Friday, July 30, 2010

Choose Your Own Adventure: The Dean

In elementary school, the Choose Your Own Adventure series was wicked popular. There was a wait list to get them out of the library. What was great about them was you got transported on some pretty awesome missions.

Now, they're starting to make a comeback with blogging. The stories don't start off with you in the jungle or on a riverboat, but stick with subjects we're all more comfortable with. Of course, once people contribute, the story unfolds in crazy ways - and makes it awesome.

So, today I'm bringing the Choose Your Own Adventure to Slice of the Blog Pie. I've started and I need you guys to keep the story going. Please tell your friends to join in as well.

The Dean

Sidney hopped off the overcrowded bus at James Square, eager for his interview. He had heard a lot about the new dean at the academy - some things over-the-top fantastic and some everyday-mundane. Despite the rumors, there was nothing concrete that Sidney could find.

This interview would be the first and it would let everyone know about what the dean was about.

Want a hand in Sidney's interview? Is the dean an alien? Only you can decide. Click below and continue the story.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Zombie Sex-tacular! presents "L.A. Zombie-- Banned gay porn?"

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

Another Thursday is upon us, and here I am sitting in a Starbucks to use their free internet since I still do not have internet of my own. Thank you to everyone who responded to last week's inquiry as to what three items you would bring with you during a zombie attack! Many of your answers were alike, which shows there may be some common thread to what we all hold as the most important things in life... Very interesting!

This week we jump back to the 'Zombie Sex-tacular!' Again, as a general warning, the subject matter covered in the Sex-tacular is inherently rated 18+ and could possibly offend readers. So, please proceed with caution.

Although I don't have internet yet (if ever), I still have my trusty Blackberry which keeps me up-to-date with all the most important goings-on in the world. Namely, zombie news! But for this week's installment, I didn't even need the interwebz. As I was headed to work a few days ago at 4am, I picked up a free copy of the Chicago Red Eye, a publication put out by the Chicago Tribune. It contains mostly dribble and nothing too newsworthy (most articles talk about celebrities and the best Chicago bars and nightclubs to go to), but every now and then a gem of information appears. This week they published a small tidbit talking about a film that has been banned in Australia-- a zombie gay porn, to be exact. No sooner had I read this in the paper, the Chicago based Horror Society also "broke" the story.

At first glance the paper made it seem fairly straight forward-- Australia had banned a gay porn film featuring zombie sex. But when I dug a little deeper into the truth, it isn't quite so simple. Apparently, the film was not banned, not in the strictest sense, anyway. Like America, Australia has a ratings system. From what I gathered, the film, L.A. Zombie (by director Bruce LaBruce), was petitioned to be exempt from the ratings system and then was to be screened (without a rating classification) at the Melbourne International Film Festival. Upon review, the film (according to the Australian Classification Board) was NOT banned, it simply was denied exemption from being rated, based on the content of graphic sex, necrophilia, and violence. But as such, the festival could not screen it and pulled it from the line up.

Many critics of the decision are upset because they feel the decision wasn't made based on the sex, violence, or horror aspect; they argue it is a homophobic reaction since a similarly themed (heterosexual) pornographic horror film was allowed to be screened.

Having not seen the film, and not knowing all the circumstances surrounding it's "ban," I'm not sure how to comment. But what is clear is that this film is probably getting more publicity then it ever would have from just being quietly screened. And it just goes to show that there still is some weird niche for zombie pornography! The film centers around a homeless man (played by international porn star Francois Sagat) who believes he is a zombie, and that through having sex with the dead, he can bring them back to life. An interesting necromantic theory, to say the least! This film is the second to feature a zombie theme from La Bruce (whose credits include many other highly controversial films).

So is the world afraid of zombie sex? Or is the world only afraid of gay zombie sex? Fear of either would be a tragedy, in my opinion. Below is the trailer for L.A. Zombie. There really isn't anything very graphic in the trailer, and it really makes the film look pretty boring, to be honest. So don't be afraid to watch! And note the weird aquamarine-green skin his "zombie" self has...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July Reads

Every Wednesday, YA Highway asks their readership a simple question to answer on your blog. Once you answer, you your link in the comments for other readers to hop on board. This is Road Trip Wednesday.

Today's question: What's the best book you've read this month?

Since FALLING TO NORMAL is off with my very trusted beta alpha, I definitely had time to read this month. A lot more than, say, the past 11 months. In fact, I read 3 more books this month than last. Out of them all, the two new ones that stood out the most are Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock and Tommyland by Tommy Lee & Anthony Bozza.

