Travis Besecker's Blog: Apocalypse Coming

October 10, 2014

Things kind of fell apart for almost a year.  I relapsed into old habits/addictions and found myself dedicated to so many projects that I didn't know which way was up, sleep became secondary, family and friends were gently placed on the back burner and I dove headfirst into quicksand. I walked away from social media, I stopped writing altogether and ignored all the signs.

After the first of the year, the GetOffended gang reconvened and the decision was made to shut it down. I didn't go down without a fight. Angie, my longtime consigliere, locked me in a closet and pulled the plug. It was depressing. We were all heartbroken. I was lost.

I thought I had seen the worst of it, receding into the confines of my head, but I was wrong. After meeting with the accountant and making the official call to waive the white flag, I dove back into the quicksand.  A huge part of my life, that actually began in 1985, had come to an end.  My mortality was staring me in the face.  I was saying goodbye to what had defined me for the entirety of my adult life. GetOffended was my fortress of solitude. I'd met so many people, made so many friends and shared so many times with my cohorts because of GetOffended... I didn't know how to move on.

So I didn't.

I didn't know how to say goodbye.  I didn't want to.  I took all of the stock left over the site (thousands of t-shirts, stickers, catalogs, office materials, business cards, etc etc) and moved them to my home office. There were many suggestions on what to do with everything, but I wasn't having any of it. It's been six months and they are still stacked in there, reminding me of where I came from.  They'll probably be there ten years from now.

In the spring, I was pulled out of the quicksand. I dusted myself off and did my best to assume the role of human being.  I opened old projects and began to revise Harnessing the Spark before sending it off. The problem was, my heart wasn't in it and my head wasn't ready.  Lost in Infinity was thrust into my face.  The book had become my bane.  I had rushed it with intention of getting it off my chest and never looking back.  It was a stupid decision.  The only thing more prevalent than my naivety was my impatience.  For the last year I had stewed over its state of unrest and my inability to chalk it up for what it was.  It was time to focus on making it something I was proud of in hopes of freeing myself from the chains it wrapped around me.

I spent half the year reworking Lost in Infinity into Lost In Infinity: Deja Vu Redux. It was quietly released in October.  The rerelease is the same overall story and concept, retold the way I had originally envisioned it.  I completed the book without assistance, input or third-party editing.  I chose to remove the opportunity for manipulation in lieu of polished craftsmanship.  Despite the fact that the novel rests on my shoulders, I was at last able to move forward and walk away from the book feeling like it was an accomplishment rather than a means to an end.  I haven't decided whether I'll pursue marketing it or attempting to get it into the hands of readers. I'm satisfied at this point just knowing that it's out there.

I'm finally able to say goodbye to GetOffended without fear of losing my identity and my friends. Neigh, my family.  That's what we had become.  Those that made it happen, those that helped, those that supported us through the years... we became family.
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Published on October 10, 2014 08:25 • 104 views

October 14, 2013

My little sister turned 30 on Saturday.  For the last seven years she has been giving me increased shit over my foray into the realm of 'mature adulthood' so when it came time for her to flip her odometer into the life of a thirtysomething, it needed to be commemorated in style.  My 30th birthday was fantastic, marked by a surprise party at my favorite restaurant where my wife secretly brought together a huge group of friends, both past and present, to drink, eat and be merry, all to the sounds of one of my favorite bands, who she had persuaded to headline the shindig.  Not a huge band, one that I'd been working with for a few years through GetOffended, but a damn good band nonetheless who contained guys who quickly became some steadfast and lifelong friends.  I ended up so drunk I knocked over a table after consuming an ill-conceived "Irish CarBomb" using a pitcher of Guinness and a glass with more than 4 fingers of Bailey's and Jameson... all in all, it was a night I'll never forget.  I have my wife to thank for that.  My sister's party needed to be as memorable or more so.  Her husband pulled it off.  Well, he set the thing in motion and her brood of friends pulled it off.  The lack of inhibition or intelligence or both coupled with a complete disregard for law and order and all things considered 'normal' meant this party will always be remembered.  There are tattoos to prove it.

