Dawn of the Dead Remake 

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

*Beware: spoilers.*

The zombie genre consists of true Caribbean zombies and the Night of the Living Dead zombies, historically called ghouls. While the fear of your dead mommy rising from the dead to eat you is ancient, zombie films (and books) consistently redefine the zombie and the details of the zombie armageddon.

If you do wake up in this movie's zombie-infested world, here are ten things to keep in mind:
  1. Sleep with your contacts/glasses on, your car keys beside you and have a full tank of gas. Forget not being a morning person.
  2. Forget also zombies that react only to sight stimuli. These zombies detect humans in other ways. The Remake's first zombie attacker was a neighbour who broke in. I suspect this little girl zombie either sniffed her way in or else retained some recollection that the neighbour's house contained prey (along with the memory of opening doors - no broken window sounds alerted the sleeping prey).
  3. The delay between human death and corpse reanimation is seconds.
  4. These are fast zombies, currently in vogue. The ambling dead with which we are familiar suffer from rigor mortis, an impermanent state which covers only a 72-hour window. Fast zombies, who don't appear to enter this state, retain and often exceed human flexibility.
  5. The Remake zombies do decompose, albeit slowly. Presumably, as bacterial and fungal agents mutate into specialized zombie predators, rates of decomposition will accelerate.
  6. Unbitten human foetuses can be infected in the womb through the bitten mother's bloodstream.
  7. Zombies have exclusive taste for human flesh. Dogs and presumably other animals will survive the zombie armageddon.
  8. Zombies, in desperation, will cannibalize each other. Witness the mall sports store zombie janitor eating the entrails of a still-moving victim. The attack must have occurred long before this scene. Thus the human victim would have died minutes earlier and, given the seconds between death and reanimation, the victim would have already transformed. Yet the zombie janitor continued to eat his new compatriot.
  9. In extreme cases, a hungry zombie will eat off its own lips. Witness once more, the little girl zombie at the beginning of the film. She has bitten off her top and bottom lips.
  10. Once you are in your impregnable zombie fortress, do not leave it for the unverified safety of another sanctuary. It might turn out to be a zombie island.
If you managed to survive all the way to a mall with shatterproof doors, here's what to do:
  1. Store water in all containers in anticipation of an eventual water shutdown. Then use the mall rooftop to collect rainwater.
  2. Dump out tropical plants, use the soil to grow fruits. All malls have smoothie shops and all smoothie shops have real fruits. Pick out the seeds and plant them in anticipation of depleted food stocks. Supermarket lemons, for example, are almost all sterile, however, not exclusively so. Small-scale agriculture is a viable option.
  3. Use the remaining hours of electricity to research weapons.
  4. Create your own bows and arrows or better yet, your own crossbows. Then practice, practice, practice. From the mall rooftop, you can safely upgrade your aim while annihilating the zombies.
Does anyone else have zombie survival techniques not listed here?


After I wrote that I thought, wait, someone will tell me to read the Zombie Survival Guide. I have. But that book doesn't specifically address mall survival tactics.

Midnight Ice Cream 

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Out on the broad Pacific

By the time I figured out how to hook up the ice cream maker, put together the ingredients for a basic vanilla recipe, and scrounged enough ice, it was midnight.

Ice Cream Maker (Top)

After ten minutes of turning clockwise the mechanism self-adjusted and the inner canister began churning.

Twenty minutes
, I thought, that's what I'm in for.

Buster Keaton's shorts are about twenty minutes, I remembered. That'll keep me busy while I churn away at the ice cream. In popped Keaton's 1921 creation, the story of a family who takes his family out to sea on the homemade Damfino. Storm strikes, disaster ensues.

The Damfino in Storm

Every few minutes, I would take the crank off the inner canister and poke a finger into my ice cream.

Buster Keaton on the Damfino

The film is not one of Keaton's best, it nevertheless kept me company while I churned.

The ice cream is for the museum on Friday. I spent two days mulling over the ice cream maker directions, trying to learn how to theoretically use the thing. This afternoon at work, I gave up and decided to learn to use it the practical way. Become an old hand at it by Friday.

I hate ice cream. Not as much as weddings but definitely more than garden slugs. Ice cream is cold and icky sweet. It lacks the pleasure you get from biting into something and chewing it. Give me a nice medium rare steak any day.

However, when I pulled off the lid from the canister the last time, my heart melted a little to make room for ice cream.

You see, there's something about making something that had hitherto been a mystery - I had never given thought to the making of ice cream - that makes it dear to one. One of life's mysteries solved - by me! - and ice cream is suddenly my best friend.

