Sunday, November 30, 2008

Paddington - There's Hope!

Dear me! It almost looks as though he looked at some new-age, socialist, gender-neutral, politically-correct Medusa!

But there's hope, Little Bear! There are still Legions of wise, honorable, barrel-chested manly men with deep, booming voices who keep the lights shining in the City on a Hill! They are like a hoplite army of oiled, rippling, intellectual Spartans! I have heard their wise words, and I know they will serve as a beacon to guide you home!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Update

Sorry, I forgot!

Turkey: Vile. Worst I ever made. Wet, tasteless, and tough as leather. Don't know what happened.

Ham: Best ever. Salty, sweet, with a hot mustard/horseradish/maple glaze.

Stuffing: Great batch. Added walnuts and mushrooms and the different textures were perfect.

Beets and brussel sprouts: Great batches of much-maligned vegetables. Firm and flavorful. Lemon pepper on the sprouts, butter and a little dill on the beets.

Cranberry relish. Excellent batch. Used clementines and walnuts this time. Nice tang and crunch.

Pickles. Put them down in September. A little too sour, but what crunch! And the dill and garlic flavors were incredible.

Marinated mushrooms. A little too HOT (spicy), but a nice winey, woodsy taste. Good in small doses.

Pies (apple, pecan, and pumpkin): All great, especially the pecan.

So I think I'm gonna do a lot of the same dishes for Christmas and buy my turkey elsewhere and we'll be GTG!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm Too Efficient!!

I am!

I only started cooking at 9:45am, and it's now 1:15 and I have nothing to do!

I've made 5 pies (1 apple, 2 pecan, 2 pumpkin), the brussel sprouts, the creamed onions, the cranberry sauce, the beets, and boiled the potatoes. I only bought a turkey breast, not a whole turkey, so I won't put that in for another couple hours. So here I am!

I'll let you know later how things turn out, as I made some different stuff this year!

People Love "Thin Them Out"!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

FearZone Review!

And wow, what a review!



Three weeks. I think he's jumped ship. Perhaps even gone overseas. Joined a cult. Who knows?

I think of all his pictures, this one reminds me of him the most - lost, confused, trying to fit in with "normal" people but not quite succeeding. It is difficult, being a bear.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Top 50 Horror Movies of All Time

A new list, which I participated in making:

1. Halloween (1978) dir: John Carpenter
2. The Exorcist (1973) dir: William Friedkin
3. Psycho (1960) dir: Alfred Hitchcock
4. Night of the Living Dead (1968) dir: George Romero
5. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) dir: Tobe Hooper
6. Frankenstein (1931) dir: James Whale
7. The Shining (1980) dir: Stanley Kubrick
8. The Thing (1982) dir: John Carpenter
9. Alien (1979) dir: Ridley Scott
10. Nosferatu (1922) dir: F.W. Murnau
11. Dawn of the Dead (1978) dir: George Romero
12. Bride of Frankenstein (1935) dir: James Whale
13. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) dir: Wes Craven
14. Jaws (1975) dir: Steven Spielberg
15. The Blair Witch Project (1999) dir: Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez
16. The Haunting (1963) dir: Robert Wise
17. King Kong (1933) dir: Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack
18. Rosemary’s Baby (1968) dir: Roman Polanski
19. Dracula (1931) dir: Todd Browning
20. The Evil Dead (1981) dir: Sam Raimi
21. Poltergeist (1982) dir: Tobe Hooper
22. Black Sunday (La Maschera del Demonio) (1960) dir: Mario Bava
23. The Phantom of the Opera (1925) dir: Rupert Julian
24. An American Werewolf in London (1980) dir: John Landis
25. Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) dir: Jack Arnold
26. Friday the 13th (1980) dir: Sean Cunningham
27. Evil Dead II (1988) dir: Sam Raimi
28. Alucarda (1978) dir: Juan Lopez Moctezuma
29. Carrie (1976) dir: Brian DePalma
30. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) dir: Francis Ford Coppola
31. The Fly (1986) dir: David Cronenberg
32. The Fog (1980) dir: John Carpenter
33. The Wolf Man (1941) dir: George Waggner
34. House on Haunted Hill (1959) dir: William Castle
35. Night of the Demon (1957) dir: Jacques Tourneur
36. Frankenstein (1910) dir: J. Searle Dawley
37. Dellamorte Dellamore (Cemetery Man) (1994) dir: Michele Soavi
38. Thriller (1983) dir: John Landis
39. The Addiction (1995) dir: Abel Ferrara
40. Aliens (1986) dir: James Cameron
41. Phantasm (1979) dir: Don Coscarelli
42. The Thing from Another World (1951) dir: Christian Nyby
43. Zombi 2 (1979) dir: Lucio Fulci
44. The Mist (2007) dir: Frank Darabont
45. Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) dir: Jack Clayton
46. The Living Dead Girl (1982) dir: Jean Rollin
47. The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962) dir: Joseph Green
48. The Return of the Living Dead (1985) dir: Dan O’Bannon
49. Suspiria (1976) dir: Dario Argento
50. Salem’s Lot (1979) dir: Tobe Hooper

