Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Weird Wednesday #3: Of Shovel and Moose

Image taken from

I want you to imagine your grandmother. For most of you, the image of a sweet silver haired woman pops up; A wonderful old woman from a bygone age who made your favorite cookies anytime you wanted. Some of you might imagine an old crone who spoons with a bottle of Johnny Walker every night, and whose booze-laden breath is the sole reason she will never get stomped by a reindeer. Anyway, imagine if you can, that svelte little 90 pound woman, angrily wielding a shovel, bearing down on an angry moose who is stomping on your grandpa. 

The Actual Dorothea Taylor. Not pictured: Shovel
Dorothea Taylor was faced with just such a situation. While on running her dogs, Fellar and King Tut, she heard them barking loudly. When she looked over, there was a moose stomping on her husband. Now Dorothea, who I imagine subsists on a rigid diet of bacon and cinder blocks, wasn't one to idly let the Alaskan wild's kill a family member. She grabbed a shovel out of their truck, and started swinging. With the aid of her dogs, she was able to drive back the massive beast. I imagine that shortly after chasing the beast off, she hit her husband with the shovel a few times for being such a pussy.

Now, I know some of you flatlanders and computer geeks have never seen a moose, at least not outside of your last Doritos binge while watching Planet Earth, so lets break it down. The moose is basically the biggest motherfuckin' deer that's ever been conjured. They dwarf elk, and the ones that live in Alaska are the largest of their species. They stand almost 7 feet tall at the shoulder, and some of them can even weigh 1,500 pounds. If you dropped 16 Dorothea Taylor's into this situation, the moose still might outweigh them. (On a side note, the last time 16 women of this caliber were gathered in one place, the Amazons of Pontus were formed). [citation needed]

So Dorothy, wielder of shovels, we salute you. For even in modern man's most testosterone laden wars with his surroundings, we may never have the cahones that you exhibited on that fateful day.

If you know of any other badass women that you would like to share, hit up the comments section.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Social Media and the Traveling Laptop

As we speak, my bright red netbook is on its way to Texas. Essentially, Amber West and I teamed up to get a young mother in need a laptop. Due to some very unfortunate circumstances, she had to flee her home with her children, and was left without a computer to finish her courses.

Amber says it all much better than I ever could, so check it out here.

P.S. There should be a Freaky Friday post up later today, but the day job beckons.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Weird Wednesday #3: Better Late Than Never

Photo taken from this news site.

In what may be the saddest news to ever grace this website, this author has recently learned that a man in Thailand married his girlfriend of ten years. Shortly after her death.

The man, named Chadil Deffy, had intended to marry her for quite some time, but had decided to focus on his studies rather than getting married, according to a Thai newspaper. She lost her life to a tragic accident.

Now, I know this is being filed under weird news, but the gesture holds a certain melancholy sweetness. The man is obviously is beyond heartbroken, and coping with guilt. It isn't a publicity stunt, or something insidious, but an act of grieving that should serve as a reminder to the fleeting nature of life.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Freaky Friday #4: Dues Ex Nukina

Sometimes, there comes a point in where you just have to breakdown and use The Bomb. Whenever nuclear hellfire becomes your only option, it falls under the trope of Dues Ex Nukina.

Is there a better way to purge the unclean than complete vaporization? When alien hordes have nuked your cities, targeted your world leaders, and prematurely ended your fantasy football league, an Uncle Sam’s Hydrogen Fusion Enema is the only option. It truly is the American way: go big, and ignore the consequences.

Dues Ex Nukina is also often accompanied with a form of heroic self sacrifice. In Armageddon, Bruce Willis is burdened with the instantaneous satisfaction of de-atomizing for the sake of our species. In Sunshine, the various scientists and crackpots apparently have to do what an automated ship couldn’t: drop off a big bomb on the sun. In a more local example, there have been several zombie novels, such as World War Z and Day by Day Armageddon that have used nukes in order to curb the zombie menace.

The threat of nuclear war, or post bomb survival is another common trope we will discuss soon, as they carry very different themes. In your experience, when has this trope been used effectively? Or better yet, ineffectively? Hit up the comments section and get your two cents in.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Weird Wednesday #2: Chalk it up to Irony

I'm not one to talk overtly about politics or a movement online. I've found that it generally invites a great many uninformed twatbags to blast rhetoric at me. Today however, I want to spread a little bit of awareness to an injustice that happened in Orlando, Florida.

Timothy Osmar, a participant in his local occupy protests, was arrested for using sidewalk chalk. He scrawled the words “justice equals liberty” on the pavement in front of city hall. At the time of this writing, he still remains in police custody, where he has been for three weeks.

Read that last paragraph again. Read it until some sort of ”what the fuck?” reaction comes up. If it doesn't evoke that, tell us why in the comments section. I'd really like to hear you express your freedom of speech to justify why he doesn't deserve his.

I don't care where you stand on the Occupy movement, this is bullshit. Timothy Osmar was arrested for as true a statement that has ever been written in chalk. His point was proven by the officers who walked across that statement to detain him, and upheld by a city that will not let him go free. If officials wanted the his words gone gone, they should used a garden hose, not handcuffs.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Freaky Friday #3: Survival Horror

Often in horror, a nemesis isn't a singular being, but rather the cumulative pressure of a situation. Survival horror exists when a protagonist is placed into a situation far beyond their control; Something so foreign to the character, that the world they knew is ripped irreparably from them.

