Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Back to The Walking Dead

Yes, I still watch The Walking Dead.  I think I need to tell you now why, especially since my wife now refuses to watch it due to how awful it is.  I feel I need to watch it.  I know that sounds silly, but really, how many zombie shows are they going to make?  Yes, there is Death Valley, which you need to watch before you watch The Walking Dead.  And, yes, hopefully they will make Bite Me into a TV show, which would be completely awesome, but is that even still enough?

Anyway, I've been watching the new season of The Walking Dead, and talking about it with others, and I've come to my current conclusion on why I don't like it.  You see, in most zombie shows/movies/books the antagonists are the zombies, and sometimes other random groups of living people, and the protagonists are the main characters.  Granted, you can have the zombies be the protagonists, the antagonists be the main characters, or really any other grouping you'd like.  The real problem with The Walking Dead is that the protagonists are the antagonists.  The zombies are really just extra to the show.

Now, I love Breaking Bad, and part of that is where the line between the concepts of protagonist and antagonist are blurred.  That's intentional.  The show still makes you want to root for Walter even though he does things that most of us consider immoral and still makes you root against Gus even though he may occasionally do good.  In The Walking Dead it seems rather unintentional that the zombies are neither good nor bad.  Rather, it seems that they're just a plot device to move the story to more crying.  They're extraneous to the plot entirely; you could replace "zombies" with any other widget that causes death and disease and the plot would be identical.  The real bad guys in the show are the main characters, who constantly make bad decisions and do absolutely nothing to try to make better choices.

Please don't get me started on the not one, but two, prayer scenes in the first episode of the new season.

"Hey, God.  I know this is a totally hackneyed plot device, but the thing is is that I'm not sure that the viewers know my motivations for what I'm doing.  If I can completely break character, and the manner in which most people pray, please allow to vocally express my hopes and fears to/for you."  Multiply that by two and you're at the first episode of the second season.  Multiply THAT by two and you're almost at the level of disgust I feel for this show building in my stomach.

In addition to the zombies, what I consider the most worth while character in the show is also just a plot device: the hillbilly.  At first he was racist, then he was mad that the rest of the characters allowed his brother to die.  Now he's just the only useful member of their merry band.  Not only that, he's done more to help those that let his brother die than his original character should naturally suggest.  Don't get me wrong, this is why I like him: he can rise above the situation and be a better person.  The problem I have is that every other character on the show has pontificated, in extreme depth, on his or her actions when they have been slight in comparison.  We saw the blonde's sister die and were subjected to in depth, play-by-play analysis on the subject.  The hillbilly's brother was handcuffed to a pipe and left to die, by the other characters, and all we hear is that he often got the clap.

Something else alarming about the show: there is no strong female character.  The main character's wife is a whore who was willing to jump into bed with his best friend at the first sign of trouble.  And then lie about it.  The blonde is suicidal and complaining that nobody will give her a gun that she doesn't know how to assemble.  The other mother allowed her daughter to be molested, repeatedly.  These are not the actions of strong women.  Let me say this again: these are not the actions of strong women.  You can run around all you want and say "Oh, she's so strong," but it doesn't make it true.  A strong widow doesn't sleep with whatever alpha male is around a month after her husband dies.  A strong woman knows how to assemble her weapon, especially when her life depends on it.  A strong woman doesn't allow someone to continually hurt her child.  I don't mind someone crying, that's not a sign of weakness, but the actions of the women in this show exemplify those of the weakest women imaginable.

I have rays of hope through this cloud of awful, though.  The veterinarian and his daughter both seem like pretty solid characters.  The vet's thought of how the zombie virus is the same as all the other ones man has seen throughout history is pretty cool; I like it.  Honestly, the vet's daughter seems like a good match for the hillbilly: they're both competent and seem able to handle the kind of BS that the other characters exude.

Bottom line: it's an awful show but I still feel obligated to watch.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The End of the Beginning

John opened his eyes, tried to look down.  When he leaned up he caught his throat on the strap around it.  He choked and tried to scream out, no words came.  Without looking he tried to move each appendage but none of them could be moved either, although he could feel them all.  His mind struggled against his tongue, then further on itself.  He could feel himself, could feel his thoughts but could barely form them into even the most basic cogent thought: terror.  He began to panic and vainly struggle against his bonds, his mouth producing nothing but a low, guttural growl.  A voice boomed thunderously in the white, sterile room, 

“Another failure.  You may dispose of him, private.”

