Friday, May 28, 2010

Squirrels = Evil

You do not fool me
Squirrels bouncing like bunnies
Evil is inside


To continue my squirrel argument, I present a series on running squirrels. First, I want you to know that I really wanted to embed this video to prove my point, but MLB wouldn't let me. So have this cute video instead, but definitely watch the linked one.

Seriously. Do it.





I hope everyone has a great long weekend. Also, Ya Highway's having their final installment of giveaways. It's fun stuff like food and crafts, so go check it out.

________
Last.fm hit of the day: Electric Gypsy by LA Guns

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Diary of the Dead, or The Importance of Blogging



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

This past week I decided to open up a Netflix account. I've been talking about getting one for ages, but it took Netflix to have instant streaming on the Wii for me to finally make the plunge and sign up. And after blowing through the first two seasons of Dexter instantly on my gaming console (in just three days), I'm so glad that I am now paying nine dollars a month for the unlimited privilege of never having to leave my couch to watch a movie. Not only can I get instant streaming, but I can also get movies the old fashioned way by DVD through the mail, one at a time.

So what was the first movie I had delivered to my house? George Romero's Diary of the Dead. It may shock you to learn that I hadn't previously seen this amazing film! It was released to limited theatres back in February of 2008 and had pretty favorable reviews. And after seeing it, I have to say that it may be my favorite Romero film, concerning the Dead Series.


Diary of the Dead is a film within a film. It begins with narration stating that what the audience is about to see is the truth of what happened in the form of the film, "The Death of Death." The footage follows a group of students and their drunken professor who begin by making their own horror film (about a mummy) for a class project. During filming, they hear reports on the radio of the dead rising and violently attacking the living. Although they aren't sure what to think or believe, they all agree they should leave and try to get to their respective homes and families. The rest of the movie is their footage while on the road and trying to deal with the reality of what is happening around them.

I won't give away the rest of the plot or the story, although what specifically happens isn't all that important (and is fairly predictable for a zombie movie... lots of people die, can you believe it?). Romero is often hailed as being a pioneer in the area of social commentary in his films. And certainly that commentary has been incredibly apparent in the first four 'Dead' installments. But this was the first Romero zombie film in which I really appreciated the commentary because (in my opinion) it spoke more to my generation than any other zombie film yet. And I don't just mean "my generation" as in age or decade of birth-- I'm talking more along the lines of the cyber generation, the blogging generation, the iGeneration. For those of us who get our news from Twitter or Facebook, for those of us who hear about the deaths of famous people from 'Trending Topics' beginning with "RIP ____," this movie is for us.

The whole film is shot in more of a first person way. We're not watching what is happening to these students, we're there with them. When the outbreak first occurs, news reports flood the televisions, but much of the footage is doctored and changed to show the world what those with the money and power want them to see. What starts is an underground movement of bloggers and YouTubers who begin posting their own footage to show the world the truth of what is going on. And eventually, the outbreak shuts down the capabilities of the major news media, so the only information being distributed is by normal people who still have their cell phones and flip cameras. At one point, the students end up in a warehouse where they are able to upload some of their own footage. Within a few hours, they've had over 70,000 hits to their video. As someone who has had videos posted on YouTube for over a year, and just now they are getting only 1,000 hits... those kind of numbers are staggering. In the film, they estimate that within a day they will have over a million hits.

A zombie outbreak could happen tomorrow, or it could be years away. But what remains for us now is the fact that amateur online journalism grows everyday. Just by posting this, I am contributing to the pool of people who try to share their bits of truth with the world. Think of the Twitter reports that were being leaked from Iran after the government blocked all other sites, but failed to disable tweeting. Cell phone cameras are changing the way we see the news. Remember when that student was repeatedly hit by police tasers in a university library? If it weren't for a brave student who decided to record what was going on, the horrible truth never would have been seen. They would have tried to cover up the incident. There would have been interviews with 20 different students, all who would have had different takes on what happened. But the camera doesn't lie, and the whole world was able to be there in that library to witness what happened.

During the film, the main directing student often struggles with the fact that he can't leave his camera behind, and that if it doesn't happen on film, it's like it never happened at all.


So in a time of crisis and emergency, at the beginning of the end, where will you be? And what will you be doing? Struggling to survive, or struggling to show the truth? Stirs up some deep thoughts for only being just a small budget film about zombies....

Happy blogging!

