Zombies Everywhere! .14

First of all 4-wheeling is a shit-ton of fun.  I had never had the pleasure prior to this, but after about 2 minutes I suddenly understood what all those good-old-boys loved about it.  And I was sure that combined with hunting, it was even better.  I was in no position to be hunting at that point though, as I only had a paintball gun and a baseball bat.  Guns!  I needed guns!  But where?  Everyone who owned one would no doubt be using them, and all those that weren’t spoken for, soon would be.  Sure there was a gun shop in town, but come on – everybody and their mothers (quite literally) would be after them.

That’s the thing about Zombiegeddon.  Sure there is ample opportunity for looting and all manner of procuring stuff without paying for it, but everyone else wants shit too, and they want it badly.  Think black friday sales, but magnified by – zombies.  Going to a store was akin to suicide – at least until things died down.  No, if I wanted shit I would have to be more creative than that, and more ruthless than I was immediately comfortable being.  Basically I would have to take them from someone, either by force or by wile, and live with the reality of leaving someone defenseless in order to ensure my survival.  This is some heavy shit people, and even the fun of 4-wheeling couldn’t subvert the existential funk that I soon fell into.

I had though about this in my years of Zombiegeddon fantasy, but that is all theory, and in my opinion no amount of research and studying can prepare you for doing something in real life.  We all have images of ourselves, things we think about ourselves.  I guess that I had never seen myself as the kind of person who steals, or places herself above everything else.  But that is bullshit, and it probably always was.  Zombies are the kind of thing that pull down the false images we hold to reveal what remains.  What’s left when the shit hits the fan, that is who we are. 

During the Zombie Armageddon there are survivors and there are zombies.  If you want to be a survivor, you have to accept that.  I  had always fancied myself a survivor.  And now it was time to see just what exactly I was capable of.

I figured that people with barns were likely to also have guns.  And so I drove, with a heavy heart, until I saw a barn (actually there were two barns on the property), and then I stopped.  I left the ATV about half a mile away, and walked though a field approaching the farmhouse.  I tried to formulate a plan as I walked, but my brain was flooded with pre-guilt, and my blood-pressure was up so that I could hear it pumping furiously in my ears.  I also felt slightly nauseated. 

When I reached the house I crouched for a moment under one of the windows at the back and tried to steady my breathing.  I was shaking and I hoped to god that I could pull this off.

eulogy for the best looking part of me.

Do you know what it’s like to be a hot girl?  I do.  I looked everyday in the mirror.  I wanted to fuck what I saw there.

I could walk into any place, and I knew that I could have any guy in there.

The confidence.  The swagger.  Forget that I was always a misanthrope with unpopular ideals.  Forget that I was kind of a bitch.  Forget that social situations have always been the bane of my existence.  I ruled them with ease.  Because sex is King, and if you rule that realm – you rule places that would normally be far beyond your reach.

Do you know what it is to lose control?  To lose that part of yourself which you had relied on for so long?  It is nothing short of traumatic.  It takes all of your power and puts it, at the very least, into question.

If you are a very stable person, very well-rounded and grounded, then you whether the storm, and you retain composure.  You hold onto your lands through sheer will, and with the self assurance that your worth  is more substantial than your looks.

If you are not then you find yourself displaced in a familiar place.  A stranger in your own territory.  Allies – few and far between.  Family, well-intentioned friends.  But the mirror is the nemesis that seems to be everywhere all the time.  Reality is a bitch.  Self-esteem is a pipe-dream.  Chase it if you will, at least you’ll be burning calories. 

Inner self-worth is that which we should all strive to attain, because you’ve got to have a plan B.

Zombie’s Everywhere! .13

If you are a partier then you know that if you make friends with the guy who owns the house, then you can control just about anything – the music, the drinks, who stays and who goes and, as it turns out, the weapons.   Granted there weren’t many, but I had them all.  I also had the little guy who owned them in the palm of my hand (I guess all those years of partying came in handy after all).  I knew everything of immediate importance about Stan, and I was pretty sure that for a blowjob he’d give me the keys to his four-wheeler out back.  As it turned out, such dramatics weren’t necessary as I just got him to tell me where the keys were and waited until everyone passed out and then took them. 

