Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Scary Generic Holiday Presents

Today was going to be about life after NaNoWriMo, but my attention span is short and this just couldn't wait. People are hip-deep into holiday shopping for family, friends, and the random client that spent a butt-load of cash with your company in the past year.

Shopping for the acquaintance/client is usually the hardest AND easiest person to shop for. If they're female, you'll no doubt go toward bath products, scented candles, or picture frames. If they're male, it usually involves liquor. Sometimes though, you want to break the mold and still look awesome. This is when the foodstuffs come into play (fruit baskets, cheese, chocolate covered pretzels are prime examples.)

Whatever you do, please don't gift this.
This frightening ensemble is from The Popcorn Factory's Popcorn Ball Decorating Kit. Fortunately, you're responsible for decorating your own balls so they might not look as horrifying as The Vampire Panda ball*.

The item description hints that these are for kids to decorate and that they would have fun. If Child-Alicia received this as a gift, first she would only see the balls as mom would have removed all the candy from sight. In the off chance Child-Alicia acquired the candy, her sugar high would be so intense it would have turned into a sugar coma.

What is the scariest generic present you've seen?

* Right in between The Too stoned Puppy and The Way Too Jolly Santa.
Last.fm hit of the day: At Giza by Om

Monday, November 29, 2010

Yuletide Away!

I'm writing this post while waiting in line at the Christmas Tree Shop. It's sort of appropriate since we're officially in the holiday season.
You know what that means.
Tacky Christmas is here!

If you lurked last year, you might remember my love for the tackiness Christmas brings. Horrible light displays, scary Santas, and tinsel. This year is no different as you can see from the reindeer inappropriately cozening up to an unsuspecting snowman.
Lurkdom. Tacky. Christmas.
Send me pictures of light displays in your area. Please. If I love it, I'll feature you and your picture on the blog. There might even be a prize like chocolate or coffee.

Last.fm hit of the day: The Legend of John Henry's Hammer by Johnny Cash

Friday, November 26, 2010

Four For Friday

This is it, kids: the final weekend to play catch up on your NaNoWriMo word count. Even if you're wicked behind, it can be done*. Without any more bullshit, I present to you...

Four For Friday: Win NaNoWriMo Edition
  1. Word sprints. This may sound lame to some, or as Hubby calls it "extremely nerdy," but sprints are a great way to up your word count. By using a time or an online stopwatch, you can challenge yourself to beating your personal best in 15 and 30 minute writing sprints**.
  2. Writing Marathon. The Boston region already did their 24 hour traveling write in, but that doesn't mean you can't do your own. Load up on the caffeine and set up a good playlist and write until dawn breaks again.
  3. Alcohol. Not only can you become a raging jackass, you can push out that shitty draft in record time. Since boozing it up lowers your inhibitions, it also silences your internal editor***.
  4. Excessive and needless dialogue. There's nothing that fills up space more than dialogue, especially the kind we're not supposed to do. ("Hello, Mary." "Hello, Jim. How are the dogs?" "The dogs are fine, thank you. What about your wallabies?")

So what are you waiting for? If you haven't made it to 50K yet, try one of the above techniques. If you have won already, what are some tips and tricks to cram in that final word count?

* Not that I've done it myself. I like to front load my word count whenever possible.
** My personal best for the 15 minute sprint is 540 words.
*** That's because the internal editor is a closet drunk.
Last.fm hit of the day: 12 Days of Rain by October Tide

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Great Zombie Food Debate

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

Happy Thanksgiving to the Lurkdom! Last year I was very pleased to bring you all a blog about why a zombie would choose brains to eat. If you have just recently joined us, go check out last year's Thanksgiving Edition! Okay, now that you have caught up with me and have learned why brains are potentially the best diet for a zombie, let's chat about something that's been bothering me when it comes to the food of the undead.

***Warning, this post contains a few spoilers for the film Survival of the Dead. You have been warned.***

Zombies are terrifying. Horrifically so. I've challenged you all before to take a moment and try to imagine your life during the zombie apocalypse. Picture having the undead swarming around you or your home. You don't know where they have come from, why they are reanimated, how they're walking around... the one thing that you do know is that they are thirsty for your blood and hungry for your flesh (or brains, for reasons listed last year). A zombie's only purpose or drive in life is to find living humans and eat them. How scary is that?! It's not like a vicious wild animal that *may* attack you and eat you if provoked. If you run into a bear or cougar in the woods or cross paths with a coyote (which is very common where I come from), it is highly likely you will walk away alive and well. Unless you do something to really make them nervous, they usually just want to get away from you. But there is still a bit of a threat of attack. But the attack is more to defend themselves and not to eat.

