Friday, October 30, 2009

Ask a Zombie - The Answers (Kinda)

Alright. I've got my spokeszombie here, and we're ready to answer all your questions. Whee!

The first question of utmost importance is from Candice, who wants to know who will win the next Nobel Peace Prize. Spokeszombie, what do you think?

Um... why are you singing? You're supposed to answer the question, dude.

Hey! I'm talking to--

Okay. I need a new spokeszombie. And I'm looking for references.

This post is courtesy of my computer, that took a half hour to boot up this morning. I honestly did not intend to wuss out. And my crappy spokeszombie didn't help either. Any of you know of any good zombies that I could use to answer questions? I'm also willing to zombiefy a celebrity...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ask a Zombie!

In honor of Halloween, my favoritest holiday ever, I thought you might like some advice. Not from me. I mean, really; I think that zombie penguins are the awesome-est. Who in their right mind would ask ME for advice?

Luckily, I have a stable of zombies in my backyard, and they're chock full of good information. What do you want to know? Ask a question in the comments, and my spokeszombie will answer it for you. It's particularly good at questions of worldwide importance that require deep thoughts.

Yes, I called the zombie "it." I don't know if it's a male or female. I respect its privacy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Things That Make Me Snarf - A Ninja Pays Half My Rent

This is kinda what it's like to live with a ninja. Kinda.

My poor darlings, are you all Twilighted out? Have I sprained your brain, put your synapses into relapses? I didn't mean to.

After the fabulousness that was last week's Rename Twilight contest, I'm worried that I've hurt you. Because that's the only explanation that I can think of... otherwise why are there so few entries to the Twilight Mashup contest? Because really, I cannot believe you can't come up with a new title for Twilight plus Curious George. Or Twilight plus Alice in Wonderland. Or Twilight plus Goodnight Moon.

Yeah, I'm totally calling you out. But I'm doing it nicely. :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Signs, Signs, Everywhere There's Signs (Missing Letters)

Signs that are missing letters make me laugh so hard. I think I've already mentioned my Favorite Missing Letter Sign of All Time: The Red Oof Inn. I want to stay at the Red Oof Inn every time I travel. Because Red Oofs make it easier to sleep at night.

There was also a sign that I used to pass on my way to work every morning, way back in the day when I worked with Mad Cow Disease and collected brains as a part of my daily business. (Collect the whole set! Trade 'em with your friends!) There was a sign that said "Big Chicken F - $0.99!" I'm not sure what a Chicken F is, but even the big ones are cheap. That sign was down the road from the sign that said, "Bam! Scampies! Scampies!" That one's not missing any letters, but it's still freaking perplexing.

Anyway, in honor of my signs missing letters fetish, I thought I'd give you these:

You're welcome.

And please don't forget to visit our latest and greatest contest! Make a piece of classic literature a little more Twilighty and win a book!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rename Twilight: The REAL Rezultz... and Another Contest

Honestly? I'm kind of happy that you all are as torn as I was when it comes to renaming Twilight. Because I felt like a total waffler when I couldn't decide between the two finalists. (Waffler = person who waffles, natch.) So thank you for reassuring me that the problem is not my inability to make a decision; it's the fact that the finalists were Just. That. Good.

Sooo... your votes were pretty much split. And I have more than one book (that would be a copy of Shadows and Light, in which my short story "Revenge of the Mucus Shovel Fairy" appears). I originally debated giving them both books, but I was worried about the waffle thing. Not that I have a problem with waffles, because they are good with syrup, but I worried that if I became known as a waffler, it was inevitable that people would think that I'M good with syrup too.

And that would be bad.

But after the neck and neck vote in which many of you said that they're both so good that you needed to resort to scientific methods like eenie-meenie-meinie-moe, I've got to give them both books. I'm sorry if this is anticlimactic, but it seems like the right thing to do.

Sooo... the two new titles for Twilight are:
Too Great Expectations: How to Make Sure No Guy, Ever, is Good Enough. Ever. - sraasch

Because Buffy Had Too Much Backbone - CKHB

Ladies, please be sending me emailage with your address, and I'll send you the book. I'll even SIGN them, which is probably more exciting for me than it is for you.

Now I've got one book left, so we're doing one more contest. I only have one book left, so there will need to be ONE winner. Take pity on me. Submit such a fabulous entry that I have no choice but to pick you. Kay? Thanks in advance.