And, just so you know, the fifth installment of the Dead Series, Survival of the Dead, is now in select theatres! I know it opens this week in Chicago at the Music Box Theatre, so check around your local independent theatres to see if it is playing near you. The newest film takes place about six weeks after the events of Diary of the Dead, so I can't wait to check it out!

We Interrupt this Zombie Thursday....

By calling all writerly people.

By writerly, I mean you guys that write with the goal of publishing. YA Highway's giving away different types of critiques. So, follow the directions and check it out.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled Zombie Thursday. Entry forthcoming.

___________
Last.fm hit of the day: Voodoo by Godsmack

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Like Books?

These titles not included in contest.
Of course you do. Now's your chance to win some.

Really, how?
Go to YA Highway and enter their one year anniversary contest - Read! They have a handy dandy form you fill out. You up your chances if you follow the blog, if you tweet about the contest, and if you pimp them out like yours truly.

I didn't click the link. What books can I win?
Some awesome young adult books by some great authors. Suzanne Collins, Maggie Stiefvater, John Green, etc, etc. Just click the linky and see for yourself.

________
Last.fm hit of the day: Tattered and Torn by Slipknot

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Too Much Shoe Love

Image courtesy of Zappos.com
I got new shoes this past weekend. They're not for summer, but they were a buck. How can anyone pass down shoes for a dollar, especially when they're Rocket Dogs?

No one.*

With my awesome shoe find still in recent memory, I'll confess that I love shoes and own way more than I wear. DSW and Off Broadway shoe fill that shoe-need in a way that the mall shoe stores can't touch.

This holds true to the mall next door where last week they opened up their seventh shoe store. This mall isn't big - it has about twenty stores and lists T Mobile as a flagship, so why so many? Mall moguls think we need two shoe stores dedicated to sneakers and two others for tacky, overpriced flats.

And that B Dalton where I encountered B Lite? Now a shoe store called FURY - home of the ten dollar shoe.

For those with a love shoes, come and confess. Talk about how a pair of hot pink crocodile booties turns your head. Share stories about how your Chucks flow like a waterfall when you open your closet. And is there such a thing as too much shoe shopping?




*The exception of course is if you have bad feet and can't wear their awesomeness.

_______
Last.fm hit of the day: The Last Fight by Bullet for My Valentine

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday Update


Welcome to the final non-Holiday Monday of my company's fiscal year where I spent the last three business days tapping my foot with impatience and my boss silently freaked out while waiting for a million dollars in purchase orders. This week looks like it will be just as insane, but I hope to have blog time with you.

Nothing original today. As you can see from Deadpool, my brain has failed me. That can only mean one thing. (Actually, it can mean a few things, but I do have one thing on my mind.) Goal update.

We're about four weeks away from the calendar start of summer and I'm nowhere near completing any of my goals. I've resigned myself to the fate that it won't happen by mid-June.

Goal 1: Complete the most recent FALLING TO NORMAL revision before conference time.
Status: I'm typing up all my longhand and still in the middle. Once that's typed, I need to go back and do a quick read through since all my plans got dropped and all I did was restructure already existing sentences instead of actually adding depth. (Bad Alicia.)

There is agent interest, keen agent interest. I want to keep that momentum without putting too much pressure to be absolutely perfect. I think some new charts might be in order.

Goal 2: Keep up with the blogging.
Status: I'm doing it.

Goal 3: To drop at least 1 pants size.
Status: Hubby and I finally made it to the gym last week. Three times. I gotta say I'm pumped right after I leave, but I still have a brain crash at 9 PM, which cuts into editing time drastically.

This goal is officially moved to the second half of the year.

Goal 4: Clean the little box on a more frequent basis.
Status: We bought a new litter box. A transparent one.


How are your goals coming along?

_________
Last.fm hit of the day: Reward by Rosetta Stone

Friday, May 21, 2010

Winding Down

Subject: end of year
Hello parents,

We are rapidly approaching the end of the year. It's hard to believe. The year has gone by so fast. Our next quiz will be on Tuesday, May 25th. It will cover investigation 8 "adaptations". The format this time will be all multiple choice using a scantron form. It will be brief. It's been quite a while since we've taken a test or quiz in this format. Part of the final will be on scantron, so this will be good preparation.