If you cross paths with a zombie it is a certainty that they will try to eat you. I think this reason is key in a zombie's horror factor. There are few worse deaths than being eaten alive, not to mention being eaten alive by a human-ish being! So, what exactly has been bothering me lately in zombie culture?

Zombies eating animals.

And, no, this annoyance has nothing to do with my vegetarianism. What bothers me about zombies eating other animals is that it removes some of their horror. If a zombie is equally attracted to eating a deer or cow as they are to eating humans, it makes the apocalypse seem less.... apocalyptic. If zombies were to go after other animals, why would they choose humans? Animals have a lot more meat and more eatable parts (which is a main reason why we breed them to slaughter and feed ourselves). Humans could just herd other animals towards zombies and be completely safe.


A young girl riding her beloved horse

This concept is explored in the recent film, Survival of the Dead (latest chapter from Romero). A group of relatives decide not to shoot their undead kin in the head and instead think that eventually a "cure" will be found for the zombies. So in the meantime, they attempt to keep them locked up and alive while also trying to persuade them to eat meat other than humans. Throughout the film, the zombies resist! They only want people meat which causes all sorts of shenanigans for our human heroes. Until the end when (SPOILER ALERT), a group of angry and hungry zombies finally take down and eat a horse at the human's prompting.

Said young girl after she goes all zombie and decides to eat her horse

I just don't buy it. I can't buy it. I realize there is no reason scientifically that a zombie couldn't eat and survive off of another type of animal. Animals and humans are basically the same-- we are all edible. But it just isn't scary. At all! I want my zombies to creep me out, chase me, be horrifying! I don't want a zombie to bust into my apartment and decide my guinea pig is more appetizing than I! The really scary thing about zombies is that they were humans, but upon reanimation have seemingly lost all humanity. They don't reason, they don't feel remorse or a bond with their former friends. They eat. People. Period. What are all these writers and filmmakers thinking?

So on this Thanksgiving, what do you think about a zombie's diet?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Best Book of November

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

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

November was an upgrade from October where I read a whopping one--yes, one--book. This month, I finished two. *throws confetti*

Out of those, The Digital Plague was the best. It's the second book in the Avery Cates series and when I had finished the first one during last year's NaNoWriMo, I got all fangirly and pretty much forced the book down Hubby's throat*. So reading the sequel during November worked for me.

Blurb from Goodreads:
Avery Cates is a very rich man. He's probably the richest criminal in New York City. But right now, Avery Cates is pissed. Because everyone around him has just started to die - in a particularly gruesome way. With every moment bringing the human race closer to extinction, Cates finds himself in the role of both executioner and savior of the entire world. 
What I loved about The Digital Plague and it's precursor, The Electric Church, is Avery Cates. He's an anti-hero and his voice is awesome in it's grittiness. He doesn't censor himself in his narration. He's pretty much a bastard, but even when we see his more human side, he's still a bastard. Oddly, this makes him very likable.

The other thing that's great is the world building. Jeff Somers has a terrific eye for it. I could see the futuristic, dilapidated version of New York that Avery lived in with such clarity, it was scary. Yeah, I could totally imagine this as the future.

Don't forget to stop by YA Highway to see more best of November picks. In the meantime, what was the best book you read this month?

* He still hasn't read it.
Last.fm hit of the day: As Tears Go By by The Rolling Stones

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is this week, a time when people get together and eat way too much food with family that they may or may not enjoy hanging out with for prolonged periods of time. It's a day chock full of football and it's the official kick off to the holiday season. Gas stations will jack up the price of gas and a lot of people will be in the air.

Credit (minus rainbows and lollies).
If you grew up in the U.S., you learned all about the Plymouth and how badly the pilgrims were in over their head. You learned that the local Indians* helped them that first year. Supposedly they had this nice happy feast after harvest, blah blah blah. There were rainbows in the sky and everyone was full of free love and had lollipops.

Actually, that last part might be more awesome if historically accurate.

Besides these things, what is Thanksgiving really?
The nice folks at dictionary.com define thanksgiving as "the act of giving thanks, especially to god."

This totally explains why we're supposed to talk about what we're thankful for on Thanksgiving. Of course, we really don't need a day with this as the purpose. The Lurkdom gives thanks everyday because they're that awesome**.

