Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Well, dammit.

Our illustrious artistic director, and would-be director of this play, Tony Barilla, is moving to Kosovo to join his wife. So no Killing Game this year. And no more blog updates.

Maybe we can talk him into returning to H-town next year just long enough to direct this...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Some of the cast members presented their compositions last night. Walt turned his in on dvd, which I proudly present to you here:

Monday, January 8, 2007

Rehearsal cancelled tonight

Tony is terribly sick, so we're cancelling rehearsal for tonight. Be ready with your compositions tomorrow night at 7 PM though.

Avian Flu Outbreak in Austin?

Crews collecting birds are shown on a closed off stretch of Congress Avenue in downtown Austin today.

From today's Houston Chronicle:

Downtown Austin closed after dead birds found
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

AUSTIN — More than 10 blocks in downtown Austin leading up to the Capitol were shut down early today after officials found several dead birds in the area.

The area, from Cesar Chavez to Eleventh Street and some side streets, was expected to remain closed until about noon while the Austin Fire Department conducted "further precautionary testing of the area,'' police spokeswoman Toni Chovanetz said in a statement.

"Please advise individuals that work in this area not to come in until further notice,'' the statement read.

Chovanetz would not discuss details or speculate on what could have killed the birds. She said it was the first time she could remember a large swath of downtown being shut down because of dead birds.

At least one bird carcass (they were mostly grackles) is being tested locally for signs of poisoning or viral infections and others are being shipped to the Centers for Disease Control and Texas A&M University. It could be days or even weeks before the test results come back. Officials do not think bird flu is involved.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Whip it. Whip it good.

When a problem comes along.
You must whip it.
Before the cream sits out too long.
You must whip it.
When something's going wrong.
You must whip it.

(click for video)

People have whipped themselves throughout history for fun, sexual pleasure and/or religious reasons, but it wasn’t until the Black Death that it became really popular. The flagellant movement – a radical Christian movement that involved mortification of the flesh as a demonstration of piety - gained momentum because many believed that the plague was a punishment sent down by God. Flagellants believed that if they demonstrated their devotion to God through their pain, they might bring an end to the greater suffering of the living victims of the plague.

Groups of flagellants would spring up spontaneously in Europe, and wander from town to town for 33 1/2 days (1 day for each year Jesus was alive), never spending more than one night in any one place. Each flagellant would carry a scourge, a heavy leather thong tipped with metal spikes or studs, to whip themselves and others with. The ritual began with the reading of a letter, claimed to have been delivered by an angel and justifying the Flagellants' activities. Next the followers would fall to their knees and scourge themselves, gesturing with their free hand to indicate their sin and striking themselves rhythmically to songs, known as Geisslerlieder, until blood flowed. Sometimes women would soak up the blood in rags and treat it as a holy relic, dabbing the blood on their eyes.

The procession would usually start small, and grow as they passed through towns, gaining new members in each new place. It wasn’t uncommon for a procession to grow to 5,000 or even 10,000 people. This is despite the harsh requirements for new recruits. New entrants had to make a confession of all sins since the age of seven and then flagellate themselves for thirty-three and a half days. Each member also vowed never to bathe, shave, sleep in a bed, change their clothing or converse in any way with members of the opposite sex. They also had to pay a fee.

Sources: Catholic Encyclopedia, History Guide, Wikipedia

Friday, January 5, 2007

Frighted: 23
Plague: 68,596

Bills of mortality like this one (click image to enlarge) were started in 1592 after an outbreak of plague to warn the townspeople of the mounting death count. From 1603 on they were distributed on a weekly basis.

Source: Wikipedia

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Pocket-sized plague killer

Sure, your cell phone sends email, takes photos, keeps all your appointments and even calls people. But does it kill 99.99% of E-Coli, staphylococcus, salmonella, and germs that cause the flu and the common cold? Didn't think so. What you need is a Handheld Germ-Eliminating Light.

It uses the same kind of UV technology found in hospitals to sterilize surgical instruments, allowing you to disinfect workplace keyboards or telephones, as well as germ breedinggrounds such as toothbrushes and cutting boards. It disinfects surfaces in 10 seconds and even signals you when sterilization is complete. It fits easily in a shirt pocket , and looks like it would fit a standard size ipod cozy, too. Just $80 to keep the germs at bay. If only you could flood your entire house with this light.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

getting antsy...

Rehearsals start in just one week.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Resolutions

As the new year is almost upon us, I thought it would be appropriate to suggest a few New Year's resolutions. It's only paranoia if your fears never come true, and how likely is that, really?

Go back to school.
Education is the key to success, they say. So stop procrastinating and finally become certified to handle hazardous waste and blood-borne pathogens at the online Hazmat School. If two-thirds of your fair city is wiped out by an unidentified plague or biological warfare, you're going to have to wade through some pretty nasty shit to get out of town. And wouldn't you feel more comfortable knowing that you are officially certified to do so?

Spend more time with the family.
Go camping maybe. But follow the boyscout motto and be prepared. Campsites and (shudder) latrines are breeding grounds for all kinds of dangerous bacteria. And need I mention bears? What you need is an RV that is both luxurious and "nuclear/radiation fallout, biological and chemical resistant". Perfect for any post-apocalyptic cross-country road trip with the kids.

