Wednesday, July 01, 2009

It’s Close to Midnight, and Something Evil’s Lurking in the Dark

Imagine this scenario, if you would:

You are alone in your home. It’s nighttime, the electricity has gone out, and the phone line is no longer working. You hear a low guttural moan from just outside your front door as a loud pounding sound resonates, as if someone or something was trying to force its way inside your home. What do you do?

If you’re like most Americans, you’d probably freak out. And that’s totally understandable. Some blood-crazed creature banging on your door in the middle of the night can be down right scary. But I’m here to tell you not to worry. That noise is merely the walking dead threatening to break down your door and rend your flesh to eat you alive.

Seriously, it could be worse. It could be Carrot Top going door to door trying to sell you sex toys. Or it could be Janet Reno demanding entrance because she’s convinced there’s a Cuban boy stuffed in your closet. Or it could be Gay Hitler. Honestly, a flesh eating zombie has to be the least of your worries.

Still, this is something you should probably be concerned about. Zombies are real, they are a serious threat, and if left unchecked, a zombie apocalypse may very well be in our near future. I would know. Hunting down and killing zombies is a bit of a hobby of mine.

Wait. Is that the right word? Kill? Zombies are already dead, so technically speaking, you can’t kill them again. De-zombify? De-animate? No, you can’t reverse the process, so those terms wouldn't be accurate. Slaughter? Butcher? Obliterate? No, I don’t see myself using those words in everyday conversation. End? Ok, I guess that’s as good as anything else.

Hunting down and ending zombies is a bit of a hobby of mine. In fact, I’ve been studying and developing fighting methods and battle strategies geared exclusively at dealing with zombies. This includes ballistic assaults as well as good ol’ fashioned melee combat abilities. I’ve even gone so far as to conceive a bare-fisted method for taking down zombies quickly and efficiently. My signature attack is a singular punch to the zombie’s head, which strikes with such ferocity that it liquefies the brains inside the fiendish creature’s skull. And if the bone making up the skull is decayed enough, the mash of brains can even be ejected out the other side of its head! Oh, it's more than satisfying, let me assure you.

Unfortunately, martial arts officials have refused to acknowledge my new fighting style, just because they’ve never seen it in action against a real live zombie. Coincidentally, the same move that will liquefy a zombie’s brains in one hit, won’t be nearly as lethal when preformed on a still living and breathing human. They even refuse to give my fighting style a proper name. I could call it, Fist of Zombie Ruin... or Punch of De-zombification… or maybe even, My Fist to Your Face Technique.

The naming thing is still a work in progress. Apparently I’m not very good with words. The important point to take away here, is that if all else fails, hand to hand combat can be an effective way to battle the walking dead.

Case in point: I once saw Chuck Norris round house kick a zombie in the face. The force of the kick knocked the zombie’s head off and caused it to fly backwards. It crashed into the head of another zombie, ending both instantly due to the sheer strength of the collision. In addition to that, the energy of the impact caused a localized shock wave, which, after erupting, created a vacuum within a twelve foot radius. The three additional zombies standing within that radius had their brains sucked out of the ears by that vacuum and collapsed on the ground, withering and clawing for several minutes before their brain activity and motor skills ceased functioning for good.

I’m not afraid to admit that I am not half as badass as Chuck Norris is.

Now I hope you’re smart enough to realize that fighting zombies with your bare hands is not advisable, even in the worst conditions. The more savvy readers out there have more than likely already purchased a copy of The Zombie Survival Guide, by Max Brooks, and are hopefully beginning to compile their own zombie survival supplies. The book does a much more thorough job than I ever could of cataloging all of the weapons you could possibly use to fight the walking dead.

One thing the Survival Guide lacks, however, is information on zombie repellent powder. I am currently developing and testing a nontoxic powder that when applied to a human in sufficient quantities will keep zombies at bay. Just like a bad cologne, it will keep other beings from wanting to touch you in any way. Now there are still a few kinks to be worked out before I’m ready to market this wonder product, but keep an eye out for it at your local sporting goods store.

Speaking of which, why don’t more sporting good stores and gun shops have a specific “zombie survival” section? I think they’re missing an incredible opportunity to target the niche part of the population that actively worries about zombie infestation. Putting all the necessary zombie survival supplies in one area would instantly increase sales, but it will also serve to help educate and inform the general populace on what are the best items to purchase for such an epidemic.

