The Walking Dead Kill Count Infographic

Have you been wondering how the kill count for each season of the hit AMC show The Walking Dead has stood up with each other? Curious as to how many zombies have been dispatched via blunt-force trauma versus bladed weapons? Well, the good folks at The National Post have put together one of the greatest infographics I've ever seen, outlining each on-screen zombie kill, weapon used, and who committed the kill. They also show how the body counts for each season relate to each other. This must have been some tedious work, but damn, do I appreciate it!

The Walking Dead Infographic

Update: Apparently, Blogger hates long images like that, despite the hi-res that I uploaded. Click on over to the actual post here so that you can read the information.


Hitting the NaNoWriMo Goal

It's been a long, hard, grueling November. Every day after spending 8 plus hours at a job that drains the life out of me, I've come home, putzed around on the internet for twenty minutes, and set out to work. Since November 1, I have chained myself to the computer for hours on end, typing out the words that will comprise my second novel. And I'm happy to say all of the effort I've put into it has paid off as I've completed NaNoWriMo as a winner.

I started NaNoWriMo as a way to prove to myself that I could do it. Since I first learned about the event from reading No Plot? No Problem! a few years back, I was intrigued by the experiment. Writing 50,000 words in the span of 30 days sounded like an extreme undertaking, especially at that time when I never considered writing a novel myself. But even after I completed my first novel, which took me a whopping four years to complete and is still not even available (though it will be soon), the thought of writing one in a month was astounding.

But I set out to do it, and the more I wrote, the more attention I paid to it. Of course, this first draft isn't perfect. In fact, it's probably absolute shit, but it does have the makings of a good story; a decent plotline, fun characters, and plenty of action. Can I make it good? Absolutely. That's what December is for (but I think I'll be taking some time off before I jump into editing).

One of the most exciting things about crossing the finish line was getting a neat little certificate commemorating the achievement.

The whole idea of NaNoWriMo is a great encouragement to writers that feel they don't have the time to write. Finding time is one of the hardest parts of writing and NaNoWriMo teaches writers how to put those little moments to good use. While you're waiting for the coffee to finish brewing you can easily bang out 100 words, or when you get stuck at a railroad crossing on the way to work, dictate a few paragraphs into your phone. The time is there; using it wisely is the hard part.

Anyone else out there take part in NaNoWriMo? I'd love to hear who you are doing/have done. Is this your first time challenging yourself or are you a yearly participant? What do you think of your finish product? Let me know in the comments or you can email me at CautionIdiotAtPlay@hotmail.com!


A Short Sighted View of NaNoWriMo

So I was just on the can doing my morning business, browsing Facebook on my phone when this article popped into my news feed.

Monkeys With Typewriters & Why I Hate NaNoWriMo

Being waist deep in NaNoWriMo myself, I decided to check it out. While I respect the author's opinion of the event, I must say that I think he has the wrong perception of the event.

If you don't know what NaNoWriMo is, it's a month long call to arms to authors to produce a novel length word, of 50,000 words of more, within the 30 days of November. It's fast, it's frenetic, and yes, it's all about word count. A few of the novels that will be produced will be readable, but most will be utter shit. That's basically how ANYTHING goes if you've got a huge number of people rushing to complete something in a short amount of time.

One point that the author of the article and I agree on is that the majority of novels written in 30 days will not be good. Hell, my novel is a shaky read in most places. But the author then goes on to assume that, come December 1, participants of NaNoWriMo will stick a fork in the book and call it done, sending it away for publisher review and waiting for that 6-figure advance to come rolling in.

Not exactly.

Any writer worth his salt knows that a first draft is not good. Even the best ideas look terrible when jotted down for the first time. My first yet-to-be-published novel took 10 revisions before I was happy with what I had left. And even that, I feel like I can go back and revise it again. I want to create the best work possible before I put it in front of an audience.

So why does he assume that everyone who partakes in NaNoWriMo will finish on November 30? I love my novel so far; I love the idea that I had, the characters that I've molded, and the situations I've created for them. But once I hit that 50,000 word mark, I know I'm not done. I know that I need to go in there and tighten up my language, word tense, and character development.

That's how books get written.

When you build a house, you first need to lay the foundation. Then you need to erect the framework. Then you hammer in the sheet rock, build the walls, install windows, and on and on. Novel writing is no different. NaNoWriMo is a great way to encourage writers to lay that foundation, to get them started on the road to being a novel writer. Will many writers feel they're finished by the end of November? Yes, but they'll soon realize that they aren't writers. Will a lot of writers not have the persistence to go back and revise their work? Yep, but again, it weeds out the wannabes with no passion. Will some writers actually work with their book  until they can finally be proud of what they've produced? Yes, without a doubt.