I suppose I should have felt bad, but I had trouble.  Those kids were – well, I hesitate to say hopeless – but other adjectives fail to come to mind.  I do hope that they made it out ok, but at the same time I shudder to think of any of them out there.  No, I did what I did (which was to take their baseball bat and their paintball gun [and ammo, of course] and get the hell out of dodge) and never really looked back.

Where I was going, was anyone’s guess.  At first I just drove away from town.  But after not too far I got to thinking – “where the hell am I going?”.  I needed better defense and shelter.  And then there was the problem of my Grandmother.  For my own reasons I was prepared to let the rest of my family figure things out for themselves (with all the best hopes for them, it should be noted), but the fate of my Grandma weighed heavily on me.  I had thought, in all my prior years of mental preparation for the zombie invasion, of how best to deal with my Grandma in case of such a scenario, but  had never reached a suitable conclusion.  I mean, how do you even broach the subject of Zombiegeddon with an almost octogenarian?  I had always figured that she would think I was delusional and at the very least deeply disturbed, and so had never done it.  Now the thought of her alone in her house, confused and likely not understanding what was going on around her haunted me. 

Everyone knows that going to save your friends and family is more likely to get you killed than to save any lives.  And unfortunately you are the only thing that you can be focusing on in a situation such as this and fare well.  Still, this is Grandma – chicken soup, fried chicken, comfort and safety – Grandma, that we’re talking about here!  The hardest, most hardcore survivalist of hearts would be hard pressed to withstand such a thing.  As much as I knew I should not (and in fact I feared the worse already) I was quickly turned around and motoring towards Grandma’s house. 

Grandma lived in the center of town, in a house that used to be on the outskirts of town, but that had been swallowed up by the inevitable spread of progress.  But not before I found a proper gun, for the love of god.

Zombies Everywhere! .12

Ash Williams

Image via Wikipedia

Have you ever been to a party where you don’t know anyone?  That is exactly what it was like when we finally got to where we were going.  It ended up being a tiny cabin down a short, dirt private road.  Obviously it was a hunting camp, or something.  The inhabitants were – interesting?  Or special, if you want to go with that, but not in a good way.  Three teenage guys and a twentysomething girl, all of which seemed to view the recent zombie invasion as a good excuse to party.  There was whiskey, beer, and weed; all the makings of a good party, but for some reason I just wasn’t in the mood.  My host, who unfortunately turned out to be dumb as a brick, was gracious, introducing me to “everyone”, and then offering to get me a drink.  I took one, so as not to seem ungracious, and then I tried to fade into the background.  This didn’t work like I hoped – it was a pretty small party, and the guy to girl ratio was not in my favor. 

Right away I could see that even though I had gotten myself into a group, I was pretty much on my own.  These kids were mostly wasted, and seemingly oblivious to the lurking danger of zombies.  I felt like I had ended up in the creepy cabin from Evil Dead, but I was the only one who knew where we were.  And Bruce Campbell was nowhere in sight.

 My hero, who’s name was Matt, in spite of his recent witnessing of the zombie threat, did not find it prudent to warn his peers, or even to regal them with the story.  He just grabbed a beer, and the bong, and headed for the radio to “find some better tunes”.  I stood by a window, scanning the woods for zombies, and pretended to sip my beer, while silently bemoaning the situation that I had gotten myself into.  These guys were not going to afford much protection, in fact I was pretty sure they were a liability. 