Make new friends.
But you can't trust just anyone you come into contact with. Anybody could be a terrorist. The guy in the cubicle next to you at work could have a briefcase full of smallpox, and you would never know until it was too late. So if you can't trust anybody on Earth, whom can you trust enough to befriend? Well, space aliens, of course. Just use this handy phone number to get in touch - only $3.99 a call.

Keep in touch with old friends.
Of course, if the world is decimated by plague, nuclear war or whatever, and all of your friends are dead, this will become quite difficult. So you better prepare now. Purchase a few of these specialized cell phones and you can communicate with your loved ones for over a year after they've been dead and buried. For an extra fee, you can even extend the contract.

Get away from it all. Far away.
If you've seen The Ring, The Ring Two, Fear Dot Com or Pulse, you know that "they" will use our own lines of communication to mount their attack. TVs, VCR's, DVD's, cell phones, email - you name it - all will be the means of our destruction. Protect yourself from the coming armageddon now by purchasing your own private island miles away from any wi-fi hot spots.

Lose some of that extra weight.
You know when the plague arrives and people start dropping like flies, our city will be quarantined, and the grocery stores looted. And when supplies run out, the people will turn to cannibalism. It won't be their fault - it's just human nature. They'll eat the fatties first, though, so buy your self a few extra days of horror by dropping those extra pounds now to make yourself look a little less juicy and delicious.

Plan for the future.
You made out your will and your living will last year. 2007 is the year to take that planning to its next logical step: cryogenics. For the budget conscious, you might want to consider just freezing your brain - it's almost half the cost of preserving your entire body!

Update your wardrobe
Paper masks are so yesterday. What you need is a brand new outfit that is CDC rated for the 'H5N1' Avian Bird Flu Virus. All the cool paranoid kids are wearing them.

Remodel the house.
You've been meaning to for years. With all the war, terrorism and bird flu scares nowadays, there has never been a better time to give your family the kind of peace of mind that can only come from a full-blown disaster shelter. Not your generic bomb shelter from the '50's - no sir. You need the kind that will protect your loved ones from EMP pulses, nuclear radiation, bomb blasts, chemical &biological agents, zombies and more. (disclaimer - the website says nothing about zombies, but it stands to reason that if the shelter is secure against nuclear blasts, it should hold off a few hundred of the undead.)

Institute a disaster management plan.
Your trustworthy and dependable friends at the Department of Homeland security have put together a website to help you do just that. It's full of helpful hints like this:

Happy new year. If you live.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Prison Scene

The sixth scene in Killing Game takes place in a jail. Unbeknownst to the prisoners, a plague is raging in the city outside - tens of thousands of people are dying horrible deaths every day. Bodies have piled up in the streets because there is nobody left to collect them. Almost all of the prison guards have died as well. The last remaining jailer enters to free the prisoners, as they will surely die anyway - it's just a question of dying of starvation inside the jail, or of dying from the plague outside the jail.

Prisoners in the Orleans Parish Prison weren't so "lucky" during Hurricane Katrina. The morning of the storm, guards left inmates to die in their cells as floodwaters swallowed the building. Those who managed to escape were met by heavily armed guards waiting outside the building, who held the inmates for days on a highway overpass without food or water.

McSweeney's has recently published Voices From the Storm: The People of New Orleans on Katrina and its Aftermath as part of its Voice of Witness series. Voice of Witness is a series of oral histories focused on illuminating human-rights crises around the world. By allowing the victims of social injustice to speak for themselves, each book provides an unadulterated, ground's-eye view of the events, told in the unique and captivating voices of the people closest to the story. Stranded in a city submerged, the narrators of Voices from the Storm survived the devastation brought on by Hurricane Katrina only to find themselves abandoned—and even victimized—by their own government. These thirteen men and women of New Orleans recount, in astonishing and heartrending detail, the worst natural disaster in American history.

Here is an excerpt from Dan Bright's account of being an inmate in the Orleans Parish Prison during Hurrican Katrina.

"Late, late—maybe early Monday morning—maybe like 4 or 5. Hard wind, very hard wind. Lights went out in the jail. I was on the top floor. We can look out the window. They had these little portholes that you can look out, and see the rain, the wind blowing, and the water starting to rise.

It was early. You can see the water is constantly rising. You gotta remember, we’re stuck in these cells. Guys on the first level, on the bottom level—man, they hollerin’ and screamin’. No one comes. They were hollering for the guards to come. Begging, pleading. You had guys who had broke windows out, burning sheets and blankets, flagging them to try to get some attention. In fact, helicopters was flying over, and guys was holding blankets out the windows, burning blankets to try to get their attention. And no one came and helped them.

The lights had done went out, so you can imagine being in this water, in the dark with this water constantly rising. Only thing we had to do now is to break out. We wasn’t trying to break out just to be breakin’ out of jail, we breakin’ out to save our lives."
Continue reading here...

Source: Voice of Witness via Your Daily Awesome