Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Impossibility of Poetry In Rockford, Illinois

Writing poetry is hard. Writing about other people writing poetry is even harder. But such is the task I've been assigned with, and accepted. And which I undertook in earnest this morning around 8a.m., seeming to have few other choices when the plumbers got the jackhammer out. I find there's really only one way to counterbalance the sound of a jackhammer while trying to concentrate on a rather sweeping project: listening to a two year old drummer. 

My plan worked. After a few hours of this I find I could write inside a dynamite testing factory. I may not ever be able to crank out anything resembling a coherent sentence again, but when did I ever? 

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Possibility Of Poetry In Rockford, Illinois

Jenny already has her invite to display at Spring Art Scene. I think she's going to show some of our Tiny Drawing Poems. I doubt that anyone will ask me to display any of my fine art at Spring Art Scene, but I have been invited to participate in a doozy of a poetry project I will talk about more later. But in pursuit of that goal I've been interviewing many local poets these past few days to get a sense of the current vitality of the poetry scene in Rockford, Illinois, and I'm enjoying the fellowship quite a bit. 

I'd like to maybe show my four Poem Photos pieces at Art Scene. 

Anyway, back to the poets: it's easy to forget you are one. I was reminded these past few days of readings I don't remember doing, and lots of people who have either left us or gone elsewhere. Rockford is a hard place to be a poet. I wonder if there really are any easy places, but few stick it out here. 

Here's one of the four Poem Photo pieces I'd like to display. The theme of the series is the unintended juxtaposition of images and words that leads to paradox. I also have some beautiful art and photography of The Midway Theatre, but this is what it looks like to me when I pass by it on my way to get milk.

And here's a beautiful photograph of the Midway by Ryan Davis that I bought at Fall Art Scene. 
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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Take Off Your Pants and Slide on That Rockford Ice

I stand poised to beat another Northern Illinois winter. Even though they're not what they used to be, neither am I. I feel winter more acutely these days. One of the worst aspects of winter here is the uncertainty of a footfall. Where I live Downtown there are many abandoned buildings, and many storefronts where the owners simply don't hire someone to shovel when it snows, so the sidewalks freeze over. And this would be fine if it didn't stay below freezing for weeks on end. Or if I didn't have to use those sidewalks to go anywhere.

The worst of it is always in front of The Midway Theater. The roof caved in there last year and no one seems to be in a hurry to fix it, so it's unlikely they'd hire anyone to shovel the space in front of the theater, either. It's a walkway used by hundreds, possibly thousands of pedestrians every day, so one would think it would be in the interest of the city to maybe keep it clean. I've seen three separate occasions these past four years where an ambulance was called to pick up someone who had slipped on that ice.

For me staying upright while walking is one of my very great joys. I don't take it for granted. And this city accomodates my vigilance by challenging me at every turn. In fact, there just aren't very many trustworthy footfalls in the Downtown area during winter. I can understand it's difficult to keep those storefronts clear, and that once they freeze there's not much to be done, but if I went out to the other, more busy side of town Downtowners are always complaining about, I probably would never feel unsafe taking my next step.

It's four years now of this and it wears me down a little. I have sincerely enjoyed living in my apartment and take the bad with the good, but it's difficult to hear shop owners complain people go out of their way to shop elsewhere, then don't take care of the sidewalk in front of their shop. 


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Rare Monster Club Vinyl LP About To Be Mine

It's rare for me to celebrate a victory, accomplishment, or acquisition in advance. It's just not my style. I'm far too pessimistic to ever believe any good thing is about to happen. But here's one good thing that's almost certainly about to happen...



I'm about to acquire my very own personal copy of one of the most rare and sought after movie soundtracks of all time... The Monster Club soundtrack

Ya.

Only recently I discovered there was a British quad poster for the movie, which I didn't believe existed because it was a made for television movie with no theatrical release. But I found one. Now all that is left is the Monster Club graphic novel created by John Bolton and Dez Skinn, and the Holy Grail of all MOnster Club collectibles, the Monster's Genealogical Chart

I contacted what i think was the artist's wife last month, and to my horror she informed me the chart did indeed exist, and that she had found it in storage only last year and sold it to a collector that had asked. Dad gum. In a way I hope he payed such a handsome price for it I could never afford it and will never part with it, but part of me also hopes it went for dirt cheap and ends up on Ebay some day. 

