Author Archives: Jo Ann Schneider

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How About a Snarky Apocalypse. Anyone?

Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

Chapter 12

When the Gas Ran Out


There’s something to be said for a moonless night. The dark stillness that lures people into a peaceful slumber. Some would call it beautiful. I call it the perfect time for zombies to sneak up on me and bite a hole in my carotid artery.

By this point our group was down to twelve adults, three teenagers—including me, two little kids and a dog. The dog was surprisingly well behaved as we poured the last of the gas into our camping lantern and turned it down to minimum light. It was the adults who were freaking out.

Buff Guy 1 (I’d long given up with real names, because just as soon as I learned them they would get bit, maimed or we would have to kill them) kept going on and on about how we needed to get back to civilization to see if they’d found a cure.

Smart Lady 8 reminded him that there was probably no one left looking for a cure.

Buff Guy 1 said several words that drew the wrath of Religious Lady 1 before he got to his point that we shouldn’t give up on the CDC.

Little Bobby 2 (all boys under the age of eleven are Bobby) said we should build a fort so that even if a thousand zombies came we would be safe. He’d done it on Minecraft, and he was pretty sure he could do it here.

Little Jenni 4 said that was stupid, because we needed a wooden pickaxe before we could start building. Also, torches or the zombies would get us for sure.

Frankly, I thought the kids were having the more intelligent discussion.

Leader Lady, who had been staring at the two balls of light coming from the lantern, cleared her throat. Everyone, even the dog, stopped talking to look and listen.

“We need to set the watch.”

Several people groaned.

I raised my hand to volunteer for the first watch. As illustrated in previous chapters, the zombies usually waited until second or third watch to amble upon us. Sure, I’d get sleep if I took second watch, but I would also likely get eaten. So far I’d relied on being faster than someone else in my group to survive, but the slow had been picked off already.

Leader Lady selected me and three others and we each took a corner of the clearing around the little cabin we’d found to hide in.

Others might call it holding up, but I knew better. We were simply hiding until the inevitable happened. Either the zombies found us or we starved to death.

How did I get stuck in the only group of survivors in the whole world who didn’t have a prepper in it again? Please refer to chapter eight for the unfortunate incident with the poisoned berries.

All of the books I’d read about the end of the world included a budding romance. Once again, I got stuck in the only group of survivors that pretty much hated each other. And not like the Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy hate. I mean they’d knife each other in their sleep if Leader Lady didn’t have eyes in the back of her head.

I did miss Teenage Boy 2, the one who had started the conversation about favorite movies with me, but he’d been eaten days ago, and the only other teenage boy left was the guy who had yelled obscenities at the zombies and ripped one of their arms off because he dropped his hatchet.

Leader Lady had Teenage Boy 2 and me both on watch. If there had been any light I would have been able to see him through the trees, but the blanket of darkness obscured everything.

I resisted the urge to look back at the cabin. We’d covered the windows and every crack, so the place looked as black as the night, but part of me dreaded to see that lantern go out for the last time.

A creak sounded, and I did look back. A rectangle of light poured onto the porch and Dog padded out toward me. The golden lab came to me. I pat his head. He licked my hand. I slipped him a dog treat and we settled in for watch.

By now I was familiar with the normal sounds of the night in the woods, so about an hour later, when I heard the first crack of a twig, I pulled my own hatchet from my belt.

Dog straightened and growled.

Something growled back.

“We have incoming!” I yelled.

Teenage Boy let out a war cry.

I swear Dog sighed.


Chapter 13

The Third Fight of our Lives


Sometimes I crack myself up!

Also, I kind of want to write more!

Genre – Memoir

Random Object – Gas Lantern

Setting – In the Middle of Nowhere

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Top Ten Animated Movies

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Saturday morning and after school cartoons were one of my favorite things as a kid.

I remember the anguish when the time for Thundercats changed and it would be over before I got home from school.

I remember the thrill after I watched my first episodes of Transformers, Spiderman and His Amazing Friends, The Super Friends and even My Little Pony.

I have the same love for animated movies as I do television cartoons, so it was difficult to narrow it down to my top ten.

I’ve put both traditional animation and computer animation in this category.

Animated Movies!

10) Megamind

This movie threw so many tropes on their heads that it made me dizzy. I’m a sucker for a great twist on an old tale, and there are so many funny parts in this show that I couldn’t leave it off the list!

9) The Incredibles

Do you think I have a thing for superhero movies? Not to worry, they get their own category. Except the animated ones…well. Sort of. Anyway, this movie is a classic at our house, and I say “No Cape!” way more than any adult should.

8) Kung Fu Panda

The opening sequence alone was enough for me to fall in love with this show (There is no charge for awesomeness or attractiveness!!), the rest of it simply added to the fun. Great characters, a wonderful message. And Jack Black.