John could hear footsteps from his left and a young, rail-thin man dressed in fatigues entered his vision.  The boy couldn’t have been more than 18 but no fear shown in his eyes as brought up a .45 caliber pistol and aimed it John’s head with both hands.

“No!”  John knew he had said it but apparently his tongue had more quickly re-acclimated than his poor, battered mind.

The young man held his gun steady as he looked up to his left with a look of mere question, devoid of emotion.  John lay motionless, using all of his limited capacity trying to understand what he had just done.

“Stand down, private,” echoed through the room before the young man silently stepped out of John’s eyesight and back to his post at the door.  Above him, though, behind blinding lights and bullet proof glass there was a firestorm of emotion: relief, joy, shame.  An older gentleman, which by current standards put him at the ripe age of 43, turned around and scowled at the youthful celebration behind him, “Shut up, you little bastards.  We’ve proven we can teach a monkey to say a word, nothing more.”

The rabble died down and one quiet “Sorry, doctor,” was heard.  The champagne was still poured though because, as we all know, once a bottle is opened it must be finished as well.  The doctor stood and peered over his spectacles at the spectacle, “Although, a word is the most we’ve taught one of these abhorrent creatures in quite a long time.”

Even with the quarantine zones in place it was still not uncommon to hear of someone catching the infection.  It was usually stupid, drunk teenagers or young lovers who thought they had no better place to go.  Sometimes, though, it was a poor, unlucky traveler whose car broke down halfway between towns, or a camper who made just a bit too much noise.  John was of the latter.  Unfortunately for him alcohol sped the infection rate and before his girlfriend was able to get him to a hospital he was already dead and destined for “quarantine,” which simply meant he was the freshest test subject.

John, however, was strong enough to wake after the tests, and smart enough to speak early enough to spare his life.  Dr. Sevylor sat back down and keyed the microphone once more, “Can you tell me your name?”
John looked up at the lights, fixated on the single word he had spoken, “no.”

If twenty sets of shoulders drooping could make a sound, you certainly would have heard it then.  Several scientists stood up and walked out of the room in frustration.  But Dr. Sevylor knew better, he had been there in the beginning.  He knew that the methods they were using now were much more promising than the simple electrical probing they had done years ago.  He knew this method was much more fundamental, and although slower, was much more likely to yield true positive results instead of the “trained apes” they had first brought back.  He pressed on, “no to what?  No to the gun, or no you don’t know your name?”

“No,” John tried, pushed, wished the words out of his mouth, “no I don’t.”

At first caution ruled the day.  John was speaking in sentences before they released the straps, and in paragraphs before they took him off intravenous fluids and gave him actual food.  All along he was measured, scanned, tested, questioned, examined, and charted.  He was transferred from the room in which he awoke to a normal hospital room that had television, books, food and even beer available.  In all this time he never saw the face of the man who ordered his death.

 It wasn’t that Dr. Sevylor was a coward, not by any means.  He had helped with establishing the quarantine zone and even led the expedition to expand the colonized zone to include the hospital in which he now sat.  He just didn’t want to set the experiment back by introducing any undo emotional stress to the patient.  He looked up from his papers, “Yes, nurse, if he’s asking for me then of course I’ll come meet him.”

It was an air of respectfulness, not timidity, with which he walked into the small room, the first time in years the thought of respecting one of his patients had even crossed his mind.

“I understand why you did it, doctor.  And I don’t take it personally.  I’ve killed them before myself,” John didn’t look up from his book as he spoke, “I understand you’re the man I need to speak to about leaving.”

“Yes, John, I am.  But I don’t think you’re ready to leave.  There’s so much more we need to study about you to see why the antibody worked on you.”

“It’s interesting, doctor,” John looked up and down at the older man, sizing him up, “there’s no legal precedent, before or after the world fell apart, for when a man legally regains his rights after he returns from the dead.  Well, it’s interesting to me at least, although probably only because I have a vested interest.”

“John, your condition has been leaked to the paper.  Half the city fears you and the other half thinks you’re an abomination.”

