Things that Make You Go: The Clapper Plus

Anyone who's allowed to know knows why I've been a little internet MIA the past couple of days. BUT... emotional rollercoasters aside, the show must go on.

Who remembers the momentus day when THE CLAPPER made the scene? I don't. I wasn't born yet. And I'm willing to bet some of you weren't, either. I remember the commercials, though. I used to get so excited. It was a light you could turn on by clapping your hands twice.

I know, right? How Star Trek was that? It was easily the coolest thing since Chia Pets*. And Chia Pets? They're pretty cool**.

I don't know how many of you were like me, but I longed to have one. Every Christmas I expected the family to get one, but it never happened. I assumed Santa was hording them all. That upset me, but who could blame the guy? He probably spent hours outside his workshop or house, clapping the Christmas lights to life.

Even now, nearly 25 years after it hit the scene, there are still Clapper commercials. How amazing is that? And yet... you have to wonder... how did those things last as long as they have? We have so many neat-o things out there, like Google Voice Search on a cell phone, that it just seems like clapping your hands to turn on your lights is a little... meh.

But The Clapper is not what made me want to write this segment of "Things That Make You Go..." No, this segment was brought about by The Clapper Plus.

I seriously need to step back and say "what the heck?" to this little invention.

In all fairness, it's got all the cho-cho's and wham-wham's that the original Clapper has. Clap your hands twice, the lights come on. Clap your hands twice again, they turn off. Awesome.

But what gains it it's "plus" title is the fact that it comes with a remote, for those moments when clapping just won't do... and if we're all honest with each other, those moments do happen, no matter how much you prepare.

You're probably thinking to yourself, "that sounds pretty practical, what's with the WTH?"

Well, if you'd stop interrupting me, I'd get to that.

What draws the WTH reaction from me is the other function of the remote. You can use it as just that, a remote to turn the lights on and off in those horrible instances when clapping is out of the question, or you can mount it to the wall and use it as a switch.

Wait... what? I thought the whole point of getting a Clapper was because you didn't want to (or couldn't) use the light switch... am I right? Or did I badly misinterpret 21 years of Clapper commercials?

I get the idea of the Clapper. I get the practicality of the remote. But why why why would the marketing reps think that having a switch option would make it more appealing? That doesn't make sense to me. If you're going to get up to use the mounted remote... why not just use the light switch? Some could make the argument that "maybe it's all the way across the room" but to that I say... so? You're already up. A little walking won't kill you.***

I don't claim to know marketing techniques, but I just cannot wrap my mind around this. Everytime I hear it, I'm just like... Double You. Tee. Eff. Everytime I try to imagine what went down in the planning meetings for this, I always imagine the scene from Robots, where that one board member is dropped through a hole in the floor for suggesting that Bigweld might be at the Bigweld Ball.

"What can it do?"

"We'll stick with the clap on, clap off thing... but we'll throw in a remote, for those moments when clapping just won't do."

"Like when babies are sleeping!"

"Exactly! And, if you don't want to hold the remote, you can mount it on the wall, and use it as a switch!"



"We're dating."

"Wait. What's the point of having a clapper if you're just going to mount the remote on the wall as a switch? Why not just use the actual switch, and save yourself the money?" *dies*

"Any other objections?" *whole room shakes their heads* "Excellent."
It just... I can't... it doesn't make sense. It just doesn't. Like why... I don't know. It just makes me scratch my head.

So, readers... this will be the way I end most, if not all, of my TTMYG posts... with a question for YOU! YES, YOU!

No... no... not you... behind... yes! YOU!

Can any of you think of any other practical reasons to have the remote mounted on the wall, rather than just use the switch? Or any uses for the remote other than just using it as a remote? Leave a comment here or, if you'd like, shoot me an e-mail at

I look forward to seeing your answers!

Until next time, stay classy blog readers.

*The Chia Pet was also out before my time, but it DID come out before the Clapper. The Clapper made the US scene in '86, the Chia Pet hit the scene in '82 I believe.

**There was a Mr. T Chia Pet. Mr. T. You really can't get much cooler than that... though I would kill for a Chuck Norris Chia Pet. You could grow his BEARD!

***If anyone has ever lost someone, or their own life, due to walking, I apologize. I did not mean to come across as heartless... but in my experience, no one has ever died from walking.

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Gaining My Respect: Seth Rogen

It's hard to believe that, almost 10 years after he made the scene in Freaks and Geeks, Seth Rogen is finally making a name for himself.

Ken Miller wasn't a focal character. In fact, he might have been a little forgettable, seeing as Freaks and Geeks was canceled before he was able to get any real screen time. Still, F&G fans knew him. They knew every member of that cast. And so did Hollywood.

Even though the show was canceled after airing a mere 12 episodes of their 18 episode first season*, it gained enough momentum to appear in Time Magazines "100 Greatest Shows of All Time" (2007), as well as sit - fairly comfortably - as the 13th best series of the past 25 years (2008). It may have taken networks a while to see it, but viewers had no doubt that Freaks and Geeks had been something special.

Spawning talents like Linda Cardellini, James Franco, and Shia LaBeouf (among others), it seemed like every member of that cast was getting their time in the spotlight. Everyone, but Rogen. He did a few tv show guest spots, and a couple of smaller roles in movies, but really, no one paid much attention to him.

Then, in 2007, Judd Apatow snatched Rogen to portray Benjamin Stone in a movie called Knocked Up. Rogen was opposite Katherine Heigel and, in my opinion, he outshined her. His character was brash, rude, and an idiot, but Rogen managed to portray a sort of shyness about him that made him absolutely likeable. The movie itself was raunchy, and really didn't cater to my tastes, but the cast was likeable and no one over acted, so it ended up being cute and enjoyable.

And funny as hell. I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but I felt the movie was hilarious, Rogen and Paul Rudd especially.

The same year, Apatow released Superbad. Rogen did not star in it, but played the role of an idiotic police officer (with SNL's Bill Hader) and once again stole the show. There was just something about how he handled the character, how he delivered the lines. The man was hilarious. I began to wish his character had been explored more on Freaks and Geeks, that he had had a chance to be really funny, because I found him quite enjoyable. Until every movie he appeared in was the same.

I don't know if Apatow was bitter about the premature cancellation of F&G, or if he was afraid of it happening again, or if he just enjoyed the shock factor, but it seemed like every. single. one. of his movies just got raunchier and raunchier and raunchier. To the point that it was uncomfortable to watch them. And Rogen seemed to play the same character in all of them, which was depressing.

Yes, he was funny. Yes, he was a good actor. But he kept playing the same character, and it just got tedious. I kind of got sad, and developed "Seth Rogen" syndrome, which caused my reaction to every single one of his movies to be:

Oh look, another Seth Rogen movie. Don't tell the church folk.

There was, however, one movie out of the ordinary**. In 2008, Rogen supplied the voice to one of the animated characters in Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who, and did quite well. The little rat... thing... that he played was hilarious, and greatly added to the movie. Furthermore, it drew attention to the uniqueness of Rogen's voice.

Later that year, Dreamwork's released a movie called Kung Fu Panda, starring Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman. The movie told the story of Po, a noddle-selling, food-loving panda that had one dream: to become a Kung Fu warrior. A dream that is seemingly realized when the great Master Wugui (pronounced oog-way) names him the Dragon Warrior. This forces Master Shifu and the Furious Five to train Po in time to save the village from Tai Lung, Shifu's old apprentice that was darkened when Wugui did not choose him to be the Dragon Warrior.

