Friday, September 30, 2011

Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi: Spec-Fic Friday, Sept 30th

Normally I don't watch Deadliest Warrior, but the one airing last week caught my eye:

Vampires versus Zombies

If you've never seen the show, the premise is the old comic book chestnut: if Spiderman and Superman fought, who would win? But the show takes it to the next level and pits even historical warriors together (ninjas versus pirates, that sort of thing). In the episode that caught my eye, it was "If vampires and zombies went head to head (fang), who would win?"

I think the whole thing is a moot point. I don't think vampires and zombies would battle. Vampire lore generally says that they need live blood; zombie lore says that they need live flesh; thus they would never feed on each other and wouldn't need to battle.

Maybe vampires would be threatened or annoyed by zombies, and they would attack them (competition for food, for example). But the zombies would have little reason to fight back.

When faced with a fight, creatures fight back for three reasons:
1) competition (for food, mates, etc.);
2) survival instinct (the "fight" part of "fight or flight");
3) anger;

If you stick with the generally accepted principles of zombie lore, zombies don't feel anger. I've never seen or read a story where zombies have a competitive response (sometimes there's some snapping at each other while feeding, but no real competitive behavior). And how much survival instinct can they have? You can mow them down with a machine gun and they just keep shambling onward, never trying to dodge, duck, or run away. They clearly have zero "flight" instinct. I'd say they have no "fight" instinct, either. It's just eat, eat, eat.

So would zombies and vampires ever have reason to face-off in battle? If they did, wouldn't the vampires have a tremendous upper hand since they DO have a fight/flight instinct?

I only caught the end of the show, so maybe they covered all this earlier in the episode and I missed it. You can watch the full episode here:
Deadliest Warrior: Vampires vs. Zombies

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled spec-fic news, lol.

These blew me away!
Amazing Wizard of Oz Fan Art

Joe Allen Billy Bob Alvarez . . . Priceless!
Infographic: If Star Wars Characters Lived in the Real World

I actually (gulp) liked Battlefield Earth. Nothing about it was even remotely Oscar-worthy, but it was fun and interesting. And believe me, I've seen worse.
Alex J. Cavanaugh on The Worst Movies Ever
My own list would include Skyline and the Watchmen (or is Watchmen more fantasy than sci-fi?)

Who doesn't love free reads?
Free fiction

Kirkus Reviews:
The Genre Trap and How to Avoid It

Love, love, LOVE Shatner!
William Shatner sings Iron Man

Star Trek: The Next Generation heading for Blu-Ray

And to continue the unintentional Star Trek-themed news,
Shatner blasts Takei in new book

And last but not least,
Awesome flowchart helps you pick through NPR’s Top 100 Sci-Fi and Fantasy books

Have a good weekend!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Went Fishing, but the Fish Never Got the Memo

When I'm not writing, I'm usually outdoors. I do a lot of hunting and fishing. You really can't do much hiking around here: no hills, no mountains, no trees; and farmer's tend to frown on people hiking through their wheat fields.

This past weekend, I spent a lovely Saturday afternoon fishing with hubby, middle child, and her boyfriend. We fished some of the spillovers of Devil's Lake. I say "spillovers" because the lake has spent the last decade crawling out of its natural banks and has been swallowing up the surrounding farmland. The area around the lake has some rolling landscape (unlike the area where I live, which is miles and miles of treeless land that's flat as a board), so I'm sure that from the air, the lake looks like some sort of multi-tentacled monster.

Since the lake has swallowed our old fishing spots (one of my favorites is now under twenty feet of water), we had to find new ones. One of our new favorites is where the lake has spilled into what must have been a cow pasture just a few years ago.

The bit of high land below (where there is a farmstead) is now an island with a road leading to it.

And here's the road to the farmhouse, which is surrounded by water on two sides, and after it crests the little hill where the farmstead is, it ends in water on the other side.

The picture below is the old road to one of my favorite spots. This is a high spot where the road comes back out of the water. After it crests the hill, it goes back to the lake again. You can see where the old road is under the water because the cat-tails that grew in the ditch alongside it are still there, outlining it.

