Ray Van Horn, Jr. is a veteran entertainment journalist whose writing and live photography has been featured in Blabbermouth.net, Dee Snider’s House of Hair Online, Fangoria.com, Horror News.net, About.com Heavy Metal, MetalManiacs, New Noise, Music Dish, AMP, Hails & Horns, Unrestrained,Noisecreep, Impose, Pit, The Big Takeover.com, Rough Edge.com, Pitriff and others. His blog The Metal Minute won a “Best Personal Blog” award in 2009 from Metal Hammer magazine and he wrote and produced his own hard rock e-zine, Retaliate.

He has contributed essays to UK author Neil Daniels’ Iron Maiden and ZZ Top biographies. Ray’s fiction has been published in various periodicals and anthologies, including his flash fiction piece “Off the Record” for Akashic Books’ “Mondays Are Murder” noir series. His recent short stories “Before the Ball” and “Widow” were featured in subsequent editions of Alex S. Johnson’s Axes of Evil anthologies. Ray wrote serialized original superhero fiction for Cyber Age Adventures and five of those stories appear in the anthology Playing Solitaire. He was the winner of Quantum Muse’s fiction contest in 1999.

Ray is a former NHL game analyst for The Hockey Nut and one-time host of the forum “Comic Books” at ReadWave. He has done beat reporting, photography and lifestyle articles for Metromix, an affiliate of The Baltimore Sun, Carroll Magazine, The Northern News and The Emmitsburg Dispatch.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

25 Things About Me

This is a game you see trending at Facebook now and then in waves about once a year and often with select questions to be answered, "25 Things About Me."  For kicks, here's my 25:

1.  My favorite concert in memory has to be the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1989, Mother’s Milk tour.  They were still a funk-punk band, nothing like the laidback group they became after Blood Sugar Sex Magik.  To this day, I’ve never seen more raw energy and outrageous execution.  While I’m sure substances had something to do with it, this was the most amazing live performance I’ve ever been witness to.  Plus it was great locking up with my buddies and pogoing all around Painters Mill Theatre to “Me and My Friends.”

2.  I have many great memories in my life, but being there in 1977 at the movies when Star Wars came out for the first time…nothing compares to that sense of wonderment I felt at age 7.  I wish my son could know it like I know it and I hope he finds something magical beyond comprehension that’ll knock his socks off for life.

3.  I was on Romper Room and Professor Kool’s Fun School when I was a kid.  These were locally-broadcasted kid’s shows during the seventies and early eighties.  If you’re a Baltimore Gen X’er, you’ll well remember “Romper Bomper Stomper Boo…tell me, tell me, tell me true…”

4.  I was pissed I didn’t win “Most Outrageous” in the high school yearbook.  I even lobbied for it! 

5.  My worst fear in life is never achieving my dreams.  If you know me, you what that entails.

6.  My favorite type of sub is an Italian cold cut.  The best I’ve ever had was at some deli on 5th Avenue in Manhattan I could probably walk my way to by memory.  Locally in Baltimore, there was a Greek sub shop called Luka’s that sadly folded and nobody around here could touch them.  I miss that joint.  At least there's Santoni's, who knows what it's about.

7.  The last time I went to Atlantic City?  I hated it.  I don’t gamble, the beach is what it is and it’s nothing to write home about.  I got held hostage in a long timeshare pitch because my wife wanted to get a free lunch.  Live and learn.  When I saw a guy hightailing it down the boardwalk with three hefty stiffs in suits chasing after him, I felt like I’d tripped into a gangster flick.  My trip to AC was capped by a stay in the grodiest hotel known to man.  You could smell the sex and the cigarettes and the air conditioning didn’t work.  Plus the water was brown.  Atlantic City, you can have it.

8.  My favorite thing to do after a big workout is write.  I’m usually pumped up mentally on top of physically after I lift. 

9.  People often add an “e” to my last name or mash the words together to make “Vanhorn.”  Annoying.  Some address me as “Ryan” instead of “Ray.”  Double annoying.

10.  Betsy Palmer called me after my interview with her published and she told me I was the only one who’d quoted her with 100% accuracy.  I have a standing lunch date with her I need to get booked asap.  Jason Voorhees’ mom, can you stand it?  Whoo!

11.  People stare at me like they can’t believe I’m saying it when I mention Prince is my favorite musician.  Seriously, yes, I love Prince.  I consider Malcolm X a hero, while I’m busy shocking some of ya’ll. 

12.  PG Tips rules.  I was the pinhead in the theater who called out “It’s a tea, man!” during Rob Zombie’s Halloween II when Malcolm McDowell asked his onscreen assistant for one and she was clueless about it.

13.  I just finished a graphic novel script I’m about to pitch out there and I’m so ready to write for comics.  I even have my own stable of original superhero characters I created at Cyber Age Adventures a lifetime ago.  Many of my short stories featuring these characters were collected into a trade paperback anthology, Playing Solitaire.  If I could write for an existing comic title, it would be Batgirl, once Gail Simone’s had her fill of it.  That, or Witchblade.  I kinda have it bad for gingers and auburns.

14.  I think the best Chinese food restaurant in the world was Fan’s in Westminster, Maryland.  Unfortunately, it too died out like Luka’s.  Best service I’ve ever seen and the food was like a treat for our family.  Since then, I’d probably say that Chinese restaurant affixed to the Radisson in Manhattan was the most amazing Chinese place I’ve been to since.

15.  My son thinks I’m the bomb.  That’s such a gift when you’re a parent.

16.  Football “fans” have ruined my passion for the game.  You don’t actually play it, people.  Get a life.

17.  If I had a choice of being a pirate or a ninja, I would have to go with being a pirate so I can shamelessly chase after booty and blame the rum every time.

18.  I’m grossly disappointed the Monroeville Mall outside of Pittsburgh does NOT look the same as when they filmed the original Dawn of the Dead in it except for the exterior.  Bastards.  Okay, so maybe I should get a life, but no clock tower and the skating rink turned into a food court makes for a lame trip.  They shouldn’t have mucked with it, just like CBS and Amblin shouldn’t have with Under the Dome.  Feh.

19.  I despise politics, but would have no problem voting Kermit the Frog into office.  That’s who I voted for the last time.  Someday we’ll find it, people…

20. Every birthday of mine, my Pop makes my favorite dish ever, Cajun pork chops.  How ya’ll be, to quote the late Justin Wilson.

21.  One of these days, I’m gonna go fishing with my Pop, as we’ve been planning for more than a decade.  Ahh, life, its stranglehold against the finer things in life.

22.  I live vicariously through a John Carpenter/Alan Howarth synth score.

23.  SSQ’s “Tonight (We’ll Make Love Until We Die)” is not just a song to me, it’s an addiction.

24.  I’ve interviewed more than 300 musicians but never Hank 3.  I’d better rectify that.

25.  If I could be anywhere right now, I wish I was on a book signing tour.  It’ll happen.  Bank.

                    Listenin' to:  Deftones - B-Sides & Rarities

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