Here is the complete scavenger hunt rules and checklist as it was supplied to the party... trust me, nearly everything was completed and/or attempted by at least 2 of the groups.  There were multiple shaved mohawks, two tattoo'd asses, a neighborhood retention pond whose skinny-dipping cherry was popped (did I mention my sister is the neighborhood Homeowners Association President?), a bunch of very confused local patrons, guests at my parents' house who got to see a couple of ass tattoos and a raid on their liquor cabinet, one shaved leg that is going to grow back so disfigured its owner could play a walk-on role in the next "messin' with sasquatch" commercial and a dozen or so cell phones full of incriminating evidence.

Enjoy.  Happy Birthday, sis.

Scavenger Hunt Rules
- The scavenger hunt takes place in the boundaries of XXXXXXXXXXXX County Ohio.- Scavenger hunt lasts between the hours of 6pm and 9pm. For every 5 minutes a team is late, 5 point deduction.- Scavenger Hunt teams will be split into teams of 3,4,5… must fit a single car load.- All team members must be present during the entirety of every checklist item.- All check list things to complete are under a certain point range, the amount of actual points given for each completion will be determined by the judge after the competition based on creativity, style, team participation and the "holy shit" factor.- The Judge reserves the right to award bonus points for an achieved checklist item that the team goes extremely above and beyond the minimum requirement.- All accomplished challenges must be in video or photo form unless items are required
1-2 Point Checklist:
- All team members wear a paper hat from a restaurant- An orange straw- A receipt for 83¢ in gasoline- Teammate standing in a dumpster- Teammate in a ball pit- 3 croutons from a grocery store- 27 catsup packets- Teammate by the local "Welcome to XXXXXX, Bend Over and Grab Your Ankles" pissed about city tax sign- A random stranger's autograph- Teammate pole dancing on a "Main Street" sign- Entire team sharing a beverage simultaneously.- Break a raw egg on a teammate's foot.- A receipt for a glass of water- Go through a drive-thru and order a "McGangBang"- Teammate petting a stranger's dog- Wearing a pair of sandals with socks on- Fill out and turn in an application at Lowe's or Home Depot- Teammate in front of a Corvette- Entire team singing the "Wheels on the Bus" while driving- 7 Blueberries
3-4 Point Checklist:
- Teammate doing something obscene with a banana- Shave a male teammate's single leg- Teammate pumping a random person's gas- 2 or more teammates in a grocery cart in front of the beer section- Eat 7 banana peppers from Papa John's- Drink a full Guinness- Dress up a fire hydrant- Make a human chalk outline on a public street- Go fishing in a public fountain- Entire team sitting in an electronics section of a store watching a movie- Arrange fruit in the shape of a face- Teammate biting a corn procured from a farmer's cornfield- Paint only the pinky finger of the entire team black- Whole team crawling through a drive-thru- Male teammate wearing heels in a public venue- A piece of currency from the year 1983- Play hide-n-seek in a clothing section- Steal a single wiper blade from an opposing team's vehicle- Make an "I am Cornholio" video- Team member giving a statue a lapdance (must last more than 20 seconds)- Locate an out of state license plate.- Prank call a teammate's brother or sister- Get the phone number from a random stranger under the age of 30- 5 French Fries longer than 3"
5-7 Point Checklist:
- Teammate walking barefoot in a river- A receipt for an eyebrow wax- Change out the right front tire of your vehicle for a spare- Prove that you drove more than 50 miles over the course of the night- Teammate trying on an unbought article of clothing from the Adam & Eve adult store- Teammate wearing a random stranger's shirt at a bar- Have a random stranger buy you a drink- Receive a citation from a police officer for having too much fun.- 3 random store employees doing a Charlie's Angels-esque pose- Entire team humming the Mission Impossible theme while sneaking through a department store- Make a drink for a bartender at a bar- A private address with a house number that says, "1983"- Male teammate dropping pants to ankles while using a public urinal- Give Ashley's dad a high-five and ask for a drink of water at their house- Ride a bicycle with helmet and padding inside a department store- Photo evidence of a teammate the farthest distance away from the party- Entire team must recite the pledge of allegiance simultaneously inside of the Autozone on Main Street between 7:45pm and 8:00pm- Teammates must fill pockets with bells and have a foot race through a department store- At exactly 7pm, pull into the BP gas station on Main Street and the entire team must complete an imaginary NASCAR Pitstop
15-20 Point Checklist:
- Get a permanent tattoo of your name- Bring a random stranger back to the party to drink after the conclusion of the scavenger hunt. Nobody in attendance can know who this person is.- 2 or more teammates go skinny dipping in a public locale- Best alcoholic beverage that any team can bring back for the Judge- Shave a teammate's head into a 2-stripe mohawk.
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Published on October 14, 2013 15:00 • 88 views

