Archive for the ‘Global Citizen’ Category

Team Daryl… for squirrel lovers only

Monday, December 5th, 2011

He can toss, shoot and gut pretty much any animal with the flick of a knife. He can even turn squirrel sushi into a finger-lickin’ meal. Like the animals this survivor is known to hunt, he is natural, untamed and fierce. But unlike his prey—which instinctively know their place in the food chain, and the world—he is searching, taking emotional bumps and bruises in the quest to become the person he is meant to be.

That this struggle takes place against the backdrop of a make believe zombiepocalypse doesn’t make Daryl Dixon’s journey any less enthralling to watch.

Who is Daryl Dixon? He is a character from The Walking Dead—a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman turned into one of the world’s hottest cable television shows by AMC and an insanely talented production crew. And like the tormented character of Shane Walsh for whom I’ve already expressed great affection, Daryl Dixon has an uncanny ability to pull at my heartstrings.

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Misfit continues a Tattered Journey

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

LK: First of all, I’d like to thank Juliette Terzieff for hosting the Tattered tour today because a young adult novel is a little off the grid for her normal topics. Although, once Katie gets started I think you’ll see it’s a much better fit than what you might think. One random selected commenter will win a paperback copy of Misfit McCabe along with Prince of Wolves by Dave Gross. To be entered for consideration for the Kindle grand prize comment and either Like Juliette’s Facebook page, follow her on Twitter (@jterzieff), or become a member of the Zombie Survival Crew.

Tattered is the third novel in the heartwarming young adult series, Misfit McCabe. A little about the book:

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Team Walsh…only a fool would join

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Every time I see him I am reminded of why opening up your heart to anyone is at best a calculated risk, and at worst a fool’s errand. He is strong and capable, but simultaneously tormented and weak. He is—despite his claims to the contrary—too human for his own good.

The fact that he is not really real should keep me from feeling too sad, but it doesn’t…because I am in love with Shane Walsh.

Who is Shane Walsh? He is a character from The Walking Dead—a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman turned into one of the world’s hottest cable television shows by AMC and an insanely talented production crew.

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The Thankful Dead

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011
By Yours Truly, with an assist from the other half of my brain RC Murphy

When we look at the world around us today, there is plenty to dampen our mood or scare us into near emotional paralysis. Wars. Human rights abuses. Wacky weather. Government meltdowns. Corporate greed. And all that beyond whatever may be happening for us individually at work, at home, in our relationships.

But still there is plenty to be thankful for. (Yes, tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the U.S. and we’ve purposely chosen to run with this now even though the idea has been percolating for some time.)

Anyone who knows either Renee or myself knows we are huge fans of AMC’s The Walking Dead and Commanders on the Zombie Survival Crew, so some of you may be able to guess where this is going.

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Thank you Anderson Cooper

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Had a rough week? I’ve got your cure.

I’m not going to spoil the following for you.

I will merely say thank you to CNN’s Anderson Cooper for the biggest laugh I’ve had in weeks….and happy Friday everybody!

They call me “The Pokarina”

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

For some time now I have been searching for an adequate way to explain why I disappeared from my personal blog for so long. The reason, put simply, is zombies. But somehow, that single word just doesn’t quite capture the insanity of the last few months.

******

It started back in November 2010 when I claimed I’m not crazy, but my zombie crew may be and strategized the kinds of skill sets a survivors’ crew would really need to survive the Zombieapocalypse. The response was overwhelming.

In a few short weeks, I created an official command structure and gathered a formidable force of co-Commanders that includes Norman Reedus, Jinxie G, Anthony Guajardo, Irone Singleton, RC Murphy and LK Gardner-Griffie to help lead the official Zombie Survival Crew.

Over the last few months – as the Command crew has traveled around the U.S. (and virtually around the world) to recruit crew members – we’ve been attacked repeatedly by Jason Voorhees, crossed light sabers with a half-dozen Jedis and realized that having a solid plan for a zombie infestation, earthquake or manmade disaster and the crew to back it up is something that many people take very seriously.

