Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Washington Post Gets Into the 2 Girls 1 Cup Business, Sort of

This weekend's Washington Post Sunday Magazine has a feature article ("Commando Performance") on the Humans vs. Zombies game at Goucher College.

Ostensibly as part of the education issue, it takes a look at the game, complete with some overwrought hand-wringing about quasi-militarism and Nerf guns on college campuses (*wailing* "ZOMG, gunz!" *teeth-gnashing*), especially as the anniversary of the Virginia Tech killings approaches.

Anyway, accompanying the article is a slideshow gallery with audio (Flash, with an unskippable ad at the beginning) -- I was going through it when I was amused to see that 2 Girls 1 Cup [wikipedia link] makes an appearance -- it's photo 38, about 2 minutes in (hit "Play Slideshow" to get the audio):


A couple of the humans are messing with the Original Zombie -- it's just a reaction photo, so you don't actually see anything (and I imagine the photo editors either got lucky or took particular care to obscure the screen), but you can clearly hear, "2 Girls 1 Cup... you like that?"

The photo is pretty harmless, but it's amusing to me since, in Pulitzer Prize-winner Gene Weingarten's column about 2 Girls 1 Cup last year, he couldn't even reference it by name, or describe it in any meaningful way (also see the related chat).

Also, not to pick on sheltered pointy-headed academics, but we've got a couple of real winners in the article, including:
"Jenifer Jennings-Shaud, a member of the graduate education faculty, spoke of arriving on campus one evening and seeing a man with a gun run over the hill. 'I was terrified,' she said. 'Guns scare me. Nerf guns, regular guns. All guns.' Then she began to cry."
I'm not trying to be heartless, but that speaks to a much deeper pathology. She might want to get some help with that.

Also, there's a quote from the Goucher associate dean of students:
"Perl continues to wonder whether she and the other administrators are doing right by allowing the game to continue. 'My worst fear is that an outsider will walk onto the campus and pull a real gun, not knowing the kids are using fake guns,' she said."
Um, come again?

Apparently, Goucher College has a rampant problem of outsiders coming on campus armed -- shockingly, in defiance of the college's strict gun prohibition (as outlined in their College Handbook).

Or, another way of putting it, Associate Dean Perl is concerned that Goucher students are outgunned.

Bet you won't hear that on the tour.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

How Do You NOT Kill Yourself With a Sword?

There seems to be an uptick in suicide-by-sword attempts lately (earlier: Des Moines man slashes self -- via Fark), though the latest one, courtesy of DCist, also involves a murder most messy: "Woman Murdered With Samurai Sword In Martial Arts Academy."

They're saying the husband killed his wife and then tried to commit suicide with it (question: did he wipe the blade off first?), though I counsel that we should not rush to judgment, as it's far too early to rule out ninja involvement.

For the conspiracy-minded, I would not rule out a sinister plot to generate fear and public outrage, in an attempt by zombie sympathizers to implement new sword-control laws and deprive us of some of our most-effective anti-zombie weapons prior to the pending zombie apocalypse.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Zombie Post-Post-Mortem

I didn't end up going to the DC Zombie Lurch this year (sheer laziness). I did, however, dress up as a zombie for parties later on. I kind of waited until the last minute and it shows a little bit, but I didn't worry about it too much:

Post-Halloween Costume Assessment

I basically went as Generic Hoodie Zombie. The eye makeup was kind of a disaster, but what are you gonna do? It was a rush job.

The cheek wound was just some toilet paper and spray-on bandage, splattered with fake blood. If I'd given myself more time, I could have made it look like a true gaping wound, but here it's more like a wrinkled road rash. I had a neck wound done similarly, but it didn't look as right. Both didn't stand up close inspection, but were okay from the middle distance.

The blood was just corn syrup, red food coloring (with a drop of blue), cocoa mix and a tiny bit of strawberry jello mix.

I even carried a little film container of it with me, in case I needed a touchup or tasty dessert topping, but I didn't use it.

The tear in the t-shirt is for a chest wound that I didn't have time to do, so I just slapped a big band-aid over it (someone later asked me "Why do you have a teabag in your shirt?")

I put a towel down on the seat and drove out to Leesburg. I was thinking about potential reactions by cops or paramedics, when I nearly hit a deer that was standing in the middle of the Greenway. Fortunately, a minivan was passing me, and its headlights gave me enough warning to get out of the way.

A few photos from Jason & DeAnna's party are here.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Zombies vs. Bean Counters -- Guess Who Wins?