The science six final is scheduled for Wednesday, June 16th. The review packet has gone out for photocopying. I will post a copy on the eBoard shortly. The final will cover material from the entire year and will count as 25% of the fourth quarter grade.

I will be in touch shortly regarding the possibility of children taking the organisms from our aquariums/terrariums home, with parent permission, of course. Warm regards, B. Fisher

It's so hard to believe it's been almost a full school year of Beth and Phantasma. I'm not sure what will happen once Tasma leaves grade six. Maybe Beth will follow to grade seven. Maybe I'll have a contest for the next teacher, which definitely shouldn't be confused with the next Doctor.

Good thing I have some editing and gyming to do - that gives Tasma no not to study and crush Tessa Wolstein academically.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Contest Whore Strikes Again

Just a week ago was the last contest I wanted to win, but do I care? Nope. Because I'm greedy and I. Want. To. Win.

Where's the contest?
Kathleen Ortiz's Neverending Page Turner.

What's the prize?
Books. And a cracker jack surprise.

Do you really need more books?
Um, not really.


If you won, what would you do?
Say "yippee" for one. Then, I'd read the books.

You wouldn't give up Bejeweled?
...

Are Zombies Too Cool for Windows?



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

I'm going to start right off by saying, "I'm a Mac." I've been a Mac my entire life. I've been a Mac before they were even called Macs. I grew up completely on the Apple product line; in fact, our basement is full of old Apple IIs, among other outdated Apple computers, that my dad has been buying and tinkering with since before I was born.

But trust me, this blog isn't about which is better, Apple or PC.

I love Apple. And I'm not a fan of Microsoft or Windows. And yes, I have used many a PC. If you're a fellow Apple fan, than I'm guessing that the Microsoft commercials bother you a lot, as they do me. Especially the new Windows 7 commercials. Most Apple users watch these commercials and lamely stutter... but... but... my computer has already been doing that... for years...

Again, not the point of this blog.

Even though I'm not interested at all in the Windows 7 ads, I was surprised to see their newest commercial features, what else? ZOMBIES! So today, I'm putting aside my hatred for Microsoft and Windows and will feature their newest ad campaign. And if you could just realize the intense hatred that I do have for "that other company," then you would know what a big deal it is for me to highlight their latest marketing strategy!

The newest ad features a bunch of friends playing a zombie killing game on their Xbox (and just how many times have you had to send in your Xbox because of the blinking red lights of death? Okay, okay, I'll stop bashing!). It isn't enough for the friends to kill zombies on the game, they want to learn more about the actual motivations of zombies. So they pull out their PC and bring up Windows 7 which allows them to view things from their computer on their television. What they find is a "documentary" about zombies in their natural habitats.



What they are actually viewing is a scene from the 1979 Lucio Fulci film Zombi II or, as it was released in America, just Zombie. Fulci is often referred to as the "Godfather of Gore" because of his extremely violent and graphic films, many of which were banned in certain countries.


This commercial does make me a bit excited. Once again, it just further proves the point that zombies are becoming a huge influence on our popular culture. Even mega-companies like Microsoft realize the potential they have at attracting customers based on the "cool" zombie appeal. This ad was an extremely smart move because it naturally appeals to a younger target demographic, and let's face it... younger kids aren't always buying PCs. Traditionally known as being used for boring business stuff, Microsoft needs to look young and cool and hip again, and what a better way to do it than with zombies? Also, hopefully people watching this commercial will wonder what the scene actually is and will learn a little bit more about some cool zombie films and a very influential director!

Although, it wouldn't be fair if I didn't point out the major flaw in the commercial-- the scene they used is one of the most famous from the film in which a zombie fights (not bonds with) a *Tiger Shark* and not a Great White as is stated in the commercial. One of these days, companies will actually employ fact checkers...

In the end, it is great seeing more zombies pushed to the front of American popular culture. Let's hope other companies follow suit and we start seeing some awesome horror commercials out there!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Literary Tats

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.
My current tattoo wards off sneak attacks


I'll get it out there right now: I have a tramp stamp. I got it before the term "tramp stamp" became popular. 

It's a Wedjat eye done in black and I got it on vacation in England about ten years ago, which is a different, wine-buzzed story.

Lately I've been thinking about another one. By lately, I mean six years. (You do need time to consider these permanent things.) It took me ten years to figure out my first tattoo, so it'll probably take just as long for Tat the Second.

Just in time, maybe, for my book to be picked up.

