Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Babycenter: Your kid is cute, he looks nothing like you

( @Babycenter ) just published my most recent article. This time I tackle the whole "your kid doesn't look anything like you" comments you get from virtual strangers.

Give it a read:
Babycenter: You baby is so cute, but looks nothing like you

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Babycenter: Over-parenting

( @babycenter) published another quick article that I wrote last night that covers the topic of over-parenting. Check out the quick little read here:

Babycenter: Can you resist the urge to over-parent?

Babycenter: Daycare Drama

( @babycenter ) posted my first article for them today. It recounts our issues with putting Ben in daycare. Give it a read.

Babycenter: My Daycare Drama

Friday, February 08, 2013

Book Review: The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

( #thedogstars )

Post apocalyptic fiction is very trendy these days. The success of zombie fiction and movies, and all of those “after humanity” TV shows with the skyscrapers falling apart have really amped up people’s appetite for the end of days.

Author Peter Heller threw his hat into the “last of humanity” ring and crafted a very compelling story. In “The Dog Stars” humanity is hit with a very nasty plague/fever that wiped out civilization. There are a few survivors left, some infected with a variation of the virus that doesn’t kill them but leaves them very weak, defenseless, and permanently quarantined.

Heller’s story centers around Hig, a nice guy pretty much going through the motions and waiting for his own end. Hig has a neighbor/semi-friend named Bangley. Bangley is a hardass gun nut who protects their little compound from other survivors attempting to loot or take their land (which has access to clean water). Hig constantly questions Bangley’s loyalty and surmises he is only kept around because he can fly planes (and keep them operational). Hig also has a pet dog that he cares very deeply for and wonders if Bangley will kill if he gets out of line.

Even though there are dangers from looters, Hig is becoming bored with his relatively safe life. He continues to take risks by leaving the compound and flying further away from the base on scouting missions. He eventually comes up with a plan to fly to a far away airport where he once received a weak signal, but he won’t have enough gas to return (if he can’t refuel at the other airport). Most of the book is spent with Hig convincing himself to leave and the issues and people he encounters when he does.

Heller thankfully avoids the typical tropes of post apocalyptic fiction (“humanity got what it deserves”, “we learned nothing from our mistakes” bla bla bla). The story is very stripped down: “are you prepared to do the things you need to do to survive (no judgement)?” Hig struggles with having to shoot other survivors (even as they try to kill him) and he also has to argue with Bangley when he helps a colony of the surviving infected (who are helpless and unable to get supplies).

The simplicity of the book is accented by Hig’s fragmented thoughts. Heller hints that Hig was not untouched by the virus and has trouble thinking (his thoughts in writing are in little bursts), although it could be from being alone and the trauma of losing his loved ones. There is some drag in the middle of the story, but it picks up again. Ultimately, the book boils down to this question: when you survive an extinction level event, is there anything worth living for? Heller does a pretty good job exploring that idea and coming up with an answer.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Book Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

( #warmbodies )

Hollywood is full of clever bastards. The Walking Dead is an extremely popular television show and comic book. It is also Feburary and a few weeks away from Valentines Day. What is a crafty movie executive to do? A romantic zombie movie or a romzom of course. I have been bombarded by ads for “Warm Bodies” for a few months and then I happened to read that it was based on a book...

… and said book was said to be considerably darker and deeper than the romzom version. So I downloaded it.

Warm Bodies is a short and enjoyable novel. It took me a few hours to read it and I liked it. The book is an obvious riff on “Romeo and Juliet”. The zombie’s name is “R” and the lead female is “Julie”. Her dad is in charge of the human survivors and clearly would not approve of his daughter’s necrophilia. Both characters have to buck their social norms to be together.

I suppose my only issue with the book is that the zombies have a society. If you see the commercial for the movie, you get the impression that “R” eating Julie’s boyfriend makes him start thinking and living again. The book also pushes this idea, but the zombies are clearly organized before “R’s” encounter with Julie. The zombies can sort of talk and there is a hierarchy to their society. They have strategy to eat humans. So they are not the typical zombies from the movies even before the main plot thread starts to happen.

The book tries to make “R” the zombie messiah and a romantic lead and those two thread compete for room in the book, but since this isn’t “War and Peace” you get over that problem pretty quickly. One thing I really appreciated about Marion’s writing is that he did not use the same terrible cliched words that every zombie writer uses - gore, guts, meat, disemboweled, and of course braaaaaiiins.

Bottom line: Fun and quick read - I recommend it.