Sunday, November 23, 2008

FREE Stuff!

As part of the promotion for Dying to Live: Life Sentence, I produced a little "reader's companion" - it tells some of the background of the writing process, where I got some of my ideas and inspiration. I printed it up as a pamphlet and have handed them out at cons to people who bought the book. But I have a few left and would be happy to send those to people who have bought the book online. Just send your surface mail address to me: kimpaffenroth at msn dot com.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Asking Fiction Writers to Write, vs. Asking Professors to Write

A striking difference, to be sure.

If I issue a call for submissions for, say, off the top of my head, an anthology of zombie stories, and I'm paying virtually nothing ($25-$50 plus a free book) - then I get 300 submissions. 50 of them are good. 20 go in the anthology. I'm done on time and have a fine product.

If I ask fellow professors to write book reviews, which pay about the same (a free book, a book that normally costs about $100), and which we professors are supposed to do as part of our contribution to scholarship, then this is what I get:

I can't find anyone to do reviews of books in German, French, or Italian.

Even for books written in English, I have to ask five people, in order to get one who agrees to do it.

Of the four per book that don't agree to do the review, two of them don't even bother to write back to say "No." They just ignore my email.

When a person does agree to do the review, there's a good chance that s/he will forget to do it anyway, and if I remind the person, there's an excellent chance his/her response will not be "Oh yes, I'll get right on it," but rather, "Oh, nope, can't do that after all."

The same situation applies if I'm looking for people to write essays for a journal or an anthology.

So, I'm thinking my dealings with fiction writers are looking preferable right now.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What a Great Review of History Is Dead!

And it is!

The reviewer's choices of which stories to focus on is astute. I have always thought that little more needs to be said about the anthology than "Jane Austen vs. Zombies." That right there is enough: you haven't seen it, and you know you want to!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Other Desk

Might as well do the same for the desk here at work, though this one has a LOT more stuff, so I'll just give a list. It's also not quite as sentimental and more a travelogue of places I've been.

4" Homer Simpson
3" Punisher
2 x 2" Statues of Liberty
2" Big Ben
2" Eiffel Tower
hand carved Weeping Buddha
ceramic Fat Buddha (Hotei)
Day of the Day band (the holiday, not the movie)
The Mach 6 Happy Meal toy
2" Koln Cathedral (if you look really close, you can see me being mugged at the side door)
2" Strasbourg Cathedral (no mugging, but if you look on the roof you can see me gasping for breath after climbing a couple hundred stairs to be closer to God)
A Series of Unfortunate Events Magic 8 Ball
World Horror Convention foam skull
Hot Springs, Arkansas, snow globe
Niagara Falls snow globe
StoryBook Land, NJ, snow globe
Florida snow globe (golden glitter instead of snow)
Carlsbad Caverns snow globe
Old Orchard Beach, Maine, ship in a bottle
Nantucket ship in a bottle
Newport, RI, litte carved wooden ship captain
Atlantic City, NJ, carved shell
Lincoln's birthplace log cabin bank
World's Greatest Dad trophy
Iona College paperweight (my annual "award" for meritorious service)
Nassau, Bahamas, carved wooden stingray
photos of Curious George and The Snowman holding my daughter when she was a baby (and when I worked at Borders and had to dress up as cartoon characters to pay the rent)
photo of my son when was really little
35mm frames from Escape from New York in lucite holder
autographed photo of Patrick McGoohan

