Placeholder and PROUD!!

Hi folks!! We interrupt our regular posting schedule to bring you this very special placeholder post!

I am attending the Emerald City Comic Con this weekend, and therefore I am busy compiling fun and exciting things to share with you NEXT week.

So, in the meantime, please enjoy this video of baby sloths getting a bath. Enjoy!!

 

Advertisements

Surviving Zombies – You’re Doing It Wrong

As this post from last October details, I’m a relatively new fan to the zombie genre (if my fandom were a child it would be 8 years old), but I am definitely an eager one!

Ever since my interest was first piqued by my friends, and by the movie Shaun of the Dead, I have been devouring zombie culture much like zombies devour brains.

So, naturally, I have been watching the series “The Walking Dead” with rapt attention. I’ve also done my best to get as caught up on the comics as I can (given limited time and budget – woo and hoo for Wikipedia character descriptions!).

The thing about the television series that I both enjoy and drives me up the wall with frustration is how the characters are so busy in-fighting that they totally screw up any chance at preparing AGAINST zombie attacks. They are entirely re-active and not pro-active.

[A FEW SPOILERS TO THE SEASON 2 FINALE FOLLOW – YOU’VE BEEN WARNED]

They totally could have dealt with the huge herd that showed up for the season two finale in such a way as to prevent any character deaths, and they also could have avoided the necessity to leave the farm – all they had to do was prepare a little bit in advance.

For example, they’ve known since Atlanta that “walkers”, as they call them, will follow sound. All they needed to do was set up some sort of “sound bomb” a quarter to a half-mile out from the farm – loud enough to travel a good distance, clear enough to be coming from a set direction — (four total, one for each compass point) and a way of triggering them. Then if their lookouts were actually doing their damn jobs (instead of NOT keeping an eye on young Carl), once they had spotted an approaching herd, they could “fire” the sound nearest to the herd that would cause them to turn around or away from the farm. If the “CRACK” of a single gunshot will get an entire herd to shift direction, surely a 5 to 7 second “BRWAP” from a bull-horn will more than work.

Ah crap. Does anyone know where the heck Carl is again??

But what if they don’t have the ability or technology to trigger the sound bombs remotely? Well then, once the herd is spotted, a brave soul (or two) will need to hop on a bicycle (not a loud motor-bike, or car, but faster than walking or running) and get to the chosen sound bomb location and fire it off, then high-tail it back to base.

If a sound bomb can’t be set up in advance, then the brave soul gets to the pre-determined location (perhaps identified with a paint-mark or brightly colored fabric tied around a tree) and fires a round or two into the air with a gun and THEN high-tails it back to base.

Can't stop for a chin-wag, I'm off to razzle the lame-brains!

You might argue that this is a waste of valuable ammo, but to that I say shooting one or two bullets into the air so as to AVOID shooting hundreds of rounds into hundreds of zombies seems like a better way to hang on to precious ammunition, don’t you think?

So that’s what you do to prevent a herd from getting to the farm. But what about smaller groups or solo-walkers?

Again, our loveable characters wasted valuable time arguing with each other when they SHOULD HAVE BEEN digging and rigging tiger-traps (complete with wood spikes at the bottom) all around the farm’s perimeter. Once this had been accomplished, daily patrols would have discovered freshly trapped walkers. Any walkers whose brains hadn’t been spiked by the fall could have been quietly bludgeoned (again NOT wasting ammo) and the bodies disposed of (so as to keep the traps empty and ready for the next one – a full trap is a pointless trap).

It's not like they don't have practice digging holes.

These are only a couple of things that the group could have done to avoid/prevent the carnage that happened.

I’ve been having zombie dreams lately and in them as soon as it’s clear that zombies are happening, I grab my wife and our pets and make for the nearest Costco which we manage to secure with a group of other survivors. I immediately proclaim myself the leader and demand that everyone do as I say because (after a short poll) it’s revealed that I am the only one who has read Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide and who actually had the forethought to bring a copy of the book along. Then we all get into an argument about supply rations and usually at this point I wake up.

Clearly, I’ve been thinking about this too much.

But, while some viewers I know are rooting for more death and dismemberment, I’m waving my little flag and rooting for our heroes to actually survive. They just need to use a bit of what zombies crave most: BRAINS.

Guilt-ar Lessons

Before I start this post a little disclaimer: I am not a great guitarist. I am an “OK” guitarist. Give me a campfire or fire-pit and a forgiving audience and I can strum and pick well enough to be entertaining and maybe even start a sing-a-long. I have never picked up a guitar with the ulterior motive to impress because I will not. Ok… end of disclaimer.

Question. Why is it a social gaffe to bring a guitar to a party? I mean, I will give you that if a person brings a guitar to a party with the idea that they are going to get laid after forcing their rendition of “More Than Words” by Extreme on a put-upon audience of the Less-Than-Interested then, yes, this person is a douche and deserves mockery. Lots of it.

Hello. Is it me you're looking for?

But… what about those parties made up of talented friends of many backgrounds… some are musicians, some are actors, some are writers or artists, etc… why is it wrong to bring a guitar to this party and pass it around?

