Friday, January 29, 2010

Stripey and Loathing Collars

This is Cheyenne. I generally call her Kitty. You'll see reference to her here, on Twitter, and Facebook as The Stripey One, or Stripey for short.

She was my first non-imaginary or non-fish pet and I love her, even though she's stand-offish and prefers to stare at you from across the room or attack your feet from underneath the bed. I spent the first year experimenting on what people food Cheyenne would eat. Surprisingly, she eats a lot of people food. This includes pineapple.

With the feeding of people food, Stripey developed a people mindset. This is the only explanation I have for her hatred of cat collars.

When we got her from Animal Rescue League, they already had a collar on her with a huge tag. It was bigger than her. I replaced it with a different collar which she pulled off with her teeth. Teeth. If you have a cat with a collar and an ID tag, go take a look at the location of the tag in relation to your cat's mouth. Go ahead, I'll wait.


Welcome back. It shouldn't be possible that Cheyenne pulls the collar off using her teeth, right? Right. But, she does. I would wake in the morning to find that she was sans collar. (The collar was always hard to find because it always ended up under the bed.) So, I gave up.

After several sneaking out attempts by Lucky, I decided to try collaring Cheyenne again. I even got a new one - red with a shiny matching bell. It was Christmasy and when she scratched at it, I thought of Rudolph. It stayed on her for almost an entire week. Then, I found what you see to the left.

This blurry picture on the left is her collar as I found it. On the floor next to the litter box. It's not open, which only means that she pulled it off over her head. I resurrected the original collar purchased for her. That last one day. It was my second eff you from my cat in just as many days. Just in case her first one was unclear, she made sure I saw this one (see right).

I went back to the red collar, determined to break her. I wanted to win. I refuse to have my 11 pound cat have a stronger will than me.

My 11 pound cat has a stronger will than me. She scratched at the collar so much she created a sore on her neck the length of my middle finger. I was devastated, but glad to find out the sore wasn't infected.

So Stripey won the battle of the cat collar. This time.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

RE: Your Brains

Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here.

This week on Zombie Thursday I bring you another musical selection! I’ve been anxious to share this one in particular because I find it absolutely hilarious, and hope that you will too. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you have already heard this song or others by the very cool and talented Jonathan Coulton!

Mr. Coulton is a singer/songwriter who in 2005 left his day job as a software programmer to pursue music full time. What initially came from this endeavor was a project called “Thing a Week.” He literally wrote and released a new song every single week for a year! That’s fifty-two songs in one year. Very impressive considering some bands can’t even release an album of ten songs in over five years.

Now, his songs are not all about zombies and horror and death. Most are about geeky, nerdy things as he is a self-proclaimed geek (referring to, of course, someone who is into video games, computers, and comic books, not to someone who bites the heads off of live animals and drinks their blood in a freak show act. But that would be pretty sweet too). One that you may recognize - and a song that gained him a lot of attention during his ‘Thing a Week’ period - is the song “Code Monkey.” I believe I have heard it as the theme song to an Adult Swim cartoon.

Because of his background, it seems as if many of his songs contain “office” humor-- jokes about working in teams, email lingo, and other corporate nonsense your bosses make you say. The song I bring to you today is no exception.

“Re: Your Brains.” The name alone is hysterical, and the song is even better! If you haven’t heard it (and I’m secretly hoping you have because it is that awesome), the basic premise is an email from a guy who works in the office. He’s just catching up with his friend and everything is going well... except for the small fact that he’s recently been turned into a zombie! The song uses all kinds of fabulous email speak-- “FYI-- You’re all gonna die!” and talking about “maybe we can compromise?” and of course, “let’s table this for later.” I’ve never worked in an office or cubicle setting, but I do work for a large corporation. Even I appreciate the lameness of that kind of dialogue.

The whole song is amazing, but I think one of my favorite lines is, “I’m not a monster, Tom. Well... technically I am. I guess I am!” Probably not as funny written out, but when you get to it in the song, I sure hope it makes you laugh.

Another very cool thing about Jonathan Coulton’s music is that it is released under a “Creative Commons license,” which basically means anyone can take the music and make fan videos, parodies, art, anything! That being said, you will find many video versions of “Re: Your Brains” all over YouTube. Most are just the song with zombie images going through a slide show, but there’s another that stands out and is kind of cool. Someone took animation from a video game (or programmed it themselves? I’m not a programming expert, so I’m not really sure!) and put it to the music, complete with sexy zombie pinups dancing in the background.

