Saturday, December 19, 2009

Zombies on zombies

The living dead.
Braaaaain eaters. (Or flesh eaters, depending on who you ask. I don't like to discriminate though.)

The undead phenomenon is catching on. Are zombies actually cool nowadays? I thought this day would never come! Now everyone who laughed at me in high school for wearing George Romero t-shirts can eat it! Oh, wait. They're still laughing at me? Shit, okay.

Anyway, with everyone getting pretty sick of vampires (I think the deathblow was making them sparkle - but that's just me. A lot of people think very differently.), a new monster has sort of risen to the forefront. Zombies.

I'm just glad we skipped right by werewolves. They can have their turn after we're done.

With the popularity of Zombieland, The Zombie Survival Guide, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies being turned into a movie (no, I am not shitting you - it will be starring Natalie Portman and I can't wait), zombies are taking over as the monster to be in the entertainment scene. Literary and film.

Awww, yeah.

So, for those of you that know me (and by now, all of you should know me), you know that my first two novels are very close to being published. You also know that they are about zombies. What you may not know is that I consider myself something of a zombie nerd, and I've seen just about every zombie movie and read just about every zombie book in existence. What follows is my top 5 zombies movies of all time and some suggested zombie books (besides mine, obviously, which you will no doubt scramble to your local bookstore to buy the moment it is released). If you have any questions about anything zombie related, please feel free to post a comment and I will answer it in a timely manner. (So long as your question doesn't suck - in which case I will be forced to delete it, burn down your house, and punch your goldfish in his little fish face.)

1) Day of the Dead (The original version - without the girl with the fish eyes from American Beauty.)

2) Dance of the Dead (This is a newer one, but it makes the list anyways, and at number 2 because it's THAT awesome.)

3) Night of the Living Dead (What can I say about this one? Classic. Awesome for its social implications and for its zombies.)

4) Dead Alive (Goriest movie I've ever seen. Ever. And I've seen some gory movies.)

5) Shaun of the Dead (A new classic)

Honorable mentions - some new, some old: Day of the Dead 2, Zombieland (watch for Bill Murray in this), Dead and Breakfast, Dawn of the Dead (old one), and though they aren't called zombies, they are technically the living dead, so.. The Evil Dead 2 (this would have made the top 5 were they ever called zombies).

Have I filled your Netflix queue yet? No? Here's some more: Fido, The Mad, American Zombie (this one is ridiculous - a "documentary"), Dead Snow (nazi zombies?! Yes, please!), Braineaters

Okay. I think that's enough to last you for at least a week. If you have any I may have carelessly left off this list, please feel free to give me an e-slap upside the head and let me know.


Now, zombie books are something else altogether. They're few and far between, and unfortunately, there aren't too many with much humor in them. Or too many that are worth reading, for that matter. There is a pretty good zombie anthology that was released not too long ago called The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology (It makes a great xmas present to the zombie lover in every family) with greats such as Neil Gaiman and Max Brooks contributing to it. How could you go wrong?

I also fully recommend and endorse Breathers: A Zombie's Lament by S.G. Browne. It is written in the present tense, which as you know, I normally don't like, but Browne pulls it off and even uses it to his advantage at times (sort of like Josh Bazell - the other exception to my present tense rule, with his book that shall not be mentioned here because it is not about zombies, but you should probably read anyhow so scroll back through my posts for my review of it). Also, he happens to be an awesome guy and one of his "Zombies are people too" stickers currently adorns the back of this very laptop. (Thanks, Scott!) Check out his website!

I've already mentioned Max Brooks. A few years ago, Max started to give lectures on how to survive a zombie attack at universities. It was all done as a joke, but it really started to catch on. Fast forward a few years and you have one of the first best-selling zombie books ever: The Zombie Survival Guide. Fast forward a little bit more and you have World War Z:An Oral History of the Zombie War, Brooks's foray into fiction. It is gory as hell, which is why I liked it. It's done in a style of different heroes from the recently finished zombie war giving interviews to the same narrator. They each have a different story to tell. So technically, this is a bunch of short stories, but we can call it a novel since they all intertwine pretty nicely.

Okay, go, get shopping for those zombie xmas presents. I'm sure your family will appreciate you more than ever!

Seacrest out!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sappy baby picture post

Katelyn and I took christmas pictures of Jack the other night. This is the best one. Well, the second best one. I didn't feel the one where he is peeing all over the train would be appropriate for the internet, though. The last thing I need is to have some idiot try to get me arrested for child pornography for taking cute pictures of my son.

Merry Pissmas.
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

NaSWe PraMo - part 2!


This is great. I've seen some really good stuff here. Thanks to everyone who sent in one of their pranks. Just so you know you're not some weirdo off pranking alone, I'm posting my favorite that I've gotten so far. It was sent to me in an e-mail by an old friend of mine, and it's a very good example of pranks getting out of hand.

So, remember, everyone: When pranking, make sure your girlfriend doesn't have a homicidal side to her. Okay? Thanks.

