Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sorry about the hiatus...

NaNoWriMo is over! Shorty is done! I finished an article about alien rape! Woohoo!

Things should be back to "normal" now, with regular posts about random crap, and hopefully gory details about books and such. I have 2 completed proposals and a finished novel, so I should be busybusy.

At any rate, since I just finished an article on it, here is a Giger painting, just 'cause.

I will put something substantial up soon, I promise.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Done and Done!

Doafs should be back in business for the month of December, since I completed my NaNoWriMo mission!

Look for more awful blog posts in the near future. Huzzah! (the final chapter and epilogue of Shorty will be available on my other blog soon.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bring the Crunch!

Okay, so I have been seriously slacking these past few weeks, but for good reason. I am writing a novel, plus I have 3 articles in the works, so I am busy.

However, because it is topical (as I am a huge Cthulhu fan), I figured I would give you this teaser for last week's exciting conclusion of South Park's Mysterion trilogy (I am assuming that is what they are calling it), because all 3  episodes have the great tentacled one himself. Enjoy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Because I love you all

This month has been really busy, what with NaNoWriMo eating up most of my free time, I have not had it to put anything interesting here in a while, so I figured I would link you to my work in progress, Shorty, in case you are interested.

Chapter 1: Beer, Robots and the Past

Chapter 2: Escape, Food and Zombies

Chapter 3: The PES, The PET and The PEN

Chapter 4: Planet Terror, Planet Happy

Chapter 5: The Cure, and Zomburgers Explained

Chapter 6: Pandora, R'Lyeh, Vhoorl. And stuff.

Let me know what you think, if you feel like it.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I officially freaking love Hulu

Seriously, check this out:

Episode 1 of The Walking Dead. Watch it. Love it. (ZOMBIES!!!!)

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo - It Begins....

Today is the first day of the National Novel Writing Month; the personal contest that places quantity over quality and challenges writers to put down 50,000 words in 30 days.

I am personally very stoked. I have a great story in mind, I love the main character, and has villains that will hopefully be simultaneously menacing and funny. I will post updates as I have them, but until then, happy writing.

Friday, October 29, 2010

2 more days 'til Halloween (Halloween, Halloween)

2 more days 'til Halloween, Silver Shamrock.

For the first time in a while, I made it through the Halloween season without watching the Halloween movies. Not that there is anything wrong with them, mind you, I just didn't. This year has been more about a lot of other classics, mostly from the 70s and 80s. Here are some that I watched in the last month (there are spoilers, so don't continue on, if you don't want the plots of 30 year old movies ruined for you):

The Omen 2

Damien is back! Despite the fact that this movie came out 2 years after the original, about a decade has passed, and Damien is in boarding school, where he discovers he has demonic powers (the power of staring people into the fetal position and making their brains die by, you know, staring at them). At first he seems pretty against the idea of being the son of the devil and stuff, but by the end, he is pretty cool with it and kills his best friend/cousin with the brain killing thing because he strangely has an issue with his best friend being the anti-Christ. Silly bastard.

The Omen 3

This one could have been so much better; The first two were good (the original is awesome, who doesn't love hearing Gregory Peck say "Damien?") and it has Sam Niel as Damien this time. Sam is a damn good actor, I loved him in Jurassic Park and he was one of two shining beacons in that turd Event Horizon (the other being Lawrence Fishburne. Props to Jason Issacs for looking like a scary bad guy even when he isn't) , but man, this thing floated before being flushed.

This one came out in 1981, 3 years after the second, and again Damien has aged over a decade. Now he runs a major corporation and has political aspirations. He also has forcible butt-sex with a woman, which I imagine is what the son of Satan would do, but then after the initial horror of being sodomized, she seems pretty okay with it. Back in the first movie, we find out that kin order to kill Damien, he needs to be stabbed in a certain order, on holy ground with 7 daggers. This is reiterated in the second. By the third, apparently sticking him with one in a non-lethal place is enough to end Satan's reign of terror. I guess the writers were getting bored by this point, too.