Nonetheless, I am very close to obtaining a copy of The Monster Club soundtrack I know sooner or later another copy of the graphic novel will show up at auction.

And when it does, I'll be there.

February 22,2013 update: Is mine. Now I just need to find the graphic novel and the monster's genealogical chart to complete my collection. Pin It

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Zombie Logic Weight Loss Plan

It took me over thirty years to gain 200 pounds. I have several gangly uncles on my mother's side who told me I wouldn't be able to gain weight until I was thirty, then I wouldn't be able to stop. They were half right. No matter how many milkshakes or peanut butter sandwiches I ate as a teenager I couldn't gain an ounce. I would even wake up each morning and hop on the scale horrified that I had lost weight while I slept. I'd love to have the secret of how I did that so I could write a diet book and finally people would show some interest in my writing, but unfortunately whatever quirk of metabolism that caused it wouldn't apply to the reader.

I achieved my holy grail goal of 200 pounds in November of 2000, one month ahead of schedule, and I was never less than 200 pounds for the next twelve years. Then last year I opted for hernia surgery and lost a lot of weight. My stomach was flat as when I was eighteen. I contemplated just training for overall fitness and not worrying about my weight, but that skinny, awkward kid inside me wouldn't have it, so I've been trying to get back to over 200 pounds since the beginning of the year.

How unusual it must seem for the millions of people on the planet whose New Year's resolution was to lose weight to discover there are people in the world who just can't gain weight. 

I was just in the basement working out with these exercise bands I bought as a substitute for heavy weights but they are a pale stand in for iron. However, it's essential at my age to listen to my body when it says it has had enough. 

Still, I wish there were some way I could extract whatever chemical it is in my body that causes my metabolism to rage like the Amazon and bottle it for all the people in the world who want it. I hope as I'm slowly and sensibly adding a few more pounds of muscle this year that you can have equal success sculpting your body. Take a long view, allow for setbacks, and never give up. It will happen in the end. Pin It

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Why A Custom Domain Is Important For Your Blogger Account

My page rank for this blog just went from 3 to 0. 

Am I panicked and pulling out my hair in clumps?

No.

I knew it was going to happen.

After the last page rank update on February 4 my blog had remained stagnant at 3 despite having done quite a lot of good work in the previous three months. My choices were to go out and employ some black hat methods to maybe raise it to 4 sometime in the coming year, or go back to drawing board with a custom domain, double down on quality content, return to a 0 page rank, and hope Google recognizes how much quality niche work I do on this blog and how how much I really care about the topics I write about. My feeling was I was topped out at page rank 3 so I decided to go for the custom domain.

I coined the phrase Zombie Logic in the early 90's, and started my literary press in 1997, so I chose that for my domain name. Now for the next three months I have just decided to do what I always do: write about sports, zombies, poetry, culture, and showcase great artwork and illustrations by my creative partner Jenny Mathews. 

It was fun getting to the point where Google considered my blog credible on several niche topics like underground horror movies, haikus, even webcomics, and it will be fun going even deeper into the depths of those and other topics I don't think are represented fully in the search rankings. 


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Monday, February 11, 2013

The Hall of Bad Dudes Is Now Open

I always enjoyed The Legion of Doom when I watched The Super Friends. I found it hard to believe those rascals would ever work together, or even be capable of working together given their psychological profiles, but the idea of villains banding together from the cosmic reaches of the Universe appealed to me.

I saw a real life Legion of Doom website being curated by Dr. Henry Wolfsburg. It's called The Hall of Bad Dudes. Wolfsburg is a Ph. D in anthropology who studies villainous figures throughout history and compares civilizations and cultures to determine how values and mores change from era to era and culture to culture. 

Dr. Henry Wolfsburg, curator of The Hall of Bad Dudes, is a Doctor of Anthropology who is the world's leading expert on villains and the variance in ethics and mores from culture to culture. 

Although in a somewhat nascent stage, The Hall of Bad Dudes is clearly headed in the right direction, inducting Ray Lewis, Lance Armstrong, Ron Jeremy, Richard III, and ten different popes into its inaugural class of villains. I look forward to seeing who Dr. Wolfsburg will induct next. 


