Tag Archives: zombies

A Little Zombie Excerpt

Here’s a little something from a story I’m working on right now…


Ezra walks like a drunk sailor, or how I think a drunk sailor would walk, because like I have never seen one but I’ve heard that sailors drink a lot and drinking makes people stagger around the way my little brother does, but whatever, Ezra stumbles around the house all the time. Mostly he clings on to furniture if it’s near enough to cling to, but some of the stuff that Mom Two buys on her antiques shopping sprees is really tippy, so then I have to rush up to Ez and make sure that he doesn’t bonk his head or break some fancy Shaker end table in the process. It gets tiring, but the extra allowance is worth it. Plus he’s cute, and so when we’re out somewhere like the arcade on Folsom or the hipster park where everyone beautiful plays lawn Frisbee or whatever the hell it is, people come up to us all agog and shit because Ezra is teetering around, saying “arararar gagagaga Amuhwee” which is some apparently adorable pronunciation of my name, Emily.

Yes, our parents gave their two children E names. It is so awesome being us, let me tell you. Actually my original name was not Emily, I had to convince my parents that despite what the doctor yelled out as I was born, I was really a girl. It wasn’t easy to get them to believe me, but they’re more or less okay with it now, and I have learned all kinds of ways to be a more patient person. Maybe. The universe gave me my parents so I would learn how to get what I need, and then it gave me Ezra so I would continue to work out my core muscles. Thanks, universe, for looking out for me.

The phone rings, and it’s my friend Iggy who is also trans and who also left out extremely crappy high school because of it. Iggy has been funny as hell lately because he finally started hormones after years on the blockers and now he texts me every time a new chin hair appears. Seriously. I have like 126 texts from him, all about freaking chin hair. Guys are so weird.

“What’s up, Ig?”

“I was going to hang at Gus’s house, you wanna come?”

Gus is one of those kind of asshole, kind of cool dude you can’t ever pin down. But his parents have a pool and it is close to 100 degrees outside. Read More…

Why Girl Scouts Will Survive the Zombie Apocalypse

girl scout sash illustrationLast winter, after a 2-year analysis of whether they should lift their policy excluding gay scouts and scout leaders, the Boy Scouts organization declared that the ban would stay in place, and then backtracked a little to take up the issue again in the summer of 2013. Sorry, boy scouts in America, your leaders are more invested in protecting your parents’ archaic judgmental attitudes about sexual orientation, at the expense of your potential future happiness and self-worth.

Worse, I would argue it’s going to leave you more vulnerable in the case of a zombie attack. Here’s why.

1. Their promises–Both groups have similar core mission statements that they make, though the Boy Scouts call it an “oath” and the Girl Scouts a “promise.” Boy Scouts also swear to be “morally straight,” meaning they’ll have strong character and live their lives with honesty. Go Girl Scouts, who won’t waste energy ensuring they’re justified in defending themselves, can just orchestrate a response to a mass invasion and get on with it.

2. The Girl Scouts’ Inclusivity–Beyond the feel-goodness of multiculturalism, there is the strength in having a diversity of experience on the table when a community needs to take action or set policy. If social positionality affects our lived reality, and if we are capable of learning from our experiences, then the Girl Scouts’ history helps them here. Admitting girls (and scout leaders) of all racial and ethnic heritages, sexual orientations, and gender identities ensures they’ll have a broader base of experience to bring to moments of crisis. And in a zombie apocalypse, they’ll need all the help they can get. Read More…

Zombie Defense by the Seasons

from Jillian McDonald blogThrow a stick at any bookstore over 2,500 square feet and you’ll hit at least three books on surviving the zombie apocalypse. Weapons guides and DIY, symptoms to look out for, protective clothing, how to shop for your garden variety gas mask, it’s in print and readily available. But there are other factors that can affect human survival, and seasonal shift is often overlooked as one of these. So let’s take the seasons in turn, starting with spring, and help uncover methods of defense that we can use no matter when we’re fighting for the future of our species.


Fortunately the days are getting longer, so there is less opportunity for zombie hordes to accumulate in the dark of night and make mob attacks. There are also no tall crops at this point in the year, unless a region has been growing winter wheat, so it will be harder for zombies to make their way quietly through crop fields (of course this matters not at all in urban areas). Spring also comes with a new generation of wildlife, which can be observed to help identify where bands of zombies may be hiding out. But be warned; depending on the kind of zombification that’s happening, mammals in general may also be zombies, so you may need to pay special attention when litters of new small animals are underfoot, because they may not be very clever defenders against the undead and will become a new source of infection for humans. BONUS FOR MOUNTAIN AREAS: Spring also often means strong river runoff from melting snow, which can be used to wipe out zombies, carrying them away in streams and creeks, where they can be rounded up downstream. Also keep an eye on frozen lakes, because as the season progresses these can be used to take out whole groups of zombies by luring them to thinner areas where they can fall into the icy water and get trapped. Read More…

Zombie Risk During the Holidays

zombie christmas greeting cardMany of us think of the time between Thanksgiving and the New Year as a happy season, filled with parties, presents, feasts, and family. The more cynical among us may grouse that such occasions are not cause for celebration, but very, very few of us see the holidays for the danger that it poses, which is this:

If the zombie apocalypse happened during the holidays, more people than usual would perish.