I'm not a sentimental, religious, or mushy person and am the first to admit that I never give thanks on Thanksgiving. But a lot has happened in the past year on the personal side of things, so I've been saying "I'm so lucky that ___________" a lot to Hubby. This is the equivalent of me giving thanks.

I'm thankful for the following things***
  • Hubby for tons of sentimental and mushy reasons that I won't share here. Ever.
  • The Stripey & White Ones for hours of purrs and amusement. How many cats let you dress them up?
  • Coffee & chocolate because what is life without a mocha?
  • That both Hubby and I are still employed.
  • That my photo editing skills in MS Word are looking better with each pass.
  • That you guys continue to stop by for visits!

Since it is that time of year, I want to know what are you thankful for?

* I know the preferred term is Native American, but I got introduced to them as Indians and my brain is resistant to change.
** Granted it might just be "thank goodness I caught the bus," but it's still giving thanks, so it count.
*** I'm trying to keep this on the light side, which is pretty hard to do with the latent goth tendencies. If you're curious about the more serious thoughts,ask below.

Last.fm hit of the day: Blacklist by Bring Me The Horizon

Monday, November 22, 2010

In Which We See in a Squirrel's Brain

Welcome to the shortest week of the month, which also happens to be the busiest for me since Hubby's birthday is right around the corner.

You're blowing us off today, aren't you?
Sort of.

You suck.
Wait! I have a video for you. It further proves that there is a squirrel revolution on the rise. Let me present Exhibit C on the case of squirrels as villians--Foamy the Squirrel. 

Last.fm hit of the day: Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison

Friday, November 19, 2010

PSA Interlude: On First Drafts

Happy Friday, Lurkdom! I hope you all have splendiferous plans for the weekend. I'm going to continue to work on my word count and ponder the writing life*.

I've been thinking a lot about first drafts. For the last two years, my writing group has been critiquing Nemesis' sophomore effort--a novel of undetermined genre or target audience. This past Wednesday marked the review of his final chapters** for submission. There's not much nice to say about Nemesis' writing***. It's not stellar, it's not mechanically sound, and the plot is thinner than gruel. I spend a good chunk of my critting time yelling at the page (and not in a good way) and tweeting comments about what I'm reading.

Wednesday wasn't any different. In fact, it was worse. As I read chapter 35A, I grew more and more enraged. Pages of pointless backstory. No action. No dialogue. More repetition than Groundhog Day. Nothing happened. I read ten pages of straight telling. I had enough.

People. If you are working with a critique group, it's a common courtesy to make sure that you still put your best foot forward. Remember, your first draft is for you. This is the draft where you're figuring stuff out. If you're unsure about your novel's direction, do you really want a group of writers dissecting it?

While you can show your first draft around, don't bring it to a huge group. Even Jack Ketchum has one trusted beta who sees everything beforehand. If you do decide to share your first draft, pick who you share it with carefully. Danielle and Hubby are the only ones who see anything from my first draft. Everyone else sees Draft 1.3 or later.

Am I saying don't ask for help or suggestions? Far from it. Writing doesn't have to be a solitary venture. NaNoWriMo and Twitter are proof of that. Get help on that tricky scene or bounce ideas about how to effectively off Carlo from down the street, but don't share your shit draft****. It's unfair to your readers. It's unfair to you.

* Not really much on the second part. I don't actually do things like ponder. My brain is much too full for that.
** One of the chapters, by the way, was brand new and nowhere near the end of novel. Yeah, Nemesis likes to submit out of order and expect it to make sense.
*** Or story.
**** Except for when applying the method found in the previous paragraph.
Last.fm hit of the day: Salt of the Earth by Crystal Pistol

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Zombie Thursdays!!

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

That's right!!! Today is the ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY for my Zombie Thursday editions here at Slice of the Blog Pie! What started off as a silly joke with Alicia and me being a huge dork has blossomed into (almost*) fifty-two awesome entries full of zombie lovin'! I think I'm taking a page out of Alicia's book and my job is kicking my ass a bit this week (I was just transferred, period of unrest and instability blah blah blah...), so I don't have a kick ass entry other than to tell you all how much I appreciate you sticking with us this past year and hopefully I have another fifty-two zombie themed blogs in me. And of course a super huge special thank you to Alicia for allowing me to do this every week and giving me the opportunity to write again. I appreciate it more than she could know!

