Friday, April 30, 2010
Besides, the weather in Boston is gorgeous, which means I should be outside anyway.
The White One however isn't allowed outside. He'll chill out someplace non-cat approved. (See below.)
Last.fm hit of the day: On Your Marks, Get Set, Rock by Crazy Lixx
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
This is what happened with the air traffic over Europe after that volcanic eruption in Iceland. (Speaking of which, if you want to see some kick-ass photos from there, check out The Boston Globe's Big Picture.)
Airspace Rebooted from ItoWorld on Vimeo.
I got to say, it's pretty neat. And the air traffic makes a pretty pattern.
Last.fm hit of the day: Space Lord by Monster Magnet
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The stories in Shakespeare are great, but the language is a terrible barrier to that world. In college, the director always 'updated' whatever Shakespeare play we were doing to make it more 'timely,' but stuck with iambic pentameter and archaic terminology.
Sometimes, I just want it told plainly.
Whenever someone dumbs down Shakespeare, I get excited. I like to understand what I'm reading and not work to translate it into Alicia-speak. Shouldn't the time come when the Bard's writings get updated for a new generation?
It's been done with Hamlet.
Hamlet as Told on the Street by Shel Silverstein.
Hamlet (Facebook News Feed Edition) by Sarah Schmelling
I'm not talking about movies or books that take the plot and twist it into something else. I mean taking the whole story - complete with existing characters and settings and just updating the language. (And maybe beef up some subplots.) If this was done, wouldn't more people be into reading these stories?
Monday, April 26, 2010
A few months ago, Cathy in marketing showed me the most disturbing Etsy find ever. The release of Regretsy reminded me of it's existence.
Yes, this is a unicorn. Yes, you can find it on Etsy. Yes, this bothers me.
While taxidermy is useful from a scientific perspective, I wouldn't want to own any. If I really want to see some, all I need to do is go to the Harvard Museum of Natural History where they have a full display from fishes to cloven footed animals.
Maybe I should write a letter.
While I appreciate the work it took to make this unicorn and how in some sense of the word, it's art, I'm more than a little skeeved by the concept. I see you also have a traditional white unicorn, both from dead-from-natural-causes lambs. I think that may be what's bothering me. Kudos for working with what you got, but I don't need the guarantee that you didn't slaughter sheep for your art. I believe the technical term for that is TMI.
Disturbed Etsy Lurker
Last.fm hit of the day: The Package by A Perfect Circle
Friday, April 23, 2010
Too busy catching up on editing today, so enjoy the triple judging eye of The White One behind the door. Photo made with Aviary software.
Last.fm hit of the day: Storm in a Teacup by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Hello, zombie fans! Miranda here-- This week I am taking a much needed break and vacation in the sun of Florida (insert joke about "Goths in the Sun" here...), but is that stopping me from bringing you some undead goodies on this Zombie Thursday? Absolutely not!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Which got me thinking about scene blockage. How it manifests. Why it comes about. How can it be defeated.
When I say 'begins,' I really mean stall tactics. Facebook. Twitter. Bejeweled. Your tenth shower of the day. The things you do in your downtime. When you turn towards your WIP and are about to touch pen to paper (or finger to key), but suddenly you remember you have to walk the dog? All signs of something bigger happening. It can take a while to notice it, but you're avoiding that scene.
Psychological, definitely. Livia might have an actual explanation while all I can do is talk from experience. The scene could be deal with issues that you're sensitive about or you might be writing from the POV of a character you really don't like. Hell, you might be working on something that your protagonist doesn't want to think about. Ever.
The first thing is to acknowledge you're suffering from scene blockage. Then, you have to sit your ass down until you get the scene written. It's the only way. You can put in huge type 'FILL IN LATER,' but you'll be staring 'FILL IN LATER' in the face draft after draft after draft. Once you've completed the scene in it's shittiest form, treat yourself to something that you really want.
I'm treating myself to read Steve Almond's new book - Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life - but only after I conquer this scene.
How do you beat your scene blockage?
