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Happy Black Friday to everyone! Have fun, but don’t overdo it like these folk!
The first video of leaked gameplay footage of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Zombies mode has surfaced on YouTube. While the video is a bit blurry, the menus are in Spanish, and the audio is replaced with music, it shows an experience similar to past Call of Duty zombie modes. Most of the action takes place in an abandoned bus terminal and features basic melee, pistol, and rifle attacks. In short, there’s nothing Earth-shattering to be found here, save for the fact that it’s the first glimpse of hands-on gameplay. Take a look below or wait to see for yourself come November 13th.
Love it or hate it, the fact remains: zombie culture has become mainstream. Due to the success of The Walking Dead as well as several genre-focused box-office hits, zombies are now more popular than ever. And since the CDC used the impending zombie apocalypse to raise awareness of disaster preparation, other government agencies - and now businesses - have followed suit. Fans of the genre have thus witnessed a surge in zombie-focused material, some of it genuine, most of it opportunistic. This is the unfortunate but inevitable consequence of mainstream attention.
However, the creation of genuine, well-done, zombie-themed material makes enduring this capitalist cannibalism a little easier. In this case, Ben and Juliana, a recently-engaged couple in California, turned to photographer and friend Amanda Rynda with an idea for a ‘different’ engagement photo shoot. Ben didn’t want a series of photos that threatened his masculinity, so the trio came up with the idea to introduce - and subsequently dispatch - a zombified third-wheel. The results, in my opinion, are phenomenal and illustrate an important point: zombies are powerful because they embody base survival instincts that bring out our own. Differences in race, religion, etc. all disappear when a group of people face an impending horde of undead.
So it’s up to us to recognize and promote such well done material while the opportunists continue to wring zombies of their capital worth before moving on to ‘the next big thing.’ Brain-hungry monsters being used by bigger, money-hungry ones - one should take a moment to savor the irony.
Regardless of how prepared you are, if the zombie apocalypse ever rolls around, survival will likely entail some form of scavenging. And the apocalypse may place several man-made obstacles between you and that not-yet-expired can of dog food. In that case, consider the Stanley FUBAR demolition tool (Model STHT55134) your personal key to Alpo-ville.
The Stanley FUBAR is essentially a hunk of carbon steel with a prying claw on one end and a curved cutting surface/chisel on the other. Both ends facilitate nail-removal (you don’t want to succumb to tetanus during the zombie apocalypse, do you?) while the rubberized grip ensures the tool won’t slip out of your hand and take out an eye. Designed originally to take out drywall and sheetrock, the FUBAR should be able to handle brains and connective tissue in a pinch, but I wouldn’t become overly reliant on it.
At 14.25” long, the FUBAR can add a lot of function to your bug-out-bag without adding much bulk. Currently retailing for about $20, it’s a good item to purchase and then have at the ready…just in case.
I really don’t carve pumpkins much anymore. First, I’m not exactly supposed to be around sharp objects. Second, I’m about as artistic as a one-armed Hellen Keller with Parkinson’s. Yup, that bad.
Fortunately, I’ve reached the point in my life when I’m okay leaving certain things (feng shu-ing my apartment, pumpking carving, and pleasuring my significant other, for example) to the experts. One expert I would trust with all three is Ray Villafane. New York Botanical Gardens hired him and his studio to carve (well, more like sculpt) whatever the hell they felt like from the three largest pumpkins in the US (this year’s winner weighs 1,872 pounds). Both this year and last they decided to go with zombies. And both this year and last they’ve knocked it out of the ballpark. Hmm, I wonder if he can teach me how to make some epic snow angels for Christmas.
Also, Happy Halloween from ZomNomz!
So the shit has hit the fan and zombies are everywhere. Some are fast, some are slow, all are hungry. After soiling yourself and quietly weeping for a few minutes, you decide to get up from the fetal position, regroup, and start thinking strategy. Item one: zombie weapon.