So, at least for the next few weeks, I do have some things planned, including another Thanksgiving Food edition for next week, as well as some reviews and musings on a few zombie novels I am in the process of reading. And soon-- more ZOMBIE SEX-TACULAR!

So, thank you for this past year and stick with us in the next one!!!

*I know I missed a few weeks here and there, but usually Alicia covered my butt, so we'll go with at least 50 zombie entries? Yes? Sounds good!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The 24 Hour Vacation

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

Today's question: In Like Mandarin, the first line reads: "The winds of Washokey make people go crazy." Tell us about a time you did something completely crazy.

Sorry to disappoint, but I'm not the type of girl who goes all out and does something crazy. I like to be in control and know what's going to happen. Something about anxiety issues. With this in mind, it shouldn't come to a shock to The Lurkdom that any wild and crazy shenanigans are semi-thought out.

When I was still entrenched in my Aerosmith contract, I spent a lot of time watching Draw The Line, the Aerosmith tribute band that's actually endorsed by Aerosmith. I also spent a lot of money and time on Aerosmith, as you know.

What you probably don't know is that I've traveled to see both bands.

Miranda should've been at college orientation but was in NJ.
What you also don't know is that Miranda missed college orientation because of Aerosmith. We drove down to Delaware with Danielle so we could spend the weekend with my other bestie, Lisa. Then we all went to New Jersey where we almost got pummeled because the crowd on the lawn was that insane.

Since that Aerosmith show, I've been down the Land of Where? multiple times. Most were just to hang out, but a few were Aerosmith driven.

Like the one night stand.

Before you get all excited and think "ZOMG! Alicia's going to share that time she slutted out!" Let me assure you, I'm not.

The one night stand was a 24 hour period where I ended up in Pennsylvania with Lisa on the sole purpose to see Draw the Line. I flew a red eye into Philadelphia where Lisa picked me up and the next evening, she dropped me back off so I could get home. The trip was decided on about 5 days prior.

Not the night of our 1 nighter, but a fun time just the same.
Quick facts about Lisa: I met her through the Aerosmith fan club chat room in 1998. I met her live the first time in November 2000. Our nickname for each other is "Mom.*" She's much more a free spirit than I am, which is one the things I love about her.

We've been getting in trouble together ever since.

From Philadelphia, Lisa and I drove out to the Poconos to find this small bar in Pittston. We get lost. More than once. We ended up circling exits on the interstate about five times because we kept missing turns. When we finally found it, we had to hope back on the road to find our sketchy hotel.

I should also mention right now that I was lusting for the lead guitarist at the time. He was 22, smoking hot, and British**. I was also on wicked good terms with the drummer because we lived in the same town and because of that connection, learned way more about the inner workings of a tribute band than I should.

After hours of dancing and fighting off the way-too-drunk-to-lurch man, a group of us ended back at the band's hotel room where instead of the craziness you would think would happen, there was a lot of conversation. A fire almost started when the lead guitarist tossed a lit joint to another band member and he didn't notice.

This was my craziest moment. All told, it was great time with one of my bestest friends in the world and we still make reference to the drunk who obeyed my orders and Lisa's love of driving in circles.

What's the craziest thing you've done recently?

* She calls Hubby "Dad."
** This was the driving force behind most of my Draw the Line endeavors in 2001-2002ish.
Last.fm hit of the day: Dead Girls Don't Cry by Nekromantix

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How Do You Find the Time?

More than once this year I've said, "There needs to be 4 more hours in the day." I think it's a valid statement.

Lately there isn't enough time to get everything done. The 9-5 job has priorities on top of priorities and even those shove out more priorities. When I'm not at work, I have to decide what to focus on: querying, editing, writing, reading, exercising, blah blah , bitch, whine, moan.

Basically, life has exploded. Predictably, like this:


I know I'm not the only one who has been feeling a push-back and I know there are people out in The Lurkdom who have a hell of a lot more on their plate than I do*. Not to mention, it's November, which usually signals the start of craziness for everyone on this side of the globe.

Because of this, I've been thinking a lot about time management, or more specifically, my lack of it. There should be a formula to help prioritize because that's harder to do than it looks. Our brains should be hard-wired with an automatic "no" response, when our plates our too full. And, of course, there should be 4 more hours in the day for sleep.

So Lurkdom, tell me...

How do you make time for everything you need to do?

* But it's my blog, so there.