The movie was accepted with open arms, and received quite a bit of praise. And once again, Rogen was a part of that, lending his voice to Master Mantis, a comical member of the Furious Five. Like his role in Horton, Rogen didn't have a lot of lines. But the ones he did have, he delivered very well, and made me laugh. A LOT.

But that wasn't the end of Rogen's voice acting career. In 2009, Rogen provided the voice for B.O.B. in another Dreamwork's production entitled Monsters Vs. Aliens.

Monsters Vs. Aliens is a big deal for a number of reason***. Firstly, it was Rogen's first real lead voice role, meaning he got quite a bit of screen time. Secondly, it - in my opinion - showcased just exactly how good of a voice actor Rogen is. Rogen not only held his own amongst such Hollywood actors as Keifer Sutherland and Hugh Laurie, but he also made the movie. Every line delivered is absolutely hilarious, and he does it with a sort of dry seriousness that really makes B.O.B. a loveable character, without which the movie would not have been so fun.

In my opinion, Rogen is finally making a name for himself... and it's as a voice actor. I'll give him his props, he's a great actor, but he's been type casted. I'd love to see him get away from movies like Observe and Report and Pineapple Express and start doing more voice acting roles (he's already set to portray Master Mantis again in the Kung Fu Panda sequel, and I'm super excited about that). One of the main things that jumps out at me is that none of his voice acting characters are the same, and yet he's still able to make them each as memorable as the next. He is honestly one of my favorite voice actors right now.

In my opinion, voice acting is far more difficult than live acting, because you only have your voice to rely on... so the fact that he's good at that means he's definitely got some talent.

That's why Seth Rogen has gained my respect.

*I never understood why, either. Everyone that's seen the show - that I know...and some I don't - absolutely loved it. I can't believe it didn't make ratings... but... who knows. FAIL, though.

**That I had seen. I have yet to see The Spiderwick Chronicles, though I do want to, and I didn't see Kung Fu Panda until this past summer.

***This is my personal opinion. I know a few people that don't like it, but I REALLY enjoyed it. Then again, I enjoy a lot of movies people don't like.

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We didn't come this far to die now...

If you're a regular at my blog, or know me in person, you know that I love zombies. If not, you'll soon find out. I love them. A lot.

I've read the literature, seen the movies. I know where to go when the zombies attack. I know what foods will last the test of time. I know what things I can take with me, and what things will need to stay behind. I have a zombie survival kit and a ZPEP.

I've even written a 10 Step "make your own ZPEP" Guide for the zombielliterate.

I think it's safe to say, I'm ready for the zombiepocalypse.

However, even the most prepared zombie slayer needs a little practice.

I know what you're thinking. How on Earth would someone practice for something that hasn't happened yet?

To which I say: the government is really good at covering things up... but you needn't worry about that now. No, if you're looking for an everyday way to practice for the impending Zombiepocalypse, then I have one word for you: VIDEOGAMES*.

On August 1st, 2009, I introduced my readers to Left4Dead**, Valve's first epically successful attempt at a zombie video game. Succeeding where others had failed, Left4Dead provided gamers (and aspiring zombie slayers alike) 4 playable characters, 4 challenging campaigns, and horde after horde of zombies.

It was amazing. It was not, however, the end of the line for epic zombie games. On the same day, I gave my readers a sneak peek at Valve's next installment of the Left4Dead series, cleverly titled "Left4Dead2". Due out just a few days shy of its predecessor's 1 year anniversary, Left4Dead2 seemed to be nothing more than a glorified expansion pack, and many gamers claimed Valve was trying to pull a fast one by charging full price for it.

Well, as an experienced zombieslayer AND gamer, I'm here to tell you that is not the case. I may not get paid to review video games and movies***, but that doesn't mean I'm not qualified to make such a claim. I played the first game to death, taking part in everything it offered, be it online play, campaign co-op, single play, versus, or survival, and I picked up my copy of Left4Dead2 the day it came out.

I have only completed 2 campaigns in the whole thing, and I can already tell each and every one of you: it is so much more than an expansion pack.

Normally for these sorts of things, I'll approach it from the "things I like/things I didn't like" angle, but I have to be honest with you. There is not a single thing I don't like about this game.

The concept is easily my favorite since the Halo games. Set in a post apocalyptic Georgia, Left4Dead2 takes place right after the zombie infection has hit critical mass. Your 4 main characters just barely missed their evac choppers, and are now forced to fight their way to safety, with only each other to depend on. Official instructions: shoot all sunsab****es.

Love it.

Left4Dead2 takes everything the first game was good at, and makes it better. The movie-like campaign play is expanded on, supplying the gamer with 5 new, continuity-based film campaigns. Each one is reminiscent of things you went through in the first game, but not so much that it feels like you're playing the same game. There are more puzzles, more zombies, and they are far more challenging. And your director is on his game this time around. In the preview, I mentioned that the director throws new twists at you every time you play a campaign, but after playing, I found that it's more like every time you die.

Nothing is ever the same. This guy prepares you for everything, so be on your guard. Did you check that bathroom last time? Well, check it again. There very well could be a horde hiding in there. I kid you not. A horde. By the time you finish a campaign, there probably isn't a single zombiefied scenario you haven't dealt with.

How awesome is that?

Left4Dead2 also excells in the playable character area. While the 4 characters in the first game were likeable and easy to control, the 4 new ones are far more interactive. Even during solo campaign mode, you feel like you're interacting with the members of your team, and they tend to respond more to the decisions you make. Team building skills FTW.

As far as zombies go, they went all out. Fan favorites from the first game have all returned, but that wasn't quite enough for Valve. So far, I have encountered 5 new breeds of specialty zombies:

  • Jockeys - think Hunters were bad in the first game? Wait till you get a load of this undead pain in the neck... literally. Jockey's are fast and small. They do not snarl or growl or roar. They sound like normal crazy zombies... but they are far from it. A normal zombie is content with flailing their undead arms around and slapping you, hoping to incapacitate you so they can stomp on you until you die. Jockeys like to break up teams. They crawl through hordes, out of bushes, behind buildings, and sneak up on you. Once close enough, they jump onto your shoulders and force you away from your teammates, all the while pounding on your head. Yeah. I know what you're thinking, and I agree. I suddenly like Hunters a lot more now.
  • Spitters - These things are annoying as hell. They look a lot like normal zombies, so you don't really realize you're in the presence of a spitter until she's covered you - and the ground around you - with green acid spit. Yes, Dane Cook fans, you heard me right. Acid spit. and once these things spit, you had better get moving, because their burning green saliva covers quite the surface area.
  • The Charger - also known as the "FML" because, well, if you get caught by one of these, that's all you'll be able to say. Chargers are rather lopsided zombies that are easier to take down than Tanks, but just as powerful. They use their one huge arm as a type of plow as they run at you, carrying you as far as they can before stopping, gripping you, and pounding your dead ass into the ground. I say dead because, well... that's what you'll be if you let one of them get you.
  • Hazmat Zombies - I spotlighted these in the preview, but just a recap. When the zombie infection first hit, the government sent in a ton of people in hazmat suits, thinking it would keep them safe from the infection. They were wrong. What it ended up doing was creating zombies that were impervious to fire. These guys will charge right through any blaze, and typically need to be bashed in the face, then pumped full of lead before they decide to leave you alone.
  • SWAT Zombies - similar to the Hazmat zombies, these zombies must be melee'd to death. Their uniforms render most ammunition useless.
In addition to all of these, there are also clown zombies. I know. I cried, too. They aren't specialty zombies but... they should be. I mean... they're clowns.