The Gate

Not at all what I was expecting, but that is not necessarily bad. In this movie, an old tree falls over in a very 1980s back yard in the 1980s suburbs. 2 1980s little boys accidentally unleash unholy demons into their 1980s world and very nearly bring about a demonic cataclysm that opens the sky and brings the dead back from the grave once or twice.

No one seems to notice. Literally, there is a giant tornado from Hell spiraling up into the sky in the middle of a crowded neighborhood and not one person comes out of their house to see what the fuck was up. Of course, this was the 80s, so maybe Micheal Jackson was burning off his hair or a little girl was stuck in a well and everyone was glued to their TV.

Despite being almost painfully 1980s, it was still a charming little movie. Go watch it and enjoy the cheese.

Pet Semetary

The movie has it all; Stephen King, scary animals, creepy kids and an idiot making out with his dead wife while goo dribbles from her shattered eye socket. It also gave us Jud, played by Herman Munster, and therefore the old guy from every other episode of South Park that is constantly warning people not to "Go ovah theyah."

Pet Semetary is iconic; it's one of those movies that without us even realizing it, squirreled its way into pop culture without even trying. It also has a ghost with a smooshed head that kind of acts like the guardian angel from It's a Wonderful Life, only he REALLY sucks at his job and manages to save exactly no one, and still manages to look really smug while doing it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Crows, scary black (AWESOME) birds

I watched this the other night:

Watch the full episode. See more Nature.

It is freaking amazing; you will never look at those obnoxious black birds the same way. In the opening scene, the narrator (Sigourney Weaver!) explains that the town in Canada had a crow problem, so they held a contest to see who could shoot the most as y of dealing with the problem. They managed to kill a single crow before the rest figured out how high to fly to avoid being shot, then told their friends.

It turns out that crows have developed smarts for much the same reason we did; they are omnivores and opportunists, just like humans. That lifestyle requires that you learn multiple methods for obtaining food, and to be good at all of them. Along with that comes the necessity of communal living, which means that communication becomes important.

They have also evolved tool use, and are actually much more impressive about it than monkeys and apes. They have been shown to memorize truck routes and traffic light patterns, all to ensure they get the good food.

So the next time you see a large, black, beady eyed bird watching you, it likely is plotting something against you. Maybe even to kill you (or at least your livestock.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween week: A week of pure self indulgence

For those of you who somehow managed to find this blog, read it with some interest, and didn't know I write for, I write for, and have been for over a year and a half. I usually focus on science related subjects, but occasionally branch off into things like movies. Okay, I branched off once on movies and once on people.

This week, myself and Jacopo della Quericia have an article slated to run the last week day before Halloween, about which I am completely stoked. Also, Cracked's Halloween page features an article about zombies I wrote that ran 2 months ago and apparently angries up the blood of zombie lovin' types.

In the spirit of being a total attention whore and shamelessly self promoting douche, I bring you a list of Halloween Appropriate articles I have written for Cracked for you to enjoy, and possibly tell me why I am an awful person after reading.

7 Terrifying Giant Versions of Disgusting Critters

7 Awesome Acts of Nature (That Science Can't Explain)

13 Real Animals Lifted Directly Out of Your Nightmares

6 Creepy Animal Behaviors That Science Can't Explain

6 Things Your Body Does Every Day (That Can Destroy You)

6 Terrifying Diseases That Science Can't Explain

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Today I was thinking about Centipedes...

So, I wrote this several months back (I did not do the header image, the rest is all me though) and the number one most horrifying monster on the list to me was the Gejigeji, a monstrous Japanese centipede that are apparently considered good luck, and look like a bunch of spiders glued together with fear:

I could not imagine how anyone could not be horrified by these things. Then something really weird happened; people in the comment section of the topic page started saying "Those are just house centipedes, they have them where I live." So I looked them up, and lo-and-behold, they are an ancient family of centipedes that really should only be terrifying to insects, spiders and scorpions. They are completely harmless, kind of like if a werewolf only ate other werewolves. (Which is to say they are still freaky to look at, but at least they don't bite)

So because my life seems to love irony, I discovered within a week of the topic page being featured on Cracked that the apartment building I live in is infested with these things (the smaller American version, which tops out at about an inch and a half) and it turns out they are fascinating and not really scary up close.