Last.fm hit of the day: Darkness, Tell Me by Calabrese

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pulling Out the Funny

If you stalk me on Twitter, you won't be surprised to learn that work has kicked my ass and it's only Monday. Fortunately for me, I have a very nice husband who likes to talk. That's right, Lurkdom. Hubby's at the controls today....


I was asked to guest write today because someone has too much to do to keep in touch with you, her loyal fans. I was given a few ideas on what to write, but I figured that I would use this time with you to give you an insight into some of the strange ways a stand-up comedian (me) finds inspiration, sometimes in the most mundane of places, and hopefully you will all find some way to use this info in your writing.

What I am aiming to do is to take you on a brief journey into how I came up with a 72 second bit (yes I timed it) from a news article headline, without using any part of the headline. You will all see a little window into my head, which I want to apologize in advance for the clutter. I wasn’t expecting company today, so haven’t cleaned in a while.

First though a quick introduction of the method and where I got it from:

I am currently attempting to be a stand-up comedian and taking classes at ImprovBoston to help facilitate the dream. It is amazingly difficult to be an effective stand-up comedian, not just from the performance standpoint, but joke writing in itself is a daunting task as well. My instructor, the incredibly funny Dana Jay Bein (he would want the plug, trust me) has a different approach to the art of performing and writing for stand-up that many comedians don’t necessarily subscribe to. The biggest takeaway from his teaching from a comedy writing standpoint is that inspiration can be found anywhere, but if you don’t take the time to search for it, you will never be truly successful. In other words, set some time aside to write, even if it is just random thoughts or trying to make one-liners from news headlines and seeing what comes from there. That is the process I will show you below.

THE HEADLINE (duhn, duhn, duhn):

“Millionaire Segway tycoon dies in cliff plunge on one of his own scooters”

Now to be 100% fair, there is so much there that is funny. I mean the Segway itself is ripe for comedy and has been used in many comedians’ bits. But the fact that the owner of Segway died while riding a Segway opens up so many humorous thoughts (at least in my head). Also note that he died in a “cliff plunge” while riding a Segway. We all know what a Segway is, my first thought was who paved a road that ended in a cliff, Shel Silverstein?

(Brief Segway) Interestingly, my initial joke that I had thought up was that it was kind of like a Dr. Frankenstein situation, the creation rising to kill the creator. But I did read the article a little further and found out that it wasn’t the creator of Segway but the man who had bought it, so my joke had to change

Than my second thought was that if this was the man who had bought Segway, then he really loved the scooters. So he died doing what he loved, riding a Segway. This isn’t really necessarily funny, but my thoughts took me another way.

THE INITIAL JOKE (ha, ha, ha):

The owner of Segway died when he drove a Segway off of a cliff on his estate. This struck me as such an appropriately poetic way to die. He died doing exactly what he loved to do, impacting the bottom of a steep cliff face at a high rate of speed. It’s somewhat magical in that respect.

I thought this was a very funny way to restate the headline. One of the main problems with the joke is the same reason that bad comedians scramble for material every time a new president is elected (especially when W’s two terms were up), the timeliness of the material. When crafting a joke, I feel that you shouldn’t lock yourself into a particular time period or cultural reference; you want to try to open the joke up so that someone who wasn’t around can still find it funny. Also some people may not get the reference you are trying to make. Truly successful comedians appeal to all audiences and don’t necessarily carve out a specific niche. That being said, it is okay to allow yourself to make cultural references, as long as that is not the key punchline in the joke (you will see what I mean later).

So from this headline I realized that the interesting and funny thought is “dying doing what you love.” And is that ever true? After some research to see if any comedian publicly had a bit based on that thought (another pain in the ass thing every comedian has to do). I began crafting my thoughts towards that end.

THE BIT (Now this is publicly mine, Bitches):

This may contain some slightly offensive material, and also gives some insight into my pathetic life. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. And please don’t judge me*:

You hear a lot about these people who died “doing what they loved.” Does this ever happen, do you think that a skydiver whose parachute doesn’t open actually died doing what he loved. No, he failed at doing what he loved. Let’s just get it straight here. I’m all for sentiment, but a racecar driver who dies in a high-speed race did not love crashing into a wall at a high rate of speed and having his body so mangled that it had to be a closed casket funeral. You never hear anyone say “At least he died doing what he hated.” Like, “Well Uncle Jimmy hated getting hit by a bus while walking to work, at least he died doing what he hated.”