7) The Little Mermaid

This show relaunched Disney’s animated studio. It came out when I was a young-ish teenager, and I fell in love with the music, the characters, the romance and the comedy. Maybe it’s a product of when I saw it, but I will always love this movie!

I clearly remember seeing it in the old Queen Theater in Bountiful and when Ariel says that parent’s don’t understand, the couple behind me busted up laughing.

6) Finding Nemo

I almost came out of my chair and peed my pants laughing when Dory started speaking Whale. That is all.

5) Mulan

I. Love. This. Movie. I’ve always loved girl-power shows, and this one does it so well! I like how she almost fails, but then she starts thinking outside of any box she’s ever been put in and figures out that she can do whatever she needs to.

I have a “Dishonor on your cow” coming in the mail.

4) How to Train Your Dragon

I laughed. I cried. I loved the music. This movie makes me smile just thinking about it. Don’t we all feel like we’re the outsider? Hiccup takes an unforgettable journey that almost ends on a sad note, but not quite.

3) Beauty and the Beast

I usually tell people this is my favorite Disney movie. We saw it in an old theater that had a balcony. It was one of the first films to utilize CGI, and I was mesmerized. The music swept me away, and I fell in love with Belle.

2) Robin Hood

Yes, yes, this is also a Disney movie, but this one has a special place in my heart. I clearly remember watching it on a Sunday night with my parents when I was pretty young. The scene where Lady Cluck barrels through the guards like a football player had all of us laughing so hard we cried.

We recorded it and I watched it so many times that at one point I could quote the entire movie.

1) Transformers: The Animated Movie

I realize this isn’t the best movie on this list, but it changed my world. My hero, Optimus Prime, died. I’d never had a character I loved so much die in a show (give me break, I was maybe twelve). The whole show opened my mind to the concept of endings and new beginnings, and how it didn’t have to be all bad.


Honorable Mentions:


I can’t watch it over and over, but I do love it. Even thinking about the beginning sequence makes me teary. Mention this one to the hubby and he will totally cry.

The Emperor’s New Groove

Pure comedy with a wonderful message.

Nightmare Before Christmas

No other show has blended Christmas and Halloween so well. Plus…the music…

The Lego Movie

The movie itself is pure cheese, but the ending makes it so worth it.

What are your favorite animated movies?

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A Cooking Show and a Crawl Space

“Dude, tell me why we have to hide the camera in the crawl space again?” Vic asked.

Carl extracted himself out of the small doorway and climbed back down the three-rung ladder. He grinned and held up the camera. “Because, my parents grounded me from making videos.”

“You know we can do this at my house, right? My parents are never home, and my sister is always at her boyfriend’s.” Vic followed Carl back up the carpeted stairs to the kitchen.

“Why would we do that?” Cal set the camera down on the counter next to a tripod.

“Because it would be easier?”

“True, but it would ruin the drama.” He set the short tripod up on the counter and affixed the camera on top of it. “If we went to your house, we wouldn’t be able to call our channel Sneak-Cooking, now would we?”

Vic shook his head. “I still say the name is dumb.”

“That’s why it’s so popular!” He held out his hands. “Where are the masks?”

“In my backpack.” Vic didn’t wait for the order to retrieve them. By the time he got back from the table Carl had a burner going.

He zoomed in on it with the camera. “Ready?”

Vic pulled the duck mask down over his head. “Ready.”

Carl donned his monkey mask. “Where are the goldfish?” The distorter in the mask made his voice sound like an anime chick.

Vic lifted the bag of live goldfish he’d just bought at the pet store. One of them was already floating belly up.

“Excellent,” said the sinister-sounding six-year-old voice. “We go live in 3-2-1.” When he made a fist, he turned the camera on.

For a few seconds, Carl filmed the blue and orange flames. Then he spoke and swiveled the lens toward them.

“Welcome, everyone, to another day of Sneak-Cooking!”

Vic still wanted to make a track of people cheering and clapping for this part, but Carl didn’t want to ruin the original ambiance.

“Say hello, Duck-Face.”

“Hello, Duck-Face,” Vic said.

The audience would then go wild.

Carl laughed. “So, Duck-Face, what have you brought us today?”

Vic cleared his throat. When he spoke, his voice came out as a distorted robot. “Well, Monkey-Boy, I brought some…” he let the tension build before he wiggled the bag in front of the camera. “Goldfish!”

More cheering here, Vic thought.

Carl turned the lens toward himself and steepled his fingers. “Excellent.”

“What spices have you prepared?” Vic asked.

“Only the best!” Carl gestured like a girl who presented the prizes on a game show. “These are things my mom won’t miss.” He picked up the bottles one at a time. “Cumin, Celery Salt, Lemon Pepper and Rosemary. Also, expired hot sauce.”

“Yummy,” Vic said. You sure your mom won’t miss any of it?”

“Is your mom going to miss the dollar you spent on goldfish?”

“I rooted in the couch for change.”

Another perfect spot for a laugh track.

