I decided to ring my favorite holiday in early with a gift for geeks around the world. Yes True Blood fans, I present you with the vampire Bill Compton … PUMPKIN CARVING STENCIL. It’s free to download, print and use (barring any likeness issues Mr. Moyer may have to which extent I’d hope he’d be flattered with the representation and that HBO would appreciate the free publicity during their off-season).
It’s a thoroughly untested design (although it should work out fine) therefore I welcome any and all who end up carving a pumpkin with this stencil to send me pictures of the finished product at info [at] zenassassins [dot] com. I’ll proudly display them in my Mental Wasteland.
Enjoy my little freaky geeks. Who knows. maybe I’ll crank out a few more cast members before the big day.
As if staging a Halloween costume party-slash-wedding with a post apocalyptic theme wasn’t a tell-tale sign of utter geekiness, we naturally took things a step further. There’s a fine line geek and loser and I’m proud to say that my happy feet stomp that line like the Lord of Dance himself. There were missing persons posters and contamination signs, windows boarded with fake wood planks, intricately cut out pumpkin centerpieces and even a “First Aid” trunk packed with pop. My lovely wife even managed to lay out a full-on candy bar with little take out containers and the whole shebang.
Always trust a diabetic when it comes to candy selection.
Having a post apocalyptic theme is superb because a mess is exactly the look you’re shooting for. At the end of the night things looked more perfect than the start of the festivities. With a dub wasteland 80’s funk wrapped in hip hoppy goodness playlist playing throughout the night – every so often interrupted by custom radio transmissions about alien invasions and zombie uprisings – the icing on the cake was the ZEAT left at everyone’s table.
What is the ZEAT you may ask?
Quite simply it’s an acronym for the Zombie Epidemic Aptitude Test. Yes geeks of all ages I actually compiled, printed and bound little questionnaire booklets for the reception. I figured it’d be a fun little diversion for those who had a bit too much to drink. The ZEAT is a comprehensive exam based on a wealth of redundant movie and book knowledge. While some may disagree with some of the conclusions or answers it’s still fun to use. I was digging some old papers and came across what I believe to be the last printed copy of the ZEAT. In honor of my sick fascination with the genre (and to enable the addiction of others who suffer from the same terrible disease) I present to you, the adoring masses, the ZEAT:
Z . E . A . T.
Zombie Epidemic Aptitude Test
The following 50 questions could save your life in the unfortunate event of an Undead Outbreak. Answer each question as honestly as possible. Your responses are not being monitored, recorded or stored and are for your personal use only (unless you designate otherwise). This is not a scored exam but more rather an aptitude test to gauge your cognitive knowledge on this horrific situation and whether or not you are physically, mentally and/or geographically prepared to handle a sudden outbreak. Once you have completed the exam please compare your responses to that of the Z.E.A.T. Answer Key to see how well you did.
Physical & Health (select one answer per question)
How old are you?
__ 12 or under
__ 13 – 30
__ 31 – 45
__ 46 – 64
__ 65 or older
Do you exercise regularly?
__ Gym Rat (in the gym 5 – 7 times a week)
__ Gym Dedicated (in the gym 2 -3 times a week)
__ Hard worker (work daily in a physically demanding job such as sports or construction)
__ Casual (in the gym once a week or work out at home occasionally)
__ Light (go for walks or jogs regularly)
__ Couch Potato (rarely exercise)
Do you smoke?
__ Yes – Hardcore (several packs a week)
__ Yes – Casual (a pack every week or bi-weekly)
__ Yes – Sorta (No cigarettes, but something else…hehe)
__ No (I don’t smoke anything)
Are you an active prescription medication user?
__ Yes (pain killers, heart meds, antipsychotics, insulin, etc)
__ No (clean)
Do you suffer from any substantial ailments or injuries?
__ Yes (such as cancer, diabetes, need the aid of a cane, etc)
__ No (nothing too serious)
What is your weight or build?
Social & Habits (select one answer per question)
How many people do you currently in your household?
__ Wife/Husband or live-in boy/girl friend
__ 3 – 5 people
__ 6 – 9 people
__ 10 or more people
Do you have a pet?
Are you socially active?
