Saturday, August 15, 2009

My Faith in Zombie Movies Has Been Renewed

Just when you think there's never anything new to see, as far as movies go...there are remakes of old movies and TV shows, sequels, prequels, and books turned into's all just the same old rehashing, right? And considering I actually prefer the typical American pop culture machine when it comes to movies, I've found a new movie.

It's about Nazi soldier zombies. And gosh, their uniforms held up so nicely all this time!

No, seriously...Nazi soldier zombies set in modern day. Dead Snow, also known by it's Norwegian name, Død Snø, came out earlier this spring. I just read something about it last week and was intrigued immediately so I had to find it. And I love a good zombie movie. It's such a new and original take on a film genre that's been around since the 1930's. Wendy Bock of Associated Content reported the first zombie movie was made in 1932.

"In 1932, Victor Halperin directed "White Zombie" with a cast of Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, Joseph Cawthorn, Robert Frazer, John Harron, and Brandon Jurst. Lugosi plays voodoo master Murder Legendre who turns people into zombies. The first on-screen zombie in this film was actor John Peters. The zombie that the title "White Zombie" refers to is the character Madeline, played by Madge Bellamy."

But back to Dead Snow. Here's the synopsis, so you might want to stop reading now if you might want to see this movie. The movie moves forward to eight medical students on Easter vacation. [Think Grey's Anatomy Meets Jason Vorhees.] They stop at a small cabin near Øksfjord. They drink, party, and have sex until a mysterious hiker arrives. He tells them the dark history of the region; during World War II, a platoon of Nazis led by the dreaded Colonel Herzog occupied the area. The Nazis abused and tortured the local people, stealing all their gold. The citizens finally managed to stage an uprising. The surviving Nazis, including Colonel Herzog, were chased into the mountains. It was assumed that the Nazis all froze to death.

Afterwards, the students find an old wooden box filled with gold. Before they can celebrate, they see an army of Nazi zombie soldiers lurching through the snow towards them. The Nazis have come back to life for their gold. The students know their only chance to survive is to fight the zombies and get to their car to escape. The students arm themselves with a chainsaw and other weapons, and fight the zombies.

I have to say, this movie rocked. Wikipedia described it as a Norwegian comedy zombie film and that's pretty accurate but its more horror than comedy. There was a great tool shed scene and a zombie showdown scene that seemed like it might have been done in homage to Shaun of the Dead. The whole rest of the movie felt like a great George Romero zombie film crossed with the first Friday the 13th.

There are a couple of reasons why I think this movie worked so well. For one, it doesn't seem to follow the typical modern day pattern for horror movies. It doesn't rely on the same kind of psychological horror that movies like Saw and Hostel do. This flows along more like horror movies of the 70's and 80's, when the killer just killed, and you didn't know the whole story as to why. You think you do, but when the movie ends, you realize you might not know it all after all.

And I have to admit, Dead Snow has the most interesting use of a zombie's intestines that I've ever seen.

But beyond the reasons as to why it works, Dead Snow has the most DISGUSTING scenes EVER to take place in a cabin's outhouse, and that's all I'm going to say about that. Just don't eat when you're watching those scenes. You'll know them when the first scene starts.

I do have to nitpick here for just a the big face off between the zombies and the students, I think I saw a couple of the zombies "killed" in ways that wouldn't necessarily kill them "in real life." Everyone that's ever seen any movie knows that to kill a zombie, you have to destroy the head and brain, or cut their heads off. I think I saw a couple of the soldiers drop dead and they weren't beheaded.

Earlier today, I was trying to come up with some other movie that I could compare Dead Snow to, in terms of the originality of it, because I'm a movie nerd and I was that impressed with it. The closest I could come was Wicked, the Broadway musical. I saw the traveling version of Wicked earlier this spring. And I do realize that Wicked was actually a book first, but either way, I loved Wicked because it was such an incredible prequel to a story everyone knows: The Wizard of Oz. It's almost like I can't fully describe Dead Snow, it's like something to see, but the story has raised the bar for future zombie movies.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Just For Women Career Event" Came Across Like a Flop

I attended the "Just For Women Career Event" in Norfolk at the Ted Constant Convocation Center on Aug. 12. I didn't expect to come home with a job or even an interview lined up, but I thought it would be a good way to do some networking, press a little flesh and hand out some resumes. My plan was to do any needed follow-ups the next day. Yeah, too bad it didn't go as I thought it would.