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Zombie Logic Press Headquarters: South Wall

Painting by my nieces and nephews, Ella, and myself. The psycho couch, a chair we got from Goodwill, and the Zombie Logic Press logo created by Bombadee. I found the little barrel downstairs when the gay and lesbian teenagers nonprofit moved out. 

Perfect for watching Antenna TV. 


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The First Black Pope

If a pope abdicates his papacy does he still maintain the infallibility and powers given to him by god in his everyday life? Seems like god might not want someone running around with those powers just using them to open cans of frank and beans and maybe to get a free orange Fanta out of the vending machine. The Papacy is a strange office to even exist this late in human history, but it does. I see bookies are already setting the line on who will be the next pope. I'd say that was sort of sacrilegious if I didn't know the history of the Vatican. It's been probably the most desecrated and corrupt place in the world, and taking in to account the depravity of your average NFL locker room that's really saying something.

There have been some bad popes in history, but Pope Benedict XVI isn't even close to being the worst of the. Thieves, buggerers, pedophiles, rapists, murderers, zoophiles, Satanists, you name it, popes did it. In my estimation the most this pope is guilty of is...

Looking like the most wicked, baby-eating villain of all time. Maybe I'll call my bookie and put a hundo down on the first black pope. I wonder what the payout on that is?

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

You're Welcome, Joe Flacco. Now Go Somewhere.

You're welcome, Joe Flacco. Now go play in traffic. 

I traded Joe Flacco for a mid-round draft pick in the 2012 draft in my fantasy keeper league. I'd had Joe Flacco since the first year of fantasy football. He was my first quarterback. And I waited like everyone else for him to start playing like he had a set. I won't be rooting for Joe Flacco next year. And in a backhanded way he allowed me to go into the 2013 season with Colin Kaepernick and Andrew Luck as my QB's in a two team league. But if Joe Flacco were to trip over his dog and fall into a meat grinder I probably wouldn't cry.

You put a guy on the fantasy bum bus one time and...
The Fantasy Football Folio

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Friday, February 8, 2013

The New Dirty Tricks Squad Isn't As Dirty As It Used To Be

Depression and pain are wet blankets that can kill your creativity. Or they can be the impetus one needs to alleviate the suffering through the creative process. I had a major surgery last September and I still haven't fully recovered. But physical pain has one advantage over depression: it's easier to predict and factor physical pain into your day. You know approximately how much it's going to hurt and plan accordingly. But depression comes from nowhere. No warning. No real way to stave it off. Experience will teach you to fight through it, but when you generate creativity as a career it adds a little extra obstacle to the process. Lately I've been flying along at a pretty good clip. just writing and creating whatever came to mind. I've enjoyed the writing process lately a lot more than I have in a long, long time, even resurrecting a couple of blogs I had created then scuttled a while back.

One of those blogs is Dirty Tricks Squad. I started the blog to write about darker, more negative issues I experienced in my everyday life and saw happening in the world, but when I started writing there again I found I just wanted to write. No limitation. No niche. No Google to cater to. No audience. Just me as a writer and a human being belting it out the way I was experiencing it during the day.

And the numbers are strong. No links, no comments anywhere, no attempt to rope an audience in, people are just reading. And it feels good. But trying to stock several blogs at once is a task I'm not sure I'll be able to keep up with. 

Yesterday I went sledding with the kids. We got them those sleds that look like Captain America's shield for Christmas and the huge, wet snow was coming down and it seemed like this might be the best warmest day of the winter so we went to the park.  Pin It

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Backlinks Are The Performance Enhancing Drugs of SEO

Google keeps threatening to eliminate backlinks as a method to determine the majority of page rank and refine its algorithm to the point where what matters most is quality content, delivered uniquely and with some authority, intended for an audience actually looking for it. And I have only one response...

Please do it.

Please. 

Because I can go to thousands of blogs right now with nothing but scraped content, redundant to the point of absurdity, and intended for no particular audience except the one that generates ad revenue. That's unfair to anyone who pays for advertising, and it's also unfair to bloggists who write their own material and have a real audience, even if it's not huge, who seek out that material because it is relevant to them.

