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1) I bought Airport Express last week and installed an airport card on Saturday and it has taken me until tonight to realise that I wasn't actually connecting to my network, I was poncing off the students next door. And I hope to God they don't have a download cap as I was ahem-ing like a bastard all weekend. Still, I am all legit again now.

2) I also bought a new iPod with the video thing last weekend as well after my old iPod freaked out and lost all my music. Just deleted the whole lot. And lo, there was woe in the land, and also swearing. Fortunately anything I love is probably on the computer already, but I have gone from 45GB of music to 25GB. That tells you how much I don't listen to, ever, and don't really miss. I do love the new iPod, though I have an unhealthy addiction to playing Cubis 2 on it. It's black and sexy and encourages me to go to the gym and deal with the gym bunnies and their unfeasibly perky condescension and the way they stare as thought they'd like to introduce a law that criminalised Exercising While Fat.

Fuck off, gym bunnies. It's freakish to enjoy exercise that much. Go read a book. Watch some telly. Have a burger.

I tried to work the running machine the other weekend and fell off the end of it. Thank God it was Easter Saturday and like a sweaty-smelling morgue in there. Still, what's a little working out without looking like a ruddy-faced twat who can barely cope with the 21st century? At least I wasn't cornered by the mad aerobicizer woman who once wedged me against the changing room lockers to tell me that she admired my bravery for going on the rowing machine and gave me a lecture about the Himalayas and Tibet. Every time I backed away, she kept on going forward. Nightmare.

I am not even making this up; that's the sad thing.

What makes people ignore personal space in changing rooms? Seriously, once I have taken my kecks off, I don't want a personal bubble of space, I want a bloody 20-mile exclusion zone, patrolled by killer sharks at the very least. Under no circumstances should people say anything more complicated than "excuse me". I am iffy about even eye contact until I am securely in the giant shorts of doom and my lovely red England shirt.

Where the hell was I? Oh yes...

3) I'd rather stay away from the row about the Virginia Tech massacre but some of the comments I read on friendsfriends made me weary a bit. *Some* reporters may have behaved badly but I don't think dropping an email to someone or putting a comment on a public post of a blog, giving contact details if they want to talk about their experiences is out of order, even if you know you're one of about 100 journalists doing to same thing. That's not hounding. They will talk, or they will not talk. If you persist and they still will not talk, then that is wrong. There's a whiff of hypocrisy in complaining about the mainstream media's blanket coverage while simultaneously hoovering up every pixel of comment and reportage you can on the internet. *

Also, I will observe that Sky News' sanctimonious pondering on the (lack of) gun control in the US was revolting on two counts: a) because Sky is owned by Fox, whose US channel is probably wanking on about threats to the second amendment as we speak; and b) the tone of "of course that would never happen here because of our more rational approach to guns and life" was both unseemly and in bad taste. The US may have more of these spree shootings but Britain is nothing to write home about on the mass killing front either. When we don't have wankers strapping bombs to themselves to blow up the tube, or a culture of post-pub violence that would make the Visigoths blanch, *then* maybe we can be smug. Until then, Sky needs to stop it.

[*ETA -- re: the mood theme at present: I am not angry about *this* specifically; I am just generally hostile at the moment]

4) If you get the chance, go to see the film Sunshine, which is the latest film from Danny Boyle and Alex Garland. It's about a world in which the sun is failing and the Earth is falling slowly into snowy death. In a last-ditch attempt to save humanity, a spaceship called Icarus (do you see what they did there?) is sent with a giant nuclear device to try to restart the star. It disappears, so a second and final ship, Icarus II, is sent. The second crew have been on the mission for 18 months when they find the original Icarus, and divert course to rendezvous with it. Then everything goes to hell.

The first two thirds is an intelligent amalgam of 2001 and Alien, with a dash of Armageddon but less ridiculously testosterone-poisoned. It jumps the rails and goes a bit Hollywood in the last third but remains stunning to look at throughout. The cast is interesting -- Cillian Murphy remains so beautiful that he actually looks a little weird and Chris Evans was really, really good as the engineer, who began as a hotheaded macho Hollywood stereotype but ended up impressing with his integrity and commitment to the mission.

