Monday, February 10, 2020

From the Mundane to the Sublime. Exercise, and Dreams. Louis Shalako.

Louis Shalako

In a video, the young lady does the piriformis stretches for thirty seconds. Or something like that.

I do two or three for four seconds. Another one or two for six or seven seconds, and one, holding it for ten seconds. I do that for each side. When I pull the first one on the left side, as often as not something goes 'clunk' in the lower back. Also noted that rolling to the right to get up off the floor caused a bit of pain as well. 

(Solution: get up to the left side.)

This is why, as a sixty year-old man with back injuries, I design my own routine. Some thirty-five year-old trainer, bristling with energy, would probably set the bar too high and I would inevitably injure myself. I might go for a walk. I did get on a bike, and over a year or two built up so I could do fifteen or twenty k without too much pain. I am never going to run, ladies and gentlemen. The impact on joints and vertebra is simply too great for someone way out of shape.

If I had an actual bar-bell, I would stick with forty pounds. Oh, if you get stronger, simply add reps—not weight. Some asshole bench-pressing five hundred pounds is not a good model for what I am attempting to achieve. I don't expect to be Mr. Universe. How about Mr. Reduced Level of Pain??? That sounds good to me.


Louis Shalako We're about two months in, and really only just starting to feel the results. As for losing weight, or changing my appearance in the mirror, that is a much longer-term project.


My dream from a few nights ago was nuts. Just nuts. I was in one of those maze-like cities that just don't make any sense. I was popping wheelies and cat-walking through intersections on a road racing bike. I was wearing cycle shorts, and them odd-ball shoes...a jersey (which I couldn't read upside down), and a helmet. Everyone was dressed for Carnival...kind of a mix of Venetian masks, and Cats, and Birds of Prey. People are covered in glitter and make-up and having one hell of a good time.

Not impressed, I'm looking around with a kind of amused contempt.

At some point I'm lining up behind some other guys in cycle garb. The guy ahead of me is waving a business card at some baldy-headed guy in a back office. Disappointed, he turns away. I'm towering above them all, chest rippling with muscles, (which is one way of knowing that this is indeed a dream). I wish I had that kind of confidence in real life, but the guy takes one look and says 'You'll do."

And that's how I made the team, which in this dream world is a full-contact cycling team, and I'm the enforcer. My specialty is body-checking them other bums out of our lead guy's way.


The one girl-cat was clinging on to me something fierce. Kind of cute in a fetal-alcohol-syndrome sort of a way.


The only thing I can really recall about last night’s dream, is that I was in a canoe. It was very dark. Some guy in another canoe was chasing me across a lake, splashing madly away behind me. The shore was blackness, but the sky and the water were lighter. As I got closer, I remember thinking how nice and ‘hard’ the water was. A powerful paddler, the boat was very small. It was like it was on rails, or running in a groove or something…an island standing offshore becomes more distinct, and at that point, there is a bit of a swell. Not even waves, and at that point, the boat slows down, begins to wallow. Whoever is chasing me is catching up, and I’ve got water coming in over the sides.

That’s it. That’s about when I woke up.

They say dreams are our subconscious mind sorting and filing and making sense out of the day’s events. I get the impression my subconscious mind is so fucking bored, it’s just making shit up for its own amusement. Other than that, when you’re driving in a long, skinny car, on a road that’s just a bit too narrow, and you go to make a right turn, and the road goes about five feet and then just plummets…downwards at seventy or eighty degrees, just keep going. 

You don’t want to know where that one ends.


(Note: he's talked about his dreams before. If he can write down enough of them, he will have the world's first completely plot-less novel. - ed.)

Image: Louis

Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Ten Years of Independent Publishing. Louis Shalako.

Louis Shalako

It was January 1, 2010, New Year’s Day, when I announced to Facebook and the world that I would be editing and publishing my first two novels.

And eyes proceeded to roll, eyebrows proceeded to crawl upwards, inward shudders were sternly repressed, and the more polite ones proceeded to ignore me as best they could.