[The third in a series of entries looking at the modern zombie. See why zombies are the perfect enemy for our time and why you shouldn't try to overanalyze zombies -- like I'm going to do here.]

Crunching the Numbers on Zombie Cracking
For the bulk of World War Z, the world is in the throes of a full-fledged, Class 4 zombie apocalypse scenario, where zombies roam the Earth and humanity is under constant assault, hunkered down in a few safe zones. It's essentially a static siege situation.

Now, in the Max Brooks books, zombies freeze solid in the winter (though they thaw in the spring with no ill effects). Additionally, winters are harsher and longer, lasting 8 months out of the year due to a "nuclear autumn" effect, where soot and particulates from burning cities and limited nuclear exchanges block sunlight, causing global cooling. (Where "spring's like winter used to be," p. 320)

It's also established that inhabitants of besieged outposts wait for the zombies to freeze solid, then raid the surrounding areas for supplies to get them through the rest of the year. (p. 190)

Now, ex-infantryman Todd Wainio talks about the liberation of Detroit, where they faced a zombie "moat" of over 1 million zombies (also known by the nickname "Zack," a callback to Vietnam's "Charlie") surrounding the twin forts of Comerica Park and Ford Field (p. 321)

Here's the problem. You're surrounded by a million zombies (who have to pretty much be wall-to-wall: see below). Winter starts, and they freeze solid. So those people who aren't out foraging take their trusty crowbars and start cracking zombie skulls (example, p. 130). So the question then becomes:
How many zacks could a zack-cracker crack if a zack-cracker could crack zacks?
Let's start conservatively: 1 zombie per minute. (I'd originally gone with 2 per minute, but we'll take into account snow, fatigue, illness, travel time, etc. 1 skull cracked per minute is a good start.)

That's 60 zombies per hour. Assuming 8 hours of workable daylight, with rest periods and such, call it just 4 hours a day of actual crowbar-swinging time. That's 240 zombies per person, per day.

With zombies frozen 8 months out of the year, call zombie season 240 days out of the year.

That means, each individual frozen zombie skull-cracker could account for 57,600 zombies per year.

Which means that, in theory, 20 people dedicated solely to zombie-bashing (and not worrying about disposal, maintenance, or anything else) could crack over 1 million zombie-skulls in a single year.

Assuming the "forts" sheltered a few hundred people, there's still plenty of additional zombie-busting capacity if people can't get close to their theoretical maximums.

And that's just by hand.

For More Fun, Just Add Guns

The book also talks about the Battle of Hope (New Mexico) where the military, using massed lines of infantry and a one-shot, one-kill philosophy, fights and wins their first major engagement to retake zombie-occupied America (everything east of the Rockies) -- (p. 273, my favorite part of the book).

The soldiers line up shoulder-to-shoulder in two ranks for uninterrupted firing (one shoots while the other reloads), shooting at a rate of one shot per second in a deliberate attempt to keep a mechanical pace and "Out-G the G." (This is actually a nice David Hackworth reference, though for Hackworth, the G stood for guerrillas in Vietnam, not ghouls. As far as we know.)

Since Brooks' zombies are slow zombies, they'd be converging on the defensive position, slouching and shambling almost shoulder-to-shoulder. 1 primary/secondary shooter pair, killing one zombie per second, gives you 60 zombies per minute (assume just slightly less, since shooters have to switch position every 30 shots or whatever the magazine capacity is); or 3,600 zombies per hour. (In reality, no one could keep up that rate of fire for an extended time -- you'd burn out the barrel of your rifle.)

If you assume a constant rate of killing (at the Battle of Hope, the pace slows down as zombies start piling up), you just need 278 shooter-pair-hours to kill a massed bunch of 1,000,000 zombies. Which means that 556 shooters (and their supporting personnel) could theoretically pulp 1,000,000 zombies in an hour.

(The bloodiest human battles, like the Somme or Antietam, don't even begin to approach these numbers -- if you look at the number of killed, not wounded. Zombies always walk -- upright and slowly, they don't dodge, they don't take cover and they don't shoot back. However, they won't stop for anything but a headshot.)

The timeline extends since you have to allow plenty of time for the zombies to walk into firing range, which is a good thing, since you need to rotate shooters to give plenty of rest breaks and allow time to switch out weapons and replace barrels.