Dairy Queen
What I Liked About It: What wasn't there to like? DJ's voice is extremely strong and likeable. The story arcs are seemless. I struggled with putting the book down and devoured it in a day. The sport element is there, but it's not all about football. I can't wait to read the sequel.

What I Liked About It: That the man is some kind of crazy genius. To learn more about my thoughts on it, you can read yesterday's post or my Goodreads review.

If you're looking for new books to read, head over to YA Highway and click through to other books read this month. Also, comment below with your best book!

______ hit of the day: Lucifer I Am by Michael Graves

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why Tommy Lee is Insane

Last week, I read the autobiography of Motley Crue's drummer, Tommyland by Tommy Lee.

I went into it thinking, "Oh this will be COMPLETELY entertaining" in not a nice way. What I didn't expect was that I would be completely enrapt in Tommy's narrative style and the stories he shares.

Tommyland isn't the normal rock star memoir. He's not sharing a particular time of his life, like Nikki Sixx did with The Heroin Diaries. Tommy Lee shares what he thinks is important. And what comes out this way is that the Motley Crue drummer might be insane.

"Why?" you ask. Sit down and I'll tell you.

We start off with a prologue in script form where Tommy and his penis talk. The penis, by the way has it's own input throughout Tommy narrative. You learn this from the different typeface and the splash stain graphic.

A chapter dedicated to Jagermeister.
"What I don't know is why my better ideas haven't been put into action yet. Jager goes with everything, please believe... You can make Jager desserts: Jager root beer floats, Jager chocolate sauce, Jager ice cream sundaes. And I've got plans for the hot dog stands. Dodger Stadium needs to know that every dude in that whole place would kill to buy a Jager dog. They could make the Jager into some funky jelly paste and shoot it into the middle of the dog back in the factory."*

Nowhere in history does this sound appealing. Even if i was an alcoholic, I don't think a Jager dog would be tasty.

A chapter dedicated to his sexual preferences. This happens to be the second chapter of the book and he goes into some detail that I could've gone without.

Nothing in the book is told in chronological order, which when his editor pointed it out and said it was jarring, he said "Listen Algernon, I've been way out of place and in the business of jarring people since I was seventeen."**

All in all, the book was entertaining, as I hoped. You get an insight to Tommy Lee you normally wouldn't  expect. This isn't one of those "I was born. I did this. And then that" memoirs and he states that right from jump. It was worth the time it took for me to read it. Granted, there are things I could do without knowing, but it wouldn't be Tommy Lee otherwise.

Even though the man may mentally resemble The White One in human form, he had one major truth that resonated with me. "When something is so much a part of me and important to me, it's hard to capture the feelings in words."***  He was talking about music, and I can relate that exact sentiment to writing.

And because of him, I now have a new favorite word: automagically.

* Page 244, Tommyland
** Page 13, Tommyland
*** Page 249, Tommyland
_________ hit of the day: Clay Bodies by Zola Jesus

Monday, July 26, 2010

Give Your Writing Brain a Break

I still love this one.
Anyone who has participated in NaNoWriMo has experienced a creativity sprint of mega proportions. You get so fired up about your WIP you write everywhere: in meetings, in the car, in the shower. You dream Story. You're in love and the creative process Totally Rocks.

Then, the inevitable happens. You stall out. We've all been through that moment when you can't write another stinking word. Hell, you can't even come up with a status update that's funny or clever. This is entirely different from scene blockage- the art of avoiding working on a particular section or project - and it's certainly not writer's block. 

Your writing brain is fried.

Neither the critically-acclaimed Keep-Butt-In-Chair method or the 10-Minute-Freewrite system cure the problem. If you're the melodramatic type, this would be the point when you'd grab the bottle of pills, pop in something more depressing and cliche than The Cure, and shout "GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD" because you can't write anymore, so a suicide note's out of the question and -


Put away the saddest album ever. This is fixable.You just need to rest.

When you exercise - especially when you lift weights - you need to let the muscle group you just worked on a chance to recuperate from the workout. If you don't, and continue your aggressive training regimen, the odds of injury are super high. If you let your muscles relax, you can do more over time. You're training your muscles to do more.* So on the days you're not kicking the shit out of your arms, you might work on your legs. Or, if you're the type who works all the muscles groups together, you'd do a day of just cardio and alternate.

The same thought process can be applied to writing. If you give your writing brain time to recover from the marathon, you'll be more productive overall. I know it's hard if you're in the throes of a project, but if you keep pushing when all that's coming out is "cheese monkeys," are you really being productive?