In honor of that, I'll get a second tattoo and keep with the Egyptian theme because I've been fascinated with their art work since I was five and went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The lines are clean. Bold. Simplistic. 

In other words, awesome.

Potential Tattoo Candidates


Egyptian God of Writing
Thoth.
He's the scribe of the gods. He's also the god of wisdom. He also has a very neat head.

I have a statue of him doing the scribe thing at home. When my desk isn't a total disaster, he sits on it. Right now, he's hiding among David Eddings and Harry Potter. Coincidence a scribe is sitting with books? Hmmm.

If I got Thoth, I'm not sure where he would go. Maybe on my ribcage. Maybe not. There's not many places you can stick a deity.

Aten.
The other sun god.

Let me lend a hand.

He created a lot of conspiracy when a pharaoh named Akenaten decided Egypt should go all monotheistic. All portrayals of him make him sort of look like a cross between Jafar and Prince. Not that those have anything to do with him wanting Egypt to worship a disc. (Side note, Akenaten is the dad of King Tut.)

If I got Aten, it should go on my upper back so sun can get into the eye.

For those considering a tattoo: think long and hard before you get inked. What do you want? Where do you want it? How big? Whatever you decided, make sure you can say the same thing a year from now, ten years from now. You don't want to end up like the lady with the Twilight tattoo on Amanda's blog, do you?

For some real literary tattoos, check out Contrariwise.

Have you thought about a tattoo or do you have one? Comment below!

Bonus writerly question: do the people in your head have any?

__________
Last.fm hit of the day: Halloween by Helloween

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

When the World's Most Opinionated Zip Code and Mine Collide

Like most writers, I'm a bibliophile. And like most bibliophiles, I spend a lot of free time where all things books lie. The place I haunted with the highest frequency was the now-defunct B Dalton in the mall with the Dunkin.

The bookstore wasn't large. It was the size of a shoe store, actually. But it carried most new releases and had a decent Sci-fi/fantasy section. If I wanted a bodice ripper, I could've spent a week in there. And it's location was right next to work - ideal for my lazy ass.


Date
Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Incident
Disgruntled Cantibridgian

The Story
I needed to preorder and pick up a book. When I got to the store, there was a line. The fact that there was one should've told me to come back another day, but I stood in line anyway.

I was the 3rd in line when you count the customer at the counter, an older black woman who reminded me of a lesser version of my education core professor sophomore year. I'll call her B Lite (even though if you went to college with me, your guess on who this is will be dead on).

While I waited in line, B Lite reamed out the store clerk. According to the woman in front of me, B Lite had been doing this already for five minutes. B Lite didn't like the fact that B Dalton didn't carry a particular nonfiction book when The Coop carries multiple copies. The conversation that went on sounded like this:

Store clerk: We don't have the room to carry this book. You can special order it now and we'll have it for you next week.
B Lite: I don't want it special ordered. I want it available now.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. For two minutes.

Each time the conversation repeated, the store clerk got closer to tears and B Lite became more vocal. The customer in front of me was ready to walk out without buying anything. My patience was growing thin and all I wanted was to put in a preorder for whatever Laurell K. Hamilton book was coming out at that time. I thought I would help this Cantibridgian twit out.

Now would be the time for me to mention how, after going to college in Cambridge and working there for a year afterward, I'd developed a distaste for the mindset of the Cambridge professional. There's a certain air to them. The majority have a superiority complex and/ or way too self-righteous for what's healthy. Yes, there are exceptions and I'm glad that I know a few of them.

Yours truly: This is a small store. A larger Barnes and Noble has more of a selection.(Translation: get it at the goddamned Coop.)

B Lite turned on me, not happy at my interrupting her in mid-rant. At the time, this amused me more than it probably should, but hey - I was in my last week of employment. I could feel a smirk on my face. She didn't like that.

B Lite: This is none of your business. I'm speaking to her. (B Lite points to store clerk.)

Yours truly: As a paying customer, it is my concern. You're hindering my purchase by berating the help.

B Lite (who I found out afterward from the clerk was a doctor of some sort) really started yelling at this point about how I was rude. (I kept my voice level and reasonable the entire time. I even managed to keep swears in my brain where they belong.) B Lite made enough noise that it sounded like a Gregoire family reunion when all my uncles try to talk over one another.

Store clerk: I'll need you lower your voice and please do not speak to my customers like that. Otherwise, I'll have to ask you to leave the store.