But do not fear, for along with these new zombies, they also threw in some new weapons! There are now a plethora of guns to choose from, as well as special incendiary ammo sprinkled throughout the campaigns, which is most helpful and quite fun to use. There are also some cool upgrades for your guns, like lazer sites so you can be even more accurate with your headshots.

Along with the new gun selection is the option to carry around Melee Weapons. At the time I wrote my preview, there were only 4 melee weapons available: the bat, the axe, the frying pan, and the chainsaw.

Honestly, who needs more than that? But apparently, the kind folks over at Valve felt that someone might want more, so they gave it to us. Now, along with those 4, you are supplied with electric guitars, nightsticks, crowbars, flat paddles, and katanas, each of which deals quite a bit of damage to any zombie unlucky enough to step within your swing zone. Really helpful for the moments when you're covered in Boomer Bile.

Speaking of Boomer Bile, there are also a number of throwable and explosive items that help you in your endeavor to survive. Gas cans, propane tanks, molotovs and - my personal favorite - pipe bombs have all made a triumphant return, but the kind people at Valve have also supplied us with viles of boomer bile that, when thrown, will either A. create a puddle and attract the zombie horder, pulling them out in the open for you to shoot at your leisure, or B. cover a zombie and cause all the other zombies to attack said zombie, while still pulling them out into the open for you to shoot at your leisure. This is extremely helpful when used on a Tank.

Now, these are all things that I've found out within the first 2 campaigns of the game. There are still three more campaigns I have yet to venture into so I ask you naysayers... does it still look like a glorified expansion pack?

Because, from where I'm standing, it seems like the last word in zombie games. I have nothing bad to say about it. The biggest problem you may have is if you prefer inverted controls over conventional. It is just a very well rounded game, and a great way to practice for the fateful day when our loved ones decide that six feet is too deep, and they'd rather walk the earth in search of brains.

8 out of 10. Bravo, Valve...

I only wonder how you plan to outdo yourselves next year...

*there is no space. Technically, one word. So there.

This doesn't necessarily mean my readers had never heard of the game, or that it was the first time I played it. It was just the date that I introduced it to my blog.

***Though, let's be honest. I think we all know I SHOULD get paid. Haha. I'M KIDDING.

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I did this funny thing with words recently...

On November 1st, I attempted to do something I have never done before. I set out to write a novel, consisting of at least 50,000 words and 100 pages. And I only had one month to do it.

I started out and felt good about it. I had an idea, I had characters. I had iTunes and Starbuck's. I had ambition.

And then I had writer's block. And I had stomach aches, colds, bad moods, lack of motivation.

I loved what I had written. And then I hated it. I kicked and screamed and forced words onto my computer. I was tempted to put characters into comas in which they just said random words for 50 pages.

Characters developed. I loved some, hated others. I smiled, I yelled, I got frustrated. I laughed and I cried. Oh did I cry.

I spent a lot of time on MSN and AIM, complaining about writer's block, complaining about having to write but not actually doing it.

I even got into an argument with Dr. McCoy. YES. THAT Dr. McCoy.

I watched my word count grow and became hopeful. Things began to flow together. I could see the finish line.

Now, 3,300 zombies, 25 days, 53,635 words, 107 pages, 5 deaths, 2 broken hearts, and countless tears later, I'm finished.

It was quite the trying experience. More times than I can count, I questioned why I had even tried this. But I'm glad I did... and I'm glad I finished. I can honestly say I'm an author. I'm no published, but I wrote something from an original idea, beginning to end, and - while I hate some of it - I genuinely like how the story unfolded.

And I finished. I can actually say I started it and I FINISHED, no matter how many times I wanted to quit. It really is quite a feeling... I mean, I feel like I've done something great, even though all I did was write a bunch of crap on a page.

But I wrote a book. It's one more thing to scratch off the list of things to do. I wrote a book and I actually put myself into it, put effort into it.

There was a small satisfaction in watching my nano bar turn purple, watching my blog bar turn green.

All in all, it was an interesting experience.

Thank you so much to everyone who has helped me through this!


*has a party*

Now if you'll excuse me, some nice guy in a pizza hut hat brought pizzas to our door. I suddenly realized that I haven't eaten in 25 days. I honestly have no idea how Stephen King does it.

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A Beyond the Entwash Exclusive...

I didn't intend to actually blog today.

I intended on taking a picture of these yummy fruit chips that I've been eating, and post them to tumblr.

It ended up becoming a post about things that make me happy to be healthy. No picture was taken.

But, since I don't want to be lame and copy and paste, but I do want to be lame and not write out the whole thing, I'm going to settle somewhere in the middle and post a lame link.

I've found out that there are a ton of things that make me more than happy to be healthy.



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Progress and another Excerpt!

I need to start writing. It's always more difficult when I'm starting a new section.

But seriously, I cannot believe I finished 3 sections. I am so much further than I ever thought I'd get! I still have a lot to do... I'm 14k from the finish line, but I don't think I'll be able to finish my story in 50k words. It may take more. I'm just hoping I can finish it correctly, rather than rush it all in and ruin it.

I'm also not looking forward to killing off a character that I know needs to die.

Short excerpt this time around. Time to set it up? Yeah sure okay.

After the dream Vivian had of Psyche's death, she decided to inform Eric of what she had seen. Eric, absolutely heartbroken over the news, can't help but associate Vivian with Psyche's death and begins to push her away, seeing as it is too painful to be near her. In a last ditch effort to get away from her and the pain he feels when he sees her, he goes back to his birthplace of Australia to go to UWA, completely cutting off communication with Vivian.

Vivian manages to move on with her life, despite the blatant snub by her so called friend, and ends up moving away from San Francisco in favor of Merced's smaller setting. A year later - after having established herself in the small town and done well enough for herself after college - Eric contacts her out of the blue, saying he's coming home and would like to see her. She agrees to the meeting, but quickly regrets it once she finds out Eric's intentions.

After quite the argument, the two find themselves on somewhat friendly terms, and Eric agrees to stay in the states indefinitely. However, things are far from over when a mysterious man kidnaps Vivian's mother and threatens her to stop digging deeper into her dreams. Vivian, however, defies the man and attempts to contact Athena.

