Monday, September 30, 2013


      I've recently re-read (again) Chuck Palahnuik's "Lullaby" and even though I loved it the first time, I think my opinion improves every time I read it.  I have to admit, the idea of a culling song is brilliant.  In fact, it's so brilliant I wish I'd come up with it.  There are times when all of us wish we had that kind of power at our disposal.  Yet, Palahnuik's genius is playing the devil's advocate and presenting the less-than-rosy burden of wielding such a vicious weapon: the inadvertent side effect of killing unintentionally. 
      Like that bubble-gummy pop song that your co-worker, in the next cubicle, enjoys playing, or that annoying jingle for car insurance, songs get stuck in your head and once it's there...good luck getting rid of it. Without even thinking, that culling song wiped out the entire PTA meeting or your kid's soccer coach.  Your neighbor with the bad breath and the darn Girl Scouts selling cookies when you're on a diet-gone.  The guy across the street with the dog that barks all night long and the pizza delivery driver who squashed your dinner are toast.  
      So, you're wondering where the downside is, right?  Subconsciously, you've also zapped your cousin for forgetting your birthday and your best friend for beating you in fantasy football.  Don't laugh-fantasy football is cutthroat!  Bottom line: there's a reason the average Joe cannot harness that kind of power.  Most people don't have enough control of their subconscious mind and they'd be the only one left on the planet.  Hmm, maybe that's not so bad after all.  Close your eyes, snuggle with your favorite blanket and I'll sing you a lullaby.  Sleep well.  

Friday, September 27, 2013

Raise Your Glasses

     Like most married couples, my sweetie and I have plenty of inside jokes.  Because I'm a touch twisted, the average observer might be a bit put off... but the two of us are usually on the same page. For example, requesting a tall glass of Hemlock when one of us is having a bad day fits the norm in our house.  Depending on the mood, sometimes we request ice, other times, straight up. Either way, it would get the job done.  
     Surprisingly, it takes very little, (around 100 mg) of Hemlock to kill an adult human.  That breaks down to about 6-8 of the Hemlock's tiny leaves or even less if the roots or seeds are included.  Though indigenous to Europe, particularly in the Mediterranean regions, and a different strain in South Africa, the pretty flowers of the Hemlock plant encouraged transplanting in North America.  This pretty poison is even more deadly considering it can be easily mistaken for non-toxic foods.  The roots are often mistaken for parsnips; while its leaves resemble parsley and the seeds look like anise.  
     Whether straight up or on the rocks, ingesting Hemlock results in numbness and paralysis starting in the lower extremities and spreading up through the entire body.  Finally attacking respiratory functions, the victim will cease to breathe and eventually die from lack of oxygen. Though the ancient Greeks believed ingesting Hemlock was a humane way to dispose of condemned prisoners, Socrates might disagree.  Slow suffocation is not the easiest way to go!       In closing, I'd like to leave you with a fun, 80's movie quote.  "In the immortal words of Socrates...I drank what?" -Chris Knight(Val Kilmer), Real Genius.  So raise a glass, make a toast, and sleep well.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Supporting Characters: Part 4

      On our last discussion of supporting characters, we encountered one of the kindest, sweetest women you'd ever meet.  Fiction, like life, embraces characters from all walks of life and I strive to introduce diverse, realistic, characters in my stories.  Which brings me to Whitney....the antithesis to Iris.  Whitney is the embodiment, the very definition, of "the mean girl".  Every high school has at least one but Lincoln High has several and Whitney is their Queen Bee.    
      As a young child, Whitney learned that beauty is the golden ticket to getting everything you want out of life. Her parents, a former model and an affluent plastic surgeon, reinforced the harsh truth that pretty face and a perfect body were essential for happiness.  To help Whitney shed her "baby fat", she was enrolled in dance and gymnastics classes by the age of three.  When she got older, her mother steered her toward cheerleading as a way to improve her social status while burning calories.  The lavish lifestyle she was born into, teamed with shallow, self absorbed parenting imbibed Whitney with a self-righteous sense of entitlement. The world is her oyster and expects pearls!  She is used to getting what she wants, when she wants it and anyone standing in her way had better watch out.  
      Speaking of what Whitney wants, her sights were set on marrying a rich, handsome man.  Someone wealthy enough to support her high expectations while giving her everything her heart desires.  She has no intentions of working, not outside of the home and certainly not in it.  She expects housekeepers and nannies-assuming she'd ever sacrifice her toned body to bring a child into her world.  Whitney's love of money is only overshadowed by her love of self.  Some people are sore losers, others are poor winners.  Whitney is both.  As a shining example of the "Millennial Generation" her narcissism and self-importance are the traits most noticed-after her physique.  
     I don't know about you but I think haughty, self-absorbed, princesses are choice morsels for the undead. Eat well my zombie pets.  As for the rest of you...sleep well.         