This career fair was presented by CareerConnection, so I had good feelings about it. There have really been some kick ass jobs listed on CareerConnection and I was looking forward to it. It started at 10 AM and I got there at 10:15. I didn't wait until the end of the day to get there, and I was dressed professionally.

The Ted has a lot of space so I was expecting a good number of participating employers. There were only 26, plus 2 tables (1 had a table top display of job postings and the other had a guy with a laptop that was online, so you could look at jobs there) just for CareerConnection. There was even an electronic kiosk for CareerConnection. It really felt like CareerConnection was more interested in it's own hype. No offense, but I have internet access at home. I can look at those same jobs online here. I don't need to go to a job fair to look at the exact same info in the exact same format.

I was really disappointed by the number and range of the participating employers. I liked seeing the local fire and police departments there, as they recruit peridocially for women and minorities anyway, but those so aren't jobs for me. The Army also had a few people there. That was another career not for me.

Overall, I've seen better jobs and employers listed on CareerConnection. Where they hell were they at today? There were empty booths and open spots there. The Ted apparently didn't sell out their spots for today.

The worst thing about this "job fair" (and I use the term loosely) was the fact that every employer I talked to (and I won't mention names) all said the same thing. We'd talk about open positions and what kind of overall work they do. I'd ask about one specific position and they'd say, "I can take your resume today, but you have to go online to apply there. The resume won't do anything for you now, but I'll be more than happy to take it for you." People were handing over their resumes left and right, eager to waste their paper and then go online and do it all over again.

Uhhhhh, WTF??? I'm supposed to give you the resumes I printed out on my husband's dime so you can take them back to your office and toss them? Why are you even participating in the job fair? There were employers and schools there that only had a sign and a stack of business cards with them at their booth and nothing else. No flyers, no brochures, way to really sell yourselves.

Another really annoying thing about this was the amount of swag the employers were giving out, which in and of itself is no big deal, but how many times was I going to have my place in line cut by some bimbo who only wants to get a free keychain??? And there's no decent, professional way to address these women, so I grit my teeth and went with it, even when these broads were getting to talk to the employers before me.

I should have known this job fair wasn't for me. As soon you walked into the Ted, you were under seige by companies that wanted you to sell their make-up, their food containers and hand painted glasses, or learn how to do hair. That's a little insulting, even for a women's job fair, but for the most part, this truly felt like a JOB FAIR and not a CAREER FAIR. I'm a woman looking to work on my career in a geographic area that is loaded with military wives. So ladies, since you're possibly only going to be here for a few years, let's not get you too far up the corporate ladder.

The sad thing, in the end, is that I guess I haven't learned my lesson yet. There's another job fair coming up later in the fall that I'll probably go to, if I haven't found employment then. It's not another woman's event. I'm staying away from those. I might as well go...I've got a stack of unused resumes here to give out. Maybe the next fair will be better.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Best News To Come Out of Va Beach Since....I Don't Know When

"Brainstorming how to replace the city's run-down animal shelter has hit a new high, but progress remains elusive," reported Aaron Applegate in The Virginian-Pilot on August 11. "The sheriff says inmate labor could renovate a vacant big box store into a new city pound, maybe at the former Kmart on Holland Road."

Well, hot diggity damn, it looks like the Va Beach City Council has a damn fine idea on the table. I believe that where the shelter is located now is actually on Va Beach Police Department property. Once the new shelter has been finished and everyone has been moved in, get the old shelter torn down. I'm sure the VBPD would be able to use that property for training or other purposes. The land doesn't have to go to waste.

I really hope they move forward with it for a few reasons:
  • Va Beach Animal Control is in dire need of replacement and the city just can't swing a brand new building right now. (I've been is kind of a dreary place, but the employees and volunteers there are doing the best they can with what they have. And if they can get a new facility with better drainage and plumbing, this is going to help animals in the long run to stay healthier.)

