Zombies! | #AtoZ #LetterZ #nonfiction

Hi! I know you stopped by looking for an A-Z post of a short story, or perhaps the craft of writing. Perhaps you even looked so far as to see that my theme is “Catching Up.” Well, while I did spending a couple of days “catching up”, so at least on that point I’m on theme, there may actually be no fiction or writing talk.

I’m breaking format because

A) it’s the last entry

and

B) A to Z wouldn’t be the same without an obligatory Zombie post!

This probably is the same as years before, because I like zombie movies, but oh well. Nobody will probably stop by anyway!

Alice in Zombieland (affiliate link): I enjoyed this when I read it years ago. It’s been so long that Amazon doesn’t even notify me that I’ve already read it. It doesn’t even appear to be on my Kindle, which is weird, because I know it was an electronic version that I read. Well, maybe it was one of the two books on the Nook that died. It was good, though. Definitely recommend.

World War Z (affiliate link): The book was not as enjoyable for me as was the Brad Pitt movie. I really loved the movie. I remember watching and wondering why the monsters were swerving around the old man and the bald kid, and coming to a similar but ultimately incorrect conclusion. No spoilers. If you haven’t read the book, I mean, I’m glad I read it, I don’t regret it, but if you haven’t seen the movie, watch it first. You won’t be ruining anything, in my opinion.

Resident Evil (affiliate link): Milla Jovovich did a great job in these films. I haven’t played the games, so I don’t have any opinions on how faithful the movies were to the games they were based on (they were based on video games, right?), but I really enjoyed the movies. I loved that they kept bringing back dead characters (Michelle Rodriguez, Ali Larter) in future films, not replacing them with other actors. I think I own them all in one form or another. I should watch them all before this post goes out.

The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead: Okay, I’ll be honest. I enjoyed the first season of the latter, and I’ve seen several seasons of the former, but I haven’t completed either one. I know, the shame! Especially for a zombie movie lover such as myself! At this point, if I ever do decide to see all the episodes, I”ll have to start back at the beginning. I don’t know if I can live through the prison season again, though. *sigh* Although, really, during a pandemic sounds like the perfect time to re-watch these…

Shaun of the Dead: Watched it, enjoyed it, but don’t have much more to say about it.

Pontypool: This was not strictly a zombie movie, exactly, but it was very close. If you like regular zombie stuff, you’ll enjoy this film about a disease that spreads like zombie movies diseases spread (quickly) where the infected become violent (like zombies do, generally), but with a twist that I will not spoil.

28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later: So the only reason I watched the sequel is because Robert Carlyle starred in it, but it was worthy, as was the original. Not to be mistaken for the Sandra Bullock movie about a recovery program with a very similar name, these are just bloody zombie flicks through and through.

I know there are other zombie movies I’ve seen, and I know there are more I own, but I don’t have my glasses on and I can barely see my screen, so I’m going to call it here and come back to add more if I think of them at a time when I am more awake and have my eyesight enhancers within reach.

Thanks so much for stopping by for my A to Z posts! I hope you enjoyed, and if not, well, thank you for not mentioning it! ❤

Loves!

You… | #AtoZ #LetterY #nonfiction

…matter.

Hi! I know you stopped by looking for an A-Z post of a short story, or perhaps the craft of writing. Perhaps you even looked so far as to see that my theme is “Catching Up.” Well, while I did spending a couple of days “catching up”, so at least on that point I’m on theme, there may actually be no fiction or writing talk.

Of course you do. Does that seem like a strange statement to make? Well, I say it only to beat down that voice in the back of my head (and possibly yours) that creeps up occasionally to try to tell you that you’re not.

Do you hear that voice? I hear that voice. It sounds like me. It’s very, very good at impersonation.

It’s louder when there are other negative things happening. It magnifies the other things.

I don’t like it.

You matter.

You are beautiful.

You are amazing.

You are awesome.

You are so sweet.

You are so kind.

You are loved, and you are loving.

Can you even hear those in your own voice? It took practice before I could hear them in my voice. The very first times I tried, it was like an allergic reaction.

EW. That’s just…no. I can’t say that. Who says that? Just those stupid woowoo self-help idiots. Yuck. No, I don’t need that shit. I”m fine. There’s nothing wrong.

SHUT IT.