“So now you know.”
“Yes.” Vivian tried to get a bearing on her surroundings, but there was nothing but darkness. Darkness, and Athena.
She was beautiful. There was a slight resemblance between the two, but Athena was quite a sight to behold. Her skin was fair and cream colored, and contrasted beautifully with her dark brown hair. Her hair was unbelievably long and seemed to cascade around her and everywhere. And then there were her eyes. They were dark; not quite brown, not quite black, and seemed to be holding back infinite wisdom.
“Ask your questions, child.”
“Can I release you, simply by saying so?”
“In a way.”
Her lips were perfectly formed and only added to the perfect construct of her face. She barely moved them as she spoke.
“What does that mean?”
“You were created so that I may have a prison. Everything you are, I am. And everything I am, you are. I possess the powers of a goddess and, if you give me control of this vessel, I will be able to use them.”
“If that’s all it takes, then why did you wait so long to have this meeting?”
“Everything you are, I am. As you grew, you developed very human like qualities. As a child, you were very in touch with your roots. You behaved and carried yourself as if you were a goddess. You had no time for the frivolous things of childhood, and that is partly my fault. I didn’t know what to do.” She smiled. “But as you grew, you drifted further away. You gained human qualities, like fear and doubt. Each made it more difficult for me to get through to you. I could not meet with you until you were certain you were not insane.”
“But… if we’re the same person, than what is this? How are we speaking?”
“You’ve heard of Multiple Personality Disorder,” she said. “The banishment spell Hera used creates something like that. It splits the divinity from the rest of the personality, thus creates two consciousnesses – one primary, one secondary. The secondary consciousness is then put to sleep, and the primary consciousness lives its life. Unless the two consciousnesses rejoin, there will be no awakening.”
“Has it happened yet?”
“Almost,” she said, tilting her head. “Eric has come very close numerous times.”
“Eric?” Vivian asked, cocking an eyebrow. “Are you kidding me?” She laughed.
“Yes. Eros was a very human deity to begin with. He married one, and thus the gaining of human characteristics did not hinder him as much as it did me. However, the loss of Psyche held him back, and Eric distancing himself from you did not help the case. He is now awakening, but not fast enough. I must—”
“No,” Vivian said. “I’ll let you do what you need… combine my consciousness with yours and tell you where all of my research notes are, but you have to do something for me. You have to give Eric a choice.” Athena considered convincing her that waking Eros would be best, but she knew it would do no good. They were the same person, after all, which meant Vivian was just as stubborn as she was.
“As you wish,” she said.
“And I’m assuming you have some story you’ll feed my parents? Well, my dad at least…”
“Yes. If all else fails, they can forget you even existed.” That stung Vivian. The thought of her parents forgetting she ever existed bothered her, but she knew it was just one more sacrifice she would have to make in order to give Earth any hope.
“One more question for you… got any grapes?” Athena cocked an eyebrow and Vivian laughed. “Sorry, it’s… Eric would have gotten it. Seriously, though… what’s going to happen to me when you go to Olympus to stop Hera? I assume you won’t need my body then.”
“I wish I could tell you, child.” Athena’s voice was grave, and Vivian nodded. That was what she had expected to hear.
“Best guess?”
“You will cease to exist.” She nodded again. “We are the same, and our minds will become one… once I leave this body, it will render it a shell… in theory.”
“I can’t say goodbye to Eric, can I?”
“It will make Hera too wise to what we’re planning.” She nodded once more, then forced a smile, knowing there were tears in her eyes.
“But you’ll tell him I said goodbye?” She nodded. “And you’ll tell him that I love him? Not like… you know what I mean.” It did not show in her eyes, or her voice, or anywhere no her face, but her heart broke for the girl. She understood the feeling, the need to have someone, even if not romantically. The hardest part in all of it had been watching Vivian become a separate person, watching her grow close to Eric. She knew what he meant to Vivian, how could she not? She had always had a soft spot for Eros, had always envied how much he could love someone. In the end, she had been envious of Vivian, for creating with Eric the relationship she herself was never able to construct with Eros, or anyone for that matter.
“I shall tell him everything.”
“Thanks…” She look up at Athena and nodded. “So, what do I do?”
“Accept me,” she said. Vivian stood straight, hands at her sides, remembering what her mother taught her about good posture. She wasn’t sure why she felt she needed to present herself in a manner that was so proper, but she did. She gave her head a quick shake, wiggled all her fingers, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath.
She wondered how it would feel to merge with the other half of your mind. Part of her thought it might hurt, another thought it could be similar to the warm feeling you get when you have a good laugh. She wondered if it would be cold, or if she would just get dizzy and feel like she was swimming. It didn’t matter, however. There was no feeling. Not warm, or cold, or dizzy. In the end, there was nothing.
In the end, there was darkness.

When Eric awoke, Vivian was gone. He figured she had woken up sometime in the night and had gone to her own room, so he didn’t think anything of it. Instead, he focused on the previous night. He was surprised at how comfortable he was with her, despite how he felt about her. He had been wary to call what he was feeling love, but the more he thought about it, the more he realized that’s exactly what it was. And it had always been there. What he was feeling wasn’t too different from what he had always felt with her. He had always found her laugh intoxicating, had always found her smile beautiful. The only difference was now he wanted them for himself.
He decided it was only fair to tell her. If the previous night had been any indication, she either felt the same way, or had no idea he had feelings for her at all. He was assuming it was the latter, and thus it was necessary to make his feelings known.
He wasn’t concerned until he found her I the living room, surrounded by papers and books. She was sitting, cross-legged on the floor, looking through something that looked oddly familiar. He took a step toward her when the phone rang, making him jump. She looked up and watched him turn to answer it.
“Don’t,” she said. He looked at her, and she dropped her eyes back into the book.
“Why not?” He asked.
“It’s just the preschool, calling to see why I quit. Fair enough, I didn’t really give them a reason, but I don’t have time to deal with it now.”
“You quit?” He asked, crossing his arms and leaning against the wall. “Why?” He remembered the conversation from the night before and shook his head. She had said she loved it, had said she was happy. “What’s going on, Viv?” Her eyes snapped back up to his, and something in the look she gave him made his skin break out in goosebumps. Something wasn’t right.
“I can understand where you might be confused,” she said. “But I assure you, Vivian is no longer in this body.” She watched his face fall, fought the urge to feel bad for him, and gave him an empty smile. “Are you fully awake? I need to discuss a few things with you.” He finally recognized the book she was reading to be Vivian’s journal… the one she claimed to have done away with.
“When is she coming back?” That smile never left Athena’s face. “Is she coming back at all?” Athena shook her head, and Eric laughed. “So she went ahead with it… no goodbye, nothing.” He seemed to be talking more to himself than to her, but she still felt the need to speak up.
“I’m afraid that was my fault. We had to act quickly, before Hera knew what was happening.” He walked into the room and fell onto the couch. It wasn’t fair. He had finally decided to move on, to live without Psyche, only to have the new object of his desire stolen as well. “She did tell me to tell you goodbye,” she said, and he looked up at her. His eyes were locked with hers, and he looked as if every word she was going to say was precious. As if he knew he was never going to talk to her again, therefore each and every one of her last words would be a treasure to him. She thought the idea ridiculous, yet still felt somehow envious of him. “She also said that she loved you. You were the best thing to happen to her, and she absolutely treasured your friendship, even when your attitude was less than ideal.” He smiled. “You meant everything to her. She knew she would probably never fall in love with anyone – also my fault – and thus let herself love you completely. Letting go of you was difficult for her.” All he could do was nod and look at his hands. “That feeling,” Athena said, placing a hand over her chest. “I’ve never felt it before.” He ran a hand through his hair and looked at her, knowing he had no reason to hate the woman before him but being unable to stop himself.
“What did you need to discuss with me?” He asked, and she snapped the journal closed and handed it to him. “There’s an entry from about a year and a half ago. The night she told you about Psyche.” He leaned forward and took the journal from her and, as he did, a couple of his fingers closed around hers. They locked eyes for a second and Athena quickly yanked her hand away. Eric sat down slowly, never taking his eyes off of her.
He couldn’t explain it. When he touched her hand, it was as if some part of him rejoiced at the touch. Something inside of him yearned for her touch when he pulled away. He knew he wasn’t attracted to her – something about how she was no longer Vivian turned him off – but something still wanted to be near her. Likewise she, having never experienced love before the encounter with Vivian, had definitely felt something when they touched. She wasn’t sure what she had felt, or why she had felt it, thus felt he appropriate response would be to drop her gaze and withdraw her hand.
“The entry discusses the comparisons between you and the god Eros. If you look at it, you’ll see that the comparisons are quite –”
“Okay, so she thinks I’m Eros. She told me that.”
“She didn’t only think you were Eros, she was convinced of it. And so am I. Somewhere inside of you is the god of love, and I’m afraid I need to ask you to let him out.” Eric blinked. “Rather, I need your permission to release him.”
“You’re giving me a choice?” He asked, cocking an eyebrow. “Why?”
“She asked me to,” Athena said. There was something in her voice that angered him. Her requesting he have a choice in the matter meant a lot to him, and she was treating it as if it were no big deal.
“Then I’m going to need some time to think about it.” He said it to spite her. He had lost Psyche, had lost Vivian… neither of which he could control. But he could control how long he made her wait, he could control what decision he made. And he would.
“You do that,” he said. Her tone was still uncaring, as if she didn’t give a rip either way. She immediately turned her attention to another group of papers, which only angered him more.
“I will,” he said, leaning back and opening the journal. “I will.”