As a result, everyone in Command has been working like mad (on top of their normal day job responsibilities) to make the Zombie Survival Crew a space where horror fans, survivalists, authors, artists, the socially conscious and those who need some help in formulating a solid plan can come together and plan to survive.

******

It’s not easy. And it certainly generates a massive amount of stress – and, sometimes, keeps me away from my favorite little writing nook, this blog. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, I love every crazy over-caffeinated second of it! But sometimes (well, a lot of the time actually) I release some of the stress by engaging in “poke wars” with friends on Facebook.

Little did I know that all the poking would result in the most sublime assessment thus far of what my life is like as commander in chief of the Zombie Survival Crew, compliments of my poke buddy and proud Zombie Survival Crew brigade member Jennifer Curry (a.k.a. @jennlynn77).

She calls me the Pokarina and crafted the following in my honor. (Try humming the song, “Escape” …you know, The Pina Colada Song, as you read)

If you like Pina Coladas…and getting POKED in the rain…If you’re really into zombies…if you can shoot them in the brain…If you like coffee at midnight…in the light of the Con…then she’s the one that you’ve searched for…come poke her and escape. 😉

So know you all know why I’ve been so quiet around here in recent months. It was, hopefully, a temporary absence and I’m chomping at the bit (no zombie pun intended I swear) to get back to human rights, environmental topics and vampires.

But if you come knocking and I don’t appear to be around?

Well that just means I’m out slaying zombies…

The Final Trip to Hogwarts

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

I thought I was going to make it. I really did.

Yes, barring any sort of a confundus charm to dull my wits the end of Harry Potter was going to hurt. But with True Blood’s Eric Northman-heavy season heading into episode four, and filming of my other favorite television show The Walking Dead underway around Atlanta, I thought I’d make through today without shedding a tear.

Boy was I wrong. Repeatedly.

So what’s today? Premiere night for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 if you’re living under a rock …or just couldn’t make sense of the fools in cloaks gathering at your local movie theater.

Yes, this is it. The end of a decade-long fascination with the world of Harry Potter, of countless hours spent wandering the halls of Hogwarts thanks to the brilliant mind of one J.K. Rowling. And now, my mind feels as though it’s fallen victim to an evil wizard’s casting of a crucio spell. Like the spider tormented by Mad-Eye Moody (sob) in Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire I’m twitching, screaming silently, desperate for the pain to end… and yet, when the doors fly open for the midnight showings tonight I won’t be entering the theater.

A lot has been written over the last couple days about the worldwide phenomena that is Harry Potter. The series about a young wizard coming of age amidst a battle against the most evil wizard to ever live, the story of a young man forced to fight a grownup’s battle, a story of love and friendship and triumph that captured hearts worldwide. Harry Potter’s brave fight resonated across linguistic, cultural and societal barriers to unite fans around the world in Pottermania.

It was, and is,  ..well… magical.

As Chris Heller wrote for NPR, the Potter generation – those who were children when the series’ first book was published in 1995 – lived much of Harry’s experiences, identified with each growing pain, and recognized themselves in the boy wizard’s journey from awkward childhood to capable adult.

But what about the rest of us? What possible excuse could I, or any other adult, have for knowing precisely what “avada kedavra” does or why Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore never sought the coveted Minister of Magic position?

Love.

That is the true magic of Harry Potter. From the moment any of us met “The Boy Who Lived” we were smitten. As the characters of the Potterverse battled through jealousy, power struggles, discrimination, deception, self-doubt, betrayal and all the other ills that plague the human condition, love was their only true abiding hope.

So, yeah, I shed some tears today ….and I’m not ready to let go of Harry, Ron, Hermione, and least of all Severus Snape, even though I know going to the theater this weekend for “the end” is an absolute must.

But not tonight….as Muggles flock to the theater for the final battle of Hogwarts I’ll be starting (yet another) Harry Potter marathon from the very beginning and hoping, somehow, that the story doesn’t really have to end.