A variety of weapons are available now and will likely become more available as the less-prepared develop a penchant for brains. The key to a good zombie defense/offense is diversity. Every weapon offers its own advantages and disadvantages which tailors it best to a particular situation. Firearms, for instance, offer the ability to dispatch zombies quickly and at a safe distance; as such, every zombie survivalist probably has some sort of pistol, rifle, or shotgun in his or her bug-out-bag. However, the noise generated from firing an unsuppressed firearm may draw unwanted attention from both the living and undead alike. Additionally, they are dependent on ammo, which may become sparse as the zombie apocalypse drags on.
So let’s consider some silent, errr, replenishable alternatives: in several cases, blunt-force trauma with a garden-variety of objects should suffice. However, while quieter than firing a Magnum, bludgeoning can still make a lot of noise. Additionally, it typically takes time and requires large amounts of energy. Since all survivors will become calorie counters, these objects will suffice when push comes to shove, but it’s best to have a less labor-intensive weapon in tow. Blades, for instance, require less energy to carry, less energy to use, and are as silent as a zombie mime. However, several blades (survival knives, especially) have to be wielded at arms length, increasing one’s proximity to its subject and the risk of being bitten.
Fortunately, a katana offers that elegant in-between that decreases proximity without compromising effectivenss, allowing those that wield it to dispatch a zombie silently, with minimal energy, and at a relatively safe distance. A few things to know about Katanas:
The Katana descends from a longer blade called the Tachi. Measuring about 70-80 cm, the Tachi hung at the waist of the Samurai with the edge facing downward. Some speculate that the length allowed the Samurai to dispatch enemies while on horseback, but this is hotly contested.
What historians don’t dispute is that around 1400, several Samurai began sporting the Tachi with the sharp edge facing upwards. This facilitated the ability to strike the opponent at the same time of the draw, bestowing one with a small but significant time advantage in a duel. This new style caught on, and since the Samurai reversed the way they carried Tachi, the swordsmiths would then ‘sign’ their swords on the opposite side of the handle. These swords became known as Katana.
Katanas are a slender, slightly curved single-edged blades spanning 60-73cm in length, forged from a combination of high-carbon and low-carbon Japanese steel. Their full-tang grip accompanies two hands and typically sports a square or circular guard. The curve of the Katana is due to the formation of the less-dense iron carbide during sword construction, which aids in its cutting power. One can distinguish a Katana from its Tachi brethren based on the location of the signature, blade length, and blade curvature (the Tachi is typically more curved).
Wielding a Katana is fairly straightforward: draw, dismember, repeat if desired. More elegant handling can be learned from Aikido, Kendo, and Iaido Japanese martial-arts styles.
Regardless of how one uses it, proper Katana maintenance is paramount to its (and subsequently, its owner’s) vitality. It should be stored in a horizontal sheath with the edge facing upwards in order to avoid dulling the blade. The Katana requires frequent oiling (preferably with Chuchi oil, a combination of 99% mineral oil and 1% clove oil) and polishing, lest it rust from the transfer of moisture due to handling and/or cutting through zombie flesh, brains, sinew, etc. Salts from the oil can also precipitate mold formation, requiring frequent drawing, inspection, and polishing.
Is the Katana be-all, end-all zombie weapon of choice? Not by any means. But due to its blade sharpness, length, and strength, it’s not a bad idea to have one at your side.
“This is what your elevator lobby will look like if Mitt Romney has his way” ~ Joss Whedon***
***Well no, not really, but it’s an accurate paraphrase if you watch his YouTube Mitt Romney endorsement. So it’s pretty much the same thing. Except maybe with more WHedon. Why are you placing such emphasis on the W-H like that? Because this is a free country, dammit!
It may seem that I’m on a bit of a Marvel kick lately, but I’m just tells it likes I sees it. First YouTube gave us the Iron Man 3 trailer and now this: a celebratory endorsement of Mitt Romney…with a bit of a Whedonesque twist. While it might not compare to the last half an hour of The Cabin in the Woods, it’s definitely worth a watch. Reynolds/Whedon 2016!