Oh yeah, Eric fell in love with Vivian. He wasn't really supposed to do that... I feel kind of bad making him suffer more heartache than he should have to, but... well, it's his own fault. He had no business falling in love with Viv.

I am going to miss writing her, though.

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How To Survive the Zombiepocalypse

Last night, I had a dream that involved me saving Miley Cyrus from the Zombiepocalypse. Now, I'm not sure why I saved her. That simply goes against all of my rules, as well as a number of the Zombieland rules, not to mention, Cyrus is not very high on my list of celebrities to save.

I will risk my life for Kevin Spacey. That is all*.

But, the dream got me thinking... I've blogged about the zombiepocalypse before, but I don't know that I've ever blogged about how to survive it... mostly because, I don't want my Zombiepocalypse Escape Plan (ZPEP) to be public knowledge, lest any of my readers get infected.

But, I will do this much... with the help of the Zombie Survival Guide's Top 10 Lessons for Surviving a Zombie Attack, as well as a few of the Zombieland rules, I will provide you, my reader, with a guideline to create your very own ZPEP.

Basically, I will be supplying you with the Zombie Survival Guides 10 rules of surviving a Zombie attack, seeing as they're the exact same as mine, as well as adding a few Zombieland rules. Each of the ten ZSG rules will be accompanied by an explanation by yours truly. After that, it's up to you. *points* Ladies and Gentlemen, this is


There are two kinds of people in this world: Those that will survive the Zombiepocalypse, and those that will become zombies/zombie chow.

Don't know which one you are? Well, there's an easy way to tell. Perhaps you've played the video games, seen the movies, read the books... you know all there is to know about zombies, and you think you're ready. Or maybe all you know is, they catch fire easily, and boy howdy do they burn. It doesn't matter how much experience you have with movies or games or books... or fire, for that matter. No, the thing that decides whether you kill or get killed, whether you live or (un)die, is whether or not you have a plan.

Did George Washington's boys row across the Delaware so he could wing it? Did William Wallace lead his men into battle to see what would happen? Did Jim Kirk ever tell Scotty to dump the warp core and hope it would help?

Okay... the last one is yes. But the other two are both big, fat "NO"s. Behind every great leader is a great plan and every great war is won with one.

Lesson #1: Organize before they rise!

Did you catch that? Before they rise. Let me say it again. Before they rise. If you're warned that a hurricane is coming, or there's going to be a nuclear war, would you wait until after the threat is realized to start preparing? No. Why should the zombiepocalypse be any different? Work on your plan now. Learn your town, it's weaknesses and strong points. Find good places for hideouts/strongholds. Stock up on supplies. It's never too early to prepare for the end of the world, so get crackin'! I guarantee zombies will not wait for you to decide your course of action before they try to chomp on your brain. And you need a course of action. Emotions to readily get in the way of logical thought. If you wait too long, your plan won't see the light of day. Your opponent, however, is brainless, which means he's illogical and has no fear. He can run into any situation without a care in the world.

Lesson #2: They show no fear... why should you?

Buck up little soldier! Stiffen up that upper lip! It's the zombiepocalypse, and frankly, we just don't have time for your pitiful emotions. Cry on your own time! There's no room for fear! The more prepared you are, the less fear you'll have. You wanna pee your pants? You're on your own. Wanna cry like a little girl instead of fight zombies like you should? Be my guest... but don't come running to me when your Aunt Sally is gnawing on your calf. You are fighting an opponent that knows one thing, and one thing only: its unquenchable desire for brains/human flesh. It knows nothing else, so train yourself to be a zombie of sorts... teach yourself to have an unquenchable desire for dead zombies. Spend your free time practicing how to kill them, spend your zombie fighting time applying what you've practiced. Fill your dreams with zombie slaying goodness. If you immerse yourself in the art of zombie killing, you won't have time for fear. Because fear is stupid... and we don't want you to be stupid.

Lesson #3: Use your head: Cut of theirs.

Rule #2 of Zombieland is the "double-tap". Shoot a zombie once, knock it down, shoot it again in the head to make sure. However, the double tap isn't necessary if you go with a good ole fashioned zombie beheading. Zombies like brains. Why? Because without them, they can't survive. So, cut off their head. Destroy their brain AND get rid of the thing they use to devour more. When it comes down to it, a beheading is always the better choice over shooting a zombie. Always. If not for one simple reason.

Lesson #4: Blades don't need reloading.

It's just that easy. Don't get me wrong, guns are great, especially if you're facing down a zombie horde. And, in a post apocalyptic world, ammo is probably easier to get ahold of than it is presently... if the stuck up store owner isn't a zombie, he's a bag if he denies you pick of his store. You're saving the world, aren't you? (Don't actually try to save the world, though. Zombieland rule #17: Don't be a Hero. Worry about you)

But ammo won't always be there. Eventually, like twinkies, it'll run out. And unless you know how to make more, you're plum out of luck. Blades don't use ammo, you just swing them. It's always best to keep a plethera of knives handy... though not on your person. Zombieland rule #7: Travel light

Lesson #5: Ideal protection = tight clothes + short hair.

How many people in those movies end up dead because part of their favorite baggy hoodie that they had no business wearing got caught on a fence it had no business catching on? Like cold weather, or rain, or the beach, you need to dress for the occassion. If a ton of brain hungry undead creatures are chasing you, the last thing you need to give them is something to grab onto. Ponytails are nice, but idealy, you just wanna cut it short. Don't give them the chance. Nothing is worse than thinking you're home free, only to have a zombie grab your hair and yank you off that stair case. Don't let them do that. Wear tight clothes. Cut your hair short. And, of course,

Lesson #6: Get up the staircase, THEN DESTROY IT.

Do not, do not, DO. NOT. Give a zombie a chance to follow you. They know how to follow you, it's all they do, unless they're chomping on your brain. You needn't help them. In any situation, if you have a chance to block your path, go for it. Make it as hard as possible for them to proceed. Thinking you might need to use that path again? Absolutely not. You never back track, you keep moving forward. Zombies have a hard time climbing over things, so do your best to make their unlives as miserable as possible. And do NOT clear a huge space so you can drive on a street. A cluttered street is a godsend.

Lesson #7: Get out of the car, get on the bike.

First off, cars need gas. Second, they're huge. If you're skilled with it, and plan on using it as a zombie killing machine, then by all means, try your luck. But, in terms of getting away, a bike is always better. It's powered by you and it's slim. Tear through the streets as the zombies hobble after you, meeting obstacle after obstacle.Plus, it's great exercise, which adheres to Zombieland rule #1: Cardio. And the best thing: they're quiet, they aren't huge, they're fast, and there's nothing to impede your ability to hear the wrold around. Which is perfect, because you always want to

Lesson #8: Keep moving, keep low, keep quiet, and keep alert!

Zombies are stupid. It's just a simple fact. They're stupid. Thus, they're pretty easy to fool... however, they have this funny way of somehow still sneaking up on you. Keep yourself on your toes... but be sure to stay low. Use everything you can as cover. Don't let them see you, and certainly do not let them hear you. Sneaking is highly recommended, as well as staying away from car alarms and metal trashcans. And no matter what, keep moving. Do not stay in the same place for too long, even if you think it to be safe, because I guarantee you, it isn't.