August 27, 2013

Whenever I close my eyes, I'll forever see this monstrosity. What could possibly possess my son's orthodontist to believe this stuffed animal could, in any way, be anything but frightening and life changing for a child?  I may never recover.
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Published on August 27, 2013 07:17 • 57 views

July 7, 2013

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Published on July 07, 2013 12:30 • 49 views

June 27, 2013

...and I only mentioned one headless corpse and a colon full of action figures.

Read my guest post on focus at Frankie Blooding's blog 

and then check out her work at

Finding Focus

The guidelines for this guest post were vague. I love vague. “Any topic is good as long as it’s writing/book related,” I was told. Someone with a brain that wanders freely such as mine needs direction, boundaries and discipline to maintain focus. I love vague, I have a strong aversion to boundaries and discipline was never my strong suit.Two minutes into writing this post and I’m already miles away from any intended target.According to an article I found on the internet, whose validity is questionable at best, the most effective way to maintain focus is a multi-step process which begins with adequate sleep and ends with making sure you are passionate and happy about the task you’re performing. Sprinkled in the middle were mini rewards for your hard work and dedication, finding the right music and isolation from distractions. After reading this article I clicked on a link in the footer attached to an x-ray image of an abdomen filled with what appeared to be die-cast Lord of the Rings characters. Two hours later I was buying a t-shirt from Think Geek with a schematic for the ‘Serenity’ Series 3 Firefly silkscreened on the front. Obviously I had read over the original article with uninspired vitality.Read more...
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Published on June 27, 2013 12:54 • 54 views