Oh, might as well keep going! On the wall we have:

Escape from New York poster signed by Adrienne Barbeau
2006 Faculty Speaker of the Year plaque
Bhagavad Gita calendar
DinosaurLand (Winchester, VA) pennant
Judas Priest Screaming for Vengeance mirror
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band pressed tin reproduction of album cover
Angel vs Devil original painting by world famous graphic artist Bill Lebeda
assorted drawings by my kids and my office mate's kids before they got too old to draw stuff

And on the shelves we have (besides books):

Dad (not picture, the real deal)
Chinese stone lantern (see previous entry)
ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Award
plaid shirt zombie figure
autographed photo of Scott Reiniger
a lithograph of Iona College (another annual "award")
autographed photo of Ron Glass
photo of my son when he was really little
pen and ink drawing by Bill Lebeda (gift for being in his wedding party)
lithograph of Newport, RI, from the John Templeton Foundation
Hare Krishna zombie figure
rainbow-colored apatosaurus bank
Saints and Sinners napkin and $10 bill props from The Punisher movie
Ozzy Osbourne Bark at the Moon figure
The Question figure
the Jupiter 2
Robot from Lost in Space
M48 Patton tank
piece of lava from Craters of the Moon, Idaho
carved stone polar bear
wooden apatosaurus and Tyrannosaurus
carved stone stegosaurus
carved and lacquered wooden slug
masked Mexican wrestler figure
jar of sea shells
RCMP bank

Whew! That's a lot of stuff! No wonder I like sitting here, working, and just looking around!

Publishers Weekly

Lookin' at the Stuff on My Desk

I got a lot of little knick-knacks. So I'll go through what they represent, as it's quite a goulash of late 20th century pop culture

Thunderbirds: I got an original TB2 and a retro TB1 on the desk. Used to watch it constantly, mostly when I was really young, like preschool age. Once school started, I remember mostly Kimba, and then when we moved to VA, I remember Marine Boy and Speed Racer.

GORT: I sprung for a GORT reproduction a few years ago. He's heavy, like he's made out of depleted uranium or something. He looks good. I remember that cautionary tale, and often think of how it chastens us to not think we're so smart or know so much.

Arthur: I don't remember where he came from, but he was my son's absolute favorite creature in the preschool years. Santa brought an Arthur tshirt one year , and it was an adult medium (since that was the only size Dad could get at Borders when he worked there) and it was humongous on my little 4 year old, but Mom played it off as an elf's mistake and he wore it as a huge nightshirt for years and loved it to death.

Signed JUDAS PRIEST pic in steel knobby frame: When I first included a quotation from the Lads from Birmingham in one of my books, I asked for a signed pic and they sent it! Yay! It glowers. It glares. It's an inspiration to me.

Picture of 1980 Toyota Corona: OMG that car. I have a dream about it about once a month. I'd be buried in it if I could, but it was towed away. I hope someday Gary Busey and I could go on a quest to find the wreck of it in a junkyard and tow it back to my house. It was everything a car or lover should be - loyal, trustworthy, hard working, undemanding, indestructible.

A half century of goodness there. I'm glad I was around for it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

He's Dead, Jim!

Yes, Bones, he is. My father died almost exactly four years ago. (I joked at the time that the election would kill him, and it did. I still joke about that, since my jokes are often inappropriate.)

