Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Zombie-mania, Could it be Lamer?

Okay, so I was going to post on Zombie books and add a little about Zombie-Mania but the more I looked into zombie wannabes the more it became apparent that zombie-mania was a post all on its own. I've even heard someone say that Zombies are more popular than vampires. What I want to know, is why do people want to be zombies? Zombies aren't cool, the people that kill them and survive are cool, being a zombie is like wanting to be slaughtered to promote someone else's cool factor. I guess I just don't get it, but there are a lot of people that do.

Locally, zombie marches/walks have occurred, or are planned to occur:



When I tried to research these local marches, I found a website for the entire country, although I didn't inspect it for validity. http://www.zombiewalk.com/forum/index.php?sid=7941365fdaa124c4f4b11d16d150038d

I also have been informed about a tumblr with growing popularity which is dedicated to photos of zombies, and even Stephen Colbert sounded off about the new 'zombie tag' epidemic: http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/187340/october-07-2008/threatdown---zombies

And if you think zombie-mania is restricted just to humans, think again: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/homepage/story/67975.html

Even with this new desire to be a zombie, I don't think you will find any kindergartners saying they want to be a zombie when they grow up, and when we're all zombies will we be holding 'Human Marches'? When all of us die and then rise up again, will we long for those days when we were alive or will we just be more desiring of brains and moaning for our lost limbs and lost humanity?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Zombie Attacks - Are You Ready?

Most people are not ready for raptor attacks and even less people are ready for zombie attacks. A zombie emergency kit (or ZEK) is very important; being prepared can make the difference between keeping your brains and losing them. With that said, here are the elements for a basic ZEK:

Let there be Light!

Every good ZEK must contain a flashlight. When the world goes to the zombies who do you think will be running the power plants? No one. It would be good to have one of those flashlights that runs on kinetic energy, so you can just shake and glow, especially since batteries can take up way too much space and weight in your ZEK. No matter what type of flashlight you get, also consider the size of the flashlight, because it may need to double as a weapon, and if you have a kinetic flashlight, every time you pummel a zombie the light will get brighter, just something to take into consideration.

FUDZ, Not Brains.

The next thing your ZEK needs is bottled water and protein bars. You can't stock up on canned food because the scent from your beans and franks might attract zombies or wild animals. Protein/nutrition bars will keep you alive even though your taste buds might die from eatting these long term.

Weapons Are For Everyone!

The discussion of weapons is a long one but I'll try to keep it succinct. With weapons you must be practical. Will you really be able to find and carry a bunch of gas for your chainsaw or flame thrower? Also, making your own weapons is a plus, even though you can go down to the Zombie Surplus Store, if you make your own weapons you can only blame yourself when they break and you die. A final note on weapons is that your weapons must be your babies. You must keep them sharp, keep them loaded and love them more than your own mother.

My school of thought on zombie weapons is to have a long range and a short range weapon.

My choicest weapons include:

Shot gun (obviously). Not only can you blow a hole through a zombie but the gun powder in your shells can be used to cauterize wounds.

Gigantic Crow Bar. A good rule of thumb is to have a crowbar that is about the same size as your shot gun. It gives you a good area to swing with, while keeping you out of arms length and the sharp points on the crowbar is good for severing spinal cords.

Other weapons that have been suggested:

As said before chainsaws and flame throwers are options, but you have to consider the amount of gasoline you'll need for these weapons.

Axes are good along with any swords you can find laying around.

Crossbows, and regular bows can be useful, although you'll have to be a really good shot for your arrow to do much damage to the living dead.

Some weapons that aren't so effective are chains, butter knives, steak knives, rubber band guns, pea shooters, glue guns, bear traps, fly traps, bees, pens (they really aren't mightier than swords when used against zombies).

A final weapon that can be homemade and maybe be quite kickass is of my sister's design. I'm not sure what to call it (made from a four socketed tire iron and knives) but maybe the photo will speak for itself:
Overall, a ZEK includes many of your basics and may include some optional items like a radio, leather (to wear) and board games since zombie takeovers usually end up in a waiting game and as you wait why not play candy land and chutes and ladders?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Film Adaptations

Okay, so I get really geeked about some books coming to a theater near me. I get really rev'd up about seeing characters come to life on a big screen. These events help me to enjoy a book all over again - sometimes. I feel like 90% of the time I'm faced with a big disappointment, worse than when you find out your kid decided to join the Reform party of 1996 or some other "waste of a vote" party.

Now I know that film adaptations rarely please every viewer, especially if they are die hard fans of the book prior to the film. I think the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Harry Potter movies come the closest to being true to their originals, but even those films are disliked by the most extreme fans, or just nit picky nerds. One thing these film have, is their length, but even after hour 3, they still have to leave stuff out, and who can blame them, a book that took me a month to read cannot be fully reproduced in 2 hours. Does that logic keep me from becoming disappointed? No. Why not? Because I still expect the best from Hollywood, if you're going to mess with something great, you should make something equal or greater to the original or I will be upset. Not that they care about how I feel, but it is the truth so I'm saying it.

To fit a 300+ page novel into a movie, writers have to get crafty. They have to invent people, leave out people, mix up story lines, change stories, change characters, I mean George Lucas' Star Wars: A New Hope was actually a rewrite of Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, a horribly gone astray mis-re-write (my sources tell me) although I guess Obi-wan is the Good, Darth Vader is the Bad and Princess Leia is the Ugly. What's that? You disagree? Fine, we'll call Han Solo the Ugly. Still not satisfied? Well then C3PO. Why not Chewie you say? Because that's racist, just because he's hairy doesn't mean he's Ugly. Remember the ewoks? They were so cute...but they didn't come in until the last movie, but not the last last, the first last and then they made more because Lucas didn't have enough money to keep living his big spender lifestyle or w/e.

Long story short, there are two paths a viewer can take when watching a film adaption. Either be pleasantly surprised with the new story or be filled with impotent rage with the lack of consistency with the original story. I find myself in category number two, especially after viewing X-men Origins: Wolverine this past weekend. Sure, I'm no X-men authority, but when you can't even keep up with my knowledge, something is wrong. Ultimately, you'd have to make a book into a mini series to really do it justice (like Stephen King's The Stand) but even then you can screw it up.

Here is a list of film adaptations I've seen and if I think they were successful or not in maintaining enough of the original content of the story. I've also added a new poll so you can share which you think were the best and worst film adaptations of these beloved stories and characters.

Lord of the Rings - Successful.
Timeline - Disappointed.
Harry Pottery 1-5 - Successful.
X-Men - Moderately Successful.
X-Men 2 - Moderately Successful.
X-Men: Last Stand - Mortified and Disappointed.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine - Somewhat Disappointed.
Watchmen - Overly Successful.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - Successful.
Prince Caspian - Mortified but Successful.
Stardust - Successful.

Okay, so building this list I've found a lot that I haven't read but could be on the list, so I'll put those on the poll for all of you to choose from. Also, add a comment if you think I've missed out on a real gem.