Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Brain Food (or, The End is Nigh)

What it is, cats and kittens! I'm now into my Research Week, which means (almost) a whole week's worth of classes taken off the schedule to better grant me time to alternate between working on assignments and sleeping in until sunset. (It's really satisfying, if you've never tried it.)

Of course, I can find time in a busy schedule like this one to partake in merriment and celebrations. Did you know, for example, that Sunday was World Zombie Day? It was! And it nearly went past me unnoticed -- just as Talk Like a Pirate Day usually does when I'm distracted -- except for the notices that I saw posted up all across the downtown on Saturday.

To wit:

My goodness! What a charming poster. And anyone who knows me knows well my appreciation for zombies; my main? old? other? Winnipeg blog specifically had a 'Zombie' tag for any and all undead-related content, allowing visitors quick and easy access to posts like this one or especially this one.

So, seizing the opportunity to get out and actually do something during my week 'off', I grabbed my faithful old digital camera and headed out that fine Sunday afternoon to see what sort of hijinks a bunch of people dressed and behaving like zombies can get up to.

I got there early enough that there weren't a lot of folks gathered; the march was scheduled for a bit later, so to this point it was just some folks milling around and looking various degrees of undead.

Note the cameraman interviewing the lead zombie while the crowd congregates. Slow news day in London, Ontario! Okay, granted, it's not as though I've yet seen a fast news day in London, Ontario -- but still. Good on the local news media to turn out, at least. It's neat to see that happen.

Figuring I had plenty of time before any actual zombie-walking happened, I took some pictures of buildings for giggles and then went up a block to go find myself an early supper. I splurged and dropped the eight bucks on a Chinese food buffet, because obviously that's the sort of health food you need for a downtown jaunt. Three plates and about twenty minutes later, I hit the streets again to see how far the zombies had gotten away:

Not too far, as it turned out. The parking lot that they were starting their route from is immediately to the right of that shot, so they weren't exactly flying down the street. They're very slowly getting away!

I went a couple of blocks down and found a good spot, and in due time the procession turned the corner and went right by me for some good shots.

If the dude on the left there doesn't seem terribly convincing, that's because he's actually an OBO security guy. (Not a zombie! At least, not yet.) The walk was buffered at all times by a small handful of security, likely just to make sure that nobody would get way too into their role and start biting things. You never know! Some people act, and some people method-act.

Not sure why they needed security, though, it's not as though there are many zombies in these pictures yet or--

Oh. Well, never mind, then! Pretty good turnout after all. My word, that is an awful lot of facepaint in this picture.

Oh, and there were lots of other folks taking pictures as well, so that was kind of neat.

Why were there Japanese kamikaze zombies? Well, why not? Surely there were a great many World War II air battles fought bravely across the skies of Ontario. I've got a History degree, don't even bother questioning me on this!

Also, the knowledge that zombie parents brought their zombie kids to the zombie walk makes me smile really wide and I can't really articulate why.

Heyyyyy, zombies can't work cameras! Zombies can't work cameras!

Again with the tiny zombie kids, which I'm sure should be terrifying the longer I think about the concept but I'm still really pleased that so many kids were excited to get made up like zombies and run around outside. That's awesome! The future is in good hands, as far as I'm concerned.

Okay, cross the street, cross the street, everyone hang on to your zombie buddy, green light, cross the street--wouldn't this picture be so much better with all the zombies holding onto one of those twisty polypropylene yellow cords? You were thinking it, admit it.

A nice shot of the Honest Lawyer bar and restaurant, framed accordingly by a gaggle of zombies and one ridiculous pink metal tree. I think I could get used to living in this town, it's got a certain charm to it.

To recap, there were a lot of people gussied up like zombies and strolling through the downtown. And though they may have resembled undead hordes of moaning, shambling corpses, it is very important to note that they all still made a point of following the traffic laws as directed.

See? Very important. Alright, buddy up, time to cross again!

See the green car at the intersection? This green car really just wanted to turn right, this didn't have to be such a big production. Poor guy probably had places to be, sitting there with his right turn signal on and waiting patiently while a hundred zombies very slowly shambled across the street. Bad day to be driving downtown, dude! Don't know what else to tell you.

The zombies continued down this road for a while and went past Victoria Park, the big charming park sitting right in the heart of the downtown area. So of course, me being me, I got distracted and wandered off to see what the squirrels were doing instead.

There was a cute conversation amongst a family of three while the zombies were going past the park, with a small boy about six or seven years old explaining zombie lore to his parents.

"It's a zombie walk!" he said, matter-of-factly, as though these things happen every day. "They're zombies!"

"Why are they walking in the daytime?" his dad asked. "Don't they only come out at night?"

"That's vampires," the boy huffed indignantly, which was really funny.

But the zombies aren't what we should be worried about, let me tell you that right now. Zombies, pfft, zombies we could all handle pretty easily. But if the squirrels ever decide to rise up and overthrow us, then oh man, we are boned. Not only are the squirrels faster and harder to see in the dark, especially the crazy gigantic black squirrels that seem ubiquitous in London, but there are a lot of them -- as you can see from the above picture, where they dot the landscape repeatedly and continue long past the horizon. I even ran into a squirrel who kind of looked zombified, which was awesome and off-putting and hilarious all at the same time.