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

More Torture Devices

     A couple of months ago, I wrote a post equating medical procedures to Medieval torture devices.  I still stand by those claims.  Today, I had some testing done and, even though they don’t fit the “Medieval” bill, they definitely count as torture.  For those who’ve had nerve conduction testing done, you know what I’m talking about.  If you haven’t had the “pleasure” then let me enlighten you….
     Before experiencing this test, I never really sympathized with cows before; however, now that I’ve been cattle prodded, I feel sorry for the big lugs.  I assume I’ve got your attention now.  The whole purpose of the nerve conduction test to measure the relay of electric currents zapped into the patient’s body by, you guessed it, a wand that looks exactly like a cattle prod.  I have massive bruises on my legs where they attempted to sizzle me like a sausage.  Each time they upped the current, I had to suppress the urge to shout, “Ride the Lightning” or “juice up Ol’ Sparky”!  I guess the good news is, since I’m hobbled now, I have plenty of time to work on my next book.  I’ll be crawling to the bathroom but, hey, my hands and fingers weren’t fried so I can still write.  Sleep well.  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mr. King

I usually don't post over the weekends but I couldn't let such a momentous occasion pass without interjecting my two cents.  Today is Stephen King's Birthday. I'm sure I've mentioned this a time or two before I am a HUGE fan!  His particular brand of literary genius speaks to me on a level unlike any other.  Not only has he been scaring the crap out of me for years, his style has been my greatest influence.  So, from the depths of my heart, I'd like to wish a very Happy Birthday to Stephen King!  May we all look forward to many more...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Supporting Characters, Part 3

     It's been a while since I featured one of the peripheral characters in "Journal of the Undead: Littleville Uprising".  Today, I'd like to introduce you to Iris Jacobson.  In her seventy-eight years, Iris had much to be thankful for.  She'd been blessed with a loving husband, three beautiful children and seven grandchildren. Though not rich by today's standards, she was proud to say they'd always managed to pay their bills on time and have a little left over to save for a rainy day. She and her husband, Carl, worked hard on their farm but Iris was never one to shy away from hard work.  Family, friends and faith were the cornerstones of her life. She believed in putting God first and the rest would fall in line.  She also believed in giving back to the community where she'd lived her entire life.
     Embracing her personal motto (a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt) "It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness", Iris started a committee to assist friends and neighbors when they needed a helping hand.  She and her team would provide hearty, nutritious meals for the sick, for new mothers (and their families) after delivery, or those who were down on their luck.  She loved to be in the kitchen; cooking baking and entertaining.  Iris' apple pie was legendary in her small town and she proudly accepted blue ribbons at county fairs and bake-offs.  She enjoyed the accolades but mostly she just loved bringing smiles to people's faces...especially to her family.
     Iris loved the simple life: family meals, reading a good book, walks through the cornfield at sunset, sipping iced tea in her porch swing with Carl, flipping through old photo albums, and playing with the grandkids.  She had married her high school sweetheart at eighteen and never regretted a single moment of their 60 years of matrimony.  When she and Carl first started dating, Carl had carved their initials in a towering oak tree on his father's farm.  Since then, she had always referred to it as their sweetheart tree.  They'd had their first kiss behind that tree and later said their wedding vows at the same spot.  Carl and Iris Jacobson planned for it to be their final resting place.  Together, they would rest in peace.
     By now, you've probably decided that I am a monster.  Only a monster would allow such a darling woman to turn into a zombie.  The sad truth is, if it could happen to Iris, it can happen to you.  Constant vigilance is the key to survival!  Sleep well....if you can.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Since the early 80’s, one song reigns supreme as Halloween’s anthem:  Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”.  Regardless of your opinions of the artist, admit it…when you hear that beat, it’s Thriller-Time.  Sure, perfectly choreographed, synchronized, dancing zombies are implausible but damn, it’s fun!  The original video was nearly fourteen minutes long featuring Werewolves, Zombies and the incomparable Vincent Price.  If you’ve never seen it, or, if you’re feeling nostalgic, click on the link below. 