5) Can anyone tell me the ways in which zombies are created? So far I have
i) Actual voudoun
ii) Effects of a mysterious radiation after ship returns from Venus (Night of the Living Dead)
iii) Infection through an escaped virus (28 Days Later)

Also, what do you like best about zombies?

I swear this is *for* something.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
marakara
Apr. 19th, 2007 01:33 am (UTC)
Yay, you're around!
*Some* reporters may have behaved badly but I don't think dropping an email to someone or putting a comment on a public post of a blog, giving contact details if they want to talk about their experiences is out of order, even if you know you're one of about 100 journalists doing to same thing. That's not hounding. They will talk, or they will not talk.

I do think they're trying their best. If they don't ask the students to talk, there will be complaints that the networks are giving the administation's and law enforcement's side but ignoring the real victims.

One sort of flashy anchor is getting big time praise for really seeming concerned and involved with the students. I give him all the credit in the world but I don't know how you can be a human being and not be sympathetic and caring about these nice teenagers/20-somethings whose biggest worries a week ago were finals and getting a summer job.

Also, I will observe that Sky News' sanctimonious pondering on the (lack of) gun control in the US was revolting on two counts: a) because Sky is owned by Fox, whose US channel is probably wanking on about threats to the second amendment as we speak;

Actually, the coverage is bringing up that the university is a firearm-free zone and if a student or teacher was allowed to carry a weapon, they wouldn't have been so defenseless. I'm really not sure how much safer anyone would have been with a firefight going on in the quad.

and b) the tone of "of course that would never happen here because of our more rational approach to guns and life" was both unseemly and in bad taste. The US may have more of these spree shootings but Britain is nothing to write home about on the mass killing front either. When we don't have wankers strapping bombs to themselves to blow up the tube, or a culture of post-pub violence that would make the Visigoths blanch, *then* maybe we can be smug.

And as one radio guy - a big gun control advocate - said here, the two biggest mass killings in this country were carried out with box cutters (9/11) and a rental truck full of cow manure (Oklahoma City). My guess is this young man would have found a way to kill a lot of people no matter what the laws were.

a spaceship called Icarus (do you see what they did there?)

Oh my God, there is soda all over my keyboard.

Can anyone tell me the ways in which zombies are created?

In the Anita Blake train wrecks mysteries, zombies can be created by raising the dead with a blood sacrifice. What I like about zombies - they're really rather single minded. See the potential victim, terrorize the potential victim. No multi-tasking there.

Take Care
Mara
snacky
Apr. 19th, 2007 01:38 am (UTC)
I like that some zombies move slow! You can often outrun them. Also, they eat brains, and it's fun to imitate zombies: "BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINS!"

You know, in terms of the media, I think we have to remember that by calling and contacting students and victims' families, they're doing their job to get news to the public. Monday night, I was watching one of the local newscasts at 11 p.m., and they cut to a reporter, in the studio, with breaking news. The reporter told how it had just been confirmed that a local man was a victim of the gunman. The mother had called the reporter directly, after she had heard the news, because she wanted her to know. They had spoken eariler in the evening, and the reporter said how the family members had been remaining hopeful and upbeat until they heard - and as she was talking about it, the reporter's voice broke, and she was fighting back tears, as she ended her report. So, yeah, doing her job, but human too.
cofax7
Apr. 19th, 2007 02:12 am (UTC)
5) In Buffy, zombies are created by someone possessed by an African mask. XF went for Voudoun. SPN used a Greek ritual to bring back the dead (who came back wrong, naturally): this one resulted in a fast-moving and murderous and relatively intelligent zombie, unlike the stereotyped slow and stupid creature.