June 6, 2013

Review generated by Wise Bear Books
Lost in Infinity has moments of brilliance punctuated by sheer frustration. The book's lengthy summary does its best to simultaneously attract and deter all but serious readers. Clearly, this novel isn't for everyone as it's an exercise in patience, wading through the unconventional structure and repetitious literary progression. However, there's a method to Besecker's madness as the concept of déjà vu is a key theme and plot device.
Travis suffers from chronic insomnia, which brings the added bonus of a variety of other emotional and social debilitating behaviors and phobias including a fear of infinity, or apeiraphobia in psychiatric terms. We've all experienced occasional restless nights of sleep, and you might think you understand what it means to be an insomniac; but the severity and ultimate consequences of not being able to sleep for days, weeks, or even months until your body literally shuts down, is inconceivable.
Diagnosed at the age of seven, Travis has had to cope with his condition for nearly three decades. It's impossible not to feel tremendous compassion for this young boy who copes by sneaking 20-minute cat naps several times a day and then must endure the nightly terror of a shadow presence who only serves to ratchet up Travis's fear of vast nothingness.Travis's condition is exacerbated by his genius-level intellect, which causes him to question, protest and defy anyone he believes intellectually incompetent. There is a fine line between madness and brilliance, and Travis is a ticking time bomb.
It takes years for Travis's concerned parents to understand the severity of their son’s condition, but eventually he connects with Katherine, a psychiatrist who manages to bear up fairly well under Travis's constant challenging behavior. Each chapter begins with a small glimpse into their sessions together. Katherine has given Travis a red spiral notebook for journaling, which she reviews at the beginning of each of their sessions. The problem—Travis is neither cooperative nor forthcoming in their exploratory work together.
Travis's highly-gifted intellect eventually propels him into a variety of creative career fields with reasonable success. He is married and father to two boys who seem to have elements of his own condition. It's important to note that while other characters exist in this book, they are mostly referential in nature, as the spotlight is always squarely on Travis and his delicate psyche.
As an adult, he seems to have managed his condition quite well. At 30, his life begins to spiral out of control into a tornado of depression and self-destructive behavior. Travis is on the verge of a psychotic break, which is a crucial element to revealing the story's ending.
In general, the novel reads like a memoir until you get 90% through—that's when the plot twists kick in, leaving no doubt about the fictional fusion with the author's reality. The debatable creation of the book's content made for lively discussion amongst our collaborative review team. How much of the content is autobiographical? Could or does this really happen to genius-level insomniacs? We can't offer any definitive answers, but you can be sure this story is truly thought provoking.
Lost in Infinity has a lot of good things working for it. The story is unique and evokes a broad range of emotions and lasting reactions from readers. It's easy to get invested in Travis's dilemma and hard to forget the psychological impact of the story.
You'll want to help fix this poor kid's circumstances, but Lost in Infinity is not that kind of novel. Readers will be pushed to confront many of their own black fantasies in the context of the novel's circular time looping quality.
Stylistically, Lost in Infinity is a wonderful avant-garde achievement. Although plot and time lines may shift in confusing and unexpected ways, the abrupt nature of the structure is merely echoing the conflict within Travis. The real triumph of this book is that readers will actually share in the frustration of fictional Travis as Besecker's writing immerses readers into this fascinating yet uncomfortable story.
The all-important title and cover are outstanding. The front cover concept is based on Travis's red spiral journaling notebook with terrified drawings of his shadowy tormentor. Too often, book covers don't reflect the essence of the author's story, but Besecker's cover and title work in perfect partnership with book's plot as well as its summary.The book has a Stephen King-esque feel about it. Like King, Besecker is clearly a lover of psychological terror. The only thing missing from this book is some blood and gore and then you'd have a full blown horror novel.
Our only minor dissatisfaction comes from the story's ending, or lack thereof, as it seemed contrary to the course and direction of the first 90% of the book. The final twist abruptly moves the story out of its sweet spot, the concept of infinite nothingness, into an explanation that felt a little forced and random. We get what the author was going for or maybe we were just waiting and hoping for a good old slasher scene, but the conclusion didn't resonate with us as much as we'd hoped. That said, the final twist didn't dislodge our overall praise for this innovative literary work. And we love that the author wisely fictionalized his personal struggles rather than trying to write a memoir and have readers call into question so many of the surreal details of being a chronic insomniac.
Lost in Infinity has moments of brilliance punctuated by sheer frustration. The book's lengthy summary does its best to simultaneously attract and deter all but serious readers. Clearly, this novel isn't for everyone as it's an exercise in patience, wading through the unconventional structure and repetitious literary progression. However, there's a method to Besecker's madness as the concept of déjà vu is a key theme and plot device . . . Oops, there's that circular time loop we were talking about . . . in truth the book's summary says it best, "This book is not for everyone." But if you’re a fan of psychological dramas laced with elements of terror in the vein of Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Clive Barker, and Kurt Vonnegut, then Lost in Infinity is a must-read for you.
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Published on June 06, 2013 11:46 • 58 views

June 4, 2013

'Lost in Infinity' was named a Wise Bear Digital Book Awards 2013 Finalist. The final award decisions will be announced in the next couple of weeks.

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Published on June 04, 2013 10:06 • 53 views

May 28, 2013

Yesterday marked my first attempt at the Memorial Day Murph. My brother-in-law, Josh, had suggested we give it a shot about 2 months ago. Me, being up for any challenge of the like, accepted without really knowing what I was getting myself into.