The first one I saw I thought was a cockroach, and it moved FAST. They hunt by jumping on their prey, and believe me, these bastards can jump. This segues nicely into the whole reason I am posting this; this morning, I find a little one, no more than a half inch long in our bathroom sink. My wife is the kind of awesome person who wouldn't kill a tarantula, despite being terrified of spiders; she would just make me take it outside. Fortunately, New Hampshire is lacking in wild tarantulas.

So she had noticed the little centipede in the shower and scooped him up and put him in the sink so as to not drown him in the shower; this is where I found him. I showed my 4 year old, who thought he was cute (he was, actually. I like it when animals act like dogs, and he was cleaning himself, which looked a lot like a dog scratching itself)

I caught him after a chase (they can run like a damn bullet train) and carried it over to a particularly poorly built part of our bathroom where he could run off into the darkness and be safe. I set him down on a flat surface, and he leaped 180 degrees from what we would consider upright to upside down faster than I could register it and ran off.

Why there is not a "Gejigeji Man" superhero yet is beyond me.

Okay, maybe because the people he rescued would run away screaming. The best part about these things? Not only do they pounce on their prey using those awesome jumping skills, they poison them, and beat them to death with their legs. It's like a bug mixed with Mike Tyson and Ted Nugent.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Food + Death = Fast Food

I decided that since I am all out of cream at home today, I would stop by McDonald's and get breakfast; their coffee sucks way less than it used to, and I am a huge fan of all things fried. I was actually surprised by the amount of grease on my sausage biscuit, which is pretty terrifying considering a sausage biscuit from any fast food joint is little more than a lattice of biscuit and spices used to hold grease together.

There was so much, it soaked through the wrapper, which was completely translucent at that point, and even drenched the Monopoly pieces on the hash browns, which were sitting on top of the sandwich. They tend to be greasy enough on their own, but Jesus Christ, when they are being out-greased by their neighbor, something very wrong is afoot.

Now, I am also a huge fan of booze, but I am certain that if I die early because of ingesting too much of something, it will wind up being Burger King instead of vodka, which makes me significantly less cool than a rock star. On the other hand, I won't have herpes, chlamydia or syphilis when the sweet embrace of death takes me, so I think that ultimately I am the winner here.

I will likely muse on fast food quite a bit here because it is A. Funny, B. Deadly and C. I have issues with obsessing over shit and fast food is a pretty big addiction for me.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dracula Ants: Even worse than Vlad Tepes

Everyone knows Bram Stoker drew inspiration and the name "Dracula" from the old Walachian lord Vlad Tepes, who liked to have Turks impaled in large groups to show other Turks that they should really stop coming up into Hungary.

Deadliest Warrior gives you a really good idea just how fucking awful it would have been to die this way, so you may be wondering how I could possibly compare something to a guy who did that and say it was worse. I give you Adetomyrma venatrix, the Dracula Ant.

They aren't very big, but then, they don't need to be. They make up for their lack of size in sheer evil. See, the Dracula ants have a very peculiar method of feeding, and by "peculiar" I mean "so horrible that there is no punishment just enough to pay one back for this."

You see, Dracula ants derive their name from, you guessed it, their propensity for drinking blood. While that in and of itself isn't completely terrible, who they drink the blood from is. They get it from their kids. Dracula ants bore holes in their larva in order to drink the juices inside, and the kids don't like it. Rather than just sitting around passively allowing the workers to open them up and drink them, the larva try their damndest to get away. That's right, the baby ants know fear.

Kind of makes your own parents seem pretty awesome by comparison, doesn't it?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A gripe I have had about horror movie monsters for a while...

I am not talking about crappy horror movies like Skeeter or the many many (many) shitty Italian horror movies where the monsters are basically "guy with messed up face, possibly undead, maybe", but many good movies.

