Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gnat Balls

You know gnat balls?
You know those big balls of gnats that gnats make when they all want to hang out?

Tons of gnats. Awesome!

How do you think they decide where to hold those events? I mean they're usually just in some random location, floating in some arbitrary point in mid-air, and yet somehow, all those hundreds of gnats had to agree on that spot, right? Otherwise they'd all be in different spots like, "I'm at the spot I thought we said. Where's all the other gnats?" And there wouldn't be any gnat balls, there'd just be gnats.

One gnat. Boring.

Do you think it's the same as with human parties, and one motivated gnat has to pick a location and then go around calling all his gnat friends and inviting them to come be in the ball? He's like, "Let's meet five feet above the sidewalk at Harvard Ave and Roy Street. Listen guys. This is going to be so fun." And some of them say they're totally going to come, but then they totally don't come?

Do you think gnats always choose to have their balls at human-face height because watching humans choke and gag on a mouthful of gnats is funny to them?

What about the gnats that get choked and gagged on? Those gnats can't possibly find it funny.

It seems like it'd be a lot of work to put together a party as big as gnat balls are. There are probably at least two hundred gnats in those balls. The original gnat that first decided he or she needed to have a gnat ball that night--I'm assuming he or she wouldn't schedule it in advance since gnats only live one day--must be not only really popular but also really energetic and committed to making social stuff happen.

Why do we say social butterfly? We should say social gnat. Gnats are the ones that know how to throw a party, and you'll notice they never invite any butterflies.

I bet butterflies are assholes.

Thinks he's so cool but he's not.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


We finally have a cover for the US edition of WARM BODIES!

Oh and also the novel's themes evolved somewhat during the editing process. Now it's about men, women, and the Navy.

That should silence all that silly "Zombie Twilight" snarkery going on out there.

But seriously guys, come on. If Warm Bodies is Twilight, then Eternal Sunshine is Men In Black. They both have machines that erase memories, don't they?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Do Nerds Dream of Nerdy Sheep?

I had a really obvious, heavy-handed dream last night. Usually they're more oblique, but this one didn't bother with subtlety. I went to bed with two things weighing on my mind:

1. Problems with my printer and difficulties designing a cover for Flashlights in the Basement. 
2. My first major interview about Warm Bodies with a British sci-fi magazine called SFX.

What was my dream about? Part 1 involved me struggling to print out a portrait of Lieutenant Worf and mount it inside a picture frame that kept changing size and defying geometry. Part 2 involved an alien race deciding that humanity was unfit to live and threatening to wipe us out unless my friend Erin and I could write an essay convincing them that we are actually pretty cool. So they abducted us to their planet and set us up in a newsroom type office, and for a while I thought it was kind of an honor that they thought I was a good enough guy to speak for humanity, that they must kinda respect me, but the alien they assigned to oversee us--played by Party Down's Adam Scott--was a total dick about it and it became pretty clear pretty quickly that they didn't respect me at all and saw me as some kind of repulsive lab animal. 


So yeah, pretty cliche dreams, subconscious. Way to point a blinking arrow at my two biggest stressors and not-so-subtly underline my insecurities. I have diarrhea today, what am I going to dream about tonight? Having diarrhea?

Stupid subconscious.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Conservation is just for the little people

7,000 gallons of jet fuel per hour
As the Blue Angels jets shriek back and forth over my apartment in Seattle, it occurs to me that there's a pretty serious chasm between people's environmental conservation efforts at home and the example set by our government--not just at the international industry level, but the local, municipal level. Our fountains, our decorative lighting, our firework shows, parades, Sea Fairs... For such a progressive, forward-thinking city, we do some pretty indulgent stuff, don't you think?

I'm not suggesting getting rid of all this stuff and stripping the city down to a spartan landscape of unadorned concrete. I'm just finding it very hard to take my own conservation efforts seriously when I consider that in one hour, a single Blue Angels jet will burn 1,200 gallons of JET fuel. (which is much more highly concentrated than car fuel)

Blue Angels performances last an hour, and involve 6 jets.


A single Blue Angels air show will burn up more gas than you will save in an entire lifetime of taking your bike to work.

Does that seem fair to you as you puff and sweat your way through traffic every day? And that hour of Blue Angels performance only comes after THOUSANDS of hours of training for all these pilots, all burning 1,200 gallons per hour.

More food for thought:

9,567 bulbs
If you install energy efficient bulbs all through your house and turn every light off the moment you leave the room for a year, you might save enough energy to power the Times Square New Year's ball for...5 seconds?

Follow common sustainability suggestions and install low pressure showerheads. Only flush the toilet when you take a dump. In a year you might save enough water to run the Seattle Center fountain for one minute. Although you'll need to unplug all your electronics every day for about a decade to save enough power for the fountain's pumps, lights, and sound system.

It really shoots that high
I'm not entirely sure what my point is. I'm not saying we should stop conserving, and I'm not saying the government should shut down all nonessential expenditures. I just think the disparity needs to be acknowledged, because it feels pretty silly for me to go through all the inconvenience and expense of "Going Green" when the savings my efforts create are so infinitesimal compared to the energy burned every day by all these frivolities no one's even talking about. The whole Green Movement looks like a joke when you put their "energy tips" next to the kind of massive-scale waste going unchallenged every day in every city in America.

I can't help feeling a little patronized in all this. "There you go. Good boy. Put a sweater on and turn down your thermostat. Oh, this full-size commercial airliner that flies the president wherever he needs to go? Don't worry about that. It's for grownups."


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Release dates

Some little bits of tender news jerky: official release dates for WARM BODIES.

In the US, from Atria Books -- March 8, 2011

In the UK, from Vintage Originals -- October 28, 2010

And I have no idea when the 14 or 15 other language versions will be out, but keep your polyglot ears to the street.

On the film front, I'm afraid the details I promised in the last posting were deemed classified by my handlers, sad-face. All I can tell you is that there is a very real likelihood of the shooting beginning next March, possibly even earlier. That's right, the movie may start shooting in the very same month the book is hitting shelves. Omgwtf.

On the other book front, I'm still trying to finish up the second of two novellas that will appear in FLASHLIGHTS IN THE BASEMENT, then there is editing to be done, but when I at least finish writing the first draft of "Three Kids, Living", I will have a better guess at when the book will be available.

More to come. Thanks for giving a shit.