I think this needs to be remedied. In fact, I think we can go a step further… I hereby propose an entire product line designed specifically for avoiding, fighting, and surviving the worst case scenario of a zombie outbreak. Look for Z END gear, equipment, weapons, and survival supplies coming to a store near you. When you see the Z END logo, you know you’re getting high quality, weapons grade materiel. You know that I am serious and very committed to providing my customers with the most outstanding, the longest lasting, and the most efficient zombie destroying goods known to man. That is my pledge to you.

“Survive the zombie apocalypse. Survive until the end. Z END.”

You know. I might want to hire a marketing firm to help me with that. Once I finalize and patent my zombie repellent powder, I’ll focus on building Z END into the power brand that I know it can be. I mean, who wouldn’t want a Z END anti-zombie pistol? Or a Z END Shaolin Spade? Or even some Z END zombie-proof dehydrated rations? The possibilities are limitless.

So just remember: the next time you hear the sound of the relentless undead banging on your door, you have nothing to fear! Just strap on your Z END combat knife, grab your Z END survival bag (with Z END sleep bag, Z END flashlight, Z END map and compass set, and Z END toothbrush) and get ready to hit the road towards your mountain retreat/safe house. Yes, you can survive the zombie menace, but only with Z END!

Z END official logo.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Turnaround Bright Eyes

Weddings… What can I say that hasn’t been said already? Weddings totally rock! Yeah, I know, I’m against the whole marriage and commitment thing, but the actual event, the wedding itself, is just an amazing experience. And I’m not saying this just because it gives me a perfect opportunity to throw out lines from the movie Old School. Which, by the way, is not only a great movie, but a timeless classic.

Maybe you’ll want the full story. Saturday, one of my fraternity brothers got married. It’s always a joyous occasion when someone you’ve known throughout your college career finally settles down with a woman he holds close to his heart. Yes, I’m a sucker for that lovey-dovey sentimentality crap. Also, there was an open bar.

Few other phrases in the English language can inspire so much wonder and excitement as those two words: open bar. Just writing the words is making me giddy. I want everyone out there to know, I went to the wedding because both Josh and Monica are very dear friends of mine and I would carry out any favor they needed at the drop of a hat. They’re just that awesome. But the much less compelling and highly secondary reason I attended the wedding this weekend was for my other very dear friend, alcohol.

I hope you all are already aware of my penchant for that particular aqueous substance. As far as I’m concerned it’s a magical elixir that chases away bad things. It also happens to make my friends much more interesting and certain people much more bearable. Though I think the surgeon general needs to add the following warning label to all liquor bottles sold in the US:

Warning: Objects viewed while inebriated may be less attractive tomorrow morning than they currently appear.

I’m just saying, it’s something that everyone should be aware of. Not that I had to worry about that during the wedding, no sir. I may have been drinking alright, but I was hanging out with my fraternity brothers that I hadn’t seen in a while. There was no trolling for bridesmaids for me. I was simply happy to see everyone again, especially some of the guys whom I hadn’t seen in a good two years. Man, where does the time go?

I have to say, everyone was happy to see me as well. I’m just the kind of guy that all the other guys want to be around. I think it has something to do with my lack of niceties around women. I have a very bad habit of saying things that make girls genuinely upset and reproachful. And you know what, I’m ok with that. I just find angry women amusing. It has the added side effect of making all the other guys around me look that much better by comparison. And guys like looking better by comparison.

All the old frat brothers seemed quite surprised that I had dressed up for the occasion. Now, I’m normally all for casual wear and comfortable clothing. That’s just my style. But I do like to dress up all fancy for certain events. I happen to think I look damned good in a suit, but then again, that’s just my opinion. Besides, it was a wedding; you’re supposed to look your best at weddings. So seeing me in nice charcoal pants, a starched shirt, tie, and a coat was apparently something unexpected. The green shirt and khaki pants ensemble that I wore practically every week to frat meetings back in college just wasn’t going to cut it for Josh and Monica’s big day, even a bachelor bum like me knows that.

The girls that I ran into at the wedding also noted that I looked rather nicely dressed for the evening. Although, they seemed to have a hard time accepting the fact that I had actually dressed myself in such button-up finery. The first three or four times I heard the comment, “I don’t believe it! There is no way you dressed yourself this morning!” I thought it was rather funny. I’d like to think I’m genuinely a good sport like that. But after the seventh or eighth time hearing the very same line from a female acquaintance, I started to get a little fed up with the whole act.