The Murph is a crossfit workout done around the country on Memorial Day to honor fallen Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy who received the Medal of Honor after exposing himself to enemy fire and knowingly leaving his position of cover to get a clear signal in order to communicate with his headquarters. He provided his unit’s location and requested immediate support then returned to his position to continue fighting until he died from his wounds. There is a book by Marcus Luttrell called 'Lone Survivor' that chronicles the operation.

The Murph crossfit workout is based on Lt. Murphy's own favorite workout that he dubbed "Body Armor" because the SEALS completed the workout wearing their 20lb body armor vests.

The above backstory was given to me by my brother as a ploy to garner support. It worked, plus it just sounded like something impossible which in turn means I must attempt it.

Here it is... 1 mile run, then 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats and another mile run. I was told you can break down the pull-ups/push-ups/squats to a more reasonable circuit set (ie 10 pull-ups / 20 push-ups / 30 squats / repeat 10 times) so that was how I trained.

Come race day, I arrived with Josh, who brought along his 20lb vest of body armor because he has a lizard brain. There were 40 people registered to give it a shot. They offered bands on the pull-up bars to hook your feet in for support, bands to wrap your upper body in to aid in the push-ups and even suggested doing some of the push-ups on your knees if needed. They also offered a modified 1/2 Murph which consisted of 1/2 mile run / 50 pull-ups / 100 push-ups / 150 squats / 1/2 mile run. Here is the kicker... because of the limited space and the number of people attempting the race, they required you to do it without circuits. You must do all of your pull-ups before moving on to the push-ups and complete those before moving on to the squats.

Many opted for the 1/2 and/or bands for assistance.

Immediately my body started to shut down. I could feel my heart start to speed up and my knees wobble. It was like getting hit in the face with a 2x4. I turned toward Josh whose lizard brain was already taking over... "We're doing the full thing right?" he asked.

"Of course," I said as every fiber of my being screamed denial.

Ten minutes passed and we watched the first heat of 10 runners take off. One of which was an active Navy SEAL in full fatigues and body armor. "Screw it. I'll be back." Josh walked out of the gym on a collision course with his SUV. He emerged from the backseat with his own body armor.

I knew at that point, my fate was sealed. If he was going to do the full, in armor, without bands or assistance... I was too (sans body armor because I'm already carrying around an extra 20lbs consisting of Guinness, pizza and hot wings).

The cross-fit trainers at the gym pulled our group aside and told us they were pushing our start time back 30 minutes because the first two heats were taking a lot longer than anticipated clearing the pull-up racks (ya think?)... more waiting, sweating and baking in our own anticipation. They explained that because of the great turn out, not to think of it as a race, think of it as a marathon. We were going to end up fighting for station space and room in the gym to do squats and push-ups. That was 100% fine with me. Training, I was able to complete the circuits in 35 minutes. I figured adding in the adrenaline and race-day competitive push minus the runs and the exhaustion factor I was going to be able to top 45 minutes (a personal best). Breaking 45 minutes went right out the door when they took away the circuits. I was going to be happy just finishing. Josh had gone into this wanting to break 30 minutes without body armor. Our whole game plan was null and void.

Ten minutes before our revised heat was to begin, the trainers grabbed us and pulled us out front for a warm-up crossfit stretch to ensure no pulled or torn muscles. Stretch? More like an added 10 minute workout. I was dripping with sweat before they ever fired the starting pistol.

We took off in the rain (yes, in the rain) for our first mile. The course was actually only 1/4 mile long down and uphill, turn around and head back down and uphill. Upon returning to the gym, you had your final chance to switch to the half or head around for your second lap. My desire to run straight into the gym was cut short when I saw Josh rounding the building heading for the full run... fuck.

