Category Archives: Animals, monsters and monstrous animals

Insanely great photos taken the most epic possible way

So this man spends his time (a) shooting horrifically beautiful photos by (b) putting on shorts and (c) taking a waterproof camera into (d) giant waves on the shores of a tropical beach.

He’s making money doing it, and it all started accidentally. Check out some of the photos and how he gets them.

Epic, right? Love the shots and it’s got to be fun getting those shots. My brother-in-law, David the Fellow Swede, taught me to bodysurf on a beach in Kerala, India, which we did for days, so I know the joy of having waves tumble and smash you across the sand and rocks again and again. THERE IS STILL SAND IN MY LEFT EAR. Good times. And this guy is tackling massive waves that could do more than separate his shoulder. Hey, if it’s not dangerous, it’s not rock and roll.

I am a semi-literate photographer who’s lugged the Nikon of Infinite Beauty all over the place, and this man should inspire every photographer to think differently.

However: copying this man won’t work. The first person to paint a canvas black got semi-famous, and sure that took guts and imagination, or possibly a lot of drugs in the ’60s and overthinking the whole thing. The second and third people to paint a canvas black got ignored.

What other semi-insane venues are there to shoot photos? Hit me with your crazy ideas and I’ll think of some, too.

P.S. Hat tip to Lilia for showing me this. You are a fountain of fun things on the interwebs.

Related posts:

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

4 Comments

Filed under 5 Random Thursday, Animals, monsters and monstrous animals, Muffin chokers

The Duckpocalypse is upon us

Why are these ducks gathering together? I can’t decide if it’s the beginning of an invasion, a giant duck dance party or a flash mob.

Or maybe they’re fleeing the second horde of zombie ducks. Hard to say. But they’re certainly talking a lot, and seem determined to do SOMETHING, whatever that may be.

The Red Pen of Doom’s Greatest Hits Collection: 10 Epic Posts

  1. Epic Black Car deserves good owner; are you worthy?
  2. The Mother of All Query Letters
  3. Why every man MUST read a romance – and every woman a thriller
  4. The Red Pen of Doom impales FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
  5. The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books
  6. A BOWL OF WARM MILK AND MURDER
  7. 30 achy breaky Twitter mistakeys
  8. Writing secret: Light as air, strong as whiskey, cheap as dirt
  9. The Red Pen of Doom murders THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand
  10. Quirks and legs matter more than talent and perfection

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

3 Comments

Filed under 5 Random Thursday, Animals, monsters and monstrous animals, Muffin chokers

How weird news teaches us great storytelling

Every day, there are real stories in the morning newspaper that make you snort coffee out your nose or choke on a blueberry muffin. Note: This is why journalists call such pieces “muffin chokers.”

Yet the daily weirdness is more than funny. If you dissect these stories, you can learn deep storytelling lessons from the shallow end of the journalism pool.

Here’s a real story that just happened in my state: Man steals RV from Wal-Mart parking lot, leads police on wild chase. Swerves into sleepy little town where he knocks cars into front yards and such, then blasts through a house and crashes. Runs out, strips down to his underwear and invades a home to steal girl clothes. Cops catch him and haul him off.

This is pretty typical of a weird news story, and not simply because it started in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart — and yeah, go ahead, google “Wal-Mart parking lot” and “weird news.”

While you’re at it, google “7-Eleven robbery” and “trailer park ninjas.” It’s a thing, especially in Florida, though in Colorado somebody robbed a 7-Eleven with some kind of Klingon sword, and yeah, the clerk who got robbed knew exactly what to call that sword when the cops took the police report.

Great storytelling comes from the gap between expectation and result. Audiences, like kittehs, love surprises.

Your normal day is not a great story because there’s no gap. It is what you expect, and what your neighbor expects. There’s nothing shocking.

So let’s dissect the RV thief story and the rash of 7-Eleven robberies involving trailer park ninjas, to see why those short little stories pack so much punch. The gaps between expectation and result are all over these stories.

First, it’s a surprise for a criminal to prowl the parking lot of a Wal-Mart, or steal an RV, because as a smart person, you think, “If I were unemployed and desperate, and forced into a life of crime, maybe I’d steal a new Mercedes convertible, something I could sell for real money and drive crazy fast if the police chased me.”

You would not think to yourself, “Let’s go to a Wal-Mart parking lot, full of witnesses, and steal a ginormous RV that (a) could be seen from space, much less a police helicopter, (b) would be crazy hard to sell or hide and (c) is slower and less maneuverable than anything short of a logging truck.” Continue reading

60 Comments

Filed under 4 Writing Secrets Wednesday, Animals, monsters and monstrous animals, Fiction, Muffin chokers, Thrillers and mysteries

Bears climbing cliffs, I kid you not

These aren’t circus bears who’ve been trained for years and have a net to catch them.

