Monday, November 30, 2009

Karmic Equilibrium

Got a great parking spot.

Got some Christmas lights on BOGO at CVS. (The poor outdoor Santa didn't light up!)

Got another rejection letter.

Was informed that something as routine as a timing belt replacement will cost $900 (?!), but has to be done lest the engine be destroyed by the flapping frayed belt when it breaks. "Well, we got to work on it all day." Uh-huh. Why the hell did you design the car so that the belt couldn't be reached w/o disassembling the whole frickin' engine, Sparky? Geez, didn't you used to be able to replace belts yourself, or if you took it to the shop, it was an extremely minor repair, like tires or hoses?

So, no, I don't think we're near equilibrium today. I think I'm owed all kinds of good stuff in the days to come. Let's go!

Cyber Monday!

Please follow the links at the right to all my awesome books! Think what perfect gifts they'd make for Hanukkah or Christmas or solstice or whatever you celebrate! We got your theology, we got your zombies, and we got your theology about zombies! Buy a few!

Friday, November 27, 2009


All the dishes turned out GREAT (even the much maligned turkey breast). Some of the best batches I've made, including the gravy (which I always have some trouble with). The whole process was made MUCH more difficult by my decision to do canning on top of everything else. I'd bought 3 quarts of tiny garlic heads a LONG time ago, and they needed to be pickled and canned. I'd been putting it off, because I suspected how long it would take to peel several hundred cloves of garlic - A F'IN LONG TIME THAT IS! Whew! I think I have carpal tunnel syndrome from so much pinching and cutting and peeling. All that for about 3 pints of pickled garlic. They better be pretty darned good. I guess I'll open the first jar at Christmas and find out!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Religion's Improving?

Or at least books about religion are improving, argues Nick Kristof.

On the one hand, standard stuff (Israelites only became monotheistic during the Exile, God had a consort, Paul invented Christianity), but it's nice that it's arguing these (partly questionable) ideas may be part of a larger pattern of religion becoming more open, less tribal and violent. And that'd be good.

Thanksgiving Preparations

The bread is torn into chunks and in a metal bowl, getting dried out overnight. (I actually found an ancient roll that had not gotten moldy, but just rock hard, so that went into the mix, as it should!)

Succotash in the freezer

Bird defrosting in the fridge. Had a terrible fight with the missus over my buying a turkey breast (rather than the whole thing) but I've done that several years now, as NO ONE (including her) eats dark meat, and I end up throwing out 1/3 of the bird, which is terrible. And it doesn't even fit in the fridge in its un-dismembered state, so I don't know why I'd want a whole bird. But guess what? After all that yelling, there'll be a whole turkey for Christmas, if I have to take a shelf out of the fridge, and no matter how much I throw out after. Just got to be.

ZOMG I got to make gravy, don't I? Every year I made gravy, for 20 years, and it all went down the drain, cuz no one ate it. Then last year - I skipped gravy, and everyone bitched there wasn't gravy. (See previous entry for similar phenomenon.) Making gravy I guess!

Potatoes sitting there, waiting to be cooked and mashed. Onions sitting next to them, waiting to be cooked and served in a cream sauce.

No yams. Never had them at home. I'll bide my time til Christmas on the brussel sprouts and beets.

Pumpkin and pecan pies waiting to be made.

Pickles and olives waiting to be plated.

It's really paint by numbers, you know? The curry I made tonight was harder to make than tomorrow's dinner.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

In light of my earlier blog entry on religious matters, and in consultation with my good friends Scott and Matt, and then while watching the Obama vegetarian state dinner (quel horreur! how UnAmerican two days before Thanksgiving, say the Republicans!!), the following epiphany came to me.

