Posts tagged with "zombies" - Faerye Net 2011-02-15T21:40:16+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Top ten ways I could be a better action heroine 2011-02-15T21:40:16+00:00 2011-02-15T21:43:57+00:00 <p>Some people achieve action heroism, others have it thrust upon them unexpectedly after they finish their waitressing shift at Big Jeff&#8217;s burger joint. I&#8217;m not a good prospect for the former: although P.E. activities with a hint of adventure or violence (obstacle course! archery!) got a better performance from me than team sports, I was never a prospect for rippling athleticism. But there&#8217;s always the latter. You can&#8217;t predict being the accidental survivor of a zombiepocalypse, or indeed the fated mother of mankind&#8217;s savior. I&#8217;d rather be prepared, especially if there&#8217;s any chance of 1980&#8217;s-era Michael Biehn shirtlessness involved.</p> <p><strong>How I could be a better action heroine</strong><br /> <em>Note: list draws from sources in a gender-neutral manner.</em></p> <p><strong>10. Learn Morse Code.</strong> I&#8217;m not sure how useful it is if no one else knows it &#8212; in the absence of Starfleet Academy, I may not put this one into effect.</p> <p><strong>9. Play flight simulators</strong> (See also #8) A little bit more theoretical knowledge of how to fly &#8211; and especially land &#8211; a plane can&#8217;t hurt, and occasionally it can really help. No reason not to do this.</p> <p><strong>8. Practice driving a stick.</strong> In theory, I&#8217;ve known how to drive a manual transmission car since I was commanded to learn for paleontological purposes. Realistically though, I haven&#8217;t driven one in over five years. The choice of cars for breakneck chases and last-minute escapes is not always wide, so it&#8217;s best to be prepared for anything. Should an opportunity present itself, I should practice.</p> <p><strong>7. Practice cheeking pills.</strong> I&#8217;m not saying I <em>expect</em> to have to avoid swallowing mind-numbing medicine in a mental hospital or hoard pills in order to poison my captors, but I don&#8217;t expect to be an action heroine, either. Taking my daily pile of pills just got more heroic!</p> <p><strong>6. Train up sense of direction.</strong> My sense of direction isn&#8217;t bad, precisely. It&#8217;s just limited. If I&#8217;m on foot, it works pretty damn well, and has even impressed people. If I&#8217;m in a car, not so much &#8212; this could get really awkward in case I&#8217;m ever in a car chase. But then, what do I need to know but &#8220;away&#8221;? I may forego doing this, and just hope I&#8217;m never called upon to, say, lead survivors through a maze of ventilation ducts pursued by an alien horde.</p> <p><strong>5. Get baseball bat.</strong> (Or cricket.) Good for zombie-crushing, fending off murderous failed novelists, and, given sandpaper enough and time, staking vampires. It&#8217;s actually very strange I <em>don&#8217;t</em> have a baseball bat, because I was raised in a house where the baseball bat was the what-was-that-noise weapon of choice. As a side note, I&#8217;ll mention I already have done one thing right: learn a sport with a swinging tool. Sure, a tennis racquet is a lousy weapon, but I bet I get a free point in shortsword for that.</p> <p><strong>4. Learn when to remove things from wounds, and when not to.</strong> I often think characters are pulling, say, shrapnel from exploded Terminators from their flesh when they should leave it in at least until there&#8217;s a tourniquet. If I learn this, I can be more helpful in an emergency <em>and</em> a more confident know-it-all when watching movies!</p> <p><strong>3. Get a shotgun.</strong> Watching <a href="">shocking numbers</a> of action movies, not to mention playing video games, has reminded me that the shotgun is your friend. It is suitable for big damn heroics, zombie slaying, and applying delaying force to nigh-unstoppable cyborgs. However, here in the real world, I&#8217;m not sure I&#8217;m ready to take this step. Even though I&#8217;d love to have a shotgun (or a replica pulse rifle, to be honest) hanging on the mantel with a brass plaque reading &#8220;Chekhov&#8217;s Gun&#8221;, it might cause an endless stream of gun-rights arguments in the unlikely event of us inviting people over. Not to mention, it&#8217;s a slippery slope from one gun on the wall to crossed guns and a mounted deadite head, and that just wouldn&#8217;t go with my aesthetic.</p> <p><strong>2. Start carrying a lighter.