Basically, if the humans are able to pick their battle; if they're set up in a good, well-defended position; have enough supplies and enough backup shooters; and nobody panics, it's a foregone conclusion. (Oddly, in the Battle of Hope, they rely on firepower alone, with no barricades, elevated firing platforms, earthworks or trenches to slow down the zombies -- though eventually the massed zombie corpses form their own barricade. This would seem to ignore the lessons of the Battle of Yonkers, where insufficient or irrelevant force protection measures contributed to the debacle).

Wisely, the book also doesn't specify the size of either the human force or the number of zombies killed.

Back to Detroit -- the Summer Scenario (Also with Guns)
So we're back to the Siege of Detroit. It's the summer and there are a million zombies shambling around the streets. Think the Dawn of the Dead remake, where the mall is completely surrounded by a sea of zombies.

This is actually a little problematic -- looking at the satellite map, Comerica Park and Ford Field are in the middle of the city:

There's some open space, but it's not like, say, FedEx field, surrounded by parking lots:

Assuming each zombie requires about 3 square feet of standing room, that's 3 million square feet of zombie; it's a square about a third of a mile on a side, or about 69 acres total.

Anyway, forget that for now. As long as the defenses are good and the zombies can't get in, you can airdrop rifles, a crapload of ammo, and a Special Forces instructor to train shooters, then thin out the zombies at your leisure until winter comes and you can start cracking skulls.

At more realistic rates of fire -- a zombie headshot every 10 seconds, or 6 aimed shots a minute -- that's 360 zombies per hour, or 2,880 zombies per 8-hour day (again, we'll assume two-man teams -- one person shoots while the other rests and reloads), that's 347 shooter-pair-days to kill a million zombies.

If you figure Brooks's zombies are unfrozen 120 days out of the year, 4 shooter teams -- 8 shooters, plus support -- firing constantly, 8 hours a day, every day, could break the siege in a single year (as long as they could keep the ammo supply coming and rifles functioning).

(Also, 6 aimed shots per minute is extremely conservative, considering that a Civil War soldier with a muzzleloading black powder musket could fire 2-3 aimed shots a minute.)

Air Supply
As for the ammo required in the zombie shoot -- figure 30 lbs for a case of 1,000 rounds of 5.56mm ammo. A million rounds is 1,000 cases, or 30,000 lbs, well within the capacity of a C-130 Hercules. Making allowances for the weight of the different parachute delivery systems (I'm not an expert -- whatever would be appropriate for a small landing zone; low speed, low altitude would be okay -- it's not like zombies have anti-aircraft capability), you wouldn't need too many sorties, and the book establishes that the U.S. still has a most of its airlift capacity (p. 170).

It would seem to be an efficient way to help thin out the zombie population. After all, each zombie killed at a static defense spot is one less the army has to deal with, and that's why safe zones were left in occupied territory in the first place -- to serve as bait (p. 109).

So What's the Point of All This?
That's a very good question. Basically, it shows that, as enumerated in the book, once the situation stabilizes after the Great Panic, the zombie threat is best seen as a logistical problem -- an exercise in pest control.

Sure, you can rationalize it by saying that even my conservative zombie disposal numbers are too high, due to lack of ammo, too much snow, other factors (feral animals and people, disease, etc.) , etc. It's primarily a thought experiment -- one that shows that I've spent way too much time with what's my favorite book right now.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Zombies: Don't Look Too Close (Or, The Less You Know, the Better)

[Second of a few entries on the modern zombie. See my previous entry about why zombies are the perfect enemy for our time.]

My radioactively-reanimated zombie costume from last Halloween.

When fans are faced with the temptation to overanalyze, quantify, and contextualize fictional elements to see how they would "work" in the real world, the best advice comes from some philosophers who said:

"Just repeat to yourself, 'It's just a show, I should really just relax.'"

On the flip side of this, creators of fictional worlds should resist the temptation to explain too much, because the more complicated things get, the more potential inconsistencies you introduce. And when you go to the well too often (generally to fill screen time), you run the risk of watering down your creations, or otherwise make them look silly.

Two prime examples of this: The Borg were great as inexorable, unstoppable, relentless future cyborg zombie-surrogates, but when they started being the go-to Villain of the Week on Star Trek, when they started getting bogged down by nanoprobes and unimatrices and technobabble, and because they kept getting beaten, they stopped being really scary (thanks a lot, Voyager).

As to explanations making you look silly, one word: Midichlorians.

Zombies Don't Much Care for the Laws of Thermodynamics

The world of Max Brooks' zombies (in the Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z) is especially susceptible to all this, because it's written in documentary-style and aspires to something approaching reality. And the closer you look at the pseudoscience of zombies, the sillier it gets.