I always struggle with what to serve the day before or the day after a HUGE "traditional" feast like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter. I don't even mean it to be penitential, I just can't imagine eating more meat and grease in the days surrounding that triptophane coma, feeding frenzy. I want something light, and preferably spicy (since American holiday foods are salty, but not usually spiced too much - except, ironically, the pumpkin pie). My good friend Bill tried to sell me on posole, but as much as I like Mexican food, it just wasn't working for me. Too much like grits (and I have lots of friends trying to sell me on those, too). I think I'd serve waffles, but the kids hate them (I know, weird kids). I think one year before the kids were born, I did shrimp creole, but again, they don't like that. Then, as I saw all those people at the White House, it came to me: chicken curry. Maybe green. Spicy. Lots of celery and carrots. It's gonna be good. (And all their food aversions aside, the kids love curry.)

Happy Thanksgiving, to all those immigrants - uptight Puritans in the 17th and 18th centuries, papists and beer-swilling Germans like my great-grandparents at the end of the 19th, and now all those Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims. Welcome!

Religionists = Trekkies!

The waggish claim made in this essay, along with some interesting observations about belief, secularism, and truth.

Hmm, well, if my only choices were "fundamentalism" or a secularized, atheist version of religion, I think I'd go for the latter every time. But, of course, I don't exactly see those as the only two choices (though they're probably the two most noticeable and vocal). How I would put it, is that believers, and Trekkers, and secular Jews, and these Shakespeare scholars he describes - all strive for and long for something transcendent, and that transcendent thing is true. It's not a metaphor. But our only ways to talk about it (God, The One, The Good, Allah, Brahman, etc.) are metaphorical. So in that sense none of them will ever be completely, literally true, but they also don't need to be dismissed as mere subjective, personal whims or tastes.

I see myself as struggling with my coreligionists on a similar trajectory: can a believer look at other faiths (no, not Trekkers, but Buddhists and Hindus and others) and say, "That's another story, like mine, and it's equally beautiful and enlightening and brings its adherents closer to a God(s)"? I had a several month long email debate with a fundie, which I finally (and embarrassingly) ended with saying I was just sick of his abhorrent beliefs, and I couldn't understand how anyone would believe such crazy bullshit in the 21st century. Anyway, in all those scores of emails, I couldn't budge him to go anywhere near that proposition, and yet, to me, the proposition is self-evident. Indeed, the opposite of that proposition, "What I believe is true. What those people over there believe is false, and probably inspired by demonic forces out to seduce and mislead humanity to everlasting punishment," is precisely what kept me from joining Christianity for a long time - I just couldn't believe such a crazy, dismissive, smug, self-confident, narrow-minded point of view, and I never will, and I will never have much sympathy or interest in people who do hold such a view.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Package Arrives!

My author copies of VALLEY OF THE DEAD came in the mail today, as I was running out the door to go to work, so I only got a chance to rip open the box and briefly look at them. They're very pretty! I hope all customers enjoy them, both as a collectible, beautiful object, and also as a story!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's Not Springsteen!

Following the interview last week about my American Dream, I had to pick a song to go with it. (Gee they come up with some odd ball assignments.) So I picked Green Day's "American Idiot." I'm thinking the teacher will get enough "Born in the USA"!

Runners up choices were Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" and Maiden's "Stranger in a Strange Land."

Graveyard Podcast


ZOMG the Truman chapters this time are heartbreaking. I'm rereading a couple and wow.

OMG the thing with the rats. Where the hell did I come up with that?

You all are going to be pleased, I think. Really pleased and surprised.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chapter 18

1800 words

55,400 words total

New Zombie Book List

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chapter 16

1500 words
53,600 words total

I'm keeping the parameters much closer this time, it seems - almost every chapter is 1500-2500 words, only a few are 1000-1500 or 2500-3000.

Wasps' Nest

There's one suspended WAAAAAY above the skylight of our house - probably 30' up in a tree. There was one there last year, too, but it got knocked down in a winter storm, its half-frozen inhabitants to be devoured by birds. That's gotta suck - working all summer to make your home safe - which is just a paper bag made out of goop you secrete - then suddenly you're half awake with some bird-monster tearing your chest open. So I'm hoping they do better this year!