And here's another fishing spot with another road going into the lake. It takes FOREVER to travel to anyplace around the lake because most of the roads have been swallowed. Sometimes you have to travel 30 miles the long way around just to get from point A to point B, even though they might be only a few miles apart.

The fishing was terrible, which is disappointing because it's so much work to get around out there. We still had fun, though. Any day outdoors is a good day.
I think my daughter spent more time chasing bugs and playing with the wildlife than fishing. The "Wooly worms" were swarming, so she spent a lot of time playing with them. Wooly worms are normally orange and black, and in Kentucky, the folklore is that you can tell how bad the winter will be by how big the orange band is.

So we didn't know what to think when we found this blond (albino?) one. We just figured the area was originally settled by Norwegian and Swedish immigrants, so this must be a Scandinavian wooly worm, lol.

Below is what wooly worms are supposed to look like. He's curled in a ball, and my photography skills are subpar, so it's not the greatest picture. But you can at least tell he's fuzzy and orange and black.

It was a good day, in spite of the poor fishing.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi: Spec-Fic Friday, September 23rd

Yes, I'm sneaking in a "Spec-Fic Friday" post this week. Knock on wood, I'll be able to do it next week, too.

The new season starts October 16th!
Walking Dead Season 2 Promo Clip

An Indie Zombie-apocalypse movie:
The Year After Infection
I can't say I'm crazy about the title, but you know how I love zombie movies. The official blog for the movie:
The Year After Infection Blog

And for your playlist,
Songs About Zombies

On a personal zombie note, my little town is holding a zombie music fest in a couple of weeks. I'm sure it's meant for the young crowd, but guess what middle-aged woman is going to be there in full zombie regalia (including pig-intestines hanging from the stomach of my torn t-shirt) bouncing around in the mosh pit with the kids? :)

John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) is one of my all-time favorite movies. Although you can't always tell from the trailer--how many times have you watched a movie and discovered that the trailer was better than the movie itself?--this one does look like it might be good!
Trailer for The Thing

30 Persuasive Sci-Fi Propaganda Posters

I think the Jabba the Hutt one is a nice reminder to NOT eat too many cookies.
13 Tasty (and sometimes Terrifying) Sci-Fi Cookie Jars

William Shatner on Star Trek vs. Star Wars

Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 19, 2011

What was your most-loved library book?

I was perusing the prompts over at NaBloPoMo and found this one:

What book did you always take out from the school library?

I spent a lot of time in both my school library and the public library when I was growing up (back in the days before we had the interwebs, lol), so I've got a long library-book history. But the one I remember checking out all the time was the Hodgepodge book. I don't remember much about it, but I remember the feeling of joy that I got every time I read it. It seems like it had a lot of folklore in it, some great stories, and a lot of rhymes--some of them a little saucy! Of course, they just probably seemed saucy back then.

So I looked it up on Amazon and discovered that I'm not the only one that was always checking it out. Check out some of the reviews for the book: The Hodgepodge Book on

The only thing I'm confused about is the publication date on the Amazon listing. I know I read the book before 1986, so this one has to be a reprint (one of the reviewers also talks about reading it in the 70's, which is when I would have been reading it).

I may have to pick up a copy for the sake of nostalgia. Or if you have young readers, I'd recommend it for them (just check it for any saucy limericks first, lol).

What about you: what book did you check out of the library all the time?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Smart phone, dumb user

I have finally embraced the new millennium: I bought a smart phone.

I did it reluctantly. I hate learning new technology. I'd rather have to face a shambling horde of zombies than learn new technology.

I've never been one of those people that runs out and buys every new gadget the second it comes out. If it were up to me, I'd keep using my same old gadgets forever. I try . . . oh do I try to hang on to the old technology as long as I can . . . but eventually I'm always forced to upgrade (I hate, hate, HATE those Microsoft emails: "As of such-and-such date, we will no longer be supporting product so-and-so").

