Posts tagged “zombies

Freshly Rendered: The Maasai Slayer

“The elephant does not get tired of its tusks” ~ old Maasai proverb

Freshly Sketched: The Maasai Slayer

Yup. Still posting sketches about zombies and zombie slayers. I decided to take a tour the world in search of zombie slayers. My first stop was Africa.  Immediately I thought of a Maasai warrior. Somehow I think they’d fare quite well in an undead apocalypse. He may be the first one I render.

Hell if you can deal with the wildlife of the African plains I don’t think a few thousand dopey deadheads would be much of an issue…

Freshly Sketched: The Gladiator of the Undead Arena

In keeping with my zombie theme I decided to explore the concept a bit further. I thought about the role zombies would have or could have played in ancient times. The image that immediately flashed in my head was this… a gladiator in the arena.

How sick would that have been? A single gladiator in an enclosed area with a horde of zombies. Talk about satisfying the blood lust of the ravenous crowd. I think I’ll definitely be putting some more detail into this one in the near future just to complete the vision…

Freshly Sketched: Untitled Female Zombie Slayer

So I actually don’t have much to write about. Big surprise there. I did get inspired to draw something though. A new buddy of mine has reignited my fire about all things zombie once again so I actually felt the urge to put something down on paper.

I’ll more than likely drag this piece into Photoshop and work my wonders on it but I figured it’d be nice to give you a little preview beforehand.

Only in the North…

I debated posting this on our Nunavut blog but in the end I figured I’d share some of the nuances of northern living with the other side of the blogging universe. You know, the people who aren’t already living in the North. I feel weird posting about some of my observations on the other blog because a lot of northerners read it and it makes me feel incredibly n00bish for noticing some things.  So I’ve brought a handful of my revelations here to share with the masses who visit my warped little blog from all over the world.

Only in the North…

…can you gather food off some broken down cardboard boxes in the middle of a parking lot and not feel weird about doing it. Yup. That’s the way it is up here. Iqaluit (or any northern community for that matter) is a place where hunting is a way of life and badge of honor. It’s never done for sport. Every bit of the game out there is either eaten or used to some extent. Bones are often used in artwork, skins for clothing and innards for medicinal purposes. The meat however is a hot commodity in the Country Food Markets. It feels odd calling it a market. You hear that term and think of a booth, maybe a cash register… something to that extent. No. Up here a market can be the back of someone’s pickup truck or as you see over there a cardboard blanket in the middle of the street. There you can find all sorts of local food from seal, whale and char to caribou, muskox or the extremely rare polar bear – depending on what’s in season. I know. It looks a bit unsanitary and yes it can be a little disturbing if you’re a tourist and see a dude with a bloody face and hands chomping down on a fleshy bone. Hi. Welcome to Iqaluit. We love zombies. Not everyone eats the food raw or right there on the spot. Many bring their own bags, snatch up self-chosen selections and pay the vendor in cash. I admit, I had been wanting to try country food since I got here. I got a chance to do so on Nunavut Day. I had my first sampling of fresh-cut whale and seal. Tasted like sushi (which I’m also a fan of). Oddly enough the seal tasted more fishy than the whale. Go figure.

… can you walk around while it’s 5 degrees Celsius (around 41 Fahrenheit for you Americans) in your shorts and not even feel chilly. I took this picture last month when we went to one of the local parks (Sylvia Grinnell). Yes. The river you see there was still ice choked and yes there were still patches of snow in late June but I was there in shorts with no jacket and felt fine. The temperature up here is hard as hell to explain to people sometimes. If they’re not from here they just label you insane and that’s it. Northern weather is something you have to experience in order to fully understand. It always feels 10 degrees warmer than it actually says it is. Must be the lack of humidity. Plus you have to factor into the equation that there’s a whole different level of cold up here when the temperature does drop. When you contend with sub-zero temperatures that can reach -60 or -70 degrees it makes your body reevaluate what’s warm and what isn’t. Trust me folks, there’s a point in the thermometer where Fahrenheit and Celsius don’t even matter anymore and we can reach that pretty often during the winter. That in turn makes trooping around in -23c feel like nothing too bad. Heck I can recall lurking around the city with just a winter jacket, toque and some thermals on days like that. Meanwhile back down south if it ever got that cold I was bundled like a bear.