Also, I don’t ever want to die doing what I love, it would just be the most pathetic death scene to walk into. It would be me, sitting on the couch, one hand on my crotch, the other clutching a video game controller, a half-eaten Table Talk chocolate pudding pie on the table, next to a copy of the Watchmen comic spread open to the part where Sally Jupiter and Night-Owl have sex. I would just want to die doing something I hate at that point, like getting hit by a bus or walking…

As you can see, the inspiration behind that bit came from the initial headline in a very roundabout way. Maybe it is just the way that my mind works, but I feel that as a writer (not just comedy), what inspires you doesn’t necessarily come from where you think it would and the end result doesn’t have to refer to the initial inspiration at all.

I built a larger premise out from the initial joke as well, the fact of “Dying doing what you hate.” This I feel is the real meat of the joke, and the truly original portion. Taking something common and expounding on it is a great way for your comedy to stay relevant.

I do have a few cultural references in the bit, but they are not necessarily the crux of the joke, they are really flavor text to build a bigger picture of how pathetically geeky I am.

I hope you enjoyed this brief look into the head of a struggling, awful, hack (oh my god, I can’t believe I wrote this) comedian, and that it will help your writing, even in a slight way. Also, if anyone steals my bit, I will cut you….with a knife. Just kidding…with a straight razor, because I keep it old school.

Anyone in the Boston area who wants to come and laugh at, with, or because of me, I will be performing at the ImprovBoston’s annual Pre-Thanksgiving showcase on November 23rd. Show starts at 8 PM.

Thanks for your time, and if you want more, let Alicia know.

To all the writers (and potential funny people) in the Lurkdom, how do you draw inspiration?

* Alicia here: please don't judge me either.
Last.fm hit of the day: Crash Crash by Snog

Friday, November 12, 2010

Best. Advice. Ever.

Everyone in The Lurkdom has received some form of advice over the years: boring, needless, obvious, or otherwise just stupid. Yours truly isn't the exception. I've heard advice that I could have gone without knowing*.

My favorite piece however, I received from an acquaintance in high school.

Think about it.

What's the best piece of advice you've gotten?

* Like which performance enhancer is best to use. Thank you, but no.
Last.fm hit of the day: Friday I'm in Love by The Cure

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"The Dead Have Spread!" or The Walking Dead Mania

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

By now, hopefully it is no surprise that the premier of AMC's new show, The Walking Dead, was NOT a flop. In fact, the first episode which aired on Halloween 2010 received the highest ratings for any show ever on AMC. Not only that, but the execs at AMC are stating that the series has the highest ratings EVER in the coveted 18-49 year old viewer demographic, meaning that more people in that age category tuned in to watch The Walking Dead than ANY SHOW EVER IN THE HISTORY OF TELEVISION. Those are some pretty big statistics! It should also be no surprise that the series has already been renewed for a second season... even though a smart viewer would have already guessed that based on the Halloween premier-- AMC was holding a contest to win a walk on zombie role for a series that had already filmed all of its episodes... hmmmm...

Now, I don't want to get distracted with mania and fads and numbers and ratings. I tend to be wary of anything that is ZOMG! AMAZING! But what I will say is that I did of course watch the premier, and yes-- it was VERY good. While I did find the first ninety minute episode to move a bit slowly in spots, overall it was pretty awesome. The acting is superb, the makeup and special effects are out of control, and the best part is there is a ton of room for growth and character development. I always feel a show should leave you not only wanting to watch more, but craving that next episode! I won't sit here and summarize the first two episodes, you just need to do yourself a favor and watch the show! For subscribers to (evil) Comcast, you can rejoice and know that The Walking Dead episodes are free On Demand (available the day after the show airs), plus it has some cool behind the scenes bonus features you can watch! Don't have Comcast? No worries-- the episodes are also available on Hulu and on the AMC website.

So, walk, don't run (these aren't fast zombies... they shamble) and check out the show that has people everywhere going crazy! Become one of the horde! You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bring on the Bad Boys

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

Today's question: What are your favorite literary cliches?

The 9-5 job is (again) kicking my ass, so I only had time to think up one-- The Bad Boy.

I've been intrigued with the bad boy since the world got introduced to Dylan Mckay back when pegging your jeans was still in style*. They're mysterious, potentially dangerous, and everyone judges them based off of a few key facts or rumors. What people don't know is that even they externally scream "BAMF!" they have a heart of gold.