John swung his feet over the side of the bed and stood up, “And I’m sure you’ve done all you can to get the truth out there and dispel these notions?”  He looked up into the other man’s face for the first time.  His emotions were quite strong when he first awoke but he had had plenty of time to take back control of his mind.  If there was anything to read in his face then his eyes may have been pleading a bit with the doctor.

Sevylor looked back and if there was any emotion in his face it was imagined.  The only reason he had lived through the terror was that he had dispensed with his emotions long ago.  One has to be a cold, emotionless bastard to look into his wife’s blood strewn face and pull the trigger, as she pleads for her - admittedly short – life.  If someone had asked, Sevylor would have said that this was the single most important characteristic to survival, and one would have been hard pressed to argue with the results.  He wasn’t a large man, far from it.  But one needn’t be as strong or quick when he could easily avoid poor circumstance.  Sevylor’s experience taught him that undo actions, driven by emotion, were the single greatest contributor to any stupid shmuck landing in the middle of poor circumstances.

A quick smirk wrinkled his face for a moment as the doctor thought about truth, “I could tell them that you’re the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ who had been dead for three days, and who now has risen in glory.  I could tell them I played Doubting Thomas and shoved my fingers through the holes in your hands and side.  I could tell them that you walked through this very hospital healing lepers and feeding thousands of the poor with a single box of Kraft mac and cheese.  I could tell them all these things, and more, and it wouldn’t change a God damn thing.

“In comparison to that, John, where would your truth stand?”

John stood and squared himself with the doctor, studying his face for a moment.  “You know, doctor, your face looks much older than it naturally should.  I figure cynicism will do that to a man.”  He got back on the bed, put his hands back behind his head and kicked his feet up, “But you may have a point.  Say, do you think I could get a copy of the paper?”

They had electricity and running water now, just not much of it.  There certainly wasn’t enough power to run cameras, lights, teleprompters and thousands of televisions.  This was new civilization, though, and accommodations had to be made, even if difficult.  That’s why there was a weekly newspaper, and a newspaper would naturally need reporters.

“Thanks for meeting with me, Seth.  Did you have much trouble getting in to see me?”  John was sitting on the edge of his bed, motioning to a chair sitting in front of him.

“No, it was a good alibi,” Seth had told the nurse in the lobby that he was John’s girlfriend’s brother who had come to make sure John was safe before he’d allow his sister to come by.  It worked better than John had anticipated, probably because Seth was rather tall with broad shoulders.  He looked like the over-protective brother type.

“Well, I just wanted to get out the truth about me.  I know that if the doctor who’s been trying for years to accomplish reversal says that he’s successful it won’t carry much weight.  But if an uninterested, third party reporter comes out and tells the people that I’m alive, well that’s a whole different story.”  John lifted up his hands, palms out, “Here I am.”

Dr. Sevylor sat down, “thank you for meeting with me, Mr. Mayor.”

“Not at all, Doctor, not at all,” The Mayor closed his hands together on the desk in front of him.  “It seems I would have to.  I understand you’ve had a bit of consternation about my decision.”

Sevylor laughed to himself as he looked at The Mayor; consternation was just the tip of the iceberg.  “Yes, sir, a bit.  It’s not that I have trouble respecting your decision.  I knew what I was signing up for when I filed my citizenship papers.  And I appreciate the freedom you’ve allowed my men and women over the years.”  They had an understanding of sorts: as long as the hospital cured the town’s injured, few questions were asked.  “But you could not have picked a worse time, or a worse case, to come sticking your nose in,” Sevylor realized he overplayed his hand a bit, “sir.”

The Mayor had grown a bit pudgy over the years, and was about the only person in town as old as Sevylor.  In a previous life he had been an athlete, a professional some claimed, and his fastball didn’t deny it.  He was a part of the small group that originally started the town, which was before Sevylor wandered through and suggested the quarantine.  Since that time the rest of the original group had been killed off during “surges” (intense, concentrated zombie attacks) and through various other means.  The original group had set laws guaranteeing their own power, which may have been their undoing, and now The Mayor was set for life.  Most in the town surmised that he was as corrupt as Sevylor mad, but little is begrudged the successful, so, as long as the people were happy and healthy, both men retained their seats of power.