</strong> Due to my personal history of primness, practicality and asthma, I have never smoked. (Once I had to fend a cigarette off physically &#8211; ah, France!) However, it has not escaped my attention that the ability to summon fire is dead useful. Whether it means summoning help (<em>also</em> 1980&#8217;s Michael Biehn, although tragically fully clothed) via fire alarm or completing an elemental ritual in order to save the universe, the lighter pays its way. Much like a bit of rope in another context, you&#8217;ll want it if you don&#8217;t have it. I&#8217;m seriously considering this.</p> <p><strong>1. Cardio.</strong> (Run away, run away!) Already working on it.</p> Geek Valentine's: Serious discussions for geek couples 2011-02-14T16:21:53+00:00 2011-02-15T21:44:55+00:00 <p>Those of you who know me well may expect that if I acknowledge Valentine&#8217;s Day at all, I usually mark it as Oregon Statehood Day or extol its origins in the celebration of familial and platonic love before its absorption by <a href="" target="links">the romance cult</a>. So I&#8217;m going to shock you: this is an actual romance-related blog post to mark Valentine&#8217;s Day.</p> <p>Good communication is key to any lasting relationship, romantic or otherwise, and there are certain important conversations that the experts suggest people have before entering upon romantic commitments. But those experts are usually not geeks, so they overlook all sorts of situations that are specific to the geek lifestyle (or to the lifestyle geeks wish they had.) So, I have taken it upon myself to lay out some discussion topics. These are not small questions like who drives the starship: they touch on religion, ethics, life, death, and all that sort of thing. It&#8217;s important to settle such points if you want to be celebrating the tenth anniversary of your victory against the forces of evil together, instead of going on adventures all by yourself and wondering where your zippy banter has got to.</p> <p>What is my authority to designate discussion topics for you and your co-protagonist? My authority is that I have a blog and you are reading it.</p> <p><strong>10 Serious discussions for geek couples</strong></p> <p>10. <strong>Am I free to date if you die?</strong> It&#8217;s just good to get this out of the way: how long should you wait to make sure your old honey isn&#8217;t going to be revived, or resurrected by magic, or regrown by sinister corporations?</p> <p>9. <strong>Will you kill me if I am facehugged, bitten by a zombie, et c.?</strong> If it comes to that, your partner should do you both. If you&#8217;re not willing to even get someone <em>else</em> to stake my vampirized corpse, cut my head off and fill my mouth with garlic, what kind of commitment can you offer me?</p> <p>8. <strong>Do we convert if we witness a miracle?</strong> If the Holy Grail cures your dad&#8217;s gut wound, do you consider yourself illuminated, or just move on to the next thing?</p> <p>7. <strong>Do we welcome our alien overlords?</strong> For instance, I&#8217;m pro-cephalopod overlord, but I&#8217;m not too keen on reptilians.</p> <p>6. <strong>Are we going to get cyber implants? If so, how many?</strong> If flashing lights and servos are a dealbreaker for your co-protagonist, it&#8217;s best to know now.</p> <p>5. <strong>Are AIs and manufactured sentients deserving of human rights?</strong> Social justice, baby.</p> <p>4. <strong>Is being body-switched with your worst enemy grounds for a break-up?</strong> For the record, Callisto is very pretty. If you have to switch bodies with an evil murderer, you could do worse.</p> <p>3. <strong>Does the holodeck count as cheating?</strong> However you come down on the general rule, it&#8217;s best to specify that holodeck-snogging people you actually know is creepy as hell, as well as potentially more relationship-endangering.</p> <p>2. <strong>Are we raising the kids Orthodox Jedi or Reform?</strong> Oh, sure, some of us geeks are atheists and so forth, but you know if you raise Force-sensitive kids without any religious training, they&#8217;re much more susceptible to Sith interference.</p> <p>1. <strong>Are we in this for loot, or XP?</strong> Sure, you think this is an abstract question, but when you&#8217;re bickering over whether your co-protagonist should take the dream job or the six figures, or whether to return the culturally significant artifact to the village or fence it, you&#8217;ll realize I was right.