Who can blame them? Ebooks had only been around two or three years. No one had any real idea of what an ebook aggregator was. Amazon was just beginning to make some pretty heavy waves. Borders, second largest chain of physical bookstores in the U.S. was dead or in the throes of death.

Of course they hated us—

They hated me, and I knew it. But that's okay, ladies and gentlemen.

That was okay with me.

The real bestsellers were fairly secure in their contempt, but the mid-list authors, the ones who were being dropped or in danger of being dropped due to indifferent sales, hated us.

That was ten years ago. No matter what one might think of my writing, editing and publishing skills ten years ago, the fact is, I have persisted.

Writing and publishing is one of the most speculative ventures that I have ever encountered, although there are no doubt others. Here’s the thing. A person can get a job as a plumber’s helper, some twenty year-old, and after a few months, everyone accepts that this is indeed a plumber.

Ten years later, some guy on Facebook, mentioning no names, reared his ugly head. I have no doubt he was just a troll. Something about his story, the one about winning a writing contest with his very first attempt, sounded fishy. Follow up on the name, there was literally nothing there—he had no books, no stories, nothing for sale on Amazon.

Why was he there? He was trolling authors, the basic premise was that only he was capable of determining who had the right to call themselves a writer. A writer is one who writes, surely a plain and sensible definition, but no. No, ladies and gentlemen. Only those who had won awards, those who had million-dollar advances and New York Times best-selling status had the right. The rest of us were all shit, and he knew it. I saw all those other budding authors, all the people with one or two books, many of them independently published, all of the poets, many of them being published ‘for the love’, which is to say no pay. And I saw their comments, most of them trying to explain, or to justify, why they had the right to call themselves writers.

Suffice it to say that I dropped the creep, and have no regrets about that. Hopefully some of the other ones smarten up as well. Take away his victims and his audience, that one has nothing—nothing, ladies and gentlemen, except perhaps one or more bogus names on Facebook and a bad attitude that ain’t going to cure itself.

In ten years, I have published twenty-two novels under five different pen-names. With paperbacks in two different sizes, with numerous novellas and short stories, I have at least one-hundred and fifty-four titles. Each title comes in a half a dozen formats. That's a lot of products.

The funny thing is, I have never introduced myself as a writer. But then, I suppose I have never introduced myself as anything other than what I am.

I’ve done every kind of shit job, on a thousand different job-sites. Just for starters—

I’ve been on disability for over twenty-five years. I have a part-time job making pizza dough, and I have spent over thirty years in learning how to write a story.

I’ve learned a lot in ten years of independent publishing, but then I have put in the time, made the effort, made the sacrifices, and done the experiments. I have taken a few hits, and thrown the odd punch along the way—but then, who wouldn’t.

Who wouldn’t.

If nothing else, I can tell you what doesn’t work, if only one was prepared to listen—most are not and that’s fair enough.

I have nothing but confidence in my ability as a writer.

And I would actually like to thank that person, whoever they may have been.

Thank you for reminding me of why I came here in the first place.

We will be celebrating our tenth anniversary here at Shalako Publishing and Long Cool One Books, and to hell with the likes of you, sir.


Editor's Note.  Louis forgot to mention that he's been published in six or seven languages, sold stories here and there for real, actual money and stuff, and, this is the part they really hate, he's given away approximately 150,000 ebooks over the last ten years.

And now you know the rest of the story.

Louis has all kinds of books and stories on Kobo.

Image: borrowed

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

On Bullshit Studies and Bogus Initiatives. Louis Shalako.

Louis Shalako

Okay. Cestar, a private education operator, (whose motivation is unclear to this writer, but I would sure like to know what they thought they were buying for that kind of money), recently donated $4 Million for the new wide-load corridor here in Sarnia-Lambton. That's good news, right? Only problem is where did the taxpayer’s money go.

Because the City had committed those funds.