… can house sitting be a way of life. There’s a serious housing problem in Iqaluit, believe it or not. It’s a growing city with a very large Inuit population not to mention a steadily rising worker population. Doctors, teachers, engineers, tradesmen and not to mention government employees pour into the city all the time. However with only a limited amount of actual housing, it makes for crisis in motion. We were the victims too. Our housing situation fell through as we were on the plane ride up. We basically were homeless and lived in a hotel for about a month before wheeling and dealing a subletting agreement with a contractor at one of the apartment buildings. They didn’t have any employees up there so they let us rent from them until they did. We were lucky. Some people have to rely on the transient status of the working population as a way of having a place to stay. People will quite literally live from place to place, sitting for people who have gone out-of-town on holiday or for business matters while they wait for a place of their own. Tenures can be a couple of days to a couple of months depending on the situation. It’s not uncommon for a person fresh off the plane to shack up with someone they don’t even know in order to have a roof over their head. In such a tight-knit community who you know ends up being more vital than what you know.

… is fashion not a big priority. We’re not savages. We dress nice like anyone else but there isn’t a really strong emphasis on fashion – particularly footwear. Functionality supersedes beauty when it comes to stomping around the streets, hills and rocky terrain of the city. When a good portion of the year is spent in either mud or snow (with the remaining bit being superfine dust, sand and dirt) how good your shoes look really isn’t all that important. My running shoes were pretty new right before I came up. This is how they look after being washed numerous times. Let’s not even talk about pant leg bottoms. Everyone looks like they’ve been dipped feet first into chocolate at times so trust me when I say fashion is not a big deal up here. People will swarm quicker for a nice bug jacket, parka or good pair of rain boots than they would for any designer wear.

… do you have to take several showers a day during the summer just to get the dust off. We’re a polar desert people. We get losts of wind up here. They don’t use salt on roads in winter time. Doesn’t do anything. Instead they use dirt. That means when the snow goes away during the summer there’s nothing but fine dirt and sand blowing around the city. Some days it’s really bad. Take the past 2 days for example. The wind has been gusting at 30 – 40km at times. Did I forget to mention we live across the way from the dirt factory that produces the dirt used around the city? It’s wonderful. Don’t dare walk around with your mouth open. You’re bound to have a nice crunchy after taste in no time. Such is the way it is up here. If the wind blows you get dust-covered. If it stops then they come.

Some might think these things are a turn off but I love it. Can’t say it’s not interesting here.

I love how even in a post about Iqaluit, I managed to talk about zombies. Take that Zombie Queen! *wink wink nudge nudge*

Geek Zone Exclusive – Bring on the ZEAT!

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?
__ Obese
__ Overweight
__ Husky
__ Average
__ Slim
__ Underweight
__ Frail

Social & Habits (select one answer per question)

How many people do you currently in your household?
__ Alone
__ Wife/Husband or live-in boy/girl friend
__ 3 – 5 people
__ 6 – 9 people
__ 10 or more people

Do you have a pet?
__ Yes
__ No

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)?
__ Yes
__ No

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)
__ None
__ Does not apply (live in an apartment that is not on the ground floor)

Do you own any firearms?
__ Firearms – Multiple
__ Firearms – Single
__ None

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)
__ No

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?
__ Yes
__ No

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?
__ Grenade
__ Handgun
__ 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

__ Hospital

__ Office building

__ Police station

__ School

__ Retail store

__ Supermarket

__ Shopping mall

__ Church

__ Warehouse

__ Pier or Dock

__ Shipyard

__ Bank

__ Cemetery

__ City Hall or Capitol building

__ Military base or complex

__ Prison

__ 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.

Oh yeah…

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

Freshly Sketched: zDayz Character

zDayz Me

I’ve unearthed some characters that I had long forgotten about. Think of this as an exposé into my gaming roots. Every piece of artwork has a story behind it so rather than just post random pictures that no one other than me and a handful of people know about, I’ll include a bio as to the origin of the particular character. This has high levels of geek in it (hence the Geek Zone pairing) but fear not, it’s entertaining at least… if you’re into zombies and such (AMY). As always if you’re not interested in reading you can just view the artwork. Makes no difference to me. I like talking to myself. I once had an argument in an empty room so don’t worry about offending me by not reading.