B Lite wouldn't listen and continued to rant. The clerk had to repeat herself five times. Finally, she reached for the phone and said, "If you don't leave, I'll have to call security. I'm asking you again, please leave."

B Lite: You didn't ask me to come in here, you don't need to ask me to leave. I'll leave you white people to your bookstore.

What I Learned
I'm not sure if learned anything from this encounter. I do know the high school version of me would've been extremely rude and escalated the confrontation tenfold. I would've harped on the white people comment and baited a woman at least twenty years my senior.

The part that still confuses me is if you know that The Coop carries it, why don't you just go there?


______
Last.fm hit of the day: Celebrity Skin by Hole

Monday, May 17, 2010

Nella Memoria Del Dio*

RIP, RJD
For those who don't know, Ronnie James Dio passed away yesterday from stomach cancer. He had been the voice behind several bands - Rainbow, Black Sabbath (once Ozzy left), Dio, and most recently, Heaven & Hell.

But this isn't going to be a blog post chock full of what Dio brought to music, how much he meant to the metal scene, or how the world will be less without his talent. People out there have said it already and with more flair than I possess in my baby toe.

This blog's actually for Hubby, who found out the news after a fun-filled day with yours truly. Hubby loves all things Dio and took the news hard.

This morning I asked Hubby to give me his all-time favorite Dio song. He came back with ten. (Hubby's explanations in italics.)

Hubby's 10 Favorite Dio-associated Songs

10. Walk Away by Black Sabbath: Self-explanatory. I'm going to get my pen and cape and lip-sync this with my foot up on a stool... (Reader, you'll get what he means if you watch this Henry Rollins bit.)

9. Sign of the Southern Cross by Black Sabbath: Great Sabbath song, it kind of encapsulates Dio-era Sabbath.

8. I Could Have Been a Dreamer by Dio: Nice slow pace, about as close to a ballad as Dio will get.

7. Stargazer by Rainbow: Got introduced to this last night while perusing videos. Love it, and will seek out more Rainbow.

6. Rock N' Roll Children by Dio:  Love to laugh at the lyrics and onomatopoeia (that's hard to spell), but it's a hell of a song.



5. Straight Through The Heart by Dio: Just a great, great song.

4. The Mob Rules by Black Sabbath: One of Sabbath's most straightforward heavy songs, also the first Sabbath song I was ever truly into. I saw Heavy Metal the movie, before I was really into metal, and this song featured prominently.



3. Rainbow in the Dark by Dio: The first song to make rainbows and happy keyboards truly metal.

2. Heaven and Hell by Black Sabbath: Great song, great album

1. Last in Line by Dio: This is the first time I have been able to definitely name a favorite of all time for anything. I absolutely love this song.





 _______
Last.fm hit of the day: First Avenue by Elf (Another Ronnie James Dio band.)
*translation courtesy of Babelfish.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Exhibit A

In addition to squirrels taking over the world, they're evil. I can prove it.

Albino Sqirrel
Note the red eyes.


Yes, it's albino, but that doesn't change it's true nature. The menacing eyes glare at the photographer while it curls an arm around well, erm... something. The bushy tail isn't meant to be cute - it's a threat.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Zombie Awareness Month



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

Ribbons, ribbons, ribbons! Every organization and society has a colored ribbon representing something-- pink, yellow, red, blue, and on and on. When and why did this whole ribbon thing start? I have no idea, but like anything where people can proudly display a ribbon or ribbon shaped magnet on their car without actually doing any sort of real work to combat whatever issue they are representing, the idea has clearly spread faster than the upcoming zombie plague. ((Which is not to say that they're aren't individuals who do actively support causes, and they do so much more than just sport a ribbon!))

Well, add grey to the list of ribbon colors now! And what does it represent? Zombie Awareness Month!


Much like my cynical post from back in February about the dubious "I Love Zombies Day," the old Grinch in me is showing his ugly head. The first place where I heard about Zombie Awareness Month was on the Facebook. Facebook seems to be where all "relevant" information is conveyed these days (although, that's probably a topic better left for a non-zombie blog). I checked out the 'Event' page and found a link to the group that is sponsoring this month long time of awareness.

