The Birth of Agony – A Novel by Chris Ironside


Agony has a problem.

Dr. Evelyn St. Croix has been the mortal servant of a powerful vampire for more than half of a century. Strengthened and sustained by his blood, she perfected the art of hunting and seducing human prey for her master. Now, she must hunt for herself as Agony, a newly-formed vampire child. However enthralling the hunt, however blissful the flavor of warm blood flowing over her fangs, the thirst in her seems never to be quelled. Her undead body is constantly plagued with fatigue, and vivid nightmares torment her days. No amount of rest or feeding serves to replenish her powers. Each passing night takes a bigger toll on her both physically and mentally, and she’s already running out of time to find a solution.
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The Season of Sandwiches

Image courtesy of Apolonia /

Nah, not that kind of sandwich. Every year, when the big tents are rolled out to shelter bottle rockets, snakes and sparklers, I am most fondly reminded of July 2000. I literally cannot believe that this story is now 13 years old, but it goes something like this:

Gathered to join in the family holiday celebration of some of our dearest high school friends, we bemoaned the horrible selection of legal fireworks available for general sale in the state of Pennsylvania. We decided that we could definitely do better than these, so we set up a workshop in the garage. While the adults drank and socialized in the house and on the back patio, we were painstakingly unwrapping fireworks, reserving fuses, shaking powder onto paper plates, and filling everything we could find with new combinations. Empty cherry bombs were filled to the brim and sealed with electrical tape. We harvested a film canister and did the same to it (because we’re old enough to have had cameras that needed film). Continue reading

Redbox Instant by Verizon – A Review


I was offered the unique opportunity to review the new Redbox Instant by Verizon service for a month for free through BzzAgent. I have subscribed to Netflix for years, and I use Hulu without the Plus service. I figured I didn’t really need another streaming video service, but I don’t have cable, and anything that gives me free access to new shows and movies for a month is a good thing in my book. Plus, I figured I might actually prefer and switch over to the service. For the same fee that I’m paying for Netflix, Redbox Instant includes four Redbox kiosk rentals per month. That allows me to watch new releases well before they hit the instant streams, and it really appealed to me.

The following is my review of the service based upon my own personal experience, which you may or may not find helpful if you’re considering its use. Please remember that these do not reflect the opinions of either BzzAgent or Redbox Instant by Verizon. Continue reading

I Hate Basketball!


Sorry, I do. I hate it. It’s boring to watch, and I don’t get why so many people willingly submit themselves to doing so. I don’t care about the playoffs, and I’m tired of listening everyone blather on about them. I want the finals to be over and for my regularly scheduled programs to come back to me. (Man, I was kind of grumpy during March Madness.) I don’t understand the celebrity attached to basketball players. I’m not interested in the slightest about basketball wives and their overplayed drama, and I’m neither surprised nor offended by the affairs of players and scandalous behavior that is often displayed by the coaches.

I feel the same way about other sports. Football. Hockey. Soccer. Pretty much everything that’s not baseball, honestly. And even as much as I love to watch even a minor league game of baseball (at the field is absolutely better, but I’ll gladly watch a game on TV if I can’t be there), I’m not going to spend extra time following details of every player and steeping myself in the off-the-field lives of athletes. I just don’t feel compelled to do that.
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What was I thinking? (the blog renaming) I am ilkaisha.

Before I get too far into the whole Sonjariffic thing, I’m going to put a stop to it: My internet alias has been ilkaisha for more than ten years now, and I think I’m sticking to it. If you do a Google search for the term “ilkaisha,” you will find TONS of stuff that relates back to me. My Twitter. My Pinterest. My Facebook page. Pages I don’t remember opening. Products I’ve reviewed. Photos of recipes that I’ve made and rated on Pictures of me and my kids. Images of random people who I’m friends with. But they all come back to me in about three degrees of separation at the maximum.

Some of the things on the Google search are things that I am not particularly proud of, and I think that these things were part of the reason that I wanted to make a new name for myself on this blog. But, even though I’ve been a bit of a jerk at times in my life, and even though you can’t really ever erase anything that’s out there on the intertubes, I’m not parting with my handle. It’s mine, and Sonjariffic is one that actually belongs to a traveling photographer who has a Facebook page, a blog, and some other credentials to back her claim to the name up. I like the name ilkaisha, and before I typed it, no one ever had. So, I’m taking the good with the bad and claiming my rightful WordPress name and address today. Continue reading