</p> Coincidental magic 2010-10-08T16:03:22+00:00 2010-10-08T16:05:18+00:00 <p>I&#8217;ve been thinking recently of the roleplaying game <a href="" target="links"><em>Mage: The Ascension</em></a> (don&#8217;t run, non-gamers!) This game and its fellow supernatural-hidden-under-our-world games were big in the 90&#8217;s (hmm&#8230;do RPGs telegraph bestselling novel genres of the next decade?), and Mage was one of my favorites. The premise was basically that the world runs on consensual reality, and magic is only impossible because most humans have been deeply convinced it is. If a strong-willed magic worker manages to do something obviously &#8220;impossible&#8221; (like turn a vampire into a lawnchair) in front of non-supernatural witnesses, the universe smacks the mage down with the force of humankind&#8217;s collective disbelief. The only dodge is to make the magic seem vaguely plausible &#8212; &#8220;coincidental&#8221;, as the game puts it.</p> <p>Why have I been thinking about this? Because I think the internet is upping our collective weirdness tolerance. I personally have seen zombies, and even had them flail against my car (I think they were mad I was laughing instead of frightened.) and the same day witnessed a band of semi-armored zombie-hunters stalking around 11th and Burnside. Improv Anywhere creates <a href="" target="links">temporal folds</a> that only Mages with advanced Time skills could match, not to mention <a href="" target="links">freezing 200 people</a> in a train station.</p> <p>All I&#8217;m saying here is that thanks to the internet, the collective belief of the people is a little more stretchy. Next time you think you might have to turn bullets into butterflies or punch through stone, have a friend bring a videocamera. When you next find yourself fighting zombies in Pioneer Courthouse Square or disassembling the Man&#8217;s robotic minions in full view of a schoolbus, yell &#8220;<strong><span class="caps">FLASHMOB</span></strong>&#8221; first! If people still seem genuinely freaked out, try doing a little bit of the Thriller dance. That should change any bystander from organ of the collective banality and stodginess of the universe to an embarrassed giggler ready to recount this &#8220;weird event&#8221; to their co-workers.</p> <p>Go out there and be magic, people! It&#8217;s totally coincidental.</p> Random thought: zombies 2009-10-11T10:03:53+00:00 2009-10-11T10:12:54+00:00 <p>Yesterday I started listening to a fresh audiobook, <em><a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9780142001431'>Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague</a></em> by Geraldine Brooks. As the name implies, it&#8217;s set around a 17th century outbreak of the Bubonic Plague in England. When the novel opens, the plague has already swept through, and the main character is coping with the emptiness of her village. I&#8217;ve barely begun, but the story has a lot of interest for its sheer novelty: I could name social effects of the plague or list a few historical facts about it, but I&#8217;ve never read a book set during or after it. But it also made me think of a sort of story I have heard more than once: zombie stories.</p> <p>I know, I know, there are no zombies in 17th century history. But the empty streets, the feeling of being an island of humanity &#8212; those are definitely part of modern post-apocalyptic fiction. And that&#8217;s when zombies came up &#8212; I began to wonder if zombies are a plague fear. I know, a lot of stories refer to it as &#8220;the infection!&#8221; and so forth so this may seem obvious to others, but it had never occurred to me to wonder if that&#8217;s where zombies get their archetypal oomph. I&#8217;ve always figured they were a very literal fear of death, uninteresting from a subtextual standpoint. But in an epidemic, even the people you love can kill you. Especially them, as you stay near them and tend them. Everyone is a threat, anyone could prove the agent of your death. You&#8217;re surrounded by bodies and death and there are few survivors, traumatized and isolated. Zombies!</p> <p><a href="" target="links">Ryan</a> responded to this musing of mine by saying he thought zombies came from someone thinking the dead walking and making you one of them would be a good story. But I think recurring stories &#8212; especially scary stories, like werewolves and zombies &#8212; have to tap into something in the human psyche or they wouldn&#8217;t keep coming back. Like plagues and zombies, these stories keep coming and won&#8217;t lie down.</p>