I resolve.

ResolveThe title is to be read with the punctuation.

I wasn’t going to write a kick-off Happy New Year post, but then I thought about the fact that I’ve done one every year since 2002, so I couldn’t just let it go. I was looking back at last year’s post. I don’t think I was terribly far off for predictions of how the political arena would turn out. While I am thrilled at some of the people who got turned out on the street, I also think the people replacing them are still politicians and have no interest in actually making things better for everyone.

I was also completely wrong. There was an Apocalypse in 2012, but it was a personal one, and it happened just after Thanksgiving with my father’s passing. I never imagined I would be 38 and parentless.

That combined with a number of other things is why my resolutions will be so simple this year. There are two.

First, I resolve to write every day. It is so generic and simple. I am giving myself every possible chance to succeed.

Second, I resolve. Like the title of this post, that is meant to be read with the punctuation, “I resolve, period”. I’m going to work on planning things less and doing things more. The problem with planning is that you can feel accomplishment when you plan. You finish the plan, it feels good and then… you never get started. So, less planning, more starting.

And that starts today… see you later… I’ve got stuff to write.

Best Friends Forever

I love apocalyptic films. Especially zombie films, but even when they don’t have zombies. And Best Friends Forever doesn’t have zombies. Instead, BFF is about two girls on a road trip while the world ends. If it sounds interesting, you should consider backing their Kickstarter, which they are using to get the money to complete post-production and release the movie.

You should support it, if for no other reason than to ensure that I get my copy. Because it really is all about me.

2012: Of Ends And Beginnings

2012So… welcome to 2012! Let’s dive right in. This year, as predicted, there will be an apocalypse. It will be nothing like any of the movies on the subject. There won’t be volcanoes and earthquakes. No super tidal waves, no zombies or plagues, no invasions from other planets. If Hollywood has dreamed it up and filmed it, it isn’t likely to be the way things happen.

However, on November 6th of this year, Americans will head to the polls to elect a President, possibly giving the current one another term or maybe giving a new one a try, and they’ll be electing every seat of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate. I figure it’ll take about 6 weeks from that for things to come to a head, which will place it pretty squarely right where all those predictions claim “the world will end”.

Of course, the world won’t literally end. It’ll still be here, spinning on its axis and making its journey around the sun. But figuratively, the world as we know it will. There are a lot of people, and I’m one of them, who are upset at the way the government is currently running and are willing to vote “for the other guy” with almost no regard as to who that is because we want to send a message and throw everyone we can out of office. This is a “good thing” and is the reason why democracy is awesome. Power to the People and all that.

The only problem is that our current system of government is so horrendously broken that all of the “other guys” are pretty much the same as the guys currently in office. You might get a different slant on the same old rhetoric, but not much else. They’ll all keep voting the way they’ve been voting: for themselves.

However, 2011 illustrated that there is a significant swath of “the People” out there who have had enough AND are willing to do something about it, or at least to Occupy places. Don’t expect this to end. Winter always puts a damper on outdoor activities, but when it warms back up the sit-in will begin again. By November, politicians who in no way support the Occupy movement will be using the Occupy movement to get votes of people who would never vote for them, and once elected they’ll conveniently forget any promises they made to those “hippies” living in the parks. By December, it should be clear that nothing has changed as people start actually looking at voting records and other important things rather than campaign hype. It’ll be the Hope/Change bait and switch on epic proportions.

And let’s not forget, by December, our troops still won’t be home.

So, when I say that there will be an apocalypse in 2012, I simply mean that we will see a shift that will rock the United States, and through ripple effects the whole world. That last time we had a monumental shift was in 2001 on the 11th of September. The event and the actions taken in response changed the world. It was a dividing line. There existed a world before that day and a world after that day. And I think we will see that sort of thing happen again, another event that will create a dividing line.

But hey, don’t be sad. We’ve got a good solid ten months to enjoy before the fit hits the shan. So, live it well.

It Has To Happen Fast

As much as I love the zombie apocalypse genre, it has one glaring major flaw: in a world where horror movies, and specifically zombie movies, exist a zombie apocalypse isn’t likely to happen.  If you were to ask ten random people on the street how to kill a zombie, nine and a half of them will probably know how – aim for the head, destroy the brain, etc.  This, in fact, is one of the things I tend to hate most about various zombie stories.  The movie Scream was fantastic because it subverted the genre of horror films by allowing its character to know about horror films when the norm is for people to wander around in the dark by themselves even after discovering that other people have been killed while wandering around in the dark by themselves.

Unwillingness to Kill

The primary crutch that most zombie stories rely on is the reluctance of people to kill other people, especially friends and family members.  I’m fairly certain most of my friends and family are aware that if they become infected, I might keep them around as long as they are useful but once they turn I’m going to put a spike through their brain.  And while I know there are people out there who would be all protective of their recently dead loved ones, I think the education provided by the cautionary tales of zombie films would be enough to make that rare.

Of course, the real obstacle is a well prepared military.  If the world were to suddenly have pockets of zombies crop up, squads of the National Guard (assuming they aren’t in the Middle East) would be dispatched to deal with the situation.  At the very least they would round-up and contain the undead while researchers worked on possible solutions.  In fact, the real threat here is political, as people in Washington jockey for position concerning the rights of Undead Americans and slow down the response and effectiveness of those trained to deal with situations of a violent nature.

Spread of Infection

Depending on the source, another hill for a zombie apocalypse to shamble over is the nature of the infection.  Traditionally, after the initial turning of corpses or people into flesh-eating monsters, the zombification spreads through bite.  In most stories, the initial cause is a localized accident, either a chemical spill or natural event.  From there and moving to a pass-through-bite scenario, suddenly it seems kind of silly that an apocalypse is even possible.  An event of that sort should take a couple of hours to clean up, maybe a day.

Other stories are more ambitious and use either a specific global event (pass through the tail of a comet) or just go with a generic “the dead started getting up everywhere, all at once, and we don’t know why” nebulous unknown source.  This, at least, has potential.  If you get dozens, hundreds or even thousands of locations with zombies simultaneously, you begin to plausibly stress the available response resources.  You also gain the ability to have pockets of infection go unnoticed and get out of control.

How Would I Do It*

I’ve thought about it a lot.  Obviously, I mean, the title of my blog is “Aim for the Head” and the logo is a zombie.  And as the title of this post says, it has to happen fast.  In my version, the infection that causes the zombies happens in stages.  The first is a virus, the most contagious ever seen.  It’s airborne, it’s in the water, passed by contact and blood.  It is literally everywhere, and it kills 10% of those infected.  Literally a decimation of the world population.  However, those who don’t die appear to be immune to further infection.  That fact, combined with the contagion level of the virus, leads to the decision to stop trying to stop it and instead simply to allow everyone to get infected, killing one out of ten people but leaving the remaining nine immune.

Years later, when people are finally beginning to forget the horror of the Decimation Virus, people start dropping dead.  It’s just like before, people panic that the Decimation is back, everything goes nuts, and in the confusion, people don’t notice right away that the people who died aren’t staying dead.  Within hours, approximately one tenth of the world’s population is one of the walking dead, and that percentage is rising.

The point is, it has to be everywhere, all at once, with relatively high-speed in order to outstrip the ability to respond, so that bolting the front door and staying inside is the smartest decision that too many people will not make.  It has to happen fast.

* If you decide to steal this idea, let me know, perhaps we can collaborate, or maybe we can settle on you just giving me some credit.