…but at least comment if you have something worth while to interject… hehe

zDayz MeGame Name: Untitled
Game System: Improvised
Genre: Zombie Horror
Character Name: Ian E.
Game History: This was the first classic pen & paper RPG I ever played way back in the days. Oddly enough it was my father (of all people) who not only got me into it but ran the game. I know, it sounds unlikely but it’s very true. My pops is probably as big of a zombie fanatic as I am. He corrupted me on the brain munchers at an obscenely young age. He’s awesome like that. Anyway we had a good number of zombie movie watching under our belts and I recall us having those long overly-precise conversations about the subject. You know how it goes – we’d be driving around and comment on which places would be best to hold up in, which areas of the city would be overrun, where the best place for weapons would be. At that time I had just started reading about another roleplaying game system and figured why couldn’t we just run a game ourselves?

The makeshift system we had relied more on storytelling and decision-making than dice and stats. We primarily used dice as a sort of chance factor. Certain tasks required a higher or lower roll depending on the complexity of what was trying to be accomplished. We had d10s (a 10 sided die) so basically insanely hard or nearly impossible tasks required a roll of 8 or higher while average difficulty feats were around 5 or higher. It was pretty simple.

The Character: Since this was my first official character it was my easiest to play because it was myself for the most part. The story took place in the then present time right at the start of a zombie outbreak. The particulars about why or how it happened were always left to speculation. You can pretty much surmise any conclusion based on any zombie movie you’ve seen. It was a fast paced game in that I woke up to “the shit going down” and had to work from that premise forward. I was by myself at the start and was inside my apartment building. While some of you uninformed individuals out there might see this as decent place to begin, let me say that my pops was merciless and made full use of the fact that the neighborhood we lived in housed more than 10,000 residents in a 6 block area. He wasn’t absurd and didn’t make them all undead, but if you can imagine the panic of a catastrophic event like that happening in such a confined area littered with drug dealers and unsavory characters it has the makings for a chaotic start to a game.

After a long series of unfortunate events and narrow brushes with death I managed to escape the housing projects but didn’t get too far before I was forced to take refuge. Ironically enough I ended up holing myself in the convent across the street from my elementary school. I was familiar with the area and knew that the convent was one of the more secure places around. It was mindracking trying to make sure I had everything fortified but thankfully there wasn’t anyone inside I had to “deal with”. Once I felt that I was secure it became a waiting game with the supplies that were left in the building.

After several days of listening to people screaming, cars crashing, sporadic gunfire and explosions the city began to eerily get quiet. Soon the only thing that could be heard was the persistent moan of the undead as they prowled the streets in an endless search for anything living. The secret to my success was lying low, staying quiet and remaining out of sight. These zombies were old school in that they didn’t run but they had a little bit of getty up in them if you got them riled up. Get enough of them around you and you’re meat. I hadn’t been out since the first day of the outbreak and now food and supplies were running dangerously low. I would have to venture out and start foraging if I was to survive.

With a bat and kitchen knife in hand I set out to the local convenience store to see what I could salvage. Looters had already ransacked the place like a horde of locusts so there wasn’t much to take. Evading the undead wasn’t that hard. They have more sight-based tracking than anything else and their vision was comparable to the living so as long as you kept to the shadows you were fine. The area wasn’t as densely populated with them  as it was. I had assumed many of them followed the people who were trying to flee which meant the highways and bridges must be infested. That was sort of a relief considering my apartment building was quite literally next to the 59th Street bridge. More than likely that area became a death trap.

On my way back to the safe house I got caught in a serious moral dilemma. Darwin preaches “survival of the fittest” and I’m Gloria Gaynor when it comes to saving my own ass. However en route back  I caught sight of a young girl being assaulted by a group of stumble monkeys. She foolishly jumped into an abandoned car as a last-ditch effort to escape from them but doomed herself in the process. They would hang around and pound on that car for days – weeks even – until she eventually died of starvation or whatever injuries she may be suffering from. It plagued my mind replaying all the panicked screams of help I’d heard over the past week and change so I strayed from better judgement and decided to try to rescue her. It was a gruesome fight. Luckily I had the element of surprise on my side so I was able to dispatch a couple of them almost instantly. The rest swarmed like kids to the ice cream truck. She wasn’t an idiot thankfully and used my distraction to not only escape the vehicle but assist me as well.

