From A to Zed

Around six months ago, I wrote about the CDC embracing the zombie apocalypse as a teaching tool for disaster preparedness. Some people laugh at stuff like this, but as I said then, as I’ve said for a long time, and as I continue to say, if you are prepared for zombies then you are prepared for just about anything.

Since then I’ve had their little badge up on my site and I hope people take it to heart. Seriously, just the simple act of having a flashlight with batteries (or one that doesn’t need batteries), a radio, some food, some water and a plan just puts you in a great position to handle even minor things, not to mention when a storm rips through and the power is out for a few days.

Randomly, earlier this week, I clicked that link myself, just to make sure it still worked, and was rewarded with finding out that they’ve made some changes.

Now, in addition to their one sheet about zombies and links to other disaster preparation information, they’ve put up a short graphic novel, Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic. It is available as a PDF from their site. I love that the CDC is doing this, and I hope they keep doing it.

Perhaps they need a page that uses werewolves to illustrate how to handle animal bites…

Movie Round-Up: April 9th, 2010

Letters to God:

At heart, I’m a softy.  This is the sort of movie that I enjoy watching (you know, to offset the horror and action stuff), but I get more out of it when I’m at home (you know, when I don’t have to worry about people seeing me cry).  If you like these sorts of films, you might want to venture out and see it, or you can be like me and watch it at home when it comes out (and no one can hear you weeping).

Date Night:

I’m really on the fence about this movie.  The idea of two adults getting away for a date night and having hi-jinks ensue seems awesome, but I’m not sold on the whole crime entanglement and super spy stuff that shows up in the trailer.  Plus, you know, I like Steve Carell except when he does that robotic shouting of obvious things.  “Oh no!  My pants have fallen!  Look everyone!  My pants have fallen!” as if the comedic scene is being described for any blind people who might be attending the film.  But, Tina Fey, she’s awesome.  I probably won’t end up paying full price to see this, and if I don’t see it this weekend I’m not likely to see it in the theater, but I’m sure I will enjoy it on DVD.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Birds flying high You know how I feel Sun in the sky You know how I feel Reeds driftin' on by You know how I feel It's a new dawn It's a new day It's a new life For me And I'm feeling good  Fish in the sea You know how I feel River running free You know how I feel Blossom in the tree You know how I feel It's a new dawn It's a new day It's a new life For me And I'm feeling good  Dragonfly out in the sun you know what I mean, don't you know Butterflies all havin' fun you know what I mean Sleep in peace when the day is done, that's what I mean And this old world is a new world And a bold world For me Fooor me  Stars when you shine You know how I feel Scent of the pine You know how I feel Yeah freedom is mine And I know how I feel It's a new dawn It's a new day It's a new life hu It's a new dawn It's a new day It's a new life  It's a new dawn It's a new day It's a new life It's a new life For me  And I'm feeling good
A dizzy heart...

Just a quick picture for the day… while drawing this, I hit some button in gimp that caused the program to lock up.  Since I hadn’t saved the file I decided to just let it sit.  The program wasn’t responding but it was cranking at 50-60% CPU.  It took nearly 2 hours, but finally gimp came back to life and I didn’t have to start over.  *wipes sweat off his brow*

Left 4 Dead 2

I loved the original.  Loved it.  I carved its name and mine into a tree in the backyard with a heart around it.  We, however, refused to get married until gays can also be married.  This turned out to be a good decision because if I had gotten married, I’d be an adulterer.

Left 4 Dead 2 is all that and a bag of chips, so to speak.  More weapons, more special infected, more events, and a story that flows through all five campaigns to make one complete story, though each feels perfectly fine playing it alone.  I’m not done with the original though.  As much as I like Ellis, I miss Francis.  The Coach is cool, but Bill had a certain flair.  Plus, you know, I’m still missing some achievements.  But overall, the sequel is a better game in just about every possible way.

Smiles, everyone… smiles!

Being born in 1974 means that my impressionable youth is crammed with the television and movies of the late 70’s and early 80’s.  Chief among my earlier memories are those of watching Fantasy Island on TV.  I am dismayed that only season one has been released on DVD.  I’ll likely purchase it someday, but I don’t have the heart to rush out and get it since no further seasons have been released.