That’s why the two largely avoided confronting each other in a manner such as this, but also why it was now necessary: the article had won over the hearts and minds of the people to the idea of John and they subsequently demanded his release.  But it wasn’t for their hearts and minds that Sevylor cared, nor their souls or opinions.  He cared for their bodies, had done so for over a decade now, and didn’t want to see them killed simply because they got lovey-dovey over his seemingly successful experiment.

The Mayor leaned in over the desk, “Doctor, I understand the issues you may have with this.  But I also know that you understand that within the walls of this town I am free to stick this nose wherever I see fit and whenever I see fit.”  He narrowed his eyes and stared down the good doctor on the other side of the desk, “If that – ‘man’ – can walk and talk then he will be released to his adoring public.  You know as well as I that every single person in this town owns a firearm.  Hell, I’d be willing to wager that some crazy bastard guns him down on the steps of your hospital.  But that’s neither here nor there.”  The Mayor leaned back in his chair and rested his hands on his gut, raised his voice to its more amiable, public tone, “I do hope we have an understanding now, Doctor?”

Sevylor sat in his chair a moment, expressionless.  He thought for a moment, then, “Yes, of course.  I appreciate your time, Mr. Mayor.”

John had never had stomach problems before, “A little too much chili powder in this batch, babe.”

His girlfriend, Jen, had never been much a pushover, “No, I don’t think that’s it, babe.  I think that perhaps that creep, Sevylor, has shoved too much of his bland hospital food down your throat.”

The good doctor sat in a darkened office, sullen.  This little bastard is going to be the death of everything I’ve made here.  He’s our Judas.

 “Doctor, Seth is here to see you,” the young nurse’s statement revealed her fear of the only tenured man in the building.

“Send him in, please,” Sevylor flipped the breaker to turn on his desk light.

The brash man filled the room as soon as he walked in, as no member of the press ever should, “Doctor Sevylor, how are you today?”  He held out a large hand.

The old man returned the hand and smiled, he had a predetermined response for such a question since The Terror began, “Well, the sun’s shining and my heart’s beating so I can’t complain.”

Seth’s face immediately lit up in a false smile, “Your wit precedes you, sir.  I just wanted to sit down with you for a moment and talk about John.”

Sevylor tried to prevent his face from twisting, chances are he failed, “Of course, my star pupil.  What did you need to know?”  This was the first time since The Terror that he had felt this sort of pressure, this hope induced garbage.

“Quite simply, sir, what chance of survival does he have?”

After an unusually grueling shift Sevylor sat down in his darkened office, not expecting the newspaper that smacked his desk, “What is this, you snake oil salesman?”  It was an unusually harsh rebuke from The Mayor, yet nonetheless justified, “What do you think you’re doing saying that this – ‘man’ – could end up being a zombie in the middle of our fair town?”

“Following the Hippocratic oath, sir,” Sevylor snapped the breaker, illuminating the desk.

“You think you’re a real smart son of a bitch, don’t you?”  The Mayor shoved a fat finger on the newspaper, “You better not think I’ll forget this jackassery, I’m no idiot.”

Sevylor’s lips twisted slightly upward, he thought of John’s simplistic reasoning, “Sir, I would hardly dare to call The Truth any sort of jackassery.  Do you remember when we originally spoke on this subject?  When I told you that I didn’t want politics to get involved with sensitive patient decisions?  When I acquiesced to your decision out of deference to your accomplishments and your position?  Well now I must respectfully ask that you not interfere with my decisions.  I understand that your power in this town is absolute; I understand that your word is law; I understand that you keep these people under an iron fist.  But, God damn it, if they don’t know the danger this man represents then there may not be anyone left to feel the crushing weight of that fist!  Do you understand what’s at stake here, Mayor?  This man could very well be the undoing of everything I’ve done, everything you’ve done here.  I don’t want these people to first find out this man is dangerous when he’s chomping on their necks!”  Sevylor was standing behind his desk for a moment, panting and red faced.  When he realized what had just happened he quickly snapped his hands off his desk and meekly sat down.

The Mayor waited patiently through the tirade, silently watching the doctor’s furor quickly build and subside.  He watched as Sevylor seat himself and realize his folly.  Finally he stood up and buttoned his jacket in a dignified manner, “This is a strange time to find ethics, doctor.”  The Mayor turned his back and walked out of the office.