He didn't have a lot of sentimental stuff, or stuff in general. He had boxes full of slides, and I spent some weeks going through those and paid to have the best ones converted to prints, that I put together into an album. So that was nice. My friend Bill still has some tools in his garage that we cleared out of my father's car and apartment. His car had like 200k miles on it and a slipping clutch and squealing brakes, so that went to charity. I kept a few books but donated the rest to the LA Public Library. There was a lemon squeezer I remembered from when I was a kid (of all the things to keep!). Not too much else. The dude travelled light, you got to give him that.

But he had this little stone Chinese lantern. Not as big as the one above, maybe only 8" high, but the same basic design. It would sit on the coffee table or end table when I was little. It came in three parts - the base (four legs), the top (like a hat), and a middle section with little windows. All balanced on top of one another, they weren't attached. Somewhere over the years, the middle section had been lost and/or broken, but the two remaining pieces were packed away. But I didn't know what to do with them. I thought if I could find a sphere about 4" in diameter, I could balance it in the middle; but the top part wouldn't sit right on that, I found. I needed a sphere that size with a flat side. But I didn't know where to get one. Then I noticed that that is the design of a lot of glass paperweights, like the one above. And I saw one at Pier One. So now it's all put together and sitting in my office. Yay!

Oh, and to bring it all full circle to the quotation: it now sits on the shelf in front of a big stack of The Truth Is Out There: Christian Faith and the Classics of TV Science Fiction (Brazos, 2006), in which I give a Christian reading of Star Trek. Next to the stack are the dude's ashes. I don't know what exactly to do with them, as he didn't leave directions, and my wife cannot abide being in the vicinity of anything that reminds her of death, anyone's death, so there they remain! I thought it was better than the trunk of my car, though he might have liked that better, in a way. My father loved Star Trek. He hated Christianity. He would've hated my book. But, hey, you don't get to pick how you're honored when you're dead, do you? So there it is, his own little shrine! And for all my flippancy, I do hope he likes it in whatever way he is capable of now.

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part!

Writing the darned novel was a snap! And fun! Waiting to hear its fate is not! I hope I have an announcement here soon! Maybe for Thanksgiving?! Or Christmas? How about New Year?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

People Say He's Okay

But is he really? I'm not so sure. I'm still worried. All those secularists and leftists, emoboldened by last week's election results: who knows what could happen to a bear?


Pretty great time seeing them with the boy child. The opening band was painful. I mean, if your band wants to play lame covers at the Holiday Inn on Tuesday nights when there are free wings and $2 well drinks, that's great - but to open for BOC with such foolishness? Embarrassing. And the lads of BOC played a few too many B side tracks, and should've definitely played Veteran of the Psychic Wars. But man, when they play a solo, it's one for the ages, every time. I remember seeing Yngwie, and his solos just got so darned boring. But tonight, the solos, even though they came hot and heavy, just felt right and kept the crowd (all 2k of them in a classic 1920s theater) enthralled. Definitely worth it. I think Burning for You and Hot Rails might be my more favorite cuts, over the typical Godzilla and Don't Fear the Reaper.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Decorative Alternative to Firearms

Monday, November 10, 2008

Final Table of Contents

Congratulations to those who will be in the upcoming anthology from Permuted Press, The World Is Dead:

Bobbie Metevier, "The Loneliest Man in the World"
William Bolen, "December Warming"
Gustavo Bondoni, "Bridge over the Cunene"
Jennifer Brozek, "A Bite to Remember"
William Carl, "Genuflect"
Peter Clines, "Dead Men Can't Complain"
Kris Dikeman, "What Comes After"
Walter Jarvis, "The Office Party"
Kyle Johnson, "The New Dumb"
Carole Lanham, "The Blue Word"
Dave Macpherson, "Gather Round, Gather Round"
Ralph Robert Moore, "Fleeing, on a Bicylce with Your Father, from the Living Dead"
Christine Morgan, "Cured Meat"
Mark Onspaugh, "The Song of Absent Birds"
David Pinnt, "Working Man's Burden"

They will join three invited contributors: Jack Ketchum, Dave Wellington, and Gary Braunbeck.