Heading back inside after the mile I found an empty station on the pull-up rack at the exact opposite end as Josh (who was already 25 pull-ups in). I'm a short guy and the rack was 7' high... I needed a 20" plyo box to grab the bar. I wasn't about to jump up and miss the bar. If I could do it now, I wouldn't be able to after 75 pull-ups. I figured my best bet was to start intelligently and finish in one piece. Josh and I had worked out a half-ass plan before we began. Because we weren't able to run circuits, the smart thing would be hammer out as many as you could before hitting muscle failure, take a break and repeat until the 100 were finished.

I started with 20 conventional reverse grip pull ups. The few people around me that were not using assistance bands were "kipping" straight pull-ups. This is something I've never been able to master; I blame it on my strict diet of Guinness and fried chicken. At 60 pull-ups the bar across from Josh opened up. I moved down to see how he was doing. "Where are you at?"

He didn't answer, just held his left hand up, palm out... The blister that had ripped open was about an inch and a half long and bleeding. Apparently, in his excitement that morning, he'd remembered his body armor but forgotten gloves. I gave him mine and used the opportunity to take a breather. He was at 85 and knocked out the last 15 while I contemplated hiding in the restroom until everyone had left for the day.

I attempted 20 pull-ups without gloves, using just the chalk next to the rack... How he cranked out 85 that way boggles me.

Sets of twenty quickly dropped to sets of 15, then 10, then 8 with 30 second breaks in between. The last ten pull-ups came in sets of 2-3 to ensure my Frosted Flakes didn't make an encore appearance.

I dropped and hit the floor next to Josh. He was 120 in on his push-ups before I started number one. I was so happy I'd finished the pull-ups I was able to crank through the push-ups in sets of 15-20 without too much problem.

Squats were going to be my downfall. This was the part I'd been dreading most of all. After tearing my ACL and meniscus last summer playing soccer and undergoing pretty extensive surgery (I now have a cadaver tendon in both knees as well as a repaired right meniscus and a left meniscus that was removed, repaired and actually sewn in place on my bone) and 6 months of rehab, my left leg is still only hitting on 5-6 cylinders at best. The atrophy in my left quad has yet to dissipate.

I was 60 squats in when Josh finished and bolted for his second mile run. Without my motivation in sight I slowed considerably. At 150 the event photographer started snapping pictures in my direction. I cranked out another 50 while sucking in my gut... As she turned her attention to another station, I nearly vomited. I stood and started walking to my car without really realizing it. Half way there I came to the conclusion I was grabbing a Gatorade out of the cooler in my backseat.

I jogged back into the gym, Gatorade in hand and knocked out another 90 before Josh re-entered to complete his Murph. "How many do you have left?" he asked.

"Ten," I think I said.

"C'mon, just do it. You got it."

That was all I needed. I finished and sprinted for the second mile. Ok, so "sprinted" may be a strong word... I hobbled with speed.

I made it half way to the turn around before I heard footsteps coming up from behind with intent.

Josh had dropped his body armor and along with my nephew, was going to finish my second mile with me. It meant a lot. Josh's final time was right at an hour in 25lbs of body armor. I finished up 12 minutes later with him effectively running a 5K in tow.

I didn't vomit. That's why I consider it a success.

Today, I feel like I've been run over by a truck. My armpits ache. I coughed earlier and nearly blacked out. My toes hurt. The back of my thighs are so tight and sore, if I have to poop, I'm just going to lean up against the back of the house because I know if I try to sit down on a toilet, it'll take Mel Gibson, a bathtub and a block of C4 to get me off the seat.

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Published on May 28, 2013 12:20 • 79 views

May 22, 2013

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Published on May 22, 2013 06:18 • 51 views

May 21, 2013

Lost in Infinity is now available through Google Play, Nook, Smashwords and iTunes...   E-Book... Kindle Amazon : $2.99 Nook Barnes & Noble : $2.99 Smashwords : $2.99 Google Play : $2.99 iTunes : $2.99
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Published on May 21, 2013 07:58 • 54 views

Apocalypse Coming

Travis Besecker
When I die, I want my tombstone to read, "Finally, he sleeps."
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