Sunday, November 30, 2008


Yeah, that’s right, I said it. Uncle. It is – unbelievably, the 30th day of November and that translates to the last day; nay – the last few moments of National Novel Writing Month are upon us. Time waits for no novelist. To claim victory for NaNoWriMo, a writer has to pass the finish line by midnight on 11/30/08 with a word count of 50,000 words. My particular NaNo, “The November Project”, clocks in at 19,172 so far; that’s 30,828 words too short to claim victory.

Such is life.

I will not trouble you with excuses. You either have 50K or you don’t. So I will not even go there. I won’t begin to tell you of the emergencies at work, the Wednesday night Bible studies, the Thursday night choir practices, the unfortunate discovery of a social networking site, and the, ever-present, things I must do to pass go list. No, I will not stoop so low. Someone once said concerning excuses, “Your friends don’t need them and your enemies will never believe them.” Such behavior would be beneath me. I’m a writer after all.

What to do? WHAT TO DO?

I gotta tell ya, I’ve really liked the progress that the characters have made thus far. They are still speaking to me and, therefore, I don’t mind recording what they are saying to me on my word processor. I’ve got about six solid chapters and I want to complete their story.

You know, I think I will. Hey, why not?

So there we have it. The tenth anniversary of NaNoWriMo was not a crossing of the finish line for yours truly but it was, as always, a joy. I still highly recommend you joining NaNoWriMo next year, Gentle Reader. As I have said in the past, misery loves company.

Look out November 2009 – I’m coming for YOU!


This weekend I had the distinct pleasure of discovering a toy and comic shop not all that far from the Chicken’s Coop. A friend of mine has been trying to get me to go but every time that I went, they were closed. I have impeccable timing.

Well, it just so happens that my friend and I had been working on my truck’s alternator, (mostly my friend since I have NO IDEA how to work on an internal combustion engine) and, as we were driving by, we saw that IT’S A TOY STORE was open. We turned around and had a look see.

I’m glad that we did.

Gentle Reader, if you have poked around these pages for any time you know that I am a bit of a Geek. No, that’s not right, I’m a GEEK. …No, that’s not right either – I’m an UBER-GEEK. Yeah, that’s about right.

Well if you are a bit of a Geek, a Geek or an UBER-GEEK, you will absolutely love IT’S A TOY STORE. It’s a toy/comic shop inside of a house in Richland, NJ. You’ll be able to see the eight foot tall Incredible Hulk on the outside if they are open. If you happen to see the Hulk pull in and check them out. The whole place is also a museum. Waves of nostalgia will smack you from all sides when you see all that they have on display. I’ve been looking for a Spinner from Blade Runner and a TARDIS too (I know that they would work well with the Fengshui of the computer room – Evil Chicken HQ) and have a sneaky suspicion that I could probably find what I’m looking for right here in Richland.

I picked up a card on the way out. IT’S A TOY STORE is located at 1256 Harding Highway (Route 40) in Richland, NJ 08350. They are open on Thursday and Friday from 12:00 – 6:00, on Saturday from 11:00 – 7:00 and Sunday from 12:00 – 4:00. Their number is 856-697-1348. They specialize in “New & Vintage Toys and Comics.” They, “Buy, Sell and Trade Toys.” The place will make you remember a simpler time and that can be a beautiful thing.

The visit is worth the trip.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

MP3 Shuffle

I just opened my cell phone and hit the menu for my “Music Library”. I’ve got about two gigs of music stored there. I am going to hit the “shuffle” button and list the first baker’s dozen of songs.


Once again, Gentle Reader, you have asked a fine and poignant question. The only answer that I can come up with, at such short notice, is why not?

So here we go.

