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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

The Psychiatry of the Zombie

As I write this I am listening to a Harvard Psychiatry professor discuss the brain function of zombies, for instance, why are they always hungry - it's an overactive hypothalmus!

On NPR's Science Friday,where else.

More grist for the Wrimo mill!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Deconstruction of Really Bad Writing

People have thought a lot about what makes really bad genre writing really bad. The Mary Sue construct in Modern Literary Criticism is a fascinating look at what happens when fictional characters become authors' wish fulfillment objects.

Hopefully, that is not my story and it won't stick.

My NaNoWriMO Preview

Two days until wrimo blastoff, and the novel has taken a very different direction than what I was thinking. The amin character's visiter is going to take him to alternate realities where zombies must be sent back to their grave. Who wants a lot of introspection, when you can defend the noosphere from invading Walmart-building zombies from cyberspace. Now, that sounds like a story, especially when your brothers in arms are a grandpa and all five of the three stooges (don't fret, the zombies kill Curly Joe early on, why am I thinking of Boromir?). When the zombies are under control, the noosphere is a paradise for the dead with free par-three golf and martinis all the time.

BTW, overexposure to coconut cream pies makes a zombie puke until brains come out and the zombie returns to dust. A squirt of seltzer isn't as powerful, but it slows them down, making them more vulnerable to a sharpened 5-iron. Niagara Falls!

Get the main character to the noosphere, kill zombies, follow them to the internet and destroy the cyberzombies and locate and neutralize the source of all this ( lluminati conspiracy). I haven't outlined these battles yet, but I suspect that certain Bach tunes become evil viruses from hell when transposed into binary. How can you stop the evil virus once it's released. If there's still not enough words, the battle will proceed to the biosphere and geosphere, with a possible love interest with Lara Croft for the YA male audience.

In this case, I can literally say, That's my story, but I can't promise I'm sticking to it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

I finished reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies a few weeks ago. I enjoyed it, although I am not quite ready to start a jane Austen or contemporary horror reading marathon. I have to admit that adding zombies to Regency England did improve the book.

I hadn't looked at or even thought much about Pride and Prejudice since we read it in High School English class. At that time, I was very impressed with jane Austen's writing style, however I wasn't really grabbed by the narrative.
Some plot elements made absolute no sense to me at the time;

I couldn't imagine why a large military force assembled in Hertfordshire.Were they expecting a Spanish invasion of the home counties?

Why were so many officers so interested in the Bennett sisters? I think they were prettier than most local young women, but egads they were a boring lot.

How did Wickham the cad got off way too easy (beyond being stuck with Lydia)

How long can anyone read so many pages about a brace of shallow sisters talking about the next ball, egged on by their endless chattering mother? No wonder why Mr. Bennett was so tuned out all the time.

Adding a shot of zombie mayhem resolved these dilemmas nicely,I thank Jane's posthumous co-author for that.

The British army is garrisoned in Hertfordshire to battle the zombies that have infested the region(naturally!).

The sisters' mastery of the deadly shoalin arts,along with their striking good looks would make them irresistible to any man, no doubt. The officers are fascinated with the Shoalin martial arts since the more proper women in England tend to take up Japanese Ninja training. Elizabeth gets several opportunities to show the superiority of her skills, both against zombies and ninjas.

Wickham finds his end as an incontinent quadriplegic, and he’s still stuck with the brain-dead younger sister.

Battles with brain-eating zombies nicely break up the mannered bourgeoisie conversations.

As a bonus, the novel also explains the British enthusiasm for cauliflower; you can use your cauliflower patch as bait to attract brain-famished zombies!

The contemporary author really did a wonderful job of twisting and tweaking Austin's language to smash zombies and ninja violence into the plot line.


My only negative comment is that the zombie motif staled well before the end of the novel.

All said, I give Pride and Prejudice and Zombies three and one half stars * * * 1/2 out of five. Three stars for Jane and one half star for Seth.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

NaNoWriMo - Are You Outta Your Effin Mind?

Halflon impulse,halfon dare, I decided to sign up for this years NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month. The deal is you commit to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. The best thing about this is it's all about quantity over quality, perserverence over painstaking craft,according tothe websight. The sight has a utility that keeps a running word count. if you reach 50,000 words, you have won. I figure if I don't have 4,000 words by November 4, I am probably in trouble. I'll stick to this until it isn't working, hopefully that will not be November 1. Expect to see excerpts on the blog.