Having no place to go she followed me back to the convent. This was both a blessing in disguise but also a nightmare come true. My shady little nook had avoided attention for all this time but now I had woken up the whole neighborhood to my presence there. The addition of an extra body – especially a female one – made the trade-off somewhat even. You know one hand – army of zombies, the other – live-in hotness. What can I say? I’m shallow. Sue me. It was a game. ;p

As time went on the two of us ended up become a great zombie-bashing team. We even started rescuing more and more local people and bringing them back to our zombie compound. With more people came more responsibility but also more opportunity. Over time we raided abandoned police stations and armories amassing a substantial arsenal of weaponry. After several months of defending our turf we had accumulated a following of 23 people. The downside to that was the once spacious former convent was like Guantanamo prison now. There was virtually no space for all of us to be housed there. We had been clearing the region block-by-block for weeks in an effort to foolishly put and end to the zombie threat. No matter how many we would clear in a day, more would show up the next. We needed a place that had limited access but enough space for use to expand our operation.

We decided to take over Roosevelt Island.

That was no easy task by any stretch of the imagination. The logistics of it were staggering to comprehend but it was our most viable option. It was surrounded on all sides by the East River and had only one bridge in. Having to guard just the one choke point would make defending ourselves that much easier. The biggest problem (aside from other organized bands of survivors) would be clearing the island of threats and taking care of the 59th Street bridge that crossed over the southwestern portion of the island. We couldn’t very well have deadheads falling on us from above or make available the threat of repelling raiders so we decided to do the impossible and blow up the part of the bridge that crossed over. We had collected a disturbing amount of explosive material over the months so we had the supply and a couple of people with the know-how (or at least believed they had the knowledge) so it was just a matter of execution. Six of us were to go to Roosevelt Island (in two-person pairs) and clear it out while the rest would escort and stage the demolitions on the bridge.

We knew the demolitions squad was going to take quite a while to execute the game plan so we decided to clear the southwestern side of the island first and move northeast so that we would be out of the way when the roof came down. By this stage of the game I was incredibly arrogant, cocky and feeling invincible – which is why I didn’t foresee this as being too difficult. I pulled off a great number of accomplishments with the aid of good dice rolls and creative thinking on my feet the entire time we were gaming and I’m certain my pops saw me getting too big for my britches. He did something that changed gaming for me forever. While my partner-in-crime Maureen and I were in the condemned remnants of a mortuary I was cutting a lot of corners with regards to operating protocol. When dealing with zombies you have to always be vigilant and stay faithful to the guidelines and tactics that have kept you alive the whole time because they do not learn and will capitalize on the slightest deviation from procedure. I was lazy and wasn’t watching my corners and blind spots when all of a sudden my failure to check something came back to haunt me. One sneaky little pussbag crept out from the shadows and took a chunk out of Maureen. We quickly gave him a prison beating but by that point the damage had been done. We’d seen what bites, scratches, heck even accidentally getting a little blood in your mouth can do and she had a full-on gaping wound.

I was pissed, more with myself than what had happened. It freaked me out how ‘attached’ I got to this character and knowing I killed her bummed me out big time. A sobering last conversation with her ended with having to put two into her head. I couldn’t shake the feeling of hitting the reset button even though this was a live game. I didn’t want to play anymore and in true suck-ass teen fashion I ended the game. The attention I had drawn to myself attracted more and more maggot factories to my position. I didn’t care anymore at this point. I sat down next to my oldest companion and waited for them to come. As they started to surround us I popped the pins on a couple of grenades and gave them a profanity riddled last statement before committing character suicide.

It’s Worth Noting:

  • This was the first game that I experienced character attachment. It’s an unexplained phenomenon in gaming where people inexplicably become attached to their character and the ones that surround them. I would learn later on when I started running game how to use this to my advantage to steer a campaign and write good dialogue. You know you’ve succeeded in your storytelling when people reminisce about characters like real life people.
  • This game was an inspiration to the zDayz first-person blog style narrative I wrote.

The Patient Zero Lifetime Achievement Award (For the Promotion of All Things Zombie)

I’ve been inspired by personal awards that have been handed out recently. So inspired in fact that I have decided to infect the world with my own sick taste. I thought long and hard about it… but I was working at the time and started seeing the world in code (like Neo in the Matrix) so my mind wandered. I thought about it again but then I got to playing a video game and once again got distracted. Later on it popped into my head but then I got hungry and that distracted me from my world domination plot again.

