Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Zombies, Excuses, and Miscellanea

Gadzooks! It's been over two months since I've last posted a blog entry, so let me first of all apologize and get the excuses out of the way. My big excuse is that I've moved, which doesn't seem like a big deal at first, but considering that 1) I'm teaching six writing classes (and all the grading that entails), 2) it was necessary to integrate and make accommodations in the new place for two dogs and a cat whom had never met each other before, and 3) it was necessary to turn the garage into a studio/rehearsal space for my band, Wheel House, you can maybe sympathize with why I haven't had much time for writing. Hopefully. But no more excuses. The last two months certainly haven't been a waste and I'm hoping being in the new environment will be the start of a productive and successful period of writing.

Agent News!
As of yesterday, I officially have an agent for my novel Dreamwielder. The contract is signed and we'll start shopping the book around to publishing houses come January. The agent is also potentially interested in This Book is Sh*t!, as well as any future novels I have up my sleeve (including potential sequels to Dreamwielder). Needless to say, I'm very stoked and inspired to start writing my next book. And for the record, I pretty much followed my own advice when it came finding an agent.

After my last blog post/rant about climate change, my good friend and collaborator Ahimsa Kerp suggested I read The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. While I haven't had time to read the book yet, I did seek out Bacigalupi's website, where I found this cool short story called “The Tamarisk Hunter.” It's not what you'd call uplifting, but rather a stark look at what the near future could be like for southern California and the southwest United States.

Real Life Dystopia
Having kept up with the Occupy protests across the US (and the world for that matter), and after reading this article from The Guardian, I recently quipped on Facebook and Twitter that I might as well start writing non-fiction rather than novels since the US is essentially becoming a totalitarian state. I'm sure some people scoffed at my remark, but a week later it turns out I'm not so far off from the truth. The US Congress has quietly signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, which has two very alarming detention provisions (specifically sections 1031 and 1032) that empower the US military to arrest, torture, and imprison without due process anyone suspected of being a terrorist or terrorist sympathizer, including US citizens right here in the good ole U  S of A.

I don't care whether you're a Republican, Democrat or none of the above, this is seriously fucked up. I think we can all agree that our politicians have proven themselves untrustworthy and loyal only to big money and special interests that give them the most campaign donations and insider deals. Do we really trust these yahoos to objectively differentiate between true terrorists and citizens exercising their constitutional rights to voice their dissent, organize, and protest?

Okay, on to more entertaining and less depressing matters: the zombie apocalypse. Just a couple of random notes here...

I finally saw Return of the Living Dead, which is the origin of zombies clamoring for brains (“Bwains! Bwains! We want your Bwains!”). It's an 80's flick that somehow was better received than George Romero's contemporaneous Day of the Dead. It's certainly campy and entertaining, but unbelievably stupid and in no way compares to any of Romero's flicks. It's a movie all zombie fans should see once, but probably only once...

A friend of mine recently recommended this zombie short film called Zombie in a Penguin Suit. It's a great watch if you have 5-10 minutes to spare.

And lastly, I'm not totally sold on the second season of AMC's The Walking Dead. While the mid-season finale was pretty bad-ass, I feel like the episodes prior to that were very slow moving and our hero, Rick, has been annoyingly stonewalled from doing anything momentous. We'll see what the second half of season 2 has to offer...

-Garrett Calcaterra

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