__ Social Slut (have many friends and family members that you keep in constant contact with)
__ Socially Sound (have a nice circle of family and friends that you keep in constant contact with)
__ Socially Guarded (have a handful of family and friends you keep in somewhat good contact with)
__ Social Deviant (can count the number of people you keep in contact with on one hand)
__ Loner (no real contact with family or friends)
Do you actively follow the news?
__ Absolutely – I actively read the papers every day, watch the daily news and frequent news sites
__ Pretty much – I keep up to date either online or with news tickers
__ Not Really – I have a general understanding of what’s going on in the world
__ Nope – Do don’t really keep up with anything
Do you watch movies or play video games often?
__ Totally – I’m a movie buff and play games regularly
__ Pretty much – I’m watch all kinds of movies and play video games occasionally
__ Not really – I don’t watch certain types of movies (Horror, comedy, etc) and rarely play games
__ Nope – I don’t care for movies much and haven’t picked up a controller in ages
__ Training & Special Skills
Do you have any hand to hand combat training?
__ Yes – Formal (military, wrestling, boxing, martial arts, etc)
__ Yes – Informal (street fighting or brawling regularly)
__ No (no training other than maybe a fist fight or two years ago)
Do you have any firearms training?
__ Yes – Formal (military, police, etc)
__ Yes – Informal (sport hunting, self-taught, etc)
__ No (Rarely if ever held or even fired a gun)
Do you have any melee weapon training?
__ Yes – Formal (military, police, etc)
__ Yes – Informal (sport hunting, self-taught, etc)
__ No (Rarely if ever held or used a melee weapon)
Do you have any First Aid training?
__ Yes – Advanced (Doctor, paramedic, EMT, nurse, etc)
__ Yes – Basic (life guard, book or class educated, work safety officer, etc)
__ No (nothing more than knowing the difference between an abrasion and a laceration)
Do you have any training in any field that could prove useful in complete society breakdown (Such as electrical, mechanics, carpentry, engineering, etc)?
Home (select one answer per question)
General climate in your area?
__ Tropical Moist: all months have average temperatures above 18° Celsius.
__ Dry: with deficient precipitation during most of the year.
__ Moist Mid-latitude Climates with Mild Winters.
__ Moist Mid-Latitude Climates with Cold Winters.
__ Polar Climates: with extremely cold winters and mild summers.
Where do you live?
__ City – Large (population in the millions)
__ City – Medium (population under 1 million)
__ City – Small (population under 500k)
__ Town – Large (population under 250k)
__ Town – Medium (population under 100k)
__ Town – Small (population under 50k)
__ Suburbs (a bit of a way from a town or city)
__ Rural Area (not near any significant population)
Scale of home or residence?
__ House – Large (2 or more stories)
__ House – Large (1 story)
__ House – Small (2 story)
__ House – Small (1 story)
__ Apartment or Condo – Large (5 or more stories)
__ Apartment or Condo – Small (4 or less stories)
Age of residence?
__ Old (pre-1950)
__ Contemporary (1951 – 1990)
__ Modern (1991 – present)
Does your home have many ground level accessible windows?
__ Many (more than 10)
__ A few (4 – 9)
__ Does not apply (live in an apartment that is not on the ground floor)
Do you own any firearms?
__ Firearms – Multiple
__ Firearms – Single
Do you own a vehicle?
__ Truck – Large (freight truck, cube van, etc)
__ Truck – Small (pickup, van, SUV, etc)
__ Car – Typical (any standard sedan)
__ Car – Small (luxury, 2 seater, etc)
__ Motorcycle or Moped
__ None (other than a bicycle)
How many non-perishable goods are currently in your residence?
__ Enough to last months
__ Enough to last a few weeks
__ Enough to last a week tops
__ Enough to last a few days
Do you own a toolbox?
__ Yes – Advanced (Mechanic level tools and accessories)
__ Yes – Basic (Standard tools and accessories)
__ Yes – Minimal (Hammer, screwdrivers, etc)
Do you own a First Aid Kit or have an Emergency Response Kit prepared?
__ Yes – I have both
__ Yes – I have a First Aid Kit or an Emergency Response Kit
__ Not Really – I have basic medical supplies such as band aids, a flashlight, simple meds, etc
__ Nope – I have nothing substantial
Does your home or residence have a backup or reserve power generator?
Situational & Judgment (select one answer per question)
Safest floor in a home?