This time, I want you to insert something Twilighty into another book, and give me the new title. For example, you could do Bella + Pride and Prejudice = Pride and Klutziness: How Mr. Darcy Got Sick of Bella Stomping on His Feet All the Time, So He Married Caroline Bingley and Everyone Was Miserable.

Bring on your Twilight Mashups! Post them in the comments below before Friday, 10/30 at noon EST. I will select a winner (ONE FREAKING WINNER) on Monday. That person will win the final copy of Shadows and Light. There's mucus in it. And shovels. And fairies.

You can't resist, can you?

Enter as many times as you like, and if you've won one of my contests before, no worries. Oh, and I don't mind shipping overseas, since I know there was some question about that before.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Rename Twilight - Da Rezultz

You people are funny. I am sending you all imaginary books. I would send you all real books, but then I'd be forced to become a nudist because I wouldn't be able to afford clothes. Or laundry. And you wouldn't want to subject the world to THAT, would you?

I think part of the allure of the Rename Twilight Contest is that there's so much to work with. We all know that I respect Stephenie Meyer for getting people to read, but if you're inclined to be a little silly (and we all know that I am), there's a lot to laugh at. In my favorite entries, you lampooned the high sparkle quotient, as Masonian did so well in his "When Sparkles Attack: a Love(ish) Story." There were a lot of entries that poked fun at Bella, like "Scent of a Wuss" by Barb and "I'm Plain, Clumsy And My Parents Don't Care About Me But Every Guy Wants Me For Some Ungodly Reason That My Tiny Little Brain Can't Comprehend" from Mireyah Wolfe. There's the inevitable lolcat takeoff (because we all know how much I love lols): "I Can Haz Bella" from Larissa. There's the uber witty "The Apple Has Nothing To Do With Anything" from Emilee, and the self-help version "What To Do When Your Boyfriend Thinks You're Food" by Valerie.

And then, there are my two finalists.

Too Great Expectations: How to Make Sure No Guy, Ever, is Good Enough. Ever. - sraasch

Because Buffy Had Too Much Backbone - CKHB

I cannot choose between them. (Yeah, I'm wussing out. Deal with it.) So I'm going to turn it over to you. Which one do you like better? The winner will get a copy of the book. The runner up will get random swag from me. I think I still have some fold your own Cthulhu around here somewhere.

And EVERYONE needs a fold your own Cthulhu.

Sing out in the comments, peepuls. And if you didn't win this one, stay tuned, because I'll be giving away another one next week. Whee!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

La La La

I apologize in advance, because I'm going to keep this short and sweet today. Please, everyone, stop crying. There's no need to throw yourself out windows; that's going a little too far even if they are first floor windows and there's a bush right outside to break your fall. See, I've got two reasons to keep from writing a saga today.

First, because I've got to sit around for a while and ponder the entries to the Rename Twilight contest. It closes today at noon EST. You've got a couple of hours left, and I do not have a favorite yet! Not even close, frankly. So please! Enter! Make my life harder! I'm as tough as Princess Leia; I can take it!

The second reason is one that I'm really excited about. See, I'm cooking on the No Pain sequel. COOKING, I tell you. And today, I plan to get a lot of words on paper. The sooner I do this, the sooner you will be able to read Kate's adventures with defective corpses, flirty nurses, and bath mats made out of back hair. And you know you want to read them. So, tune in tomorrow for the contest results.

Sparkle sparkle sparkle.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

In Which Celebrities Fight Over Me

Apparently, there is some resistance to the idea of me being the David Hasselhoff of Turkey. Most of this resistance comes from my husband, who is permanently scarred by the picture of my face, the Hoff's body, and a speedo. We're considering therapy.

But honestly, I'm not sure what the problem is. It could be worse. I could have decided to be the Marilyn Manson of Turkey. (He has flipped me out ever since I saw him in concert, opening up for someone I actually WANTED to see. I will not tell you what he did on stage, but he was dressed in a black speedo. Ugh. Even that is too much; I'm starting to have flashbacks. Moving on.) I could have decided to be a lot of things that aren't the Marilyn Manson of Turkey.

Like, you could be the Richard Simmons of Turkey.

Well, yes, if I could find the right shorts, but--

You should be the Batman of Turkey. My wardrobe is better.

Well, now that you're nipple-less again, I have to admit that it's pretty flattering, but--

Are you kidding?!? I don't see a single sparkle in sight. And sparkles are good for you. They made Edward live forever, right?