Someone asked earlier, on the subject of the avalanche of submissions that came in on the last day (August 31): did late or early submissions have a higher or lower rate of acceptance? So I compiled the data:

Of the 15 accepted stories,

2 received on August 1
2 received on August 2
1 received on August 4
1 received on August 10
1 received on August 15
1 received on August 17
1 received on August 24
1 received on August 30
5 received on August 31

Nearly a Week He's Been Gone

He's a very friendly bear, as this picture shows. But I'm afraid he'll fall in with the wrong crowd - godless heathen socialists or whatnot. Please help!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Close to Announcement

Choices made. In final discussion with Permuted's editor before we send out final, official acceptance and put this anthology to bed. In all seriousness - everyone should be very proud of their submissions and I'm sure that any that made the first cut will find soon find homes somewhere if they're not chosen for this one.

Friday, November 07, 2008

My Method

For the last cut, I'm writing down the author's name, word count, and one phrase description. Thus:

"Author - 4100 words - zombie satire of reality TV" or
"Author - 3900 words - western" or
"Author - 5200 words - people being raised to be fed to zombie overlords"

(To take three random examples of plots I've seen.)

This way, I'll be comparing apples to apples, getting an assortment, and keeping an eye on the word count.

Even Better from Today's NYTimes

This sums it up:

I'd post it on Shocklines to start a flame war with everyone who was shouting before the election that Obama would be the end of American democracy and our way of life, as I'd love to see them react to an eloquent statement that his election is, in fact, the fulfillment of the ideals of the American Founding. But then, I remembered something about pearls before swine and decided why bother?

From Today's NYTimes

“You walk the mall and consumers look like zombies,” said Mr. Morris of Wachovia, after visiting a mall last week. “They’re there in person, but not in spirit.”

Have You Seen This Bear?

Missing since November 4.

Please help. His friends and I are very worried. He only had the one jacket and one honey sandwich when he disappeared, so he must be hungry and cold.

From Fencon08

Since I don't check my MySpace messages and comments much:

Now I see why people say I have pretty eyes.

And Gabrielle... well... just pretty in general.

Thanks for snapping the pic!

Spike TV!!!

Now shows Married... With Children at midnight!

Woohoo! That was a late 90s standby at 11pm, followed by M*A*S*H!!!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Second Cut

I still wasn't ruthless, so I only got it down to 33. Those who did not make it should've gotten the rejection.

Some of you have asked what the total number accepted will be. It'll be by word count, not number of stories. Given the length of the stories I've been reading, I'd say I'll have room for 12-13 of the 33 remaining.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Pimpage for Thin Them Out!

Nice little write up by someone who loves zombies:

(Scroll down)

"The Genius of America"

Exactly. That's what this is about. It's not about the candidate, but about the genius of the nation that elected him. And not "genius" like "very smart" but "genius" as in "motivating, defining ethos or spirit." That's what's on display right now and it's glorious.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

We Won

You know what? Even the people who voted against the winner - they won too. We all did. There is now reason to hope.

No More TBR

54 in the maybe pile

(One contributor has to resend his/her submission, since it was in a format I couldn't open, so the maybe pile could increase by one.)

Thanks to all who contributed. I think we are all in for some unusual zombie tales when this is completed!

Review at HFR!

From award-winning author Christine Morgan:

The last paragraph is so nice of Christine! To quote:

"Dr. Paffenroth has a grasp of the human psyche that lets him really get in there and tweak the sensitive spots to make a reader squirm. His masterful handling of the truly tragic zombie character in particular brings out the genuine soul-wrenching fear of loss of one’s self, one’s memories, and one’s essential humanity. This is an author who brings a background of deep thought and education to the realms of the walking dead, and I for one hope it’s a long time before he moves on entirely to loftier noble literary pursuits."


Old school shoot-the-zombies game:

("X" is the reload key!)



Triumph of The Walking Dead