I was trying to comfort myself by nonchalantly scanning the room for potential weapons when my good time was interrupted by one of the guys, who had decided to try his luck talking me up at this Party of the Damned.  Let me give you a little perspective here – at the time I was 28 years old, I had been to college, done the party scene, and was pretty much on my way out.  I’ll admit that I didn’t look my age, but that is as generous as I can be.  So that when this boy approached me ( he couldn’t have been older than 18) I will admit that for a brief moment I was flattered.  I couldn’t revel in the moment though, what with my underlying terror, and dread, but it kind of felt good.  Still I was also not unaware of how kind of silly the whole scenario was, and so I’m sure that my reaction to  his opening remarks was some weird mix of amusement, strange highschool awkwardness,and college-girl disinterest/superiority, all with a hint of paranoia and barely concealed panic.  I can’t imagine what that would have looked like, but I am still a bit shocked that our conversation lasted as long as it did.

“Hey, how’s it going?  I’m Nick.”

“I’m Alex.”

“Nice.  So what brings you to The Cabin?”

“Well, Matt brought me.  But mostly I’m here because of the zombies.”

“Yeah, that shit is like, totally mind blowing right?”

“Yeah, totally.  Um, have you seen any?”

“Naw, just been listening to it on the radio.  I guess it’s bad news.  But we figure we should be cool here, I mean, what dead guy is going to walk way the fuck out here, right?”

“A hungry one, I imagine.  So do you guys have any, like guns, or baseball bats, or anything?”

“You’ll have to ask Stan, it’s his Dad’s place.” 

“Awesome.  Can you take me to Stan?”

“He’s that little shit right there,” he said, pointing to a slight, sketchy little guy standing about 5 feet away.

“Awesome, thanks Nick.”  I walked over to Stan, and on the way I decided that I was doing alright, and that if I just played things cool, I might just be able to control this situation.

“Stan, dude, great party.  I’m Alex,” I said, as I shook his hand, making sure to let the contact linger a bit longer than necessary.  “Could you maybe show me around the cabin?  I’m feeling a little out of my element, you know?”

And just like that I was on the guided tour of this shitty little three room cabin.  Stan was eager to play host, and the more I smiled and made eye-contact the more detailed the tour became.  I knew it was a little wrong to manipulate a highschool boy like that, but at the same time, I knew that eventually this party would be over, and I needed to be ready for that. 

“Hey Stan, you know what I am like, really into?  Weapons.”

Zombiegeddon Fitness Plan: The Bike

Ok, so I’ve been on vacation for the last 3 weeks, but I’m back now, and just as committed to getting in shape for the zombie apocalypse as ever! Christmas has however wreaked havoc on my weight loss and fitness routine, and so I am still working back into things, and am so relieved to be doing so (visiting family is great, but stressful, and full of food!).
I also have a new addition to my fitness arsenal – a bike. I didn’t ask for it, or even know that I wanted it, but I got one, and I love it. And riding around the neighborhood on it got me thinking about how useful a bike could be during Zombiegeddon.

Women’s Forge Sejour Path Comfort Bike - Egg-Shell White (16")
Aside from offering a nice, low-impact cardio workout, a bike is relatively fast, and maneuverable,  it’s quiet, and it doesn’t require fuel.  The downside is that it is open, leaving you exposed.  For moderately crowded situations, and for reconnaissance purposes I think that a bicycle could be kind of great (not without risks, but great).

I think that the key to minimizing the risks associated with utilizing a bike while in the presence of zombies is to practice riding, to get really good a controlling the bike, and to increase your cardio endurance.  And luckily all you need to do is ride a bike to achieve these things.  Obviously a stationary bike will be able to give you the cardio workout, but without the experience of maneuvering a real bike.

I also theorize that being dresses properly could help make the bike a safer Zombiegeddon option.  By being as fully covered by your clothes as possible you could prevent drive by scratches and bites.  And as always, if you are riding a bike, it is advisable to wear a helmet.

Zombie Fitness Plan: Upper-Body Strength

Alright so I’m finishing week 3 of my gym membership, and my self-training for the zombie Armageddon.  I’m still pushing cardio for endurance (read: ability to out run zombies – just in case they turn out to be those damn fast ones).  But I am also focusing on building my upper body strength. 

