Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Someone get me a Daryl-Pony

March 29, 2014

Since it’s still amusing me, and I was asked, here’s my

Quick Guide To Living In the Post-Zombie Apocalypse:

I wrote it in response to a discussion about how the PZA survivors on the show aren’t doing *anything* that lends itself towards re-building a functioning human society.  (Yes, I know that’s not the *point* of the show.  I’m just talking about their actions within the story.  And of *course* I know I’m not the first person to point this out.)

Having been a Walking Dead watcher for all of three weeks now, I still can’t get away from the fact that zombies really aren’t much more dangerous than the natural predators that early American settlers faced—wolves and bears are a lot smarter and harder to escape from, and snakes are harder to avoid.  I will grant that the survivors need some time to re-orient to a post-society society . . . but then life should be able to establish some variety of near normal.

It wouldn’t be all that different from frontier living, actually. A series of small, well-fortified towns (well, stockades, probably, for years 0-10), and killing every zombie you can with a long, long pole . . . and establishing new health & hygiene standards (no sleeping without firmly closed doors, for example—what if Grandpappy has a heart attack at 3am?).

Exception:  Australia

Australia Pretty much everything can kill you - Australia Pretty much everything can kill you  Deadly Australia

Zombie survivors in Australia are F*CKED.


Now, it has been pointed out to me that 2-3 zombies may be easier to deal with than a bear or a wolf, but tens/hundreds/thousands of zombies are a lot harder to deal with.  Zombies also have opposable thumbs, hide in houses, and require a specific strike to the brain.  I’m not saying that they’re not a major threat to humans, and yes, a new reality of life in the PZA is that every year, hundreds WILL die from surprise zombie encounters.


This is the face of a woman who would travel escape with her own publicity materials.


But I also think that they’re not *quite* the apex predators TWD seems to want them to be, and survivors can pretty quickly adopt strategies that mediate these risks.

Scenario 1. Meeting a Zombie In The Woods

I grew up in *very* rural North Georgia, and as a PZA survivor I’d follow the same tricks my canny ole mountain granny taught me to use to avoid snakes (namely:  cover up any easy-to-reach chompable bits with long pants and boots). If I’m out on a “wilderness” supply run to the local TJ Maxx, you can betcher beehive I’m wearing long sleeves (reinforced at vulnerable areas), and damn sure buttoning my neck flap all the way up (Queen Elizabeth would be jealous). Any survivor worth his humanity needs to grab a decent outfit and a roll of tape and make themselves a zombie-proof suit.

Also, craft weaponry that’d work at close and medium quarters. Bayonettes were devastating on the battlefield for a good long time (ohhh, were they devastating).  Let’s bring them back! Grab a pole, a pointy thing, and your leftover tape, and you’ve got yourself a homemade arms-length Zombie Beatin’ Stick (patent pending).

Your goal here, obviously, is to survive any surprise or come-from-behind attacks when you’re Staring Aimlessly Into The Distance, Experiencing A Moment of Emotional Conflict, or Have Your Ankle Stuck In Something.  Fending off the initial bite (or having it not penetrate because of duct tape) allows you to apply the pointy part to any opportune squishy parts and get away human.


Scenario 2. Zombie Herd Onna Farm

When we weren’t beset by snakes in Georgia, we were being hounded by tornadoes, and that’s what’s going to get us through the next scenario. If you choose to farm away from the safety of the stockades, you’ll mostly be growing crops (I do not advise trying to keep a large herd of livestock in the immediate PZA, unless you’re bloody stupid).  This will mean long hours in the field, your trusty Beatin’ Stick (patent pending) close to hand.  You’re likely to be pretty far from the family homestead when those walkers break through the treeline, rampaging through the farm like a wildebeest stampede.  No need to panic, though–you’ll have spent a few days building strategically placed zombie cellars. Keep ’em stocked with emergency food and water, and take cover at the first hint of Ye Olde Herde of Hundreds. The herd will move on, and you’ll come up like Dorothy Outta Oz to check out how your prize rutabagas fared.