Mindless activity at it's best.
The best way to give that half of your brain a break is to stay away from words. If you're an avid reader, this is hard, but it's so worthwhile. The problem with writing and reading is it requires you to think, and the goal of giving your brain a break is not to.

Do something that you haven't done in a while. Something simple and mindless.

I find crafts are a real good way to do this. Like, elementary school crafts. Potholders made out of loops. Gimp. Color by numbers. Coloring books! Not the crafty type? Then maybe video games are the way to go. You can play Mario until you fall upside down, if such a thing were possible. Movie marathons of your favorite flicks are great too.

Whatever you decide to do to give yourself a much deserved break, make sure it's fun and that it's something you enjoy. This isn't punishment - you're rewarding yourself for a great in-progress job.

What are some ways you give your brain a break?

* This is my highly non-educated hardcore athletic opinion. An actual trainer would be able to give you a real answer. 

_____ hit of the day: Born Too Late by Saint Vitus

Friday, July 23, 2010

My Dip Toward the Dark Side

While working on the precursor to FALLING TO NORMAL, I developed a character who was totally into the goth scene even though she was entirely too cheerful to fit the trope of "goth." To better understand her, I began buying goth compilation CDs a lot. Around this time, my going out clothes and makeup turned a little more gothish as well. There's more than one photo of me in standard black with red accent color plus the way-too-pale-almost-dead foundation.

Turns out, I really like goth music and going all black. Even though I liked these elements of the goth scene, I found a lot of goths take themselves way too seriously. My character fortunately, wasn't one of them. It became a bit of a game for me to see how dark my music could get before I'd end up in a laughing fit.*

The summer of 2007 was the summer of awful gothic poetry for me. The deeper I delved into reading what I found online, the more amused I became from the enterprise. Most of the poetry was poorly written, resplendent with spelling mistakes and the words "death," "blood," "moon," and/or "howl" appeared in about 95% of them. No doubt all were written by angsty teens who thought poetry was the only outlet for the world to understand how tortured they were.**

Little did they know it was my turn.

Bad gothic haiku #1

Despair embraces me
White cold thoughts dance on my grave
A bitter winter

Replicating what came naturally to these poets was a challenge because I so suck at poetry.*** But I'm pretty good at haiku, and that's what I wrote. The practice of writing intentionally bad dark poetry was great, especially since haiku is a pretty strict form. It was freeing and sent me on much needed laughing jags.

Try your hand at some bad poetry in the comments. And if you're wanting to do the goth way, you can find inspiration here and here.

* The answer to that is pretty dark. I have a warped sense of humor.
** I've been there and all my poetic attempts are bad enough that the dead will never rise again.
*** Hubby's the poet laureate in our family.
_______ hit of the day: Just the Same for You by Dope Stars, Inc.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Get a Move On It! Zombie-style, of course...

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

Oh my. My dead zombie-loving friends, it has been a difficult and stressful last couple of weeks. First of all, let me apologize HEAVILY for missing/not posting a Zombie Thursday blog for the first time since I started. I really had plans to, but unfortunately my work schedule did not allow it, nor did my personal life. So, a big thank you to Alicia for posting in my absence! We make a great team!

As my friends know, I have spent the last month working at transferring and moving to Chicago. I am pleased to say that I have finally succeeded and am living in the big city now! Unfortunately, moving is not the easiest or most stress-free thing in the world. In fact, I'm slowly learning that the hardest part is just beginning-- learning my way around, having to save more and spend *way* less, unpacking, cleaning, dealing with all the things that are wrong with my apartment that I wasn't anticipating. Top all that off with a new store to work in, one which is beyond busy and chaotic (and where I feel completely incompetent most of the time in a job that I have been doing for over three years...), and yeah, I'm not myself lately.

But one thing I'd like to pose today to you all is this-- when the zombie apocalypse strikes and you're forced to pick up and move or die (never stay in one spot, especially not your house. You won't last the night), what are three things you would take with you?

Weapons and rations are a given, so don't even bother saying those. We all know those will get thrown in the backpack, car, customized bus tank... but what three other items would you take with you? They can be personal or practical, but must be easily transportable on foot for when your car/bus tank runs out of gas and you're walking. Feel free to list reasons when necessary. But since I have the most recent experience in packing, I'll let you in on mine.