The one benefit I could see from having a smart phone is that it would be a handy tool for a writer. Most have an app that's compatible with Office, so you can write notes (or scenes, etc.) and transfer them to the computer (my old phone took "notes," but then everything had to be retyped into the computer).

My smart phone also has voice-to-text, so I can dictate notes while I'm driving . . . that is, if I ever figure out how it works. I'll probably still be saying, "Wait? My phone can do THAT?" three or four years from now.

I've been using an embarrassingly old phone for several years. So long, in fact, that my account was flagged with a note that said, "Give this woman a gift card if you can pry her dinosaur phone out of her hands").

I even upgraded to the old phone (which was my first text-enabled, keyboard phone) reluctantly. Every time hubby mentioned upgrading my old flip-phone to a text-enabled one, I'd say, "What do I need that for? Damn, new-fangled technology." But I upgraded anyway since the phone was free with contract, and I was hooked. One look at the bill told me how much more I used texting than calling: call usage, 6 minutes;
text usage, 743.

Okay, so maybe I was wrong about texting. Maybe I DID need texting.

I felt the same way about smart phones. "What do I need all that junk for? Damn new-fangled technology. Like I have time to play Angry Birds."

But then I got a really good deal on a Droid. And though I'm in mass confusion over the thing, I can already see it's going to come in handy for my writing life (besides just the Office and text-to-voice apps).
For starters, I'll be able to Tweet from my phone. I tend to neglect a lot of my social media sites, but I love Twitter. And since I can post to Facebook from the phone, too, maybe I won't neglect FB as much. I can also access this blog from the phone and even post and check my beloved Hootsuite (which handles the posts for many of my other social media sites).

The more I explore the available apps, the more I find to make my writing life easier.
The steady march of technology is truly amazing. It won't be long until we have something we can just plug into our ear and we can just "think" our idea, and the device will transfer our thoughts to text and put it into a Word document for us.

And I'll probably still be saying, "What do I need that for? Damn new-fangled technology."

Monday, September 5, 2011

Do You Understand the Words that are Coming Out of My Mouth?

My daughter recently sent me a link to a comic on the web. The comic delighted her because whoever made it had suffered the same misunderstanding she once had:

(On our way to Kentucky to visit family, we stopped in a small local diner)
The waitress wrote down my daughter's entree order, then paused. "Okay, suge. Soup er Salad?"
"What?" daughter asks.
"Soup er Salad, hon?" the waitress repeated.
"Um . . . yes?"
"No, hon." The waitress shook her head. "Soup er salad?"
Dear daughter turns and looks to me in desperation.
I chuckle. "She wants to know if you want the soup or a salad?"
"Oh my God!" daughter laughs. "I was wondering what the heck a 'Super Salad' was!"

Being a writer (or penmonkey, wordsmith, or word-whore, whichever term you prefer) doesn't exempt one from misunderstandings. Take my recent exchange with the very same daughter:

"Miss X (her best friend) just got a tattoo gun," my daughter said.
"Really? She any good?" I'm still thinking about getting another tattoo.
"Yeah, but she's just learning how to use it. She's only doing oranges right now."
"Um . . . okay. Why oranges?" I asked.
"Good practice," daughter said. "I mean, she's already really good, but she wants to make sure she really knows what she's doing."
"Sure. But oranges are so boring! Why not hearts? They should be easy, too."
Daughter goggled at me a moment. Blink, blink. "Wait . . . what?"
"Unless she's just got a thing about fruits," I said. "But she could still do something besides oranges. Why not apples? She could get exotic and do mangoes. Or what about grapes? They're easy and cute, and everybody loves grapes."
Daughter shook her head. "How the hell is she supposed to put a tattoo on a grape?"
My turn to blink. "OH! She's tattooing ON oranges!"

Palm to face. I had a vision of Miss X, sitting with tattoo gun in hand, piles of pigskin surrounding her, each one emblazoned with a tattoo of an orange: a single orange; two oranges with a leaf; an orange sliced in half . . . .

But no, she was putting tattoos ON oranges instead of on pigskin.

Miss X, say hello to Miss-communication, lol.