Last.fm hit of the day: Unhallowed Metropolis by Vernian Process
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Instead, I'm offering up an interview I just watched through ArtistDirect. You'll have to click through to watch it and I have to tell you that the language is definitely NSFW unless you have headphones. But, click here and scroll down to the interview. Then come back.
I'll wait. I swear.
It's not music you would listen to, I know. But sometimes you need something loud and angry to get your frustrations out. If you sometimes feel that need, you should probably pick this out when it comes out. (Which is August, according to rumor.)
- Murderdolls has Wednesday 13, aka fangirl crush number 1.
- The original CD didn't leave my CD player for six months.
- The original songs were written by Wednesday 13 & Joey Jordison when they were 18, so like 14 years later, the songs will be 14 times as good.
- There will be a tour.
- My internal 16 year old loves angry music.
Last.fm hit of the day: Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice (Yeah, I'm shocked too.)
Monday, April 19, 2010
This creepy guy stared me in the face upon exiting the local Stop and Shop yesterday morning. I find this planter frightening for one reason.
It's a squirrel.
It looks unsuspecting, but I know better. Those glassy eyes most likely include hidden cameras. Squirrels will take over the world. Mark my words.
Last.fm hit of the day: The Impartial Orchestral Mix by The Clockwork Dolls
Friday, April 16, 2010
It's getting closer to June - my goal date. I'm starting to think I won't succeed.
Goal 1: Complete the most recent FALLING TO NORMAL revision before conference time.
Status: Conference time for me is May 1st. I'm long-handing my draft because the siren song of Bejeweled Blitz still calls. I'm somewhere in the middle and moving things around the way The White One bats at a penny. A lot of energy drinks will need consumption to get everything in gear.
Only I'm starting to lose steam and need to do something fun. Date night tonight and friend visiting this weekend should help with this problem. (I hope.)
Goal 2: Keep up with the blogging.
Status: I am. Some days are harder than others and I Jim over Dystel & Goderich blogged about having blogger's block. He didn't have any ways to combat it - just asked for questions in the comments, which is great for him being a literary agent and all. I don't have that.
So, again, I ask you for suggestions on upcoming entries. What should I cover?
Goal 3: To drop at least 1 pants size.
Status: Well, it was Easter. And PMS. If I went to the gym, I'd be better at this. Hubby's already dropped a pants size. Grr.
Goal 4: Clean the little box on a more frequent basis.
Status: Litter box needs to be cleaned.
How are your goals going?
Last.fm hit of the day: Dellamort Dellamo by Horror Story
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here.
It seems like web series and ‘webisodes’ are all the rage these days. I’m guessing they are cheaper, quicker, and easier to produce than a full length television series, and they don’t require a huge studio backer or even a channel to air them. Anyone with the drive and talent can create these series and put them up on the internet to be viewed by millions. Even major television shows are jumping on the band wagon by producing the short ‘webisodes’ to post online during the week before a new episode airs on the station.
It’s no surprise to me that zombies are also infecting the internet airwaves with their own web series!
This week, I’m going to feature one such show called Semi-Dead, a web based horror/comedy series created by Chris Wiltz (who also independently financed the project). I first heard of this show randomly. Because of my Twitter account, I’m constantly followed by spam bots that pick out one word of something I have ‘tweeted’ and latch on to me like parasites. More often than not, I block these accounts. Due to my consistent tweeting about zombies and Zombie Thursdays, I was followed once by an account called Semi-Dead. I checked them out and learned about the show. Rather than block them, I thought, “okay, I’ll bite!” and decided to check out their creation.
What I found was a pretty funny little series that takes place in a city that is ravaged by zombies. The story focuses on two roommates, Chris and Joe, played by Keith Arthur Bolden and Andrew McMennamy. Joe is everything you’d expect someone to be like during a zombie outbreak. He fashions weapons out of everything, including a fairly useless mop and at one point a pizza slicer, ties zombies up in the closet in an effort to cook them later, and goes out on hunting trips during the day. Chris is the exact opposite. Chris continues to go about his daily business running errands, going to work, and trying to find dates on the internet. He seems completely unaware of what is happening around him and refuses to acknowledge anything is out of the ordinary; he’s more concerned with getting a signal on his Blackberry than with the zombie that is trying to eat him.