Even more disheartening though was learning of the death of Ricardo Montalbán.  He brought to life both Mr. Roarke of Fantasy Island as well as bringing us, arguably, the best villain of the Star Trek franchise in Khan Noonien Singh, from both the TV series and the epic Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.

Rest in peace, Señor Montalbán, in soft Corinthian leather.


11 out of 13 nots
for illustrating the difference between Muslim and terrorist

The story of Traitor is that of Samir, played by Don Cheadle, who is undercover trying to get at the heart of a terrorist organization, and of Roy Clayton, played by Guy Pierce, as the FBI Agent fighting the same battle from the outside.

The thing I found most compelling in the movie is how it shows that Muslim does not equal terrorist and that terrorist does not equal Muslim.  Samir is a Muslim, but he believes the terrorists are misusing their religious texts to justify their actions.  The movie is a slow struggle for Samir between what he wants to do and what he must do to catch the terrorists.

I think every actor here did a superb job with their roles, and the story kept me riveted.  I’ve seen there are others who don’t agree, they found the film to be boring, they wanted more action, but I thought the film was quite good just the way it was.

The Looking Glass Wars

Frank Beddor has written an interesting retelling of Alice in Wonderland called The Looking Glass Wars.  The angle he takes is that Wonderland is a real place, Alyss Heart is its princess, and she has to flee it to our world when her aunt Redd kills the king and queen and takes over.  The story follows both sides of the looking glass, as Alyss tries to grow up in her new world and as the resistance fighters try to keep the old ways alive under the boot of Redd.

I picked up this book at the request of my wife, who really loved it.  I, on the other hand, didn’t.  I also didn’t hate the book, I just found it to be predictable.  When the book was described to me as “a darker retelling of Alice in Wonderland if Wonderland was real” I had a pretty good idea of what to expect.  Not all the details, but a general sense of where the story would start, where it would go, and how it would get there.  In the end, though, it was the details that made the book worth reading.

I wouldn’t give the book two big thumbs up, but it was an enjoyable read, and good enough that I’ll keep reading the series as it develops.

I Am Legend

12 out of 13 nots
for Depiction of Isolation, and One Awesome Dog

For the short version of this review, let me just say that if you are a superfan of Richard Matheson’s book of the same name, and you’ve been itching to see it faithfully recreated on the screen… keep waiting. This movie is not the book. In some ways I was disappointed at that, but overall it didn’t matter. I absolutely loved this movie. The only reason I can’t in good conscience give it a 13 out of 13 is that I think they went a tad overboard with the monsters in this one, they are just on the bad side of unrealistic when it comes to CGI. When the monsters are on the screen, my brain screams “CGI!”. They just don’t blend in. Outside of that though, its a great film. Go see it.

More (and spoilers) after the break.

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Friday isn`t for the faint of heart

The day after Thanksgiving has become known as Black Friday. I’ve said it before, I go shopping on this day. The second reason I go is for some great deals. I’m not the camp outside all night type, so I never get the $100 TVs and things of that nature, but I’m more than happy to take advantage of DVDs under $5 and other such deals to help take the bite out of holiday spending.

The main reason I go out though is that I am, especially during the holiday season, an avid people watcher. I don’t do it as often as I used to, but every now and then I’ll head to the mall and wander around, or find a nice place to sit, and just watch people. The holiday season is great for this, largely because they are so focused on shopping that people rarely catch you watching but also because of that focus they are so interesting to watch. How people deal with crowds and lines and limited quantities, misprinted ads, misunderstood special prices and getting around from here to there and back again. It is a smorgasboard of idiosyncratic behavior of people at their best and their worst, and the two sides of every person struggling from moment to moment over which will win at any given obstacle.

The day after Thanksgiving, to me, is officially the “Christmas Season” and I love me some Christmas. If you do decide to brave the shops this Friday, do everyone a favor… every half hour or so, stop, take in a deep breath, exhale slowly and relax. One missed deal isn’t going to ruin Christmas. If it is, well, you’ve probably got far more problems than the wit and wisdom of a blog will ever be able to solve. Seek professional help.