John winced, started to breath heavily.  The fire in his belly flared up through his solar plexus, past his sternum and burned out as a deep bitterness in the base of his throat.  Jen looked in on him as he groaned, she found him doubled over and teetering off the couch, “John!  Jesus what’s wrong?”  She ran over and pushed him back onto the couch, he retained the same position, his knees following his chest.

John whispered in stilts, “No-othing, don’t, nnnnn, worrrrry.  Ken, ken, ken, eeeeyou… gggget… me… brreah?”  As soon as Jen left him John fell over forwards, his mouth inches from the floor as he started heaving.  The first heaves were dry but as soon as Jen returned with a plate of bread John’s black bile spilled over the floor and started to spread like the Plague.  His poor body convulsed with his stomach as more liquid spewed forth.  It spread about him as he continued, soaking the pants about his knees and covering his fingertips.  Within a minute small, red chunks plopped onto the puddle, bile bubbling around them as soon as they landed.  Blood dribbled down John’s chin as he fell forward into the fray, the black acid soaking into his white shirt as he unconsciously blew bubbles through his former insides.

The plate of underneath the bread shattered on the floor as Jen got down on her hands and knees next to her fallen love.  She shook his shoulder and elbow as she screamed in terror, “John!  Get up!”  Her voice pleading with no one, “John, come on, just get up.  Please get up!”

John’s eyes opened as his mouth sucked the black goop back into his mouth.  His head turned up as Jen screamed again, her hands still on his right arm as the left propped up under him.  The young man’s girlfriend breathed heavily as she tried to look into his eyes.  His eyes engaged hers for a moment before they rolled back into his head.  He launched the top half of his body up at her and sank his teeth deeply into the side of her neck.

“What the hell you do mean?”  It took a few hours before the news reached The Mayor.

“Well, sir, it appears that the two of them were alone in their domicile when the incident occur-,”

“Cut the bullshit college words, kid.  He went home with his girlfriend, shut the door, then turned into a zombie and killed her.”

The young man on the other side of the desk swallowed hard before answering, “Yes, sir.  Nobody is entirely sure how they were able to get out after they both turned into zombies.”

“One man does.  Get that psychopath Sevylor in my office.  And get him here five minutes ago!”

Sevylor walked in with an old rifle slung behind his back, a handgun strapped to his hip and a vest that bulged out with as much as ammunition as he could fit, “Christ Almighty!  The town’s going to hell and you bring me up here for a chit-chat?  What is wrong with-.”

“Shut your mouth, Mengele!  I want to know how this creature was able to open a door!  I want to know how a man can so quickly revert back to a monster!  I want to know what the hell you’re doing over at that ‘hospital’ of yours!  I want to know what you gave that animal that made him seem to be normal!”  Now it was The Mayor who rose in the fury of his words, red-faced, as he shouted across his desk at the uninterested doctor, who quietly leaned his rifle up against the same desk and calmly sat down.

“The answer is quite simple, Mayor: the man of which you speak failed to follow doctor’s orders.”

The Mayor’s complexion went from the color of a jaundiced fire to that of a candy apple, “Don’t you give me that horse shit, you twisted beast!  This has been your plan all along, hasn’t it?  You bring that reporter into your hospital, you get the public behind your little experiment, and you force my hand.  I have to look at riots or outbreak and in either case I lose!  Then you run around like G.I. Joe and play the hero,” the Mayor’s screaming subsided just enough to allow a mocking tone enter his voice, “’The big, bad Mayor made me release this man, but I’m here now to clean up his mistake.  Once this is cleaned up we should throw out that Mayor, run him out of town!’  That’s it, isn’t it you little shit?”