Off the top of my head, The Lost Boys, From Dusk 'Til Dawn and the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead are offenders. The gripe? Once you turn into a monster, the human body apparently turns into pudding. Harvey Keitel points it out in FDTD, in fact, explaining that the vampires are squishy. The other two, in my opinion, much better movies don't bother to explain any rationale for it, we simply are expected to think that if you have something vaguely pointy and shove it at another human (or former human) that it will pass straight through them like a hot fork into Jell-O.

In case you are wondering what I am referring to; in the Lost Boys, when the Frog brothers and Corey Haim sneak into the vampire lair, a skinny 13 year old manages to put a thick, kind of blunt wooden stake right through Bill S. Preston, Esquire's sternum with about as much effort as sticking a knife into a hamburger. I m not suggesting yu try that exact thing, but just as a test, find the exact center of your chest. It's pretty hard isn't it? Now try to push your finger through it. Go on, I'll wait.

Still here? Good. If not, well, then I am wrong , but you are dead and can't complain. If you are still alive, though, that is because your sternum (the bone right over your heart that keeps your ribs from flailing like a Half-Life zombie's) is thick and hard, specifically to protect you very-important heart from being poked and therefore killing you. This is very important to would-be vampire hunters, since if we assume that vampires are real (they aren't, take off the black makeup...) and can live for centuries, we can assume that A. they are NOT made of pudding and would laugh off your retarded attempt to poke them to death with a pointy stick (seriously, no monster could be considered scary if this was a valid way to kill one) or B. they are made of undead tapioca, but would likely draw on their hundreds of years of not being dead to maybe put on some armor, or at least a thick sweater.

Corey Feldman's anti-vampire weapons are rendered useless by a douchey piece of clothing.

For zombies, it is their head. In the new Dawn of the Dead, the husband from Medium stabs a zombie in the chin with a broken croquette mallet and it comes out the top of his head. Holy SHIT. Be careful if you brush your teeth too hard, you could wind up with a splitting headache. (I am building a laser in my basement; once the book is published I am starting a new career as a Bond villain) The original had a zombie meeting his maker by getting a flathead screwdriver slowly ground into his ear.

I guess once you die, your skull turns into an eggshell. Except they can be repeatedly beaten with little or no ill effects; it's just once the stabby things show up, monsters turn into warm butter. I realize this is an easy way to make them not-too-daunting, or to get the character out of a corner they are painted into, but come on folks. At least they didn't do anything silly like give a nurse a shotgun.. Oh Wait...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Proposal Update, and a quick word about roadkill

Just FYI to those that care, I finished the chapter outline and Robert and I came up with a list of "competitors", which I need to do a writeup about, and I will be doing a quick update to the intro to mention things like the Saw movies and shows like Dead Like me and Six Feet Under to show that there is a strong contemporary interest on the subject.

Now on to other things... It is beginning to be Fall here in New Hampshire, and that means people going insane about dead leaves, apple cider and pumpkins, and a shitload of dead animals in the road. This seems to have a lot to do with the animals being more active since they are stocking up for the winter early (they do that here), so they are out more, and then there are the old folks. New Hampshire may be called the Granite state, but it could just as well be called the "Geriatric Wastelands" since everyone here is either a college student or an old person.

This is important to mention because many of these people insist on driving long after their faculties have left home, much like their children's children's children. This leads to slow driving and sudden braking for no apparent reason, as well as a lack of focus that renders creatures like porcupines, raccoons and opossums invisible. On the plus side, most of these animals are shy so you rarely see them out and about. The bad news is that when you do, most of the time their guts are out and about too.

However, it would be unfair to merely blame the elderly; see this is New England, where the people who aren't old are mostly assholes. Okay, so that may be unfair, there are some really nice people here, I have heard. I just haven't met many of them.

New Hampshire's motto is "Live Free or Die", which is typically interpreted to natives as "Fuck you, I will do whatever I want, and treat you like YOU are the dick if you call me on it." That is a bit wordy for the license plates, however.