I say hell ya, because backlinks are to PageRank what Performance Enhancing Drugs are to sports. Go ahead and take them out and evaluate each site on its content. Please. Last year I wrote blogs about everything from zombie movies to the Presidential election, physics, fantasy football. I posted videos I had made, poems I had written, webcomics I had created, art I had painted, and well-thought out articles on dozens of topics. I'd be more than happy to have my blog evaluated solely on the quality of its content.

Anytime, Google. If you want quality to rise to the top, reward it. Stop burying it under skads of manure. 

Here's my proposal. Create a backlink jubilee. Eliminate all backlinks from the records and let's start flat-footed. Me versus those who have nothing interesting or original to say, but an enormous budget to force people into seeing it. I'll wipe the floor with them.
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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things Half Sheet Movie Poster

Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things is my favorite movie. Not my favorite horror movie. Not my favorite zombie movie. My favorite movie. I've been fortunate enough to collect some really unique memorabilia from the movie, including a very nice copy of the original movie poster and a poster for the 1974 re-release.  Those will eventually go up in the study. I recently passed on a very nice set of lobby cards in favor of a Zombiethon Wizard Video Poster which was ultra rare. Had to go for that. I'm not sure I'm sold on this half sheet poster for CSPWDT.

It's an ok poster, but it doesn't really add much to full size poster. I think I'll save my money and maybe get a Shock Waves poster. 

In other news: Colin Kaepernick didn't get hurt in the Super Bowl. Nor did he lose the game. Fot the entire time since he won the starting job as 49ers quarterback I've been waiting for him to lay an egg and be replaced by Alex Smith, but every week that he didn't it was clear he was becoming more and more of a star. I care because I have him in a keeper fantasy football league I've been kicked around in for five years because it's a two quarterback league and mu quarterbacks stunk, but next year I have Kaepernick and Andrew Luck, so things are looking up. I also just ate some very nice cherries I got at Vallie Produce. 

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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ken Wiederhorn, Director of Two Classic Zombie Movies

There were zombie movies in the 1980's. It wasn't always easy to get them at a video store, but a few were made. Nothing like the past decade or so where 1000's of zombie titles come out every year and all are immediately available on Netflix or You Tube. I'm saying this because I'm about to assert return of the Living Dead II was actually a pretty good zombie movie. It certainly was no return of the Living Dead, but the problem is almost all zombie movies pale in comparison to that classic. The second factor in why I have a fond memory of ROTLD II is that it was actually available at the video store. And if you subscribed to Showtime or HBO you could probably see it there, too. This was not the case with most of the zombie titles made then. If you wanted to see them you had to specially order them most of the time, and it was very expensive. Long set up to tell you the writer/director of return of the Living Dead II also directed one of the better zombie movies of the 1970's, Shock Waves.

This is the B movie poster for the 1977 Nazi zombie classic Shock Waves, directed by Ken Wiederhorn. It's rare for anyone on planet Earth to write and direct even one zombie movie, but when someone does it twice, as Wiederhorn has, I put that person in my Zombie Hall of Fame. In fact, I'm watching Shock Waves right now on a small laptop that's playing it in the kitchen. It just clicked with me this very evening that Wiederhorn wrote and directed both Shock Waves and Return of the Living Dead II. ROTLD was largely panned by critics and zombie fans, but I'd advise you to give it another try. It's a movie that has a lot going for it. 

James Karen is probably glad he only put his finger in this zombie's mouth. Return of the Living Dead 2 has some legitimate scares and some good zombies in between some goofy self-references to the original, and some dumb zombie dance numbers.If you put it out of your mind that it shares a title with the other six or so movies in this "series," all of which have almost to do with each other, you can just watch it for what it is: a pretty good zombie movie. Then go watch Shock Waves and lament that Ken Wiederhorn has only made two zombie movies. 
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Chuck Taylors, Ratty Flannel, and Clubmaster Glasses

When I was a kid I broke my glasses. A lot. So, when Ii was ten and had broken my glasses for the umpteenth time my father took me to the bank, made me watch as he withdrew the money from my savings account, then drove me to the appointment where I was forced to buy for myself the most dreaded object in the world... black Nylon, military issue style glasses. I won't be posting a picture here because I spent the next five years of my life trying to do two things: avoid anyone trying to take my picture and break those damn glasses. I literally took a hammer to them once, but nothing. I ran over them with my bike. I did everything short of have them crushed in an industrial pulverizes. They would not break. And they were not considered fashionable. I wasn't getting any hipster irony points back in 1982 for having these glasses. Irony is a funny thing. Often misunderstood, or misapplied. But here's a case I'd like to offer for your inspection. 