If you are a girl (and I happen to be) then it is common to be a bit deficient in this area, but it is important.  Think about climbing.  Could you climb a rope?  For many females the idea is laughable.  I couldn’t do it, literally if my life depended on it.  Could you overpower someone, who weighed over, say, 90lbs ?  And even just defending yourself with a weapon usually requires a good bit of strength to make it effective. 

Free weights are good for upper-body workouts, but at the gym I have the luxury of nautilus machines to help me.  I have been focusing on the overhead press, and the assisted pull up.  Core strengthening is also important to do with this so that you have the middle strength to give momentum and stability to your movements – I like the Plank for a total core workout. 

Another method, if it’s available, is boxing.  A punching bag is one of the best fitness tools out there.  It will build muscle in your arms, legs, and core; it also works with helping to include reflexes and movement into your strength workout (if you get a hanging one that will swing).  The punching bag also provides a cardio workout.  My gym does not have a punching bag, mores the pity.

For me the idea that I couldn’t pull myself up a rope, or many other things, is worrisome within the context of the zombie apocalypse.  Having the upper body strength to defend myself is key, and it is just one of the many things that motivates me while I’m training.

Zombiegeddon Fitness Plan: Continued

Arthur Saxon performing a bent press.

Image via Wikipedia

Well, I am almost 2 weeks into my new gym membership and my self-training for the zombie apocalypse.  I am taking it slow, so as not to injure myself.  Right now I am up to 25 minutes of cardio followed by another 1/2 hour of strength training 4 days a week.  I am loving it.  First of all it has helped me to quit smoking (none for almost a week!), secondly it just feels great to work out (it’s that good kind of pain).  Also at the end of the day it simply feels good to look back and know that you’ve done something healthy and productive.

I am focusing on increasing my endurance, my upper body strength, and my flexibility (which will decrease my chances of muscle injury, which as anyone who has ever pulled a muscle can attest, can be fairly debilitating).  Whenever I get tired and think that maybe 15 minutes of cardio is enough, I just picture hordes of zombies chasing me, and I keep going. 

Next week my aim is to increase cardio to 30-35 minutes, and to get to the gym 5 days rather than 4.  I started out with only weight loss in mind, and while that is still and always will be a goal, it is nice, since weight loss is so slow-going and efforts so easily begin to seem futile, to have something else driving things.  And so I will continue…

The Zombiegeddon Fitness Plan: Being the Best You Can Be, in Case of the Zombie Apocalypse

So, I recently got a gym membership.  I’m looking to drop about 40 pounds, and I really needed something to do, so the gym is kind of perfect.  And while losing weight is awesome, and being healthy and fit is great too, I have to admit that in the back of my mind (or maybe somewhere closer to the middle) one of my motivations is definitely Zombiegeddon.  Having been expecting zombies to show up for years now, I have run over so many scenarios, so many times, and one thing is clear – staying alive will not be a cakewalk.  Unfortunately for those of us who are out of shape I think that survival under these circumstances will require a good amount of running, walking, jumping, and hiding in often uncomfortable places (though the backseat of a Volkswagen wouldn’t be a particularly good spot to hide from zombies.  Just FYI.).  Endurance, strength and flexibility will be huge assets, and in fact may mean the difference between life and death. 

Today I started actually working out, getting in shape.  Today I also started my self-training for the Zombie Apocalypse.  There are lots of great reasons to get in shape, and they all factor in to why I decided to pay good money to make myself all sweaty and out of breath.  But perhaps the most entertaining, and the most ridiculously motivating is the possibility that you may need to be in the best shape possible to prevent being eaten alive by zombies.  Think about it.

