Monthly Archives: October 2009

The hidden dangers of Halloween

Tomorrow is Halloween, and by now, I’m sure you’ve read or heard many safety tips concerning this fun-filled holiday. Wear reflective tape. Only trick-or-treat at houses you are familiar with. Throw away any loose or open treats.

But there is one safety concern which hasn’t been talked about much, but which everyone should be aware of before heading out Halloween night.

Zombies.

I know what you’re thinking — zombies aren’t limited to coming out on Halloween, but it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get the word out about this ever-present threat. Werewolves and vampires have been getting all the press in the past few years, and protections against such creatures have become widely known. But zombies are just as dangerous — perhaps even more so — and one should take any and all precautions necessary to protect yourself and your family from becoming one of the flesh-eating undead.

Historical films such as Night and Return of the Living Dead and more recent docudramas like 28 Days Later and Zombieland show that there are two basic types of zombies. The first is the slow-shuffling, brain-craving zombie. These are considered the least dangerous, as they are easily escapable by running in the opposite direction, or putting on some early ’80s Michael Jackson, which will compel the zombie or zombies to break out into a choreographed dance routine and distract them long enough for you to make your escape.

It is important to be able to tell these zombies from other creatures which exhibit similar symptoms. For instance, a mummy has nearly the same shuffling gait and lack of hygiene as the zombie but is easily distinguished by the rotting bandages wrapped around his body. The zombie’s incoherent ramblings and lack of rational thought can easily be confused with the behavior of most politicians. It is important to know the difference in order to choose the appropriate weapon to combat such menaces. You wouldn’t want to attack a zombie with a voting ballot, for instance.

The second type of zombie is the one you should really be worried about. They are quick, agile and possess an insatiable appetite for human flash. Unlike their slower cousins, which are usually nothing more than re-animated corpses, these more-evolved zombies are actually biologically-infected humans, who contracted zombieism after being bitten by another infected person. Once bitten, the victim has anywhere from a few minutes to several hours before the overwhelming urge to consume the flesh of the non-infected overrides higher brain function. This is cause for concern, as the rapid spread of the zombie disease can easily lead to an outbreak of global proportions, which scholars refer to as a “zombie apocalypse.” The number of infected will quickly overwhelm the general population, leaving only pockets of survivors trying to eke out an existence inside boarded-up homes with (hopefully) stockpiles of shotguns and canned goods. This should be avoided at all costs.

Though the above scenario may seem like something out of a B-movie, I can assure you, the threat is very real. A zombie attack was averted last January in Austin, Texas, when a small group of freedom fighters hacked into a road sign to warn motorists with the message, “Caution! Zombies ahead!” And earlier this month, the University of Florida added a disaster preparedness plan in the event of zombie attack to the university Web site, which included useful information on how to spot signs of zombie infection and a form for university employees to fill out after dispatching an infected coworker.

So as you venture out this Halloween, be aware of your surroundings. Watch out for pedestrians. Take note of the houses that give out the good candy for repeat visits. And, at the first sound of strange moaning, your companion’s appetite for flesh, or other flu-like symptoms, leave the area immediately. Board up all doors and windows to your home. Take inventory of any weapons available that are capable of dispatching zombies — baseball bats, shotguns, flame-throwers. Ration the Halloween candy collected, as it may be days, even weeks, before it will be safe enough to venture outside for supplies. And if you happen to have a suit of chain mail handy, wear it at all times to help protect against being bitten.

Have a safe and happy Halloween — and with any luck, a zombie-free night.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Leave a comment

Filed under published writing

Counting the hours

I am literally counting down the hours until I am on vacation for a whole week! I’ve just been given control over the paper’s Web site, so I’m thinking I can finally add “Web mistress” to my resume. Though, I think that sounds a little too dominatrix. Heh.

I had planned on going down to stay with my brother and family over the weekend for Halloween, but my nephew came and stayed with us for four days this past weekend. And though I love him to death, I’ve had my fill for a while. Motherhood just isn’t for me. My nephew is only one and a half, so I know when he’s cranky or having a tantrum, he can’t help it or understand why we don’t let him do what he wants to do. But it still doesn’t mean it’s not annoying. Ben’s last night with us was rough and he was Mr. Cranky Pants all night. I think perhaps it was because he was missing Mommy and Daddy, since it was the longest he’d ever been away from them.