The group is the Zombie Research Society and they actually have a pretty snazzy little website. According to their page, the Society was founded in 2007 and "is dedicated to raising the level of zombie scholarship in the Arts and Sciences." They have three areas of specific focus-- Science (studying the biological makeup of zombies, etc), Survival (learning how not to die when the zombie apocalypse comes), and the Arts (appreciating and studying the growing popularity of zombies in our culture). According to their site, the month of May is the perfect month to "emphasize continued vigilance in the face of the coming zombie pandemic." The choice of the grey ribbon is to "signify the undead shadows that lurk behind our modern light of day."

I'm not entirely sure what I think about another Zombie "holiday." I'll leave it for you readers to decide. As always, you all by now should know I am fully aware of zombies 24-7! The one thing that does bother me about the ZRS sponsoring an Awareness Month is that the Society does seek membership-- for a one time fee of $25, you can have lifetime membership into the ZRS. They do send you a tshirt for this fee and it seems like you get membership to their forums and other parts of the site, but I wasn't able to find an accounting of what your membership fee goes towards (maybe website maintenance fees?). Although, I do find the core idea of the society to be a cool one! Every week I write about new things in pop culture and the Arts that highlight the growing trend of zombies and that awareness in our society. So, I do applaud them for making a website dedicated to what many of us do every week and everyday!

One thing I did get a real kick out of is that they have a map of possible zombie outbreaks throughout history. One proposes an outbreak on Roanoke Island in North Carolina. Having lived and worked on Roanoke Island at the 'The Lost Colony' outdoor symphonic drama for three years, I found this idea really entertaining and no more or less plausible than any other idea as to what happened to the Roanoke settlers!

So... Happy Zombie Awareness Month? It seems as if the ZRS has also been having some contests on their blog for zombie swag-- check it out! At the very least, it could be free stuff!


All photos and images are courtesy of the Zombie Research Society's webpage. I am assuming they own the rights to all of them, I'm just borrowing to help further educate the zombie loving community about what all is out there in our popular culture!

I Wanna Win!

Nope, this isn't a Zombie Thursday entry - Miranda will tackle that later.

This entry is to enter a contest. Suzie Townsend has a contest to win Deception by Lee Nichols on her blog.

What Deception is about (according to Barnes & Noble):

When Emma Vaile’s parents go missing while away on a mysterious business trip, she’s left all alone in her creepy old house. But her brother’s very cute best friend, Bennett Stern—Emma’s knight in J. Crew armor—arrives unexpectedly to whisk her away to New England. There, Emma settles into his family’s museum-like mansion and enrolls at an old-fashioned private school. She quickly finds friends in the popular legacy crowd at Thatcher and spends her free time crushing on Bennett. But the eerie visions she’s been hiding from everyone have gotten worse. Emma has memories of Thatcher that she can’t explain—it’s as if she’s returning home to a place she’s never been. Finally, Emma confides in Bennett and learns she is a ghostkeeper, a person who can communicate with ghosts. Bennett brought Emma to Thatcher to protect her, but now he needs her help tracking an other-worldly murderer.

A rich New England setting filled with mystery, tradition, and prep-school intrigue make Deception the perfect choice for fans of series like Kate Brian’s Private, as well as all those paranormal fans. The shocking ending will leave readers desperate for book two. 

This book's got me excited because I do love YA and I'd like my To Be Read pile to be larger. (And I do mean larger.) Suzie Townsend says Deception is a mash between Gossip Girl and paranormal suspense, which I think is great.

If you like YA and like prizes, you should sign up too.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

TwitStalk

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: Whose Tweets Would You Follow?

This is entirely in a literary way.

So, who would I follow in the Twittersphere?

@GeorgiaNicolson. She's already on Twitter, but she has tweeted since October. I loved the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson. Her sense of humor is great and she's come up with a lot of slang that I admit to using in conversation. (I have also known to Disco Inferno Dance in Nordstrom.)

@CheshireCat. Because he's crazy but profound. "We're all mad here." Have truer words been spoken?

@GunslingerRoland. I would totally die if Roland tweeted his journey to the Tower.

@TheRealBillyShax. We don't know who The Bard truly is, so this would be a group Twitter account. Chockful of Shakespeare quotes, and day to day items like "Wife is pregnant. Must stop seeing her" and "Damn you, Marlowe."

Who would you follow?

_____
Last.fm hit of the day: Lucy Is Red by Nosferatu

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Where Would You Rather Be?