There are many reasons for this. In order to better protect the public good, I have listed them forthwith. Read, share, remember, people.

The Santa Myth–It sounds sweet to leave the back door unlocked or the sliding door unbarred, or the flue to the chimney in the open position, but these are all easy entry points for the undead to get into your house and ruin your merriment. Those aren’t reindeer hooves on the roof, people. Look, if zombie doomsday lands during Christmas season, you’re going to have to own up with your children about the fact that Santa does not exist. There’s no need for putting out cookies and milk, and there’s no reason to remove the barricades around the perimeter outside the house, either. Just hole up and hold on to dear life that DARPA or some one who still has a living brain will figure out how to help humanity survive.

Driving on Treacherous Roads to Visit People–The sun sets early at this time of year (Australians and Chileans excepted), which means that the howling for human flesh begins in the middle of the day. If you insist on seeing Aunt Maude because she gets lonely on Thanksgiving, for heaven’s sake depart at 8:00AM, an hour after dawn. You really owe it to your loved ones to take care while traveling in such trying times; bring those tire chains, crank-operated radios, and flamethrowers.

Giving Presents–Who knows what lies behind the pretty wrapping paper? To be extra safe that there’s nothing amiss in any given box, just hand out the presents in gallon-sized ziplock baggies. Remember the old adage: If you can’t see it, you don’t need it!

Drinking Lowers Alertness–Holiday celebrations sound like a good idea, sure, but consider that slowed reaction time, inhibited instincts to sense danger, and lowered ability to communicate could be the difference between getting away from hungry zombies and becoming a late night snack. Pass on the bubbly and pour yourself another mug of coffee instead. Also consider that gorging on Christmas cookies may make you sleepier than usual, another potential problem if you need to speed away to safety.

Christmas Lights Are a Beacon–Nothing says tasty person treat like an inflatable glowing, giant snow globe on the front lawn, or string after string of holiday lights. Even with their reduced intellectual capacity zombies will scrape over to ENORMOUS GLOWING OBJECTS. Save more than your energy bills. Save your lives and turn the lights out. You can have the Hannukah spirit in the safety of your walled off basement. Just tell yourselves the Maccabees had it worse and still somehow came out of it.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Living out of a Powerless Refrigerator

screen shot from The Day After TomorrowThe zombie apocalypse–I mean, Hurricane Sandy–in unfolding on the East Coast as of this writing. Although it is still a Category 1 storm, its barometric pressure usually supports a Category 4 rating, and it’s about to merge with another weather system the likes of which have only been seen in the clunker film The Day After Tomorrow.  When I was a small child, the very concept of hurricanes terrified me, what with all of their moisture and millibars and torrential winds and flying palm trees. Hurricanes on vacation were especially nuisance-some because no tropical postcard or tourist ad ever depicts a rainstorm. I’ve been on the school bus during Hurricane Gloria, ridden out hurricanes and tropical storms while at the beach in South Carolina and Delaware, survived a night in a tent during a tornado in south Jersey, and dug through two feet of snow after blizzards in Syracuse, New York.

I hate weather. I mean I admit that I’m not being fair. I don’t like the endless summer here in Walla Walla with one gorgeous sunny day after another for three months, especially as the heat ratchets up through August, peaking somewhere around 110 degrees. Rain once in a while is nice to remind us to take a moment with a cup of tea and a good book and give ourselves a rest. But now that it’s been raining here for two weeks I am itching for blue skies again. I’m never satisfied with the weather, and I get that I’m pretty much impossible to please.

Sometimes to add to my meteorological cynicism, the power goes out. Winds too vigorus? Behold the darkness. Flash floods destroying a power substation? Get used to real quiet without electrical humming. While in most of my power outage experience the lights were restored relatively quickly, sometimes there is just too much damage to get things back and running in the same day. So remember some simple rules about eating at home during your time off the grid (list from the Huff Post, augmented by me):

  • Check the temperature of both the fridge and freezer. Do this with a thermometer, not your elbow.
  • If you don’t have a way to read the temperature in the freezer, check each package. If the food contains water crystals, then it may still be safe.
  • Discard all perishable foods that have been kept in a fridge or freezer above 40 degrees for more than two hours, bacteria can multiply rapidly between 40 and 140 degrees. And the last thing we need right now is a zombie outbreak.
  • Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there’s a chance it came in contact with flood waters. Also discard wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers if they may have been in contact with flood waters. Seriously, no baby bottle nipples soaked in flood waters, okay?
  • Wash all metal pans, ceramic plates and utensils that may have come into contact with flood waters with hot soapy water. Sanitize by boiling them in clean water or by immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water.
  • Use only bottled water that has not been exposed to flood waters. If you don’t have bottle water, you can boil tap water for safe use. Otherwise, expect to become a zombie by midnight.
  • Never, ever, taste food to determine its safety–it could turn you into the walking undead.