I cannot deny the power of the sparkle.

Your sparkles are wussy.

Oooh. Them's fighting words.

That's it, Batman. Put up your dukes.

Uh... guys? There's no need to fight.

If you two don't shut up, I'm going to shoot you.

Sheesh. Okay, I guess the only thing left to do is take bets. In a fight between Richard Simmons, Batman, and Princess Leia, who are you putting your pretend money on?

And have you entered the Rename Twilight contest yet? It closes on Thursday at noon, and the competition is wide open. There are so many hilarious entries; why don't you put one in too?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Carrie, the Red-Mask-Wearing Airhead

I think that the impressions you can do really say a lot about you. For example, there is my friend, the Electic Lovitz. I know I've already told you about him, but let's sum up. His best impressions are:
  • The King of Munchkinland, but only if he's in an adult situation
  • Forrest Gump as the bad guy from Silence of the Lambs
  • Jon Lovitz, thankfully not in either Silence of the Lambs or an adult situation, because I think if I heard that my head would explode

It's clear that the man has issues. Issues other than being friends with me, I mean.

And then, there's me. I pretty much suck at impressions, but there are two that I do passably. (Okay, okay, one that I do really well, and the other that I do passably.) My impressions are:
  • A Valley Girl (fer sure!)
  • Strong Bad

I'm not quite sure what this means. It COULD mean that I am a red-mask-wearing airhead.

But I'm sure that's not accurate. I mean, if I was a red-mask-wearing airhead, I'd know it, right? RIGHT?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Things That Make Me Snarf - Big Bang Theory

This is one of the funniest things on television. Ever. But then again, it's about geeks, and we all know that geeks are my people, so maybe I'm biased.


This is my life. In fact, I'm going straight to iTunes after this so I can buy Eye of the Tiger. I plan to play it when I write. It'll go something like this:
Me: I'm going to write!

*Eye of the Tiger plays in the background.*

Spider on wall: *looks unimpressed*

It would be a lot cooler if I had a camera person. Oh well.

Have you entered the Rename Twilight contest? Or if you're not a contest entering sort of person, have you at least read the entries and snarfed liquid out your nose? Because you should. Competition is fierce, but there's still plenty of time to enter. Like until Thursday, even.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Do! With Olives!

Okay, first you MUST visit the Rename Twilight Contest. Even if you entered already. Because I think it's impossible to be in a bad mood whilst reading the sparkly awesomeness you all have created. Seriously, I've been giggling uncontrollably for the past fifteen minutes.

Now, on to the new and entirely random.

I'm still getting all those visitors from Turkey. And no, Witzl, it's not just you, unless you have your computer set up in the back of a jeep, kind of like Christian Slater in Pump Up the Volume, and you're broadcasting your pirate sounds from various cities all over the wonderful nation of Turkey. To my blog.

Blog hard, people. Blog hard.

But seriously? I hope you're not doing that. That would be freaky. Like Edward stalker level freaky.

Anyway, I have decided that, because I am such a big hit in Turkey, I ought to capitalize on this. I have a new goal in life.

I want to be the David Hasselhoff of Turkey.

Don't think it'll work? Take a good look at this.

Create your own FACEinHOLE

Your eyes are bleeding now, aren't they? But it's strangely beautiful at the same time.

Besides, I could totally do this. Look out Hoff, here comes the Harr!

Do! With olives!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Whee! It's a Contest!

I was going to hold off on doing this contest thingy, but I'm feeling all Scrooge-after-the-ghosts-have-left. I want to give something away. No, it's not Christmas dinner.

Anyway, some of you may remember me talking a lot about the Mucus Shovel Fairy a while back. Kiersten first mentioned her in one of her tweets, something about how she was so stuffed up that she felt like she'd been hit in the face by the Mucus Shovel Fairy.

"Oooh." I tweeted back. "I wanna write a story about that. CanIcanIcanI?"

(Total aside: Are you friends with me on Twitter? I'm @carrharr. We should totally be friends so you can give me story ideas too.)

To make this long and tedious story into a short and tedious story, I wrote "Revenge of the Mucus Shovel Fairy." It's now available in the Shadows and Light anthology. You can buy it, or you can win a copy right here on this very blog! I'll even sign it, because I'm kewl like that.

Mucus. Shovels. You know you can't resist.