I love playing with my nephew, and with other small children, but it’s always nice to give them back to their parents at the end of the day.

Leave a comment

Filed under family

Whedon-envy

It started a few weeks ago with a desire to watch “Once More With Feeling,” from “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer” season 6 (otherwise known as the Buffy musical). I’d had my “Whedon Soundtrack” (consisting of my favorite songs from the Buffy musical and Dr. Horrible) playing in my car all that week, and I just wanted to see the episode again. That led to a desire to see evil!Willow again, which in turn made me want to see the beginnings of evil!Willow in season five, when Glory sucks Tara’s mind. And thus, I have embarked upon the Great Buffy Re-watch. Though I’m watching them all out of order. Season five, season six, season seven, season four and I’m now in the middle of season one.

Watching them out of order really hits home on how cheesily bad season one really is. No wonder I didn’t start watching until season three. I’m amazed it even got a second season after that. (It probably wouldn’t have if it had been on Fox.) Thankfully, Buffy eventually grew out of its awkward beginning stage into the brilliant show it became by season five. I’m looking forward to seeing seasons two and three again, too. Spike and Faith are two of my favorite Buffy-verse characters.

I love Joss Whedon’s work. The stories are compelling and the writing is excellent. I wish I could be more eloquent than that, but I have a hard time waxing poetic or even being witty. I think that’s why I like “Buffy,” “Angel,” “Firefly” and “Dollhouse” so much. Because I wish I could be that funny. There are moments in each series where I am struck by how brilliant the writing really is. And I get hit by writers-envy. But it doesn’t stop me from enjoying it.

I really love the new series, “Dollhouse.” (New episode tonight! Yay! No more until December! Boo!) But of the four series, I think “Firefly” was the most brilliant. Or maybe I just love Nathan Fillion that much. But it’s definitely my favorite.

Leave a comment

Filed under television

Gaming addictions

I think I have spent more time goofing  off playing Facebook games today than I have working. Not that I’m a slacker, but there just wasn’t much to do today. I am efficient!

These Facebook games are damned addictive. And there’s so many of them, I really can’t keep up. So I’m trying to keep up with just three now: Mafia Wars, Roller Coaster Kingdom and Restaurant City. I’m a sucker for the design games. Which is probably why I’m also a Webkinz addict. I’m an adult, I swear.

I’ve also got a huge hankerin’ for some RPGs, thanks to my Twitter stalking of Wil Wheaton. His last two blog entries were about gaming, specifically Munchkin (which I adore!) and the death of a beloved D&D character, which I can totally understand. I was quite attached to my last Star Wars RPG character, Vidia, who died a fiery, heroic death on our very last gaming session. The game was essentially over, but I hated that she died. At least it was a noble death, and not a silly one like when my D&D character got lost in a Bag of Holding when I was in high school. (I’m still not sure how that happened.)

The group I game with started a new system, Pirates of the Spanish Main, about a year ago. I’ve only gotten a chance to game with them the one time, but it was so much fun! And the story gave me my first novel idea I’ve had in a long time. Not that I’ll actually write it, but it was nice to have an idea… any idea. I do wish I lived closer to my gaming buddies.

It’s 45 minutes until quitting time. I wonder if I can sneak out a bit early. My boss didn’t show up at all. I guess he figured since it was National Boss’ Day, he could take a vacation day. I showed my appreciation by declaring war on him in Mafia Wars. 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under gaming

Breaking up is hard to do.

Breaking up is hard to do.

There are many emotions involved. Sadness over the loss of something you’ve cultivated for years. Guilt over making such a tough decision, even though it had to be done. Regret, because even though the relationship is over, you still care.

Decisions such as these are never easy to make. But… there’s only so many channels I can record at once.

With the new fall season upon us, and with the crazy reshuffling of my favorite shows this year, I’ve had to make some cuts.

So, I’m sorry, “Ugly Betty.” I’m breaking up with you.