Inital planning and character building is happening in my head as I type this.I'm thinking about telling the story through flashback, an internal mind-conversation (yes,I know we get way too much of this in contempory fiction) of a man who is very ill and occasionally visited by the ghosts of a long deceased relative (what would I know about that, eh?). This format seems particularly appealing because continuity and plot development will be more elastic than I would need for the usual narrative. Did I mention I'll probably start with no real determined plot line,and, so far,only two well-defined characters (one of whom is dead). I am hoping each chapter might be the development of something important to the character, as he viewed and interpreted it, which may or may not have any relationship to any objective reality.

Yep, either that or he turns into a cockroach, who knows? All I know is that it better come out about as fast as I type.

K seems enthusiastic about the project, possibly even enough to read what comes out. Therefore, the protagonist might be single, in order to preserve domestic tranquility. Maybe he'll be a celebate monk or an Imperial Palace eunich. Maybe he'll fear facing eternity locked in a room with every exwife and exgirlfriend, none of them in the mood for love, all wanting to compare notes. You never know.

He sat in front of the computer, asking himself what was left to tell the inhabitants of his shrunken world. Feeling only an awkward emptyness where he looked for deep thoughts, he typed;

"That's my story and I'm sticking to it"


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

San Francsico Swells Haight Big Box Bong Stores

I can't even begin to understand all the subsurface issues in this article from the San Francisco Chronicle. I think the smaller headshop owners got the City to ban any more headshops after a "WalMart of bongs appeared at the Haight. They feared another bong superstore would "they'd drive the old incense-burning, tie-dyed head shops right out of business".

The article says it best; " You can't legislate against the poor taste of tourists. No matter what they're smoking." Or you can get Michael Phelps to be your spokesman.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Harvard Halfwits Lose Milk Money

Dateline Boston...

I always wanted to use "Harvard Halfwits" in a title.

Harvard's administration is too stupid to handle their cash. Their mommy needs to give them their milk money each day,or they'll lose it and go hungry.

In a nutshell, the business geniuses (from guess what business school) in Harvard's administration lost most of their operating funds (the money used to pay current bills) by betting it on hedge funds and credit swaps.

Harvards bumkin-like stupidity appears to be rare among university administrators. For example, Boston.com quotes a Stanford University Spokesperson on the subjexct:

"At Stanford University, which has experienced a similar decline in its endowment and also undertaken layoffs, spokeswoman Lisa Lapin said it would be highly unusual for the California school to put funds from its general account into long-term investments.

“We wouldn’t take a cash account and invest it with the endowment,’’ Lapin said."

It's plain to see even P.R. flack at Stanford understands corporate finance better than harvars's CFO and treasurer.

But folks,before we cast asparagus at Harvards bumbling financial administrators, let's hear what they have to say, aghain quoted from Boston.com:

"In a statement yesterday, Harvard treasurer James F. Rothenberg said the fault for the losses doesn’t “sit with a single individual: the corporation plays a role, the university’s financial team, including the CFO, play a role, and I play a role as treasurer."

As Harvard's treasurer clearly states above, there is no single chowderhead responsible, He claims he is a chowderhead, his associates are chowderheads, and, in fact the corporation (i.e., Harvard) is a simmering cauldron of chowderheads (in so many words). I always suspected that.

That's my story,and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Senator Talks About Non- Billionaires

Senator from VT Bernie Sanders wants to talk about working folks well-being.

I am sad to say this is pretty much the first I have heard from Congress or the Executive that indicate they care at all about what is happening to We The People, the chumps who don't rate bailouts. You know,the 90% that owns the remaining 10% of everything (or at least everything China doesn't own).




That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

L.A., City of Idiocy (I mean Industry), the NFL and Pavlov

"Here we go again" Ronald Reagan

The NFL and developer Majestic Realty Company have announced their plans for a new NFL stadium in the City of Idiocy has reached the point where they will begin finding a team.

The idea is that since the City of Idiocy is willing to cough up tons of local Government moneys, it's obviously the best place to locate a NFL team. Certainly, believes the Government of the City of Idiocy, when you build a NFL team in Los Angeles, people will pay big bucks to fill your stadium and everyone will get rich.

TWO WORDS: LA RAIDERS.