In order to be a Bad Boy, the character should have one or more of the following characteristics:
  • Rides a motorcycle
  • Has a dysfunctional family where at least one parent has a drinking problem
  • Smokes
  • Smolders. A lot.
  • Has anger issues
  • Detention or suspension is a constant
  • Has a substance abuse problem
  • Runs with a "bad crowd"
  • His reputation precedes him

Of course, while some boys have these traits and no redeeming qualities,** most have something to make us root for them and hope the girl and him do hook up. A few examples of this:
Who are some of your favorite literary bad boys?

Don't forget to stop by YA Highway to see what the other participants picked as their favorite cliche!

* I'm sure there were earlier ones, but this is the first one that stuck with me.
** Therefore, really being a BAMF.
*** Though Brenda was equally bad-girlish in her own right.
Last.fm hit of the day: Everything Ends by Slipknot

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What NaNoWriMo Is and Isn't

Everyone by now knows about NaNoWriMo, and, while having a working knowledge of what it is, you still might not know what it is. Miranda, for example, doesn't know*.

NaNoWriMo Is...
...a great way to get yourself into the habit of writing daily. Even if you only manage 10 minutes each day, the important thing is the habit.
...helpful in completing that shitty first draft. It's a right of passage. Trust me, I'm a non-professional.
...useful in figuring out your backstory. A lot of times you need to know where you came from before you know where you're going. What better way to make that word count than writing backstory?
...a tool that can shut off your internal editor. Only if you choose. I know plenty of people who keep their editor on at all times. If I did, I'd be somewhere around 1,000 words.
makes you accountable and also motivates! In order to win, you need to complete at least 50 thousand words. You have to verify them. If you have other friends on your NaNoWriMo account, you can see how many words they've written versus you. Who doesn't like competition**?

NaNoWriMo Isn't...
...an excuse to get out of Thanksgiving dinner. No matter how tempting that is.
...designed for you to finish your novel on November 30th, only to query on December 1st. Novels take time. All your premature querying does is A) make you look like an asshole, B) piss off the people you want to represent you, and C) make the rest of us want to track you down and put the hurt on you***.
for you to torture your critique group with your hot-off-the-presses-yet-still-written-entirely-in-passive-hey-it's-a-choice-voice.
...built for you to eat chocolate for every single meal. Even though there is that Reese's cereal to consider, remember, vegetables are your friend. As is Coke.
...an excuse to not socialize. With regional chapters of NaNoWriMo internationally, you can hook up with other WriMos and get your word count on together.

Are you (un)officially participating in NaNoWriMo? What else is NaNoWriMo good for?

* But I bet she could write a completely original zombie book, so I'll forgive her.
** Me, actually.
*** Personally, I would never beat you, but I can give you a good verbal thrashing.

Last.fm hit of the day: Back in Black by 69 Eyes

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Eater's Guide to NaNoWriMo

After an extremely shaky start, I'm *just* ahead of my writing schedule at fourteen thousand and something words. This one is more difficult to create as opposed to it's precursor, but I'm not focusing on that today.

Today is all about WriMo fuel.

In order to push through your first draft*, your brain to needs to be firing on all cylinders. If it's not, bad things happen: you write "SOMETHING IMPORTANT HAPPENS HERE," you decide watching a marathon of Cake Boss is a high priority, or you have narcoleptic naps**. These things shouldn't happen daily. Once and a while, yes, but if you find these more appealing than focusing on the task at hand, maybe you need something to jolt you into progress.

Without further to do, I present...

The Eater's Guide to NaNoWriMo

Caffeine. It IS your best friend for November. It keeps your going much later than you would on just water or herbal tea alone. Energy drinks fall into this category too. Chug one of those and you're golden for hours. Just be mindful of the crash.

Water. With all the caffeine you ingest, make sure you drink the same amount in water or other non-caffeinated beverages. It keeps you hydrated and helps wash the toxins out of your system. I find it also helps with the energy drink or espresso crash.

Sugar. You can get this from the energy drink or the fancy-pants espresso drink, but sometimes nothing's better than candy to put you in the move. The sugar rush is an important part of a WriMo's diet.

Healthy Stuff. It's important to be balanced and get some greens into you. Fruits and vegetables are convenient because you can take them to your local write-in without much of a mess. (Not to mention a diet comprised entirely of caffeine, water, and sugar isn't healthy.)

Exercise! Something I think we might all overlook when totally sucked into butt-in-chair, is that exercise is crucial. You can go for a walk, gym, run, and still work on your project. Is there a tricky plot point coming up and you can't seem to figure out how to transition to it? You can spent your time working it out while you're working on your writer's butt.

