Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Generation Dead Message Board

Many, many thanks to Raschel and Yaz (Happy Birthday, Yaz! I'm glad you were born!) who have created a Generation Dead message board called "The Haunted House", which I'm sure will be fun for all. Raschel is the moderator, and Yaz is doing the artwork, along with lots of other cool artwork like this:

If you'd like to visit the new site, discuss the book and meet new zombie-loving friends, go to hauntedhouse at omgforum dot net. Rumor has it that Raschel will be running some cool contests and rumor also has it that she might have some books to give away.

In other news, I've learned once again that I am not a very intelligent man. Many of you who follow this blog know that I have been running as a means to stay healthy. Well, I've run the same route now for about a year now, and during this entire time I never really new how far I was running. This face has been a constant irritation to me, so I decided to do something about it. I spent about a half hour researching pedometers, thinking I could pace out the route. Then I thought that maybe I could use Google Earth somehow to trace the route and then get a distance count.

And then finally, I wondered if maybe the park I go to was listed anywhere online, and I found that it was--on a jogging site, no less. With a map of the exact route that I take. With the distance printed there for all to see. What a dummy I am.

Anyhow, the good news is each lap is actually a mile and a half and I've been thinking it was a mile, so I'm actually covering 50% more distance, and travelling 50% faster, than I thought I was, so I'm actually very close to breaking the sound barrier just like the Flash. Well, no. But I'm not as pathetic as I thought, either, because I'm running 4.5 or 6 miles daily instead of the 2 or 3 I thought I was doing. Not only that, but the times that I've been posting would put me somewhere in the middle of the pack with regards to my age bracket in some of the local charity runs that they have in and around town. My new goal is to run a few of these and refrain from expiring while participating.

In other other news, I went out in search of a new home away from home to write now that my once-favorite fast food place has removed my beverage of choice, and I ended up at a library. Not the library in the town where I live, but one a few towns over. I wrote much of Generation Dead there on my lunch breaks from work, and I'm happy to report that particular library still retains its magic. Out of the blue a brandy-new story idea came to me (no zombies) and when I looked up at the clock again two hours had elapsed and I had about ten pages done. Such a sweet feeling. Plus, I took out a bunch of books and CDs. I looooooove libraries.

Remember when I was talking about how I loved the particular fast food restaurant because of the height of their booths? Well, at this library the tables and chairs are at the exact proper height, both in relation to me and each other. I'm in absolute comfort there.

So I think I'll be going back daily for a little while. "Change of venue" has always worked for me as productivity strategy; in any type of work I've done (but especially writing) I've found that I could work much longer and produce better work if I moved around a little---as soon as my environment feels stale, my desire to work likewise wanes.

Anyone out there have any strategies on keeping their work lives fresh and new?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Who Watches the WatchMad?

Combining two of my favorite things on the planet--Watchmen and Mad. I Lol'd.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More Cool Things You Find on the Internet

The next "audition" video from Anna. I think she is still auditioning for many of these characters (especially the menfolk), so if you are interested find her on YouTube.

I ran today and posted good times, and worked on a synopsis for Passing Strange, which is kind of weird because I've already written the book Passing Strange, along with a long outline and a long synopsis. But now I need a short synopsis. By some strange warp in the time-space continuum, the shorter the synopsis is, the harder it is to write.

Feeling mid-lifey today. And then it snowed, and the snow has changed into the bane of all New England existence, the dread "wintry mix". Sort of like Chex Mix, except without hidden peanuts and with even less nutritional value. And Chex Mix, as far as I know, never made anyone's car fly off the road and into an embankment.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

And February is a Little Brighter Today

Keep reading for exciting contest giveaway!

I don't want to give you the impression that I've been taking this February lying down. I have made attempts, some major, some minor, to "reverse the curse" of this month that I hate so much.

Today I downloaded the new Morrissey album, Years of Refusal, because really--what better way is there to cheer yourself and others up than to listen to some Morrissey?

If it sounds like I am joking, I assure you I am not. I'm deadly serious.

I've always found Morrissey's songs immensely cheering. His ability to mine his own apparently deep wellspring of pain and make it somehow universal--and often comic-- has always impressed me, especially when he expresses that pain with a somber lyric over a jaunty, jangling piece of music.