However, the music video that I personally like the most comes from Dragon*ConTV. Every year D*C is held in Atlanta, GA and is one of the largest fandom conventions in the country. I was lucky enough to go this past year and I’m already planning my trip for this upcoming D*C. Before some of the larger panels, and if you stay onsite in one of the hotel rooms, they broadcast D*CTV. All dorky parodies of beloved fandoms and other such things. This music video of “Re: Your Brains” is from 2007, so I didn’t get to see it live at the Con, but it is still just as hilarious. Again, keep in mind that is not actually Jonathan Coulton, this is a fan video. For more on Mr. Coulton, visit his website at


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

You Mean Business Writing's an Art?

Work has exploded all over my desk again, so this was not the blog I was planning for today. (Maybe this is the blog gods way of telling me to blog ahead of time? I didn't think so either.)

Confession time: I work for a big publishing house.

Before you get all excited, no I can't help you with that. I'm not anywhere near the book end of things at said house. I work in sales. As an admin. As far away from literature as possible.

I'm in the technology division.

In the technology division, I do such wonderful things as learn about new products and get software installed on my desktop here. I get advance notice of some things and have sometimes even get freebies from the book-side of things. (Also, I walk to work - how awesome is that?) I spend more time than I ever imagined in Excel, but I rarely get to use my creative streak.

That's been changing. Last month, I got to wear my editor hat and help out the marketing department. Today I get to use the writer hat and write a blurb about the company. I know, if it's a big company, a blurb should already exist. It does, but we needed one that ties into our specific products. The duty fell on me.

No one ever told me that writing a professional, marketing-esque piece takes a different type of hat. It took me one hour to write three paragraphs. It's the same skill set that's needed to write coherent essays - something else that I cannot do.

I know that I don't want to run reports forever and if I could angle myself as a useful writing asset for my little nook of the technology division, all the better. To do that though, I need to learn how to write with a little marketing flair and more business savvy. (This might also explain my craptastic results from querying.)

Guess who just came up with a new goal for summer solstice?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Stripey and White Ones Plot Will Fail

You've seen the stares. The strategically placed cat toy. You know what your cat is thinking. You're not alone in this, as my cats think the same thing.

Is your cat plotting to kill you?

I took a quiz to see if the cats were plotting my demise, and it turns out that they are. It explains why Stripey won't let me trim her claws and why The White One races me to the bathtub. I'm on to you kitties. I know your plan.

I will prevail.

Cat owners, is your cat working with mine to kill and overtake the world?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Phantasma's Fundraiser

You know it's bad when you read a letter from your imaginary daughter's teacher and have the urge to tighten up the language. I have more important things to do than edit Beth's emails. (Like the eight submissions I have to edit and critique.)

Subject: Team fundraiser
Hello parents,

Tomorrow your children will be learning about our upcoming team fundraising event to benefit Good Friends located in Islanda.  Good Friends is a therapeutic riding facility for disabled children and adults.  We will be selling assorted rubber duckies during lunch periods on February 10th and 11th.

Information about this fundraiser is posted on my eBoard as well as the team eBoard.  We are looking for parent and student volunteers to assist us.  If you can come in for an hour or so, please fill out the parent volunteer form that has been posted and send it in with your child as soon as possible.  If your child is interested, they should fill out a student volunteer form and return that as well.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.  I have been an avid volunteer at Good Friends for the past five years.

Warm regards, B. Fisher

Beth sent out this email last Thursday, so I knew what to expect when Phantasma came home on Friday. She was upset about the fundraiser and how "ridiculous" it is to sell rubber ducks for a equestrian facility. It would make more sense if the class was selling plastic horses.

Of course, Tessa Wolstein overheard Phantasma talking about this during lunch and laughed at her. Rubber duckies are a "marvelous" idea. There will be a showdown between Tessa and Phantasma in the near future and when that happens, it will be bad.