I have to be stern with that Other voice, the one that wants me to believe I’m worthless, that wants me to hate myself. But I’ve given that Other voice entirely too much attention. Almost 40 years of attention. That’s entirely too much.

The journey to self-love and self-acceptance has not been easy, and sometimes it’s easy to loose my grip on where I stand now. Sometimes I realize I didn’t build my little island well enough, and I slip or stumble or fall, but then I remember I planted that really great tree, and then realize I’ve been mixing my metaphors a bit more but it doesn’t matter and I grab a branch, and steady myself.

I’m going to start a book recommendation list of the books I read along the way. Of course, if you have access to a good therapist, you’re already on the path. I’m not ready for a therapist yet. I’m doing okay with my books, but I know the therapist is a step on the journey I’ll need to make eventually.

Anyway.

What was I going on about?

Oh, yes.

You matter.

Loves!

X… | #AtoZ #LetterX #nonfiction

…is a hard letter to come up with a word for, so I’m not even going to try.

Hi! I know you stopped by looking for an A-Z post of a short story, or perhaps the craft of writing. Perhaps you even looked so far as to see that my theme is “Catching Up.” Well, while I did spending a couple of days “catching up”, so at least on that point I’m on theme, there may actually be no fiction or writing talk.

This post is not going to be about the letter X. Sorry, not sorry.

I have finally wanted to write in the past couple of days. It’s so nice to feel like that again. I lost that feeling in January, and never got it back. It’s now nearing the end of April, and it’s creeping back. ❤ Lovely.

I am not going to try to think about what I want to write. I am not going to plan. I have a few phrases in the “Quarantine Journal” I started when our company went to work-from-home. I like these, and when I get stuck or too in-my-head, I find myself going back to them. I keep adding, too, so this list may not be the final list when the journal is done.

Ooh, you know who else had “rules” like this? Gibbs!

  1. How can I help others?
  2. What am I grateful for?
  3. The plan is to not have a plan.
  4. Why not?
  5. Other people’s opinions are none of my business.

So far, it’s a good list. In my journal, it’s got heart-shaped bullet points because it’s me, but I like the rules idea. That was always a great thing whenever someone mentioned another “rule”. I know there’s a website out there that has cataloged as many as were mentioned. Possibly more than one.

So this morning when I woke up, grugingly, just before 6 a.m., when my youngest was also awake and in my chair (ARGH), I went to rule number 3.

Not immediately, of course. I struggled with going back to sleep, and then I struggled with the fact that my child was in my spot, the secondhand recliner that’s in the process of falling apart that everyone loves. And then I struggled with why did I even want to do this? I had prepped JY to not encourage me to go back to sleep if I managed to wake at 6 am, or even 5, but not especially well on the why.

I had to think about why I wanted to be up. Rule 4 doesn’t fit well here, because Why not? is more of a “Why not go back to sleep?” kind of question, and boy, does sleep sound really good right now when I was awake until almost midnight.

But no. What was the plan? To sit in the chair. That wasn’t the whole reason though. What was the reason? To be productive. Write! I wanted to write. “Hand me my Chromebook,” I ordered, and JY complied, in surprisingly good spirits. “You seem agressive,” JY mentioned when I ripped into the pink-zippered case and tossed it aside. “Determined,” I said, still mostly asleep. “There’s a difference.”

And that is how I came to be here, on entry X, the Friday before it’s due.

Which, by the way, how did I get almost all the way through April? The last I checked, I still had 10 days left. :\

Whatever… | #AtoZ #LetterW #nonfiction

…it’s all good.

Hi! I know you stopped by looking for an A-Z post of a short story, or perhaps the craft of writing. Perhaps you even looked so far as to see that my theme is “Catching Up.” Well, while I did spending a couple of days “catching up”, so at least on that point I’m on theme, there may actually be no fiction or writing talk.

I don’t really know what to write about for the letter W. I had some thoughts, but none of them really seemed like the right choice.

I thought first of Wanderers, the 30-plus-hour audiobook (and novel) by local(ish) author Chuck Wendig which I am currently almost all the way through. I think I have 7 hours remaining, and I’m really enjoying it. But I don’t want to write an entire post about it because it is very relevant, reflecting our current existence to a scary degree, and I don’t know that folks want to hear about it.