For example: The zombie virus ("Solanum") is bloodborne and 100% communicable at even the most minute levels ["...even one organism is enough to begin the cycle", ZSG. p. 4]. It's also 100% effective (that is, you're guaranteed to be killed and reanimated as a zombie -- additionally, if you eat zombie-virus infected flesh, it's 100% lethal, though at least you die and stay dead).

Because it's so transmissible, the entire human population would probably be zombified simply due to mosquito bites. To prevent this, in Brooks' world, parasites which might otherwise act as disease vectors instinctively "know" not to attack the infected.

Forget sniffer dogs to screen refugees -- you could check people by having them stick their arms in boxes of mosquitoes.

(Incidentally, the Zombie Survival Guide mentions that there are no documented cases of people having sex with a zombie, so it's left unclear as to whether the zombie virus can be sexually transmitted. It's likewise unclear if an infected carrier can spread the virus via sexual intercourse, though the other dictates of the universe suggest so.)

As to the rest of it: To his credit, Brooks' characters readily admit they don't know why zombies are able to do what they do. Brooks' zombies resist bacteria, so they don't really decay -- they abrade. They freeze solid in winter, but revive when thawed. They're immune to high pressures at the bottom of the ocean. They eat freshly-killed flesh, but they don't get sustenance from it -- they just do it because they are jerks.

Given that last bit, Brooks' zombies also don't care much for the laws of physics, since they are perpetual motion machines -- they produce work without requiring fuel. Put them on one of these power-generating walkways, and you have cheap, sustainable, non-greenhouse-gas-emitting undead energy.

The Point of All This?

As with many elements in popular fiction (especially science fiction), so to with zombies: It's best not to ask too many questions -- just suspend disbelief, and no matter how implausible the plot mechanisms might be, as long as they're internally consistent, you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.

(I'll save the Reaver implausibility discussion for some other time.)

Next time: Crunching the Zombie numbers.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Looking at the Zombie Revival: The Perfect Enemy for Our Time

[This is the first of a few entries about the modern zombie.]

Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z, by Max Brooks. And a skull
Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z. The skull x-ray was salvaged from a book publisher's basement storage room during a work-study job a lifetime ago.
In case you can't tell from the picture, Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z are two of my favorite books right now. I keep re-reading them. I've got zombies on the brain. (Braaaaains.)

And I'm not the only one.

We seem to be in the middle of a zombie revival (er, make that "zombie renaissance"), with fast zombies, reimagined zombies, zombie thrillers, zombie comedies, zombie walks, zombie colleges, zombie shoppers, zombie video games, zombie flash games, more zombie flash games, zombie underwear, and more.

Part of the reason why I think there's a resurgence in zombie interest is that zombies are the perfect enemy. They're not human (they just used to be human), so it's okay to hate them. They're already dead. They feel no pain. And once they turn, they're really obvious. There's no political correctness; no one's going to accuse anyone of zombie profiling.

(Zombies really stand out in a crowd. Unless it's a crowd of other zombies.)

And zombies want to destroy us -- there's no question about it. They can't be bargained with or negotiated with or even surrendered to. They are merciless and remorseless (and deserving of none in return). They're the enemy of all living things, they're relentless, and they won't stop until they're destroyed.

The solution to the zombie problem is drop dead simple:

You shoot them in the head, or you get eaten.

We are living. They are dead (well, undead). If they get you, you become one of them. "You're either with us or you're against us" doesn't get any clearer than that.

In other words, they're an unambiguous, black-and-white, us-or-them, guilt-free enemy.

And the kicker that makes them the perfect enemy? They stand up, moan, and come straight at you -- walking slowly. They don't take cover, they don't hide behind civilians, they don't plant IEDs, they don't learn from their mistakes (or ours), and they don't melt away into the shadows.

(Well, they're a little like suicide bombers in one respect -- they come at you with no regard for their own safety. But the classic zombies move slowly. They also don't explode.)

They never change tactics. They just come out, line up, and wait for you to shoot them.

It's a refreshing change. The perfect enemy for our time.

BOOM (Guilt-Free) Headshot!

What's more, I also see a lot of survival and gun-types have embraced the zombie preparedness theme pretty enthusiastically. Sure, preparing for the zombie apocalypse is a fun game that prepares you for other disasters, both natural and man-made: Do I have the provisions and equipment to bunker down and shelter in place? If I had to leave quickly, would I have a bug-out bag or go kit ready with the right supplies? Where would I go? How would I get there? Do I know how to read a map, treat injuries, start fires, purify water?