In the meantime, I picked up some plastic Cowboys and Indians and the grocery store for Phantasma to bring to school. She was planning on leaving a horse on Tessa's desk.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Brain Fail

 Alicia's Week in Review

Image compliments of

My brain is fried after an extremely busy week. To be fair, it's been a busy week since January 1. (Who knew that the sales cycle picks up after the holidays?)

  • Holiday. Birthday lunch with good friend and blog reader, D.

  • My work Monday - the busiest day of the week. Also trying to finalize a 3 day orientation schedule that by today completely got thrown out the window.

  • My actual birthday.
  • New hire orientation at day job. This translates into "Alicia, please host the new hire." Downside: working on birthday. Upside: complimentary lunch.
  • Birthday dinner with ICE CREAM. (I will always take ICE CREAM over cake. The exception, as always, is ICE CREAM cake. Take note.)

  • Continuing new hire orientation.

  • Completing new hire orientation plus wrapping up end of week stuff.
  • Birthday dinner number two tonight. This time with Hubby.

Through this all, I've also been working on edits for FALLING TO NORMAL. The exception of this was my actual birthday where I took the day off. Editing takes a lot of brain power. So does scheduling. Next week looks to be a little quieter, which is great because my brain really has failed me.

Next week we'll be visiting Phantasma, Stripey, revision, and, as always, zombies. That leaves me with one day free. What would you like to see? Please comment below or email me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I Dream of Zombie

Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here.

I often watch horror films and think, what would it be like to really be in that situation? I have this thought more often when I watch zombie films. Most horror movies, however terrible and cheesy they are, focus on survival. Survival of the Final Girl, survival for the monsters/villains, and often even the survival of the franchise, because let’s face it-- is it really worth watching if there aren’t eight sequels and at least a remake/re-imagining or two?

I always wonder what it would be like, what would I do? How would I fight to survive? Would I be able to get myself safely out of a horrific situation and lead a group of others to safety as well? To date, I have luckily never found myself in a situation with a psycho killer, supernatural or human (unless you count my creepy “neighbor,” but that’s a long story and not really zombie related). And sadly, I have not yet found myself in a situation where I have battled zombies. It will happen. I’m patiently waiting. But until then, the best I can do is dream about them.

Some people claim to be able to control their dreams; I am not one of those people. It would be awesome if I could, but the best I can do is have my dreams highly influenced by outside forces. I had a completely different Zombie Blog planned for today, but I had the coolest, and maybe weirdest, dream ever and I felt the need to share! From now on consider my words to be talking about my dream... I don’t want to start a panic!

I was back at college, which is horrifying enough. It was the beginning of the semester, so classes were starting up at their usual slow and boring pace for the first week or so. I didn’t know my professors yet, or any classmates. It was right after a class had ended and everyone was rushing out to make it to their next room when it happened. For some reason the school had an intercom system (my real college did not), and they came on making an announcement that several students had been turned into zombies and were terrorizing the campus. All students were to make their way to the Commons (that would be the Boston Commons) to gather and get further instructions.

I found myself in a small group with several professors... professors who also happened to be JEDIS. Yes, they could use Jedi powers. They told our group that everything would be okay and that their Jedi powers would be enough to kill and keep the zombies away. I was outraged! You can only kill a zombie by destroying the brain. And in my dream, using a Force Push was NOT enough to disable our foes. I tried to explain that we needed to find some weapons or else just beat them off with our hands (which in real life is NOT a safe method of attacking a zombie... but it was a dream. Nothing really makes sense).

Just then two zombies popped up and attacked us! The professors proceeded to use their powers with no results, and I urged the other students to follow me! We made our way through the enormous and complex building which also turned out to look like an indoor wildlife museum with dead stuffed animals, and finally made it to the Commons. Here the dream gets a bit boring. The president of the college began to speak about how to remain safe and everyone booed her. (In real life, the president of my college was a joke who received two separate votes of no confidence and still refused to resign, so I assume that was the cause to boo her in the dream.) Some other people were not only Jedis, but were also wizards and were using wingardium leviosa to elevate the zombies so they couldn’t attack.

It was a very odd dream, but I woke up with a smile on my face. It was almost like being in a futuristic holographic training program where you know the danger isn’t real, but you still get the adrenaline from the thought that it could be. As I cannot control my dreams, I blame this one on the influence of watching Community on NBC, seeing that Star Wars was playing an Episode I-III marathon on television, rewatching HP’s 3-6, and, of course, my constant love of zombies!