In one really humorous scene, Chris is complaining to Joe that they need to find a new roommate since their friend Brian “left.” Joe has to remind Chris about what actually happened to Brian-- when a zombie rings the bell and moans, “bbrraaaiinnns,” Chris confuses this with one of *Brian’s* friends. Brian opens the door and... well, let’s just say it doesn’t end well for him.
This sort of joke and flash back scene is what drives the humor of Semi-Dead. To me, the funniest moments are when the characters are arguing and they do a cutaway shot to illustrate a point-- for example the brraaiinnns/Brian bit or as in a scene where Chris insists he has a job, cutaway to him sitting alone in an office (with bodies and blood everywhere) asking a nonexistent coworker if he is going to pick up his phone. A sign to me that something is really funny is if I literally laugh out loud at it, and, with this show, I did find myself actually chuckling and laughing.
There is some really good acting going on in this show (the two main actors have some impressive credits and educational backgrounds), and the actors have great timing in the line delivery and the looks the characters give one another. The story is well written and I love the dichotomy between Chris and Joe-- total denial versus super vigilance. Although the show is a comedy, it does leave me to think some serious thoughts about if someone could actually survive with a post-traumatic stress syndrome denial of the reanimated dead. It’s doubtful, but the character of Chris makes it somewhat believable!
My only real critique of the show is that the first couple of episodes move a bit slowly. The average length of any given episode is around eight to nine minutes long. This doesn’t sound like very much, but given that most webisodes I watch tend to be closer to four or five minutes, I felt that sometimes the show tended to drag a bit. There seemed to be a lot of “filler” action when I was hoping for more jokes or gags. But nothing too long to consider the show boring by any stretch of the imagination! Around episode 3 or 4, the action picks up significantly. I just hope in season 2, they cut back the episode time by a minute or two.
The first season of the show is complete and consists of six episodes. I really recommend checking out the series and watching an episode here or there while you have some time at work to kill or while you’re waiting for that zombie meat to cook on the stove. If anything, please check out the first two minutes of the first and second episodes as the full theme song is really well written and performed by a group called Detroit CYDI! A great song that even got a few chuckles from me.
As usual, I need to give my parental advisory warning-- obviously zombies lend themselves to being more for adults, but Semi-Dead does use some adult language, obligatory zombie killing violence, and some highly sexual jokes and innuendoes.
Even though it isn’t really a good indicator of what the series is like, here is the Season 1 trailer for the show... I will leave it to you to head over to www.semi-dead.com to watch the rest of the series!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
We are currently planning an in-school field trip in our sixth grade science classes, and your child is invited to participate.
Please read carefully the information about this field trip, below. If you would like your child to participate, please sign the Parent Permission Form (attached) and return it by the date indicated. Students who do not return a signed Permission Form by the deadline date will be denied participation in this trip.
Again this year, all costs for field trips must be borne by the students participating. All payments for field trips must be in the form of checks made out to the middle school. Please be advised that the school will impose a $15 fee for any check that is returned, to cover our own bank charges. Please also be advised that if the Superintendent of Schools deems it necessary to cancel a field trip at the last moment due to unforeseen circumstances, a full or even partial refund may not be possible to be granted, and the school or district cannot be liable for any money expended.
Please be sure to submit the required amounts by the deadlines given below, to ensure your child’s participation in this field trip. If you wish your child to participate but cannot submit the required amount by the due date, for whatever reason, please let the teacher or your child’s guidance counselor know so that we can arrange an alternate method of payment.
Date: Monday, May 10, 2010
Time: During Ms. Fisher’s science class
Payment and Permission Slip due to Teacher by Friday, April 16.
Thank you for your support of our efforts to enhance your child’s education with experiences beyond the classroom.
Science/Health Lead Teacher
What a load of BS. How lame is it that we have to pay for an INTERNAL field trip? I can understand paying for a lot of things, but this has gotten out of hand: activity fees, sports fees, materials fees. Enough!