Scenario 3. Zombie Herd Onna Road

Has been done on the show with some semblence of competency. Hide from them, run from them, and for goodness sake–carry some sort of projectile flash-bang to draw them away from your position.  Roman candles would be ideal, if you come across them when you’re at TJ Maxx. To deal with any stragglers, see Scenario 1.

Scenario 4. Zombie Herd Attacks The Town

Moats and drawbridges.

Granted, a big enough zombie herd will keep coming through a moat, but that’s why you station pikesmen on the city side of the moat. Get the swimmers when they’re trying to come slithering up the steep walls of the moat.  If you’re really overwhelmed, assign pikesmen in pairs:  One to do the long strikes, and one with a short blade to dispatch the ankle-biters.  During lulls in the action, assign nicknames to everyone.  Write action comedies about pikesmen units and the zany antics wingmen get up to in the Stockade Tavern, singing old Righteous Brothers songs to unfamiliar ladies.  Try to fill the void left in your life by a world without fighter pilots.


It’s not about going back to life as it was, of course. If you figure major population centers are going to have pretty close to a 100% conversion rate at TZA-Day Zero, you’ve got a solid couple years where you’re going to have to just be killing as many as humanly possible. That new conversion rate is going to drop off VERY sharply, though, as the survivors get better at not getting killed. Then you can start taking out the herds. Let’s say that takes 5 years, for the most part. So, at TZA+5, you’re at a place where your biggest conversion points are easily containable: accidents and natural deaths. Even if a whole +5 or +10 town comes down with . . . [insert nasty decimating virus here] . . . neighboring towns put on their zombie suits and send a cleanup squadron out.


Finally, I found this online today, and now I want a Daryl-Pony.





So I’m Kinda Famous Now Right

March 28, 2014

So a complete stranger just left this in response to a comment I’d posted:

Write a book. Do it. Do it now.

No seriously, money burning a hole in my pocket. I want to know about this world.






NaNo Update

November 6, 2013

11/6:  689 (I’ve had root canals that were less difficult.)

11/5:  1,747

11/4:  –

11/3:  –

11/2: –

11/1:  300


Gosh Darn It, Rae!

September 22, 2013

Some writers control their characters’ destinies, maneuvering them within the plot like department-store mannequins, scrolling them teleprompter-style through bits of dialogue, and generally manipulating them to conform to the story.

I am not that kind of writer.

I always feel a bit like I’m transcribing events a friend told me over coffee. . .

Character:  “So I went on a quest last week.”

Ali: “You went on a quest?”

Character:  “Yeah, a quest.  You know how it is–you’re laying there at three in the morning, there’s a pounding on the door, and suddenly you’ve got an epic journey to get a Thingamagummy Of Potential Devastation back to the Location of Prime Importance by Thursday.”

Ali: “But . . . I thought you were going to Storm the Inpregneble Fortress last week.  With the Determined Legion Of Grim Mercenaries?”

Character:  “Nope, totally questing.  Also, it was raining and I broke my ankle.”

Ali:  “I wish you would have told me that earlier.”  <begins cut-pasting chapters into the Damn It, This Didn’t Work/Extras file>

It was a dark and stormy night when the pounding came on the door . . . 

That said, one of my most reliable characters, Rae, is generally easy to write because I pretty much always know *everything* about what’s going on with her.  If she lived in Brooklyn, she would be the one Instagramming pictures of her french toast.

My word count goes way, way up on the days I write Rae’s scenes.

Rae has one small quirk that will get me in trouble, though.  Whenever her character has done something to be ashamed of, she doesn’t tell me about it.  At all.  I’m writing away, feeling groovy and proud of myself, the page numbers just ticking away into double digits, exposition damned near invisible, dialogue sharp and witty and dangerously funny . . .

And I hit a wall.

And I have no idea what’s gone wrong.  Suddenly, the story feels . . . well, like a story, not like the truth.

And then I realize that the common factor is Rae, who for some reason did something boneheaded ten pages ago that sent the plot karooming left on a hard course for Albequerque.