And then I thought of Whatever, but that made me think of John Scalzi’s blog, another author who isn’t particularly local, but is just one state away. While I do really enjoy Scalzi’s writing (Redshirts was awesome, and The Collapsing Empire series is fantastic), I don’t have enough to say about him or his blog to fill an entire entry.

Then I thought of what I ended up going with, “Whatever, it’s all good,” which is something I say occasionally for whatever reason. Usually when I’m asked my opinion and I don’t really have a strong one. “Would you rather have pizza or tacos for lunch?” Whatever, it’s all good.

Ultimately…meh. Whatever.

It’s all good.

Verbal… | #AtoZ #LetterV #nonfiction

…are my animals.

Hi! I know you stopped by looking for an A-Z post of a short story, or perhaps the craft of writing. Perhaps you even looked so far as to see that my theme is “Catching Up.” Well, while I did spending a couple of days “catching up”, so at least on that point I’m on theme, there may actually be no fiction or writing talk.

I have four cats and a bird in my house. The bird is kept by JY, while the cats keep all of us.

They all talk.

The bird is a parakeet. We were assured by JY that they’re quiet birds, and perhaps they are, but this one generally isn’t. He sings, chirps, chatters, flutters, and reacts strongly when the cats get too close to his cage. (Or her cage. We’re not sure yet.)

The cats are strays we adopted shortly before they were able to be Altered. They match the personalities of the team in Space Cats from Space, a story I wrote when I was like, “Huh. What should I write about? Here, let me start a story by describing a cat licking his butt, and see where it goes.” Oh, look, said book is on sale at Smashwords in some kind of site-wide Authors Give Back sale going on over there. A perfect time to buy!

Okay, okay. I’m done with the commercial.

Shadow, a large, long-haired black (dark brown) male, has the sweetest, prettiest meow. It’s high-pitched, and adorable. When you hear him beg to be let into EY’s room in the morning, he stands on his back legs and grips the doorknob with his fluffy paws and cries like a kitten.

And it works. He gets let in.

Static is a stocky, slightly cross-eyed, short haired tabby, and he doesn’t meow too much. He does have this little chitter, though. Just when you’re not expecting it, he’ll snap his jaws together rapidly and emit a little noise. It’s cute, and little.

He also sneezes, or wheezes, or maybe he’s just always trying to cough up a hairball. We’re not sure.

S. Fluffy McFlufferson, our largest cat, is a long haired tabby, and his meow is just a meow. Not too high pitched, not too needy, not too bold. He meows when he wants some love, and once he has your attention and you move to pick him up, he’ll run into the living room and jump up onto the Tower of Love.

Which leaves Shybutts. He is the smallest of our cats, the most cat-shaped, and a short haired tabby with distinct markings. He is, as his name implies, a shy cat. He will allow attention when he’s in the mood, and dart away when he’s not. But when he’s in the mood, usually after everyone has just gone to bed, he will stand in the upstairs hallway and emit the loudest, most demanding, most authoritative meow I’ve ever had the experience to listen to. He is not shy when he wants attention, which is why in Space Cats from Space he…wait, that’s spoilers. I will not spoil the story for you!

Anyway, my animals are vocal. And I know you were dying to know that, and now you do.

Ubiquitous… | #AtoZ #LetterU #nonfiction

…was the domain name for my very first website!

Hi! I know you stopped by looking for an A-Z post of a short story, or perhaps the craft of writing. Perhaps you even looked so far as to see that my theme is “Catching Up.” Well, while I did spending a couple of days “catching up”, so at least on that point I’m on theme, there may actually be no fiction or writing talk.

It was “Ubiquitous.nu,” actually. Why did I get a .nu domain? Unclear.

I do remember that I came up with it with the help of DH in our first apartment sometime before our first child was born. My first design sucked, as first things can do, but I improved. I learned HTML, I did the thing at the time, which was to start an E/N site, and at some point I installed Greymatter to facilitate the posting of random crap.

Which, hey! Is a lot like what I do now!

My second domain was DieselNights.com, and it was the same kind of thing.

Then OfftheBeatenPlan.com.

And now this, GrowingUpWalls.com.

In terms of domain names, this has been by far my best choice. One of my best friends helped come up with the idea (or was it entirely her idea? I do not recall, but am happy to pile all the good idea vibes at her feet).

I wonder how many times I’ve written blog posts about my past blogs? I know this isn’t the first one.