This better be highly educational Beth and Ann. I got my eye on you.
Last.fm hit of the day: To the Gods That Walk Among Us by The Ghost of Lemora
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
But this isn't an entry about goals. I've already done one of those. This is another one of those I've-entered-a-contest-and-really-want-to-win entries.
There's a website called Dear Editor. Writers can send in questions about craft or the publishing industry that will get answered. How awesome.
Dear Editor's only been around for a month. To celebrate, the editor is giving away a free manuscript edit to anyone who writes middle grade or young adult.
This is a huge deal. An in-dept line edit generally starts at 1 - 2 cents a word, which can cost over $1000 for an edit. But this also includes information on plot and characters and other things that make a book what it is. That I think becomes an hourly service. I know some places charge $65 and hour for that.
To enter, all you have to do is send an email. Then there are a few other ways to get extra chances. Because I'm a contest whore, I've done them all.
So cross your toes, fingers, and anything else because I'd really like to win this prize.
Last.fm hit of the day: Oddity by Coal Chamber
Monday, April 12, 2010
- Cheese is dairy. Dairy is good for you.
- Grilled cheese is one of the 3 things the Friendly's in my hometown can make accurately.
- Picky children around the world can eat their fill.
My favorite type of grilled cheese contains cheddar and a spicy cheese with tomatoes. Any type of bread will do. What is yours?
Last.fm hit of the day: Sex Beat by Fear Cult
Friday, April 9, 2010
Subject: upcoming quiz and event
We will be having a quiz on April 13th. Children are receiving a review sheet in class today. It is also highly suggested that they reread the Biosphere 2 reading in preparation.
On May 10th, we will have visitors from the Dolan Harbor DNA Labs. There is an $8.00 fee for this in school field trip. Permission slips are going home today. Warm regards, B Fisher
Oh, Beth. Why would you want the kids to reread a 272 page book in a weekend? They have other things to do like not read nonfiction.
Don't get me wrong. I support reading as much as the next fictional mother and aspiring writer, but the book looks boring. I doubt I'd be able to get through one reading, let alone a reread. Has anyone read Biosphere 2? Does it actually pertain to what Tasma's learning?
Come to think of it, I don't think Tasma read it the first time. That little girl is in trouble.
Last.fm hit of the day: Penetrate by Godhead
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here.
Despite having satellite television with several hundred channels, I often find myself watching the same shows over and over. It’s hard to break out of my routine of watching the same shows every day, week, and month. The last new television show I started watching was this past Fall’s premier of NBC’s Community, and I only started watching that because I am a huge fan of Joel McHale (the star) from his other show The Soup on E! Channel, a show which I have been watching for years.
But recently, a friend of mine recommended a new show that debuted on Comedy Central a few weeks ago-- Ugly Americans. The name doesn’t sound like much and, to be honest, unless she had specifically told me that it was a show made just for me (“Miranda, it has zombies!”), I probably would never have bothered watching it.
I was finally able to record and watch an episode, and it seems like it is a pretty cool show!
In fact, one of the main characters, Randall, is a zombie. Randall is the undead roommate to the main human character, Mark. (Mark is a social worker who helps integrate all the different creatures into lives as citizens.) The episode that I watched this week involved Randall and Mark taking a trip to New Jersey to visit Randall’s parents... parents who don’t know that he is a zombie. (Randall “went Zombie” to impress a girl. As he stated, “it is never a good idea to make life decisions with a hard on and a fifth of tequila.”)
In the world of this show, the people of Jersey are extremely prejudiced against zombies. While stopping at a local diner, signs on the wall state there are “No Brain Substitutions” in the meals, while outside “townie zombies” are ambling around moaning “brrraaiiinnns.” This type of behavior is ridiculous to a city guy, er zombie, like Randall. Locals enjoy such games as “Shoot the Zombie,” “Rip the Arm of the Zombie,” and “Zape,” which Randall claims you don’t want to know about.