Pandering to the LCD: For our own good

So, no decision has been made yet as to whether or not the FDA will approve GM salmon for release into our food chain, but I keep waiting for it, and I keep researching the peripheral topics associated with it. The things I keep coming back to are Monsanto (even though they are not the ones who created this salmon), and product labeling. And it’s the labeling which has me all riled up today. I recently read something that said that not only will the FDA not require GMO‘s to be labeled, but they are making it difficult for things to even be labeled as NOT containing GMO’s. Furthermore, one of the things that folks against labeling have cited as a reason for opposing it is that too much labeling only “confuses the consumer”. Wow. I didn’t realize that I was that easily confused. I thought I was doing alright, I manage to get in and out of the grocery store in pretty good time, often even purchasing things that I have had to choose to buy from among a plethora of other things that I could have bought. In fact, considering the ridiculous amount of products and brands that are jammed into our SUPERmarkets, my ability to sift through, find what I need and want to buy, make my way to the checkout, and get the hell out of there, is actually pretty awesome. I think that just maybe my poor decision- addled brain could handle 1 more label to decipher on my food stuffs. You dicks.

Don’t patronize me. Don’t make decisions based entirely on your profit margin and then tell me it is for my own good. Both the FDA and the food companies are worried about their bottom lines, and they are willing to sacrifice our health and our environmental safety in order to make money.

Oh, and also, just FYI, there is a proposal going through the FDA right now for the name of “high fructose corn syrup” to be renamed “corn sugar”.  The name change will not reflect any nutritional change, it is only to “clarify” for consumers what they are eating, and also to escape the bad name that HFCS has gotten in the past few decades.  If the ingestion of refined sugar concerns you, be on the lookout for this to possibly be enacted in the future.

The Nightmare on Elm Street remake: surprisingly encouraging

Sometimes I get the nagging feeling that the reason that I like so few new horror movies is because I am determined to do so.  It’s disturbing because it makes me doubt my own tastes.  And it would be easy to see why a self-fulfilling prophesy could be at work in my brain – after all, I have trouble remembering the last newer horror film that I truly liked, and I am adamantly, or even ferociously against almost all of them, especially remakes of classic films.  But today I can breathe easy, assured finally that I am not just a hater, that my tastes are simply uncompromising.

Not surprisingly I went into watching the Nightmare on Elm Street remake expecting to hate it.  Mostly I just wanted to be able to rip on it educatedly and that’s why I watched it (also I was pretty bored).  But about 20 minutes into the movie I realized with some shock that I wasn’t exasperated, or nauseated, or having to restrain myself from turning it off.  This is because the new Nightmare on Elm Street isn’t half bad.  It definitely resembles the original, however it does manage to be its own film.  The balance here between paying homage to the first one, and adding to the story and making it fresh is admirable.

Among the major differences is the tone – this movie is a lot less “fun”, more serious than the original.  This is especially apparent when it comes to the star of the show, Mr. Freddy Kruger.  In the original series he was a deadly jokester – just as likely to throw a quip at you than a hand full of knives – and I’ll admit that even as a kid this kind of took the edge off his scariness.  The newly imagined Freddy Kruger is, like the whole movie, darker, more serious, and at least a bit more scary.  He is also taken to task for his original trespasses (those that resulted in his becoming the dreamland murderer that we all know) – child molestation.  The original left it pretty much alone, focusing instead on Freddy’s proclivity for murder, but it is given a more focused role in this film, which adds to Kruger’s new, more disturbing and ultimately less likeable persona.

The level of violence and gore are also amped up, though not to any ridiculous degree.  I expected the sex and language to also be  increased upon, though I was happily surprised to be wrong on this count as well.   Much of the pandering and gratuitousness of modern horror movies is missing from this one, and I have to say it makes me very happy.

Was this a great film?  No, it was nothing mind-blowing, just a remake of an 80’s horror film.  But it was good; hell, I would watch this movie again.  And while this may strike some a prosaic designation, if one takes into consideration how few new horror movies get anywhere near to being described so positively by me, it would become clear that this is high praise indeed.