These are giant, furry beasts out in the wild, climbing some insane cliff. And yeah, if they slip and fall, it’s a pretty good bet the trophy shop has a Darwin Award waiting for them. So this was tense to watch, and impressive. Go, bears, go. Climb away.

Related: there’s a Canadian man who’s devoted decades to creating an anti-bear suit, something that would stand up to a grizzly attack. Troy Hurtibise then has friends hit him with cricket bats and pickup trucks, or he goes full Ewok and lets friends send logs flying through the air to crush him.

Impressive, and also begging for a Darwin Award — but well done, sir.

The Red Pen of Doom’s Greatest Hits Collection: 10 Epic Posts

  1. Epic Black Car deserves good owner; are you worthy?
  2. The Mother of All Query Letters
  3. Why every man MUST read a romance – and every woman a thriller
  4. The Red Pen of Doom impales FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
  5. The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books
  6. A BOWL OF WARM MILK AND MURDER
  7. 30 achy breaky Twitter mistakeys
  8. Writing secret: Light as air, strong as whiskey, cheap as dirt
  9. The Red Pen of Doom murders THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand
  10. Quirks and legs matter more than talent and perfection

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

3 Comments

Filed under 5 Random Thursday, Animals, monsters and monstrous animals, Muffin chokers

Super-powered mutant Avenger of the ocean: The Mighty Cuttlefish

I understand an octopus, a squid and a clam. Clams have shells. Squids and octopuses (octopi?) have tentacles and such.

But this alien beast has a shell — inside its body.

The cuttlefish’s bone is made of aragonite, the same special metal used to graft Wolverine’s claws and skeleton* and Captain America’s shield** — but not Thor’s hammer, which came from the heart of a dead star.***

Plus it’s got all kinds of other mutant super powers, like a poisoned beak, tentacles, a giant brain, secret alien-like jaws that sneak out of nowhere to eat fish — and color changing powers that make it practically invisible.

Think you’re iPhone’s fancy Retina screen is amazing? The cuttlefish has 200 iridophores and eucophores per square millimeter, which equals out to 359 dots per inch. Want one of those 4k screens but don’t have $10,000 to buy one? Make friends with a herd of cuttlefish and get them to spread out on your living room wall, then fire up THE MATRIX, but not the two sequels, which were a waste of Keanu Reeve’s precious time and $279 million in CGI effects. Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under 5 Random Thursday, Animals, monsters and monstrous animals, Muffin chokers

007 the Crow solves epic eight-step puzzle using TOOLS

Crows are wicked smart. I’ve watched them pick up nuts, fly, then drop them on the asphalt.

This wild crow, nicknamed 007, solved a crazy complicated puzzle the very first time he saw it.

Brilliant. It’s one thing for smart birds to show off after they’ve been trained for a lifetime to, I don’t know, sing Broadway tunes or tell dirty jokes. It’s another thing for a wild crow to pop in, spot some yummy food in the puzzle and do all this stuff using tools to get at it. I believe octopus (octupi?) can do similar stuff, like unscrewing jars and such, so it’s only a matter of time before the SyFy Channel comes up with CROWTOPUS EATS MANHATTAN and then CROWTOPUS VERSUS SHARKNADO.

007 the Crow, I salute you.

The Red Pen of Doom’s Greatest Hits Collection: 10 Epic Posts

  1. Epic Black Car deserves good owner; are you worthy?
  2. The Mother of All Query Letters
  3. Why every man MUST read a romance – and every woman a thriller
  4. The Red Pen of Doom impales FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
  5. The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books
  6. A BOWL OF WARM MILK AND MURDER
  7. 30 achy breaky Twitter mistakeys
  8. Writing secret: Light as air, strong as whiskey, cheap as dirt
  9. The Red Pen of Doom murders THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand
  10. Quirks and legs matter more than talent and perfection

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

2 Comments

Filed under 5 Random Thursday, Animals, monsters and monstrous animals, Muffin chokers

Say hello to Teddy Bear the Talking Porcupine

YouTube is packed chock full of videos where owners think their cat is saying something, or their dog is barking hello.

Most of the time, the owners are goofy for their pet who simply says one thing, over and over, that sort of sounds like a word.

And yeah, birds can blow them all out of the water.

But here’s something different: a porcupine who isn’t a one-word pony. Teddy the Talking Porcupine seems to have entire conversations.