It’s not you, it’s me. No, wait… I take that back. It’s ABC, for moving you from your Thursday evening time slot to Friday nights at 8, where you conflict with “Medium” and “Dollhouse.” And since I’m forced to choose between the three of you, well, “Dollhouse” wins, with “Medium” a close second, earning a spot on the DVR. And “Ugly Betty” gets kicked to the curb.

That may sound a little harsh for a show I’ve been (mostly) faithful to for three seasons. But I’ve been with “Medium” for five seasons, and “Dollhouse” and I are still in the early, exciting days of our relationship (plus, I’d been involved with “Dollhouse’s” older siblings, “Buffy,” “Angel” and “Firefly,” for many, many years). Something had to give. And wannabe fashionistas with braces just can’t compete with psychics and Eliza Dushku.

“Ugly Betty” isn’t the only program I’m giving the “Dear John” treatment this season. “The Mentalist” has been given the boot as well. This time, though, it’s not so much of a scheduling conflict, as it is a lack of interest on my part. It was fun in the beginning, but the magic quickly evaporated for me. Pity. Simon Baker does make for some nice eye candy. But I guess we were just destined for a one-season stand.

“Survivor” is also on the chopping block. After 18 seasons, I guess I’ve finally had enough of the lying, the scheming, and the lack of clothing and general hygiene from my first reality show love. Plus, the locations don’t seem so exotic anymore. If you’ve seen one South Pacific beach, you’ve pretty much seen them all. Perhaps a change of venue is needed to breathe a little new life into the show. Drop the contestants somewhere really dangerous… like the streets of Miami, or better yet, the mountains of Appalachia. When “Survivor: Deliverance Country” premiers, give me a call.

Some shows and I are on dangerous footing. If this weren’t the last season of “Lost,” I’d probably have to look at how seriously I take that relationship. But, I’ve stuck it out this long — might as well see how it ends.

“Heroes,” Zachary Quinto and Masi Oka are your only saving graces right now.

I also fear my love affair with “Grey’s Anatomy” is coming to an end as well. I can’t understand what I ever saw in it, really. If I ever found myself needing medical treatment in Seattle, I would NOT want any of those self-involved doctors treating me.

But from the ashes of these doomed relationships, new ones are formed. I’ve been flirting with the promos for “Flash Forward” all summer, and two episodes into the season, I think there might be something there between us.

I’ve also embarked upon some experimentation with a new form of programming, the Webisode. “The Guild” is a weekly sitcom, streamed free on MSN. Written and starring one of my favorite up-and-coming actresses, Felicia Day, the show follows a motley crew of online gamers who one day decide to meet in person. (Gasp!) It also doesn’t hurt that each episode is between three and eight minutes long, perfect for those of us who have the attention span of a fruit fly when it comes to surfing the ‘Net.

Although… now that many programs are available online, perhaps my breakup with “Ugly Betty” won’t be as, well, ugly as I thought it might. There may be some wiggle room in the relationship after all.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Leave a comment

Filed under published writing, television

Meet Oreo

Once upon a time, there was a little chinchilla named Oreo who was owned by people who didn’t really want to care for him. Then one day, he was brought home by a kind man who knew he and his family could give him a better home.

wildlife001

When he came to live with us, he spent most of his time curled up inside his little "mouse house."

He didn't like to come out much.

He didn't like to come out much.

But his new familiy bought him some cage toys and he started to emerge more often.

But his new familiy bought him some cage toys and he started to emerge more often.

and he really like his new perch!

and he really like his new perch!

But he was still sad because he didn't have enough room to play.

But he was still sad because he didn't have enough room to play.

But with his new family, he has bigger places to explore!

But with his new family, he has bigger places to explore!

And he gets good food every day.

And he gets good food every day.

And a bigger cage to play in!

And a bigger cage to play in!

He's still wary of people (especially when they've got big, scary cameras pointed at him).

He's still wary of people (especially when they've got big, scary cameras pointed at him).

But he's slowly learning to interact with us and seems a lot happier in his new home.

But he's slowly learning to interact with us and seems a lot happier in his new home.

To be continued…

Leave a comment

Filed under pets