What has the NFL forgotten in their analysis? They are assuming, in their arrogance, that L. A. is bursting with fans (demand) who will line up to pay rapacious NFL prices. To sit in traffic for hours so they can get to the stadium and buy $10 gourmet hot dogs and beers. It'll work out great, right. It worked out so well in the 1980s for the beloved Al Davis . Somehow, the NFL believes that it will work this time, even though they get clobbered last time.

This proves the NFL is more stupid than a dog:

You can train a dog to heel using a post in the ground called the healing post. You walk with the dog on a leash so that the post will be between you and the dog. As you approach the post, you give the command, and pull in the leash so that the dog's head clunks into the pole, until the dog follows at your heel. I am told most dogs learn the heel command after one run at the post. The only need to clobbered once.

The NFL got clobbered once in LA, and they are again speeding toward the post. Once the people of L.A. yank the leash by forgetting to drop several thousands of dollars each to buy season tickets, the NFL will get clobbered again.

Thus we see the NFL is more stupid than a golden retriever.

In the words of Yogi Berra, "No matter how hard you try, you can't keep people from not coming to the ballpark".

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Le Job Peut-Etre Kill Vous

Dateline Paris:

Mon Dieu!

Post-privatization changes in the previously Government-run and civil service-staffed French Telecom have been connected to a rash of employee suicides, although management kinda-sorta denies it all. The British Telegraph Newspaper reports the story with more than un soupcon de British nose-thumbing at their Garlic-munching neighbors. My favorite quotations:

"In an essay out next week, Eric Maurin, an economist at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, says that the French are "paralysed" with fear about losing "stable" jobs. They would rather "cling on to a job where one is unhappy rather than take a less protected post".

The suicide scandal has already impacted France Telecom's business and strategy. It has reportedly put off a plan to change the names of its French brands to Orange due to fears they be mocked as "Orange pressé"."

I guess sometimes The Idler's words are true: work kills.


That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Strike Zones, Second Guessing, and Geometry

It's MLB playoff time. This video gives pointers for advanced playoff watching.

Subject 1: The gee-whiz strike zone box. The off-center placement of the center field cameras the networks use to show us the strike zone distorts everything we see. This video shows some examples of the distortion. Maybe it's time to shut up,open another beer, and give the ump a break.



That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Blogging the Brett Bowl

20 minutes till kickoff. . 5:10 PM PDT. Listening to game coverage on AM radio, hearing Boomer Esiasen interview Mike Ditka, these guys make ESPN Sports Center sound like Shakespeare. More commercials, Holy Hominy Grits, this station has a lot of adds for "get out of debt, we'll help with your tax problems" operators. I am surely listening to this game 9in the company of life's winners.
'
Time to tune out and do a jigsaw puzzle, they're playing the same Farve interview again. "Both teams want to win". Gee, that's amazing. Time to "tune out" until kickoff.

5:30PM. Finally, the game is about to start. Nope, a break for a PSA from the WNBA and the Cancer Industrial Complex. I like the latest quote from Shitmydadsays; "Does anyone your age know how to comb their fucking hair? It looks like two squirrels crawled on their head and started fucking." I get a kick out of Justin's dad.

5:37 and still commercials, crap, when does the game start. Don't they know I have to leave for band practice before 7:00?

When will they stop talking about Favre?

Finally Packers return the kickoff to the 25 yd line. I hope the coin toss won't be tonight's biggest victory. Running first down, 2nd and 10. Effit. Screen for a first down! HOOHAH! Spread that defensive line. Crap, holding, how can the offensive line get beaten so badly already?
Pass for 2 yards on 2nd and 15, WTF?

Nice short pass play, 3rd and 2. False Start? CRAP!!!!!!!! Two offensive line penalties already.
Whew, another first down. They seem to be holding off the blitz so far!

Is Driver getting Alligator Arms? A crummy 3 yard run, now third and 7. . .great quick hit pass!
FUMBLE - SHIT!!!!!!! No protection. . . Two penalties on the first possession and then this. Now wasting a time out on the review, Doesn't McCarthy know I can only listen until 7:00? So rude! No way will this one be reversed.

Here comes precious Brett and the Viqueens. Peterson starts with a 7 yard rush. First two plays, the Packer's defensive line is not looking good. Every play to Peterson for a gain. The Packers have to seize the line of scrimmage. Short pass for 16 yards. If the Pack's line can't do better, I don't know. TAUNTING PENALTY Effing Moron.