Last summer I decided to have glasses made. I had Lasek surgery and hadn't worn glasses in over a decade, but I had a permanent squint that made me look either like Clint Eastwood or some dweeb in the library reading a book about beetles during lunch hour. Anyway, I had a pair of cheap frames made for me, but what I really wanted was this...

Ya. Ain't life just a kick in the rubber parts? I haven't gotten them yet because I still resent paying 1500 dollars for a procedure that wasn't fully successful, and since I wore glasses for 25 years I feel I've been tortured enough. Still, I have this selfish desire to actually see things. Maybe by the time I actually get these the hipster trend will have passed, and I can wear these Clubmaster glasses, a pair of Chuck Taylors, and some ratty flannel I got in a box from my older cousin. Just like I did in 1980. Maybe I'll celebrate the whole affair with a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, but I wouldn't bet on it. 

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Dry Spell Is a Romantic Comedy Packed With Laughs

Dry Spell is a romantic comedy that begs the question "How much money would it take to stop you from masturbating."

A lot. A lot of money. But enough about me, Dry Spell is the second feature film from writer/director/editor/producer/actor Travis Legge, whose previous feature, Raymond Did It, a slasher film replete with buckets of gore and ingenious kills is a drastic departure from the nicely written and adroitly realized depiction of a recently separated couple dealing with their impending divorce.

That's sort of what Dry Spell is about. Actually it's more about a recently separated couple, Sasha and Kyle, played by Suzi Lorraine and Kyle Hoskins, who are experiencing their own separate dry spells. And by dry spells we mean they're not getting laid. Sasha has the guy picked out in Scott, but experiences some technical difficulties at the moment of oingo boingo. Frustrated, she surmises her aridness is due to guilt that her soon-to-be-ex is not finding anyone and concocts a scheme to get him laid. Merriment ensues. 

When is it a bad thing when your ex-wife pawns you off on a hot chick who wants to do you right in the middle of the bar? Dry Spell answers questions like this. Heather Dorff plays Date number 1.

With laughs throughout, probably the funniest stretch is a fast-paced several minute montage where Kyle meets the candidates Sasha has personally selected to end his dry spell. We see him responding with a good-sported nature to a religious whacko, a Nazi punk with a tattoo of Hitler on her (well, you shall see), a pretty but uberly annoying flower child, and a per-op tranny. Oddly enough the date with the future tranny yields the best results. But still no boom boom. Will Kyle ever get laid? 

Are you gonna eat that alfalfa sprout or whistle Dixie?

     Neither       


Although date number six with Mary, played by Rachael Robbins goes more than well while Sasha spies from afar, we get the idea Kyle's heart might end up elsewhere. Let me just say this, because movie lines come and go, but Dry Spell has several you'll be repeating for a while. My favorite is...

"Nobody with tits that big is fucking normal." Deann Baker as Karen. Does Kyle choose Mary? Do he and Sasha decide they should get back together? Does the chick with the guadalupes defy Trey's wisdom? You'll have to watch to find out.

Good writing and good acting makes you care about this story and these characters. Hoskins and Legge do something most writers don't even try to do: they write well-crafted characters for women. And Suzi Lorraine gives a good performance as does Hoskins who is likable and funny even when mercilessly tearing into his unfortunate dates. It's a slick, well-produced production. Scenes done in the subway are seemless. The editing, done by Legge, keeps it moving forward. The sound, by Jason SSG is crisp and consistent. The lighting, cinematography, and production design are all several standard deviations above what one finds in most low-budget Indie films. This is a crew that should be proud of itself for making really good romantic comedy.

I wish Legge and Hoskins good luck in getting their film into film festivals. A lot of hard work goes into making a movie, and after you've made it that's often just the beginning. Please support the effort to get this film seen at film festivals so those who worked on it can get their just desserts. Support Dry Spell.


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