So yeah, I read your blog thing and I was like, fucking awesome idea, let's make it prank day. So my buddy Kevin (whom much to his chagrin I sometimes call "Special K") is over at my place, and we're cheerfully working on finishing off this giant box of wine we spent our blood plasma money on. So this stuff is pretty strong yeah? And we're just chillin', drinking our wine and watching the hit Hollywood blockbuster "There's Something About Mary" starring Ben Stiller.
So at some point one of us, probably Kevin, says "You know, this is a little bit gay, us sitting here drinking wine together and watching a chick flick." But I said that the part where you get to see Cameron Diaz's nipples through her shirt had hetero street cred and it was ok. So we argued about it for a little while and I sort of saw his point about how it might look just a little gay if taken out of context, sort of like something from an episode of "Three's Company" or some shit.
So by this point I'm catching a little buzz, I mean about half this 5 litre box o' wine is sloshing about in my tiny tummy, so I figure I'll call Holly at work and take the piss out of her just a little and ask her to bring us some chicken parmesan. So I call up there, and the bitch who answers the phone is like, "No, she just left, she got out early. I think she said she was gonna stop by." So I'm like, fucking light bulb goes on, Prank Time!!!
Well it took me and Special K like four minutes to come up with this idea, but it was totally worth it. We were like, ok, let's strip down to our underwear and lay on the bed all comfy with our wine, and act like we were being bromantic. Pretty clever, yeah, but why stop there? So a few minutes later Kevin was in the shower with the door locked, and there I am laying on the bed totally nude with my boxers on my head and sipping a glass of red wine. Oh and there's a plate of cut up cheese next to me, and some scented candles are lit, real swanky like smelling of pumpkin spice and vanilla. And the coup de grace, so to speak - you're gonna love this part because it made me think of you - I worked up a scary big chubby that was at that very moment at full glorious attention!
So not even like 5 minutes goes by and I hear this timid little knock on the door.
"Oh! Hey! Hold up, just a second.. One sec, ok? I'm not dressed!" I keep this up for a minute until she realizes it's not locked.
Now I can literally see the door knob turning, and I'm thinking to myself, fuck, ok, now I gotta roll with this or I'm gonna look like a total fucking idiot.
So in she comes, and the first thing she does is sort of put her shit down and smell the air like, "Are you burning candles?" and then she looks over into the bedroom.
So there I am sprawled out in like a pervy J.C. pose, and Mr. Happy is doing that thing it does when you're on your back and your weiner is like defying gravity so hard it's curved like a pirate sword, and I have my wine in my hand and my boxers on my head and whatever stupid look that was on my face. So she kind of goes from what the fuck? to just busting up laughing. But then slowly I can like literally see the gears start turning and the hamster start running on his little wheel in her brain, and she goes right back to what the fuck?
"Oh heeeey.. I'm just uh, watching a movie."
She edges closer to the door and sort of peers around.
"You're watching 'Something About Mary'?" "And what the fuck? who was here??"
"Uh, no one, why?"
"There's two fucking glasses, Jonny. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON???"
So suddenly I get it.. oh shit, she thinks it's another chick! Like damn, this was poorly conceived as fuck now wasn't it?
So now I'm like, ok, I gotta play this thing off and like let her know it's just a joke and I'm evidently real bad at jokes, and we can all have a good laugh. But I don't even have time to form half a thought before - and I swear to god I saw it happen in SLOW FUCKING MOTION - her head turn towards the sound of running water in the bathroom.
Now she's instantly going for the closet, and I'm thinking, damn she's gonna pack up her shit and split. Then I realize, oh no she ain't, she's going for my fucking AR-15! And I mean, she's hysterical, half crying, teeth clenched, and she's just rifling through my shit looking for ammunition, "Where's the fucking magazine?? Where the FUCK is the FUCKING magazine?"
So now I'm up off the bed and I'm like wrestling this gun away from her, and I still have a raging boner and a pair of boxers on my head, and I'm like shit, I wonder if Cops ever films in Findlay because that would be just my fucking luck now wouldn't it?
So I get the gun away from her, and right away she's off like a fucking greyhound towards the bathroom. "You fucking slut! You got nowhere to go bitch, I can wait out here all fucking night if I have to and I'm gonna fucking KILL you!" And she's kicking the door with these little girlie kicks where she only pulls her foot back like a few inches, but I mean, she's livid as hell right, so I don't laugh or anything.
And I don't know what the fuck Kevin's doing, 'cause he's not saying a word in there, and now I'm thinking fuck this shit, just eject and come clean. So I'm telling her "Baby, baby, it's just a joke, we're just fucking with you! Seriously, it's only a joke!" And of course she's like, "A joke?! You think this is a fucking joke?! You fucking asshole, ya da ya da", and there's no talking any sense to her. I mean, she's just being totally irrational at this point and won't listen to reason.
So finally Kevin opens the door, and she's like halfway between the bedroom and the bathroom, and she like senses it opening and she turns and I mean she had this totally predatory look in her eyes that was really fucking scary, and her lip is like curled back and her incisors are gleaming all wicked and sharp, and her fists are bone white around the knuckles and I mean it's just a total mess, and before she can even take one step forward Kevin steps out all slow like, looking sort of meek and scared, and he's covering his weiner with a fucking 2 inch by 2 inch wash cloth.
And this is the weird part. I honestly don't know if at that moment she really genuinely believed I had gay sex with my friend, because she was just like "Oh. My. God." And then to make things even worse, right then on the movie Matt Dillon says, "In my spare time, I like working with retards."
Anyhow, things are better now but I think she might still have some doubts and it could get prett yweird. I'll let you know later what happens.

