Deadgirl is sick!

Deadgirl is one sick movie. And I mean that in a good way. I think.

Synopsis: Two high school losers (who look 25, by the way) find a shackled dead girl in the basement of an abandoned mental institution (one of my favorite settings). So what do the boys do?

Rape her, of course. Or one of them does, at least. And he brings more horny boys to the party and before you know it it's a gang bang.

But the dead girl is undead. It's unclear if she's a zombie or a demon, but she's definitely supernatural, because she can't be killed. They shoot and choke her and she just won't die. And when she bites off some jock's dick, he becomes undead too (after losing all of his guts). So I'm going with zombie, though it's never stated. She certainly looks and acts like a zombie.

Deadgirl takes viewers to a lot of dark places. It's disturbing, for sure, but what I liked is how it interrogates male power, rape, peer pressure, and misogyny rather than privileging it. At no point do you root for the boys--even though the deadgirl is clearly an "evil" cannibal-animal creature who--if unleashed on the world--would wreak havoc. The boys are in the wrong and impossible to sympathize with. They're stupid, ruled by sex and each other.

Deadgirl is not for everyone. It's difficult to watch at times even though it isn't that violent or gory--you don't see much, but you imagine. I cringed and I am a seasoned horror fan. Heck, I even enjoy torture porn. But the continual abuse of deadgirl hurt because there is so much violence against women in real life. Too many women do get raped.

At its core, the movie is a morality tale, a social commentary. And that's what the best zombie movies do, ask questions about society. In this case, the question is: what would you do if there was no one watching and no consequences? The answer is depressing. Seems like everyone, all males at least, would turn into pervert rapists.

On a side note--I don't want to spoil the ending, but let's just say it was unsatisfying and completely implausible! ACCCK.
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Oooh Cher, Dat's Some Good Cookin

I'm here in the Bayou for a gar conference in Thibodaux. First order of business was to visit one of my dearest friends, Sharon.

Sharon and I have been in a few bands together: InstruKtor, Humpback Guardian Angel and Imminent Victorians. They were all sort of the same band, though, with different names. She's so cool.

My husband was the keynote speaker for the conference and I went to his reading. He rocked, of course, and the scientists love him. They're glad to have a non-biologist spreading the gar gospel.

Today we went fishing. I was expecting to see damage from Katrina and maybe from the oil spill, but Bayou Beouf was spared. Apparently Thibodaux and Houma were too. I lived in Louisiana from 1997-2002, and the swamp was as magical and surreal as ever.

It looked untouched by those disasters--but I knew that it wasn't in some areas. New Orleans is still recovering from the hurricanes, Grand Isle and many other places from the oil. It's a region that's seen more than its share of heartache in the past five years--it's doubly heartbreaking that they could have been avoided. And we just learned, the gar population is in danger from the oil spill.

But let's end on a happy note: Cher, the food is to die for! Here's Mark eating fried alligator.
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Galley Grows Up

Some of you might remember my excitement when Galley arrived. We had a lot of fun together, Galley and me. Check it out here.

Yesterday, Galley grew up. Galley became Book. And while I was sad to see Galley leave the nest, I was also glad. Galley has wings; Galley will make Galley's own decisions. Galley will succeed on Galley's terms.

Farewell, my child. Godspeed.

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Garfish, zombies and me

Those of you who know me or who've read this blog before know that my husband, Mark Spitzer, is a gar expert. Mark has fished on television with Jeremy Wade and his book, Season of the Gar, just came out.

I'm a good wife. Supportive, even enthusiastic about Mark's obsessions. That's how I find myself going to this next week: International Network for Lepisosteid Fish Research and Management

That's right. A gar conference deep in Louisiana. Mark is the keynote speaker. And I just can't decide if I'm going to attend the 6-hour gar aging workshop or the panel on Feed Rates for Juvenile Alligator Gar! I mean, what would you do? It's a tough call.

Brains comes out on Tuesday. It's my first book. And I'll be surrounded by scientists who love and write about gar fish. But they're zombies of a sort, aren't they? Maybe I can sell a few books. At the very least, I'll get some marriage points.
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Rocking Writing Prompts

My friend and colleague Monda blogs a lot--at No Telling and Fresh Ribbon. Plus she teaches writing and is a mom and a grandma and is also the faculty adviser for the award-winning UCA journal Vortex.

As if that's not enough, her third blog, Easy Street Prompts just made Writer's Digest list of 101 Best Writer's Sites--at number 3, no less.

Monda is an inspiration, wickedly funny, an excellent hall-mate, and my hero. I'm also JEALOUS of her! Which is high praise indeed. Check out Easy Street for some rocking prompts.
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The fabulous Reading with Tequila asked me to visit her blog this week--and so I did! Read about how to distinguish mindless from mindful zombies. It could save your life.

Comment with your favorite zombie movie or book and win a free, yes, that's right, free copy of Brains.

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A Trailer for Brains

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How do you say wine?

Toad Suck Buck's is on the Arkansas River--the view on the top of the hill is lovely and there are old graves with Bucks buried in them (according to the tombstones). The restaurant itself, however, is a bit of a shack with a concrete floor, pool tables, shuffleboard and delicious salty steaks.

I went there last night and had a real lesson in Southese. I'm from New Jersey, so there are quite a few things I don't understand about the local dialect, as the following conversation demonstrates.

Me: I'll have the house cabernet.

Waitress brings me a chardonnay.

Me: Oh, I'm sorry, I said cabernet.

Waitress: I know, honey. This is it. Chardonnay. It's white.

Me: !

Waitress: The red we have is the mar-lay.

My friend (a champion white wine drinker): No problem. I'll take the white.

Me: Well, if you don't have any cabernet, I guess I'll take the merlot.

Waitress, with hand on hip: We only have mar-lay. You want that?

Me: Yes, please.

After dinner we played shuffleboard and I ordered a PBR, because it's pronounced the same in any region. P-B-R!
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Toad Suck's Stuck on a Truck

It's come and gone once again, as reliable as the azaleas and right around the time the honeysuckle starts to perfume the air.

Toad Suck's Stuck on a Truck contest. Twenty contestants, forty hands, one truck. Last person standing wins.

This is not a new event. It was immortalized in Hands on a Hard Body, the great documentary about a similar contest in Texas.

But we've got our own right here in Arkansas. It's held during our annual Toad Suck Daze festival. I went Saturday night. I'll admit: I was a little tipsy. I'd been to a Kentucky Derby party, watched a line of storms descend on Central Arkansas, felt fear when the tornado sirens went off, contemplated hiding in the shower, but then realized the party was in a converted concrete factory, so was secure. During a break in the torrential rain, I headed downtown. It was my only chance to eat a corn dog, a fried Oreo, alligator on a stick and funnel cake.

Despite the weather, the Stuck on a Truck pavilion was packed. It was at 58 hours and the contestants were getting loopy, but no one was hallucinating yet. It was tense, humid, thick with rain and the pressure from the storms. There were still a lot of contestants on that truck.

Stuck on a Truck is either about great athletic endurance or tremendous stupidity. It's either about materialism or asceticism. There's denial involved--this year's winner went 91 hours without sleep--but it's all to win a Ford F150, which negates the spiritual transcendence. I'm not sure anyone got any closer to the divine over the weekend. But they sure do look like they're praying.

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Brains on sale now!

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