This is a thing about me. It was a thing about my grandmother, and it drove me nuts with her, and I believe it is my duty to drive others nuts with this now that she is gone.

I retell stories. I have tons of great stories, but I do not have tons of great personal awareness of when I’ve already told the story to certain people. I’m going to embrace it. Feel free to stop me at any time.

Or, y’know, since this is my blog, wander on, my friend. Wander on.

Oh, look, I’ve even got links here (currently in the sidebar, but who knows how the site will change over the years–I’ve gone through a couple domains this month already) so you can find someone whose content doesn’t repeat itself every dozen posts or so.

^_^

Times… | #AtoZ #LetterT #nonfiction

…they are a-changin’.

Hi! I know you stopped by looking for an A-Z post of a short story, or perhaps the craft of writing. Perhaps you even looked so far as to see that my theme is “Catching Up.” Well, while I did spending a couple of days “catching up”, so at least on that point I’m on theme, there may actually be no fiction or writing talk.

And I’m not even a little bit sorry for getting that song stuck in your head. In fact, if Bob Dylan (or The Byrds, or Peter Paul & Mary, or Simon and Garfunkle, or anyone else who has covered that song) isn’t running through your head at the moment…well, I mean, not everyone has such amazing musical taste as I do.

😉

Things that are new that I’m getting used to these days:

  • not getting all of the grocery items I ordered
  • not being able to get my family’s staples every week for groceries
  • working from home, and being productive while doing it
  • making more meals and washing more dishes
  • being mentally prepared to wear a mask in stores
  • not running out to the store every time I realize I need/want something
  • having orders cancelled due to unavailable inventory
  • longer shipping times

Yeah. I’m getting used to these things. I’m grateful I’m able to adapt so well. I know not everyone has the luxury of being so adaptable.

Currently, while I conceptually miss seeing my friends, exchanging journals, and checking in with my coworkers to measure their moods, I’m not feeling pain (or yearning) as a result of not being able to do these things. Not yet. I feel like that’s really insensitive to admit, that maybe it makes it sound like I don’t really like my friends as much as I should. But that’s one of those things about me. Sometimes I feel like there should be a word somewhere between “apathetic” and “sociopath” for what goes on inside my head. I occasionally have distinctively absent “I miss you” vibes. I don’t know. It’s a thing. Sometimes I do, though. So I’m not completely abnormal.

Just a bit.

I don’t know.

Anyway.

Are there things/routines/experiences/etc that are new because of this pandemic that you’re getting used to now? I’d be interested to read about them if you’d like to share. 🙂

Loves!

Stranger… | #AtoZ #LetterS #nonfiction

…danger. Sort of.

Hi! I know you stopped by looking for an A-Z post of a short story, or perhaps the craft of writing. Perhaps you even looked so far as to see that my theme is “Catching Up.” Well, while I did spending a couple of days “catching up”, so at least on that point I’m on theme, there may actually be no fiction or writing talk.

Have you noticed people being less friendly lately? More friendly? Aside from the fact that we’re avoiding each other on the sidewalk, and trying not to pass too close to each other in the supermarket aisles, what are you seeing?

Here’s what I see.

When I pass someone as we cling to the edges of the walking path in a local park, I’m making more of an effort to raise a hand in the air, to smile, to meet their gazes and acknowledge their presence. So far, my results are about 80% – a return wave, half-grin, or greeting. The times when I don’t get a response vary. Couples chatting or walking dogs are common, as well as single people who seem determined to avoid contact with absolutely everyone. Hey, guys – you do you. 🙂

When I see my neighbors outside, I’m making more of an effort to say hello, to greet them, or just generally wave an arm in their direction. Admittedly I don’t see all my neighbors very often. In fact, I see them rarely. But I actually managed to have a three-sentence conversation the other day! I count that as a victory.

In the grocery store, the one time I’ve been out since we got the official stay-at-home order from our Governor, I made an effort to smile (from behind my bear-face mask, borrowed from Junior Youth), chat with staff, and express gratitude for the amount of items I was actually able to purchase even while they were still out of toilet paper.

I guess what I’m getting at is that online, everything feels contentious. Irritated, aggravated, and very, very Stranger Danger. Stay away, stay home, be afraid. And I do understand that those things are very true. You do want to keep your distance, you do want to stay home as much as possible, and you do want to “be afraid”, because the pandemic isn’t taking it easy on anyone.