FINALLY while I was in the World’s Greatest Thinking Room, I was hit with my idea like a bolt of lightning. Later that night I sketched my vision on paper. I scanned it onto my computer and began the painstaking process of inking it in. After hours of backbreaking labor a creature emerged from my screen that was both deliciously beautiful and utterly ridiculous. I thought to myself yet again, how I can I use this monstrosity to my advantage.

The answer came to in the form of this…

The Patient Zero Lifetime Achievement Award (For the Promotion of All Things Zombie)

I love the zombie genre. That’s no secret. This is my gift to my fellow zombie lovers out there. But alas, just bestowing an award to someone who likes and/or appreciates them isn’t enough. I want there to be more talk, more information, more stories about the undead on the internet therefore the conditions for giving and receiving this award are as follows:

  1. If you are the recipient of this award and have dedicated at least one post in your blog to zombies, the undead or anything about the walking dead then you are truly one of the infected and have the power to award this gift to two other bloggers of your choice. Make a post announcing your utterly awesome achievement and name your two victims.
  2. If you are the recipient of this award and have NOT written anything about zombies in your blog then you must dedicate one post to nothing but zombies. A legit post. Not a “I hate zombies” or “Zombies rock” two paragraph announcement. A real post folks. I don’t care if it’s a story, news, a movie review, book review, creative fiction, or whatever. Entertain us! Once you have done so you will have officially infected the internet with more zombie goodness and can reward the gift to others. Make a post announcing your super fresh award and name your two victims.

My rules are simple yet be mindful of who you corrupt. Not many will be willing to participate so you have to know your intended victims quite well.  Since I am essentially patient zero (aka zombie-geek-speak for the first zombie that starts an epidemic) I am choosing two fellow lovers of the macabre as my first victims. They have very eclectic followers and I’ll find it very intriguing to see how far this goes. So without further delay I present the first winners of the prestigious Patient Zero Award:

She.Is.Just.A.Rat over at Massively Attacked

Amy over at Fix It or Deal

Congratulations ladies. Go forth and spark a pandemic like I know only you two can. Cheers!

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Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?

Well after taking a couple of weeks hiatus and participating in some unscheduled snow mobile acrobatics (aka flipping the dang machine) I come back here to find out that I’ve been nominated by both my zombie-love mistress Amy over at Fix it or Deal and the ever lovely poet-who-didn’t-know-it Hippie Cahier for a Stylish Blogger Award

The award is utterly justifiable for these two young ladies. When I first started blogging last year their’s were a couple of the first blogs I subscribed. They’re both highly creative and entertaining in with their writing styles yet so uniquely different, which is why I adore them and congratulate them on the recognition.

As for me, this came as a shock  because I wouldn’t consider my blog to be anything remotely close to stylish. You’re looking at it now! Does this look like stylish? It’s kinda rude, crude and convoluted but apparently a few people seem to like it. It’s even more perplexing that I received the award when I haven’t been blogging as much. I guess that means I should crack the whip and get back to posting then, eh? I know… this is the worst acceptance speech ever but who cares. I’m allowed to gush a bit, right? In doing the brief research on this perplexing win I found out that it comes with a few strings attached. In order to proudly display this trophy I must list five of my favorite things and then pick five bloggers to share this honor with.

Sounds like simpler than picking up a package up here from the local post office… but that’s another story…

Let’s see, 5 of my favorite things huh? That sounds easy in theory but the reality is I can only list 4 of my favorite things which makes it a much tougher decision. Why only four? Well while I am a licensed Professional Dumbass, I know better than to upset the powers that be by failing to mention the relationship I have with my beloved wife as one of my favorite “things”.  However since I did make note of it beforehand I think that gives me a pass on having to list it, right? Right? So I will list my 5 favorite things then! >:p