Have any of you found yourself in the middle of a zombie horde only to wake up and realize that it was just a test to prepare you for the inevitable apocalypse? The day is coming; I’ll take all the zombie dreams I can get!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Squirrel Appreciation Day

It was brought to my attention that tomorrow is Squirrel Appreciation Day. I have mixed feelings about this, as I sort of fear a squirrel uprising where they will overtake the world. Yes, this is irrational, but I've seen the Eastern Gray Squirrel in action and it's not pretty.

Reasons Squirrels Will Overtake The World
1. They're small enough that they can sneak into places and nibble on important wires.
2. They have aggressive tendencies, especially when it comes to feeding, that would help push squirrel power to the fore.

3. I believe that Harvard is doing experiments on them.
4. They're nests are indestructible.
5. They work in packs. And just like a sea of rats, there is no doubt that these little critters will. fuck. you. up.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This is Poe?

When you ask someone who Edgar Allan Poe is, they'll usually respond back with The Raven. Maybe The Tell Tale Heart. (Coincidentally, Tell Tale Heart was my introduction to Poe back in elementary school when we went to see a performance of it. My pants were never the same.)

With these dark and somewhat twisted works in mind, it's not surprising that this is the image we associate with Poe: somber expression and dark clothing. There's a reason why so many people don black and quote him, but I won't be getting into a discussion about whether or not quoting Poe is enough to make you Goth.

Whether Poe makes you don the black eyeliner or not, gothards who believe it does are going to cry in despair when they see what was released by some guy named Cliff Krainik yesterday.

It's Poe. In Technicolor.

Poe. Sans moustache.

Poe. Not looking miserable.

Poe. Looking like any other writer of the time.

Why is this so important? I'm not sure, but if Associated Press is covering it, it must be important. Right?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Monsters and Flamingos

We're heat-waving in Boston with balmy 40 degree weather. That makes me think of spring and all the good things that come with it: sun, flowers, lawns, lawn decorations...

Totally awesome, right?

I'm not one for lawn decorations, even if they are tacky. (And if you've been following around, you know how much I love tacky decorations.) But there is something about the Gnome Be Gones assaulting the flamingo that just makes me laugh. It's in my non-professional opinion that they're trying to shove the entire bird in the hole.

Like it? You too can have metal destroy plastic at Perpetual Kid.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Zombie Weapons: Are You Ready?

Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here.

Zombies are the coolest! I think I’ve made that point quite clear. But in reality... they are dangerous killing machines. As cool as it may seem to have a zombie hanging around your house, or chained up for your entertainment, that could lead to all sorts of deathly scenarios. When the zombie outbreak occurs (and I reiterate what many other publications have stated... *when* the outbreak occurs, not *if*) one must be absolutely prepared!

I pulled out my copy of The Zombie Survival Guide because, after all, it claims to offer “complete protection from the living dead.” Rather than just summarize what all the different weapons are (since, by viewing this blog, I am assuming that you know how to read and therefore can see the book for yourself), I wanted to see how I would personally stack up in a world full of zombies!

First up, we deal with the lack of weapons. Hand-to-hand combat is NOT recommended for battling with zombies. However, depending on the circumstance, it may be necessary. When it comes to simple fist to decaying-flesh fist fighting, I will readily admit that I am very ill prepared. I’ve never had any sort of martial arts training, no kick boxing, I don’t work out. Hell, I don’t even do yoga! If I find myself in a situation that requires my fists, I will just hope my survival instincts will kick in and I can find strength I never knew I had!

There are hand weapons one can use for close combat, and those I do find I have in my possession. First up are bludgeons! To have an effective bludgeon, it must be able to do a killing blow to the head. Max Brooks weighs the pros and cons of several different items. In my personal arsenal, I have common items. His bet for the best close combat bludgeon is a crowbar. I sadly do not have one of these, or at the very least don’t know where it is in my house. So, crowbar out. I do have a hammer, an ax, a sledgehammer, and baseball bats. Although these may not be the best defense, they would at least let me put up a good fight.