Though, I do have to admit, there have been times that I haven’t quite been up to code on my dress. Getting all the shirt buttons lined up properly while dressing is still an ongoing struggle. And I don’t even want to mention the incident where I tucked the collar down inside my shirt. It ended up not being the latest fashion trend as I had been led to believe. But this does not mean that I am incapable of dressing myself. I’m merely… a little slow. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I was finally able to convince my female admirers (I’m going to call them that until I am scientifically proven otherwise) that I had managed to struggle into a suit and tie entirely of my own volition. I told them I used a diagram pinned up to my wall that showed step by step instructions on how to get everything on. They bought that. Apparently I’m incapable of buttoning my own shirt, but following directions, sure I can do that.

You know, come to think of it, that’s really not a bad idea. I’m just going to write that down on my list of ideas that I’ll eventually get rich off of. I’m thinking a 1, 2, 3 instruction guide, showing elaborate illustrations to help with donning formal wear. It’ll look just like the Lego instructional pamphlets that come with new Lego sets. I’m sure there are plenty of guys out there who could use some graphical insight to help fasten their ties. Let’s be honest here, wearing a clip on tie is a total fashion faux pas.

The wedding itself was lovely and the reception was delightful. From what I hear, I had a wonderful time. For the record, however, drinking three bottles of red wine all by yourself is not recommended, even if it is an open bar. But, being the trooper that I am, I took my booze (hey, wine is still booze) like a man, and kept it all down. I even managed to make it through the night without pissing off any women. Go me!

Just remember to always beware the tomorrow, as the morning light will most assuredly rise to kick you in the kiester. I was not feeling okay when I woke up the next morning, large quantities of alcohol will do that to you. At the same time, this warning applies to the happy couple as well. Oh, I’m sure they woke up Sunday morning just as thrilled as can be, and I am truly happy for the two of them. But they’re together now… forever.

I was in the church. I heard the pastor say it. “Until death do us part.” Those words sent a chill down my spine. Heck, it still gives me the willies today. One woman… one lover… one companion. One wife, until you die. Not my cup tea, sorry. But for those of you who do take the leap, those of you who do find comfort and solace in the arms of another and are bound to them for eternity, I wish you the best of luck. For there is nary a thing in this life more powerful than spending time with those you truly care for.

And to Josh and Monica: I wish you the greatest happiness and blessings for the rest of your years.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

We’re Gonna Party Like It’s Your Birthday

Last Friday was my friend Kristi’s birthday. And if I know anything about celebrating a birthday, then it’s going to involve copious amounts of alcohol. Ok, so maybe I involve bountiful quantities of alcohol for any celebration. That’s just who I am. What can I say? Distilleries around the world love me.

So it was Friday, the 19th of October, when my friend Kristi turned the big 24. Now, that’s not a big number in any way. It’s not, say… 25, which is a full quarter of a century. Nor is it 40, which is the number that marks the onset of middle age official. It’s not even close to 62, which is the when you can start collecting partial social security benefits. But, 24 is a big enough year to require getting drunk and taking birthday spankings from your friends. The spankings were not my idea. Seriously, I was a good boy. I kept my hands to myself for once.

For the record, Kristi spells her name with a “Y.” Thus, when she writes her name out, it is looks like “Kristy.” But I spell it differently. Mainly, I spell it that way because it makes her sound like a stripper, and that amuses me. She doesn’t seem too fond of it, though. One of these days women are going to realize that their sole purpose for being on this planet is to amuse me. Until they accept that one little fact, they are going to be perpetually inclined to hate and despise me. And that’s ok. I happen to find angry women entertaining. That’s just me.

Now, just because I’m a horrible person and I intentionally make my friend Kristi out to be stripper-esque, that doesn’t mean that I’m a terrible friend. I’m pretty sure I just contradicted myself there, but hey, I’m trying to make a point. Bear with me. Since I am such an amazingly good friend, and such a stand-up guy, I was explicitly put in charge of the whole affair for Friday night. Now if you’re plan for the evening is to drink, drink, and drink, then I’m not exactly the wrong person for the job. Some of my alcoholic feats are legendary. And then again, some of them merely involve me getting drunk, and getting slapped repeatedly. Eh, it happens.

The way I came into the position of leadership for the birthday festivities is quite a story. Well, it’s not a long story, not is it an entirely entertaining one, but it’s a story I’m going to share with you nonetheless. Personally, I find it somewhat amusing.