Those are terrific markings. What a great squirrel, oh man. And then I ran into a little baby squirrel who walked right up to me and strutted around like he owned the place, and that was just all kinds of adorable.

D'awwwwww. Look at the little guy! The other squirrels in this city are (I am not joking) legitimately the size of small dogs, but you could have picked up this little squirrel and fit him in your shirt pocket if he let you.

What on earth was I up to again--

Right! Okay, now I remember. Zombies afoot. This guy had taken up residence at the park entrance, and every minute or so would loudly proclaim that the end is nigh. He also helpfully posed for a photograph when he saw me lift my camera.

"So how nigh is the end, exactly?" I asked him, walking up after taking the picture.

"The apocalypse -- is UPON US!" he blurted out, and it was clear he was having a lot of fun being in-character.

"Okay, cool," I said, holding up the camera. "So, which way did the zombies go? I was following them up along the park, and I thought maybe they'd come back down this cross street."

"Oh. They're going down a bit further so they can come all the way up Richmond," he explained, breaking character briefly to point along as he explained the route.

"Awesome! Thanks," I said, walking away to pick a good spot while he went back to his waving of signs and declarations of oncoming doom.

I sat down on some steps and had plenty of time to look at the photos I had taken so far, because as it turns out there were a good five minutes or so until the zombies came around the corner and back into view.

I don't know, do you think that's them? It might be some other--

No, no, that's definitely them. Good! They're heading up the street, they're...

...they're still heading up the street, okay, here they come, they're just on their way, they're...

Hurry up, already! Friggin' zombies.

Oh! This is important, this was a real hoot. Do you see the two girls standing at the corner there, waiting to cross the street?

I didn't see so much as hear these two go past me, when I was walking backwards up Richmond, because the girl on the right with the bag did not like the idea of a Zombie Walk at all.

"Oh, god," she moaned, appreciably on her way to freaking out a little. "I can not deal with this right now."

"This is, what," her friend on the left said as they passed me, "spooks? This is a spook walk, right?"

"I don't like this," the first girl complained. "Let's cross the street, let's go."

"Do you think that guy is with them?" her friend asked, which if you were wondering is what she turned in this picture to point at.

Yep, still there.

"I don't know," the perturbed girl replied. "Oh, god. This is not cool."

But, back to Sign Guy Dudley over here. He had increased the frequency of his "The END is NIIIIGH" calls as the zombies came up the street, repeating it several times as the zombies drew closer and closer until finally they reached the entrance of the park.

Now, you may be wondering: did they eat him?

Oh, yeah. They ate him good.

Still shots don't capture this at all, of course, but they had outfitted Sign Guy with some spurty 'blood' packets or something at the outset so that when the zombies took him down and munched him there were these picturesque spurts of red liquid shooting six feet into the air above the crowd. I know there was a video camera or two on hand, so maybe it'll be on YouTube shortly; it isn't yet, as best I can tell, but hope springs eternal. (Why, Hope's my middle name!)

Is it just me, or does that crowd seem smaller than it was? Did something happen to the rest of--

God damn it, zombies. Cross the street! There's nobody coming, you can go across just this once! The light is green, just cross the--what am I even doing, zombies probably see in black and white anyway.

There we go! That's better. It wouldn't do to get split into two zombie groups, that would just be unseemly. The very idea!

Waaaaaaaait a second, hang on now--is that a headcrab I see there?

It is! Ha ha, holy crap, one dude came as a headcrab zombie. That is brazen! That doesn't even fit into standard zombie continuity, but hell with it, it gave me a good laugh. You go, headcrab guy!

"Nice death scene!"
"Thanks. Nice headcrab."
"Hey, thanks!"

Being newly undead, of course, does not remove one's instinctual ability to pose in place for a photograph. (Not pictured: my grinning and giving him a thumbs-up from behind the camera. Well played, Sign Guy!)

You can see what I was talking about earlier with the red liquids, I assume. Dude got wrecked! Such are the perils of World Zombie Day.

And off they shambled down the road, in search of sustenance, on this their day of celebration. I kept the camera rolling. They were beautiful, those zombies in the mist. Okay, yes, there's no mist in the pictures; humour me, will you? I'm being dramatic.

So, yes! Happy belated World Zombie Day, one and all. You may have noted above that the poster at the top listed a website; the Zombie Walk also had a Facebook group and a spot on A-Channel that evening, because nothing says 'fetid shambling corpse' quite like A-Channel news.

(I'm being mean, aren't I? I'm sorry. A-Channel is sort of an extended running joke where I come from.)

My Research Week continues! Check back here soon; I've got another long post on the backburner that should be ready shortly. If you're not careful, you might even learn something from it!

1 comment:

vidstudent said...

So, plenty of zombies but no zombie rape? ;-)