1. The Kinks, “Destroyer”
2. Chess, “One Night in Bangkok”
3. Jimmy Buffett, “Nautical Wheelers”
4. The Hooters, “Karla with a K”
5. Jimmy Buffett, “He Went to Paris”
6. Alice Cooper, “Poison”
7. Dan Zanes, “Loch Lomand”
8. Adam Ant, “Goody Two Shoes”
9. The Grateful Dead, “Hell in a Bucket”
10. Duran Duran, “the Chauffer”
11. The Smithereens, “The Blues Before and After”
12. Pete Townsend, “Give Blood”
13. Tom Petty, “House in the Woods”

So there you have it. So what’s playing on your MP3 Player / Ipod?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I thank the Lord. I thank my wife, I thank my kids, I thank friends and family old & new, I thank that guy who let me out of the Wawa parking lot to get out into the right lane of traffic, I thank the ever-present challenges and shear cliff walls that are placed in my path on a daily basis – that make me a better man than I would be without, I thank the makers of Ben & Jerry’s, I thank the heater for not breaking down yet this year, I thank the roof for not leaking, I thank the wireless keyboard that I use to type assorted stuff with, I thank NaNoWriMo – although I will not be crossing the finish line on time this year, I thank the dog; Kenji, for going to the bathroom outside, I thank you Dreamfields Low Carb Pasta – mac & cheese really rocked with you this year, I thank what was, what is, and what will be, and I thank YOU Gentle Reader.

I hope you’ve had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

D.B. Cooper – Where Are You?

Yesterday (11/24/08) marked the 37th anniversary of the disappearance of the hijacker D.B. Cooper. Wikipedia, my favorite second brain, states the following; “D. B. Cooper (aka Dan Cooper) is an alias of an aircraft hijacker who, on November 24, 1971, after receiving a ransom payout of US $200,000, jumped from the back of a Boeing 727 as it was flying over the Pacific Northwest of the United States somewhere over the Cascade Mountains, possibly over Woodland, Washington. His body was never found, and only $5,880 of the ransom has been recovered.” For full details on Mr. “Cooper” see:

The FBI does not believe that he survived but his body and parachute have never been found. Wiki goes on to say that this case has baffled government and private investigators alike. The unsolved nature of the crime and the idea that he may have gotten away with it continue to intrigue and beguile. There have been clues but no answers. “…Despite the case's enduring lack of evidence, a few significant clues have arisen. In late 1978 a placard containing instructions on how to lower the aft stairs of a 727, later confirmed to be from the rear stairway of the plane from which Cooper jumped, was found just a few flying minutes north of Cooper's projected drop zone. In February 1980, eight-year-old Brian Ingram found $5,880 in decaying $20 bills on the banks of the Columbia River.”

I’m not defending a guy who hijacks an airplane; especially in a post 9/11 world but there is something to be said about the elegant simplicity of his plan and how it was executed. If he pulled it off this was a work of pure genius. For his efforts, his success and his disappearance, D.B. Cooper has been rewarded with counter culture folk hero status (see: It's been said, “There is no such thing as the perfect crime.” While that may be true D.B. Cooper just might be the exception to that rule.

All the best Mr. Cooper, wherever you are.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

AC/DC or For Those About to Rock – We Salute You

Mr. Brian Johnson is 61 years old. Mr. Angus Young is 53 years old. Evil Chicken was given a ticket to the AC/DC concert tonight due to his pending 40th birthday. Let me just say, we all had a blast tonight. Mother Hen had given me this premature birthday gift and God bless her for it.

Oh, what a night.

I traveled to Philadelphia PA, on 11/17/08 to see AC/DC, with three other gentleman of similar age and interest. We are friends and have known each other since Hector was a pup and it truly was an honor to share the experience with them since much of the music pertains to our own developmental milestones. In other words, we grew up with AC/DC. There has never been a band that has kicked high-knee on such a level as AC/DC.

Bottom line.

The guitarmanship that I witnessed tonight was simply uncompromising. Unbelievable. I’m just pleased that I saw it happen before my eyes. Angus has secured his place in the Valhalla of guitar gods; seriously. The original lineup was wonderful to see too. And I must say, Mr. Brian Johnson was in amazing form. It appears that the band has decided to collect the cream from top of their concert performances over the years and give it directly to the fans; we saw, the inflatable Rosie, Hell’s Bell, and Angus’s striptease during “The Jack”.