While the scariest part of the video is probably the horrendous eighties fashions, “Thriller” was groundbreaking, back in the day.  The iconic tune has made a comeback in the form of a world-record-breaking flash mob/charitable fundraiser event.   Ines Markeljevic creator of “Thrill The World” has been hosting a worldwide event of dancing and celebrating your “inner-zombie” since 2006.  Once a year, she and her team collaborate times across the globe, establish groups all over the world, provide access to choreography, and even offer costuming and makeup tips for the biggest “Thriller” dance ever!  “Thrill The World” encourages each group to select a charitable organization and use the event as a chance to make a difference.  Not only do you get to dress up like a zombie, dance with your friends, and set a world record in the process, you go home feeling good about yourself for raising money for charity.  Just log on to  and learn how you can join the fun!  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sleepy Hollow's Legend

     I first read Washington Irving’s, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” when I was in Elementary School.  By that time, I had already developed a passion for horror stories so I was thrilled when it was assigned to our English class a few years later.  It has always surprised me that film and television adaptations fell pitifully flat in comparison to Irving’s brilliant storytelling.  So far, Disney’s animated interpretation, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad has probably been the best of the bunch and that isn’t saying much.  Despite my affinity for Johnny Depp’s movies, I found Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow to be a disappointment. 
     That being said, news of Fox’s new television program, Sleepy Hollow filled me with both curiosity and trepidation.  In spite of my mixed emotions, I set my DVR and waited.  The pilot still left me battling the same conflicting perceptions, with trepidation edging into the lead.  It looks like I will need to set my DVR again, cross my fingers and wait for next week.  Here’s hoping Fox will finally do justice to an American Classic.  Nearly two hundred years is a long time for Ichabod to wait and it would be a true tragedy to wait two hundred more… Until then, the Headless Horseman roams the night searching for his next victim.  Sleep well.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Aftermath

     With only two episodes remaining in the mega-hit Breaking Bad, last night’s episode was a non-stop adrenaline rush.  Fear not, if you have not seen it, this is a spoiler-free zone.  There’s nothing worse than some imbecile blabbing all of the best scenes before you’ve had the chance to watch it yourself.  I believe there is a special corner of Hell reserved for those people and I sincerely hope their suffering will be legendary!  No, today is all about the aftermath.  Drones of semi-conscious, shell-shocked, Baddicts wandered through the day unable to focus on anything significant.  Blue Meth has us in its wicked grip and we are powerless to resist….we want, NO- we need more.  However, the more we get, the closer we come to the inevitable end.  The supply will die out and then we must seek out a viable replacement.  The purity will, no doubt, decrease and the resulting high will be diminished.  It is a vicious cycle. 
     I think the funniest comments I’ve seen were by fans likening their aftermath to PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  If you’re not watching it, Man, you just don’t know….you weren’t there…..we’ve seen things that cannot be unseen.  They can’t sleep and can’t eat; it’s a bad, bad world.  Videos have been uploaded where people look like zombies shambling around their home, vacant eyes seeking their next fix.  But where is the Rehab to wean us from the drugs coursing through our veins?  Better call, Saul. 
     Will AMC rekindle the magic with their next series based on Saul Goodman?  I sure hope so because none of us want to go back to the pseudo-meth cooked with “Chili P” again.  We’ve tasted the good stuff and there’s no going back.  If possible, try to put down the pipe and step away.  Sleep well.  (If you can) 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My apologies

     This evening, my apologies are two-fold.  First, let me address the lengthy gap since my last post.  The bad luck one typically associates with Friday, the thirteenth, landed on my doorstep a day early.  (It was already the 13th in Australia, just not here in my time zone)  Anyway, I had a crippling computer issue.  Fortunately, I have a friend who happens to be a computer genius.  Computer geniuses are busy people so I had to wait until tonight but, I am not complaining.  Since I view my laptop as an appendage, I would rather have the best “doctor” fix it up!  So that explains apology number one- I apologize for the lapse.
     Apology number two is for the short entry.  I have a lot of work to catch up on so we will be back on track tomorrow. (baring death and dismemberment, that is)  Until tomorrow…sleep well.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dance, Puppets, Dance

     Like millions of other viewers, I am addicted to AMC’s Breaking Bad.  I have exercised exceptional restraint, not watching Season Five until it’s over.  The waiting week to week is more agonizing than sitting down and watching the whole season in, say, a weekend.  I’m a big fan of the non-stop marathon when it comes to shows that, not only grab a hold of you, but also consume your every thought.  Like a junkie, strung out on the drug that is Breaking Bad, I can’t “take a hit” then wait an entire week for more.  Like Skinny Pete or Badger, I always want just one more little bump or, in my case, just one more episode.
     I can’t tell what delights me more; its pure, unadulterated, celebration of the antihero or the way the man behind the scenes pulls the string and the puppets all dance.  Manipulation is the key ingredient and no one is immune.  Each and every character has fallen prey, in one way or another, to someone’s deception.  Trickery, deceit, all ingredients in the master recipe that’s been cooked and served up to eager fiends. Yet, it goes deeper still.  We, the viewers, are mere pawns in the game.  The puppeteer has pulled the strings and we all dance.  

Friday, September 6, 2013

Barely Standing...