Lesson #9: No place is safe, only safer.

It's true. Hiding in the confessional in a desserted church is less treacherous than standing in the open in the middle of a zombie horde, but neither place is safe. One is safer than the other, but no place is completely safe. No place. I cannot stress that enough.... no place is completely safe. Even if you clear it of zombies, it is not safe.

Lesson #10: The zombie may be gone, but the threat lives on.

No one wakes up one morning and just decides to be a zombie. It's not a lifestyle choice, or a race or ethnicity... it's a disease. Zombeism is an infection, and infections spread. Just because you've killed one zombie doesn't mean you've kill them all. Like Columbus said, It's a marathon, not a sprint. You aren't looking to win the little battles, you want to win the war. Don't get cocky because you won a battle. Don't think you're something amazing because you survived one horde swarm. That's how things get bad.

That's how people die.

However, I do need to throw in Zombieland rule #32: Enjoy the little things.

It's the Zombiepocalypse. You're probably alone. If you have the chance to experience one of life's small pleasures, go for it. It may be one of the only pleasant memories you have of the incident.

So, there you have it. Keep these things in mind when you construct your ZPEP, and you may survive the Zombiepocalypse yet.

Remember, Buckle up, Limber up, and know your way out.

Happy hunting!

*I would risk my life for Karl Urban, but he's a pretty sufficient zombie slayer himself, so I know I need not worry.

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NaNoWriUp - Word count, progress, and NEW EXCERPT!

ALRIGHT. Lo siento about the speed limit rant... be happy I didn't go off about gun control! XD I kind of just needed to rant about something I can explain away with math, though.

I was going through a few things, moral standards and what not, and I was getting kind of depressed. Probably why my writing was suffering so hard core. *note to self: do not put so much energy into other stuff when you should be writing a novel*

Oh yeah. My novel. I'm still doing that. Yep. I am so happy I did this Abs diet thing... it taught me that I CAN stick with something, even when it's difficult.

And man has this been difficult. XD

But I've been pushing through, and I am that much closer to my 2 week goal... I'm actually only 3K away from the 25K marker.

That's ALMOST HALF WAY, people!

And now that a lot of the boring explanation stuff is out of the way, I can move onto part 3 and the more fun stuff (and the heartbreaking stuff)

SPEAKING of heartbreaking stuffs, I have another excerpt for those that care. What I've failed to do for the past two excerpts is set them up, so I'll do that for this one.

*clears throat*

This excerpt is from part 2. At this point, Vivian and Eric are pretty good friends, and Eric has just confided in Vivian, letting her in on his biggest secret. This secret leaves Vivian with some confusion and a few questions, which spur her on to the most intense and realistic dream she's had to date. That is where we'll start off.

“You won’t get away with this,” the young woman said. I held back, watching. What was she doing? This wasn’t the plan. She couldn’t possibly have hoped to stop Hera on her own. Even with my help, success was minimal at best.
“How terribly cliché,” Aphrodite said, rolling her eyes. “Run along now, you’re trying my patience.”
“Does Hera have any idea what effect this is going to have on everyone? On Earth?”
“You think Hera cares about Zeus’ pathetic little playground? If Earth happens to crumble in her pursuit of Olympus’ throne, then so be it. One less place for her adulteress husband to gallivant.”
“And the people?”
“What about them?” Aphrodite turned with a fierceness the likes of which I’ve never seen. “They’re your people, remember? Not mine.”
“Eros won’t stand for this.” She stood up straighter, an air of pride about her. “And my people are a strong people… they won’t go so quietly.”
“They’ll go how we wish them to go,” Aphrodite said, anger building in her eyes. I wanted to cry out, tell her to be careful, but I did not wish to make my treachery known. I remained quiet… a decision I was soon to regret. “As for Eros, he needn’t know.”
“And when everything goes wrong… when Hera loses control of the realms, you expect me to what? Sit back silently? Not say a word?” Aphrodite closed the distance between them quickly, driving an object into her stomach as she did.
“Yes, Psyche,” she said, releasing the dagger that was now deep in her gut. “I expect you not to say a word.” I became aware of what happened as Psyche fell to her knees. “You stupid girl… did you really think I’d welcome you with open arms after how you insulted me?” Psyche gripped the end of the blade in her stomach and looked up at Aphrodite, fear and disbelief battling on her face. “That I’d pass up any excuse to rid myself of you?”
“NO!” I felt myself yell. I left the comfort of my hiding spot and ran quickly to Psyche’s side. Of course… she was not a goddess or even a true resident of Olympus. She was only a human, and a dagger was all it took.
I’ll never forget the color. I had seen blood before, but something about hers stood out. It was somehow more crimson than what I’d seen, perhaps due to the contrast of her white dress. Aphrodite threw her head back and let loose with a wicked cackle. I looked up at her, a strange feeling overtaking me. I had never seen her act in such a way, snap so quickly. Perhaps that was the madness Hera invoked, perhaps it was how she had always been. But standing in front of me was not the beautiful goddess of love I once knew, but something darker. Her beauty had lost its power, and I finally saw her for what she was. Hera had darkened her heart. It was clear to me that Aphrodite had been completely lost to us, and in order to restore what Olympus was, I would first have to rid it of her.
“Psyche?” I turned in time to see Eros run toward her, before Ares quickly restrained him. “PSYCHE!” He fought against Ares as much as he could and, for a while, it seemed he might win the battle. The god was too strong, however, and he had to settle for voicing his grief. Our eyes locked for a moment, only long enough for me to tell him she was gone, before he let loose with the most painful howl I had ever heard – from god or human – in the length of my existence.
“He knows,” a voice said. “Your son is going to be a problem now.” We all turned in time to see her walk up, crossing her arms. Unlike Aphrodite, Hera had been less than ideal in my eyes for centuries. She was once the beautiful wife of Zeus but, after the incident with Io, had lost her beauty.
“No!” Aphrodite turned to her quickly, falling to her knees and clasping her hands. “Please, Hera, no… let him live. Put him somewhere he can never cause any problems, but let him live, I beg of you!”
“What have you done? What have you done?” Eros continued to fight Ares, regardless of the fact that he had no chance of breaking free. I could do nothing but hold her body in my arms. I had only known Psyche for a short while, but I had never had anything against her. She seemed to be a sweet girl, and had to be made of something special, if she managed to steal the heart of Aphrodite’s son.
“It is clear to me that neither of you places any value on the inhabitants of Earth, or their lives.” Hera looked at me, a smug smile fixed to her face.
“I never did understand your strange fascination with them… all they do is scuttle about that landscape like bugs, infesting its every corner. If I do not cause their destruction, something else will.” She laughed again. “You know them better than any… if they so manage to live long enough to do so, they will simply destroy themselves.” I remained silent. Part of me knew her to be correct… the inhabitants of earth were a violent race, but I believed there was good in them. I wanted them to have the chance to decide for themselves if they would live or die. Still, I knew none of that mattered to Hera. She had made up her mind. She wanted Olympus and would stop at nothing to have it. Instead, I turned my attention to Aphrodite. She remained in front of Hera, hands clasped and begging. I could not understand why, if she loved her son enough to keep him alive, she would love him enough to not kill the woman he loved. Yet there she was, frantically begging Hera to spare him. It didn’t make sense.
“What if we locked them up with the Titans?” Ares finally asked, and Aphrodite threw him a look of gratitude. “They wouldn’t be able to cause any more trouble in there.”
“Yes, yes!” Aphrodite agreed, standing to her feet. “And the Titans wouldn’t dare try to kill them… they’d fear Ze---your wrath, great Hera.”
“I don’t think locking them up will be necessary,” Hera said. “Come on Athena, you know I’m right. You know I’m going to succeed… whose side do you want to be on when this goes down?” I stared at her, conflicted. I couldn’t decide what would be better, standing against Hera, or joining her to make sure Earth was kept safe. Both choices were less than desirable. In the end, Eros made my choice for me.
“I will stop at nothing to see that Hades rules your wretched soul in the days to come,” he spat, and Aphrodite sent him a glare.
“You’d do well to mind your tongue!” She snapped, but he was unwilling to back down. He stared at his mother, nothing but hatred backing his gaze. She almost recoiled from it, probably would have had Ares not had hold of him.
“I agree with the young god,” I finally said. “Your soul shall bath in the river Styx, or so shall mine.”
“A foolish decision,” Hera said. “But your decision none the less. Very well, Ares, take care of them. Be sure the Titans know that this one is the daughter of Zeus.” I was not fond of the look in her eyes.
That was when she locked us away in the darkness. Eros and I, the last hope Olympus had, locked away with the most vile creatures god or goddess had ever laid eyes on. She banished them that night and, despite the circumstances, I had to admit… watching them fall to Earth was somehow captivating. Watching them all fall in their sleep, pushing through the atmosphere… it was beautiful. Even Eros, amidst his heartbreak, watched in awe.
“The poor bastards,” he finally said, his voice devoid of all emotion. “I suspect they’re sitting back in their pitiful lives, captivated by this as we are. They’ll explain it away, they always do. They’ll call it one of their miracles, but they have no idea what it is. They have no clue what’s really happening, or what they’re in for. It could be for the best, though. Their ignorance could blind them to their impending doom until it’s too late.” It was then that I wished I had included him in our plan. He grasped the situation far better than Psyche ever did, and it was possible that his involvement could have prevented her death. “We’re the ones with the worse deal, we’re stuck here. Stuck watching… and even these cowards won’t attempt to put an end to us.” I could hear the angry objections from the darkness, but he was right. They would not touch us. Whether they feared Hera or Aphrodite, or even simply feared us, I wasn’t sure… but they feared something. And thus, Eros had spoken truth. We were stuck watching for eternity, as Hera destroyed what we valued most.
“We could get out,” I tried, but he let out a cold laugh.
“I fear wisdom has left you in your hour of greatest need, Athena.” I did not press it any further. It was clear to me that he not only grasped the situation before us, but knew what it meant for everyone involved.
“I am sorry about Psyche,” I tried, but he shook his head.
“Psyche did what her heart told her was right. It has always been her one and only flaw.” There were light traces of a smile on his face, and she wondered if that was what love did. She was slightly envious of his ability to smile through his pain, but such emotions were below her and she paid it little mind. “Though it seems she may have forgotten that, while she did not age in Olympus, she was still mortal.” He rubbed his chest with his hand, closing his eyes and shaking his head. “I feel somehow empty. Part of me wishes we had been locked away with creatures that had spines,” he spat into the darkness. Again, they objected angrily, spitting and howling at the insult.
“Do something about it then!” I shot back. “If you no longer wish to hear his insults, than silence him or be silent!”
“We do not wish to silence either of you,” a voice said, and I was surprised by the sophisticated nature of it. “Especially not you, Athena.” The spitting and howling died off, as if the voice speaking was one of authority. “I wonder,” he said. “Do you know who you are?”
“I am Athena, daughter of Zeus, goddess of—”
“And who?” I blinked, unsure of what he had asked.
“Who is your mother?”
“My… my mother?” I thought for a while. I had never wondered who my mother was – having been birthed into adulthood, I had never had any need for one – but once the question was posed, it began to bother me.
“You are the daughter of the lovely Metis, and thus,” he said, stepping into the small light that was provided, “my granddaughter.”