To take an analogy from the writer of that author, no, pressure does not always lead to creating a diamond. However, NaNoWriMo isn't about creating diamonds. November is used to find that crusty, ugly gem that no one would dream of putting into a wedding ring. THAT'S what November is for. But once you have that gem, it will still need to be cut and polished and made beautiful, something that can be admired by everyone else. Not everyone participating in NaNoWriMo will actually do this, but to those that do, it's a great time.


Review- Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

Marvel Comics: The Untold Storyby Sean Howe
Longtime fans of Marvel Comics are no strangers to the ups and downs the company has had over the years. Whispers of editorial interference, animosity towards Stan Lee, who spent years as the face of the company, and not to mention the startup of Image Comics in the 90s, which occurred when four Marvel artists grew weary with the politics of the industry. Though this did little to stop readership throughout the times, it did make for a tumultuous history. Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, a new book by Sean Howe, details the company’s history.

Howe holds back very little in his retelling of the history of Marvel, documenting nearly everything from the early years as Timely Comics straight through to the blockbuster 2012 release of The Avengers in theaters, and the whole gamut in between. He treads carefully to avoid interjecting his own opinion on certain events, choosing to merely report on things as they happened. Though he drops a few snarky comments into the mix, such as Marvel’s fanning of the speculation fire in the 90s “comics boom”, most of the book is an objective look back at how the company did business.

Like a good comic book, Marvel Comics manages to find a few villains throughout the years. From Stan Lee in the 50s, after having to layoff a number of high profile artists who vowed never to work for Marvel again, to Jim Shooter in the 80s, whose editorial pig-headedness led to more than a few unhappy employees, to marvel itself in the 80s and 90s, who continued to OK bad ideas like “collector’s editions” comics, ignoring the very idea that good stories will sell issues. (While it didn’t seem Howe’s intention to portray these villains as such, this was the impression I got from them.) What I like best is how Howe divides the book logically, group chapters by time periods or editorial reign, similar to the way Marvel now writes for trades with clear beginnings and endings of their series.

1983 photo of Stan Lee// Photo credit: Eliot R. Brown
From the moment I first heard about Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, I was excited to pick it up. As a self-professed Marvel Zombie, I wanted to know everything I could about the company. Though I had known a lot of what I read, like the fallout between Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and…well, Stan Lee and almost anybody, I learned a few shocking tidbits. For example, the on-again, off-again relationship between Marvel and Howard the Duck creator Steve Gerber, including the legal embitterment that surround the Duck.

Much of the later years of Marvel are glossed over, with the last two decades being summarized in a few chapters. The incarnation of Image Comics is given little consideration, as is Marvel’s legal battles between Ron Perelman, who purchased Marvel in 1989, and business magnate, Carl Icahn, who had his sights set on taking over Marvel and its trademarks (however, the entirety of this story is covered thoroughly in the 2002 book Comic Wars by Dan Raviv).

From the opening page, Marvel Comics: The Untold Story is mesmerizing. Howe gets into great detail about the legacy Marvel has left behind, having interviewed a number of people who were involved with the company over the years. Even the most pain-filled moments are included, such as the lonesome death of production manager John Verpoorten in 1977. (Verpoorten’s role at Marvel wasn’t explored at length, but he made a lasting impression at the company and his death hit them hard.)

Marvel Comics: The Untold Story is a raw look at a business that has been the apple of many investor’s eyes and is known by a majority of the population. I recommend any comics fan to read this book to get a better sense of how Marvel came up through the years. I would also recommend many employees of Marvel and even DC Comics to read the book as a reminder of what worked and what didn’t. In a cyclical industry like comic books, companies are bound to make mistakes. Marvel has already made most of those mistakes and I’d hate for them to make them again. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” goes the quote from George Santayana. We can only hope that Marvel’s mistakes can help future business leaders to succeed.  


Bad-Ass Pumpkin Line-Up 2012

October is back! Well, actually, it's more than half over so I suppose I'm a little late with this. But since it's been a bit of a tradition here at Caution: Idiot At Play, I needed to do a new Bad-Ass Pumpkin Line-Up.

There are always tons of creative people creating brand new pumpkins each year. Though many of them turn out to be pretty crappy, there are quite a few that kick all kinds of ass. Here are a few that I found on this great big internet. (Feel free to revisit our past BAPLUs for more face-melting awesomeness.)

Ghostbusters & Hunger Games
A couple of simply carved yet recognizable pumpkins here. I'm a huge fan of Ghostbusters so finding this was a joy. And with the popularity of Hunger Games, there's no doubt that the Mockingjay would be coveted by millions. (Unfortunately, I don't know the carver of the Ghostbusters pumpkin so if you know who did this, let me know!)