Dr. Sevylor’s lips cracked slightly as he thought about the accusation, “So you think I slipped a zombie-mickey to your little political Romeo?  And that I knew he would turn back again with his Juliette around?  That I counted on you, and every other slack brained jackass in this town, to come running to the aid of a zombie?  You think that I’m able to time how long a person can be a person again?  If I had that sophistication do you really think this would be my first partial success?  No, you don’t think any of this.  You can’t.  You know, deep down inside, that this is all your fault.  That you put your political success above your responsibility to keep these people safe.  That you wielded your power to get this man released, despite my better judgment, and that now it’s biting you in the ass.  And, on top of all that, you bring me up here during the most critical time, the time where we can stop this thing and save the town, and you shout me down with your little tirade just now?” Sevylor stood up again and grabbed his rifle, “I didn’t care when you orchestrated the assassinations of your little friends and co-founders; that was your own business.  But now you’ve not just murdered someone for politics, you’ve murdered the politics!  Look out your window, you jackass!  You’ve killed this town and everyone in it!  The only justice to be found here is that you’ve also murdered yourself.  Good day, Mr. Mayor.”

Sevylor walked out of the office, readying his rifle as he entered the hallway.  The Mayor turned around and saw the carnage spreading throughout the street below him: the mangled dead rising and pushing the carnage further, striving for blood.  He saw a twelve year old boy bite on his mother’s calf and start to tear muscle from bone.  He saw his empire collapsing.


Today I'd like to talk about preparation.  Specifically I'd like to talk about why it's important to practice shooting on as regular a basis as possible.  I'd be willing to bet that if you've been reading this blog at all that you've looked into some preparation for the inevitable zombie apocalypse: food, water, weapons, transportation, bug-out bags, et cetera.  These are all pretty standard bag for those of us looking out for our future best interests.  But I'd like to introduce a few things that perhaps you haven't thought of or may have forgotten.

Target practice.  If you've ever taken a gun out to the range, you know that it's not like they show on TV.  In real life there won't be any squibs mounted to the back of the zombie's head to automatically blow out after you pop off a round.  This is why target practice is vitally important.  I mention this because I didn't go out shooting for a couple months and ended up much rustier than I thought I would be, even on my trusty old bolt-action.  Keep practicing, stay sharp, and it never hurts to ask for a little training from someone who's a better shot than you (think if you know any current or retired military or police).

Power.  Most of us generally assume that if we're to have power amid the apocalypse that we must have some sort of generator and that it must be used as sparingly as possible to conserve fuel.  But if you have a car, or two or three, that you don't think you'll be using please consider the following: that car will have an alternator and a battery that you won't be using.  If you plan ahead and learn how to quickly take those two things out your car you may be able to manually generate power wherever you are.  Obviously there are some caveats to this and it would only work if you know a little bit about electricity, but I think that's good knowledge to have no matter what your plans are.  Additionally, don't forget the wiring leading to the alternator or the serpentine belt that runs it.  The reason for the wiring should be obvious and the belt can be attached to something else that you can use to multiply your force and more easily charge the battery (like a bike or a hand crank).  Another good idea would be to grab the belt tensioner for its pulley.  If your car is not equipped, or if it's just easier, you could take off another pulley like those found on the compressor, power steering, et cetera.  Again, having a little bit of automotive knowledge can never be a bad thing.

Extra parts.  One time when I was a younger lad, I was tearing down an old, bumpy, washed out, dirt road on an Indian reservation.  Long story short, I ended up unseating the gasket on my transmission pan.  If this were to happen at an unfortunate time, it could mean the difference between driving through 200 miles of parched desert (or what have you) or walking it.  It shouldn't be very hard to get a couple extra gaskets for various parts of your car, a few quarts of oil and transmission fluid, and, most importantly, an extra serpentine belt (something you should have in your car regardless).  As you fall over from heat exhaustion, surrounded by zombies, about to die, you certainly wouldn't want your last thoughts to be, "Oh man, I wish I would have listened to that dude on the internet, and gotten an extra gasket for my transmission pan!"  This also extends past your vehicle, if any.  Is there a part of your weapon that could go out suddenly?  Can you get a replacement for it (on some guns it makes more sense to just buy a duplicate than try to find an extra firing pin)?  Would an extra pair of bootlaces come in handy?  A couple of ratchet straps?  Think of the small things now; you don't want them dragging on your mind when it should be focused solely on survival.

I don't want to bore everyone too much so I'll leave it at these few suggestions.  If you can think of something vital that most people miss, please post a comment below.  It's your duty to the whole of humanity (or at least to the 3 people who read this blog).