1. My dog, Mia. You might be thinking that seems kind of silly. My dog would only slow me down, be a distraction, and cloud my judgement. And you could be correct in all of those points. But think about the positives, for a moment. Dogs are natural stress relievers. Can you think of a situation or time more stressful than death and monsters around every corner or in every farmhouse? Mia would keep me grounded and give me a sense of familiarity in uncertain times. And ignoring certain recent films that could possibly suggest that zombies hunger after the flesh of animals other than humans, Mia could be a could decoy. She could walk ignored between the undead hordes to deliver food, messages, or whatever to other survivors. Oh! And I just love her.

2. My tool box. This item might seem "weaponish," and obviously in a tight situation many tools could double as makeshift weapons. But I'm talking small hand tools here-- screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, wire clippers, etc. Being on the move, you never know where you'll end up or what environment you'll find yourself in. Even a place that you thought wouldn't have any issues may, in fact, end up being pretty busted (much like I have found myself dealing with certain things in my new apartment). Being resourceful is key! The tools will help me rig up systems to tap into heat, electricity, water. I'll be able to fortify doors and windows... and who knows what else! Not only would I be prepared, but I would be the most popular person in the group. And the one thing you want to be is useful, because useful people are never used as bait.

3. A journal. A journal may not have any practical applications like the tools or my dog, but writing and documenting what is going on in your life can be very therapeutic. In a reality where everything seems unreal (or undead), journaling could help me make sense of the events going on around me and after time could even start showing some patterns to the events of the zombie uprising. And if the zombies are eventually controlled and contained... imagine the money I would make in book and movie deals for my story!!!

So... what are YOUR three things? Don't be shy now! Share with us in the comments.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Greatest Hits

Every Wednesday, YA Highway asks their readership a simple question for you to answer on your blog. Once you answer, you leave your link in the comments for other readers to hop on board. This is Road Trip Wednesday.
Today's question: Give us the link to the best blog you ever posted.

The best. Admittedly, I can't even choose a best friend - I have categories for those like best-friend-within-a-twenty-mile-radius and best-friend-who-could-be-my-mom. And the ladies of YA Highway, want me to pick one?

Best Feline Entry
Seven Stages of Loss According to Lucky. This is one of my better thought out blogs and explains a lot about The White One's psychology. It also has my favorite picture of him there.

Best Generalist Entry
The Peril of Fat Kid Logic. I battle this every day, so it's a subject close to my heart.

Best Zombie Entry* 
Power of Voodoo. This was one of the most interesting ones I've read. I also said that Miranda is too smart in this one.

Best Writing Entry
The Infestation. For the last couple of years, my critique group has done a flash fiction holiday party. This was my first one and I thought it came out rather good.

Best Writing Craft Entry
Remorse, or What Was I Thinking? If you follow my blog, you'll notice an extreme lack of posts in regards to writing, but once and a while, I'll bust one out. This was my most recent and one I'm proud of.

And, since it IS Road Trip Wednesday...

Best RTW Entry
Literary Tats. It's my most commented on and probably my geekiest entry.

*Miranda might have a different choice. Keep a lookout in comments.
___________ hit of the day: Mrs. Robinson by Simon and Garfunkel

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How I Relearned to Love Stephen King

In the comments from last week's Road Trip Wednesday, Sarah demanded to know what Stephen King sentence restored my love affair with Stephen King*. I've held off answering until now because I wanted to do my answer justice.**

"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

With this opener, Stephen King pulled me into Roland's quest for the Dark Tower. This sentence opened an entire universe to me. Parts of it I'd seen before and parts of it were brand new.

The story of Roland's life is sad, bordering on tragic at times, but he moves on. Constantly. While not exactly Everyman, Roland does take on certain aspects that match. He's on a quest and others join him on the way. BUT, trust me, his life is anything but a morality play.

What Stephen King does is tells us a damn good story about how one the fate of everything is up to one person. You see the odds, you see how things happen, but despite it all (and I do mean despite), you still root for Roland. And you crave more.

King does an awesome job showing how complex and very lonely Roland is. I think the complexity helps carry the story, but, in true Stephen King fashion, we also meet a bunch of other main players along the way. These characters help shape Roland's course and get him to the end.The prose is the most beautiful that I've seen in any of his writing because of the lyrical quality it possesses.***

As a writer, this series means a lot to me. King started writing this when he was nineteen. Let me repeat and bold that for you. Nineteen. It was his first project and took him over twelve years to complete it. He had complete faith in his story and Roland would keep coming back for more over the years. As I'm working on hard getting my first project out to the masses, I remember how long it took for The Gunslinger.

And just like Roland chasing the man in black with the Horn of Eld by his side, knowing that it took Stephen King that long to publish his baby gives me hope.