Monster Librarian

Gives a great review of The World Is Dead. I especially like how they say non-horror fans will like the stories. That's always a nice bonus, and I think it's quite true of some of the tales therein.

Here's the cut and paste version:

There is little doubt that zombies are the “in” monster these days, and the number of zombie anthologies and collected works seem to be rising faster than the corpses coming out of the ground. The World is Dead is a collection of zombie stories about life after a zombie plague has ravaged the world. The interesting thing about The World is Dead is that it provides the reader with different aspects of existing in a world with zombies. Paffenroth divides his book into four sections: work, family, love, and life. The World is Dead offers up a wide variety of stories from some very talented authors and I would highly recommend the book. The thing to keep in mind about the book is that while there are some chilling stories, there are some that are actually very touching such as “December Warming" by William Bolden. The World is Dead is a book for fans of the zombie concept, not just for those looking for zombie gore. The cover of the book doesn’t really do the book justice, it shows a couple of authority types moving a bloodied restrained zombie in a facility which implies more a chew and chop type book than you actually get. Rest assured, there are some stories that have action and gore, but others are thoughtful, humorous, and touching. The World is Dead is one of the strongest zombie anthologies that have come out recently and should be definitely be added to a library collection.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

God Bless America Redux

Just realized what I ate this week so far for dinner - Japanese, kosher, and Chinese. Truly the blessings of multiculturalism are abundantly clear to me!

Package on Its Way!

It claims to have left Bell, CA, at 11:28 pm Sunday night, via some unspecified form of conveyance.

I'm guessing mule train.

UPDATE: ZOMG It's in Jersey City! That's an hour from here, using modern transportation!!

Orpheus and the Pearl

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Going Rogue!

Nothing new here, just the classic Palin As President website in all its fun interactivity!

Though it did make me wonder: what kind of scandal do you think would bring this woman down? Some of Levi's revelations that she sits on the couch and demands others go get her Taco Bell for dinner seemed hilarious, but hardly scandalous. I'm thinking Todd is the key. It'll be revealed he's been up to something and that'll be the end of her. But, I digress. Enjoy her while you can.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

God Bless America!

My son brought home a school assignment to interview someone on "What does America mean to you?" And as usual, I surprised myself with my rather Norman Rockwell-esque answers. (And you'll see our friend Hank featured prominently in Question 4 as "anonymous conservative detractor of Kim"!) So here you go! It's funny, I really do get choked up about the place!

1. What is your definition of the American Dream?

Well, I think our society defines it too much as material things – two cars, a big house, etc. Which I guess in itself is a deficiency of the American dream, isn’t it? But deep down, I guess I still believe in it, believe in its possibilities – that the dream is about pursuing what we value, and determining our own values and not necessarily accepting those of our parents, our church, our society. You know, ultimately, I guess it’s about progress – about believing things will be better in the future than they have been in the past. And sometimes that’s a convenient fiction, and it deceives us, but I still can see and hope how it does spur us on to achieve and strive and hope.

2. What is the best feature of American life? Why?

Our choices and freedom. They come at a huge price, I think, of a lack in our feeling of community and responsibility and our tendency to focus on material, immediate gains, our tendency toward an unfocused, empty individualism. But over a long time, I think we can achieve more than people who have their choices made for them, who are led down certain paths – even if those paths are good or comfortable, I think they’ve missed something and they’ll always have to wonder how things would’ve been different if they had other choices.