By Ramsey The Arab

Calvin And Hobbes
Bill Waterson wasn't the kind of guy to sell his soul to the devils of advertising which is why you don't see a lot of Calvin and Hobbes merchandise everywhere. But as it's one of the most recognizable comic strips of all time, it's got a ton of fans who want to pay tribute to the imaginative young boy and his pet stuffed tiger. While it's not the iconic image of Calvin pissing on Ford or Honda or the New York Yankees, this pumpkin is a lot classier.

By 50an6xy06r6n

Raccoon Mario
Remember Super Mario Bros 3 and the joy of flying through the air after collecting the feather as Raccoon Mario? Relive that moment with this sweet, highly-detailed pumpkin.

Found on Some Girl from Canada
Iron Man
Speaking of highly detailed, you can almost feel the heat coming from the lasers on the Iron Man pumpkin. If there was ever something that epitomized "bad-ass", it's this.

Found on Techeblog

Wonder Woman
This particular pattern seems to have been done over and over but it's a very striking image. Iconic in it's delivery, it is highly recognizable and very well done.

Found on I Heart Wonder Woman

Who doesn't love Gizmo? Even despite all the rules that need to be followed to keep a pet Mogwai, I wish I had one as a kid. This particular pumpkin is carved in a less traditional way, but that doesn't stop it from oozing bad-assity. 

By Villafane Studios

Though not the first Charizard pumpkin I've featured here at C:IaP, this one is jaw-dropping. The character pose is highly dynamic and the detail is stellar. I'm a sucker for Pokemon so this one is outrageous.

Found on Techeblog


My Whovian Home

It all started with this.

When I saw that mailbox, I knew that I needed it. I don't even have a house yet, but I wanted a mailbox because, DUH. It's a TARDIS. But the more I started the think about it, the more I wanted to fashion my entire home in a Doctor Who theme. But to be honest, I wasn't sure where to even start.

Good thing I have the internet.

Almost everywhere I went, I was given ideas on how to Doctor Who up my future home. The next one that I found was a backyard shed, complete with a stand-alone Dalek.

I'm not sure what I would need the shed for. Maybe a lawnmower and my fiance's planters and crap like that. But if I have enough room in the backyard for a shed, you better believe it's going to be a TARDIS shed.

So far I’ve got only the outside of my house covered. So what about the inside? Considering how many books I own and how little space I have to store them, I need to think about ways to maximize the space. So finding this online was a miracle.

What I love about this is the way the doors swing open. It really makes seem bigger on the inside, which is, of course, important for a TARDIS. I was hoping that the person that made it would have included instructions or something so that I can find someone to build it for me, but no such luck. If anyone wants to fill this in, feel free to email me.

Along the same lines as that book cabinet, someone decided to turn it into something more appropriate for grown-ups. A TARDIS liquor cabinet. I can just see this sitting in my house filled with bottles of rum, vodka, and Verdi. Though it does seem to be a lot of wasted space so it might be important to add a few extra shelves in there.

But finally, I stumbled on this over on Think Geek the other day. A TARDIS trashcan! While I don’t like the idea of throwing garbage away in a TARDIS, I do like the design and can totally see this sitting in the corner of one of my rooms.

And this is just the beginning! Think of everything else I can do, like paint my front door like the TARDIS. Hell, I can even paint my WHOLE HOUSE like a TARDIS. Just thinking about it makes me really excited to buy my own house. 


The Slippery Slope of Creating a Macro

I know it’s a little childish, but I’m a fan of macros. Love ‘em. Especially the funny ones. Like the Ermahgerd one, and Guido Jesus. Even some of the Your Ecards are humorous, at least the more offensive ones anyway. But there is a new macro that I spotted on Facebook that almost made me lose my shit.

Yes, the macro is from an idea that can into existence in 1985, paired with one from a movie from 1998. For the simplicity of math, the first is over 25 years old, the second is nearly 15 years old.

I know some people will think I should calm down. After all, it’s just an innocuous image of a screencap from Nintendo’s Duckhunt transposed with a shot of John Goodman from The Big Lebowski holding an orange NES zapper, making reference to his "Am I the only one around here who gives a shit about the rules?" line. It’s nothing to get upset about.

Maybe you’re right, but it still annoys me. Why? Because this macro was made by some kid that was born in the late 90s, at least 15 years after this game was popular, and thinks he’s clever because he played Duckhunt on Nintendulator and truly believes that no one has ever felt that way before. The sad part? Anyone who ever had an original NES, and knows the irritation of having to blow into the game cartridge in order to get it to play properly, has always wanted to shoot that fucking dog!

This macro would be like me, who was born in 1980, making a macro image of Neil Armstrong on the moon, and asking “Did anyone else expect him to do the moonwalk?” It’s ridiculous because I wasn’t alive when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, so for me to have any expectations of the event is just nonsensical. (There’s also the fact that the moonwalk wasn’t around yet either, which is just as idiotic.)

