I was born during a blizzard on Monday, December 13, 1982 at approximately 5:37 p.m. EST in Abington, Pennsylvania. There was also an earthquake happening in Dhamar, northern Yemen, which ended up killing at least 1,507 people. Earlier that same year, Ozzy Osbourne was arrested for urinating on the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas; Randy Rhodes died in a tragic helicopter accident; Ronnie James Dio left Black Sabbath; and Van Halen’s Diver Down became the best-selling heavy metal album of the year. The highest grossing horror film was Poltergeist, and earlier in March, all the planets in our solar system went into syzygy and were aligned on the same side of the Sun. At the end of the year, Time Magazine chose the computer as its first non-human “Man of the Year.”
My memory only goes back as far as 1986; my earliest memories are of sharing a bedroom with my little sister, who was born in 1985; of visiting my relatives in Jacksonville, Florida; of waiting in a McDonald’s drive-thru with my aunt and my grandmother; of being sick and eating chicken noodle soup while watching E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) on home video; of eating at Denny’s after church on Sunday mornings; of watching Godzilla and kung-fu movies with my Dad on Sunday afternoons; of seeing Amish families in their buggies in Lancaster; of trick-or-treating in my old neighborhood in Norristown; of waiting to pick up my grandmother at the 30th Street railroad station in Philadelphia (i.e., the one in the 1985 movie Witness); and of helping my grandfather in his car shop and watching him drive a race car at a racing track in Florida.
I’ve loved monster movies for as long as I can remember; I spent my childhood screaming at evil creatures like The Thing From Another World (1951) and rooting for more benign beasts like Godzilla (1954). I wasn’t allowed to see any R-rated movies, however, until sometime around 1993 or 1994, when I was a 5th grader. At that time, boys my age were customarily obsessed with franchises like the Alien, Predator, Robocop and Terminator films. I was no exception in this regard, but my life changed forever when I first saw John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) in October 1994. Seeing that film transformed my psyche so radically that I consider it to be the point where I officially ceased to be a child and became an adolescent. It was only a matter of time before I tracked down all the Amityville Horror, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street and Texas Chainsaw Massacre films that existed at the time. I’ve been a hardcore horror movie buff ever since.
Over the course of my childhood and my adolescence, my family and I lived in Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota, Tennessee and Texas. We’ve lived in Pennsylvania – specifically in the Philadelphia area – on three separate occasions (i.e., from 1982-1985, from 1986-1990, and from 1992-1999). The majority of my primary and secondary school years were spent in Pennsylvania, and my college years were spent in Texas. We first moved there in May 1999 and I didn’t leave until June 2009. That entire decade was one hell of a culture shock for a Philadelphia boy like myself, and I never completely adapted to it. But the best thing to have come out of those years was meeting Tony, my best friend and brother in Seth-Typhon. In 2003, Tony and I co-founded our own unique faith, which we later decided to call the LV-426 Tradition.
I was a drama major in college; I spent several years acting and constructing sets for theatrical stage productions. I dreamed of making it big in the entertainment industry, but I eventually decided I didn’t want to be a part of that world after all. I’m more comfortable being a person in the audience, I guess. I still like to entertain, but methinks I’m better suited to doing so with a word processor than with anything else. (Lucky for me, I’ve always gotten straight A’s in English.) Aside from writing prolifically, I’m also an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church Monastery, and I live in a nice cozy house with my beautiful wife Jessica and our grumpy little cat.
In terms of my political beliefs, I’m hesitant to label myself with any term that ends with “-ist.” I’m situated somewhere in the lower left-hand quadrant of the political compass, and I support things like same-sex marriage and socialized health care. While I don’t exactly enjoy paying taxes, I recognize their necessity; I support using them to pay for better social programs, and I think that tax cuts are generally a bad idea. I also think our nation’s representatives should be prohibited by law from discussing religion in their public statements, and that their private religious beliefs should not be a factor in our elections whatsoever. Finally, I loathe our bi-partisan system. I’m not loyal to any particular political party, but I’ve never voted Republican (and unless something changes pretty drastically, I sincerely doubt that I ever will).
Aside from the things I’ve already discussed, I love pitching a tent in the great outdoors and roasting hot dogs over a campfire beneath the stars. I also love going on long drives on the back roads of small country towns, especially when there’s lots of old barns and cornfields to see. I have a healthy respect for rustic things, including old farm equipment like pitchforks and scythes. When I’m not listening to heavy metal, I prefer classic country music like Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn and Hank Williams, Sr. Westerns are my second-favorite film genre, especially movies like Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) and Pale Rider (1985). I don’t drink often, but when I do, I prefer either a hard apple cider, an extremely dry Martini or perhaps a Manhattan (and don’t skip on the cherries). My favorite writers include Clive Barker, Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, Robert E. Howard, Stephen King and Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Donkeys and snakes are my favorite animals, black and red are my favorite colors, and chicken is my favorite food (no matter how it’s prepared).