3. What do you envision for your future in America?

Sometimes I have no idea, and things come in these weird cycles, where the pattern’s only visible after the fact. When I was a teenager, I was an atheist, and I thought that one day I’d make my living by writing weird, rebellious, violent novels. Then as I got older, I became a Christian, and I completely forgot about writing those novels, weird or otherwise. And then I stumbled back into the fiction writing, and my novels are unbelievably violent sometimes, but they’re always informed by a faith and a gentle kind of hope that I never would’ve anticipated when I was younger. So if I had to guess today, I’d say I’ll keep on writing novels, maybe with greater success. But really, I can’t say. That goes back to the excitement and thrill and mystery of having so many choices and opportunities.

4. Why do you choose to live in America rather than any other nation?

Wow, that’s a really weird thought, because in the abstract, I’d say sure, I’d think of living somewhere else. Why not? I’ve been all over, and I like other places, and some conservative people I know would say that I hate America, because I sometimes criticize its government’s policies – so why not move away? But when I think of my friends from high school who are expatriates, I feel sorry for them, like they have no rootedness, no sense of belonging, nothing that they can show their kids and say, “See, this is where I grew up, this is what I value, and now that’s a part of you, too.” My gosh – if you moved somewhere where they don’t speak English, even if you raised your kids to speak it, you’d face the possibility that one day your grandkids wouldn’t, and you wouldn’t be able to communicate with them. What must that feel like? I’d feel so sad and isolated. Maybe that’s it: of course I don’t always feel proud of my country – sometimes I feel ashamed, sometimes I feel proud, sometimes I feel confused, but I always feel like I belong, like this is a part of me. It’s very much how you feel toward your parents as you get older – you see how they’ve made you who you are, even as you try to establish your own identity separate and distinct from them, and you just can’t deny that connection.

5. How has your American Dream evolved?

See above on Question 3. “Evolve” is the right word – you’d never be able to explain why you were making a duck-billed platypus, if you were setting out to design an animal and fitting parts together, but in retrospect, looking at how it’s now fitted and adapted to its environment, it makes a kind of sense and you see how it works. So if I’d tried to deliberately become a novelist after high school, I probably would’ve gone to school to get an MFA in Creative Writing and I’d probably still be working at Borders and kind of frustrated and disappointed. But I did what I did, with totally different goals and plans in mind at the time, but it somehow moved me down different paths to a goal I had in mind, even if I envisioned totally different ways to go about it.

6. Do you believe the American dream is available to everyone?

Well, see above on the first question. If you define the American dream as “Having a ton of stuff,” then no – there isn’t enough stuff in the world for all of us to have two cars and a big house and a bunch of other stuff. If it’s about finding fulfillment and opportunity and freedom – then I don’t see an intrinsic reason why some would be excluded.

7. What does it say about America that it has its own dream?

I’ve heard Europeans phrase it exactly this way – that they love England or Russia or wherever they’re from just as much as we love America, but we love the idea of America, whereas their love for their country is more of an ethnic or tribal kind of affection or familiarity. We are, deep down, more than any other country, a voluntary association and not an ethnic one (even though in Question 4 I alluded to a lot of those feelings now seeping down to my subconscious). We think this is not just a great place or a great nation, we think it’s the right way to be – and I think this gets us in trouble when we try to nation build or export democracy or other disastrous policies, but I see where that urge comes from: it’s essentially democratic and evangelistic. Of course we want to economically exploit other lands, like the British Empire did, but we also want to make them into us – and if we succeed, they’ll want to be free and break free from us. Makes us great empire builders, because we’re so enthusiastic and so convinced of our moral rectitude, but it also makes us terrible empire builders, as we sow the seeds of our own undoing.

8. How would your career be limited if you were not in America?

I haven’t lived other places, so I can’t be 100% sure. I suspect I would’ve had to commit to a career choice earlier on, and I suspect “World’s Greatest [Only] Theologian / Zombie Novelist” would not have been on the list, because that’s just not something you train for or plan on. So I’m very grateful I lived somewhere where I could stumble around and find my own circuitous, convoluted way to a fun, fulfilling life.