So how do you win? Simple. Give me your best alternate titles for Twilight. The more ridiculous, the better. (I kinda like ridiculous things. Hmm... you don't seem surprised.) Post them in the comments, as many as you want. And yes, you can enter even if you've won one of my other contests, because the Mucus Shovel Fairy is universal. You have until noon EST next Thursday. That would be October 22, 2009 for those of you in a time warp, or doing the Time Warp in which case why didn't you invite me because I find that dance very funny.

Bring me your sparkly, your marble-faced, your klutzy highschoolers yearning to be loved by stalkerish vampires. Set them loose in the comments. Win kewl stuff.

You know you want to.

Oh, and I'm planning to post the winner on the 23rd. Unless I get struck by lightning between now and then, in which case all bets are off.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Costumes That Don't Scare Your Bleeps Off

I have a problem.

I have this same problem every year, or at least every year since my kids came along. You know I'm all about the Halloween costumes. One year, pre-kid, I dressed up like a slasher film cheerleader. I had a cutesy cheerleader costume, complete with ribbons in the hair, and a cut throat. And I bought the biggest bottle of fake blood I could find and spilled it all over myself.

It was an AWESOME costume. To this day, I get all sentimental whenever I see giant sized bottles of fake blood.

I was driving to a Halloween party, and singing along with the music in my car, when I looked over to see the old couple in the car next to me. They pretty much had simultaneous heart attacks and drove off the road.

They were fine, but explaining to the police was pretty priceless.

Anyway, now that I've got young children, I'm forced to pass up on some pretty spectacular costume ideas because they'd give my two year old twins a heart attack (but not make them drive off the road, because obviously they're not allowed to drive ON the road... duh). For example, I had the most awesome idea yesterday. Ready?

Raggedy Antoinette.

I could do a KILLER costume based on that idea, if it weren't for the fact that it would give my poor children beheadding nightmares for the foreseeable future. Zombie-tubby. Another idea I am forced to pass up. Cluck Skellington. See above.

All my best ideas are unusable. So what are you going to be for Halloween? Or if you're not dressing up, what would you be if you were more motivated? ;)

Come on, people. I need child-compatible inspiration here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Things That Make Me Snarf - The WTF Blanket

You've probably already seen this, but it's too good to pass up. (Insert obligatory warning about language--it's bleeped but is still PG-13 on the Carrie scale.)

Strangely enough, this commercial kind of makes me want to buy one of those blankets. Not to use it. Just to say that I have one.

Okay, so there's something that has been puzzling me. I am apparently a HUGE hit in Turkey. (I know someone somewhere now has the intense urge to gobble, and I feel compelled to say to you: Not WITH turkeys, you idiot, IN Turkey. As in the country.) I am not sure exactly what I've said that appeals to the Turkish audience. Is Turkey the secret heart of the merpire revolution? Do Turkish people have an intense love for all that is sparkly? Is Richard Simmons the International Spokesperson of Turkey!?!

Turkey. It does a body good. Kind of like milk, but different.

Richard, my darling. We're talking about Turkey the country, not turkey the food.

Oh. Well, I still like Turkey. The Hittites, you know. And fezes! Fezesese? What the heck is the plural of fez? Anyway, I could totally be their spokesperson.

But... but... you're MY spokesperson. And I fully agree that Turkey rocks the casbah. Not only does it seem like a beautiful country, but it also inspired that song by They Might Be Giants. And really, it doesn't get much better than THAT. But please, Richard. Please don't go.


Turkey, you are too kewl for me. The math is clear:

Turkey's kewlness level > Carrie's kewlness level

Although I still want to know why I'm such a big hit there.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Meat of Going Bovine: A Review Type Thing

I finally finished Going Bovine. If you haven't heard of it and didn't read my post on Friday (both offenses are of course punishable by wet noodle flogging), this Libba Bray's latest and greatest. Let me put it simply: You need to read this book.

There. If you don't like reviews, you're set. Aren't I nice? Don't you want to buy me ice cream?

Anyway, if you're wondering what it's about, let me give you The Quote That Sums It All Up:
"As a kid, I imagined lots of different scenarios for my life. I would be an astronaut. Maybe a cartoonist. A famous explorer or rock star. Never once did I see myself standing under the window of a house belonging to some druggie named Carbine, waiting for his yard gnome to steal his stash so I could get a cab back to a cheap motel where my friend, a neurotic, death-obsessed dwarf, was waiting for me so we could get on the road to an undefined place and a mysterious Dr. X, who would cure me of mad cow disease and stop a band of dark energy from destroying the universe."