Okay so I can't tell you who she is talking to, but OMG ATHENA HAS TITAN BLOOD WHAT?

I think that's seriously the coolest thing about this... Greek mythology has a few things that are well known, and fewer things that have SO MUCH room for interpretation. It's sooo much fun.

Athena meeting her grandfather, for instance, was not planned, but it works out so much better with how the story flows. And honestly, writing out her... geneology(?) was pretty fun. Plus, I like being able to give her a little more depth with the whole she never knew her mother thing. Not pathetically so, of course, but it still adds to the character, imo.

But we aren't here for my opinion, we're here for YOURS! Tell me what you think! Hope you enjoyed the excerpt!

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Increasing Speed Limits Doesn't Kill

So, just to have a little break from all things NaNo, I decided to post this, because... it's a change of pace, and I love anything even remotely related to Chaos Theory. ^__^ I originally posted this at my anything-goes tumblr, Beyond the Entwash, but I decided to let it leech over.

Increasing Speed Limits Doesn't Kill

I love stuff like this. Chaos Theory at its finest.

Seriously, how hard is it to understand that the more we try to control things, the more chaos ensues? I’ve been trying to express this to people for a while… I mean, compare the Autobahn to US Freeways, and you’ll find the freeways have the higher vehicular fatality rate. Why? Because we try to control it too much.

When Montana had no daytime speed limit, fatalities not only went down but Montana recorded the state’s fewest road fatalities during that period. Internationally, the number of fatalities per billion vehicle kilometers has been higher in the U.S. for about the past seven years than anywhere in Western Europe except for Ireland. Even Germany and its unrestricted autobahn suffer fewer injury incidents than the U.S.

People will find a happy medium. Yes, that medium is higher than the posted speed limit, but who will it hurt to raise the speed limit? The article itself states that nothing changed when the speed limit in Utah was raised 5 MPH. People still had their comfortable medium. So, who is going to drive safer? The person who is trying to avoid getting a ticket while still speeding, or the person who’s speed is not in violation of the laws of the road, thus has nothing to worry about?

Humans are marvelous at self-organization — it’s how we get nomadic tribes and cities like Tokyo, it explains how New Yorkers avoid each other and actually get places on the sidewalks in midtown, and it leads to things like book-of-the-month clubs. It also explains how we avoid accidents at intersections when the red light stops working. Given our choice, we will find ways on our own to live together, mostly safely.

You can say people should just learn to follow the speed limit, but really, why is the speed limit even there? If multiple cases have proven that there is no change, and in some cases the accident rate drops, what is the harm in raising the maximum interstate speed limit, or getting rid of it all together?

As humans, we’re marvelous at self organization… but we’re also marvelous at wanting to break molds and be free. The tighter you hold us, the more we’re gonna fight. The lower the speed limit, the faster we’re going to drive.

If everyone has the freedom to go whatever speed they want, then there is no thrill in going faster than everyone else, thus no need to do so. It doesn’t make you look cooler, it makes you look normal.

It makes perfect sense to me, but that may just be because I’ve studied Chaos Theory for so long… so what about you, curious reader? Are you for or against the raised speed limit… and why?

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Almost a week in...

Owl City. The Hush Sound. Alexander Rybak.

Seriously. These guys are the only reason I'm even close to 10,000 words***. Sometimes, the only reason I want to write is because it means I can blast these guys through the house.

This is one of the hardest things I've ever done... ever. Whoever said "you are your worst critic" is right. I am tearing myself apart with this thing. I think some of it is pretty good, but for the most part, it's crap, and that is really discouraging.

Never mind that it shouldn't be discouraging. Never mind that I'm trying to write a novel in a month. Never mind that it's a first draft. Never mind that it's just a challenge, that I didn't go into this thinking I was getting published. I still tear myself apart.