  • Revamping a currently empty, already existing building could be the quickest (and possibly, the greenest) way to create a new facility for Va Beach Animal Control. And in all honesty, if the shelter can move into another building, maybe it will get them a little closer into town. It seems like quite a haul to get out there. Maybe more people will go to adopt from them if they were in a new location.

  • In the short run, starting work on this might educate the general public about parvo, and how it can be a hard thing to treat. The shelter had an outbreak of it in March of this year. It's a difficult virus to deal with, especially in a shelter. And unfortunately, the bad stuff is what people want to talk about, not about parvo outbreaks that happen other places too. That outbreak will be rehashed again in the media at some point.

  • Why shouldn't some local inmates, those that aren't violent offenders, be able to do some of the work? If the city of Va Beach has to pay to house, feed and care for them, then let them do some work to pay back the city. They shouldn't be getting a free ride while they are locked up.

  • With the economy the way that it is, it makes more sense for the city to take over an empty building. Right off hand, there's the Circuit City building on Independence; what about the old Dell place on Va Beach Blvd (I think that whole strip mall might be empty, near the Bill's Flea Market lot). The article mentions the old K-Mart on Holland Road and the empty Farm Fresh in Centerville. How many other buildings are sitting vacant, looking like abandoned eyesores? I'm sure, from a practical point of view, that local inmates wouldn't be able to do all the work themselves, so the city would have to hire some people, which is good for local employees that need jobs. Shoot, make the shelter bigger than it currently is, and you might have to hire more employees...another bonus!

  • Aside from the possibility of a tax increase to pay for this, this is a money making entity for Va Beach, albeit somewhat of a smaller revenue source. From the shelter's own website:Adoption Prices: Altered dogs $25, Altered cats $20, Unaltered dogs $75, Unaltered cats $70, All other companion animals $15

  • I suppose that if the city pours an extreme amount of money into the new shelter, then adoption prices might have to be raised. But in all honesty, $20-25 for a spayed or neutered animal sounds like a hell of a good price to me. I am adoption is the only way to buy love. But then again, you can't beat what the SPCA is doing...WVEC reported there are so many cats and kittens at the Va Beach SPCA is offering free adoptions with some guidelines.

    "Mayor Will Sessoms says maybe the city can partner with the local chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to build a new shelter and share services." I hope Mayor Sessoms isn't talking for the sake of a soundbite, considering according to "...Sharon Adams, SPCA executive director...conversations with the city are 'very fluid,' she said. 'Nobody's agreed to anything or talked money.'"

    The city of Va Beach needs to treat their animal control shelter like the investment it is. One way or another, Va Beach needs to find a way to make this work out for Animal Control, and in this case, it's going to require the city to spend some money on it. This is not a business or a charity that's bleeding money. Their current building has served it's purpose and needs to be replaced. Animal Control is not just about adopting out animals that have been turned in, or picking up strays. "The mission of the Virginia Beach Bureau of Animal Control is to balance the health, safety and welfare needs of the people and animals in our City.

    "Our mission is accomplished by working with our citizens and other animal welfare organizations; by enforcing the domestic animals laws of our Commonwealth and our City, providing educational programs and humanely providing care, nourishment and a safe environment for the unwanted, stray, abused and abandoned animals in our City.

    "We will educate the public about responsible companion animal ownership, aggressively investigate animal cruelty cases, find homes for the homeless animals and humanely euthanize the unwanted animals in our community."

    Sunday, August 9, 2009

    My Happy Thought For the Day

    One of my favorite guilty pleasures is Cute Overload. Some days, the submissions are better than others. Today was one of those great days.

    I could have fallen out of my chair at these two pictures. "“Koda” the mini horse was ALSO born a dwarf. Apparently, she’s so small, 'Koda is so small that he is often mistaken for a battery-operated soft toy.'"

    Can you say, GIMMEE!!!!I want to lay down on the floor, kicking and screaming like an angry toddler, until someone gives me that tiny pony. I'll love him and hug him and stroke him and call him George. How can you NOT love that little pony face??? This little puddin's probably got a fabulous little life because she's so adorable. Seriously, that round little belly just did me in. That's almost too much cute in one creature. She should be imaginary.