One item not mentioned in the survival guide, but I think would be an amazing tool against the undead, is a fire poker. Why the fire poker was not included... I’m not sure. Perhaps it is easy to overlook the poker because many people simply do not own them! A lot of people live in homes or apartments that do not have fireplaces, and what’s more, if they do have fireplaces, they are often gas operated and require no poker! The fantastic thing about the poker is that it is made of iron (I believe) and is quite heavy, but not heavy enough that it is unable to be wielded. This weight allows the poker to have enough force to bash through skull bone. And, of course, it POKES! Imagine that. Take that pokey end and drive it through the fleshy eye socket of a zombie and into its brain. Plus, as an added bonus, the poker usually has a hooked part, so once it is in the brain, move it around a bit and it is going to obliterate the grey matter.

Moving on to edged weapons, here I do pretty good as well. In these types of weapons, they need to be durable, lightweight, and sharp-- able to slice the head clean of a zombie. I wish I had a bunch of cool medieval looking swords hanging on my walls, but alas, those things are expensive, yo! What I do have are a couple of old machetes in my garage. They might be a little rusty, but they still get the job done. If I anticipate that the zombie hordes will be coming, I can sharpen them and get them battle ready in advance. Maybe I should head out to the garage and do that right now....

Power tools. The name alone suggests great potential. Horror movies have taught me that the chainsaw can do a lot of damage. Think Leatherface on the side of evil and Ash on the side of snarky, but good! Those babies can just rip someone to shreds. But Mr. Brooks points out the issues one might have. First of all, the saws require gas. No gas, no killing. They are heavy. I doubt I could lift one for any extended period of time (see paragraph four). And the risk of injuring yourself increases greatly. Not to mention, when you rip an enemy to shreds, their blood would fly every where...very messy. And if one drop of that blood got mixed into an open sore or your eye, you would be a zombie! Not worth the risk, in my opinion. I’ll leave it hanging on the garage wall for now.

Guns seem like the best choice when choosing zombie fighting weapons, but let’s be honest. How many of you actually own a gun? I don’t. I can’t think of any of my friends that do, save for my friend who is a State Trooper. But that doesn’t do me much good. When the time comes that I need to think about killing zombies, unless I team up with someone who has one or I steal one during all the panic and chaos, a gun will not be a part of my arsenal.

How prepared will you be? What sorts of everyday items do you have around your home that can used as a zombie killing machine? Some other weapons I have thought to use are a fire extinguisher, drum sticks, shovel, and a Wii remote! Oh wait, that last one is only useful in killing computer zombies... okay, scratch that one...

How will you react WHEN the time comes?

I already know that I will not be prepared for the zombie apocalypse, no matter how many articles I read about it. I have the proof here

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

On this Wednesday the 13th

I'm seeing the ultimate of my fangirl crushes tonight. The understatement of the month would be saying I was excited. I might even summon up the courage to tell Wednesday that this was my birthday present to me.

I'm pretty sure they will be playing this since it's what the tour is for:

It took me a couple of listens before I really got into it since it was such a departure from the horrorpunk sound I've always associated with Wednesday 13, but Gunfire 76 sounds a lot like the non-growly music I listen to.

It's another busy day at the office. If you liked the video, go to their MySpace page to listen to the rest of the album while I'm doing that 9-5 thing. Then, come back here and leave a comment.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tastes Like Chicken?

Bradford Literary had in their Twitter feed yesterday a cannibal quiz. So, of course I had to check it out. It's about twelve no brain questions and ate up maybe 5 minutes tops. I taste like mesquite chicken. [Update 2/6/10: after retaking it, I now taste like undercooked chicken. Something my uncle Bob knows a thing about.]

It's a sick quiz, but still funny.

Of course, this had me wonder if this applies to what humans taste like to zombies, if they still had taste buds. I'm sure this is something that our resident zombie expert could answer.

I'm thinking that I might taste like mesquite chicken to zombies as well as cannibals.

Go take the quiz over at  Recipe Star and then come back and tell me what you would taste like.

Monday, January 11, 2010

More Fandom

Today is shaping up to be as busy as last Tuesday, so again I'm letting the fangirl take over. You're getting a different version of Wednesday 13 as I gear up for the Gunfire 76 show on Wednesday. (Yes, I'm seeing Wednesday on a Wednesday and it's the 13th. I think this is a sign for things to come.)