The Vikings are moving like it's a walk in the park. Down to the Packers' 11 yd line.

Fourth and inches. They'll probably run Peterson right at the Packers weak line. Crap. You can't win with a crappy line.

Run to the 1 yard line. The Packers aren't a factor in the game yet. Short touchdown pass.

I think it's "GAME OVER, MAN", done with the Blog.

YES! The line blocked and teh Vikings' secondary blew the coverage! TIE GAME! Let's hope the defense wakes up. This is a bipolar game.

We are seeing the idiot Favre of the old days. Can Can possession (1,2,3, kick). Man, it looks like a different Packers offense (Let's hope they hold on to the pig this time) End of first quarter.

Second quarter, first play, sack, crap. 2nd and 17, run for 6 yds, 3rd and 11. 4th and 2, thanks to Driver. Going for it! Freak ricochet catch for a first down. Crap Rodger's first interception. He's trying to force the ball. At least the interception brought the ball near the 20 yd line.

Back to Favre and Peterson. . .A big pass for 24 yards to Rice. I remember the Pack's corners getting owned by another Rice. Hah, Farve had forever to pass, Woodson got beat so bad he had to hold the receiver, first down. Vikings on the 30 yd line. Packers have held the Vikings for 2 downs. Third and looooong. Dang, Farve passes his way out of it again. Vikings are at the 13 yard line. If the Packers can't stop this drive, I think it's just about time to say "good night nurse". They have to get to the QB. Third and long means nothing if the QB gets all day to pass on 3rd down. Dammit, touchdown pass to Rice in the middle. Packers, how can you blitz and not get to the QB. Somebody gets open if the blitz doesn't get in the QB's face. Count the bodies, do the math. Time to go to band, I can
't take any more of this anyway.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.




All I get is Favre... Shaddup!!!!!!!!!!

How many times can some talking head on TV say Favre, Favre, Favre?

I worked out this morning and watched ESPN Sports Center from about 11:10 to 11:25 and 11:40 to 11:50 PDT. OK, this takes some explanation. I watch Sports Center when I work on the elliptical trainer. Between the two sessions on the trainer I work out with weights for 15 minutes. I don't watch TV while I'm using weights, because that can give you a sore neck.

I started my workout naively thinking, "I hope they'll talk about tonight's Packers game while I'm here." I guess ESPN has taken the "all Favre all the time" format today. I tried to count the "Favre"s, but I lost count after about 35 "Favre"s in the first 10 or 12 minutes.

This is doubly stupid, since my prediction is that Favre will not be a major factor in this game. I think this game will be won and lost old-time football style. This game is not about twinkle-toed quarterbacks. In the words of St Vincent Lombardi, "This is a game of fundamentals, it is about blocking and tackling".

I think this will be a game about two things the packers must do to win; (1) The Packer's offensive line must protect the quarterback, and (2) the Packer's defensive line needs to get penetration so they can break up running plays before Peterson finds his feet. What Favre does hardly matters, barring any crazy last minute end zone passes,which is always a possibility.

What I'm saying is that if the packers don't control the line of scrimmage about a million times better than they have so far this season, the Vikings will be able to mail it in and the Packers are screwed.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Today's Words to Live By

I resemble this comment:

"A scar ain't 13 god damned stitches. I'll introduce you to men with REAL scars, then we'll all laugh at your fucking 13 stitches together."

See this and more brilliant old guy rap
"Shit my Dad Says", the only acceptable use for Twitter I have seen.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, October 02, 2009

One Difference Between The Who and The U.S.A.

The Who won't be fooled again.

The U.S. of A. will.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Schobel Versus American Academy of Actuaries Settles

The Academy published the settlement document on their website. From the transcript of the previous hearings, it was pretty obvious the judge would not reinstate Schobel as president of the Academy, however Hizzoner's repeated descriptions of the Academy Board's behavior as "disgusting" suggested a Schobel was likely to win his suit for damages.

The game is over and the final score is:

Schobel $600,000
Academy of Actuaries $0

And, what are actuaries going to talk about after this? Maybe pension actuaries can start thinking about their shameful derelictiton of duty in the area of public pensions.

That last paragraph, I must state, is not an actuarial opinion, and anyone who sais otherwise is itching for a fight. In all other respects. . .

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Obama is Out of Touch. . .

. . .with average American families.


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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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