I like zombies because they're gross but kind of funny, because of the whole brain-eating thing and slow, clumsy movement. In reality I would probably be WAY too grossed out and horrified by them to find them amusing. The shamblingness keeps them somewhat less terrifying, though, which is why I didn't love 28 Days Later, even though it was very well done. Shaun of the Dead was more my speed. (I still need to read World War Z.)
veejane
Apr. 19th, 2007 03:21 am (UTC)
In The Black Cauldron, zombies are made by taking dead bodies and putting them in aforementioned cauldron. (For lo, it is an evil cauldron.) They're unkillable and badass, except for the part where they can't go too far away from their master's domain without getting floppy. (Thus explaining why the bad guys have not instantly won the day.)

I am not actually that much a fan of zombies, because in general they are not planny or fast, just persistent and in large numbers. There is only so much of Anderson Versus the Ants I can bear, you know? So fast-moving zombies, and ones that can quip, are ones I like.

I get around the whole "wow, check out the cottage cheese butt on that one!" gym issue by not being a member of a gym. Truth be told, I don't exercise much at all -- it's a very convenient lifestyle, if not the healthiest one.
vonniek
Apr. 19th, 2007 03:45 am (UTC)
I'm dying to see Sunshine. I've seen the trailer and it looked spectacular. Unfortunately, the release date for the movie statesides is something like September 2007 for reasons I cannot fathom. Damn.

Like C., I think I like zombies because I find their lurchy, slow-moving ways just inherently funny. It's mostly the cheesiness of walking corpses stretching their arms out, muttering "braaaaaiiiins." Now, the zombies in 28 Days Later were *terrifying* because of their ferociousness and speed, but they made for excellent monsters. Even without the funny factor, there is something fascinating about the idea of resurrection of the body without the will or emotion. The eating of the human flesh, which I think is a relatively new facet of whole zombie myth, also carries with it a visceral, elemental horror that resonates more than other method of monster-related death.

Other than the method of zombiefication mentioned above, I've seen:

Wikipedia mentions "The Serpent and The Rainbow", a zombie movie starring Bill Pullman that I watched many, many years ago, in which a living death was simulated via the administration of near-fatal dose of a neurotoxin. In other media sources, I know Stargate SG-1 had a zombie episode, where some Columbian guerrillas were turned into zombies via contact with some kind of ancient (or a Goa'uld?) device.

The film "Re-Animator", starring Jeffrey Coombs from DS9, has Coombs' character bringing the dead to life through administration of some kind of chemical formula he's perfected. Then there is Stephen King's "Pet Sematary", in which the dead are brought to life when they are buried in a forbidden Native American burial ground....
revely
Apr. 19th, 2007 03:46 am (UTC)
I know nothing useful about zombies, but I know a lot about the gym/personal space issues. I swore off all gyms after the last one I went to, where women stood around in the nude and talked about Desperate Housewives whilst fluffing up their pubic hair with towels. :::backs slowly out of room:::
se_parsons
Apr. 19th, 2007 05:50 am (UTC)
You have just described so very many reasons why I don't go to the gym.

Cauldron Born are celtic myth zombies.

HP Lovecraft has the Re-animator.

Frankenstein's monster is probably technically a zombie.

I don't quite recall how Solomon Grundy arose from the Swamp.

I think there are Scandinavian zombies, too. I can't recall them right now.

lenadances
Apr. 19th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
I don't quite recall how Solomon Grundy arose from the Swamp.

It involved Voudoun and an Indian holy ground, I think, (there was some kind of look at it on the glorious Grundy & Hawkgirl episode on JL) so I'll add "random indiginous people's holy ground/cursed area" to the list.