"Suivez l'argent" as my French-Canadian grandmother might have said. You see, ladies and gentlemen, the trouble was, the police had already announced their budget request, a measly 7.1 % increase from the previous year, and Council had already announced that they were going to try to bring that down to 5 % or whatever. Well, it’s kind of hard to jack it now, eh?

Red faces all around—especially as a cool million of that police budget was meant to be cut. 

You heard me—it was put in there so that it could be cut. The cops get their five percent increase and council gets to look stern on policing costs…and it must be true as it’s on the front page of the newspaper.


The only real solution? Forget that $4 Million ever existed. Let's not talk about it—otherwise, at an estimated $160,000.00 per single-bedroom unit, it might actually go to build 25 units of affordable housing. Oh—and we mustn't forget, when confronted with an affordable housing crisis, city and county councillors voted overwhelmingly for a five-year study. That's right, ladies and gentlemen. 

They're going to study a crisis for five years, and even then, the conclusion is very likely to be that it's no one's fault, certainly not the city or the county or the province or the country, but above all else, the conclusion will be that more study is needed...and, by the time they're done with all that, they will be calling it the Naxalone Crisis

At least in the news media…

I can see the slimy looks on their faces, all right. They just need to put that spin on there one teensy little bit at a time, and surely no one will ever know—not even them.

Combined with the $3 Million from the province in terms of Homelessness Initiatives (a bit of a non sequitur as you can imagine), that would build a total of 38 + units.


Here's a nice, simple, and concrete suggestion. Why don't we build 38 + units for single, older women who live in extreme poverty. 

That way, we're not asking taxpayers to build housing for people perceived as mentally-ill, junkies or criminals.

...just a bunch of sweet old ladies.


The best way to combat homelessness is to get up in the morning, so cozy there in your $750,000.00 house, put on three grand worth of shoes and clothing, smooth down that hundred-eighty-buck haircut, climb into the $79,000.00 BMW and drive to the most expensive club in town, and then maybe we could discuss the situation in rational terms with a bunch of like-minded individuals.

All of this, with the watchful eyes of #Canadian_journalists drooling over our shoulders...

It's funny, how no progress will ever be made.

And yet, you just can’t help chasing headlines, can you.

When I say, you can’t change who you really are, people always assume the worst—like I must be talking about crackheads and heroin junkies and mentally-ill people living in a clump of bushes down on the riverbank, and all they need is a free Naxalone kit to just turn those misbegotten lives around in a heartbeat.

But actually, I’m talking about you.

Yes, you.



What is interesting about this 'update' to their ten-year plan is how it will gloss over poverty due to low social assistance rates, low disability pension rates, the low minimum wage, high rents...the list goes on. One of the giveaways: the workshop at the Golf and Curling Club, reminiscent of Marilu Gladfish's mental health conference, Mental Health Challenge Met, which was held at the Riding Club. What a bogus headline, incidentally.

That update story is not in the Sarnia Observer, that’s because they have a comment section—and they know I’m going to contradict them, with unknown consequences.

That’s because one loose thread is often enough to unravel the whole damned fabric—a fabrick, and one which has been reared up at great expense and over a very long time.

#disconnect #bullshit_studies

Also not to be mentioned, the lack of affordable, geared to income housing. And the fact that they’re not going to build any.

So...the province coughed up $3 Million for homelessness initiatives. The only proviso: not one penny for actual housing—it must all go to bullshit studies and front-page announcements. They'll do it, too.

It’s who they are, after all.

It never ceases to amaze me, to see them reach down their own throats, grab themselves by their own assholes, to hear them declare some imaginary charge against yet another very real and present challenge, decisively pull themselves inside out and then go scampering off, guts trailing, ass over tea-kettle, in the opposite direction just like they have so many times before.

Courage, honour, integrity; there are so many things they could be accused of…but not that.

No, never that.

I’ve never seen a more self-delusional bunch, all of them giving themselves awards and pats on the back and all the front-page coverage an ineffectual do-gooder never deserved.

Then there are their enablers.


Image. The Internet.

Thank you for reading.