* The reason that it needed to be restored in the first place was because of Gerald's Game.
** And I still probably won't.
*** Totally aware of my rose-colored lenses here.
_________ hit of the day: Nearly Lost You by Screaming Trees

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday, Monday

Last night, I finished my revisions for FALLING TO NORMAL and I threw imaginary confetti everywhere. This week my goal is to be lazy and just read. I'm starting Tommyland, which in case you don't know, is Tommy Lee's memoir. I decided to pick it up after watching his ADHD self on Rockstar Supernova.* If the book is half as funny as watching him on TV, I'll love every second of it.

In other news, I've entered a contest for books. If you like paranormal and you like winning, why don't you go do it too? Click the pretty icon. 

I'm also hoping to catch up reading/ commenting on blogs. I've been powerscanning and writing on the fly for weeks now and I'm getting drained from it. Of course, I say this is what I'm going to do now, but the odds of something shiny distracting me these days are pretty high. Anyone want to place a bet?

And, because I love him (and he spent an hour with me dress shopping on Saturday), I'd like to direct you all to Hubby's blog. It's called "... And Me." There he tells stories about different people and things and how they have impacted him. He hasn't blogged much and I'm thinking if you all go lurk over there too, he might blog more. Plus, he's pretty funny.

Tell me: How's your Monday?

______ hit of the day: Wayfaring Stranger by Ego Likeness

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bipolarity Writing?

So a couple of days ago on Twitter, everyone was talking about who they write like. You go to a website, paste in some text, and poof! Magic. it gave me a much needed 3 second RFP hell break, so even better, right?

I plugged in the first scene of FALLING TO NORMAL, which if you're just tuning in, should know it's contemporary young adult fiction. Imagine my surprise when I got this result:

I write like
Stephen King
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Pretty awesome, even if confusing. But Miranda asked a good question: am I Eye of the Dragon SK or Pet Semetary? I said Eye of the Dragon, since I don't wrote horror. But the answer should've really been The Gunslinger for project commitment alone. But who cares - I WRITE LIKE STEPHEN KING! (Minus the tediously long narrative paragraphs that everyone loves to skim through, of course.)

What I'd like to know then is why when analyzing Bloggy Blog here, I get this:

I write like
James Joyce
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Is it because I don't use slang or many contractions? Are my posts THAT BORING? Is it possible that my writing style has bipolar disorder? If I analyze work papers, am I going to be told I write like Dostoyevsky?

Bloggers out there - does your blog style differ from your writing style?
Everyone else - who do you write like?

__________ hit of the day: Heaven and Hell by Black Sabbath

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Zombie Olympics

Miranda is undergoing packing hysteria, so while there might be a post later tonight, right now you can watch highlights from the 2008 zombie Olympics before reading up on the upcoming 2012 event.

_______ hit of the day: Prey by Zombie Girl

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Favorite Reading Memory

Every Wednesday, YA Highway asks their readership a simple question for you to answer on your blog. Once you answer, you leave your link in the comments for other readers to hop on board. This is Road Trip Wednesday.

Today's question: What's your favorite reading related memory? 

Like any book nerd and/ or writer, books hold importance significance to me. I have a lot of memories associated  to books:
  • The Velveteen Rabbit convinced me that my toys came to life the instant I left the room.
  • Anne Rice instilled in me a love and respect for non-sparkly vampires.
  • One book destroyed my love affair with Stephen King, but one sentence restored it.
  • My mom shared her favorite titles with me when I was in seventh which began my year of reading the Bronte's.

But the one that sticks out is Little House on the Prairie series.

I've always been a voracious reader and as I've said before, this is my mom's fault. If I wasn't playing with Barbie dolls, my nose was in a book. This was true for our 2 plus hours drives to visit my father's parents in Connecticut.

On one of these visits, Ma Tante Georgette and her husband were visiting. Georgette was a former nun and current elementary school teacher in Small Town, New Hampshire.* She asked me about school, what I liked, and what I was reading. That Christmastime, I got a package in the mail from Ma Tante Georgette which included all of the books in the Little House series.

The stories and writing were great - it transported me to a different time and I found it exciting. But was makes this so great is that my aunt went out of her way and gave me this present. She wrote a note inside each cover too. I come from a large extended family and at the time, there were at least 34 other nieces and nephews besides me.

I still have all eight books too.

*Not a real town.
______________________ hit of the day:The Whistle Blower by Chris Connelly

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Get Your Geek On

According to my local Fox affiliate, today is "Embrace Your Geekness Day." This is awesome because I'm so swamped at work, I couldn't think of what to blog.*

i am a geek
I'm 23% geek.
First, if you're not sure if you're a geek or not, you might want to take a test. It's long, so make sure you have time. It turns out, I'm not extremely geeky. If you end up being more geeky than I, you should congratulate yourself with a trip to Think Geek.