__ Top floor of an apartment building
__ Top floor or attic of a house
__ Ground floor of an apartment building
__ Ground floor of a house
__ Basement or a house or apartment building
Best weapon to have on hand at all times?
__ Molotov Cocktail
__ Rifle (automatic or semi)
__ Knife or edged weapon
__ Blunt object
You’re unexpectedly thrust into violent zombie outbreak in your neighborhood, community or immediate area and are currently outside in the middle of all the commotion. What do you do?
__ Fight back, hold your position, and wait for help
__ Be a Samaritan and save as many as possible, wait for help
__ Go into hiding locally
__ Flee the area immediately (leave the city or town)
__ Flee the area immediately (head home)
__ Gather a few people, hold your position, and wait for help
__ Gather a few people, go into hiding locally
__ Gather a few people, flee immediately (leave the city or town)
__ Gather a few people, flee immediately (head home)
News of a zombie outbreak in your area is announced. What do you do first?
__ Head home (or if home already start securing it)
__ Head to family or friends
__ Head to police, military, fire station or designated rescue facility
__ Follow others and conglomerate to a meeting point
__ Locate nearest secure facility and hunker down
__ Flee the city/town
You’ve managed to fortify yourself (and your companions if applicable) for a few days now during the initial outbreak in a semi-secure building. However you hear cries of someone in distress coming from outside. What do you do?
__ Venture out immediately and attempt a quick rescue
__ Observe the situation from a safe vantage point and determine if a rescue is feasible
__ Do nothing, stay quiet and wait for the commotion to pass
Home base supplies are running low and you’re in danger of starvation soon. What do you do?
__ Venture out alone to raid small local shops
__ Venture out with a small group to raid small local shops
__ Venture out with a large group to raid small local shops
__ Venture out alone to raid large local stores
__ Venture out with a small group to raid large local stores
__ Venture out with a large group to raid large local stores
__ Relocate, abandon your position and search for a new base of operations
You (and your party) have managed to survive the brunt of the undead outbreak in a well fortified complex with substantial supplies and a means of producing fresh water and food. A couple of months have passed and, while the zombies are still present in great numbers, they can’t breach your facility. What next?
__ Stay put and wait it out
__ Organize ‘kill missions’ to start exterminating batches of zombies daily
__ Plan a mission to abandon the fortification and head to the mountains
A relative or close friend is bitten. What do you do?
__ Kill immediately and mourn later
__ Sever and/or cauterised the afflicted area in an attempt to stop the viral spread
__ Isolate or contain the injured individual and observe
__ Patch them up and use them for as long as you can till they turn
__ Patch them up and bring them to a medical facility (if applicable or possible)
Best protection to wear:
__ Plate Mail
__ Chain Mail
__ Shark Suit
__ Bulletproof Vest
__ Kevlar Covers
__ Loose comfortable clothing
__ Tight fitting clothing
Safest public building(s) – Check all that apply
__ Office building
__ Police station
__ Retail store
__ Shopping mall
__ Pier or Dock
__ City Hall or Capitol building
__ Military base or complex
__ Off Shore Oil Rig
When venturing into a zombie hotspot it’s best to:
__ Travel in a large group
__ Travel in a small group
__ Travel alone
True or False
Your home is the best place to weather the initial outbreak.
Swimming (in a lake or pond) is a safe way to avoid zombies.
Fire will cause a zombie to hesitate.
Zombies retain knowledge of their past lives.
Zombies can see better than the living and/or have night vision.
Zombies hunt using their ears and sense of smell.
Zombies can be domesticated.
Zombies eat humans only.
Zombies possess supernatural strength.
Zombies are fueled by or gain nutrition from the consumption of flesh.
A Zombie bite can be treated if proper medical attention is delivered immediately.
It’s safer to travel at night than during the day.
Please bear in mind this is all for fun and the love of the genre. Don’t harass me about facts and figures and probabilities. It’s for entertainment purposes! When the shit really does hit the fan we can discuss semantics then. I’d like to thank my mom and pop once again for dealign with a troubled child all these years. I’d also like to thank Max Brooks, George Romero and zombie fanatics across the globe for continually breathing new (after)life into the genre.
I suppose you want the answer key, eh? Well you have to download it. I’m done with this post. Enjoy the fact that I have stolen this time out of your life that you’ll never get back. >:p
Do you believe there is a part of yourself, deep inside in your mind, with things you don’t want other people to see?