Also, should you see zombies on the loose after the waters recede, get to the second floor of a safe building and close off the stairs, and you can figure out a plan from there. Stay safe, people!

Pop Culture Misconceptions About Zombies (and How They Can Kill You)

trip line for burglarsWhile watching Zombieland a few years ago, I was struck by the notation, made almost in passing, that in a zombie apocalypse, larger and slower people would be the first to go. Certainly I personally would not win a footrace against well, anyone, but in a zombiecalypse, I don’t need to be speedy. I just need the right equipment.

Telling fat people that they’re doomed when the undead rise is simple fatphobia that doesn’t actually serve us very well. So let me tackle this and other popular misconceptions about zombie behavior.

1. Zombies aren’t fast. It’s oh so fear-inspiring to depict them this way, but frankly, they don’t have a lot of synapses firing upstairs, so actual running is nearly impossible. But let’s say they’re ambling at a quickish pace. Put up some trip wire outside and inside your barricaded home. Now you’re both faster and more agile than most zombies, and your size need not be a factor in outrunning the postmortem. Read More…

Who I’d Bite If I Were a Zombie

yucky zombieLook, nobody likes a bitter jackass, although all of us have had run-ins with mean people at one point or other. Some experiences stick with a person, however, and even if one’s outlook is generally positive, well, a little rumination on justice is probably okay. In this spirit I take up the idea of zombifying my history’s greatest offenders. I invite others to do the same!

Robert B., former landlord during my second year of graduate school: Robert’s main problem was that he was a slumlord who just couldn’t admit it. He owned a dozen or so dilapidated, once-proud brick apartment buildings in Syracuse, New York and despite not wanting to ever maintain the structures, thought that tenants should pay current luxury apartment rates for the honor of residing there. When I pointed out that my living room ceiling was starting to bow, he asked me not to stand under there any more. And when a 6-foot section of that ceiling, no longer able to hold onto the rotten joist, collapsed seconds after I ran out of the room, he sued me, saying I’d done the damage myself. So yes, I would bite this guy on his dominant hand so he could watch himself turn putrid before he became a blathering zombie.

Wendy B., former college roommate: Wendy was a great friend that I met during my brief stint in the Campus Crusade for Christ. Although she claimed she didn’t believe in anything they were preaching, she also wasn’t cool with it when I started to come out of the closet. I came home from class one day to find my elderly cat locked in a kitchen cabinet, traumatized and covered in his own excrement. She refused to admit she’d done this to him, but that’s the problem with living with only one other person. Two weeks later, she moved out, calling me all manner of homophobic names, and four weeks later, I learned she was in a relationship with another woman. So Wendy, I have a zombie bite with your name on it.

Road Rage Guy in Alexandria, Virginia: All I did was stop at an amber light, and this creep followed me for ten more blocks, ranting at me from the wheel of his Jeep. When I got out of my car in a parking lot (I was headed for a haircut), he parked one row over and then screamed that I was a freak of nature. Geez, I know I needed a haircut, quit it already! His roundhouse punch may have been obvious and easy to stop, but this guy seems better off as a rambling undead than free to roam the suburbs of Washington, DC.

Mitt Romney, current candidate for President: No, he hasn’t injured me personally, but honestly, I see this more as a public service to improve his communication skills, because yes, Mitt has all of the panache of a wet bag of dog poop. At least eking out “braiiiiiins” would keep him away from his gaffes about $10,000 bets and how little he pays in taxes.

Actually, four people in 41 years is a pretty non-bitter list, all things considered. That said, I’d love to see other folks’ nominees for this little ignoble award. Feel free to add in the comments section!

Enjoying the Holidays Zombie-Free

zombie carolersNothing blows a holiday party like an uninvited zombie guest. I for one don’t want to have all of my planning and preparation ruined by even one moaning undead person with a penchant for biting my other guests. Plus, those zombies are always bringing uninvited friends, and they’re horrible at making small talk. While anyone who smells of decomposition or has limbs falling off is easily identifiable as a zombie, an individual may be in an earlier state of zombification and thus harder to detect. Here are some easy ways to spot the burgeoning zombie so they don’t wreck your holiday: Read More…

When Zombies Attack Walla Walla

zombie movie posterEven small towns as isolated as Walla Walla, Washington, may fall prey to a zombie outbreak at some point, especially given the global nature of travel and commerce. Although only two state highways connect to the city, it does receive regular cargo shipments by truck and by rail, and it does house a working airport with connections to Seattle, a major seaport and airport on the West Coast. Looking at the nature, history, and geography of Walla Walla can help identify concrete strategies for defending against and surviving a zombie attack when it comes to the area. Strengths and weaknesses of the region, and specific tactics will be the subject of the rest of this brochure. Read More…

How to Care for Your Zombie Baby

zombie baby from deviantartZombie apocalypses are terrible for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is the loss of the human race generally and loved ones more locally. It can be especially difficult to adjust to the zombification of a child, but before one literally throws the baby out with the bathwater, there are some important considerations to remember.

1. Assess if the baby or child is in fact, a zombie Read More…


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