9. Overall do you think America benefits you in a more positive way than some other countries might have?

As much as my European friends love their countries, when they talk to me, I always sense a sort of bemused envy, so I’m going to have to guess “yes.” Also, I think it’s a matter of being faithful to one’s ancestors. Every American is the descendant of people who sacrificed and risked everything to come over here. So if I say now that it wasn’t worth it – wow, I’m really disrespecting and devaluing everything they went through.

10. Has your American Dream been fulfilled? Has it changed? Why?

See above on Questions 3 and 5. Or, to quote the ancient Athenian lawgiver Solon, “Call no man happy until he’s dead.” I have achieved some goals I thought I had, just not in the way I thought I would. I have found more goals along the way – like being a professor and having children – that I wouldn’t have guessed as a youngster. Will there be more? Will there be disappointments? Probably some of both. So long as I’m free to pull myself up and proceed, take stock and reevaluate what I want to do, then I’d say the dream continues. Maybe that’s part of it, too – the dream is not really a matter of being fulfilled, but a matter of continuing it and passing its vision and potential on to future generations.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Package on its Way?

Albeit vewwwwwy slowly.

"Your item is enroute and was last scanned at 11:28 PM on 11/15/2009 in BELL,CA 90201."

Like it's huntin' wabbits.

So it was supposedly shipped on Thursday, and still in CA early this morning. I'm not holding out much hope for how long it takes it to cover the remaining 3k miles to me, or Graceland, or wherever it ends up.

EDIT: Tuesday afternoon, it's still in Bell, CA. At this rate it'll reach me in.... oh, never. How's never sound? Does never work for you? KTHNXBY!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Genetically Predisposed

Humans are genetically wired for religion, claims report in NYTimes. An interesting take, as it's not congenial to either atheist or religionist perspectives, but it's basically what I've always thought about religious beliefs - they're not purely subjective or arbitrary, but they're part of being a human animal, and then shaped by one's culture. And just as one can feel pride and find meaning in one's culture, and yet appreciate and admire others people's cultures, so we can feel about our various faiths.

Check out the last paragraph:

"Could the evolutionary perspective on religion become the basis for some kind of detente between religion and science? Biologists and many atheists have a lot of respect for evolution and its workings, and if they regarded religious behavior as an evolved instinct they might see religion more favorably, or at least recognize its constructive roles. Religion is often blamed for its spectacular excesses, whether in promoting persecution or warfare, but gets less credit for its staple function of patching up the moral fabric of society. But perhaps it doesn’t deserve either blame or credit. If religion is seen as a means of generating social cohesion, it is a society and its leaders that put that cohesion to good or bad ends. "

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Happy Birthday to Moby Dick!

I can't offer you the zombie version of it for this anniversary, but maybe next!

Campbell's Select Harvest

Continuing my series of budgt-conscious food tips!
These soups are incredible, for when you want something a little nicer than the 4/$1 ramen noodles that are a couple rungs down on the budget-conscious ladder! And they come in some nice unusual flavors - I'm eating French Onion right now, and I really like the Crab soup.

Megan Fox

I've said it on twitter and I think on message boards, but I don't think I've said it here: I don't even think she's all that, looks wise.
This is one of the nicer (and more demure) photos of her. If you look at the FHM photos (all over the net) she looks bony. I don't think she has that great of a figure. And the way she's posed (including this photo) - look at her face. Forehead WAY too big (compounded by the way she wears her hair - I don't think I've ever said a woman would look better with bangs, but this time I'd be willing to risk it). Eyes half closed is SUPPOSED to be a "come hither" look, but on her it looks reptilian. And as my fellow LOTTD blogger points out - what's all this crap about her encouraging young women to be themselves and go against stereotypes? Ms. Fox has made all her copious fame and money by living up (or down) to the standard (male oriented) stereotype of the sexually insatiable, young, physically desirable (in a completely fem way) woman. No bucking the stereotype there. She has sex with women and kills men in one movie (after being damsel in distress in her other big role)? So what? That easily fits the stereotype.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chapter 14

Had a long discussion on Facebook of what bad names women call other women - and yes, I'd heard before how catty women can be, but ZOMG. The one term they came up with I couldn't believe. I would never, under any circumstances, have EVER thought to call a woman that.