If you're trying to figure out what the difference is between Geek and Nerd (something I constantly struggle with), check out this Wiki that d supplied a few weeks ago.

Whether you're a geek or not, we've all had a moment of true geekery. Mine involved the official Aerosmith tribute band, an after party, and iambic pentameter.

What's been YOUR most geektastic moment?

*Especially since I'm in the middle of formatting and editing narrative for a proposal.

________ hit of the day" Testure by Skinny Puppy

Monday, July 12, 2010

How The White One Bungled My Week

You can have the red stuff. Save me the container.
The White One has been up to his usual antics as of late. It started on the 4th when he walked out our front door, snuck around the corner, and yodeled at Hubby. (The Stripey One got sidelined by grass.)

Since then, he's been unstoppable.

In the last seven days, he's
  • Picked his way through the bathroom trash searching for that divine piece of plastic.
  • Broke a bottle of Strongbow Hard Cider.
  • Forced himself on Stripey at least ten fifty times.
  • Sat in the middle of my manuscript twice per editing session.
  • Shoved change onto the floor in the middle of the night until I woke up to let me know that his water dish was below Luckycat standards.
  • Snapped a piece off my brand new purple and pink water bottle.
  • Ate said divine plastic only to regurgitate for us a few hours later.
  • Confused my left hand with an early morning snack.

Don't get me wrong, not all he does is bad. He is really a sweet cat. And hella entertaining. The best thing he did all weekend was when he pretended the small rubber duck with "Alicia" inked on it's chest is the latest cat hockey puck technology.

_______ hit of the day: Nobody's Home by Babylon Bombs

Friday, July 9, 2010

First Four For Friday

Work yet again is kicking my ass, but I have a lurkership (you) to entertain. So I'm inaugurating a new feature - Four for Friday. Easch Four For Friday will have a theme. I'm not planning this to be every week but more like whenever I'm scrambling at work and lists are much easier for me to construct.

*a hem*

Four For Friday, Firsts Edition

  1. Last night, Hubby and I went to our first ever book reading music. Steve Almond read excerpts from Rock N Roll Will Save Your Life and encouraged audience participation by singing the lyrics he supplied. The man is brilliantly funny.

    If you have the chance, see him speak.

  2. For Feline "Assistance"
  3. I earned a merit badge, or rather, The Stripey and White Ones did. That's right. It's for when they're being ever so NOT USEFUL. If you like cute little badges, you should check out Merit Badger, who I found from the awesomeness that's Janet Reid.

  4. Tomorrow I'll be seeing the hecklefest that's called Eclipse. Look out Suburban Boston Twi-Hards because my friends and I can be quite obnoxious.

  5. Wednesday I contemplated jogging. 
________ hit of the day: Holy Diver by Dio

    Hello Zombie?

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

    I can hardly believe that it is Thursday already! In fact, it snuck up on me so quickly, I even forgot it was Thursday. I'm in the process of moving for the first time ever. Sure, I've lived 'on my own' before-- school, summer jobs, etc. But I've never had my own place, where I was the sole rent payer, the one in charge. That is all about to change in exactly one week! As such, I've spent the last few days trying to find a new place to live, struggled with money, leases, packing, and all that "fun" stuff associated with the moving process.

    After a couple of days I ended up finding the perfect place for me. I love it! It's tiny, but has so much character, and I'll definitely be able to make it my own. Although it is technically considered a studio apartment, it actually has a separate room. I think it's a bit too small to be a bedroom, so I have decided to turn it into my totally awesome fun girlie room! The theme? HELLO KITTY! Yes, I love Hello Kitty and the Sanrio world. What of it? Can't a girl like blood and puss dripping zombies and adorable cartoon kitties? Absolutely! But what if they were... combined?

    Apparently I am not the only one who adores Hello Kitty and zombies enough to mix the two. Here are some great examples of Hello Zombies! Artwork, a tattoo, even a cake-- Enjoy!

    Thursday, July 8, 2010

    Musical Zombie Interlude

    Miranda is currently undergoing life. So while we wait for what she's planned, enjoy a zombie video.

    _________ hit of the day:The Impartial Orchestral Mix by The Clockwork Dolls

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    In the Zone

    Every Wednesday, YA Highway asks their readership a simple question for you to answer on your blog. Once you answer, you leave your link in the comments for other readers to hop on board. This is Road Trip Wednesday.