I have also found out that Wikipedia has a whole "undead" section in which one can learn about such things as the brilliantly named "hopping corpses" (Jiang Shi) of China, where traveling companion or family members who could not afford wagons or have very little money would hire Tao priests to transport corpses of their friends/family members who died far away from home over long distances by teaching them to hop on their own feet back to their hometown for proper burial. The world is a fantastically fucked-up place and I friggin' love Wikipedia.
predictivememo
Apr. 19th, 2007 07:31 am (UTC)
I will observe that Sky News' sanctimonious pondering on the (lack of) gun control in the US was revolting on two counts:

Ironically, was in the Gym yesterday whilst watching this. Personally, I think the BBC should also be slapped for sending a reporter to buy a gun from a guy who sells them in his house. Reporters, for the most part, are zombies ;p

Talking of which, I can confirm that having your life force drained by 300 year-old cat-creatures leads to instant zombification.[*]

[*]Scooby Doo on Zombie island

noelleleithe
Apr. 19th, 2007 08:19 am (UTC)
In the Xanth book series by Piers Anthony, one of the Magicians (everyone has a magical talent, but strong magic is pretty rare) has the talent of re-animating the dead. So basically he touches a dead body and it becomes a zombie. (This makes him a rather morbid sort, and when he dies, he automatically becomes a zombie because of the talent. He's later restored to life, though.)
muffytaj
Apr. 19th, 2007 11:08 am (UTC)
Zombies, as is my understanding of them, are created by someone bringing a person back from the dead. For some reason (perhaps because of their nutritional value?) they begin craving brains and/or human flesh. Possibly as some way to spread their virus/curse.

And the best thing about zombies is their determination! Nothing stops those guys! Rain, hail or acid to the face, they just keep going!
comice
Apr. 19th, 2007 12:34 pm (UTC)
Zombies
I think I remember that the promos for "Dawn of the Dead" (the 70's version) read something like, "When Hell is full, the Dead will walk the Earth." So, yeah, there may have been the virus that caused everyone to get sick and die at once, but don't forget: No Room at Satan's Inn as a cause.

Other than that, I got nothing. I'm avoiding the news -- it's so full of tragedy that I can't cope at the moment.
jeviltwin
Apr. 19th, 2007 02:53 pm (UTC)
On The Simpsons, Bart and Lisa brought the zombies to life using the wrong spell (I believe they were trying to raise their ol' cat from the dead) from "The Time Life Book of Magic and Spells, Vol.II":

Collin...Rayburn...Nars...Trebek!
Zabars...Kresge...Caldor...Walmart!


The best thing about zombies is their radio station: "KZMB, All Zombie Radio. GrRRrrrrrrr!" Also, the brane snacks.


Between your gym horrors and the story revely told, I am never ever ever going to any other gym than my dear sweet bashful Y. Yikes.
qowf
Apr. 19th, 2007 03:23 pm (UTC)
There you are. I'm very glad.

I was thinking about you the other day and Ms. Parsons and the Grand Canyon because I think all three of us (and Pook, of course, although I am sure I will spend the time terrified he will either willlingly run over the end, trip and fall over or be pushed by some other people's nasty children) should go there.

For I have not seen the Grand Canyon. And it's the rule I must take five days off in a row here at work.

Grand. Grand. Canyon.

I'm just sayin'.
lenadances
Apr. 19th, 2007 04:21 pm (UTC)
I have vast amounts of personal space issues when it comes to gyms. My new pet peeve is women who stand in the locker room yapping on their cell phones. I can understand a brief exchange of information, but a full conversation? Dude. Not cool. I expect businesslike proceedings in the locker room: change, shower, dry off, and don't spend a lot of time hanging out doing nothing because it makes me feel like I'm on display instead of being among people who are all too busy to bother with looking at me. It also gives me the vague and illogical feeling that my nudity is being broadcast elsewhere, like the people on the other end can somehow HEAR me being naked.

See zombie info above, but what I like best about them is the endless potential for physical comedy that they embody because they move so clumsily and so slowly, and because they can take a lickin' and keep on tickin', so to speak. It makes me sort of oddly fond of them, like they're all friendly big dumb oafs who just want to munch on a brain or two, and their focused determination is sort of charming. Now, make them move fast, such as in 28 Days Later, and I become friggin' scared out of my mind, because there's no distracting the fuckers and no hope that they'll give up and they are FASTER THAN I AM OH FUCK. That movie scared the bejeezus out of me.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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