That's a direct quote from the book, in case you couldn't figure that out. From page 257, which makes me laugh so hard. If you're not a statistician-ish person like me, you probably don't know the significance of the number 257, so this makes no sense to you.

Actually, there is no significance. But I had you going for a minute, didn't I?

Moving on.

I'm coming from a slightly unique place, review wise. See, I used to manage the national center for research in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which is the disease that Cameron has in this book. (Actually, he has variant CJD, which is the technical name for mad cow in humans.) I know families who have lost people to various forms of CJD. I presented at an international meeting of experts on prion diseases, and I think I was pretty darned good even if they did keep calling me Carrie Fisher.

Maybe I shouldn't have worn my hair in those buns...

So given my background, I was simultaneously excited as all get out and nervous as all bleep for this book. Because really, a comedy about a dying teen seems kinda, well, counter-intuitive, doesn't it? And CJD is a horrible, devastating disease. I don't have enough adjectives to describe how horrific it really is. But Going Bovine manages to be simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking. It doesn't shirk away from issues like regret, anger, and grief, but it doesn't disintegrate into maudlin Movie of the Week territory either. The wicked, delicious humor balances things out quite nicely, and actually I think it makes the poignant moments all the stronger.

Did I mention that the yard gnome thinks he's the Norse god Balder? And did I mention that for some reason, the name Balder makes me giggle? Because it does. Then again, we all know that I have the sense of humor of a 15 year old, so it's probably not much of a surprise.

Fair warning that this is not one of those brain candy type books. If you are one of those people that thinks of YA as a guaranteed fluff read, you are in for a shocker. This book is flat out epic, and heavy enough at times that I put it down and came back again later because I needed some mental processing time. There was just too much to digest, and I had a hard time keeping up. Having said that, it's well worth the return trip. The scientist in me also feels compelled to point out that there are some minor CJD-related inaccuracies, but they may have been intentional for all I know. This is FICTION, after all, and I don't necessarily expect the possibly hallucinatory, graffiti-winged angel to have the latest and greatest CJD info.

Yeah, I'm not that gullible. Close, but not quite.

Are you convinced of its status as a must-read? You can check out the Amazon listing, or take down the relevant info here:

Title: Going Bovine
Author: Libba Bray
Publisher: Delacorte
ISBN: 978-0385733977

Friday, October 9, 2009

Going Bovine - The Not-Review

Okay. I'd planned to review Going Bovine by Libba Bray today. Unfortunately, life keeps getting in the way of my finishing said book. And when I say "life," I really mean my twins. Left and Right have been in rare form this week. It started when they brushed their teeth with antibiotic cream. It moved on to the infamous I'm-a-zombie-and-going-to-scare-the-crap-out-of-my-sister-and-ain't-that-funny game. It didn't stop there, either.

So. There will hopefully be a review in your future, full of references to Richard Simmons' heinie, the Church Lady rule, and other various kinds of awesomeness. In the meantime, if you have not seen the book trailer/Libba Bray interviewy thing for Going Bovine, you are missing out.

Read it. Love it. Buy the t-shirt.

After that, this interview with me courtesy of the AWESOME Steph Bowe at Hey! Teenager of the Year will probably be a letdown. If so, please take pity on me and break the news gently.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What Happens When People Like Me Rule the World

Slayer and I went to see Zombieland the other night. And yeah, it was the best cinematic experience ever. I'm so tempted to open up an amusement park with a kill-the-zombie roller coaster. You'd come to my amusement park, wouldn't you? And someone in my general vicinity thinks like I do. There's a haunted house near me where you can supposedly shoot zombies with paintball guns. Which is beyond awesome.

You bet I'm going. Frankly, I can't decide whether I'm reassured by the fact that there's someone else out there like me, or frightened beyond belief.

Moving on...

As we're taking the 10K hike from the lobby down to Theater 18, we pass the sign for Theater 16. Which is showing "Harry P-..." Yes, that's an exact quote. Harry P dash dot dot dot. You know where my mind went. I'm not going to say it out loud. Or blog it out loud. Whatever.

And you've got to wonder whether the person intentionally programmed it like that, giggling maniacally the whole time (look! look! another person like me!), or whether they were totally oblivious about the fun that the pervy people would have.