     There has been much talk lately about making “The Stand” into a feature length film.  The prospect both horrifies and intrigues me.  On one hand, it would be glorious to see an accurate adaptation with a hefty Hollywood budget to delight Stephen King fans.  The reality; however, is that rarely, if ever, does the movie version ever come close to the book.  Case in point: Max Brooks’ “World War Z”.  The only similarity between the book and the movie was the title!
     Let’s assume that someone wants to do justice to, the genius that is, Stephen King and, being a fan themselves, would make a film true to the book.  I don’t envy the challenge.  I agree; it cannot be done in one film-not even a Lord of the Rings length movie.  It would have to be split into parts but moviegoers have already shown they’re open to the concept.  (See: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1&2, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn part 1&2 and “The Hobbit” has been broken up into 3 films, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hobbit: There and Back Again)  Honestly, the number of films is the least of its woes.  Casting would be tricky; fans are especially touchy in this area.  To be honest, I cannot imagine anyone else playing the role of Stu Redman after Gary Sinise did such an amazing job in the mini-series.  I shudder to think who would be cast in so many key roles.   
      If it does happen, I would like to offer my services, to whoever finally makes, “The Stand”, into a movie.  To do what, you ask?  I want to be their book-slapper.  Yes, I stole this concept from the Internet but I firmly believe it should be a real position!  I want to be the person who, when the director or scriptwriter deviates from the manuscript, I get to smack them upside the head with the book.  Since I have the “Complete & Uncut” version, it’s pretty thick.  I could inflict some serious damage with that thing.  Please, if you can’t do it right- LEAVE IT ALONE!!!  The horrors that could flicker across the screen under the title, “The Stand” truly gives me nightmares.  Sleep well.   

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Into Everyone's Life a Little Monster Must Fall

     I am a firm believer that everyone needs a monster in his or her life.  Mine happens to be a 13-pound puppy with a penchant for gnawing on fingers and toes.  Perhaps you’re incensed, that I would call my baby a monster, but that only means you don’t know her.  She loves playing monster.  Yes, to her it’s a game.  Through her big brown eyes, life is just one big game. 
     Take, for example, the dive-bomb monster.  When you least expect it, (or, when I’m busy writing) she will run, full force, and launch herself at you.  Usually accompanying the “dive-bomb, an attack of smothering kisses directly follows.  If you’re unfamiliar with smothering kisses, she will pounce on your head and completely cover your face with kisses- up the nose, in your mouth-essentially suffocating you with kisses. 
     Next, there is the stealth-monster.  She employs this tactic when she’s not getting your undivided attention.  Softer than a whisper, she creeps up and steals something from you.  Whether it’s the socks off your feet, a pen in your hand or food on your plate, when the stealth-monster comes it will be hers.  Stealth-monster immediately morphs into flash-monster, as she dashes off, quick as a flash, with her spoils. 
     Stink-monster usually attacks my sweetie.  If you witness a seemingly random move, where my sleeping puppy gets up, strolls over toward you, waits for a split-second then disappears…most likely, you were crop dusted by the stink monster.  I’m not sure which is worse, the smell or the blurred vision but either way, you do not want the stink-monster to visit you!
     My personal favorite is the snuggle-monster.  Sadly, the snuggle-monster might be part vampire, as it never shows its face in daylight.  This nocturnal creature craves affection just before bedtime.  Occasionally, in an effort to delay the inevitable, she surfaces first thing in the morning.  This usually inspires a few taps on the snooze bar. 
     Honestly, the list could go on and on but I think I’ve made my point.  Everyone needs a monster in their life.  Snuggle-monster just appeared so I must go.  Sleep well.  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


     When I decided to take the weekend off from blogging, I hadn’t looked at the dates.  It figures, right?  In fact, after realizing my mistake, I considered posting anyway but I figured it could wait.  If you don’t recognize the hashtag, you may be wondering what the fuss is all about.  This past Saturday, August 31st, was the 125 anniversary of Jack the Ripper’s gory but short-lived killing spree that all started with the discovery of a butchered Mary Ann Nichols.  As most of you know, I have a freakish fascination with serial killers.  Serial killers who never got caught…now that’s really captivating. 
     The lore that follows Jack the Ripper ranges from thought provoking to full-fledged conspiracy theories, but I can’t get enough.  I was particularly impressed with a documentary I’d seen a few months ago.  The filmmakers suggested that The Ripper actually emigrated to from Great Britain and ended up in America.  Murders with a similar style had been committed here in the States but, after the suspect was captured, the murders ceased.  Everyone, from bloggers to Hollywood moguls, loves to speculate about Jack the Ripper’s identity.   
     Almost as famous as the man himself, the taunting letters allegedly sent from the elusive murderer to the newspapers, play a vital role in Ripper Lore.  I can’t help but wonder if he had, in fact, sent them or if it was a hoax.  If he did, not only was he ballsy, it means he gave himself the name, “Jack the Ripper”. 
     The elements of the unknown make the legend of Jack the Ripper, truly nightmare worthy.  Sleep well.