Vic poured hot sauce in a frying pan, then put it over the heat. He added the spices, telling everyone how bad it smelled—and it did smell bad—before he held his hands out for the goldfish.

“Water or no water?” Vic asked in a dramatic voice.

“Hmmm…” Carl tapped his monkey chin with a finger. “How about half-water?”

“Good idea.” Vic untied the bag and poured half of the water out, being careful not to lose any of the fish. Then he handed the bag to Carl and stepped back.

Carl didn’t hesitate, he poured the fish and water into the pan.

The smell made Vic want to gag. Fishy hot sauce should not be a thing.

“We put them in live to keep the dish fresh,” Carl said.

Vic noted that after twenty seconds of Carl stirring they were all floating belly up.

“Duck-Face, go get the taste tester!”

“Yes, Monkey-Face.” Vic went to the sliding door and opened it. Carl’s dog—a Rottweiler who would rather lick you to death than bite you—ran in and began to circle at Carl’s feet.

“Good girl,” Carl said. He poured the concoction into a bowl, made a show of blowing on it, then put it on the ground.

The dog lapped at the water, then her head jerked up. She shook it, licked her chops once, gave Carl and dirty look and went back outside.

“Fail,” Vic said.

“Fail,” Carl said.

They book looked at the camera. “Fail!”

Laugh track here, Vic thought to himself.

Carl laughed and turned the camera off. “That was hilarious.”

Vic looked down at the bowl and poked it with the toe of his shoe. He pulled his mask off. “You get to throw it out.”




I had to stretch the setting.

Genre – Cooking or Crafting Show

Random Object – Goldfish

Setting – Crawl Space Under a House

Hit me with your best idea for these three!

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My Top Ten Drama Movies

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Drama is not one of my go-to genres. Most dramas are the kind of movie that I’ll see once and never watch again, let alone buy.

However, there are a few that I own and a few more that I love, and even then it took me a while to come up with this list.

Please let me know what dramas you love the best!


10) Forrest Gump

Although the most memorable part about seeing this film for the first time was the sound of the war movie in the next theater leaking through the walls during the crying parts, I have to admit that I enjoy this movie every time I watch it. It’s this crazy, slice of life idea stretched over an entire lifetime, and each step helps you see something in a different light.

9) Memphis Belle

This is a little-known gem with tons of big names. I’m always a sucker for a team-even if they have problems-and I love the characters. The music is wonderful and the imagery striking. It doesn’t hurt that Sean Astin is in it. I had a huge crush on him in my high school days.

Bonus: I was watching Stranger Things the other day and saw  the name Matthew Modine . It took me a minute to figure out why I knew the name.

8) Finding Forrester

It’s got Sean Connery, and the show is about an author and writing. Yes, please!

7) Hidden Figures

I’m usually up for a girl power show, and this one did not disappoint! It’s got some humor, but at its core, the film is about the fact that you can be what you want to be. You’ll have to sacrifice for it, but isn’t that how we get all the good things in life?

6) The Quiet Place

This movie kind of blew my mind. It’s so well executed, and had me on the edge of my seat. There is a bit of horror in there, and loads of suspense, but I put it in this category because at its core, the film is about family.

5) The Darkest Hour

First off, Gary Oldman was amazing as Winston Churchill! He had me riveted to the screen as he negotiated his first few weeks as the Prime Minister. The other characters pulled their weight and the story is breathtaking. I’ve seen it three times and cried ever single time.

4) The Green Book

This movie made me laugh more than it made me cry, which surprised me. The change in both characters is literally by the numbers of screenwriting, but it’s so well done that I didn’t even notice until I digested the film. So good.

3) The Magnificent Seven (The Original)

I saw most of the remakes of this film before I saw the original. Which, by the way, is a remake of The Seven Samurai. Also a good film, but longer, and in Japanese. The music, the characters and the plot of this one swept me away! Old-school epic.

2) Secondhand Lions

I…I’m not sure I can describe this movie. It’s quirky characters and circumstances captured my imagination. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. I was laughing and crying at the same time at least twice. Who wouldn’t want two old, grouchy uncles with all sorts of hidden secrets?

1) 12 Angry Men

One of my best friends and I were going through an old film phase when we discovered this gem! This movie isn’t about a trial as much as it is about prejudice, courage and the ability to change.  I’ve seen the theatrical version, and it is also amazing!

After we watched this, my friend saw an episode of King of the Hill that was totally a remake of this film

Honorable Mentions:


Can’t watch this one over and over, but it’s great! Probably best in the theater.


This is a classic. Go watch it.

Life is Beautiful

One-time-only, but wonderful.

The Four Feathers

A friend and I watched this and I got totally drawn in. First this guy is a coward, then ends up being more of a man than any of his “friends.”

*Note: There are two films that I have never seen that should probably be on the list somewhere, so here they are:

Schlinder’s List

Gone with the Wind

What are your favorite dramatic movies?

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