I feel like a cad for not writing much as of late. I thought I had been lacking things to talk about and that was the cause of my writer’s block. Turns out that’s not the case. It’s the polar opposite. My mind is incredibly unfocused because I have too much to talk about actually. I came to this stunning realization watching The Ricky Gervais Show the other day. If you’re unfamiliar with it, I highly suggest you watch an episode or two to really appreciate the brilliance of Karl Pilkington. He’s my new idol now. He lives up to his moniker of being The Most Brilliant Man in the World. Karl’s insights into everyday life often leave people flabbergasted. Many can’t fathom that a person can be so utterly naive but I’m a firm believer in the fact that some people’s train of thought just doesn’t go to the same cities as most.
In honor of Karl I’ve decided to share with you a half hour inside my mind while I toil away with coding and programming. This isn’t quite a free thought exercise because I did have to come here and spend an hour doing the classic editing and dolling up before posting but it’ll give you a good idea as to why I don’t think like most. In true WordPress fashion I present my first random thought list….
- Why is it cute if a baby pukes on you but if you puke on a baby you’re vilified?
- There should be a Child Return Program for parents who have dysfunctional children. Not handicapped, just the persistently bad ones. You know the ones where no matter what you do as a parent they still are bad. They’re obviously broken so you should have the option to return them and get a loaner while they fix your kid. A loner with the option to trade in… yeah… I like that.
- There is no Ian, only Zuul.
- I’m tired of the Broadview Home Security commercials that show the “classic” damsel in distress with the lonely female or mother and child suddenly terrorized by a male burglar. Like dudes can’t and won’t get scared if someone broke into their house. Truth be told, as crazy as mofos are now I’d be kinda scared shitless if someone broke into my place cuz there’s no telling what they can or would do.
- Aragorn is a highly underrated actor. Just watch The Road.
- I like wontons.
- I think zebras were given a raw deal cuz really… where can they hide?
- I’m built like a treasure troll. Maybe I can be that for Halloween this year. All I need is a wig and a belly jewel. (Welcome to your worst thought of the day folks)
- Do secret documents really have the word SECRET scrawled on them?
- Professional Video Gaming, Golf, Poker, Darts and NASCAR are NOT sports FFS. They’re GAMES of competition, not physical sports. Sports dictates a a certain semblance of physical training and/or performance. While some may argue that you have to physically train for race car driving and golf, it’s a moot point when you see tubby bastards and old decrepid fuckers out there doing it. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of skill training involved but you don’t see me trying to get the World Series of Web Design started, do ya? My field requires a lot of skill. How about World Championship Sketching? Get over yourselves already. You’re not athletes and you never will be. Your products of the media’s attempt to wrangle viewers for the idiot box. End of story.
- Nickelback is dope. That is all.
- Prunes get a bad rep. Perhaps it’s time they get rebranded as something else cuz when you hear the word “prune” you think of bowel movements and old people.
- Boobs rule. I dunno why. They just do. I’ve never really sat back and thought of why. I’m quite certain there must be some kind of genetic homing beacon embedded in there somewhere. 9 times out of 10 ladies catch a dude clocking her breasts and get offended. Ease up oh ye owners of the magic globes. It could be a heck of a lot worse. If staring at boobs was all about sex wouldn’t you think there would be far more crotchal staring going on? Imagine that the next time someone is staring and be thankful instead of disgusted.
- Note to self: Never shave the moustache off ever again. I look like a caramel chimp without my whiskers.
- Ever notice how “they” are responsible for so much in the world. Who the hell are “they”?
- 60% of the time my plans work all the time.
- Note to advertisers who want us to believe the supposed “real person” testimonials – hire people who don’t have bone white teeth. It’s kinda hard for me to believe a person’s comments are legit when I’m shielding my eyes from they glare off their teeth cuz we all know everyone in real life have shining pearly whites…
- Someone should really put Paul Walker and Channing Tatum in an arena and have them do battle with a pack of rabid badgers. No this isn’t a movie idea. I want this to actually happen. It’d be awesome. Chances are one of them would get mauled and die and I wouldn’t have to suffer their terrible acting anymore. A world without at least one of them would be a better one for you and me indeed.