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My bout with Zombism

Onset: Thursday, August 25th 2011
Initial Symptoms: Redness of face and extremities, swelling of lips, mouth and tongue.
Condition worsening by the day.  Swelling continually growing.  By 4th day legions forming in mouth, on tongue and in various other parts of the body, patient only able to eat soft foods.  On 5th day patient is no longer able to eat or drink.  Urination and defecation have become painful.  Walking is painful, resulting in patient using a stilted limp to move.
Cause: Unknown

Kinda sounds like I was a zombie, right?  Well, it wasn't exactly that bad, but it was pretty bad.  Turns out I had what's called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.  It's an auto immune disease that makes one's immune system attack his body, anywhere in the body.  WARNING - IF YOU GOOGLE THIS YOU WILL BE GROSSED OUT!  If left untreated it can result in loss of vision or, in extreme cases, death.  As far as the cause being unknown that was a bit of a stretch: it turns out I'm allergic to naproxen sodium (Aleve), the reaction to which resulted in my developing Stevens-Johnson.

The point, however, is that after I started treatment I most definitely felt like a zombie: after lesions ruptured I would spit out bits of skin followed by blood.  Yeah, it was pretty gross.  Further than that, though, was the fact that most people don't generally think of a zombie being caused by an auto immune disease.  Quite frankly, I find that to be a pretty plausible way for zombism to occur.

Think about it: there are plenty of reasons why a zombie virus would never work.  It's a horse that's been beaten past death so I won't go into all the reasons here.  Also, I'm not a doctor so there are probably a lot of holes in my theory but please hear (read) me out.  Where a virus wouldn't work, an auto immune disease would.  Although my experience would only convey superficial signs of zombism, there could be, and probably are, auto immune diseases that would attack the brain in such a way as to create real, true zombism.  Before you ask, I'd like to point out that Stevens-Johnson attacked my mouth but left my eyes and respiratory system unscathed, so in my mind that makes it possible for an auto immune disease to attack certain parts of the brain while leaving others alone.  Granted, this would make for a rather hodge-podge disease that wouldn't create zombies out of all, but there could be some.

Combine this brain attack with a little Stevens-Johnson and BAM!  There's your zombie: shuffling down the street, moaning in pain, half brain dead, dripping blood and skin from the mouth.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Red Robin

If it seems like an odd title for a blog post about zombies, that's because it probably is.  But I do have to honor the pact I've made to you to report on anything zombie related - which in this case is rather easy.

At Red Robin they have a cocktail called the Screaming Red Zombie.  It's pretty good (full disclosure: I like most cocktails.  Fun fact: I'm currently drinking a 7&7).  It consists of dark rum, light rum, orange juice, grenadine and sweet & sour.

To be completely honest there wasn't enough grenadine in mine or my wife's.  It was more like a screaming yellow zombie.  I don't want this to be a restaurant review so I'll say this: this is one of those drinks where the zombie name is appropriate.  It's appropriate because this is one of those sneaker drinks, what some call "girly" drinks.  I only had one but I'm sure that I could have gone through 5 or 6 without realizing I had had even a sip of booze.

This is really where the zombie aspect comes in.  If you've ever drank with a middle aged woman you'd know that the most insidious and zombifying drink is the one in which you can't taste the alcohol.  And, if you've ever drank too much, or hung out with someone who has, you'd know that being incredibly drunk is much like being a zombie, except that you prefer Jack in the Box instead of brains.  It is, therefore, that I declare Red Robin's Screaming Red Zombie to be an official Zombienomics Approved beverage.  I don't give this out to any old corporate product with the title zombie slapped on it.  No, no, I would only give this title to something that has truly earned its name.  This cocktail, in my opinion, has earned the name Screaming Zombie, even if not red, because after a few of these I would certainly become a screaming zombie, and probably red, too (damn Irishmen).

Bottom line: Good drink, lives up to the name.  Either go order one or awkwardly try to reproduce it to inferior results.

Friday, July 1, 2011


I had two ideas for a post today so I decided to just combine them into one since they're kind of the same.

First there's this new Toshiba ad, check it out and meet me on the other side.


First of all let me say that this guy knows what's going on.  We must all be vigilant in all areas of our lives for even the mere possibility of zombie apocalypse.  Secondly, great commercial.

