City Ruins

Happy Monday!  Want to talk about the impending apocalypse?  I was watching the preview for World War Z, or talking about Mayans, or possibly watching some other movie where Earth has been transformed into an intergalactic paperweight, when it occurred to me that I may need to work on a few things.

Assuming I survived whatever killed 99.9% of the rest of the population, what exact skills would I have to survive, say, the next 5 hours?  Answer: a lot.  What to do next?  Well, make a list, for one thing, of the type of skills that I need to continue to live for a short while longer on an otherwise desolate planet.

To Do:

  1. Learn to make a fire
  2. Learn to hunt animals for food (no one seems to grow their own food – is this a possibility, or will others just kill me for gardening, because no one thinks long term anymore)
  3. Learn to hot wire a car.  Related: learn to drive stick shift because that will inevitably come up.
  4. Learn to pick locks or other breaking and entering techniques.
  5. Own and shoot a gun with 90% accuracy (basically must hit a zombie in the head from a comfortable distance)
  6. Get lasik.
  7. Learn basic fighting techniques. (This may be useful just in general.)
  8. Be able to run in short spurts without falling (this is key).
Did I miss anything?


Tokyo, Japan

You have an opportunity to get a take a month long contract position (not that well paid, but you don’t have to pay for your flight or lodging) in Tokyo, Japan.  You have 2 days to decide and get your life in order.  You go?  Yes or no?



How do you deal with problems?  Emotions…logic…or just that “gut feeling” that people seem to like to talk about (“I just…do what I feel is right, bro.”).

Here is a situation that is…50% true and 50% made up:  You are minding your own business.  You are, in fact, sleeping.  You get woken up…because your friend next to you is being yelled at.  This is not your problem.  Sleeping…that is your problem.  However, you get scapegoated.  You somehow get pulled into the vortex of the pissing contest taking place next to you and which still has nothing to do with you.  Ever been yelled at because someone is mad at the person next to you?  It’s weird, but it doesn’t feel good.

Emotion?  You start yelling.

Logic? You think: WTF? This crazy.  You step away.  (This takes a lot of control and is emotionally unsatisfying, by the way.)

Gut? You do what feels right.  Don’t quite know what that is.  Fall back on logic and save this for some other occasion.

There is no right answer.

EDWARD WESTON: 1886 – 1958

Cabbage Leaf


Weston’s name popped into my head today and made me remember how much I like him.  I was looking for one of his toilet prints and found these instead.  Just as well, I suppose.  var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘UA-38185031-1’]); _gaq.push([‘_trackPageview’]); (function() { var ga = document.createElement(‘script’); ga.type = ‘text/javascript’; ga.async = true; ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘’; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })();



So I’m a little late to the party here, this article was published in January, but If I can find a positive message and circulate it, then I will.

I don’t really like my current job,* but I won’t complain about it, because I do believe that being without a job entirely (not to mention an income) is a circle in hell.  
* Incidentally, I have also been the recipient of really useful advice, such as “Hey, why don’t you just look for a better job?” This is also part of the reason why I don’t like to complain too much – the endless amounts of bad, borderline insulting advice from well-meaning (I think) people. 

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I really enjoyed reading this book.  I can’t say enough to recommend it – in fact, the only thing that could possibly ruin it for you, is if you read this post before reading the book.  What am I saying?  Oh…I don’t know…Stop, stop right now.  Stop reading. Stop. Reading. Now.  Go on Facebook or* or something.

There.  I’ve done my duty and made the world a better place.

Now, to ruin the experience, here are a few things that I really enjoyed about this book, aside from solid writing, and plot twists.  There’s a lot I could talk about here, but I will control myself, and only mention these:

Fantasy Fulfillment #1: You know that saying, that cardinal rule, how you can never change the person you’re with – how you have to accept them as they are?  Well, apparently, if you conspire to frame your significant other for your death – he will become a better, stronger, more intelligent person to rise to the challenge you have laid for him, and he also will not kill you.

Fantasy Fulfillment #2: Breaking up twins.  Ever been with someone great, but who came with a complete @$$ of a sibling or friend?  And you have to be nice to that person, right?  Because for some God-forsaken reason, these two are bound together for life, and you just have to suck it up.  Well…no.  It was unbelievably satisfying how Amy managed to break up a Nick’s twinship (twins dammit!) with Margo.  I didn’t like Margo.

Writing a solid male character while being a female:  I realize this is a skill, being able to portray the other gender, but I usually notice if male characters are too sensitive and talk about their feelings too much (female authors), or female characters who are too whiny and superficial (male authors).  I thought Gillian did an excellent job with this one.

Awesome female character:  Yes, Amy is a sociopath, and a sociopath who gets her way in the end, and some who, on some level, I was hoping would die.  Basically – you know that person who you are happy to see die, but you respect them enough to go to their funeral?  Well, that circumstance applies here.  I don’t often come across enough interesting female characters, particularly ones who are willing to self-rape and kill in cold blood, and that often makes me sad.

Sheer Ballsiness:  I wasn’t sure if Gillian was actually going to go there – was she really going to have Amy and Nick get back together for a truly psychotic ending?  With a child??  I’m always afraid to go over the top in my work, in case it wouldn’t be believable, lose credibility, lost reader interest, etc.  There were many ways I could have seen her ending it, but she decided to go for the gold by laying out a believable reconciliation and choke-out scene.

* I don’t ever actually go on  That’s just some website I googled for the hell of it. var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘UA-38185031-1’]); _gaq.push([‘_trackPageview’]); (function() { var ga = document.createElement(‘script’); ga.type = ‘text/javascript’; ga.async = true; ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘’; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })();