This Means War!

Look what came in the mail!

Zombies vs. Robots: This Means War! is the first in a series of prose anthologies based on IDW’s popular comic book  Zombies vs. Robots. It’s also one of the most beautiful anthologies I’ve ever been in, gorgeously designed and featuring full color illustrations by Fabio Listrani for each story. The one he did for my story, “The Sorcerer’s Apprenticebot,” is so amazing it totally made my day!

So what are you waiting for? Grab yourself a copy and jump into the global zombie/robot conflict!

R.I.P Jonathan Frid

Jonathan Frid, the actor best known for playing Barnabas Collins on the daytime soap Dark Shadows, has passed away at the age of 87.

It is impossible for me to explain the profound impact Dark Shadows had on me. The series ran from 1966 to 1971, going off the air when I was a mere two years old, but I caught it in reruns after school during my middle school and early high school years, instantly transfixed from the moment I first stumbled across it. My mother watched General Hospital religiously, but Dark Shadows was unlike any other soap opera I knew. There was a gorgeous Gothic atmosphere to the show, from the perpetual thunderstorms to the always-crashing surf to the haunted homestead of Collinwood itself. To say haunted is no exaggeration, either. It wasn’t just the atmosphere that was Gothic. Barnabas was a vampire, albeit a reluctant and tortured one, perhaps the first of his kind to be seen in popular entertainment. Other characters were witches, ghosts, werewolves, pirate zombies–there was even a Frankenstein plotline at one point, if I recall, featuring manmade lovers Adam and Eve. Oh, and there was time travel. How could a monster kid like me resist?

Of course, half the fun was the cheapness of it all. A daily soap with a shoestring budget, they didn’t know the meaning of the word “reshoots.” Often, you’d see stage hands walk by in the background. I remember one closing sequence where a candle tipped over as the credits rolled, setting fire to the tablecloth, and a stage hand appeared on-screen to frantically put it out. Walls shook, doors came off their hinges, lines were flubbed magnificently, and in what is perhaps my favorite blooper of all time, the camera caught Jonathan Frid’s vampire Barnabas absently picking his nose as he waited for his cue. All in a day’s work for Dark Shadows, the best soap opera ever.

Frid himself was a big part of what made it so great, too. He inhabited Barnabas fully. I’m so glad that the role that made Frid famous and had such a big impact on my life is being recreated by Johnny Depp in a big Tim Burton film, in a way that will honor his work and his memory–

Oh. Never mind. At least we’ll always have the TV episodes.

New Kitty Day

Olympia is here! She arrived about an hour later than expected (in true cat fashion she came when she damn well felt like it) and is now adjusting comfortably to her new surroundings (I hope). Right now, she’s inside an open carry case in our home office, which has been decked out with food, a litter box of her own, and a comfy purple towel (pictured) to sit on when she decides to leave the safety of the carry case. The towel already smells like Alexa, which we’re hoping will put Olympia at ease around us.

That’s not a head-tilt of curiosity in the picture, by the way, though I’m sure she has a healthy dose of that, too. No, that’s residual damage from a since-removed ear polyp that knocked her off balance. Most likely, she’ll always have a head tilt like that because the surgeons had to take out some of her ear bones, too.

Our other cat, Galapagos, who’s been queen of all she surveys for nearly eight years now, surprised me by not reacting aggressively when Olympia arrived. I was worried Galapagos would immediately start hissing and pawing under the office door to get at Olympia, but instead she’s acting more standoffish, almost scared. (The only hissing she did was at Olympia’s foster mother when she came to drop Olympia off; it was only once, and Alexa tells me it’s the first time she’s ever heard Galapagos hiss.) Currently, Galapagos is staying all the way on the other side of the apartment, although she is no longer hiding under the bed. She’s still letting me pet her, too, so she’s not blaming me for the new cat’s presence. At least, not yet.

It’s going to be a long time before Olympia lets me pet her, though. She doesn’t even want me putting my hand in the carry case. Right now I’m more concerned that she won’t leave the case to eat anything, but I’ve been assured that cats won’t starve themselves to death. She’ll eat, I simply may not see it happen.

Speaking of eating, Galapagos is going to have to come closer to the office door eventually, because we moved her food dishes there. All part of our nefarious plan to get them used to each other.

It’s always an adventure here at Chez Kaufmann. Alas, very little work is getting done on New Kitty Day.

Alexa’s First Half Marathon

Alexa ran 13.1 miles this morning in the More Magazine + Fitness Magazine Women’s Half Marathon in Central Park! It was her very first half marathon, and I couldn’t be prouder!

We spent Saturday in a pre-race sign-making arts and crafts session.

This is Alexa all suited up for the race at oh-God-early-o’clock this morning. You can’t see the clock on the microwave behind her, but its numbers would make no rational sense anyway. THAT’S HOW EARLY IT WAS!

Here I am cheering Alexa on with one of the more popular signs we made. Lots of passing runners gave it the thumbs-up, laughed, and/or told me it was great. Some even stopped to take pictures. I’m glad I could give people a few smiles during that grueling final stretch.

After the race, Alexa received a medal! Here she is Hulking out with her friend and coworker Laura, who ran the race with her.

It was a great day, and Alexa was amazing! She won’t admit it, but I think she’s totally hooked on races now. I’m certainly hooked on cheering for her!

More of my pictures from the big race can be seen here.

 

 

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