Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Who Does Jupiter Think It Is Anyways?

Jupiter thinks it’s so great. Just because it’s the biggest planet in the solar system. A gas giant… big whoop. The biggest gas giant we have. Whatever. We’re supposed to be impressed just because Jupiter has 64 moons. As if I care. I guess we should all just tremble in awe because Jupiter has this giant storm—many times bigger than the earth—which has been raging on for centuries and everyone calls the Red Spot. Jupiter acts so big just because it’s mass (which is greater than all the planets in the solar system combined) is so large that its gravity is unsurvivable; and the air pressure is so crushingly high that the many believe the planet’s core might possibly be a large diamond.

Okay. Those are pretty good reasons. Never mind.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What about those undead masses?

Zombies. Let’s be clear on the what we’re talking about here. I’m not talking about Voodoo black magic zombies of the mindless automaton slave type. No, we’re talking about the George A. Romero documentary variety of undead zombies… the real kind. Some people fear them. Some people loathe them. Many people even harbor indifference, primarily because they choose to believe the walking dead don’t actually exist. To the latter, I stress that the following content is not designed to reinforce misguided denial. To the rest, I submit that to understand your enemy is to gain power over him or it. We are fascinated with them—zombies—because they scare us and they are an enemy that elicits no guilt in the hatred thereof.

Why are we afraid of zombies? They are slow and lumbering and they have no ability to reason, yet they are the embodiment of relentless pursuit and cold malice. The living dead have no emotion. You cannot reason with a zombie because he doesn’t have the ability to reason, he has no motivation. He acts only according to a singular simple instinct: feed. They are tireless, remorseless, persistent and driven by that singular purpose. They exist only to eat living flesh. Why? Does there have to be a why? Isn’t it enough that the Romero zombie only wants to eat you. Actually, he doesn’t even want to eat you, he simply eats you. You can cannot negotiate with a zombie. You cannot wait him out. You can only kill him or evade him.

The walking dead zombie is the victim of an infection, a virus. We don’t know definitively where the “zombie virus” originates. That’s not important. What does matter is that zombies are the result of a virus, not voodoo magic. The viral host eventually dies as the virus kills the brain cells and “reanimates” them as a repurposed organ. The host, now a “brain dead” virus carrier, retains its basic motor skills and sensory abilities. As long as the necessary organs are intact, the zombie retains the ability to see, hear, feel and smell. (Whether or not zombies experience a sense taste is debatable and irrelevant.) Zombies can see you, they can smell you, and most importantly they can hear you. They respond to sound. He’s instinctively drawn to noise. It’s apparently a result of the programming created when the virus reanimates the brain. The zombie is drawn to noise as it is a basic sign of “food.” It will move toward sound, following a source indefinitely until different, nearer stimuli gains its attention.

The zombie is driven by its only directive: feed. Why? The host virus gets no nutrition from living flesh. This is evidenced by the fact that a zombie doesn’t require a digestive tract in order to function. In fact, a zombie can function as long as the brain is intact. Decay and damage may hinder a zombie’s mobility to the point it can’t move or “feed,” rendering it useless as a device for expansion—unless a hapless victim gets too close. That’s why the virus’s programming is focused 100% on expansion. Feed, bite, spread the virus. As long as the zombie’s brain is still intact, it is attempting to feed. Period. Cut off its legs, it will crawl toward you. Tie it to a tree, it will reach for, mindless attempting to pursue—not attempting to escape—and bite the nearest perceived living thing.

Knowing these things, we find ourselves properly equipped with the best defense against the hordes of the undead: knowledge. In the inevitable case of a zombie outbreak, keep a level head. Stay alert. Stay calm. Be quiet. Be ever vigilant in your desire to live. Knowing his natural attraction to sound, you should be able to use this to your advantage. If you’re cautious, you should be able to elude the walking dead indefinitely. However, you will eventually want to reclaim your humanity. Keep in mind that while a zombie cannot be defeated, he can be destroyed. Aim true and shoot them in the head. And God bless.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The First Time Is The... Most Awkward?

This is my first post on my first blog so bear with me... or don't. It may not be wildly entertaining or informative, but it's my catharsis. I've gone too long without allowing myself the freedom to write; I'll no longer keep the writer in me securely pinned down under a heavy rock. Okay, I admit, that's pretty melodramatic especially for a virile man who owns a truck, lives on a farm and rides a Harley. Even a manly man like me has feelings, although I have built up a thick layer of tattoos and facial hair to conceal it. That being said, I have the heart of a writer and have succumbed to the typical pressures of life to the point that writing has too often fallen to the wayside. The pressures of work, family, God, motorcycle maintenance and home improvement have forced me to set aside the emotional and creative outlet I too infrequently find in writing.
I grew up in what I always considered to be an unremarkable small town where people were content to move along at whatever pace life offered them. While I eeked by in the mediocre roll of a right fielder, or push-mowed my parents lawn, I dreamed of bigger and more exciting places. I longed for majestic mountains and rolling oceans and sweeping forests, all absent from the mundane corner of Kansas I called home. My family moved frequently, but always within the disappointing borders of the Sunflower state and inevitably back to the same small town. Writing emerged early in my life as an escape to more interesting settings. I cast myself in the roles of armored knights, grizzled soldiers, dashing spies and even wise alien warriors. I walked upon more planets and battlefields than I can name and faced more deadly enemies than any man should ever have to.
Throughout high school, while football and cars and dating (or girls in general) occupied my thoughts, I set a corner of my mind as a refuge where anything could happen. There, I was a hero with a heart of stone, a misunderstood loner, an embattled cop with a vendetta against evil. These alternate personalities found their release on paper, often in the margins of history and science notes. Upon entering college, I pursued a bachelor of science degree in English, thinking I could roll right into publishing novels for a living. I wrote well, learning early what professors wanted to hear and regurgitating it in my own words to an impressive degree. However, I also learned that becoming a novelist--although something I never stopped desiring--was something I would never achieve without a greater degree of discipline than I possessed at the time.
After college, I went to work for a small newspaper as the reporter, feature writer, photographer, and occasional assistant editor. After six months, I grew tired of reporting on fender benders and crop forecasts and decided to move on to what I, at the time, thought would be more rewarding ventures. I took on a series of jobs, including security guard, handyman and carpenter, yard-truck driver, city marshal--yes city marshal--and electrician. In the process, I became wrapped up in the life of a family man. Marriage, kids, houses, church. All these became integral and essential in my life, as they have shaped me into the man I have become today. But always, writing has taken a backseat.
Recently a friend from church gave me a 2002 Harley-Davidson Fatboy on the grounds that God wanted him to and that in God's eyes, I deserved it. Besides my family, it's been the single greatest gift in my life an something in which I have never found comparable joy. While riding, with wind in my hair--and occasionally bugs on my face--I've found my mind more alert and creative. I've learned to enjoy the journey, to remember the destination is just the side-effect of a ride. It's rekindled a spark I forgot was there. A sense of adventure and an appreciation of grander things. While I know I can't return to those long-forgotten worlds of action and adventure and distant planets, rife with marauding hordes of bloodthirsty aliens--my family needs me here--I feel obligated to release those heroes who I've left stranded there. I'll not let them fade away again.
There will be more to say but for now... this is enough.