Monthly Archives: November 2008

Thursday Thirteen: 13 painted feathers

I’ve been busy painting lately and something I came across while googling art was a bunch of painted feathers that I thought was interesting. So this week’s Thursday Thirteen is about the artwork that can be painted on feathers (there’s a bit more than 13 of them but they’re just so cool).

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Real life zombies?

Zombies. We’ve all heard about them. They are the walking dead, come back to feast on the flesh of the living, usually created by evil sorcerers called bokors. But is there some truth behind the stories? Although not quite Shaun of the Dead-like, there exists a kind of zombie, created using a complex concoction of chemicals are used to cause brain damage and aid in the mind control of the the live individual.

According to local lore, a bokor captures a victim’s ti bon ange, or the part of the soul directly connected to an individual, to create a zombie. During his research, Davis discovered that the bokor used complex powders, made from dried and ground plants and animals, in their rituals.

Among these chemicals, that can give a semblance of zombie-ism, is a chemical called tetrodoxin. Coupe poudre is the powder used by a bokur to induce zombification. The active ingredient of coupe poudre is tetradotoxin (TTX), produced in the liver and ovaries of some species of puffer fish. It is a neurotoxin 500 times more potent than cyanide, acting by blocking the sodium ion channels which enable nerve and heart cells to produce electrical impulses. In miniscule doses it causes a near-death state in which metabolic functions slow, so that breathing and pulse rate are undetectable and eventually, total paralysis.  The brain and senses remain intact and the victim is thought to be dead and is buried alive.

In some stories, the night after the funeral, the body is then dug up by the bokor. The person is not dead after all but breathing very slow. The bokor would administer another powder containing atropine and scopolamine. Both are toxic and hallucinogenic compounds from the plants Datura metel and Datura stramonium (known as the zombie cucumber). When administered, the powder placed the victim into a state of delirium and disorientation in which they experience delusions and hallucinations. The victim usually was then sent off to a plantation for some manual labour. However, it is said that it was important to administer this antidote to keep him/her compliant daily or else he/she would wake up fully aware and escape, which apparently happened to a Mr. Narcisse and Ms. Felix-Mentor who returned to their hometowns after a few years.

Is there truth behind these chemicals? Either way, the possibilities are a dream-web for writers.

Paramedic #1 : You have no pulse, your blood pressure’s zero-over-zero, you have no pupillary response, no reflexes and your temperature is 70 degrees.
Freddy : Well, what does that mean?
Paramedic #1 : Well, it’s a puzzle because, technically, you’re not alive. Except you’re conscious, so we don’t know what it means.
Freddy : Are you saying we’re dead?
Paramedic #2 : Well, let’s not jump to conclusions.
Freddy : Are you saying we’re dead?
Paramedic #2 : No conclusions.
Paramedic #1 : Obviously I didn’t mean you were really dead. Dead people don’t move around and talk.
–Return of the Living Dead

Sources:

http://neurophilosophy.wordpress.com/2006/05/24/voodoo-zombies-the-puffer-fish/

http://www.paranormality.com/zombies.shtml

http://horrorscififilms.suite101.com/article.cfm/real_life_zombies

Thursday Thirteen: 13 games for writers

342932428_9f0e317c6cNeed a break from Nano or just a stressful daily day? Sit down and try one of these interesting games for writers.

1.Free Rice, a challenging multiple choice game where you can put your vocabulary skills to the test. The first few words are randomly selected from various vocabulary levels, but the game quickly assesses your level and tailors the game to match your skill, becoming more difficult the longer you play.

2.Etymologic is a game about the root meanings of words. Each game consists of ten randomly selected words, each presented with three or four choices of etymology.

3. A variation on the classic Boggle, Text Twist requires you to make as many words as possible from a set of letters, while a timer counts down.

4. Choose a well-known author from the 20th or 21st century and there’s likely a quiz here about them

5. The site allows you to select a magnetic poetry set based on the writings of well known authors such as Anais Nin or William S. Burroughs. Once you’ve chosen your writer, the words appear on your screen as moveable magnets and you can rearrange them with your mouse, creating poems, prose or lists as you like. You can add your own words too if you find the sets lacking.

6. When you play Bookworm, you’ll be challenged to feed the big green, talking bookworm by linking letters together to form words. This game teaches you to form words rapidly and is a great brain for writers.

7. Writer’s Block : Create as many words as possible using the letters on the block. Spin it, flip it, rotate the block and get going!

8.Title O’matic: In need of a title? Click the automatic random title maker.

9. Word Challenge: Arrange words on the vine so that the word pairs go together. Make sure that the words can connect to each other on the vine.

10. Scrabble

11. Cryptogram: Can you crack the code?

12. Define Time: Pit your word knowledge against the clock in a game of definitions and deception.

13. Word Vine: Place word on the vine and link every word to finish the level.

Happy Remembrance Day… to all the men who fought for our freedom

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Write or Die

A little bit harsh don’t you think?  Sounds like the title of some video game.  By the title, you have to wonder.  I most certainly did when Aislinn Kerry posted about this fancy little gadget for writers at Romance Divas.  Curious as anything because hey, I’m always out looking for new tools to use for my writing, I decided to check it out. 

