I’m still on “holiday hiatus” for another week or so, but all plans are kind of… Delayed.

For probably only the third time in my life (really!), I got sunburnt on the weekend. For those that don’t know, I’m a fair skinned redhead.

Very fair skinned.

At least, I was. Right now I’m a sickening (no kidding) shade of… Well, I don’t know, mottled red? And I’m permanently wearing the top I wore swimming on the weekend, at least for now.

This is an apology to friends of mine who got badly burnt in the past and couldn’t quite convince me just how much it hurt or how sick they felt.

Sorry guys… I know your pain all too well now. 😦


Rey is not the Mary Sue you’re looking for.

spoiler alert I want to write about Rey, a character from The Force Awakens.

While I’m not going to post any major spoilers, I will of course be discussing the new movie, and new characters, so if you haven’t seen the film and don’t want to know anything (neither did I!) please don’t keep reading – SPOILER ALERT. If you’ve seen it or don’t mind hearing about Rey/some minor spoilers, please keep reading below!

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If the trucks stopped…

truckies I don’t know if this is 100% accurate, but it does really highlight just how much we rely on our truck drivers to transport goods from A to B.

The message being shared behind this picture is to give trucks extra room, being aware of their blind spots and just being generally courteous. I already do all those things (I mean, if for no other reason, trucks are a hell of a lot bigger than most of our vehicles), but it did get me thinking about trucks in the Barricade world. To this point, Charlie and Jay have been relying on looting food and supplies from abandoned houses. While that’s feasible in an environment where so many people have been wiped out, it also has to end soon.

And this is where being self-sustainable comes in to play. Having your own garden, having your own means to grow and harvest food. If things really go sour, though, you also need the ability to protect it from both human and beast. A simple picket fence is going to do little to keep anything that’s hungry out.

All of this is not just rambling, it’s also in line with what’s about to happen to Charlie and Jay…

Barricade 052 Live

BARRICADEThe final showdown we may have wanted didn’t come. The late afternoon set silently around us, the house betraying no other presence beyond the occasional settling creak.

“I guess we’re alone.” Jay said finally, as he stood and stepped over our packs. “I’m going to have a look around.”

He didn’t ask me to go with him, and truthfully, I wanted to be alone. He was rough, angry – and we were both grieving. We had lost Annie all over again, and now we were adrift.

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The beginning


Characters Behaving Badly

My favourite book is one I read as a kid – called Ariel, Zed and the Secret of Life by Anna Feinberg. Without giving too much away, it’s about a young girl named Ariel whose mother is an author.

The story has a slight magic twist, however, because the characters she writes about come to life and stay with Ariel and her family. Sometimes, the characters refuse to behave, and authors send them off to the mysterious Island.

Ariel is, by all accounts, a bit of a misfit. She’s at an awkward age and nothing is really working for her socially or at school. In some ways, we’re all just a little bit Ariel.

first draft Anyway, this image and memories of the book always give me a frustrated smile when my own characters aren’t behaving. It’s strange how your own characters, the ones you’ve brought to life, can gradually stray off course until one day you’re thinking about where your writing is at and you just think “Wait a minute… What?!”

Writing Barricade has been a whirlwind, crazy unplanned kind of adventure. The book I was writing before zombies infiltrated my world had a lot more planning, down to pictures, maps, sketches – the whole lot. So in a lot of ways, Barricade has thrown me off track a little bit.

I hope, though, that it gives it some… Charm is definitely not the right word, but something genuine that adds to the frenzied feeling of their environment – crazy, rushed, dangerous. Panicked.

Still, even in that hurried state, I sometimes find myself ‘looking’ at the characters and wanting to ask them, “Why have you done this to me? This wasn’t the plan!”

The Greater Good

I’ve watched a few documentaries or specials recently which have left me feeling pretty helpless. If so much is wrong, and there’s so much misinformation, how do we wade through and get the truth and do something that actually has an impact?

One such documentary was Blackfish. (Yes, I’m a good couple of months /years behind the times on this one.) I don’t really like just watching or reading from a single source and deciding (too much weight on potential bias), so I’ve also been reading the information on Skeptoid and Sea World‘s sites.

Truthfully, I don’t feel comfortable weighing in on how credible Blackfish should be considered. But I do feel very uncomfortable with the idea of such intelligent and large animals being confined to such small enclosures for entertainment purposes.

With that said, what the documentary really did for me was make me start thinking about what an individual can do. Many of us care, but don’t have the free time or spare cash to really get involved on a large scale. (And if we can – how do we choose which campaigns to be involved in?)

haveapint I don’t want the answer to be “nothing”.

Happily, I don’t think that is the answer.

There are a couple of things I think most of us can do, pretty easily, without disrupting our everyday schedules.

There’s a website called Greater Good. The idea behind the site is you click each day and the ad revenue from your visit goes toward each cause. (Please whitelist the site or disable your ad blocker for the donation to work – there’s no pop-ups, just embedded ads.)

The causes Greater Good feature regularly are:

  1. Hunger
  2. Breast Cancer
  3. Animals
  4. Veterans
  5. Autism
  6. Alzheimer’s
  7. Diabetes
  8. Literacy
  9. Rainforest

As well as a changing daily cause – which has recently been therapy sessions for children, food and blankets for donkeys, etc.

That’s it! You click each site’s button, let the page load, and move on to the next one – and you can do it everyday. (To remind myself, I’ve set Greater Good as my homepage).

For full disclosure, here are a couple of write ups about ‘The Hunger Site’ (as it was originally known back in 1999 when it launched):

Snopes Page

Serious Givers – Quick Digging about

So as a closing disclaimer: Greater Good is a commercial entity, but financial reports suggest they are donating – it’s just unclear whether or not those donations are 100% of revenue raised. In this case, though, it takes maybe a minute a day, and the donation statistics are listed on each site – for example, they reportedly saved 6,779.5 acres of rainforest land in 2014.