But as a bonus, in the zombie scenarios, you get to discuss -- even fantasize about -- the best ways to shoot lots of other people in the head.

What's the optimal range for zombie engagements? Do you use a scope or open sights? For quiet kills, a suppressed .22 or a crossbow? What's the better zombie-slaying assault rifle, the AR-15 or AK-47? Would buckshot fired from a 12 gauge shotgun be overkill (considering your reduced ammo load)? How much ammo should you carry for each of your weapons? How do you increase the probability of a headshot under extreme stress? What's better for close-in work, an axe, crowbar, or machete?

Because they're not really people, zombies are the perfect stand-in for your boogeymen of choice: Communists, terrorists, LA Riot/post-Katrina rampaging mobs, illegal immigrants, or jack-booted government thugs.

Even the most-hardened, callous keyboard warrior might be a little reluctant to endorse wholesale slaughter of a group of people (at least, in an open forum). But zombies? They ain't human -- fire at will.

[Next: Overanalyzing zombie science.]

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tactical Ninjas, Islamic Terrorists, Zombies and Mall Shootings

I read a bunch of Web forums that focus on tactics, self-defense, military strategy, disaster preparedness/wilderness survival and other various manly he-man pursuits. It's part of my training to become a well-rounded ninja and to better face the impending zombie apocalypse.

Even in the more enlightened of these sites, the politics tend towards staunch, rock-ribbed (though it's probably more like dunlapped) Republicanism. Though the presence of socially-progressive Libertarians, gun-toting liberals and the token Democrat/European is usually tolerated.

However, on some of the other, harder-core tactical forums, if you don't conform to a certain political mentality, you're a lieberal, freedom-hating terrorist sympathizer, and your opinions, and even your membership, are not welcome.

Defining characteristics of these inhabitants include:
  • Thinking that Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh really do make a lot of sense
  • Using terms like homicide bomber, comlib (commie liberal) and Islamofascist in a sincere, non-ironic fashion
  • Having a definition of liberal that comes from a Jack Chick or John Birch Society tract
  • Abilty to read NewsMax and Free Republic without laughing, crying or vomiting
Fetishizing Fear and Gear

It's a world that's incredibly fearful, but it's a kind of fear that thrives under the guise of preparedness.

I'm all for maintaining awareness of your surroundings at all times, knowing how to defend yourself, and being prepared. And I also know that the world is a dangerous place.

However, some of these guys (and they're invariably guys) fetishize this fear by imagining themselves in scenarios that belong in a tactical Penthouse Forum ("I never thought it would happen to me..."), where a father-raping, baby-killing, meth-abusing, home-invading ex-con is hiding in every shadow.

If you don't believe me, you haven't read any discussions about the tactical use of public bathrooms. The extreme practitioners are kind of like me in high school -- avoid at all costs. My teen self parts company, though, when they say if it's an emergency, go with a buddy, use the end stall, and if you have to take a dump, take one leg completely out of your pants so your feet aren't shackled together by your pants. I'm not kidding.

There's also a fetishization of tactical gear, where the pantheon of saints includes Kydex, Cordura nylon, paracord, anodized aluminum, and stainless steel (in your choice of flat black, desert tan, or olive drab). They say they don't do it, since it's about the man and mindset, not the materiel ... but they do it anyway.

And I'm not even getting into the guns...

Like 9/11-Truthers, Only Better-Armed

Now, getting into political discussions with these people is useless. It's like trying to discuss politics with my Dad (sorry, Dad). They see the world not just as black and white (which would be manageable) but as part of an apocalyptic conflict between good and evil that's driven by the fervent belief that their own wacked-out religion is superior to everyone else's (but most especially Islam.)

In this world, moderates, and even advocates of realpolitik, are, at best, useful idiots.

Their hypocrisy is rampant, they consume information only from trusted resources, and they refuse to accept information that runs contrary to their worldview.

So they're like 9/11-truthers, only better-armed.

Holding a special place in their hearts is Islam (and not just radical Islam), which seems to have taken over where Communism left off. Just do a search-and-replace on Communism and Islam, right down to the the "fighting them over there so we're not fighting them over here" rhetoric, the sentiment that the politicians/media are losing the war, and the omnipresent threat of the domino effect.

Plus, throw in the Crusades and a dash of "GLASS PARKING LOT."

I'm no apologist for radical Islam. It can't be ignored that most of the world's active terrorist groups are associated with radical Islam, and no other terrorist ideology has embraced suicide bombing as readily (save for the Tamil Tigers, I guess -- remember folks, just because you're brown, doesn't mean you're Muslim).