Do you have any tips on how to survive NaNoWriMo?

* Or in this case, your NaNoWriMo project.
** Only one of these items has happened to me. So far.
Last.fm hit of the day: Predictions by Diary of Dreams

Friday, November 5, 2010

Some of the Best Bathroom Graffiti Around

Welcome to the weekend, Lurkdom. I'm busy--too busy to even blog properly.

Guess what that means?

Four For Friday: Bathroom Stall Edition*

Wednesday found me staring at some of the most entertaining bathroom graffiti I had seen in a while. This being the case, and because I love you all, I took pictures of my stall.

Very dramatic, indeed.

In green it reads "Voldemort has returned." The red PS reads "Pretty sure I'm an alcoholic."
What was the best bathroom graffiti or art you've seen (or done)?

* Not as awful as it sounds.
Last.fm hit of the day: Bother by Stone Sour

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Zombie Thursday Double-shot: For the Half-Pints

As I said on Monday, one of the besties is having her second child this month. The baby came into the world last night.

That's great. What does this have to do with zombies?
I knew you were going to ask that. See, I was window-shopping for baby clothes*...

And found these!

All can be purchased at My Baby Rocks.

Miranda will be back later on if she can resurrect herself from her deathbed. I'll be back tomorrow.

What's the awesomest baby outfit you've seen? Give links.

* No, Family. This doesn't mean I'm pregnant. It's for the bestie.
Last.fm hit of the day: I'm Shipping Up to Boston by Dropkick Murphys

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

If I Were King of the Forest...

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

Today's question: If you were made supreme ruler of the publishing world, what would be your first ruling?

I already have plans for when I'm overlord and this would include the publishing world by default. That said, I can totally get on board with rules for each, but there isn't any need.

Rule One: You don't talk about Fight Club.

Sorry! I was referencing the wrong rule book.

*a hem*

Rule One: All chocolate is calorie free.

Oh, what? That's not a legitimate publishing rule? *points finger* I'm the overlord, not you. My word is law. Oh. It isn't? I'm just figurehead there? Doh. Hmmm... Let's try this again.

Rule One: All agencies accepting queries will send some kind of response.

Because, let's face it. It's better to hear a "no" than nothing.

That's today's RTW, but stick around for a second because I have something pressing on my mind. It's about today's blog title.

In case you didn't know, this is the title of the song the Cowardly Lion sings in The Wizard of Oz. It always bothered me because when I think "Lion," I think Africa. When I think Africa, I think The Lion King*. Neither of those images evoke "Forest."

So in the act of procrastination, I looked it up. Lions live in prairies. Asiatic lions live in the forest. Both resemble the Cowardly Lion too. Check it out.


* And has been my thought process since 1994.
Last.fm hit of the day: Build the Robots by Dr. Steel.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Not a Legitimate Post

If you're reading this, that means two things:
  1. Your internet is working.
  2. I've managed to blog.

Sadly, it's not a real post. Something called the day job has handed my ass to me on a stack of emails platter. Instead, enjoy a picture of these happy little scarecrows.

Current NaNoWriMo word count: 4,017 words*. What is yours?

* Yeah, my day off didn't yield shit.
Last.fm hit of the day: Rose by A Perfect Circle

Monday, November 1, 2010

Let the Insanity Begin!

We've changed calendar pages, which only means it's now November and it's NaNoWriMo time!

What does this mean for you?
Today I'm taking a blog holiday to make sure that I get as much writing in as possible*. November marks the start of the busy season for me (which doesn't end until March) and this year isn't any exception. Hubby and I actually have Thanksgiving plans, a friend from NJ is coming up for a weekend, and one of the besties is having her second child. So yeah, the need to crank the words out is pretty hardcore right now.

What does this mean for the blog schedule? 

Nothing. I've now hit a year of solid blogging, which surprises the hell out of me.

Is there anything specific I should expect from you?
A lot of caffeinated rambling and a lot of quick posts since the 9-5 job is consistently kicking my ass these days. I have some ideas for blog entries and hope to actually manage writing them. If I was smart, I would have spent the entire weekend scheduling blogs, but I'm still plotting my novel.

Is Bejeweled getting in the way?
Of course.

If you're participating in NaNoWriMo, add me as a friend.

* This I smartly wrote Sunday evening.
Last.fm hit of the day: The Voice of Failure by Novembers Doom
Related Posts with Thumbnails