So, thanks for the verisimilitude, gals! But wow! I feel like I'm so naive and sheltered now.

1900 words
51,800 words total


Favorite Beta Comments

"He needs gutting"

"I hope she gets gutted too"

"Add him to the needs gutting list"

The talented and blood thirsty Christine Morgan comes through again! I can't guarantee the righteous killing spree at the end will be everything you hope for, but I think you'll like it!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Zombie Apocalypse!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Totally Forgot!

Valley of the Dead Edits

Going through the manuscript again, this time with the great editing skills of Louise Bohmer! Tightening it up great for the trade paperback release next year!

Have worked my way through to one of my favorite paragraphs in the whole thing, as they camp on the edge of the burning plain:

"An icy wind began to blow, swirling the ash around them like a dirty, grey blizzard, except the sickening snow stung like a maelstrom of ground glass. Dante drew his knees up and pulled a blanket over his head, crossing his arms in front of himself to pull the fabric tight across his cheeks, leaving just a gap for his eyes. He watched the others do the same, their motions slow and stiff, the way ghosts or people in dreams move. They could’ve been four survivors on the Anatolian plains, with the ashes of fallen Troy raining down on them as they bided their time waiting for the inevitable, fated rebirth of their people. Or they could’ve been four of the damned on the outskirts of Gomorrah, the salty, toxic exhalation of an unknown, jealous God wearing away every trace of them, as they waited for a sunrise their burning, tear-filled eyes would never see. The feeling of Bogdana’s body pressing against him could not tell Dante which of these two worlds they now inhabited. It could only tell him that he could endure either. "

I'm gonna come out and say it: this description, along with the blasphemer in the next chapter, is better than the original.

The Prisoner

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Scottsdale Mall

Now, really, I try not to get sentimental over malls. That'd be like... I don't know. Getting sentimental over plastic flowers or something.
BUT.... OTOH...
Let's be honest. As the penultimate paragraph of the report admits, there's something like a community feeling about a mall. And I can think of several quite specific memories of Scottsdale. I took my son to see George of the Jungle there, one of the first movies he went to in a theater. I went to see Hard Target there one time when my father came to visit, the last film I saw in a theater with him. Come to think of it, that theater may have been the only one to host three generations of Paffenroths. Interesting. The Hacienda restaurant in the mall was one of the few my wife would go to; not quite sure why, as the food wasn't nearly as good as other Mexican restaurants we've tried over the years, and she doesn' t like Mexican food in general, but there you go. My son's first visits to Santa would've been there. The auto dept at Monkey Ward kept our Toyota going on life support a few more years there.
And, while I try not to get sentimental over malls, if they're going to tear it down just to build a bunch of box stores anyway, I hardly see the improvement. Trading "up" from Montgomery Ward to Kohls? Big deal. Keep the old tiles and plants and escalators. Americans. Always so efficient and in a hurry. When I go to Kohls, I'm in and out in 10 minutes. Nice enough, but not like going to the mall and just walking around, taking the kids to Santa or the Easter Bunny there, playing in the arcade, eating out. Rush, rush, rush now.
In fact, if I were the kind of leftist despot the Right imagines Obama to be, that'd be one of my acts: passing a law that if you tear down a mall, you can't replace it with more stores. You'd have to build something demonstrably different and better - an art gallery, an arena, a surface-to-air missile silo - whatever. Just not supposedly "better" temples to a more rushed, fevered consumerism.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Tweaked the Penultimate Chapter

Nice thing about writing the last chapters before others - they'll be nice and polished and tweaked by the time the whole thing's finished!! And what a paragraph I came up with here!