Teddy is impressive and funny. He belongs on this BBC show, which you need to fire up if you haven’t seen them all. They rock.

The Red Pen of Doom’s Greatest Hits Collection: 10 Epic Posts

  1. Epic Black Car deserves good owner; are you worthy?
  2. The Mother of All Query Letters
  3. Why every man MUST read a romance – and every woman a thriller
  4. The Red Pen of Doom impales FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
  5. The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books
  6. A BOWL OF WARM MILK AND MURDER
  7. 30 achy breaky Twitter mistakeys
  8. Writing secret: Light as air, strong as whiskey, cheap as dirt
  9. The Red Pen of Doom murders THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand
  10. Quirks and legs matter more than talent and perfection

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

1 Comment

Filed under 5 Random Thursday, Animals, monsters and monstrous animals, Muffin chokers

Giant killer hornets prepare to devour the planet

As a fan of monsters, and animals, and monstrous animals, I like learning about obscure or scary beasts.

However, the giant asian hornet is not a curiousity to be admired and talked about in polite company while you eat finger food and sip a nice bottle of Riesling from the Rhine Valley.

No. The giant asian hornet is making the great white shark look like a toothless poodle right now.

Sharks kill a handful of people each year. Dogs and cow (yes, cows) actually kill far, far more humans. So yes, JAWS was a great movie, but we really have more to fear from Spot the Dog and Bessie the Cow than any shark, which is apparently smarter and more concerned with eating, I don’t know, fish. Maybe because fish don’t have boats and spearguns and nuclear weapons. 

These hornets, though, are armored flying spaceships. Which hate you.

Check out three headlines that I’m not making up:

That’s right. The last story should get you: they’re already in the United States.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under 1 Survival Sunday, Animals, monsters and monstrous animals

Six immortal — and possibly invincible — animals

There’s a difference between “True and Terrifying Facts about Actual Animals” and “Scary Stuff from Insane Writers at the Discovery Channel.”

That difference is simple: real life is far, far more frightening than SHARKNADO, though I do admire the writer who came up with the idea of JAWS + TWISTER = viral B movie goodness.

Here are six animals who are not (a) sparkly vampires or (b) moaning zombies but nonetheless (c) don’t age. We’re talking immortal.

Age-defying animals, I tip my hat in your direction. Also, please don’t go swimming around that nuke plant in Japan, grow to a giant size and decide to stomp on my town. Kthxbai.

Related posts: 

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

2 Comments

Filed under 5 Random Thursday, Animals, monsters and monstrous animals, Muffin chokers

Snuffy the Seal, plus an epic round-up of Shark Movie Goodness

They tell me it’s July, and summer, and I do see a burning ball of fire in the sky that confuses us here in the Pacific Northwest.

So: that means it’s the time of year where we all hit the beach, which means it’s also time for silly monster movies. Bring on the sharks, and the sharks crossed with an octopus. I kid you not.

To whet your appetite, I give you Snuffy the Seal — which you will watch six times, and show all your friends, because it is that good — and an epic round-up of every monstrous shark movie that’s so bad, it circles back to good.

SNUFFY THE SEAL

This is an instant classic, and I can’t think of any way to improve it. The roving reporter is perfectly perky, the anchor’s Hair Helmet and reaction is priceless, and the timing is comedy gold.

SHARKNADO

Shark movies were fresh and new, I don’t know, back in the 1970s, when Spielberg came out with JAWS.

Tornado movies were hot for a bit. Remember TWISTER?

So I give you SHARKNADO, because the only thing more terrifying than a gang of sharks in the water or a raging tornado is a raging tornado with its own gang of sharks.

TWO-HEADED SHARK ATTACK

Keanu Reeves would say, “Whoah.”

SHARKTOPUS

Julia Robert’s brother is in this stinker. I’ve actually seen the whole thing. It’s packed chock full of cray-cray.

PIRANHACONDA

You’re sitting by the pool in Hollywood, drinking a pitcher of margaritas with your screenwriter buddy who’s written a bunch of B movies. And you think, what if there was an anaconda crossed with a piranha? YES!

DINOSHARK

JAWS meets JURRASIC PARK, and the offspring is ugly.

SWAMP SHARK

I love this movie simply for the crazy scene in the trailer of the shark jumping into the water to decapitate a man with a shotgun on land, then land in a different section of swamp. How can you top that?

Related posts – Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 or whatever:

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

6 Comments

Filed under 5 Random Thursday, Animals, monsters and monstrous animals, Muffin chokers, The Big Screen