When Obama got Osama

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

There was a moment tonight as the news of Osama bin Laden’s death began to spread like wildfire and Wolf Blitzer and John King traded adjectives to mark the momentous, historic, memorable occasion that I was sorely tempted to break into a rendition of “Ding, dong, the witch is dead.” The thought made me giggle. The giggle made me snort. The snort made me cry.

I put out a few tweets on Twitter expressing my belief that while bin Laden’s death is an achievement, it does not end the global war against terrorism, and that I found it somewhat creepy that people were dancing around to celebrate a death.

And my tweet stream blew up.

I quickly realized that I was in a minority –that while most of my fellow Americans (at least those in my tweet stream) agree bin Laden’s death is not a complete end, most really saw nothing wrong with celebrating the death of another human being.

The fact that I found the death chants creepy unleashed a rather spirited debate with my fellow Tweeters.

I was harangued, unfollowed and insulted by several people who called me a few rather interesting names because I was unwilling to break into song over the death of a mass murderer.

Yes, bin Laden was evil. Yes, bin Laden had the blood of thousands on his hands. Yes, he cared nothing for the countless lives he destroyed with his plans for a better world. He was an evil man….a homicidal hatemonger who ranked up there with some of the nastiest men to walk this earth in the last 50 years.

But I didn’t dance when Milosevic died, I didn’t sing when Hussein was sent to the gallows, and I did not celebrate tonight.

Beside my unwillingness to mark bin Laden’s passing with either celebration or mourning he certainly doesn’t deserve from me, what bothered me most was celebration for a war that has not ended.

Global terrorism, with or without bin Laden, remains a security threat to nations around the world, especially the United States. Celebrating bin Laden’s death should not replace acknowledgement of the cold hard truth that the “war on terror” is far from over.  

One person tweeted: “Why can’t people take this moment to celebrate?” Another pointed out that the news made people happy and that the country needed some good news.

I began to feel like a cop pulling up outside a frat house to stop a party.

Bin Laden was more than just a figurehead – he was a battle-tested mujahidin with charisma and intelligence who served as an inspiration for thousands of young men around the world over the last few decades. His death is most certainly a major loss for Al Qaeda.

But the organization didn’t die tonight. There are cells, entire structures, in other parts of the world that operate independently, some within a series of Al Qaeda command levels and others outside them. They are unlikely to take the news of bin Laden’s death lightly…and neither should we.

War cry.

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Sometimes it’s funny what speaks to you. Not funny, ha ha. Just…odd.

In late 1993 it was a bridge.

Not just any bridge. The 16th century bridge in Mostar, a concrete victim of the wars that ripped apart Yugoslavia in a bloody mess that struck horror through the hearts of people around the world.

Why the bridge and not the scores of people dying? Honestly, I can’t quite say for sure.

When I traveled to Yugoslavia for the first of many visits in 1981 it was still Tito’s land. Sure the “great” man had passed the year before, but the ugliness that would consume Marshal Tito’s Yugoslavia had yet to overwhelm the country. One of my fondest memories (keeping in mind I was all of 10 years old at the time) was sitting near the Mostar bridge after an adventure in a restaurant bathroom that ended with my mother’s wet shoe. She had slip-stepped into “the hole” during a desperate bid to outrun the water cascading down the walls. (If you don’t know what I mean? Two words: Turkish toilet.) That memory still makes me smile.

When the Bosnian War claimed the Mostar bridge over a decade later, I was incensed. I was also still young, passionate and naïve. So I took action.

I hand-wrote a petition to then U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton begging him to take action to stop the carnage. I begged (forced) friends and family to sign my letter (I think the final count was 33 signatories). And then I faxed it off to the White House from the office of a local congressman.

I haven’t thought about that youthful adventure with the White House in years.

But last night, as our current President Barack Obama invoked the memories of the Bosnian War and the human costs of delayed and, in some very memorable cases, ineffective action (think: Srebrenica)  I found myself nodding at the television screen.

Obama said:

As President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action

 

And I agree. All these years later I still believe that people of good conscience have a duty to their fellow man to intercede when possible to prevent atrocities or human rights abuses on a major scale.