Write or Die, is a web application by Dr Wicked.com that encourages writing by ‘punishing the tendency to avoid writing’.  Make sense?  The application is easily modified in which you can determine your own word count goals and amount of time.  All you have to do is start typing in the box.  Easy enough.  That is, as long as you keep typing.  But once you stop typing, as I found out, after a certain period of grace time, certain consequences begin such as the eating of your words.  Not exactly what I want to see.  All my work being deleted, but then again on my first try of the application, I set it on the hardest settings (kamikazee, evil) just to see the extent of what said punishments were. 

Consequences:

  • Gentle Mode: A certain amount of time after you stop writing, a box will pop up, gently reminding you to continue writing.
  • Normal Mode: If you persistently avoid writing, you will be played a most unpleasant sound. The sound will stop if and only if you continue to write.
  • Kamikaze Mode: Keep Writing or Your Work Will Unwrite Itself

It was definitely an incentive, I will give the creators that.  I did find that the flashing background a bit distracting, however. 

According to the site, the idea of the program is to ‘instill in the would-be writer with a fear of not writing’.  It is Intro Psych all over where negative reinforcement “strengthens a behaviour because a negative condition is stopped or avoided as a consequence of the behavior.”

Try it out.  Tell me your experiences.  Love it?  Hate it?

Nanowrimo Update and comp talk

Well, it’s been over a week of Nanoing so far.  Day 9 ended off at 31k after a fight with my computer. The computer has been malfunctioning a lot lately where some days I just can’t get it started.  Friday was one of those days in which it boots up fine.  Ok, great, I think.  No fighting with it and I can get writing done.  But… oh no it couldn’t be that easy.  It needs to be rebooted. So i reboot it… and it yes, dies. Doesn’t turn on despite my multiple attempts. All night. All morning. Bring it to Staples on Sat. Tec dude isn’t in but a guy looks at it anyway. It doesn’t work. Great. Now they see what’s what. Check monitor… the monitor is fine. It’s either the video card or something else… something may have melted… or I don’t know. And he’s not sure.  It turns on. It shuts off. Doesn’t even make it to the boot up stage. Either way, he says bring it in monday. If it reloads… which it did when I got home (it’s random when it does) to save all my stuff. 50/50 chance for its survival. He told me to look up some download called biomass or something…because when it first froze and died it could be something to do with a download that went bad. Um. ok. But if it’s the chip or something else, he said it’s probably not worth it to fix it. I don’t even know if I’m still on warranty. I don’t think so. So I may need to buy a new one… but am holding off on bringing it in until I’m done Nano and I have money.  I don’t get paid for another 5 days. 

Any recommendations on a good computer?  Laptop vs desktop (take into consideration that I don’t have a table, haha).

I was looking at those mini laptop’s that were about $300-$400… but not I’m sure if they are ok. I just need something to write on and go on the net. I don’t play games or anything like that. What are your choices?  What computer do you love and can’t live without?

Diva News: Romance Divas Historical Workshop!

Diva Release!: Cara’s Christmas Fantasy by Lauren Murphy

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Cara’s Christmas Fantasy by Lauren Murphy
Genre: Contemporary Big Beautiful Woman
Heat Rating: Bonfire
Length: Long Story-17,000 words
Price: $3.75

With their marriage on rocky ground, will Mike’s passionate plans reignite Cara’s love?

Plagued by her weight gain, Cara’s self-esteem has taken a downward spiral. No longer feeling attractive she unknowingly pushes away the one thing she truly wants; her husband’s affections.

Mike considers himself to be an understanding man but enough is enough. He wants his old Cara back–the wild, vivacious woman he met and knows is waiting to be revived. His desire for her compels him to create a plan that will bring them closer together emotionally and sexually. But will Cara be able to open her mind and body to the man she loves or will she push him away for good?

Read a full excerpt here!

Available now here!

Thursday thirteen: 13 cool cakes

Since I’ve started living on my own, I’ve begun thinking about baking a lot more. I love doing it, but not when I’m alone usually. But I’ve been looking up cakes and have found some really interesting looking ones that i would love to try to do one day. LOL. Ok probably not to that caliber but come on, I can just imagine how much time it must have taken for someone to make one of these. So this thursday thirteen is all about the art of…cake.

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Diva Release!: Snowbound by MG Braden

Cassidy Jenson always seems to make the wrong decisions. This ski trip with Rick might just be another. She knows he isn’t Mr. Perfect. But after six years of being told no one else would ever love her, she’s too scared and confused to walk away.

When Rick abandons her at the resort, Cassidy can’t help but notice the only one there to save the day is Daniel. Every time she turns around he is helping out, no strings attached. She isn’t used to that but soon realizes that’s the way it should be.

Daniel Robertson has come to SnowPeaks Resort for the first time since his fiancée died. He’s not looking for love but when he is knocked over by Cassidy, all bets are off. He can’t resist the need to show her how a real man treats a lady.

Being snowbound is only bad if you’re with the wrong person.

Snowbound by MG Braden – Available Now from Blade Publishing