  1. Zombies – Duh. I mean c’mon if you don’t know I adore the goofy disgusting bastards by now you really don’t know me or my blog. How can you not like zombies? They’re slow, stupid and easy to make fun of. If you’re a fan of the faster ones then they make for great workout partners. They’ll keep that cardio up to par. I’ve loved the zombie genre since I saw the original Dawn of the Dead way back when I was like 5 years old. While there have been some pretty awful interpretations of the idea, as a whole it’s a very fascinating concept to me.
  2. Silence – I never realized how much I like absolute silence until I came up to Nunavut. At times it’s like being in a sensory deprivation tank it’s so quiet. Having grown up in New York and lived in big cities pretty much all my life it’s utterly zentastic to, as Depeche Mode would say… enjoy the silence.
  3. Chocolate – Before cigarettes. Before coffee. Before video games. Even before pop… there was chocolate. It reigns supreme in the Kingdom of Ian. When the world gets flipped on its ass and we go back to bartering chocolate anything will have great value within my realm. I was able to quit smoking many years ago and even cut back on my pop and coffee intake but one thing I’ll always go into crackhead mode over is chocolate. If I don’t get regular doses of it I get irritable and get the cold shakes. I need my fix and will do anything to get it. Okay… so that’s a little extreme but I really do like chocolate. ;p
  4. Face Off – No not the awful Nicolas Cage / John Travolta movie. I’m talking about the TV series on the SyFy channel. I’m not the hugest fan of reality TV (although I am guilty of watching several seasons of Survivor) but there’s something about this show that just gets me. It’s a competition show where contestants are make up artists competing for a grand prize and being judged by some of the industry’s top pros. I guess my fascination for it goes back to my childhood. I think John Carpenter’s “The Thing” did it for me. After seeing that fell in love with twisted movie special effects. That was back in the days when computer imaging was at its infancy so everything had to be made from scratch by hand.  I’ve always loved the special effects trade. Screw CGI. The men and women who craft the special effects makeup and prosthetics for movies and TV are the true artists. That’s some serious painstaking work and I applaud what they do.  All I can say is Conner and Tate are sick. Artists after my own heart.
  5. Leah Remini – Okay so… she’s not a thing. Well she kinda is. A hot sexy yummy thing… wait! I didn’t say that. A thing can be anything right? She’s a person so I’m claiming her as one of my things. I dunno what it is about her. I am utterly smitten with her (and Helen Mirren but that’s another story). I don’t know if it’s her uber-Brooklyn accent or tougher-than-nails attitude on the King of Queens but whenever that show is on I’m entranced by her. It’s all good though. Suzanne has allowed me to fawn over her because I gave her Christian Bale a while back.

Sorry… I almost forgot I was supposed to nominate people. I got so wrapped up in staring at Leah that the world started turning into bright lights and unicorns. ANYWAY… I hate having to choose people. There are so many awesomely talented writers out there that it’s hard to put one above another. In all fairness I shall nominate those who haven’t been nominated already (at least not my knowledge):

  1. Random Musings of a Frogged Mind – Pure candy for the brain.
  2. Massively Attacked – My lovely wife. Not only smart but witty as well.
  3. Herding Cats in Hammond River – Brilliant lady with a pen who also has a magic wand in the kitchen.
  4. Faith and Stage Fright – Epitomizes style.
  5. The Blurt – The man who needs no award or recognition because he is awesome (but gets an award anyway).

Enjoy and spread the good nature!

Yeah, they’re dead. They’re all messed up.

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.

I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey.

In honor of our upcoming anniversary on the 31st I thought it’d be fun to share some of the quirky posters Suzanne and I cooked up last year for decorations. Yes yes we went as far as to have fake boards on the windows, a giant first aid box  and various artifacts you may find in a post apocalyptic bunker. It was a blast to pull off. Maybe someday Suzanne will enlighten the blogging world as to what exactly happened with some pictures and posts but for now this will have to suffice. Feel free to print away if any catch your eye. They rock on different colored paper and at various sizes.

Be sure to pop over to the Mental Wasteland if you’re interested in more graphics related content. It doesn’t notify when I update it so you’re just gonna have to keep checking back every now and then. 😉

My brain’s been paranized!

It’s kind of sad that it costs less to go to a fancy restaurant with your loved one than it does to go to the movie theater nowadays. Those of you out there with children, I truly sympathize. Tickets and concessions for two adults is harsh enough. I can imagine how costs can skyrocket when the rugrats start pulling your pant leg asking for anything and everything. It’s no secret that in the past decade theater attendance has flatlined and even declined in some regions across the world. Movie executives cite piracy as the key reason for this but how true is that? True the technology of our day has made it relatively easy to illegally download movies but that is a trend that has been around as long as VCRs. Heck I can remember watching a bootleg VHS copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles my pops bought for 5 bucks in Chinatown. Film studios cite this reason so adamantly because they actually make more money in DVD sales and revenues from on Demand and pay per view providers than they do in ticket sales. That’s incentive enough for them to vilify piracy.