It's not just the movie people, either. My minivan, Helsing, has one of those sound systems that tells you what song is playing and who the artist is. One day, the Batson insisted that Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You" was his favorite song, and he refused to let me change the station. The radio people summed up my thoughts on the situation exactly. The whole time that it was playing, the display said "Suck." Nothing else. Just suck.

Am I the only person who laughs at stuff like this?

Oh, and check out my introduction over at The Elevensies. There are TONS of cool books coming out in 2011, and I'm one of them!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Things That Make Me Snarf - Do You Want to Date My Avatar?

I owe a shout of gratitude to Fabulous Agent Kate for bringing up The Guild to me in conversation. How is it that I haven't posted this yet?

Bad Carrie. No biscuit.

These are my people. Seriously, I can sometimes get a little shy in public, particularly if I'm in a room full of people who are into things like sports. I'm one of those people who prays for a green question about food or ice skating when I'm playing Trivial Pursuit. I do not do the sport thing, or rather, I enjoy watching sports in person. I admire athletes for their dedication and skill. But I that's as far as it goes. A conversation about sports with me goes something like this:

Sporty person at party: Dude! Did you see Muscley Muscleman make that play last night? He's freaking fast!

Me: Like, Flash fast? Like, do his legs go all blurry when he runs? Because I've always wanted to see that in real life.

Sporty person at party: Um... whatever. And he's got such endurance!

Me: Like, he could outrun a thousand zombies? Because really, that's my benchmark as far as the whole endurance thing goes. If you can't outrun a thousand zombies, I'm not impressed.

Sporty person at party: Oh, wow. There's my... uh... best friend over there. I need to go talk to him. Right now.

But if you put me in a room full of gamer geeks? Suddenly, I turn into the life of the party. I am kewl, in geek speak. Which is about the biggest oxymoron in the world. Because really? We geeks are the kewl ones. We just allow the rest of you your delusions.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Confession Time

I have a confession to make. I have a sekrit pompadour fetish.

Okay, maybe it's not so sekrit. After all, I did put a pompadour on Slayer's Guitar Hero guy. I put a character with a pompadour in my superhero book. Every time I see a person with a pompadour, I say something like, "OooOOOOoooh! A pompadour!" So maybe it's more accurate to say that I have a not-so-sekrit pompadour fetish.

Why? Let me show you something...

My hair, it is so sexy. And kewl. And it can be used as a slide for small woodland creatures.

Now, please contrast that with this:

My hair says one thing and one thing only: if you fall asleep next to me, you will wake up with only one eye.

Nuff said.

There's only one bad thing about a pompadour as far as I can tell. See, in order to get the necessary height for pompadorian kewlness, you've got to use a lot of gunk in your hair. There is no running of the fingers through a pompadour. Trust me, I've tried it. It feels kind of like you're running your fingers through a broom dipped in syrup.

If you've got a syrup-covered broom fetish, you're in some serious trouble. And this is coming from the girl with the not-so-sekrit pompadour fetish, so you know it's bad.

In other news, it looks like No Pain will be out in the world sometime around Summer of 2011. So you have plenty of time to save your pennies.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I'm Not Only a Judge, I'm Also a Political Commentator!

Whee! I'm a judge in the Cybils! This astounds me because it seems to indicate that someone somewhere thinks that I know what I'm talking about. Either that, or I'm the victim of a very elaborate practical joke. If this is a practical joke and you are the perpetrator, I simultaneously hate you and am impressed by you.

Anyway, this won't change much in the regular day-to-day business here at The Wonder That Is My Blog, except that I'm going to do a better job of keeping up with haiku reviews, and I'll be pairing them with longer reviews of Cybil-nominated books. But otherwise, you can expect the usual from me: all nonsense, all the time.

I need a t-shirt that says that.

Actually, I also need this t-shirt. See, I think I need to start a very important political movement. I'm talking big here, people. Marches on Washington big. Political rallies big.

Secret handshake big.

My goal is simple; my question is clear: Why do vampires get all the sparkles?

Because really, don't zombies deserve a little sparkle too? And Yeti. Poor sparkle-impaired Yeti. The tentacled monster that lives under your bed might be scary, but maybe that's because he needs a little lovin. Some sparkles would go a long way toward making him attractive to the opposite sex. I bet that Jason would have been a lot nicer to those kids at the camp if he was sparkly.