This video is from his band Murderdolls. I found them while browsing through Newbury Comics waiting for Hubby to finish up whatever he was doing. The band name intrigued me and when I saw the album title plus the song listings, I was in love. (This turns out to be not a very effective way to go music shopping. I have had some extreme misses. Will blog about that later.)

Anyway, this is their cover of Billy Idol's White Wedding. Enjoy.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Kicking It Old School

Wednesday was the throwback to the teens day it seems. First, Nathan Bransford's You Tell Me and then YA Highway does their road trip back to teen writing. So while digging out the photos Thursday night, I also unearthed the journals.

The thing you should know about me and journaling is that I've never done it right. I usually did the laundry list or spewed tons of hostility onto the page that never creeps out my pie hole. (And after reading a few entries from early 10th grade, be glad that it hasn't.) After a while, I would get bored.

Number of journals I've tried to keep and ultimately failed: 3.

The longest time that I kept a journal: 10 months.

During this 10 month span, I managed to complete almost two volumes in neon pen with my overly large D'Nealian cursive. It was these journals that I pulled out last night. I found notes from my two best friends in high school plus little souvenirs from shows, trips, and anything related to boys I crushed on. There's a certain degree of lameness these journals contain that I don't even think the most masterful YA author could convey.

A prime example: under the March 23, 1995 entry there is a leaf from some kind of tree inserted within the pages. (My journal entries always spanned multiple pages.) Written in blue ink on the leaf: "leaf from Sprite the Tree." I have no idea what the significance of this was as I didn't seem to write anything down. Just from looking at the other entries it has something to do with my week long trip to Washington DC and maybe, more specifically, on our free day where we spent the zoo.

Between the neon pink script and the dull prose, it's no wonder I got bored keeping a journal. (I was originally going to include one of the entries, but kept on finding some other exciting internet thing to do instead. Count your blessings and hope that I never crack these pages open again. (Even though I did find an unsent letter to a crush that I'm frightened that I will eventually read.)

For all you old school journalers out there, what did your teen entries look like?

Phantasma Learns About Protists

Or will be on today.
Subject: Upcoming events
Hello and Happy New Year!

I just wanted to take the opportunity to keep you informed of upcoming events.  This Friday, we will be completing a lab on protists.  Live protists are on order and the children will have the opportunity to view them under the microscope.  Our S B Nature Center in school visit is scheduled for Monday, January 11th.  This coincides beautifully with the beginning of our study of vertebrate animals.

There will be a quiz on Friday, January 15th covering classification and invertebrate animals.

Warm regards, B. Fisher
I had no idea what Beth was talking about in regards to protists so I had to look it up. But now I'm powered with a little more biological knowledge. (It also turns out that I had looked at these little buggers under a microscope once upon a time.)

I hope that Phantasma doesn't get Tessa Wolstein as her lab partner. The odds of a fight happening between the two are pretty high. But I told her to just ignore Tessa basically because I don't want to deal with Tara and her perkiness and frownie faces to boot.

Since Phantasma is a little squeamish on wriggly things I hope she does okay in today's lab (and that Tessa still isn't her partner). I'm sure all we will be hearing this weekend is that both Hubby and I are killing microscopic things, but at least she's learning. And I'm learning too.

Definitely a 90's ByProduct

On Wednesday, number 1 agent crush, Nathan Bransford, blogged asking us about favorite books and worst outfit/ style as a teenager. Over 300 people shared their books and their now-horrifying, once-cool hairstyle and/ or outfit. I'll admit right now to reading every single comment and clicking through to the pictures. This got me a little nostalgic.

So last night instead of working on FALLING TO NORMAL, I poured over old pictures to scan and upload. (Old = 1993 - 2004ish.) I think I might do a couple of posts over the next few weeks showcasing some of them, but right now it's all about the bad teen hair and fashion sense.

For your viewing horror, I present the three worst on-profane pictures of me from the teen years.

I hated my straight hair and wanted it curly. Don't mock; it was a trend. Back then, I wanted to be trendy. We couldn't afford for me to go get my hair permed so my mother bought a DIY kit. You can see the awesome end result here.

Complete with huge glasses and a trace of either braces or retainer, I think I'm the standard early 90's nerd/geek/whatever-the-technical-term-is.