But what about the good ole movie theaters? Is the age old past time of a night out at the theaters coming to an end?

Quite possibly.

Theater owners need to shake things up in order to bring people back. As it stands the format of the movie watching experience hasn’t changed in over 70 years. You pay for your ticket, buy some goodies then sit in the dark and watch a movie on a big screen. Pretty simple. Pretty basic. With the evolution in technology providing us with super large TVs and killer home theater systems why would we want to go to the movies when you can have a comparable experience at home – for far less money? The novelty and uniqueness of the movie theater experience is dwindling away. It’s up to theater owners to create a new niche to attract their clientele. Forget 3D. Movie theater’s salvation lies in 4D. The answer is to make the experience personal once again. Whenever you hear about 4D it usually refers to specialty theaters found in amusement parks, resorts and tourist traps that play custom 3D movies, have complex overly expensive audio and video systems and a bevy of interactive elements from vibrating or moving seats to mist sprayers. 4D doesn’t necessarily have to be exorbitant. It just requires some rethinking. For example, Gold Class Cinemas has taken initiative and introduced a new way their customers enjoy a movie by offering gourmet style meals while seated in lavish comfortable recliners.

You don’t have to break the bank in order to offer a memorable experience. I remember many years ago when the remake of Night of the Living Dead came out I went to a midnight showing the day before it was released. I saw an ad in the paper that said “the first 100 zombies to show up in costume get in free”. Needless to say I was there in my all ooey gooey goodness along with 200 other wannabe deadheads. Although only 100 of us got to see the flick for free it was a blast watching a movie with a bunch of zombies. Everyone had a great time and some very weird friends were made that night.

Why not take that a step further? Wouldn’t it be the bee’s knees to have theater staff dress up based on what’s currently out? I’m not talking hokey Halloween costumes you can by at the corner store but legit costumes. Tattered clothes for a disaster flick or Victorian outfits for a period film. How awesome would it be to have ushers lumber down the isles during their regular check ins dressed as the undead during a zombie movie or have a fog machine roll in an misty layer while watching a horror movie? Perhaps having the scent of smoke when something is burning on the screen or that sweet smell of flowers  when someone’s in the fields.

Here’s another idea inspired by the MP3 download scene. The music industry’s biggest gripe with illegal downloads was the fact that they were losing money because people weren’t buying CDs anymore. My counter to that was why weren’t their artists putting out CDs that were worth buying. How many times have you bought a CD in the past only to end up liking maybe 2 or 3 songs out of the 15 or so tracks? Digital downloads allow you to buy individually now and offer 15 – 30 second previews of their songs so you can see if you may want to buy it or not. Why not take that radical concept to the movie theater realm? Pay your money and watch 15 minutes of the movie. If you don’t like it, leave and get half your money back. I wouldn’t say get a full refund because then that can be easily taken advantage. Half makes for a certain level of commitment on both sides. Theater owners can immediately see what movies fail epically and which are legit therefore making their selection process a bit more meaningful. Meanwhile movie goers don’t have to feel like complete asses for having shelled out hard earned money on crap movies.

My wife even had the wicked suggestion of having food options that relate to what’s playing. Think about how much it could boost the local economy by having catering from neighborhood eateries. Restaurant owners would receive unprecedented publicity and the cinemas would offer a one-of-a-kind experience at the same time. In most nations you have access to dozens of diverse ethnic foods options so availability wouldn’t be too much of an issue.  It would have been dope to chow down on some burritos when I saw Machete!

In the end it all comes down to selfishness. Cinemas refuse to change their format and want you to spend more and more money for the same old thing. Until they come to grips with the fact that they have to change with the times they’ll suffer the same hardships that the music industry did with the advent of MP3 technology.  They didn’t want to adapt and got burned. The jury is still out for the movie theater industry but the clock is quickly running out.