    Today's question: What would your ideal writing desk look like? Right down to the perfect pen or laptop.

    In Alicia's Fantasy World - where I'm 5'9", not so busty, and a little more buff - I have a library. This library would have floor to ceiling bookshelves, a window seat, 2 sets of french doors: one leading to the balcony and the other to the hallway. There would be a comfy chair and possibly an area rug in a bright-ass color (electric blue maybe).

    There's be an alcove (complete with window) where my new office space would be.  I'd have an L-shaped desk with a hutch. The L would be under the window so I can see the outside, but not get distracted by its shininess. The shelves in the hutch would hold any books I was referencing for the current WIP. I'd have a drawer to file important-ish papers and a drawer for pens and things.*

    I'm good with my Dell laptop, so that would stay, but I'd so have a wireless printer.

    I'd own stock in 3M because I'd own that many Post-it items: bright colored sticky notes in varying sizes, those highlighter pens, not to mention the easel pad to brainstorm and plot. There's be a pack of multi-colored Sharpies for said easel pad too.

    There'd be a stack of index cards and legal pads in the drawer, not to mention my new favorite pen - the Staples Delta Elite. It's one of the smoothest pens I've used.

    And journals. Those little ones that I was too lazy to use in high school. Those are great for keeping all WIP notes in one portable place. Those would be stacked up in the hutch.

    I'd also have a little dry erase board so I could write notes to myself.

    I like my current desk chair and that would come with me. It's comfy, tealish, and The Stripey One can lounge on the back while I sit there.


    *A definite grown up advancement from my adhoc throw it wherever feng shui.

    _______ hit of the day: The Magic of the Wizards Dream by Rhapsody of Fire

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010

    Closed for the 4th, Erm, 5th

    Blogging has been interrupted by life. I'm sorry, but enjoy some lawn ornaments while I'm unearthing my desk.

    ______ hit of the day: Love Stays the Same by Suicidal Romance

    Monday, July 5, 2010

    Versatile Me

    A couple of weeks ago, Erinn gave out blogger awards and I was one of the recipients. It's sort of exciting, since the last award I'd received was a senior in high school. With this the case, I'm overlooking the chain mail aspects of the award, changing most of the rules* and accepting it anyway.

    So thanks Erinn for saying I'm versatile, especially during a time when I'm feeling anything but.

    My picks for versatile peeps are...

    These are great people. Go check them out.

    Seven things about me that don't necessarily make me versatile...
    1. I wanted to be an Egyptologist, but one of the requirements is to be fluent in Latin, Greek, and French.
    2. Some days I'm barely fluent in English.
    3. I have a doppelganger.
    4. My biggest fear is death by drowning.
    5. The Gregoire clan is large enough that we could probably rent out an entire hotel.
    6. Despite owning two cats, my obsession with felines hasn't abated.
    7. I have 4 writing projects currently drafting themselves in. my. head.
    I know I have lurkers. I'd like to meet you. Comment below with one thing about yourself that I should know.

    *By changing the rules, I'm not requiring my recipients to forward it along. And I'm not listing 15 people either. I'm keeping the 7 things about me, since I can.

    _______ hit of the day: Stone Throwers by Johnny Hollow

    Friday, July 2, 2010

    Even More Shoes

    I've made a call for shoes, and people are answering. Diedra (M.M. Misfit in comments) sent me a shot of her shoes.

    She writes: "Mostly summer shoes - and yes, a few of the pockets contain two pairs. Not so bad, right?"

    Definitely not bad. I'm noticing an alarming number of orange shoes. For me, that would mean more than one pair. But I know Diedra and am not surprised that she has them. She can get away with them too.

    For these orange wonders, I'll recap the story she originally posted in the Shoe Love post.

    "So I got lost on my way to buy dog food and ended up in Nordstrom Rack. (I now know the exact location of the 8th wonder of the world.) The shoe department LITERALLY took my breath away. I had to stop in one of the aisles and calm myself. Even made a friend in shoe heaven. He better cough up that employee discount the next time I stalk, I mean see him. And after telling myself last weekend that I need to cut it out with the orange clothes, I bought these. Don't even get me started on the clothes.

    "And the flats are patent leather peep toes and comfortable as all hell. I just want to eat them up. And yes, I may need a cane to wear the wedges, but I will wear them...have no doubt about that."

    That I don't doubt.

    What do you think of the shoe collection? Can you top it?

    _______ hit of the day: Lament for a Toy Factory by Dr. Steel

    Thursday, July 1, 2010

    Fear the Führer-- Zombie Nazis?