In the last couple of years of college and the first few of the real world, I spend a lot of time telling people that I was on a beach in Tahiti - my nice, funny-ish way to say I was stressed and needed to be somewhere else.
Not exactly a beach, but definitely Tahiti.


It's crunch time in the office as well as on the editing front and I'm envisioning fruity umbrella drinks and crystalline oceans. I gotta tell you, I'm heartbeats away from closing my eyes and saying "I'd love to help you, but I'm on a beach in Tahiti."

Amidst the crazy, where is your (real or imagined) happy place?


_______
Last.fm hit of the day: Embrace The Gods of Suffering by Shade Empire

Monday, May 10, 2010

More Phantasma

Subject: upcoming quiz and event
Hello,

Just a quick note to let you know that the Dolan Harbor DNA Labs in school field trip will take place on Monday, May 10th.  Thank you all for making collection of permission slips and program fees as easy as a task like that can be.  Our next quiz will cover Investigation #6 in our Populations and Ecosystem unit.  The topic is "Populations".  The quiz will take place on Thursday, May 13th.  A review sheet is currently being developed and will be available shortly.  Finally, page 33 of your child's lab notebook will be collected and graded as a lab.  We will work on this in class tomorrow.  Please remind your child to make sure it represents his/her best work before turning it in on Friday.  Warm regards, B. Fisher

Phantasma had her rip off of a internal field trip today, but she liked it. She called to tell me all about the mini CSI like thing they did as well so the kids can better relate to the real world. She was so jazzed that she now wants to go into forensics.

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Last.fm hit of the day: Mount North by Immortal

Friday, May 7, 2010

Blog Spotlight: Do The Write Thing for Nashville

In case you didn't know, there was a big flood in Nashville. Some writerly peeps are helping out at Do the Write Thing for Nashville.

If you just google "do the write thing for nashville," I'm sure you'll find tons of hits, so I'm not even going to talk about it. But they do have some awesome auctions going on, so go. Why are you still here?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Going Green for the Undead Planet


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

We all know the stereotype-- rotting flesh, blood dripping, eye balls falling out, and green skin. Wait! Green skin?

I get everything else, but the more I think about it, what's up with the green zombie skin? You all know what I am talking about. Just do a search for any sort of zombie image and much more often than not you're going to find a picture of the undead with a sickly green hue.

I'm so guilty of this. When drawing a zombie, skin just seems to mean green. Even the Zombie Thursdays banner you see up top every week features just a bit too much green! Many months ago I had a friend working on a zombie knitting project and she came to me asking my advice on yarn color for her little zombie dude. My advice? While a greyish beige color would be far more scientifically accurate, I told her to go with more of a greenish-grey, if not just green entirely. Because although grey would be more realistic, green is so widely recognized as a zombie color, people would instantly be able to tell what she had knitted.

Where does this stereotype come from and why do we keep perpetuating it? I haven't been able to find any definite proof on why we do this, but I have a few solid ideas. And as always, I would certainly love to hear yours!

Many people look to zombie films to get their artistic ideas because, after all, the makeup gurus of Hollywood make real the imaginings of writers and directors everywhere. As always, we can look to The Night of the Living Dead as a huge cultural phenomenon and inspiration to so many zombie loving people. The film was originally released in black and white, so one can't be too sure what the ghouls' skin color was. In my mind while watching the film, I picture a pale sickly grey. And in watching some behind the scenes featurettes and a really cool documentary entitled Autopsy of the Dead,
the makeup used was a greyish color made to make the ghouls appear paler, sick... dead. As production went on, the makeup special effects became more complicated, but no where did I see use of green. And if we jump to the sequel to Night, Dawn of the Dead, which was in color, you can clearly see that most of zombies are completely grey skinned. Almost comically grey skinned, in my opinion (the Hare Krishna zombie comes to mind in particular). But no green.

So if not in the most classic of zombie films, then what? Perhaps the green stereotype came from the re-released Night of the Living Dead. In 1986, a colorized version was released that had ghouls with (you guessed it) green skin. However, the re-re-released colorized version in 1997 had zombies back to being grey! Another possible suspect is the film Return of the Living Dead. More of a comedy than anything else, the poster depicted punk rock zombies, all with green tints. However, one of the most famous zombies from that film franchise, the tar zombie, was not green. But all it takes is one failed colorization or one bad marketing artist to start a green skinned phenomenon!