As Randall and Mark arrive at his the parents’ home for a barbeque, Mark meets the family including Randall’s father who fought in the “Zombie War of ‘68,” this reality’s version of Vietnam. His father’s prized possession is a severed zombie finger he has mounted on the wall as a “kill” from the war. Mark soon learns the ‘rents don’t know their son is a Zombie! Hilarity ensues, but you’ll have to check the show out to see how it ends, as well as the side plots involving Mark’s Demon coworker/office fling, his dorky Wizard employee, and a dead mobster turned Blob!
Even though I’ve only caught just the one episode, this show seems like it will be pretty good. The subject matter is already an instant draw for me, and many horror fans will find it equally as entertaining since all the characters you know and love from classic films and genres are here! Oh, and by the way... did I mention it’s animated? The world definitely needs more good cartoons for adults! The writing seemed pretty good, and there were some nice jokes thrown into the mix and I often found myself really laughing out loud. However, I will caution that some of the jokes are a bit on the politically incorrect side, so if you are easily offended or touchy about certain things, just know that going in before you watch it. Although, there was nothing too out there or inappropriate, but a few rape jokes (or allusions to rape) and some ‘potty humor.’
I will definitely be setting my DVR to record this! According to the Wiki site, it was originally slated for 7 episodes, but hopefully it will get more or a second season. And I’m excited to see a show like this on the air. The horror genre is often treated like the “redheaded step child” in popular culture, films, and television. But more and more it is entering the mainstream in a way that many people can enjoy, even those who previously may not have been into monsters and zombies. And speaking of zombies, going all the way back to my first Zombie Thursday Blog... this is just more evidence that zombies are becoming an everyday thing in life. People are loving the z-culture! I’m still trying to figure out the reason, and when I do, I’m sure I’ll blog about it.
For the moment though, I will take this show as a victory for the zombie loving team!
Ugly Americans airs on Wednesday nights at 10:30 eastern/ 9:30 central immediately after South Park. So, go check it out! And since you have a week to wait before next week’s episode, check out this short clip--
|Ugly Americans||Weds 10:30pm / 9:30c|
Last.fm hit of the day: Absolute Religion by Colony 5
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
I love Newbury Comics. One of the best things about them besides the obscure books and used CDs is the random merchandise they sell. Like, lawn ornaments.
|"You're doing it wrong, Bob."|
These guys have nothing on the Gnome Be Gone, but the display cracked me up. With gnomes 1 and 2 doing something entirely different than gnome 3. Also the first two look like they're on the lookout or something.
No matter how funny these little guys are, I can't picture them on a lawn. If you happen to see one, take a picture and send it in.
Last.fm hit of the day: Sweethome Under White Clouds by Virgin Prunes
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I was surprised that it didn't end in a fight, but with The Stripey One getting more comfortable. (Grooming = cat fight.)
Last.fm hit of the day: Outta Control by Alien Sex Fiend
Monday, April 5, 2010
|My "too read" section.|
And much to Freud's delight, my love for books can be traced back to me being a child and my mother (and in part, my father). My apartment is flowing with books. There are boxes still in my parents' basement that are filled with methodology books, Nancy Drew, and a lot of Egyptology.
The collection at home is mostly fiction-based with a heavy focus on paranormal/ fantasy and young adult. The number of (auto)biographies are growing due to my interest in the tolls that the music industry takes on the average bear.
|Craft books that need a home.|
The words "library book sale" make my heart sing and my purse cringe.
I'm not a pack rat; I have a book habit.
|Hubby's graphic novel & movie wall.|
Believe it or not, everything has it's place. Hubby keeps his graphic novels in alphabetical order. I want to be that anal, but there's way too many options to organize. So they're in "Alicia order" and I know where most of my books are.
|Our hardcover bookcase.|
So the question remains, Why so many books?
People keep books for many reasons. They fashion themselves a book collector. Bobby Fisher gave them the book in fifth grade. They were transported to a new world. They're saving it for fuel once the zombie apocalypse comes.
Barring the books for fire scenario, the words meant something and somewhere down the road, that book will be read again. Is this true for every one and every book? Of course not, but it's more the case than not.
|Part of the fantasy book collection.|
Do you have too many books and not enough space? Share your tale of woe (and secret solutions!) in the box below!