While this image is just someone trying to be clever, that slogan is literally one of the most popular bumper stickers (or "stickahs" if you happen to be a hick from around here) in the entire state. I mention all of this because I have known people who actively aim for small animals in the road. I am willing to bet that many of these people still wet their beds and want to be cops, meaning that they are likely all serial killers in training (this is not a far fetched belief if you have ever met anyone from NH)

The final group (and mind you, these three make up roughly 99% of the NH population. The 1% of decent human being exists because nature abhors a vacuum and despises remainders) is made up of people who drive so fast that they can't register the movement of small animals like squirrels, chipmunks and moose. I myself have killed a moose with a car, but I plead innocence based on the fact that I was driving in an ice storm in April, because fucking New Hampshire has ice storms in April some years.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Speaking of zombies...

I thought I would share this, since I am in kind of a zombie mood; it's one of the best "living dead" parodies out there. God I love South Park.

Night of the Living Homeless

It has everything; References to both Dawn of the Dead movies, and even a shout out to Dr Frankenstein from Day of the dead. Enjoy.

Terror has a new face (and it is Zombie Fanboys)

The chapter outline is done;
And that means exactly jack-squat right now, but it will have more significance soon, don't you worry.

On to the main point of this post.

I have been toying with this for a while and I figured now I would take a little time to address some people I offended last month when this article ran:

7 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Outbreak Would Fail (Quickly)

I was verbally beaten, mercilessly, by the most dedicated fanboys in the world (apparently), the zombie fanboy. They come in many flavors; Resident Evil, Left 4 Dead, even 28 Days Later. But the most virulent, rabid, and scary of them all are the Max Brooks Zombie fanboys. Holy shit, those people would cause a Muslim terrorist to give pause.

In case you are unfamiliar with his work, Max Brooks is the author of The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z, two very clever, well written and interesting works of fiction. I make that distinction since the hardcore fans of his books seem to have missed the "story" part of the term "story book" and jumped right in to buying water purifies, canned food and (God help us) guns.

Now, many of the people who posted comments said, and I quote, "the author apparently never read The Zombie Survival Guide", which was actually pretty astute; I had never seen a real copy of it until the day after the article ran. Much like all of the psychopathic virgins fans who commented on my article, I enjoyed it immensely. Unlike them, I understood that it was a work of fiction, lovingly created by a fan of the genre.

Much to my continued chagrin, I wound up taking many of their comments personally, despite being well aware of the fact that reading comments is one of the many things HP Lovecraft tried to warn us against in his many works documenting the horrors of the universe. They are like the might Cthulhu, and if you view them, you will go insane and babble for eternity. Or, you know, you will make a complete asshat out of yourself and start trading insults with obsessed 13 year olds over the internet. I chose the latter. (I chose wrong)

A few points I would like to address briefly;

The movies The Crazies(The original and the remake) and both of the 28 Days Later movies are "zombie movies" in the fact that they follow the similar themes and tropes; doomsday scenarios where humans are turned into monsters that propagate by turning normal people into the same thing.

I was writing about undead. And not Max Brooks's undead (or as some truly bewildering fanboys called him, Mel Brooks. I am serious, look it up), but the walking corpses of the original 1978 Dawn of the Dead, the single greatest Zombie movie ever made. Pretty much every convention we have stemmed from this one movie; the new breeds, the bite-spread super sprinter zombies gained popularity with the 2004 remake.

This brings me to another point; in the article I mention that biting is a horrible way to spread a disease. For the truly confused (and there were a lot of them) I would like to clarify; zombies biting is a horrible way to spread disease. I am well aware of things like mosquitoes and fleas. Yes I know biting spreads malaria and west Nile, and spread the Plague. But those were spread by insect bites, not zombies.

My final note; I totally get that people took the article personally. It was my fantasy, too, probably for longer than some of the offended have even been alive. But as the old web saying goes (and I will burn in hell for writing this, I am well aware); Arguing over the internet is like competing in the Special Olympics; even if you win, you are still a retard.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Monsters; Despite current trends, they can still not suck.