- I still don’t know what the hell a hubris is and I refuse to learn how to use it in a sentence.
Happy Post Halloween Everyone!
The wife and I had a great Halloween / Anniversary yesterday. Having dressed up for our reception last year it kinda sets the bar high for repeat performances each year. Suzanne understandably didn’t get dressed up but far be it for me to let some cold weather, stress from packing and no costume idea deter me from throwing something together. For a couple of years now I’ve contemplated tossing on my #7 jersey and walk around with a bloodied stuffed dog on a leash and be Michael Vick but I ultimately decided that wouldn’t be in good taste so I fell back on an old reliable favorite…
I had a ball concocting a thick gooey blood recipe. In the end some petroleum jelly, red food coloring, corn syrup (to loosen it up a bit) and cocoa powder (to darken it) did the trick. The torn apart skin came courtesy of this really gross putty-like Halloween makeup we got in a dollar store a couple years ago. You can mold it and blend it in to your skin so it did the trick in a pinch.
I’m sure the dear Mrs. Etheridge to fill everyone in on what happened throughout the day. Geez. It still doesn’t sound right saying that. Mrs. Etheridge has always been reserved for referring to my mother so it just feels weird calling Suzanne that. Anyway my night was capped off perfectly with, of course, some zombie action. No I’m not talking about creepy tantric freaky deaky sexual acts with the Mrs. I’m referring to watching the highly anticipated The Walking Dead premiere on AMC.
I should be flogged for not having collected the comic series. A guy who boasts about loving the genre so much should however, the comic world and I had a very turbulent divorce many years ago so there is a reason behind the madness. Perhaps one day I’ll reveal the details but not today. Today we’re talking zombies. For those of you who live under a rock (or just don’t follow the zombie horror genre) The Walking Dead is a black and white comic series first published in 2003 by Image comics and tells the story of a band of survivors trying to find safe haven amidst a zombie apocalypse. At 78 current issues the series won the 2010 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series at the San Diego Comic Convention.
The AMC adaptation debuted last night and I must say I was rather impressed with it. I’ve been waiting for a good zombie tale for years now. After having to brave through bombs like Zombie Wars and Survival of the Dead my faith in the genre was hanging by a thin thread. I was so desperate for some legitimate zombie work that I even started writing a zombie blog tale months ago just to provide my fix. Thank goodness for Frank Darabont. He’s directed such hits as The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and most recently The Mist and has single-handedly brought my faith back into the modern zombie. While a ton of credit must be paid to the comic creators Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore it takes a good writer and director to translate that to the small (or big) screen. Darabont doesn’t just give you a more developed view of zombies to revel over but allows you to see and feel the psychological effects of a cataclysmic event such as a zombie apocalypse.
The cast is an interesting one. Playing the lead character Rick Grimes is British actor Andrew Lincoln. I’m not too familiar with his work but you can rarely go wrong with a Brit in the lead. I’ve always appreciated how dedicated the English are to the craft with many of them being classically trained theater performers. The pilot episode focuses primarily on the main character so having someone compelling and convincing enough to hold the audience’s attention is a must and they found that with Mr. Lincoln. Fellow Brit Lennie James also joins Lincoln in the premiere playing a distraught father named Morgan Jones. Mr. James is no stranger to the post apocalyptic world having played Special Agent Robert Hawkins in the prematurely canceled series Jericho. Those of you unfamilair with him can get a pretty good understanding of how fantastic he is just by watching the premiere. He’s an incredibly intense actor with a wide range. Let’s just say he has that uncanny abilty to convey emotion like few can. I’m not a fan of giving spoiler riddled reviews of shows so you’ll just have to watch the series to understand.
All in all I am totally enthusiastic about this series. I had a glimmer of doubt that it might be the nail in the coffin for my love of all things zombie but in fact it opened up the lid and let them out. I hope that they’re able to continue impressing me with the upcoming 5 episodes. My heart is heavy though. The last time I got so buzzed about a television series they canceled it after two seasons despite it having a huge following. It just goes to show you that if it ain’t CSI Montana or Law and Order: Kindergarten Patrol then it won’t last on network TV. Thank goodness this is being branded as an original series by AMC. Their two other original powerhouses Mad Men and Rubicon seem to be doing well so hopefully The Walking Dead will walk tall along side them.