Last.fm hit of the day: My Plague by Slipknot
Friday, April 2, 2010
|Hey guys... Over here!|
I can't get enough of Seal Bomb. The little guy looks so happy chilling (literally!) with the extras from March of the Penguins, it makes me smile and eventually crack up with laughter. Even the non-cropped version makes me laugh.
It's unsuspecting. We've all seen pictures of Emperor Penguins and they all look the same. And since the focus is supposed to be on them, you miss the surprise on first glance.
The penguins aren't in danger. Not all seals eat penguins. And from the picture, this guy looks like a Weddell Seal. According to the Smithsonian, they eat fish and krill.
I can picture The White One doing this. He's been accused of looking like a seal when he stretches out since he is so fat. And we know he likes to mug for the camera.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here.
Well, I survived my first HorrorHound Weekend.... and it SUCKED.
Okay, April Fool’s! Actually it was awesome! I’ve barely had anytime to rest since returning, and I’m already off on my next adventure-- getting ready to perform Repo! the Genetic Opera in Chicago on April 9th at the Music Box Theatre (end shameless self-promotion). As such, I will try to keep today’s Zombie Thursday entry short and sweet because by the time you all are reading this, I’ll be on a train headed for Chicago to rehearse.
My HorrorHound adventures are quite lengthy, but what I will share today is what you all really want to know about-- meeting George Romero!
As I anticipated, my official meeting with him was very brief. But I had a few other awesome Romero moments throughout the weekend anyway. First off, let me just state that George Romero’s manager is awesome! He was a really cool guy and really relied on my friend Shae (who was also working on staff), and later started to get friendly with me. On the final day of the weekend, our paths crossed early in the morning and he greeted me with a big hug! Such a nice person, very friendly, and obviously a great manager.
One of the perks of working on the staff at a convention such as this is that you typically get one free autograph from the guests in attendance. George was no exception, but naturally the line to meet him was literally hours long. Working on staff, we didn’t have time in the day to stand that long in line. Solution-- private staff signing before other attendees could enter the hall! When it was my turn for an autograph, I greeted Mr. Romero and shook his hand. I told him what an honor it was to meet him and how much I appreciated all of his films. He signed my copy of Dawn of the Dead and even took a photo with me. As I sat down with him for my photo, I wished him a happy belated birthday and told him we shared the same day. And don’t worry, I also told him I wrote a weekly blog all about Zombies, to which he seemed impressed!
Meeting him and getting the autograph and photo was really cool, but very quick. The best moment with Romero came the night before in a completely unexpected way!
As Saturday evening drew to a close, Shae and I were waiting for some other staff members to move some things before we could go home. We had some time to kill and decided to sit down in a little lobby area and play a quick card game. Game of choice-- Zombie Fluxx! You may remember my entry on that game...
So, we’re playing and have about four New Rules out on the table, several Keepers each, but no Zombie (Creeper) cards. It was my turn and the first card I drew was a Zombie card! If you recall, once you draw a Zombie, you have to play it immediately. While I was setting down my card, Shae (who had a view of the hallway leading to where we were sitting) started to mutter under her breath, "Romero... George Romero..." I looked over, and sure enough, turning the corner was the Godfather of Zombies himself, George Romero!
As he and his previously described awesome manager walked by us on their way to the elevators, George looked down at us and what we were playing, smiled and pointed to the cards. We both smiled back and I said (as cutely as possible), "Zombie Fluxx!" Romero nodded and smiled at us as he moved on.
Most. Epic. Game. EVER.
And in fact, the game continued for quite awhile after that. We ended up having probably nine different rules in play, just as many zombies if not more littering the floor, two goals, and hardly any cards left in the draw pile before I finally won. It truly was the most epic game of Zombie Fluxx that will ever be played, and it was officially sanctioned by Romero himself. And the next day when we met him for our signings, Shae had him autograph the Fluxx box and even explained a bit how the game was played!
All in all it was a great weekend, and that was just a small part of it!
Happy April Fool’s! Happy Zombie Thursday! And as George writes-- Stay Scared!