But I've got some great support, and a bunch of really awesome people who are willing to be honest with me, and help me to at least not write Twilight.

And then there's Chris Baty. Chris Baty has been doing NaNoWriMo for 11 years. I know what you're thinking. Someone who's spent that many years writing novels must have poetic awesomeness flowing from his fingers. When he opens his mouth, each and every word must gallop out like an epic unicorn of epicness. People may even mistake him for Chuck Norris when they pass him on the street.

And you're right. He's Epic incarnate. And he's super encouraging, and pretty funny (fellow nano competitors probably know what I'm talking about... cloud-forehead server, anyone? XD)

SO... all of that is just to say... here's the next excerpt. Hopefully it isn't as painful for you to read as it was for me to write it. ^__^

“Sorry… now, you have to explain. Why was it so hard to get you to smile?”

“I had a bad experience with a guy. I was being nice, totally wasn’t interested, but he seemed interested in me, and I didn’t want to be rude. The next day, every one knows me as the girl that leads men on.” Eric winced.

“So… now what? You’re terrified that’ll happen again?”

“Not terrified, but I’d like to not have to deal with it. I have enough on my plate as it is.”

“Any of that happen to be what you wanted to think about?”

“Sort of. I have a few questions floating around in my head, I wanted to kind of sort them out.” She shrugged. There, that was vague enough for him. It had to be.

“What kind of questions?”

“Ones that deal with my sanity.” She froze. The words had not been spoken so much as they had jumped out of her mouth before she could catch them. He cocked an eyebrow, an awkward half smile on his face.

“Run that by me again?”

“Nothing, it was nothing. I misspoke.”

“You misspoke.” He shook his head. “Alright, fair enough. You didn’t press me about the love thing, I won’t press you about this. Just…” He leaned forward, his face serious. “Just remember this when you go postal and shoot everyone up, alright? Remember, I was nice to you.” That smile broke out on his face, and she couldn’t help but laugh again.

“Good Lord you’re charming,” she said. “I can almost see it coming out your pores.”

“Such is my curse,” he replied. “I kicked a dog once – on accident, get that look off of your face – and the dog’s owner didn’t care. She was still absolutely twitterpated.”

“Wow. Talk about narrow-minded... I don’t care what you do, just so long as I get laid.”

“Yeah, pretty much.”

“Was she at least angry when you turned her down?”

“Well,” he said, that same sheepish smile gracing his face. “I um… I don’t really reject women all that… bluntly. They don’t really realize I’m rejecting them until I… you know… don’t call. I suspect she was angry, once she found out… or she forgot.”

“You probably gave her dog Parvo. Her dog is probably dead because you kicked it, and she didn’t care. She didn’t take it to the vet because she thought you’d call… you’re horrible.”

“That’s me,” he said with a laugh. “Eric Baker, dog murderer.”

“I’m pretty sure there’s a special ring of hell reserved for people like you.” They laughed again, and Vivian had to admit, she liked the kid. She wasn’t sure what it was, but she just felt like she needed to keep talking to him. Not that she wanted to, she needed to. They continued to talk through-out the evening about anything and everything, ranging from music to movies to favorite play writes. By the time she hid her face behind her hand to let a yawn escape, they had found a number of interests that they shared. They had even swapped artists and authors, sharing favorites the other had either never explored or never heard of.

“Getting tired?” Eric asked, and she shook her head.

“I’m bored with you. Next.”

“Sadly, I’m the only act on this particular tour.” She laughed.

“How much do I owe you?”

“For what?” She pointed to the empty glass in front of her, and he looked at her as if the thought of her buying her own drink offended and annoyed him. “Really? I got it.”

“Are you sure?”

“No, actually, I think I may go bankrupt, but I offered to buy it for you, so I will.” The look was still on his face, and she couldn’t help but smile. And, though she pushed it to the back of her mind, that feeling of Déjà vu came rushing back. “If I overdraw my pitiful account, I’ll let you cover the—”

“Okay, okay, buy the damn drink.”

“Can I walk you to your car?”

“I took a cab, and I live right down the street. I’m fine walking.”

“No,” he said. He wasn’t forceful, but there was a tone of finality in his voice. He wasn’t sure why, but the idea of her walking home alone bothered him. “It’s late, and it’s dark. I’ll give you a ride.”

“No really, I can walk.”

“I don’t doubt you have the ability. But you aren’t walking home, not on my watch. Besides, if anything happened to you, Aaron would kill me. No, I’ll give you a ride. Just let me pay for this and let Aaron know I’m leaving.”

“Oh, I wanna see that.” She smirked. “I wanna see him hit on you.” He laughed and shook his head.

“For my sake, I hope you don’t get much of a show.” She followed him to the bar and waited while he paid. As they waited for the bar tender to bring his card back, she couldn’t help but look at him. She could see why so many girls threw themselves at him, and she couldn’t help but feel bad for them. None of them got the chance to talk to him like she had, and thus they had no idea what they were missing out on. After a while the bartender returned, and the two headed for the table. As they neared it, they could hear the drunken laughter, and both let out a sigh.

“They get smashed so often,” she said, and Eric nodded.

“Yeah, I know… Aaron,” he said, and the older band member looked back over his shoulder.

“ERIC!” He said, standing and wrapping an arm around his shoulders. He pulled him closer and smiled at him. “I was beginning to think you weren’t going to join us.” His words were slurred together, his voice loud.

“I’m not,” Eric said, trying to squirm out of Aaron’s grasp. “I’m taking Viv home… oh man, you smell like you took a bath in this stuff.” He made a slight face, but Aaron only pulled him closer. Vivian had to cover her mouth to keep from giggling out loud.

“Yer leaving?” He asked, obviously bummed. “But chu haven’t even had a drink yet.”

“I don’t plan on having one… call me if you guys can’t get a cab.” Vivian could see he was getting uncomfortable, so she marched up and squeezed between the two.

“Alright, Aaron, my turn. I’m tired, I want to go home.” Aaron puckered his lips out and she laughed. “Not on your life, pal. Come on,” she said, turning to Eric. “It’s late.” She threw him a wink before pushing past him, and he quickly followed.

“Thank you,” he said once they were outside. “I hope you enjoyed yourself.” She smiled. His voice was so full of sarcasm, she couldn’t not smile. They walked quietly through the parking lot, both lost a bit to their own thoughts. Thoughts that were very much similar. Each of them felt the same draw to the other, both felt there was some unspoken history between them. It was a confusing thought – they had just met that night – but they couldn’t shake it. Each of them was certain they had met the other before. “Right here,” he said after a while, and she stopped.

“Nice ride,” she said, letting her hand run across the sleek body of the Mustang in front of her. “Is this a ’70?” He grinned from ear to ear.

“You know your cars,” he said.

“Only the ones that matter,” she replied, and her concerns were once again lost as she stared at the vehicle. “And a ’70 Mustang is one of the ones that matter.”

Part one is officially finished. I'll start Part 2 tonight. Hopefully it'll get a little less crappy as the story progresses. ^__^

ALSO - I did my first guest blog last week! I reviewed the Motorola Droid, and since I was planning on sending my few readers over there anyway, I'll just link you over to Justin's blog. I mean, I figure why not... I think our blogs might be related! So, if you're bored, and want to read about Motorola's new toy (and how it DOESN'T measure up to the iPhone.. lol) then head on over to Random Ramblings! (look under Tech Tuesday to read my post)

***This is most certainly not to say that the people who have been helping me aren't appreciated... you most certainly are. You keep my writing from sucking epically. ^__^

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