I used to like having an October birthday. Not so much these days, though.
Back when I was a kid, October was the month when school finally hit its rhythm (and not just the marching band), when the weather was taking a proper turn for the pleasantly chilly, when you could wear sweatshirts and start drinking hot cocoa or herb tea without getting too warm — and, of course, the month ended with wearing costumes and getting candy. So having a birthday in the middle of all that was, if you’ll pardon the pun, the icing on the cake.
Nowadays, well. It’s zombies. Nothing but freaking zombies.
Vampires, of course, have been romanticized to (another?) death, werewolves and black cats are cursed with the lingering stench of furry, witches sued for protection under Title IX, and I guess no one has yet seen fit to gin up popularity for the calavera doll or the Headless Horseman. So for lack of alternatives (or imagination) it’s zombie this, zombie that, zombie-themed haunted houses, zombie-themed billboards, zombie-themed 5K charity runs, promotional stunts for BuyZombie.com* . . .
In short, the world is lousy with zombie paraphernalia**, and I’m stuck approaching my 27th birthday surrounded by depictions of rotting, mutilated corpses. What a delightful memento mori! I think I’ll forgo the raspberry filling in the cake this year.
*It’s an actual site, if you’re curious. Someone I know works there, unfortunately, so I even wind up with zombie-themed Facebook updates.
** And has been since mid-August. Eugh.
Those of you masochists who have read through the archives of this neglected little blog may have stumbled upon a little essay about movies in 3D. So of course, when my friends invited me to go see Disney’s 3D edition of Beauty and the Beast, I had my qualms. After all, special editions of movies (especially to shoehorn in some new special effect) are in danger of falling into what I call “the Lucas Pitfall.” Given that Belle is my favorite of the Disney princesses,* I was reasonably leery of, say, a plot rewrite in which Cogsworth is actually a Prussian spy or something.
Luckily, things weren’t as bad as I’d feared: it was the first 3D movie that I could sit all the way through without getting a motion-sick headache and having to take the glasses off. And the animators did a sort of pop-up storybook effect in the opening that I thought was rather neat.
And I wound up writing extra lyrics to the Gaston song**, to be sung after he goes toppling off of the castle:
No . . . one . . .
Falls like Gaston!
No one splocks like Gaston!
No one gets impaled on jagged rocks like Gaston!
See the life from his body is separating!
My, what a stiff, that Gaston!
“When I was alive I’d eat five dozen eggs,
So I’d grow up horrendously vast . . .
But now that I’m dead I eat NO dozen eggs,
Since a ghost doesn’t need a repast!”
No one lies like Gaston!
No one dies like Gaston!
No one’s corpse attracts hundreds of flies like Gaston!
We can set him in poses humiliating:
Go for spread-eagle Gaston!
* It’s true. I mean, Belle is intelligent, clever, and curious; she has a good relationship with her father; she’s pretty without being overwhelmingly glamorous; and when she gets cornered by wolves, she doesn’t just wail helplessly until the Beast saves her—she picks up a stick and wails on them.
** With apologies to Alan Mencken.
I like video games. This ought to come as a great shock to no one, really, considering that I made JRPG jokes in my first online comic and am, in fact, typing this on my laptop between levels of Dynasty Warriors. And I’m sure a lot of my readers have a soft spot for one game or another, be it Skyrim or Smash Bros. or Call of Honor: Medal of War and the Gears of Duty or Plants vs. Zombies or Commander Keen in Good-bye, Galaxy! or any number of other games for various platforms. There are a lot of them out there, with a game for just about every taste imaginable (up to and including the taste for robot unicorns).
So if you’re still looking for a few gifts for your gamer friends this holiday season, why not check out the Humble Indie Bundle of games? Until December 27th, gamers have the chance to name their price for a bundle of five independently developed computer games . . . and they can choose how the money is distributed, between the game developers, The American Red Cross, and Child’s Play Charity.* Those who pay more than the average will also receive the games from the previous bundle, along with a copy of Cave Story+ and Gratuitous Space Battles.
And as long as I’m promoting a few good causes, I’ll also put in a link for GoodSearch, a search engine that donates a portion of its ad revenue to whichever charity the searchers pick. Just go to their web site, enter the charity of your choice, and start searching. They also have a shopping division that allows you to donate a portion of your purchases to charity as well.
With that, I wish you all happy holidays and a new year full of good will.
* I’ve given a direct link to the charities as well, so if you don’t want the games, you can always just donate directly to them.