Lou looks stellar as always. He has less hair now and smaller glasses, but the expression has not changed.

My hair and fashion sense improved the following year (though my hair has never survived the DIY perm.) I still had the impossibly large glasses. (Something that haunted me until I was allowed contacts senior year.)

My theme for 10th grade was everything had to be rolled. Jeans? Rolled. T-shirt sleeves? Rolled. Denim shorts? Yes, sadly they were even rolled.

Then there were the overalls. If you're built like me, you shouldn't be wearing painter's pants. I loved these and wore them through sophomore year of college.

By 12th, I stopped caring about being trendy. But I know of three four five more people in my age bracket who owned and wore overalls around this time. Maybe I still cared about being trendy.

You can see all of my public school awkwardness on Facebook.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Zombie A Go-Go: Dance of the Dead

Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here. 

Zombies are social creatures. The undead, much like their living human counterparts, thrive on interaction with one another. They walk, er... shuffle, together. Some special zombies even run together. They eat together; they go on hunting trips together. Together. What a close bond of friendship zombies share! Now of course there are those few zombies who end up being loners. They go out on their own, try avoiding their friends. But what ends up happening to those? They get shot. In the head. And die. Again...

The moral of the story is, zombies, like living breathing people, need to stick together. They need to hang out. Alone, they will die. Just like being alone, humans will die at the mouths of zombies. But there has to be more to life than just chasing humans, eating humans, and hunting zombies, then killing zombies. And there has to be some middle ground for the living and the undead.

And there is... Music! Music, as they say, is the universal language.

This week I am going to introduce you to one of hopefully several more to come musical groups that embrace their love of zombies (and horror in general) and turn those feelings into song!

First up is the band Captain Clegg & the Night Creatures! You’re probably sitting there thinking to yourself, ‘I have never head of them before!’ But if you are a horror movie fan, I’m guessing there is a small chance that you have heard of them, especially if you are a Rob Zombie fan. If you recall the movie The Devil’s Rejects, you probably remember the band Banjo & Sullivan. While Captain Clegg did not appear in the movie, his music did. In real life, Captain Clegg is singer/songwriter Jesse Dayton, who was approached by Rob Zombie to help create the music for the film. As a companion to the film, and promotional tool, an album was released called Banjo & Sullivan: The Ultimate Collection.  Due to the success of that plan, Zombie again approached Jesse Dayton to work on another film, Halloween 2. This time, Dayton appeared as Captain Clegg along with is band, the Night Creatures, and performed on screen during a party scene. And like the Banjo & Sullivan album, another album was released with all horror Capt. Clegg music!

I was lucky enough to see Capt. Clegg perform live on the Rob Zombie Hellbilly Deluxe 2 tour, and they put on an amazing show. Although I had seen Devil’s Rejects, I didn’t make the connection until the band was performing and talking about who they were. Afterwards, I decided to buy a Clegg CD, and I’m definitely glad I did!

The music is all honkytonk/ bluegrass with a horror twist, with songs like “Transylvania Terror Train,” “Dr. Demon and the Robot Girl,” and “Honkytonk Halloween.” And there are two songs of particular interest to a zombie lover-- “Headless, Hip Shaken Honey” and “Zombie A-Go-Go!”

“Zombie A-Go-Go” is the first song on the album and starts it off with a bang. The lyrics basically tell a cute story about a guy going out on the weekend to a dance when he is stopped by a voodoo priest who shoves a powder up his nose (see Voodoo Zombie blog) and turns him into a zombie! On the way he kills some friends, turning them all into zombies and they go to party on their “own dance show!” “Headless, Hip Shaken Honey” is about a dancer at a bar... however, she is headless and dead, but still knows how to “shake it on down.”

I’m not a fan of country music, and although Captain Clegg’s music at first can seem like country, don’t let it fool you. The songs and lyrics are great, and every song has a different feel to it.  And as a personal opinion, I found the Captain to be a very, very attractive man, so that never hurts! The live show had several cool aspects-- first of all, they have a Go-Go Dancer, Mistress Clegg, performing up with the band; secondly, they have the coolest upright bass I have ever seen (even better than the coffin bass used by the Nekromantix).  After their set at the Rob Zombie tour, the band came out and met with fans, took pictures and gave autographs. I was even lucky enough to get my newly purchased Capt. Clegg CD signed by Jesse Dayton! Although I’m sure I was blushing the whole time...

