I earned my chili pepper for teaching

And hurrah for me. Looks like it’s been a week of wins.

Anonymous teacher review website “” finally has some reviews for me after my first semester of lecturing at Concordia University. And it looks like I earned the mother of all recommendations: the chili pepper.

alexander nachaj chili pepper

The joke is that even though the site keeps track of comments, description tags and rates the professor based on helpfulness, clarity and easiness, the real challenge is whether they get the “hotness” rating.

Hopefully this will translate to more sway within the department and more classes heading my way. So what if the class topic isn’t the main draw for students. we want to fill seats don’t we?

Updates Writing

I Won First Place in a Screenwriting Contest

Chalk up a win.

My horror-thriller screenplay “Dead North” set in apocalyptic Northern Canada just took first place at the WILDsound Screenplay Festival for Horror (part of the Feedback Toronto Film Festival). As a prize, Dead North earned a live-recorded table read.

I even got a little interview published on their site:

Horror/Zombie Feature Screenplay – DEAD NORTH by Alexander Nachaj

The director and actors certainly interpreted things differently than I had in mind. There’s a definite “Guardians of the Galaxy” vibe to it. Of course, when has anyone ever interpreted something the same way we heard it play out in our heads?

In film, everyone brings a little something to the table. Writer, director and actor together create the character, and leads to some interesting fusions.

A big thanks to the judges at the festival for their feedback, the crew putting the table read together, along with the actors and director for lending their talent.

2016 has been off to a good year!

Books Opinions Updates

Books I Read in 2015

Gibson – Count Zero
Bram Stoker – Lair of the White Worm
Crichton – Pirate Latitudes
Demello – Body Studies
Bradbury – Farenheit 451
Jeffrey Archer – A Prisoner of Birth
Jeffrey Archer – Kane and Abel
Orsi – Thank you St Jude
Acker – Empire of the Senseless
Durham – Bible Adventures
Rugoff – Marco Polo
Thomas Fleming – Siege of Yorktown
Anne Archer – Henry VIII
Andrist – Jackson
Bell – Baldur’s Gate II
Landsdale – Drive in
Landsdale – Cold in July
Landsdale – Bubba Hotep
Martin – Clash of Kings
Martin – Dance with Dragons
Martin – The Hedge Knight
Martin – The Sworn Sword
Martin – The Mystery Knight
Kimmel – Manhood in America
Arnold – What is Masculinity
Connell – Masculinities
Mankell – Before the Frost
Wilson – Unmanley Men
Sakuraza – All you Need is Kill
King – Salem’s Lot
King – It
Gilbert – Men in the Middle
Moss – Media and the Modes of Masculinity
Brunner – The Stardroppers
Murakami – South of the Border, West of the Sun
Blatty – The Exorcist

This year I read 36 book – a dip down from previous years, and just a few tomes short of my personal goal to complete 40 books each year.

I did end up reading several much longer books than anticipated (such as It), which slowed my pace down, but probably balanced out by all the non-fiction I read and could tear through in under a week without breaking a sweat.

As well, for the first time, I spent a good deal of my reading energy focusing on my studies and research interests (every title on the list that has to do with America, media and masculinities).

Several books were re-reads from previous years (such as Gibson and Bradbury). I also revisited two of Martin’s ASOIAF books, an inevitable aftermath after each season of Game of Thrones ends and my hunger for fan theories returns in full force. I also completed the Hedge Knight trilogy, which I had previously written off in the back of my head as some form of spin-off nonsense. In the end, I really enjoyed them for their simplicity and more conventional story telling.

If I had to consider a “best of” and worst of” list for this year, Lair of the White Worm easily takes the bottom. An uninspired, meandering sloth of suspicious bromance, penis jokes and some silly plot about a giant evil worm. It put a whole new spin on the concept of a “Bram Stoker fan” – if indeed there actually are any. After reading this, it almost seemed a fluke that Dracula became so influential.

On the best of, I would have to put both Archer and Landsdale up on there. This was the first time I had read works by either of them, and greatly enjoyed both. Archer (Jeffrey) writes in such a simple, straightforward yet captivating manner. His prose are neat and minimal, allowing the tension and confrontations between characters to be the main focus of his novels. Landsdale’s sarcastic, darkly humorous prose also reeled me in.