Now, I know what you are saying, that sounds like most of the horror stories out there, but there are two main themes that separate it from standard horror.

The character needs to be a survivor, not necessarily a bad motherfucker.

This is the difference between 30 Days of Night and Blade. Both movies are dealing with vampires, but at the beginning of Blade, we watch as he rips through a nightclub with dozens of vampires. It is so easy that he might as well be making a sandwich with his free hand. While things get desperate for Blade, he never seems to be in the sort of peril the survivors from 30 Days of Night are in.

30 Days of Night is a much more sinister movie, and the whole time, the tension is crushing the survivors. They are completely isolated, surrounded by horrid monsters that care only about consuming them. The main character may be a cop, but his weapons are nearly useless, and all the training in the world could not have prepared him for what he was facing. An average man, surrounded by other average people in an environment of terror. This brings up the next point:

The story must be highly oppressive to be effective.

A survival horror staple is a lack of supplies, be it ammo, food, water, or any other MacGuffin you need to throw in. Add in an environment that cannot be ignored, such as zombies at the gates or an incessant spirit that will not let you leave the house, and it locks the protagonists into an unavoidable confrontation. Usually, it is a situation of “nowhere is safe” or “getting out of the only safe place would be suicide.” In The Mist, the characters are pitted with a choice of staying with the lunatics who wish to lynch them, or taking their chances with the unknown that lay beyond the grocery store. Either way, there was no hunkering down, no waiting for the situation to pass. They had to go, and well, I won't spoil it.

Cloverfield is another dire situation where the characters are as much up against the environment as they are the monster. They are powerless to kill the beast, but they have to rescue the girl, then get the hell out of there. Army of Darkness is the opposite of survival horror, because, well, Bruce Campbell is probably immortal, and more badass than I ever will be.

These two traits aren't the be all end all of survival horror, but seem to be the main themes behind the sub-genre. Do you have any good examples of survival horror? Or have you noticed something I've left out? Hit up the comments section and let me know.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Weird Wednesday #1: Of Mice and Mountain Dew

Look at those hollow eyes, this mouse knows how to dispose of a body.

With the new year, I'm bringing a few changes to the ole' Human Echoes experience. One of such features will be the addition of Weird Wednesdays, which highlight the strange, horrific, and sometimes insane news stories from around the world. With that said, here is the first feature.


I'm not going to beat around the bush with this, I am a frequent patron of Pepsi's life giving (and life taking) chemical smorgasbord known as Mountain Dew. I imbibe their potions like a fat, staminaless warrior in Skyrim (and you thought the potions were green for no reason). With all this in mind, I was more than a little put off by a story of a man finding a dead mouse in a Mountain Dew can.

Allegedly, a Wisconsin man opened the can, expecting a rush of that heavenly caffeine laden mana, but was greeted with a dead mouse. After heaving the contents of his soul into the toilet for some period, he collected the evidence and sent it to Pepsi for investigation. This is where it gets interesting.

Pepsi's response wasn't an apology, or an out of court settlement, it was a scientific rebuttal. One that states that had a mouse been put in a can with mountain dew, it would simply dissolve, and turn into a jelly like substance. Essentially, they are admitting that you could use Mountain Dew to dissolve a body, and other than being a little flat, it would not be indistinguishable from normal Mountain Dew. Well, that and it would be a little closer to Bill Cosby's favorite pseudo desert product.

I thought it only gave diabeetus and heart disease. Please excuse me while I dump the rest of the soda in my house down the drain.

As always, hit me up in the comments if you have a strange story you would like covered, or comments on this one. I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pain Now is Better than Pain Deferred

The other morning, I was sitting down with a cup of coffee to work on some writing. Naturally, this meant that I had to read twitter, go through about 15 blogs, check twitter again, make more coffee, pay a bill, watch 30 minutes of Sportscenter, and ultimately write 140 words of crap fiction that will never be part of anything. I had burned the entire morning away, and it was time to start the actual day job.

I had something to do, and I chose to waste my time. Was it more entertaining that writing? Maybe, but in the end it made me feel like an asshole for missing another deadline. For wasting more precious time on useless shit I had seen before. I chose to defer the pain of writing in order to have more fun in the short term. I caused myself anxiety and guilt by not doing my work for the sake of petty entertainment.

An article on The Art of Manliness (which is quite excellent, and not just about bacon and lumberjacks) laid it out for me. I almost always, in my writing life and otherwise, choose the long and slow pain rather than just ripping the band aid off. I’ve wasted almost all of 2011 in a non-effective stupor because I have a bogus and unrealistic fear of failure. I haven’t produced because I put the cart before the wagon, publishing before writing.

From now on, I’m forcing myself to do the work first, fear and entertainment be damned. Production is the only thing that will eliminate the irrational fear. Work is the only activity that will lead me away from the path of failure. I failed 2011. I will not fail 2012.
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