Another possible reason for the green skin could come from Frankenstein's Monster. This may seem like an odd leap, but go with me on this one. Although not in the popular tradition of the modern zombie, I think Frankenstein's monster qualifies as a zombie creature. He is created entirely from the parts of dead people and is reanimated and brought back to life. Sure sounds like a zombie, even if he was incredibly intelligent (he learned to speak French!). In Mary Shelley's novel, the monster is described as having translucent yellow skin where all the veins are visible beneath the surface. So... not green. And later stage adaptations show the monster as a pale blue. However, it seems that when Boris Karloff created the iconic Monster role and the famous imagery of Frankenstein's Monster, somehow that green tinted skin snuck in! That green skin stuck in the minds of people (do a search of Frankenstein's monster and they are always the Boris Karloff looking monsters with green skin), and since the Monster was made from dead flesh, many might have chosen to take that green skin and stick on some other dead things-- zombies. As if green somehow equals rotting flesh!

And finally, I think another huge reason of why we give zombies a green tint is to further separate them from living humans. Zombies are us. They started off as humans, your best friend, mother, teacher, next door neighbor. Because they are transformed into the walking dead and become mindless killers, many people don't want to recognize the one time humanity that is inherent in them. We are afraid of them because we fear ourselves. Although in reality zombies would be flesh colored, maybe a bit paler depending on the length of time spent dead, we don't want to think of them as human. They are the Other. The thing we don't want to be. They are alien to us, and so in our art and imaginings, we color them green, we make them a fantastic color because they are fantastic. Just like Frankenstien's Monster, sci-fi Aliens, ghouls, creatures from the Black Lagoon... they have to look different from us. That's why zombie films are so successful at scaring us-- their zombies do look like us. They aren't green or comical looking, and they could be anyone!

So, the next time you start to doodle, maybe you'll think twice before pulling out the grass green crayon...


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Blog Spotlight: Run for Grub

In Boston, there's a writing community called Grub Street. I've been taking seminars and classes through them since 2000/2001. Most recently, I attended the Muse & the Marketplace conference this year and had a pretty kick ass experience.

Needless to say, this place has helped lots of writers for lots of years.

But it's a non-profit, and like all non-profits, they're usually strapped for cash. This year fellow Grubbie, Catherine Elcik, is doing some fundraising. She's currently in training for her first marathon where all proceeds will go to a scholarship for people new to Grub Street.

In her blog, Catherine gives training updates and interviews other Grub Street members on how Grub Street has impacted them. I'm learning a bunch about running (which I'd never find out on my own) and I'm learning about other people who belong to the same writing community I do. Overall, it's very neat.

You can read all about Catherine's experiences and learn more about what Grub Street is and means here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cover Up Maybe?

Yesterday in the comments section, I mentioned how the mall has a massage place. If you're like me, your brain instantly takes you into the gutter at the word "massage." This place used to be in the middle of the mall floor with two chairs but within the last month, opened up in a space that used to a few stores.

Why It's Creepy

The space where this is now, had a Spencer's Gifts back in the day. Spencer's always has that "naughty" section in the back. (The section that I'd tiptoe through since I was too prissy to handle it.)

This happens a few weeks after a prostitution ring got busted. Watertown figured into this.

You do the math.

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Last.fm hit of the day: Blackout in the Red Room by Love/Hate

Monday, May 3, 2010

Creepiest Place in the World?

In my town, we have two malls across the street from each other. Neither are impressive, but one does have the DMV, so I guess that's useful. The other has Dunkin, which is necessary. So necessary, that I'm there every work day. (Except during our boil alert.)

The Dunkin in the mall opens at 6, which is uber convenient since I try to be at work by 7 most days. The mall shops, however, don't open until 10ish. This means 4 hours of silent mall creepiness. I'm rating this right up with abandoned carnival creepiness.

Speed Boat Tigger
Two and a half shops away from Dunkin is a few kid rides that used to be outside supermarkets and a few department stores when I was little.

One of them is Tigger. He sits in a speedboat that you steer and keeps his pinned out expression on you the entire time. Right behind the steering wheel, a light blinks illuminating him campfire ghost story style.

Why It's Scary
First off, anything is scary in the tomb of an unpopulated mall.

It's Tigger. No matter how much I like him (and I do), he's high on something. I wouldn't trust him that close to the steering wheel. Would you?


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Last.fm hit of the day: Echoes of Silence by Ikon
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