I was watching a video on YouTube a while back (I can’t remember who made it or what it was called, otherwise, I’d post it here) and in it they made a reference of not wanting to be “the a—hole who brings a guitar to a party”.

This caused me to wrinkle my nose in both confusion and consternation because I immediately thought, “Hey… I’ve been known to bring my guitar to a party, does that make me an a—hole?”

Then, suddenly, I started hearing references to “the a—hole who brings their guitar to a party” in comedy routines everywhere.

I’m not going to pretend that I’ve never seen or heard these jokes before; John Belushi in Animal House being the best example… but I always associated such jokes with the douchebag who’s trying to get laid.

Guitar Guy: I gave my love a story / That had no end / I gave my... (Bluto smashes guitar) Bluto: Sorry.

Now I’m worried that this stereotype has expanded to include ANYONE who brings a guitar to a party.

I asked a friend about it and they said that they’ve always felt that it’s only okay to break out a guitar at a party A) if the instrument was already at the house (the property of the host) or B) if you were explicitly asked to bring it. Even if you know that the crowd at the party enjoys a good sing-a-long, never EVER bring your own, lest you be titled “that guy” (or gal).

Oh god, it's THAT GUY again...

I asked them to define “that guy” and they said, “you know, the guy who’s just trying to show off how cool he is because he can play the guitar.”

Then I said, “Yeah but what if ‘that guy’ isn’t trying to impress or pick up chicks or whatever? What if ‘that guy’ is bringing his guitar just because he thinks it would be fun to share and pass around with his group of talented friends?”

To which my friend replied, “Well, in that case, if his friends were really that talented, there would likely already be a guitar at the party (scenario A) or he would have been asked to bring it (scenario B). So, again, he still wouldn’t just show up with it.”

This answer left me depressed, unsatisfied and feeling very, very, uncool. Especially once I realized that at many of the parties I’d attended where a guitar was being enjoyed, the instrument was, in fact, already there. I hadn’t needed to bring mine. But, then again, no one seemed chagrined that I had brought it, because it generally meant that the more talented guitarists in the group could now play duets.

I guess it just depends on the people and party. That’s the only sense I can make of it. I have friends where a guitar at a party is just as common and expected as that dip you make out of sour cream and packet of dehydrated onion-y bits. I have friends where a guitar at a party would be as unwelcome as mouth herpes. I work very hard never to confuse the two groups.

Boy- OMG, if I learned the guitar maybe my date will sleep with me! Girl- That won't help you.

The danger-zone of guitar-gaffes comes with those new friends you make. The people who seem really cool and artsy and potentially guitar-friendly…but you just don’t know for sure. Believe it or not, just asking “Hey, is it ok if I bring my guitar the next time we hang out” isn’t necessarily enough of a barometer-check to be certain that it is truly cool or not. This is because new friends have that “I’m gonna be super nice until we know each other better” buffer in place, and they might agree to a guitar share when they are actually dreading it. Then you end up bringing a six-string to all of their parties not knowing that they secretly hate you for it.

Maybe if I play louder, they'll like it more...

So, you don’t ask about the guitar thing and then when they come to your house for a hang-out you have to make the decision whether or not to break the instrument out. I’ll be honest, I hate it when I go to someone’s house and they use the opportunity to put on an impromptu concert because it does wreak of attention and/or approval-seeking, which is lame. HOWEVER, if it’s a case of passing the guitar back and forth to share new songs learned, favorite riffs, or tips on how to transition between particularly difficult chord shapes, I’m all for it. All. Day. Long.

I guess what I’m saying is, not all parties are guitar-appropriate, but for those that are, passing judgment on the dude or chick wielding their axe is just as lame as being the douche who learned the guitar just to get laid.

Home Sweet House

So, I mentioned in this post that my wife and I are finally looking at buying a house. A very adult thing to do. I’m trying to pretend not to be freaked out about it… “it” meaning being an adult, not buying a house.

We’ve started looking at properties, and oy vey, what a trial this is turning out to be. We have yet to find that one perfect domicile that we’d want to call home for at least the next 10 to 15 years. I take that back. We have found the ONE, but some other family who doesn’t realize just how perfect this house is for us and is probably just settling – though they’d never admit it- swooped in before we even had a chance to make an offer and bought it. Poopers.

So now we are trying to find a clone of this magical house of rainbows and kittens that should have been ours.

It is SO much harder to find a house when you’re trying to find an exact match to something you can’t have.

I’ve also been amazed at how many houses we’ve looked at where the outside is AWESOME and the inside is ZOMGWTF?!!?

Oh, yeah, see this is cu--

AAH!

We’re also looking at a lot of early 20th century homes, mostly Craftsman, and we’ve been surprised at how big they look on the outside and how teeny-weeny they are on the inside. Totally the opposite of a TARDIS.

Nice! This is HUGE! We'll totally be able t--

WTF?!?

Luckily, we’ve given ourselves loads of time to find the perfect house. If we end up re-leasing our current rental it won’t be a tragedy. In fact, one of the reasons we’re leaning so heavily toward Craftsman homes is because we like our rental house so much (and it also happens to be a Craftsman).

I’m hopeful that we’ll eventually cross the threshold into our dream home, but until then, the hunt continues…