But at the same time, when I venture out on a walk, or when I need to make a trip to an actual store instead of just the grocery pick-up at Walmart, it’s not as anxiety-inducing as my head is trying to make it out to be. People are still smiling, and trying to be polite as much as the situation allows.

The moral of this entry? I have no idea. Just that the strangers on the street still feel like people. I guess that’s it.

Restless… | #AtoZ #LetterR #nonfiction

…but ultimately satisfied.

Hi! I know you stopped by looking for an A-Z post of a short story, or perhaps the craft of writing. Perhaps you even looked so far as to see that my theme is “Catching Up.” Well, while I did spending a couple of days “catching up”, so at least on that point I’m on theme, there may actually be no fiction or writing talk.

I went for a walk today, and it was a good walk, but not a good walk. I’m not sure how to describe it, but “restless” seemed like a good word.

I’ll tell you about the walk. Yesterday (the Wednesday before this appears, actually) I went for a walk. My youngest bailed on going with me, so I went by myself. It was nice, because I was able to walk as far and fast as I wanted, so I walked through the local park on the walking path that runs along the river that borders my town. The entire trip is 5K from my house to the end of the path and back again. It’s a good walk!

And then after I got home yesterday and made dinner, my youngest asked if I wanted to go for a walk! And JY had been having a bad afternoon, so I wanted to talk with them, and so I went out. In my flip-flops. Which are very comfortable, and the bottoms of my feet didn’t hurt, but they scraped up the tops of my feet.

So.

Today, I wanted to go for a walk because I’m doing a walking challenge where I get out every day for a walk for at least 30 minutes. And again, JY didn’t want to come with me, so I went on the same path as the day before, through the park. And I wasn’t quite a mile in when I thought to myself, “Self, perhaps you should just do a mile and head home.”

But I didn’t. I did the whole thing. And by the time I reached the end of the path and started heading back, I was R E G R E T T I N G with a capital Regret my decision to do the whole thing.

There was nobody to rescue me at home with a car. My feet didn’t hurt, but they hurt. My legs weren’t sore, but they were sore.

I did make it home, by the way.

But I’m…

Restless?

My legs don’t hurt, my feet don’t hurt, I’m not particularly sore or anything.

It’s weird.

But I did the thing!

Tomorrow I will do the thing again, but not nearly so long of a thing, because dude.

Yeah.

No.

Q… | #AtoZ #LetterQ #nonfiction

…a post about John de Lancie.

Hi! I know you stopped by looking for an A-Z post of a short story, or perhaps the craft of writing. Perhaps you even looked so far as to see that my theme is “Catching Up.” Well, while I did spending a couple of days “catching up”, so at least on that point I’m on theme, there may actually be no fiction or writing talk.

I’m a Star Trek fan, so when I think of the letter Q, I think of Q, member of the Q continuum. Which makes me think of his alter-ego in the My Little Pony universe, of which I am also a fan, Discord.

And of course, John De Lancie plays both characters, and they’re essentially the same character, which just tickles me to no end. You have no idea how amused I was when I made the connection.

But did you know he’s had more than two roles? I mean, not as fun ones, certainly. But other roles. He’s got 180 acting credits on IMDB, and while I know many of the other shows he’s been on, I don’t remember the characters, and so I won’t be babbling on about that for now.

Here’s some interesting tidbits from the Trivia portion of his IMDB profile:

He was raised in Philadelphia, which is just an hour or so drive from where I am.

As much association as I have with de Lancie and Star Trek, he was only in eight episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. However, and this might explain the reinforcement of de Lancie and ST:TNG, he is one of only seven actors to play the same character on three different Star Trek series.

Also, he was the first actor to ever use the word “trek” on ST:TNG, and that was in the series finale. This I had not realized before, and I wonder if if was a conscious decision on the writer’s part, and how hard it was to avoid “trek” in writing episodes.

That’s what I have. Q is a hard letter. I also thought about Queer and Quick as options for today’s post, but I think Q was a good choice.

If you haven’t seen John de Lancie in Star Trek or My Little Pony, in both shows he really starts out as a character you love to hate. Similarly, in both shows they do a lovely job of turning the character around, more or less, without removing the essential parts that make his character irritating.

I love that.