So, the week before (that would be the 12 of October, if my subtraction skills are up to par) I was out at a bar with Kristi and two other fine gents. Kristi, being a woman, and me being, well, me, I felt the need to say some things that annoyed and possibly upset my good female friend. Now, I’ve spent a good portion of my life learning and perfecting my abilities to piss off the opposite sex, and personally, I’d think it would be shame not to use them. So use them I did. For some strange reason, I don’t think Kristi was flattered by my improper comments. I think it was the fact that she repeatedly used the phrase, “I hate you,” that gave it away.

But in between telling me how me she hated me, which she managed to do repetitively on several separate occasions, she told me that I was in charge of her birthday for the following week. I was supposed to plan where we were going as well as recruit some more people to go out and drink with us. Now, I don’t know why the other two guys in attendance weren’t good enough for her, I mean, they were actually being nice to her, but apparently I was the guy for the job.

So in the intervening week, not only did I manage to negotiate where we would be transmuting our hard earned dollars into liquid, mind-altering substances (and by negotiating, I mean, I asked Kristi where she wanted to go, and then commanded everyone to go there; I call it leadership) but I also was able to garner a fairly decent crowd for the festivities. Ok, so maybe no one really came out because I said so, mostly they wanted to hang out with Kristi. That’s ok with me. Seeing as it was her birthday, the spotlight was most appropriately on her. I was more of a background character.

Now being in charge has its downfalls. It requires you to be responsible. And responsibility means driving all the drunken idiots home after a night on the town. But it was Kristi’s birthday, and I was in charge, so yeah, I think I can be the sober guy for one night, which is exactly what I did. So after a shortened evening on the town (we only hit two bars), we ended up back at Kristi’s apartment complex, hanging out with her neighbors. Up to that point, the evening was rather uneventful. I mean, there were shots taken, some singing, some dancing, and I’m pretty sure someone left a bite mark on Kristi’s ass (and it totally wasn’t me, I was sober, remember), but that’s really nothing to write home about.

So, here we were, seven or eight people, hanging around outside of an apartment at 3am discussing the possibility of ordering a pizza. Now, for those of you who don’t stay up that late, let me fill you in on a little secret: pizza doesn’t exactly get delivered after 2am, even on Fridays. So, bummed out, a few of our party left. Those that stayed ended up inside the neighbor’s apartment watching the recently released Transformers on DVD (good movie, by the way, even if I prefer the original 1986 animated Transformers: The Movie better). I neglected the box-office blockbuster when I found a copy of Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Edition lying on the kitchen counter. Beyonce was on the cover, ‘nuff said.

I had managed to not piss of Kristi while we were out at the bars. Seeing as how it was her birthday, I thought I could do at least that much for her. Though I have to admit, I accomplished this feat by keeping my mouth shut most of the time we were out. Yet somehow, I finally got on her nerves by looking at pictures of scantily clad women. Well, in all honesty, she was upset because I was slobbering all over the pictures of the beautiful blonde models in the magazine (she doesn’t like blondes for some reason). To be perfectly fair, I wasn’t just ogling the blondes, I was also eye-humping the two-dimensional brunettes as well as the insanely gorgeous Brazilians posing therein. And on a completely unrelated note, I’m saving up all my pennies for a trip to Brazil. Who’s coming with me?

Shortly thereafter, Kristi left to go walk her dogs and get some sleep. She had sobered up quite a bit up to that point, which was refreshing. If she had fallen too far into her drinks, it would have been my responsibility to look after her while she was sick. Like I noted before, I hate being in charge. But she was fine, and she left under her own power. This was right about the time her neighbor had decided to cook for everyone who was hungry since we couldn’t order a pizza.

Since it was now around four in the morning, I figured he was going to pull some chicken out of the freezer and throw it into the microwave or something. But no, he produced fresh vegetables and pork from his fridge and began chopping away. He even mixed up an Asian style spicy sauce from scratch to go with it. It was crazy. I mean, who the hell makes a home cooked meal at 4am? Apparently Alex does. Twenty minutes or so later, he served the stir fry up on top of some steamed rice in a fancy bowl. He even had chopsticks on hand for us to eat with (to his credit, he is dating a Chinese girl). By this point, though, the girls that were left had passed out on the sofa. So the only people eating were Alex, Joey, and me. Hey, more food for us guys. It was a good thing too, that Alex can cook up some damned good food.

My night finally ended just after 5am when I returned home, brushed my teeth, and fell into bed. As far as birthdays go, Kristi’s wasn’t too shabby. We all went out and had a good time. And most important of all, I didn’t have to baby-sit anyone. Because, let’s be honest here, I’m not exactly world-renowned for my responsibility. I feel for the girl who actually has no choice but to rely on me in her time of need. Seriously.