This music is definitely worth checking out! The band has a lot of videos up on their YouTube page, including some “Cleggisodes” they made to go along with the tour. And for your benefit, I will include the “Zombie A-Go-Go” video today.  So go ahead and listen to the awesomeness of the Captain, and become a “Phantom Jammer,” as their fans are now called!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Donor Cards

Phantasma has been shelved to later this week, because I have a more important entry today.

My friend Dana is going into surgery tomorrow for a kidney transplant that wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for her sister, but I'll let her tell you the rest:

Dear friends,
For those of you who know me well, know that I received a new heart in July of 2000. To make an incredibly long story short, I was born with a heart problem and after years of multiple surgeries to "correct" the problem, my heart finally gave up and said I'm done. If it were not for the untimely death of a 14 year old Tennessee girl and her incredibly generous family, I would not have survived the summer.

Cut to this past August, when my doctor told me that my kidneys weren't functioning very well and I need to see a specialist. The Nephrologist told me that I was in End Stage Renal Failure and that a transplant was imminent. The failure was caused by a few factors, mostly from the anti-rejection drug I am on which killed the kidneys. It's common.

I am incredibly lucky that my sister is my perfect match. Without her, or the few family members that also matched, I'd have to go on the waiting list, which, in NY, is currently 800 people long. Of those 800 people, roughly half will most likely die waiting for a kidney.

Now, here's where you come in. I implore you to sign your donor card. Please. You alone can save up to six people. Whatever religion you believe in, they all agree in that saving the life of another is like atoning for any sin you have ever committed, or will ever committ. It is a Mitzvah.

If it weren't for Cayci in Tennessee and now my sister, I would not be here to ask you to do this for me. So please, sign your donor card, and encourage your friends and family to do the same. I will be eternally grateful to you.

Thank you!

For more information on becoming an organ donor, click here.

Thanks to Laura at Combreviations for linking to this on her afternoon edition.

Update: Dana had her surgery and all reports said everything went fine. (1/7/10)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fangirl Interruptus

Today at the office is shaping up to be busier than yesterday, if that's possible, so I don't have time for an in-depth blog. Instead, to sate the fangirl in me, I'm giving you a Wednesday 13 video from the album Fang Bang.

I love this video. I love Wednesday 13. Each time I see them live, it makes me more driven to complete my various writing projects. You're probably asking, "why?" Because there's a 2 year age difference between Wednesday and me. He's toured the world; I can definitely get agented.

Would I be able to vocalize this if he was standing in front of me? Hell no. I would stare and stutter like a jack ass. Or I would be totally lame and say "you're awesome." (I have done this to Joe Perry each time I've met him. Alicia = lame at witty comments.)

So this fangirl will stay away from speaking to musicians for their benefit and my face-saving.

For tomorrow, I can talk about Stripey or Phantasma. What would you like to see?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Goals: I Gots 'Em

I gave up doing New Year's Resolutions a long time ago because I never had the commitment to follow through with whatever it was I resolved not to do like eating ice cream for breakfast.* Why bother resolving yourself into action because everyone else on the planet is doing the same thing?

Because of my history with them and because I find it pointless, I'm still not doing resolutions. Instead, I have come up with some goals. (I know that resolutions are comprised of goals, but humor me by thinking they aren't related. Thank you.)

Goal making and I have a tumultuous affair and I never know how it will all turn out. I've been working on these goals for months a few weeks and while they're large in scale, there are baby steps in there. Today is the first time I'll be putting them in writing too. The logic is if I publicly announce them, I can be called on it. (I hope you do call me on them!)

So while the drum roll goes off in my head, I present you with Alicia's Goals Through the Summer Solstice.
  1. Complete the most recent FALLING TO NORMAL revision before conference time.
  2. Keep up with the blogging.
  3. To drop at least 1 pants size.
  4. Clean the litter box on a more frequent basis.
That's it. Four goals, all attainable by June. The most challenging one will be the litter box.

Have you set goals or resolutions for 2010? What are they?

*For the record, ice cream can be a very nutritious breakfast food. Depending on the flavor, you can get protein and fruit in addition to dairy.
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