Like the only thing she had to do was Send The Missive that would Summon The Cavalry*, and instead she Left The Missive In Her Other Coat and Went for Ice Cream And A Nice Walk On the Seashore.  And my poor fingers are dangling over the keyboard, waiting to be all Suddenly, there was a thundering of hooves, and Lo! The Cavalry appeared over the crest of the hill–**, only there is no cavalry.  And I’m trying to figure out how I managed to misplace an army when I realize she’s trying to quietly sneak out of the scene without me noticing her.

And this is why I have a list of at least twenty-two ways that Rae may die in the course of this story.  Because seriously.

*No, this is not what she actually has to do, because I am not a Terrible Writer That Give Plot Points Away On Her Blog.  And also because that sounds lame.

** Because it’s logical to run your horses up a hill before you sweep down in a heroic charge, right?  Ye gods, I know I’m playing the Illustrative Cliche game here, but there’s cliche and then there’s Just Makes No Damn Sense.


Ya gotta know what a CRUMPET is

June 28, 2013

When one, being generally possessed of an otherwise peaceable and Ali-style disposition, realizes that one’s inner monologue for the day consists almost entirely of Raphael quotes, one is forced to conclude that one may not be in a very good mood.


Title Schmitel

March 13, 2013

I was not particularly popular in high school.

I was not particularly UN-popular . . . I was super-involved and very committed, but never quite seemed to be in sync (Ha!  90s joke!) with most of the people I was in school with*.


This has led to an interesting phenomenon.  The rise of Facebook means that I, like approximately EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD, am friends with at least 67% of the humans who also endured the humiliation of shouting TROJAN PRIDE! at our hometown football games.**

And now, having caught, killed, dismembered, distributed, and buried any semblence of a lede, because YAY, WRITING SKILLZ!, I shall get to the point.***

I have reached a point where I am likely to post utterly random, semi-stream-of-consciousness, amusing-myself inanity on Facebook when I’m bored or avoiding work or disinclined to be productive (aren’t those things synonymous?).

I use Facebook because Twitter still scares me a little (Edit myself to 140 characters while still appearing clever?  NOOOO!!!) and because most of the people in my Twitter feed are professional industry contacts that I respect and hope to earn respect from.****

Most of the people in my Facebook feed, on the other hand, have firsthand knowledge of my lifelong ambivalence towards pants#, so they bear the brunt of my un-edited cogitational downstream.
Generally, I know who will like certain things.  Once in a while, persons unknown-except-as-yearbook-names pop up with an LOL, and the effect is . . . a little ridiculous.

Like, put on a curtain-as-a-cape-and-fly-around-the-house-‘cuz-clearly-I’m-now-awesome ridiculous.  Like, please-ye-gods-don’t-give-Ali-that-much-validation ridiculous.

Like, seriously-Ali-you-don’t-need-to-write-an-actual-blog-post ridiculous.

‘Cause I did.




*I also suspect this is true for anyone maintaining a body temperature of 98 degrees in high school.  (Too labored?  Yeah, probably too labored.  Great. . . now I gotta get back street cred.)

**Generally, we were losing.  It got kind of hard to take.  (OMG, these puns are NOT getting better.  Please, someone stop me . . . )

*** What point?  POINT BREAK!  Boom!  ANOTHER 90s joke! Because all things lead to Point Break!  (Seriously, can we get a doctor?  Nurse?  Night watchman?  Compassionate bystander transfixed with horror at the impossibly unnecessary carnage?  Anyone?)

****This shall not, however, prevent me from cross-posting this blog on Twitter because Consistency. (Any professional-type Twitter link-clickers, please go ahead and ignore absolutely all of the terrible, terrible jokes I’ve made thus far, and shall continue to make for the remainder of the piece.)

# Also chairs, elephants, the state of Montana, and low-frequency sounds.  (This . . . actually, this is entirely true.)


Slow, Slow, Quick-Quick Slow

February 5, 2013

In one of the weirder games my subconscious plays to amuse itself, I just caught myself watching a NYC-based show and being ridiculously jealous of all the characters walking places.

One strides purposefully up the block on an errand.

Another tap-tap-taps along down Fifth Avenue.

Occasionally, all must break out into a full-out run.

I sigh, and glare at my once-again-recalcitrant feet, and mark off another month . . . er . . . day . . . okay, minute . . of recovery.