As writers, we have a responsibility to get our readers to think about the world they live in. We need to portray characters of different races and beliefs, to show the world in all its multifaceted, wonky glory. Our characters are role models. And right now, we've provided ample role models for undead, marble-skinned, sparkly vampires with angelic faces and perfectly tousled hair.

But the sparkly mutant wombats of this world are left hanging. And really, what's the fairness in that? Sparkles for everyone, that's what I say!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Banned Books Week... and the Inevitable Twilight Funny

First, a moment of seriousness.

It's Banned Books Week. As long as you haven't been walking around with your head in a paper bag (and really, why would you want to do that? even I think it's weird), you already know this. Hopefully you've done something to support it. I bought a book that was challenged this year. I do it every year, and I say, "Neiner neiner neiner" when I do.

It makes the people at the bookstore look at me funny, but I'm used to that.

The thing that gets me about book banners is that in a lot of cases they're trying to 'protect' children from information that could help them deal with problems that they WILL face in some way or another. Way back in the day (i.e., about seven years ago), I used to administer youth risk behavior surveys. The reality is incontrovertible: these things are happening. Half of students grades 9-12 have had sex. Two-thirds of 12th graders have had sex. One in four 9-12th graders has engaged in binge drinking in the past 30 days. One in three have tried marijuana, increasing to half of 12th graders.

If you have children, these numbers are frightening. If you don't, they should still be frightening.

I should also note that these data come from the 2007 Centers for Disease Control youth risk behavior survey. You can find them here if you're interested. I'm not just making them up. Really.

Of course we all want to believe that it's not our kid, not our problem. After all, if half of these students are engaging in sexual activity, that means that half aren't. But that doesn't mean that they don't have questions. That doesn't mean that they don't have friends who are facing these issues. That doesn't mean that they don't need guidance.

And that's where these books can really help. Way back in the dark ages when I was a teen, I would have been mortified to discuss s-e-x with my parents. But I could read books about other teens making decisions about sex both good and bad, and it made me THINK. Of course it doesn't guarantee a good outcome, but thinking about the issues is a pretty darned good start, isn't it?

I don't know about you, but I could have avoided some pretty embarrassing situations if I had only stopped to think. There was this one time I fell off a cliff, for example...

But I'm not telling that story now. And no, I'm not making it up, either.

Anyway, I'm sure that I'm speaking to the choir here, but it's something I wanted to say. Removing the books that talk about these issues isn't going to make the issues disappear. Frankly, I'd argue that it's only going to make it worse.

A couple of nights ago, I had the honor and privilege of meeting Ellen Hopkins. She talked about her experiences with banning attempts on her books, and she handed out the most amazing poster. My signed copy is on my wall (neiner neiner neiner). My favorite quote is:
A word to the unwise.
Torch every book.
Char every page.
Burn every word to ash.
Ideas are incombustible.
And therein lies your real fear.
-Ellen Hopkins.

You can read more about the poem and the circumstances that inspired it here.

Okay, I've ranted long enough. You have more than earned the Twilight spoofage. Warning: it's PG-13 for violence and some bleeped out language. But it's beyond hilarious.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Let There Be October Awesomeness

It's October! Some of you new people may not know that I am obsessed (obsessed, I tell you) with Halloween. I adore Halloween. My son's birthday is on Halloween, because I refused to let him be born on any other day. I'm just stubborn that way.

One of the best parts about Halloween, though, is costume ideas. I'm all about the costumes. If I could dress in costume every day of the year, I would do it. My favorites are the mashup costumes, where you combine two completely disparate things to create something new. This has the added benefit of developing terrific ideas for new books. For instance, my favorite costume idea from last year was the tooth finja (tooth fairy + ninja). He's in a book now.

Right now, my favorite idea is the rocket powered zombie, aka the Zoombie. Forget the Romero-esque slow lurchers. The Zoombie flies through the air with the greatest of ease. He gets his brains from drive through (or fly through) windows.

If I had a spare rocket pack, I would totally make that costume.

Note: The Zoombie is very different from the Zoomba, which is the zombie self-propelled vacuum cleaner. Personally, I don't recommend the Zoomba. It tends to leave little bits of itself all over the floor, which kind of defeats the purpose in the first place.

And there we go! A short story idea is born, and you were here to witness it. Oh, frabjous day!

I'm also kind of wishing that I was a guy, because if I were? I'd go as Franken-Ben-Stein.

Buehler? Buehler? Villagers with pitchforks and torches?

Call me crazy, but I think it's awesome.