Love the Smiths, love his solo recordings--which by now far outnumber those of the Smiths. Of the albums that bear his name, Vauxhall and I is my personal favorite. The first Smiths album I bought, when I was in high school, was Meat is Murder. My favorite book named for a Smiths song is Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before by David Yoo.

If you were to call my cellphone, you would not hear my voice if I didn't pick up. Instead if my voicemail picked up you would get a short clip of Morrissey singing "Suedehead"..."Why do you telephone?" (Funny that you should hear Morrissey's soft tenor, because what I hear--my ringtone--is the harsh "Raining Blood" riff by Slayer).

If I had to create a playlist of my twenty favorite Smiths/Morrissey songs, my already already unstable brain would explode, sending nasty brain-juice squirting out of my ears, ruining my one good shirt. Either that or the mere contemplation of an imponderable like narrowing the Smiths/Morrissey canon would collapse my mind, creating a black hole that would suck in even more air and all of the contents of my tiny office, even my tiki playing cards and my Power Girl action figure. Only Twenty?? What about Rubber Ring? What about Hairdresser on Fire? Urrrghh! Blatt! Arrrgh! (And all of Danny's tiny universe disappears within the black hole at the center of his rapidly deflating head).

So I'm not joking around at all when I say I'm ecstatic that there is a new Morrissey album and it is now on my iPod. To prove it, I'll send an arc of Kiss of Life to one randomly chosen person who correctly identifies a Smiths or Morrissey song title that I've used either as a blog entry title or as a quote within the blog itself. Send your entries to WatersDan at aol dot com. Good luck!

I think I'll go have a listen.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Another Dark Day in February

I woke up in a decent mood today, I really did. Got the kids fed and on the bus and then went running. I even recorded my fasted mile of the new year. Showered, dressed and did a few errands. I brought along my notepad with the idea of having a working a lunch at my favorite local fast food establishment. I walked to the corner and order my usual--a large soda. The cashier gave me a sad smile and said that they were out of fountain drinks and then mumbled something. She averted her eyes because she knows me as a customer pretty well and she might have been afraid that I was going to start crying, because what she told me was that my favorite local fast food establishment was transferring over to another brand of soft drink.

I managed not to cry (while still in the store, at least), but the change represents a serious blow to my relationship with the once favorite fast food establishment. I realize that a restaurant switching brand loyalty is a relatively low level trauma on the tragedy-o-meter, but I'm going to have a hard time dealing with this one. You see, I wrote a good deal of Generation Dead there, and even larger chunk of Kiss of Life. I liked writing there because the booths were padded and not that creaky molded plastic that shrieks like a trapped pig when patrons plant themselves upon it. the tables were at the right height for writing or typing onto the laptop, and wide enough to be comfortable. The lighting is mostly natural, the long wall of windows providing sunshine a hilltop view of the busy street beyond, so you don't have any of that ghastly fluorescent lighting that for some reason all the other places around couple with white and pastel color schemes. Note to the FF chains: avoid white. You might think that it will help you showcase the cleanliness of your eateries, but actually the reverse is true. The interiors of most fast food places aren't designed with comfort in mind, the idea being that uncomfortable patrons will be more likely to bolt their food and get the heck out. They had a big dining area, and weren't overly busy, and they didn't seem to mind that I would stay there for hours at a clip consuming vast quantities of my favorite soft drink, typing and listening to music on my iPod.

I wonder if I drank so much soda that my consumption began to east into their profit margins? Maybe I have no one to blame but myself for this horrible occurrence.

I'll admit that my feelings regarding this particular fast food establishment stray from simple preference into the land of superstition. In fact, most of my preferences have more to do with superstition than utility. There is a certain brand of pens I prefer to use, a certain pad of paper. I don't start typing, usually, until a certain part of the process. A certain playlist on the iPod. If I'm in my home office, a certain brand of incense. I have a lucky shirt. Certain writing problems are best solved at the dining room table, problems of a certain other type are best solved in the library. Not the local library, a library two towns away, where I need to be sitting at a specific desk, much like I prefer a certain table at the fast food place. I can and will make do in the absence of the "perfect" conditions, but the process seems to go a lot more smoothly if everything is just the way I like it. I have other superstitious practices too arcane to mention, ones that are much less sensible that preferring a certain type of pen. Beliefs and practices, in other words, that even I'm aware aren't really sane.

