’t run ‘token excuses for block’, which is understandable as they only seem to run poems once in a blue moon in the ‘In The Margins’ section of ArtVoice.  ‘poem for Lindsay’ continues to garner decent votes on poetry.com, but I’m going to need more credibility for certain parties with the poems if I’m going to move some copies.  It’ll all fall into place over the next three or four months.

     I’m lining up some phenomenal concerts/readings/performances that center again around the ‘Monsters Of Verse’ concept.  Three poets, one location, and the occassional musical guest between sets.  Carrie Gardner, Jeff Finlayson and myself will be headlining a Screening Room reading in mid-December that pays.  Carrie and myself will be featured as readers at the Center For Inquiry as part of Just Buffalo’s ‘Literary Cafe’ readings hosted by the ever-entertaining Perry Nicholas.  All signs point to yes for a launch-window (late October) trifecta reading at Talking Leaves on Main St near UB North.  And discussions are being bandied about regarding doing the official launch at the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center on Main St. downtown.  Most of these events are paying and the majority of them are going to come to pass.  The ‘Monsters Of Verse’ concert concept just feels like more of a downtown Buffalo venue, so I’ll be focusing most of my efforts in and around Buffalo, where poetry seems to thrive in multiple pockets and genres.  Buffalo Spree has even informed me that they’re willing to jump in ahead of the curve and do an Artist Profile and me, which is tremendously flattering. 

     After two months of typing furiously, my right hand is suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.  I’m afraid I’ll be taking a break from writing (and posting) for the majority of the week so that I don’t put any undue strain on the nerve and tendon clusters in my forearm.  I will, however, be running some emails that a certain Informant on Buffalo Rising has been supplying me with intel from mid-week.  The new Big Words radio show wraps this Wednesday night and Uncle Hal and I are STILL trying to find a good time window to do the 60th episode together.  We’ll hammer something out.  That’s a lot of ground covered.  Talk to you soon,

Tom Waters

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Afterthoughts on ‘The Dark Knight’ and a week of the flying rat at BRO

July 19, 2008

     The movie was perfection, plain and simple.  See it.  Multiple times.  On the opening weekend.  Bring friends, loved ones, pets and enemies and overpay for your tickets and concessions.  Above all else, see it. 

     As for the Buffalo Rising Online 5-parter, it is accomplished.  My work is done now, and I can relax and be at peace.  Think of Andy Kaufman from time to time.  I put some hard thought into the ‘trolls’ who post frequently with their two cents along with the other fifty percent of the readers who have some interesting, amusing and insightful feedback and came to this salient decision today:  the forum is for them.  That’s their headspace, not mine.  It’s not my right (nor my obligation) to chime in to the way they react to whatever nonsense it is that I have to contribute.

     Again, though, I’d like to point out that I care less than nothing about personal criticism or attacks.  Rip my writing to shreds all day and all night long.  That I can take.  I realize that my writing is an acquired taste (not unlike a single malt scotch) and that some people are never going to get a hankering for said taste.  That’s fine.  My objective has always been to polarize.  Love it or hate it, I want a response.  And that’s worked for me for a long, long, long time.  I’m more than happy to be the humble scribbler or the sinister villian: whichever role suits you best.  I’m cool with that, too.

     But don’t take it out on the comics.  I love comics, and as Ian (from Don’s Atomic) and I were discussing last night during a bar review at Marinaccio’s in Amherst, comics are taken a lot more seriously in the rest of the world.  The culture in Canada, Japan and Europe is much more advanced, supportive and encouraging where graphic novels and adult black and white stories are concerned.  Isn’t it time we got with the program where this is concerned?  I love rooting for the underdog, and comic books happen to be one of those horses that you don’t back.  So I’m taking the cause up.  I write columns for Night Life, bar reviews for the Buffalo News, and celebrity interviews and graphic novel reviews for Buffalo Rising.  Something different for everyone.  You can’t look at one piece of the pie and honestly think that that’s all I do.  It’s foolish to churn out the same creative rhubarb for every single publication in town and out of town, though.  Think on that for a bit and maybe it will make sense.

     Turning in for bed.  What a beautiful day.  Goodnight, moon.  Goodnight stars.  Goodnight, Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale and goodbye forever, Heath.  Great way to say adieu…

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 86 on stands, etc., etc., etc.

July 14, 2008

     There’s almost too much stuff to cover today.  This is gonna be a hell of a week for me, writing wise.  Firstly, the new issue of Night Life makes the rounds today with a Big Words I Know By Heart rendition of ‘On Spec’, my essay about a recent mental/tectonic shift in my writing philosophy.  Whatever the case, that philosophy must be working, because I’ve hit a goddamned gusher in the last month.

     Breathing Room Volume I: Free Verse is finished, and Carrie Gardner and myself have been toiling away on edits, spelling corrections and punctuation issues.  The frequent problem with being able to type 57 words per minute is that occassionally, you’re going to mispell a few things.  We both want this book to be perfect.  Ron (Carrie’s husband) started reading the book last week and tore through it in one sitting.  Lindsay finally got a peek over the weekend and read the whole thing in the span of an hour and a half.  I think I’ve got something special on my hands, here.  We’re all excited, but I have no idea how it’s going to make any money.  One way or another, the manuscript is getting sent to press by this time next Monday. 

     Yesterday, I spent the better part of the day tinkering on Breathing Room Volume 2: rhymes & relics.  While it was originally intended to be a much smaller, more portable, chapbook sized collection, it exploded.  It billowed out to almost 120 pages.  I’m writing eight final poems for the ‘cookies’ section of the book (there’s a running internet theme for the three parts), writing the ‘afterword’, and then I’m done with that one, too.  These two books have been the most fun I’ve had writing in a long, long time.  I’m putting some events into motion for autumn (which is a great time for poetry anyway) that should play around quite a bit with people’s notions of promotion.

      And ironically enough, The Buffalo News has accepted a piece I wrote last week about inheriting a second family due to marriage that will run the same month that Lindsay and I tie the knot.  ‘My People’ will hit the press in September in the ‘My View section, so keep your eyes peeled.

     As far as Buffalo Rising, I finally nabbed a copy of this month’s print issue and the new format (not sure how long it’s been that size) is gorgeous!  They ran a 1,000 word edit of my interview with comic book artist/writer Alex Robinson as the first installment in my new ‘Vox Populi’ series.  Starting today online (hopefully), they’ll be running five Batman reviews in a row leading up to the theatrical bombshell that is The Dark Knight.  Check that out over at:

www.buffalorising.com

That should be everything for one day.  Let’s put a smile on that face of yours!

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