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

    It may seem like my interests are mostly horror related. I love zombies, monsters, slasher flicks, freak shows... but it may surprise you to learn that I'm also a history nerd. Specifically, World War II history. I'm fascinated by all things WWII with a special interest in the Holocaust.

    I am the first person to stand up and press the importance of the Holocaust-- studying it, remembering it, trying to understand it. Many countries turned a blind eye to the over six million Jews, homosexuals, Catholics, gypsies, and many more who were being systematically murdered. The United States was such a nation that did nothing in the beginning years to stop the atrocities, even though we knew what was happening (I wrote a lengthy paper on this my third year of college).

    The Holocaust is a sobering topic. And the ideas and actions of the National Socialist party (Nazi party) were so horrible, how could it ever be a joke or a funny topic?

    But it is... with zombies.

    You may have noticed a theme in my writing. I am always on a quest for "why?" Why zombies? Why zombie sex? And now, perhaps the most mind-boggling why of them all-- Why zombie Nazis? Zombie Nazis are everywhere. Movies, cartoons, books, even video games. With a history so grim, why turn them into something so humorous? Most instances of zombie Nazi portrayals are more comedic than scary. Originally, today's blog was going to be more of a review of the film Dead Snow. In all likelihood, I probably will do a write up of that film (maybe next week), but the more I started thinking about the subject, the more I wanted to touch on some deeper issues that main explain the modern fascination with zombie Nazis. Here are some of my ideas, and I very much welcome some of your theories!

    1. One reason could be rooted in the idea of the horror/comedy genre. When something is unnerving or frightens us so much, we tend to laugh as a coping mechanism. A nervous chuckle, a giggle... anything to mask our actual terror to those around us. Because if something is funny, it takes away the threat (for you Harry Potter nerds out there, think about the Boggart and the 'Ridikulus' spell). A recent example for me was seeing the new independent film The Human Centipede. I highly encourage you to go see it! But it is the type of film that at times is physically and psychologically disturbing and disgusting. When one looks at the overall premise and idea, there is absolutely nothing funny about any of it. It isn't a horror/comedy. And yet, when I saw it in a crowded theatre, people were laughing, chuckling. Even I caught myself snorting a few times. But only because the *group* was nervously laughing. At home, alone in the dark, I guarantee the vast majority of people watching the film, myself included, would not find a single thing in that film amusing.

    To me, I can think of few things more horrible and terrifying than the Holocaust and Nazis. And the reality of zombies existing is also a terrifying and disturbing idea, as we have discussed before. Imagine the dead literally rising from their graves with only one intention-- to kill you. Not at all funny. So putting two horrifying extremes together, one gets zombie Nazis. And in the films they are in, it is typically more comedy based (mixed in with horror as well), such as in Dead Snow and The Haunted World of El Superbeasto (and while not technically zombies, also think along the lines of Werewolf Women of the SS). To cope with the horror of both ideas, we make it funny. We turn the two ideas into a parody of the actual horror.

    2. My next idea could get quite lengthy to discuss, so I will try to keep it as brief as possible. I'm also extremely interested in propaganda, specifically war propaganda and, more importantly, the propaganda posters of World War II. When I think of World War II, I think of Nazis and concentration camps first and foremost. But the United States didn't really enter the war until after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan. Hitler had been organizing and carrying out the concentration camps literally for years, and we did nothing. So when America finally joined WWII, the government needed to rally the country into getting behind the cause. Hence, propaganda. But when studying the posters of the time, I was fascinated to discover the huge difference in the way Nazis were portrayed in the artwork versus how the Japanese were portrayed. The Japanese were demonized in these posters. They were made to look like savages, animals, and evil. But for the most part, the Germans, and especially Hitler, were made to look merely comical. As a result of this twisted perception, the American government rounded up Japanese-American citizens and threw them into camps, while no such extreme was done to German-Americans.

    My point to all this is, there may be an underlying sense of comedy in the American mindset when it comes to Nazis. After all, our own government, by way of propaganda, taught us to laugh at the Nazis, not fear them to the extent that we were taught to be afraid of the Japanese. Perhaps there is a common idea to ridicule Nazis buried deep in our subconscious culture. There are other examples of this humor outside of the horror and zombie genres-- have you seen The Producers, complete with the fake musical Springtime for Hitler?

    Do you think it is possible that our world history can unintentionally dictate the way we shape horror culture and popular culture in general? Or is it all just mere chance or a joke, the throwing together of two unlikely groups used to scare us and make us laugh? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
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