Please, let it be known, I enjoy the whole concert experience. I love seeing artists perform in the medium in which they choose. I find musicians and interesting breed of artist. The gifts that they bring are reproducible, to a certain degree, but must fully be appreciated LIVE – and by those who wrote and are displaying their efforts. For musicians, their art is an act; and, oh what an act it can be. For AC/DC, it is an affirmation.

With our backsides literally kicked from what we had witnessed, we paused to watch the sold out crowd disperse. We took a couple of pictures with our cell phones to save the moment but we know that, in all actuality, this will probably be the last time that the band will tour. So for Brian Johnson, Cliff Williams, Phil Rudd, Malcolm, and Angus Young – you have ROCKED and we salute you.

The goofy similes on our faces will stay there for weeks to come. We have seen art in motion and in sound and we ate it up. Past, present, and future collided on stage tonight at the Wachovia Center in Philly. I’m just happy to have been a part of it. If you get the chance and if you are so inclined, go see AC/DC. See them now because the Rock and Roll Train can not last forever.

I promise that you will not be disappointed.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Zombie Fans?

I must admit, here for you now, that two – possibly three of the Evil Chicken clan are and always will be ZOMBIE FANS.


Zombies; you know, the undead? The topic, their place in storytelling (in movies and literature), game play, and folklore always get our attention.

“Whose attention?”

Ours; Chick 1.0’/Bad Wolf's and, mine, Evil Chicken’s. We dig Zombies here at the Chicken Coop. So it was with great joy that I read this here: Feel free, read it over.

So there you have it and just so you know, Marc Forster has been announced to be the director for Max Brooks, “World War Z” for Brad Pitt’s company, Plan B. Mr. Forster is a pretty decent story teller, in fact you can go this weekend to see the newest James Bond movie, “Quantum of Solace” and see some of his handiwork for yourself.

Chick 1.0, as a testament to my parenting skills, is a Zombie Nut. She loves them any way she can get them. Trust me, when the Zombie Uprising happens, you will want her in your corner. Any way, she and I were talking after dinner and I told her that a director has been chosen and that Mr. Brad Pitt’s company, Plan B, is producing. She’s ecstatic, she knows that the story is in good hands BUT she asks, “Are they going to have Max Brooks and the interviewer?” I had to tell her that I didn’t know. “He’s gotta be the interviewer! The way he writes prose… he’s gotta be the guy.”

Ah, from the mouths of babes.

You know what? She’s right. Max Brooks, the son of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft NEEDS to be “The Interviewer” in this film. Seriously. If you have had the chance to read the book or listen to the audio version you will understand. Come to think of it some of the other actors from the audio book version could be used too; Alan Alda, Henry Rollins, Mark Hamill, John Turturro, and Rob Reiner would truly be feathers in the cap for this production. Really. If you have not read it, check it out. Mr. Max Brooks had done a pretty amazing job of making the unreal real. The beauty is watching humanity’s response to the crisis and that is where Mr. Brooks shines.

We can’t wait to see this play out on the big screen. I know that Chick 1.0 and I will be there.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The New Enterprise

Here’s a look at the new Enterprise from J.J. Abram’s new Star Trek movie. Entertainment Weekly had the shot and now, you too have seen it, Gentle Reader.

The Star Trek 11 trailer is attached to “Quantum of Solace” the new James Bond film. Now I’ve got two reasons to go to the theater; Trek & Bond.

BTW, Daniel Craig is an amazing James Bond. I had my doubts before seeing “Casino Royal” but I was wrong. I hope that he’s the man for the foreseeable future.

I’m falling incredibly far behind in my word count due to simply unbelievable circumstances that have cropped up. Oh well, keep typing – hack now, edit later.