So much so that, despite the growing pain in my stomach (uh oh, lactose intolerance here I come), I want to buy my own ice cream churner.

Ice Cream Maker (Inside)


Monday, May 01, 2006

My confession is this: I hate weddings. Always have.

I hate the one-time dresses, I hate the fattening tendencies of the colour white, I hate dancing alone in front of gawking half-strangers, I hate the fact that some of my good friends have yet to even call me three months after the engagement - goes to show you that the whole marriage thing is a stupid sham.

Furthermore, I hate housewives, SUV moms, soccer moms, Stepford wives and stay-at-home moms. I don't buy into the mommy myth and I think earth is overpopulated, making motherhood a crime. I hate the fact that I'll soon trade in questions about my diminishing prospects for questions about my ticking biological clock. Weddings and irresponsible fertility are linked.

My mom suggested a Catholic wedding.

No one in my family or Matt's family is Catholic.

After a few phonecalls, no one is serious about converting and - what the hell? - I hate Catholicism! Catholics and I live on a precarious truce, but make me become Catholic and I become a rabid cauldron of anti-anti-abortionist and anti-homophobe venom.

Romanian Orthodooxy, the way my parents practice it, is a secular dream of easygoing practical solutions to the age-old problems: don't steal, kill or cheat on your significant other, contraceptives and abortions are necessary and not evil. Rather in complete contrast to the misogynism of Catholicism.

My mom, in all due fairness, came up with the Catholic idea because Catholics seem more urbane in Romania. I am guessing that, since most Hungarian-Romanians practice Catholicism and since most Hungarian-Romanians are more prosperous than the average Romanian, that Catholics seem to be more elegant.

Then there are the bridal magazines. I bought two of them recently, in an effort to get myself into the wedding planning mood. I had to spend thirty minutes with Ms. magazine just to psych myself into buying these magazines first.

Yeah, gag me with all your to-do lists. I have better things to do with my time than become fixated on flowers and bonbonnieres - whatever those bonbonnieres are.

As the price of the wedding has now escalated to over $16,000, I am ready to pack a suitcase and run off to do volunteer work in Rwanda. $16,000 on one fucking day is not me!!! $16 a day in Rwanda could definitely be me!

My parents say that when I started talking, I asked for trucks and planes. I took apart cassette players and stuffed forks into electrical sockets during my infancy. Oh, I did get a Barbie for one birthday, but I gave her up after two days and a garish makeup job.

I dabbled in dumpster-diving, break-and-enters, fantasy noveling and backpack travelling. I am quite happy with who I am. I really want to continue being this person.

However, I am afraid the forces of normality are working their magic to erode me. I came across my two-year plan from 2004 and saw that I missed out on my April 2006 goal: a month in Bologna.

Where was I during April 2006? Putting in extra unpaid hours at work and suffering anxiety attacks all month. Not improving my Italian nor basking in socialist greatness. If it weren't for Matt, I'd be mulling bridge-jumping.


Monday, May 01, 2006

Hopscotch, this strange religious experience.....It's a secret, religious, weird, ceremonial rite of passage for girls that women know. Hopscotch was bizarre for boys because boys never played.

Eddie Izzard

For the first time in almost twenty years I played hopscotch.

I woke up yesterday with the burning desire to show a guy how to play, to divulge the secrets of femininity. Leaping out of bed yesterday, I was as ready to go as a malamute with rabies at a daycare.

But first, chalk.

We must have chalk somewhere in the domicile - surely we did not use it all up twenty years ago? Everyone has chalk lying around. No chalk.

Hours later, a 25-cent chunk of blue chalk in my hand, I am as ready as the malamute with rabies again. Grr! Up with hopscotch already!

Then, Jesus! What does a hopscotch game look like? I find a picture of a girl playing in New York - close enough - it's on the continent.

Hopscotch is played all over the world, from here to Nepal, Ghana, Russia and China; no one knows where the game started, though the oldest known hopscotch diagram is etched into the floor of Rome's Forum. Despite the overwhelming similarities, hopscotch has had many tweakings: in San Francisco, one researcher found twenty varieties.

So what version was I playing? I hopped onto the square with the stone, picked it up and hopped back. I remember something about jumping over the space occupied by the stone. Then there is the version where you pick up the stone and toss it back to home instead of carrying it back as you hop your way through the squares. Or do you first hop your way through each stone to the end, turn around, hop back to the stoned square, pick up the stone and finish?

No wonder boys had no idea how to play.




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