Saturday, April 30, 2011

Not Just IKEA!

And Swedish fish! And Volvos!

Now Sweden has a zombie blog HERE AT SWEDISH ZOMBIE, including this review of the first DYING TO LIVE (which I can only make out the 3.5/5 rating for, and a few scattered words that are German cognates). The blogger contacted me and he'll be posting some more reviews of my work, and he also wanted an interview. So I'm making headway into the huge Swedish zombie market!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Update

Nothing major today. I got my lawn chair out of cobwebs and hosed it off, should there ever be a warm day this spring. Had to stand outside at church, where it's always SRO on Easter. So I really looked at the statue of Mary. Now, I don't think statues have to be historically accurate (I doubt the Buddha was a ripped but androgynous slab the way he's depicted), so I don't really want a statue of Mary to look like a teenager. But I'd think an icon should convey the message or purpose behind the figure - for example, the Buddha looks serene, and he taught us how to be serene ourselves. So I'd think Mary should look passionate, ecstatic, devoted. But this one just looks like a Stoical, 60 year old lady. Reminded me of my grandmother. No expression whatsoever. I was really rather amazed at how ugly it was, now that I looked closely.

Well, other than that, it was a fine day to be outside, and always nice to see the old place filled to overflow. Bland sermon, but I think they're all bland (except when I find them downright offensive or misinformed).

Then back home for cooking, where I have to say - best turkey I ever made. I have got this brining process down, and it rocks the bird. Stuffing was awesome too (and since the kids stopped eating stuffing, I can now put mushrooms in it, which is fine with me). And the glop I made out of the canned cranberries was almost as good as the relish I usually make out of the fresh. So one of my best holiday meals ever.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Big box of German books arrived on the door step this morning and they look great! Had to save them from the pouring rain outside, however!

I especially like this line on the back copy: "Sind Zombies doch die besseren Menschen?" - JA!

Please visit FESTA VERLAG for all your horror fiction in German!

And if you're in the States and you'd like a copy of eithe the original D2L or D2L2 in German, please let me know and I'll bring some to the next con. It's not something I normally have in the car, but I'll be sure to bring copies for interested readers!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Sermon

Not that I'd ever preach one (the poor congregation - I'd feel so bad for them that they had to listen to me, that I just wouldn't be able to continue), but if I did, it'd go something like this.

I was, through one of those circuitous routes by which the Lord works (in this case, Lady Gaga and her critics), thinking of what it means to be a "holy fool." And I remembered lecturing on one of the relevant passages last week (1 Cor 1:18-24):

"For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart." Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."

Christ was the ultimate "holy fool." He did profoundly foolish things, by earthly standards: preach to those who wouldn't listen, feed and heal those who could not repay him, suffer and die for those who didn't ask for or deserve or appreciate or even know about such sacrifice, forgive those who tortured and killed him. And He did all this when there was no advantage to himself - unlike a "regular" human martyr, his eternal bliss was already assured and could in no way be increased (or decreased, or altered) by what he did. That's the very definition of a sucker - doing hard, painful stuff that he didn't have to do, with no benefit to himself. And for those of us who feel truly grateful for that act (and who don't just mouth the words), what can we do but try also to live according to such "foolishness," if we claim to follow this man? And how often do we fail to do so, and fall back on the "wisdom" we're immersed in from birth: look out for #1, be careful, don't be too trusting, God helps those who help themselves, nice guys finish last, etc., etc., et fucking cetera.

But, what sometimes gives me hope, for myself and others, is that no one lives according to earthly "wisdom" all the time, because all of us feel real love, however fleeting or imperfect it is each time. Every one of us puts the interests of another ahead of our own and gives everything we have, does everything we can, for another person - be that a lover or parent or child or student or friend. Again, we fall back into our bad habits often and painfully, but we have these glimpses of life-giving, life-changing "foolishness." All of us have these, and often enough that we need never lose hope for ourselves or our species.

So that's my hope for everyone, because everyone can be a fool in this good sense and needn't follow that one particular practitioner of it, Jesus of Nazareth, or believe anything I or anyone else claims about Him: may you know the limits of earthly "wisdom" and reject its false promises of comfort and fulfillment, and instead feel foolish as often as you can.

Chiller Theatre

CHILLER THEATRE next weekend - the biggest assortment of random people who've been famous for all different things at any point in the last 50 years!

I 'm going to stroll through next Friday evening. I won't have a table or be a "guest" - just walking through. But if you're going to be there and you'd like to buy any books, please let me know so we can arrange to meet, and also so I can be sure to have the books you want in the car. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mortal Kombat

No, not the video game. (I never played, really, though I'd watch kids at Notre Dame sometimes, with the big finishing or friendship moves - the latter sometimes cracked me up, like the first time I saw the paper dollies one, for example.) The kind where you're shooting emails and in long phone conversations with someone in middle management in Topeka who's trying to get you to go away at the lowest possible transaction cost to him/herself in terms of time, and least cost to the company in terms of cash.

I have a mixed record so far. After a nightmarish stay at Motel 6 (where stays don't get too much better than "not uncomfortable"), I filled out their online complaint form. No phone call or response from them, no acknowledgement even. Then three weeks later, a voucher in the mail came for one free night at ANY Motel 6. Good job guys!

Two years ago, I was in endless phone conversations with Marriott after their awful catering at the 2009 Stoker Awards. (I thought it was awful.) They were very polite and detailed, asked a lot of specific questions about what was wrong with the food, claimed they'd retrain the entire hotel staff. But no money for me in the deal. Not thrilled with that, but I guess if future guests are happy, I shouldn't be too upset.

Well, this time it's La Quinta's turn, after they kicked me to the curb on the second evening of a two-night stay, claiming my reservation was for one night only. When I proved that no, it was for two nights, it says right here on every piece of paper you've given me, then they had to pay for my hotel elsewhere, but it was a pretty big hassle, driving to the other hotel (with all my belongings in a trash bag) and then back in the morning for the conference. We'll see what they say!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Book o' Skulls

Pimping for my friend's book of skull drawings. Here are some of the places it visible (or available) on the Net:


Triumph of The Walking Dead