See you at the movies.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Here’s a Quick Couple of Things

Thing 1: Pretty historic election year, no? It was very cool indeed. While I did not vote for either McCain of Obama (I’m independent and voted accordingly – what can I say, I believe that there should be more than two generic parties representing the whole of American society) you just can’t let this moment in time pass by without saying something. One of the best quotes I heard concerning the results of the election came from an African American man on the streets of Philly. He said, “I can now look into my children’s eyes and finally say that they can be anything that they want to be.” How amazing is the weight of that sentence? Although I didn’t vote for Obama I do stand behind our President Elect and wish him (and all of us for that matter) a prosperous four to eight years.

Thing 2: Michael Crichton passed away earlier this week. Wikipedia says the following about Mr. Crichton, “(October 23, 1942 – November 4, 2008) was an American author, film producer, film director, medical doctor, and television producer best known for his science fiction and techno-thriller novels, films, and television programs. His books have sold over 150 million copies worldwide. His works were usually based on the action genre and heavily feature technology. Many of his future history novels have medical or scientific underpinnings, reflecting his medical training and science background. He was the author of The Andromeda Strain, Congo, Disclosure, Rising Sun, Timeline, State of Fear, Prey, and Next. He was also the creator of ER, but most famous for being the author of Jurassic Park, and its sequel The Lost World, both adapted into high grossing films and leading to the very successful franchise.” For yours truly, I loved Jurassic Park, Eaters of the Dead, and Timeline; great reads all. If you haven’t read him, put him on your list. I recommend that you start with Jurassic Park. If your only experience with the story is seeing the movie then you are in for a treat.

Thing 3: I need to get back to writing this month’s novel for NaNoWriMo (see previous post or click on the link to the left). Due to circumstances unforeseen by this writer my word count is falling behind and I should be hacking away at unresolved plot points.

I’ll talk to you later, Gentle Reader; I must now apply nose to grindstone.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Gentle Reader

It’s on NOW, baby; NaNoWriMo that is! I’ve slipped from being a casual observer into a participant. Since I’ll be primarily writing a novel in November I wanted to just jot down a few things here at Chicken Scratch before I hang my “Do Not Disturb” sign on the computer room door.

Thing 1. Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday. I don’t care who you vote for but I like to pretend that voting still matters and I believe that the more people who share this delusion there are the better. Democracy – or at least something akin to it, wins.

Thing 2. Guy Fawkes Day. “Remember, remember the fifth of November…” from Gunpowder, Treason and Plot. For any readers in London, try not to blow off any fingers or Parliament Buildings during the celebration.

Thing 3. Veteran’s Day. Thank a vet. They put everything on the line to serve our country so that people like us can actually practice stuff like free speech, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Thing 4. Thanksgiving. I love this holiday. It’s not too commercial, it’s not gaudy, it’s just a time to pause and reflect on just how good we have it. Even now, with all of the troubles and woes that face us, there is so much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving.

Thing 5. Black Friday. In my mind’s eye I can see the people lined up waiting to grab up that sale price. This will be interesting this year concerning consumer spending. We shall see what we shall see.

Thing 6. Gas Prices. I put $20.00 in the gas tank today and it gave me almost 3/4ers of a tank of gas! I’d still love to be off the stuff – oil, that is. Dependency is a dangerous thing.

Thing 7. Playstation 3 vs. the X-box 360. Which is the system to get? We’ve got a Nintendo Wii and love it but there are a few games coming out (namely Resident Evil 5) that we just can’t play on the Wii. What to do…? The PS3 has a Blue Ray player built in while the X-box has titles like, “Halo” and “Fable 2” in it’s stable. Time to hit the lottery.

Thing 8. National Novel Writing Month. November has just started and there is still time for YOU to start writing YOUR novel. As I’ve said before, misery loves company.

So there you have it, a whole month of blogging condensed for your reading pleasure. Oh I’ll be dropping in from time to time, I’m sure, but this month a noveling I will go.

Yours truly & see you soon,

Evil Chicken