Ahhhh, spring. That time of natural and spiritual renewal, when life shrugs off the long cold grip of winter and embraces life anew, reveling in the rebirth and joy that the change of seasons brings. The heart lifts, the trees bloom, and smiles and good feelings towards all creation shine forth from the sense of freedom and reawakening that only Spring can bring. Read the rest of this entry →
Side note: yes, I know I’m a week late on The Walking Dead Episode 3. I just finished watching it this morning since I was busy last week. Plus the events of Episode 4 were surprisingly spoiled by close to a dozen people on Facebook within hours of it being shown, leaving me ambivalent for the moment. I’ll get to them. Promise. Here’s a heapin’ helpin’ of rage to tide you over.
World War Z is a book. It’s a zombie book. It was written by Max Brooks, son of Mel, who also wrote The Zombie Survival Guide. Both of them are considered essential reading by zombie aficionados for very good reasons. They are smart, well-written, and funny while treating their subject matter seriously. They are near and dear to my heart, as they are to many. Upon finishing my first zombie novel, The Curse of Troius, my dear friend and sadly passed Carl Spicer declared simply, “I’ve only read one good zombie novel, and that was World War Z.” (Sorry Carl, you know I can’t resist telling people that even though you tried to explain what you meant. It’s too good a line. Miss you, bud.) Max Brooks’ books are the literary equivalent to Romero’s cinematic influences on the entire zombie genre.
What makes World War Z special for me and many others is its story structure. Instead of focusing on a particular protagonist, the story is presented as one-on-one interviews with a wide range of people who were involved in the zombie war that ended ten years prior to the story. This allows the tale of the war to spin out in little vignettes, from its ostensible beginnings in China to its spread throughout the world and eventual conclusion, as told by the eyewitnesses to the events. The different stories highlight bravery and cowardice, self-sacrifice and self-promotion, agony and joy and despair and hope and everything in between. The eyewitnesses are neither good nor bad; they’re people, some more sympathetic than others. Reading through the novel provides the best of both worlds: the epic saga of man’s battle against the shambling hordes of the infected dead as a whole, and the harrowing and humanizing tales of the individuals swept up in it all. It is a remarkable book. If you’ve never read it, buy it here. It will not disappoint.
Sunday, October 14th. That’s when it’s back. The show I love to hate, full of the most dysfunctional group of addle-brained survivors of all time, comes back after an entire season spent on a farm agonizing over morning-after pills, religion, suicide, a woman’s proper role in life, love triangles, and where the fuck Carl has disappeared to and who’s gonna die because of it. Every now and again they put a zombie in it. It was not a good season. Most people agreed that it was slow and awful and dull, until the last episode seemed to make everyone forget about the horrible pacing and stupid arguments and ridiculous thought processes. Zombies! Guns! Impossible headshots and shotguns that never need to be reloaded! And then the big part, the last scene, where everyone seemed to have a collective fangasm and couldn’t stop gushing about what next season would bring. ZOMG the prison! And Michionne! Michionne! MICHIONNE!!!!!!!
“Smoke detectors save lives”. So says everyone and everything on the internet. Every day, a smoke detector saves umpty-bumpty lives while simultaneously providing a much needed ornamental flair to the otherwise drab ceilings of our homes.
I hate them ever so much.
I’ve mentioned quite a few times on this blog how much of a nerd I am. I am not ashamed of this. I can sit at a table in the middle of a restaurant while everyone I’m with disclaims loudly about LARPing or playfighting or tabletopping without wanting to die (Just barely. Seriously, not one of my favorite things, but I’ve gotten a little better at handling it.) The purpose of this post in no way indicates my need to seek absolution for being a nerd, because I don’t really care what general society thinks of my hobbies.
However, nerd society itself is big on shaming those that don’t share every geeky interest there is. Admonishments about how “you HAVE to watch this” or “what do you MEAN you don’t like this” or “how can you say the new Battlestar Galactica is a pathetic uninspired piece of shit that resembles more of a random Cylon-of-the-Week generator and whose main premise seems to revolve around the idea that LOOK STARBUCK IS A GIRL!” run rampant whenever geeks collide. Many of us nerds carry our opinions proudly and defend them vociferously. Others hide the things they hate lest they get besieged with long-winded arguments and belittled by someone with uncontrollable flatulence. They just nod knowingly but silently during the conversations regarding the things they dislike.
I fall into both camps. In general, my apathy (my third superpower) wins out over any desire to strongly express an opinion about anything to argue with another nerd about geek stuff, and my desire to get along with people means that I’ll happily seem interested in whatever thing they want to talk about. But seriously, if you use “frack” in conversation as a substitute curse word, you’re a tool.