At the same time, I find it galling that this standard of intervention is applied by the international community selectively. What about Iran? What about Burma? Or North Korea? If we look back over the 15-plus years since the end of the Bosnian War how many dozens of examples could we find of governments brutally repressing the aspirations of their people without really trying all that hard?

As it happened I wasn’t the only one thinking it. @TechSurgeons and I began a short conversation on Obama’s Libya defense and I almost fell over when he tweeted:

@jterzieff I think “international community” just means France & wonder why he didn’t have a stronger reaction when Iran crushed its revolt.

So I guess the question is what is our standard for intervention? Because we need one folks, we really do. Do we need to intervene militarily every time a government calls out its troops to crush the people? Does the international community have the chutzpah to stand behind that every.single.time?

Is Libya our new standard? If yes, and it’s applied equitably around the globe, then – and only then – Mr. President, you have my support.

It scares me to say that. Violence almost always results in more violence. The deaths of so many innocents. Blood on all of our hands. But what’s the alternative?

If anyone has any ideas, I’ll gladly listen ….

Social Media leads 21st Century Global Revolutions

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Hosni Mubarak should have given me a call on January 25. His mistake.

But if he had, I would have told him something Joss Whedon already made perfectly clear in Serenity: “you can’t stop the signal.”

Actually if Mubarak had called Beijing, Tehran or Rangoon he would have heard much the same message. Sure governments can still limit communications capabilities, but the measures are temporary stop gaps at best. Time and time again over the last two years, popular uprisings have found ways to sidestep official controls and use the Internet to get their messages out to the world.

The message hasn’t always achieved the desired results – think crackdown Iran, think crackdown Burma – but as we have seen in Egypt and across the Arab world over the last month, technology (and social media, in particular) is the revolution weapon of choice for the 21st century. There is real power there.

Truth be told all it takes to galvanize international support and drive a movement is a few enterprising individuals. In the case of Egypt the tweets and Facebook updates of a small group of Egyptians sparked a massive worldwide explosion of support with the #Jan25 and #Egypt hashtags that overwhelmed the social media airwaves virtually non-stop until Hosni Mubarak announced his departure on Feb. 11.

Bloggers picked up the call. Journalists covering the protests tweeted instant updates. Major media outlets continue to produce in-depth packages on the influence of social media and the Internet. And when the Egyptian government attempted to shut down those inside the country, Internet giant Google stepped in to lend a hand. Google teamed up with Twitter to run a voice-to-tweet service that allowed Egyptians to call into international numbers and leave voicemail messages that software then translated into tweets with the hashtag #egypt.

And while it is most certainly people – not technology – that drives the campaigns, social media has emerged as potent weapon.

“Egypt made a radical maneuver, ultimately counterproductive, trying to cut access …but when you are willing to dismantle your country’s entire communication network in an attempt to quiet people you are really scared,” says John Perry Barlow, political activist and fellow emeritus of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Barlow, like many observers, believes technology is causing a paradigm shift in traditional power structures.

“We’re witnessing revolutions that are self-organizing, without central leadership, and that is all a direct result of technology.”

Social media is now being used by protesters in Bahrain, Libya, Iran, Jordan and elsewhere to reach out across social and economic boundaries to build broad coalitions of diverse people united around a common cause.

In countries with mammoth ruling systems in place, like Libya or Syria, shutting down the Internet – at least partially or temporarily – can forestall large public movements. And while Chinese authorities have been able to fight off massive political unrest by pushing rapid economic development for millions of Chinese, activism and unrest are growing there too.

As we’re seeing in Libya not all ruling systems will be as mature about stepping down in the face of the flood as the Mubarak regime was. Leaders like Muammar Gaddafi will fight – unfairly and with little regard for the lives being destroyed – to cling to the old systems.

But for every individual that falls, dozens more around the world will pick up the call and blast the information across the Internet keeping the eyes of the world on any abuses perpetrated against people raising their voices for change ….and that is a power greater than any gun, goon or jail cell.