Between Stephanie Meyers, and before her, Anne Rice, have turned vampires into Emo wimps. Thanks to Twilight, we can add werewolves to the mix as well. God help us if one of these new writers gives us a sexy Frankenstein monster, or a maudlin version of Godzilla...

I will also go a little further and suggest that things like Blade and Underworld are undermining the very monsters they are trying to make awesome for pretty much the same reason. Sure, Edward Cullen is a whiny twit, but even in the Underworld movies, we sympathize and identify with the monsters. They aren't monsters any more; they aren't the uncontrollable forces of evil/nature that they used to be.

Or so it would seem.

I can think of several movies that have come out in the past 5 years or so that are unapologetically standard monster movies; The Wolfman, Cloverfield, The Crazies, 28 Weeks Later, Slither... All of them had a very clear "Us Against Them/It" motif, even if Cloverfield was filled with angsty unlikeable 20-somethings. At least they were eaten/exploded. Wolfman had blood, all kinds of blood. The Crazies and 28 Weeks Later were both great non-zombie zombie movies, and Slither... That was about as pure an homage to 80s horror that has ever been made.

I guess what I am getting at is this; sure this trend of whiny, emasculated monsters sucks. It's geared towards young girls, just like boy bands. And just like boy bands, they are ridiculous, shallow and make shitloads of money, so they won't be going anywhere any time soon.

On the plus side, their very existence pisses off the purists, and many of those purists are very talented film makers and writers, which is good for all o f us. The Emo crap will cause a backlash of traditional horror monsters, we just need to be a little patient.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The world's biggest bomb ever (ever)

Back in the 60s, the Cold War was in full swing, and the Russians, being Russian and therefore brave to the point of foolhardiness, created the Tsar Bomba, the "Father Bomb". In all fairness, they were actually being reserved when they built it; the final bomb was a 50 megaton monster, half the 100 megatons they wanted to make originally. I am going to guess that their scientists discovered something along the lines of "that much energy released at once will open a gateway to Gozer and its minions, which will eat our people, and more importantly, drink our Vodka."

So they reigned it in. The resulting bomb was still the most terrifying man made thing ever; even scarier than Bea Arthur nude, playing volley ball. The explosion was so huge, it nearly knocked the plane that dropped the bomb out of the sky. It was felt, seen, and even caused damage, 620 miles away from ground zero. Despite being an aerial burst (shown above), the explosion struck the ground and reached 8 km into the sky. The resulting fireball/mushroom cloud rose 40 miles into the sky.

The shock wave it generated circled the Earth 3 times, and was still measurable on the final pass.

Ironically, the idea behind making the Tsar Bomba was to create a "cleaner" nuke; you see, the larger and hotter the blast, the less radioactive fallout created by it. So the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated was actually the Russian attempt at making a "green" nuke, decades before the Green movement ever began.

This is a sample of what could happen in a populated area had Tsar Bomba ever been used in war. That is a map of Paris. The Yellow circle indicates the width of the fireball (8 km), and the red is the area of "Total Destruction".

Wait... Death Isn't Funny

Oh, but it will be... It willl beee....

Several months ago, I gathered up some enthusiastic fellow writers to start a book about death. Why death? Well, because I gathered these writers (and artists) from the pool of talented freelancers over at, which I am proud to say, I am a part of, with the original intention of writing a book on zombies. It turns out the book (which was the catalyst for this book. See, I won't be in the Cracked book, and rather than whining, I decided to create my own opportunity) is about zombies, so that was out.

So I decided, why not death? We're all funny people (on the team) and everyone has some tie to death; after all, it's coming for us some day. Even you. (sorry)

So why the blog? Just to keep folks up to date, in case you care. If not... Well then I have no idea what you are doing here. Maybe because I am just so entertaining (probably not).

At any rate, I hope this proves to be fun to follow; not everything here will be related to the book; I will probably post a bunch of random junk I find while researching it (and my other book). Most likely a lot on zombies.