Back to the liquids, though.  Could an expired carton of milk grow a zombie contagion and usher in the end of the world as we know it?  I'd like to say yes.  A quick Google search shows that there have been cases of fungi found in milk, generally caused by contamination during processing.  If you scroll down you'll see my post about the fungus that takes control of ants and turns them into zombies.  I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this (zombie ants on a dairy farm).  So, although it's not quite the same as in the commercial, the executive in the commercial certainly has good reason to worry about a milky death.

There is an easy way to counter this threat: booze.  I initially thought about this in a much different way, though.  I wondered, "if a zombie eats the brain of someone with a really high BAC would the zombie get drunk?"  Also, if a zombie was drunk, would it matter?

I would say, based on absolutely nothing at all, that a zombie probably could get drunk from eating drunks but that in practice the zombie would have to eat way too many drunks for it to be practical.  Zombies also don't seem like they would want to drink alcohol on their own, so it's not like you'd catch a bunch of them in an abandoned liquor store drunk like sorority girls on spring break.  As a matter of practicality, this point is rather moot; as a matter of interest, this point is fascinating.

I can imagine a scenario like in Day of the Dead where some mad scientist has a zombie chained up and is force feeding it Smirnoff then making it touch its nose and walk in a straight line.  Furthermore, would drunk zombies love Jack in the Box like drunk people do?  That's the experiment I want to see (Brain in the Box, maybe?).

Would it matter if a zombie was drunk?  Would you know if one was drunk?  It's not like you'd have a zombie driving you around, so I'd say it doesn't really matter.  Your average zombie's motor skills are already at a pretty low level, so I doubt it would matter much if one were able to further reduce that level.  I do have one cavaet to this: Land of the Dead.  If zombies somehow start using guns then we would probably have to worry about their level of motor function.  Although the feasibility of getting them drunk remains the same, it is still an option in that unfortunate, and unlikely, circumstance.

The Jim Beam warehouse would probably be a great place to hide from zombies.

Bottom line: Zombies drink milk, people drink booze.  Let's get drunk so we can't turn into zombies.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Should I be worried?

Before I get started please let me say one thing: I generally try to not piss people off.  Granted, there are some times when I try to, and other times when it's necessary, but they're rather few and far between.  Life is just easier when you don't go around pissing people off.  With that said, let's get to it.

Should I be worried about voodoo zombies?  Or, more appropriately, a voodoo zombie?  I keep racking my brain trying to figure out a scenario in which voodoo zombies are a big problem in my life, and I just can't think of one.  The only way in which I think I should be afraid is if I piss off some voodoo priest and he starts sending voodoo zombies after me.  But since I don't generally go around pissing people off, or hanging out with voodoo priests, I just don't see that as being very realistic.

Some may ask, "Hey, what about an army of voodoo zombies going around eating everyone's brains and causing havoc?"  Again, I don't see this as realistic.  Admittedly, I've never met a voodoo priest before but I'd assume they're pretty laid back people who wouldn't want to just kill everyone.  And voodoo zombies aren't the kind that just go around eating everyone; they're made for one specific purpose, and once that's finished so are they.  So as far as I can tell this probably won't happen unless some random voodoo priest wants revenge on the world and creates zombies whose goal is to kill everyone they see.

But there are reasons why I think I should be worried about voodoo zombies.  If there were one after me it would be hard to stop.  It's my understanding that a voodoo zombie won't be stopped by anything except accomplishment of its goal or complete and utter incapacitation (beyond just destroying the brain, to the point of removing all limbs from the torso or something similar).  Unfortunately, though, by the time one figures out that it is a voodoo zombie it may already be too late to take the necessary action to completely incapacitate it.  So if I was the target of a voodoo zombie I would probably have a lot of sleepless nights.

Not that the destruction of one voodoo zombie would be the end of the story, far from it.  If I angered a voodoo priest to the point where he thought it necessary to send the living dead after me, I certainly doubt it would stop at one.  So maybe I can take out the first one.  But then what about the second, third, fourth, et cetera.  I would either have to find a way to kill or placate the priest (which I imagine would be difficult due to their being pretty laid back and therefore hard to anger) or spend the rest of my life running from, and trying to kill, voodoo zombies.

As long as I don't go around pissing people off I should be okay.  Also, the more I think about this, the more I think it would make a really cool video game.