"No greater love" is one thing, but as I said to Chuckie a while back, when your religion is being used as a justification for suicide attacks, maybe it's time for a hard reboot for your belief system.

Why is this? The denizens of these boards will say that Islam is inherently prone to this (they would probably just say "evil") and consider the part to be the whole.

These supertroopers forget that Christianity basically had a 1,300-year head start, a schism, a Reformation, a whole bunch of religious wars, and its own history of expansionism and ethnic cleansing, before we finally had a couple of hundred or so years of secularism that's helped to moderate things to the point where religious wackos look like wackos.

Chuck Norris and the WOLVERINES!!!

Anyway, many of these board denizens are insane, but the forums do provide some useful information for gearheads and mall ninjas. I stay out of anything resembling a political discussion, though when they see something like the Salt Lake City mall shooting (which was stopped by an armed, off-duty cop), they have a collective orgasm, since their online existence is validated.

Plus, some see that the mall shooter was originally from Bosnia, and they get all twitchy, looking to blame Islam and jump on the front lines of the impending Muslim invasion, to better set up their Invasion U.S.A. fantasies (which are moderately less implausible, though infinitely less amusing, than their zombie outbreak scenarios).

I've even seen a few folks try to characterize the 2002 Beltway Sniper Shootings as domestic Islamic terrorism ("OMG, his last name was Muhammed!"), when if you actually know anything about the case, it's kind of obvious that it was domestic crazy terrorism (viz. his utopian vision for Crazy Black Boystown in Canada).

(These are the same folks who go nutso if you point out that if you use that same criteria, then Tim McVeigh and Eric Rudolph are Christian terrorists. Also, suggest that maybe some Iraqis see themselves as the WOLVERINES!! side of Red Dawn and their heads might explode.)

Anyway, I will continue reading the useful sites and keeping my mouth shut (as I said, it's pointless to argue, and I prefer to not get banned because I like having my saved preferences), since it's a window into the mindset of a completely different reality and you can usually find good information on knives, flashlights and deals on ammunition.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

The Good Thing About Zombie Photos Is That You Don't Have to Take Out the Redeye

It's been a week since the first running of the DC Zombie Lurch, so there's not a lot of point in posting this entry. I'm just doing it in the interest of completeness and because I didn't want the headline to go to waste.

Plus, I finally posted and tagged my full set of DC Zombie Lurch photos, so here's my quick recap and some of the photo highlights:

I wasn't able to get my own zombie act together in time (I'd independently decided to be a radioactively-reanimated zombie, unaware of any other zombie activity), so I just went to watch and take photos (and get in the way of the real photographers).

The whole thing started promptly at 5pm, just outside the Washington Monument:

Zombies at the Washington Monument
DC Zombies, surprisingly light on the sign-making.

They rallied at Smithsonian Metro, then shambled up the Mall a bit towards the Capitol. There were some tourists about -- one moment I'm glad I captured (even poorly) was coming across a group of priests (given the haircuts and shoes, I think they were actual priests, not costumes):

Priests vs. Zombies
Note the mystic orbs, presumably from the spiritual combat.

The chants pretty much centered around "What do we want? BRAINS! When do we want it? BRAINS!", which as someone noted never really gets old (though it got close). (At one point near Adams Morgan, someone dusted off the Zombies Gone Wild/Show Us Your Brains bit, but I still laughed.)

We headed into the Metro at Smithsonian:


Then switched at Metro Center to the Red line:

The Metro workers were surprisingly non-nonplussed. They were more concerned about zombies getting too close to incoming trains.


There was a funny moment when, as we were waiting on the platform, a kid on the incoming train looked out at the platform and leapt back, bug-eyed. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to capture it.


Anyway, we made it Dupont Circle and walked up 18th Street, passing some of the embassies:

Embassy of Botswana

eventually making it to Adams Morgan.

More goth than zombie, but who am I to argue?

Some of the rowdier undead started pounding against the glass of some of the storefronts we passed; the horde also pressed in against the glass at the Dupont Books-a-Million and the Krispy Kreme -- I ran inside each trying to get a photo from the other side of the glass, but alas, I was too slow.

Anyway, we eventually made it up to Adams Morgan. It being a Sunday night, and with more than a few under-21s in the group, things just sort of petered out. I got a falafel, then went home.

So, it was fun; I will see if my costume survives until next year, at which point I look forward to being an actual participant.

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