Anyway, I’ve decided to come clean on some nerdy things I don’t like. I’m not sure I hate them (see: Superpower 3 - Apathy), but for many people the simple act of not really liking something is an act akin to supporting Vichy France. We nerds can be touchy. And I’m not excusing myself. Diss on Mass Effect or Skyrim or Firefly or Conan the Barbarian (original movie) or Marvel comics (specifically until 1992 or so, since a lot of ass has happened after that which is unforgivable. Fucking Clone Saga.) and I’m liable to get pretty snooty and uppity and use the word “Philistine” for some reason. But now is the time for me to confess my disdain for some of the Nerdy Touchstones. I’m not seeking forgiveness or absolution or anything. I’m just coming clean. Hopefully the rest of us can do the same and clear the air.
Here are some things I don’t like.
I love me some cake. I mean, I love it like a fat kid loves redundancy. My whole life is littered with the cakes I’ve seen and tasted, from my grandmother’s Red Velvet cake (with vanilla frosting. Seriously, people, cream cheese frosting? Are we in Communist Russia? Am I to begin standing in line for beets next? Cream cheese frosting is ONLY acceptable on carrot cake. Nothing else. UPDATED: I let my rage get the best of me. Cream cheese frosting is delicious on pumpkin or other spiced-cake product. I stand corrected.) to the cherry cake pops my wonderful wife made a couple months ago. I fucking love cake, just to be clear. Love it.
This includes cupcakes. Ahhh, the sweet, glorious cupcake. It’s a mini-cake all its own, a piece of heaven made for one hand, allowing a cake lover like me to eat a cake without having to use a fork and plate. From EZ-Bake ovens to school bake sales to after-game treats to something to make a bunch of goddamn kids shut the fuck up for 5 minutes, the cupcake has a well-deserved legacy as a beloved American treasure. Like so much of our precious heritage, however, this glorious symbol of utter deliciousness is being denigrated and desecrated before our very eyes. If we don’t act soon, the cupcake as we know it will be gone, tossed carelessly in the compost heap of forgotten culinary treasures like so many crumb-lined paper wrappers.
For fuck sake, people, LIVES ARE AT STAKE. Possibly.
It’s been a long slog through Season 2, one that began with such high hopes and ended with, well, this season. When a show about a zombie apocalypse spends more time on domestic drama, gender roles, and the ethics of becoming pregnant during Doomsday, it makes for slightly less compelling television. Anyway, I’m glad the season is over. If Season 3 began tomorrow, I’d be completely unable to watch it. Maybe having some time and perspective will open my eyes to the creative team that is layering such subtext and melodrama into a rich tapestry of… yeah, uh, we’ll have to see.
Here we go. When last we saw Carl and his stupid hat, the kid had wandered off and watched his dad shiv Shane after talking him down from shooting him. Then the zombies came pouring out of the woods. Remember how last week I said not to worry about where this magical horde came from and why they were milling around 300 yards away from a house full of their favorite meal? Well, the show didn’t listen. Instead, they decided to show us where they came from. Atlanta. See, they were eating something when a helicopter flew by. Apparently the meal in front of them was lousy, because they immediately left it behind to follow the helicopter that soon disappeared from sight. I guess other zombies saw them moving and were like, OK, I’ll see what’s up. Somehow, they managed to avoid getting distracted by anything while swelling in numbers, until they arrived in the woods where they waited around and heard Carl shoot his gun and that made them come out of the trees. They were better off not showing us where they came from, because it’s not like their explanation makes any sense.
I saw this commercial last night on TV. For a while I thought it was an ingenious parody, poking fun at the Snuggie Era we find ourselves in. No self-respecting adult would wear such a ridiculous outfit, the whole idea was laughable, the scenes with people watching football in this low-crotched Dr. Seuss Whoville suit trying to look cool, the zip-flap to do your “duty” – it was a priceless, brilliant parody of the ridiculous nature of As Seen On TV consumerism.
Then it hit me. This isn’t fake. This is 100% for fucking real.
What. The. Fuck.
I watched the trailer for The Hobbit yesterday. It was all over my Facebook feed, since many of my friends are hardcore nerds like me. The people who posted about it were excited and seemed to really like it. I was apprehensive. I’d seen some stills of the dwarves before, and I wasn’t particularly wowed by them. It looked like someone had set up a Glamour Shots in the Shire’s newest mini-mall. But I was still somewhat hopeful, but I have to admit that most of my dreams of a great adaptation of one of my favorite books went bye-bye when I learned that Peter Jackson was behind it.
Blasphemy! you say. Peter Jackson made the most awesomest wickedest LOTR films ever! He brought them to a mainstream audience! HE IS OUR NEW GEORGE LUCAS!
I am fully aware that sports fandom is a wholly irrational pastime. There is nothing inherently logical about identifying oneself with a group of strangers who wear a particular uniform. “Cheering for laundry” and all that. I get it. But just because my logical brain recognizes and acknowledges this doesn’t mean that the lizard brain way in the back doesn’t get its way. I go nearly insane about my chosen type of laundry. There is something else, though, beyond my deep-seated rooting for the Washington Redskins. That is my hatred for the Dallas Cowboys.
I fucking hate the Dallas Fucking Cowboys.