I don’t want to discourage anyone from creating macros. A vast majority of them are absolute shit, but there are quite a few that are really funny. But can we at least not create macro images that are so completely outdated that most of society can’t relate to them?

And now, just to liven the mood, I leave you with this, which will one day become outdated but is currently relevant, which makes it funny…


Really people? A Resse Witherspoon Death Hoax?

This is probably the biggest example of the stupidity of humanity.


This supposed "death hoax" sprung up as a bad joke about the woman's last name. If you're unfamiliar with the joke, it goes a little something like this:

While death hoaxes about some big name celebrity are not rare (I mean, Eddie Murphy dies about once a month now), a person like Reese Witherspoon is not important enough to contrive a death hoax about. It's silly to think someone actually sat in their basement asking the question "Who should die this week?" and came up with Reese Witherspoon. I mean, if I was gonna pick a young, popular actress, I'd probably spread the rumor about Katie Holmes first. Given her marriage to Tom Cruise, it would probably be believable.


A Vacation for Rachel?

I originally posted this on my Facebook page but felt that it would be better served as a blog post.

I saw this yesterday and my only reaction was "Are you kidding me?"


This Indiegogo campaign began as a reaction to the video someone posted online showing him confronting a Chick-Fil-A employee during Wednesday's "Chick-Fil-A Appreciation day". The guy was wrong in every sense of the word and actually lost his high-paying executive job over the incident. But that's not my point.

The campaign's description begins "Rachel, an amazingly awesome and happy Chick-Fil-A employee was treated with great disrespect by a customer during Chick-Fil-A appreciation day." The harshest words she had to deal with were "I don't know how you can live with yourself working here". Disrespectful? Sure. Did she deserve it? No, especially considering the hard economic times we live in and the lengths people will go to put food on their tables at home (a point well expressed by this article). But I would bet the farm that that's FAR from the worst thing she's had to deal with. She probably takes worse abuse from customer's who've had their drink orders messed up. ("I said diet lemonade and you gave me regular! What are you, a fucking retard?!")

The last time a "vacation fund" was set up was for Karen Klein, the grandmother who was verbally abused by a bus-full of school kids. The difference there; Karen WAS abused, unlike Rachel. So this campaign to send Rachel on a vacation belittles what happened to Karen, which was far, far worse.

Shit, yesterday a customer called me a "fucking stupid-ass cracker". Do I get a vacation?

The very notion of sending Rachel on a vacation over that video is ridiculously silly and is clearly the brainchild of someone who has never worked in the service industry.


In Memory of Gary Carter

Before I ever realized the joy of geekdom, I was, believe it or not, a baseball fan. Well, I guess I can't say "fan", but I watched much more of it than I do now. Granted, my enjoyment of baseball probably stemmed from my father's love of the game. As often as he could he would pack up the family and we would head out to the stadium to watch a game. His favorite team? The New York Mets and, as an extension, they quickly became my favorite team. The era? 1986.

I saw a few games during the '86 Mets' season so I'm quite familiar with the winning team. Consisting of Keith Hernandez, Mookie Wilson, HoJo, and pre-coke Darryl Strawberry and Dwight "Doc" Gooden, the '86 Mets were a joy to watch. I didn't quite grasp all of the rules of the game, but I loved being at the field, under the sun, watching the games with my family. My favorite part of the entire experience was the giant Apple that would spring out of the top hat at the back of the field whenever a home run was hit.

My favorite player on the team was Gary Carter. When I heard of his passing last week, I was devastated. Though I haven't been a fan of baseball in years, or even thought of the man until he hit the news with word of his recent brain cancer, I was still affected emotionally by his passing. I remember the way he played with intensity, dropping to his knees to catch an errant pop-fly. He brought an excitement to the game that audiences don't see nowadays. He played for the love of the game. Sure, he probably made a good living out of it too, but he was still getting paid to do what he loved. His attitude toward the game is what earned him the nickname "The Kid".

As an 11-time All-Star, his contributions to the game of baseball are evident, as are his contributions to the New York Mets' franchise. His RBI in Game 5 of the '86 World Series brought the Mets to a win over the Houston Astors and set the stage to win the series in Game 6. Carter was often accused of being self-absorbed during his tenure with the Montreal Expos, but he didn't come off like that in the eyes of a 6-year old. All I saw was a grown man who was as excited about baseball as I was.

Gary Carter passed away on February 16, 2012 at the age of 57. His passing doesn't change my opinion of the current state of baseball, or even bring me back into the fold of being a baseball fan. I will always remember the man as a childhood idol, someone who brought me hours of entertainment and enjoyment. Though sad, death is truly a part of life, and something that everyone must deal with at some point. When the world lost Gary Carter, a part of the 6-year-old in me died as well.

R.I.P. Gary Carter, April 8, 1954 - February 16, 2012
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