"Yes, this was where he belonged now. He closed his eyes, overcome by the idea that if the mass of dead were always increasing, and if the only thing that survived death were desire, then the total amount of desire in the universe would always continue to grow, whether to infinity or to some unknown upper limit the mind could never reach. He would make that another object of contemplation. It was a calculus both terrifying and thrilling to him, and one he felt sure would sustain forever those it did not crush with its threat and promise."

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Fifth Customer

Confirms receipt of VALLEY, raves about the look. I still don't have mine!

Chapter 12

Backtracked to pick this one up.

1600 words
49,800 words total

And now I even have a set of three to send the betas! A good weekend day of work!

Another Tuckerization!

And who in the horror community could better sashay on stage in the role of "hot lady bureaucrat"? The choice was obvious!

My Contribution to the Health Care Debate!

I backtracked to pick up the chapter where our heroes enter the post apocalyptic city and are saved there by the city dwellers' more advanced medical treatment. But now our heroes CAN'T PAY!! Get it? See how timely and relevant zombie lit is?!

Friday, November 06, 2009

2nd Customer Pic!

From my old friend, Mic Platt! Thanks Mic!

Now I just have to get him to go to a KISS concert with me! Wish me luck!

Chapter 31

A big one, with lots of good stuff!

3400 words
48,200 words total


Hint of Lime! ZOMG these are GOOD!

New Forum

Check out the new forum at Skullvines Press!

I'll post the link on the right too!

Mall Bookstores Closing

Borders announces it's closing 200 Waldens and Express stores.

B&N already announced they're closing the B. Dalton chain.

So no little bookstores in the mall anymore.

I have to say - I haven't shopped at one in years anyway. If I want to browse books or meet someone for coffee, I'll go to one of the big stores, which are safe (for now). Though the one I go to in Scarsdale looks like it's about to close - there are never more than two people working in that gigantic store, and there are stacks of unshelved books everywhere, and shelves in disarray, like it hasn't been straightened up or stocked for weeks.

First Confirmed Sighting!

We've had three other people say they got theirs in the mail, but Sean Bigard sends in the first customer photo of a copy of VALLEY OF THE DEAD!!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Torture Scenes

I keep telling people - so much easier to write well than fight scenes, which I think almost always include excessive blocking and nowadays are so modelled on video games - you fight the monsters in increasing order of difficulty til you get to the Boss Fight. I don't find them interesting to read or write. But check out this bit of cruelty:

Doctor Jack laughed as he kept pummeling the dead men with his stick. “Oh, you’re a hoot, Lardo! Didn’t put up such a fight when we had you turn the handle for Rat Boy! Is that it? Now you know what the handle does? Ha! You’re smarter than I thought, you dumb piss fuck!” The blows from the stick became more frenzied at this point, and the crowd’s sound turned to jeering laughter. “You actually feel guilty? Is that it? Fuck you! You are! You’re guilty as hell! You do every thing wrong! Everything is your fucking fault anyway, so just shut up and do it! Fucking do it!”

See? He's a bad man. I bet you don't like him now at all (even though he's been shown previously to have a gentler side). I bet when he's killed and eaten, you'll feel the proper catharsis. Aristotle would approve! (Though yes, I know the Aristotelian prohibition on violence on stage. But who can ever forget the eye gouging in King Lear? Again, that shows how effective these scenes can be.)

Tweaked the Book Trailers

Zombies Chatting!

And having such a nice conversation, too, if in somewhat simple syntax (though I didn't go all the way to dropping articles and using the accusative pronoun, making it into "Tarzan" type speech, which I think just sounds silly):

“He was stupid,” said Lou, though Truman couldn’t see him in the darkness. “They call Lou stupid, but plenty of them are dumber. Talk too much. Talk all big, when they don’t know anything. Another minute and maybe Lou would’ve pulled his chain out of the ground. Go over and help Truman break the little lawyer-man. Tear his stupid arm off. Tasty. Gnaw on it for days and days, just like old times before.”