But I'm also aware that many other writers also have similar superstitions. Not that we're uniquely crazy. I think people in other professions are just as nuts but they don't get the good press that we do. For some reason people enjoyed hearing about Wade Boggs having chicken before every game, and they might be interested to know that Dan Waters has to "Safety Dance" backwards into his office before writing fiction(only fiction, I do the Humpty Hump for any other type of writing), but if Mary in customer service two cubicles down rubs the belly of a vinyl Cartman before taking a call, they probably ditch her at lunch break.

Long, rambling story short (forgive me, this is really, sob, hard for me right now), my "good place" for writing has been compromised. I could go and drink the other brand of soda (as I will in a restaurant), but it just won't be the same. The specific set of conditions that made that place an preferable venue have changed, and the luck that I felt while writing there has gone. I could feel it as soon as I looked over at the soda fountain, my beloved brand covered over with ugly gray electrical tape. I'll have to find another hideout for when I need a change of venue.

Or maybe Mary will lend me her plastic Cartman?

Curse you, February! You've won this round!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Keep Watching The Skies

I took this photo in my neighborhood a few years ago with an old Polaroid camera I'd forgotten I owned. There was one shot left in the camera. There was a power outage later that day, which was pretty weird.

Day four running, and my wind is official back. I also realized that my iPod has a stopwatch feature so I can actually time my miles--what a novel concept! I won't post my times though because I hate it when people laugh at me.

I may end up writing about comments an idol of mine made recently, comments that left me quite dismayed. Not sure yet.

If you haven't checked out the Generation Dead Sims clip below, you should. Voice auditions for the series are still taking place, so if you are interested you should check it out. I get to be Skip!

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Flurry of Activity

This is the third day in a row I've gone running, and I've added a mile each day. I'm only a pound heavier than I was at the beginning of December, which is about the the time I started slacking and going once a week (or, like in January, nonce a week). If it stays sunny and in the 40-50 degree range outside, I'll be back to fighting trim in no time.

And strangely, after confessing my slacky results in aiming for 3K a day, I've far exceeded that daily goal. Maybe confession is good for the soul.

In other news, I received an email from my pal Yazzie, who did that spectacular zombified author photo for me (as well as a number of other stunning works, zombie and otherwise) and she is undertaking a new Generation Dead project; a hypothetical Generation Dead movie poster!--I can't wait to see the results!

Here's the info, which is on a Generation Dead Facebook Fan Site (say that five times fast). If you are on Facebook you can check out the site here. As far as I know, there aren't any membership dues. And if you are on Facebook, why aren't we friends? Befriend me!

And here's Yaz's message:

Yaz wrote
at 10:38am yesterday
Hey guys!--- Me again

I've gotta new Generation dead idea floating around in my head

It's gonna be like a movie poster type thing and i need a few characters
I'm being Karen ['cause she's my fave]
And i have a person who'd like to be Colette
but i still need the other characters

so basically I need a Pheobe, Margi, Tommy[although my friend may be Tommy,] Adam, Pete, Tak and the other characters,
Yaz's deviantart site <-- there's info there if any one's interested and you can e-mail me at my e-mail address for more info:
neko-kyuuketsuki at hotmail dot com

Thanks guys!

~Yaz[differently biotic kid]

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I Got a Million of 'Em

Sad to say, the "million word march" is not going so well--I'm far short of the 3K a day that I'd hoped for, but it isn't really about quantity, is it?

Excuses, excuses.

However, I've surprised even myself with some of the things I've written lately, in a good way. There were a couple days last week I was actually able to get out and run, and the sun has been out and hated February is already almost a quarter over with.

But so, so cold.

But hey, looky here!

Phoebe and Tommy. Many thanks to Becca N. for these!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Cool Things You Find on the Internet

Many thanks to Anna for creating this video--there's some very subtle touches here that I love.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

GD Meets GB

There is a nice review of Generation Dead in the new issue of Margi's favorite magazine, Gothic Beauty, on sale at fine bookstores everywhere.

And speaking of gothic beauty, today's art pieces are from Bryony. I love the way Bryony remixed the artwork for the U.K. cover on this piece with Tommy:

And also how the color scheme of Kiss of Life was anticipated by this piece of Phoebe:

Thanks, Bryony!