All images courtesy of Google image search

When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth…

Long before the Team Jacob vs. Team Edward teenybopper wannabe vampire nonsense there was (and is) a difference in opinion as bitter as the most savage rivalries. In 2002 Director Danny Boyle tantalized horror fans with his hit 28 Days Later. First and foremost it should be made abundantly clear that Danny Boyle’s “infected” are not zombies but in fact (like the name suggests) living human beings that suffer from a viral infection. This virus turns the hosts into mindless berzerkers that pretty much kill anything and everything in their path. In the movie the infected resembled undead creatures in their marred and often bloody appearances. They chased down victims with cheetah-like speed and tenacity. The infected would do everything from devouring their victims to ripping them apart with their bare hands. While this movie never claimed to be a “zombie flick” it is often accused of being the birthplace of the fast zombie. The true catalyst came in the form of the 2004 remake of uber-cult classic Dawn of the Dead by Director Zack Snyder.In it we got to see zombies in a whole new light, to the chagrin of many old school fan boys and girls. Undead marauders charged through city streets like feral children chasing down the ice cream truck. They were relentless, agile and downright nasty in every aspect. Those who grew up in the Age of Zombies had mixed reactions to this new take on such an grounded source. Much like the True Blood vs Twilight warfare we’ve seen in the vampire genre, people quickly separated into two camps.

You see the patriarch of the modern zombie, George A. Romero, introduced the world to one of the most identifiable horror characters in cinema to date. The term zombie was most commonly associated with voodoo and the trance-like state victims would be placed under (as seen in the 1943 movie I Walked With a Zombie). They were few and far between in numbers and overall not too terrifying to behold. Romero changed all of that.  At the time movie goers had never experienced such a radical concept as “the undead” so when Night of the Living Dead debuted in 1968 it took the world by storm. The low budget marvel terrified audiences across the nation and brought forth Hollywood’s newest movie menace. In 1978 he followed that iconic film with Dawn of the Dead which served to strengthen the fascination with the modern zombie. people couldn’t get enough of them. Zombie Mania was running in full effect. Romero has admitted in numerous interviews since then that he never anticipated the phenomenon to grow as much as it did. They were more socio-political statements about the times he was living in. As a result a lot of the nuances about his zombies were never really addressed. As of late Romero has lost his grip on the genre he helped create with disasters like Land of the Dead and Diary of the Dead and culminating in the straight to DVD flop Survival of the Dead. Thankfully author Max Brooks quietly assumed the mantle as the face of zombie knowledge with his books World War Z and the Zombie Survival Guide. They not only reinforced the original concepts of Romero’s zombies but gave them chilling detail. To many fans Brooks’ dedication to the genre made him the unofficial new authority on all things zombie. They’re slow, lumbering, clumsy and generally move no faster than an old man getting out of bed. For 30+ years this is the form of zombie we’ve all become accustomed to and the faithful remain true to this vision to this day.

Then along came Zack Snyder and his “fast zombies”. This new unfamiliar twist didn’t fly too well with many who had grown comfortable with the classically slow and painfully stupid breed we’ve all come to know and love. Pro-Slows were in an uproar. You had fanatics go as far as bring up  all kinds of biological contradictions in an effort to “disprove” the logic behind Snyder’s Fast Zombies – as if slow zombies had any more factual basis for their existence. There are any number of reasons why some people like the fast or slow ones. I personally have mixed responses to both. I’ve never been afraid of the classic zombies – even when I first watched them as a wee child. Sure the acts they committed were gross and gory and I never wanted to be caught by one (or a dozen) but that was the extent of the fear factor. They were dopey and even comical at times so it was really hard to be scared. Snyder’s zombies removed that comfort zone of being able to casually jog away from a zombie and put a bit of anxiety back into the genre. While they never really scared me either the reinvention did make zombies fun once again especially after Romero’s recent film sequel debacles.

So where does this leave us in the great debate?

Absolutely no where. Let’s not forget the most important thing – this is all make believe. How can we have a debate over a subject matter that has no factual basis whatsoever. I’m sure there are people who will toss biology logic and terminology around but you can’t validate or disprove something that doesn’t exist in the first place. Putting aside that sobering reality, I propose a compromise between the two sides. Let’s have the best of both worlds. It’s fair to assume that fresh kills would have a bit more pep in their step than ones that have been dead for a while so why not let them be fast initially. Decomposition and wear will eventually make them the uncoordinated moaning pussbags we’ve grown accustomed to. Viola. Problem solved, right?

At least neither type sparkle in the daylight. We can all agree on that at least. 😉