P.S. The scariest bit of this is when he tells me his erection reminds him of me. Yikes!

Monday, December 7, 2009

NaSwe PraMo

Remember April Fool's Day, when you were a kid? Oh, man. I had the time of my life pulling pranks on my family - especially on my little sister. Unfortunately, this is a habit I did not lose with age. Most people call me immature or childish for my love of practical jokes, but then again, most people suck. Of course, you, my faithful readers and bestest BFFs, don't suck. I bet you pull the occasional prank of your own.

So let's see them! Tell me what the best practical joke you've ever played was. Or, if you haven't played it yet but have a good idea for one, let me know and perhaps my little sister will feel the biting sting of your sense of humor! In fact, let's designate December as prank month. Prank as many people as you can all month, and email me your updates. (Only put your best prank ever in the comments here; I don't want pages and pages to scroll through, please.) It'll be sort of like NaNoWriMo, only instead of a daily word goal, you'll have a daily prank goal.

Let NaSwe PrankMo begin! (National Sweet Prank Month) (I know, crappy acronym. I'll try for a better one later. Ideas?)

And so you know I'm participating too, I'll post this little gem I did for my own amusement a few days ago.

Being an author, I have a few "industry" friends. And one of those friends just happens to be a very cool agent by the name of Joanna Stampfel-Volpe. (No, she's not my agent.) If you're looking for someone to represent your work, I definitely recommend her if she does your genre. Almost as much as I would recommend my agent (the amazing Adam "Snapper" Chromy, heretofor known on this blog as "Tha Agent" - with an 'a' instead of an 'e' to denote how gangsta he is, and how he busts figurative caps in the competition). Anyhow, if you're unfamiliar with publishing, or just how the agenting bit of it works, I'll explain it quickly for you:

Agents are the author's voice with publishing companies. They do pretty much everything business-oriented for their authors, freeing up his time to do his job, which is writing. If you're writing and want to get your book sold to a large publisher, these guys are the only way to do it. (Unless, of course, your dad is the CEO of Scholastic or Harper Collins or something - in which case, do you want to hang out?) Authors get ahold of these guys by sending what's called a query letter. These are brief letters describing the author and the project they have done (fiction) or are planning to do (non-fiction). The agent decides, based on this letter, whether they want to read the author's stuff.

Now, agents like their query letters done in very specific ways. Basically, what they want is to know who you are, why you're the best person to write the book, and most importantly, what the book is about. They don't like people who brag too much or who don't have enough confidence in themselves, and a thousand other things. It'd take far too long to list all agent pet peeves, so I suggest you look on my reading list for The Rejectionist. That's a good blog from an agent's assistant.

Getting on to the prank:
I set up a fake email account and wrote an entirely fake query letter to this agent friend of mine, then at the end, typed "You've been had!" which is an inside joke she would know nothing about, so I don't really know why I typed it, and then told her it was me all along. She loved it, cracked up, and told me she's saving it forever. (This is an example of one of my nicer pranks, as it made everyone involved laugh.) Here's a copy of the email I sent her:

Dear lucky agent,

I picked you, yes YOU, out of the thousands and thousands of literary agents I found on some website to represent this once in a life-time amazing idea. I'm a middle-aged guy and I've never really had any interest in books or writing before at all, and to tell you the truth I was in remedial reading classes in high school (I didn't bother going to college - it's for suckers), but once I had this idea I read a book on how to write and BAM! Now you see this amazing author that stands before you today. (Well, sort of stands. More like emails. But still.)

Anyways, you're probably wondering what this idea is. Well, let me tell you. Are you ready? Sitting down? If not, please do so. I wouldn't want you to hurt yourself when you read this earth shatteringly awesome idea. Ready for it? Here it comes.




Right? Right?! I know! Genius! But the awesome train doesn't stop there. Oh no, ma'am. It keeps going right into Grandiose Central Station. Because not only do we have the cutest cuddly kitties around posing in different sexually suggestive positions and dressed like priests, nuns, and astronauts, but the whole thing is written in ancient runes!

It blows your mind, doesn't it? I knew you would like it.

I haven't made the calendar yet, but I drew a picture of a kitty with crayons earlier. I can scan it and send it to you as an example if you want. Also, this is the first in a series. The sequel is dogs and sanskrit. That's right, the gravy train keeps chugging. And I want you as the conductor!

As far as business is concerned, I'm willing to offer you a 3% commission on the sale, as long as you promise not to steal my idea and do it yourself, since it's so awesome. Get back to me by the end of the business day today, or I'm taking it elsewhere.

Faker Von Prank
1110 Richie st
Got you, Good 11020

There you go! You have your mission. Now go, prank!