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Got a Fever Ragin' in My Heart!

You make me shiver and shake!
Baby don't stop!
Take it to the top!
Eat it like a piece of cake!

Had that song stuck in my head and had to go buy BEST OF KISS - VOL 2 for the car ride home! Score!

But, notice class: we have the same problem of a rhyme poor language as you also see in RATT's immortal lyrics:

You put me through the ringer
and hang me out to dry!
You lick me off your fingers
just like a piece of pie!

Both are guilty of awful mixed metaphors as well: we go from heart fever to food in the one case, and from laundry to food in the other, both in a completely nonsensical way. But as for the rhyme, both groups of scruffy lads wanted a kind of food, but they needed it to rhyme, so they completely ignored the fact of how you eat the respective foods. What they would've wanted, ideally, to fit their blatant innuendo, is a kind of food like an ice cream cone, or Dreamsicle, or even a corn dog. But none of those rhymed, so they had to go with cake and pie, neither of which you eat with your hands, or lick, but you stab them with a fork, which most definitely does NOT fit the sexual innuendo.

But, nonetheless, LONG LIVE ROCK!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Those Miscreants Better Appreciate It!

But they won't!

I've used this textbook for a while now -

Patterns of Religion

But it went up to $110! ($80 on Amazon.) For a paperback!

So I said no way. I got to make an effort. So now I'll be spending a bunch of time the next two weeks redoing my syllabi (which are due now in NOVEMBER?!) so that we can use these two instead -

The World's Religions ($52, $38 on Amazon)

The Portable World Bible ($18, $12 on Amazon)

So if they go to the bookstore, they're saving $40 ($70 vs $110); if they go to Amazon, they're saving $30 ($50 vs $80). IF they go to Amazon and buy the two new books now, instead of buying the one old book at the bookstore, they'd save $60!

Why, why Lord? Half of them don't buy the book anyway and try to get by on just the lecture notes - or at least, notes from the lectures they actually attend! OY!

Well, like I say - I felt like I had to try!

Chapter 27

A short chapter, 1100 words.

44,800 words total

How the four plotlines will collide in the last few chapters is becoming clearer to me and I like how it's working. (The chapters I've already written at the very, very end are the denouement, and came together before the exact details of the climax were clear.)

Monday, November 02, 2009

Zombie Haiku

Rising now they were.
Zombies, fans, critics, and more.
Eating all of him.

For the Kill Brian Keene day, and to benefit the Shirley Jackson Awards:

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Go Truman!

For those of you who remember and love him from vol 2: I was rereading a nice scene between him and a young black girl at the end of Chapter 23 of D2L3. After attacking the big, mean lawyer from NJ, and being told by the cruel carnie Doctor Jack Madison that he will be brutally disicplined for this, here's him and the little girl:

As Doctor Jack and the others walked away, Dalia slipped her hand into Truman’s. “You shouldn’t have done that, Professor,” she said, her face very serious. “They’re gonna hurt you so bad tomorrow, and I can’t do anything about that. Please don’t be mad at me. I wish you hadn’t done that.”
Truman leaned close to the bars. “S’okay,” he said in a sighing whisper that could almost be mistaken just for an exhalation of breath, perhaps by someone not as wise and discerning as this young girl. But as Dalia’s eyes widened, he knew she understood – understood there was much more than even she’d seen, and understood that he trusted her with his secret. Truman understood something then, too – that surprising these living people could sometimes be as beautiful as it was exhilarating. Dalia slipped her hand from his and backed slowly away, a look of the purest, most sublime awe shining from her face.

Kyle Takes the Smackdown!

In this newest review of The World Is Dead!

(It's a karmic thing - if you're singled out as the best story in one review, there will be one that then singles you out as the worst. It all evens out!)


Triumph of The Walking Dead