In Case of Zombies with a Side of Fisticuffs

A cautionary tale of how a family full of geeks can carry a thing too far.

On Saturday, my family got together to see the new Star Trek movie, eat homemade pizza, an enjoy the good company. Well, we really just wanted to talk about how cute our babies are, but who can blame us?

Star Trek was great. One of the first scenes is, naturally, a bar fight and I was thinking, “Fisticuffs! No movie is complete without a good bout of fisticuffs!” It made me think that fisticuffs is a wonderful word and highly underutilized. The movie really is great and I loved all the inside jokes for the Trekkies. I appreciated that it explained the universe for the uninitiated. Catch it while you can in the theater or before you get sidetracked by one of the many other great things coming out this summer.

Over delicious pizza, I brought up a very serious topic: What the family plan should be in case of a zombie attack/outbreak*. As soon as I mentioned it, my brother said in jubilation with hands in the air, “Thank you! It is about time someone brought this up!!” He was obviously relieved someone else has been as concerned as he as been. What followed was a detailed discussion on the pros and cons of various plans.

We think the safest place for our family would be the Lake a la Rochester, which is about 3 hours away. If we made it there, we could live out on my parents’ pontoon boat. Obviously, zombies can’t swim, so out on the water would be the best place to hide. We could take excursions to shore to gather supplies as needed.

The problem is that Mr. R and I live on the south side of Houston. I am concerned about getting across the city. Mr. R thinks we can do it if we circumvent some of the major road ways. I observed that, as in hurricane season (which is now upon us! already!) I need to keep the gas tank full in the car. No more getting down to Empty. You never know when you may have to escape a zombie horde. Or a hurricane.

My brother pronounced this plan sound and proceeded to discuss the kinds of shotguns he thinks we would need to repel an attack. While the family Rochester does own several guns among us, (sadly none at my domicile) not one of us has a cricket paddle which served Shaun so well. My brother thinks a double barrel, sawed-off shotgun would be a fun zombie weapon, but my dad countered that gun would only be good at short range. My brother wanted to argue the coolness factor though if you are running for your life from zombies perhaps cool is not the most important fact when choosing a gun.

The conversation went on and by the end I am almost certain that my mother, sister, and father thought the rest of us were crazy. Perhaps. But we will be prepared.

–Jane, we could always resort to fisticuffs

*Mr. Rochester and I started talking about escaping zombies after watching 28 Weeks Later. Not because the movie was good. On the contrary, it was horrible for so many reasons it is hard to describe them all in a way which makes sense because the movie itself is ridiculous and requires the absence of all sane logic and reason. The first movie, 28 Days Later was great. This one, not so much with the good.

More Than Meets the Eye

Ever wanted a USB stick that would be the envy of every person you know? Well, geeky readers, they have invented it for us!

A USB that is also a Transformer! Take that Autobots!

I know this has been all over the interwebs, but I had to post it.

–Jane, a child of the 80’s

Cereal Prizes Are Back

I thought cool prizes in cereal were a thing of the past, but yesterday I saw an ad for the new Kellog promotion. They are offering five badges from the new Star Trek movie. The badges are Kilngon, Romulan, Command, Engineering, and Sciences (Federation). Each badge lights up.

I feel like a kid again. A really nerdy kid.

–Jane, looking forward to the new movie

BarCamp Houston: no, it is not in a bar

I have heard about BarCamp before and I always thought it would be cool to go to one. A BarCamp is an unconference for geeks. You show up and are required to participate in some way: present on a topic, be on a panel, or bring your wifi router and power strip. You are required to share what you know with others and geek out all day, then go geek out on the world.

Can you think of anything else more fun? No. The answer is no, you can not think of anything else more fun. The problem I have now is choosing which geeky shirt do I wear?

On August 25th, BarCamp is going to be in Houston. I have already signed up and offered to give a talk. Mr. Rochester will be off with the boys for the weekend, celebrating the impending nuptials of a friend. I was going to closet myself at home to write, but I think this is worthy of changing my plans.

–Jane, anyone want to join us?

Video Games @ Your Library

Mr. Rochester sent me an article from Gamespot while I was gone about Campbell County Public Library (last time I tried their website was down) in Kentucky that has started adding family friendly video games to their collection. He was surprised that this is a new concept. It does seem like the logical step, but that does not mean libraries are quick to make it.

What a great way to preview a game before buying it. I check out hardbacks from the library to see if I like it before purchasing my own copy, especially if it is an author that is new to me or that I am not head over heels for.

I know that the public library a worked for a few years ago did not have video games. Does anyone know of any systems that have a robust collection of games?

–Jane, maybe she could move there

A Little Laugh

Something funny to make up for the previous post which may have caused your brain to smash itself against the walls of your office – a YouTube Star Wars video. It does contain language, but it has been beeped out.

I have two groups that I am moderating in Five Weeks. They are both eager and have a lot of ideas. During our weekly chats, it is nice to see them answering each other’s questions, brainstorming ideas, and supporting each other in their struggles to get traction in their workplaces for social software. Sometimes, I feel like I hardly have to do any moderating at all, except of course when we get off on topics like the Wonder Twins, Captain Planet, and silly YouTube videos. It is all part of the learning process.

–Jane, “What the hell is the aluminum falcon?”

“Hi, I’m a Mac”

Mr, Rochester and I have recently held many conversations about Macs. Many of them are spurred by the recent Apple commercials and some of them are due to the fact that many of my friends have Macs.

You see, dear readers, I live in a PC household. I have nothing against Macs and see their uses, but as a gamer, I like PCs. Mr. R, on the other hand, holds a hatred for Macs that I believe could only be eclipsed by his hatred towards the Dave Mathews Band. It is a virulent sort of hatred.

Aaron McKenna, at Gear Digest, has an interesting take on the PC v Mac phenomenon, but it is the link inside the article that amused me. He links to a Guardian Unlimited article whose author, Charlie Brooker, hates Macs with a passion that rivals Mr. Rochester’s. The entire article is worth the read, but when Brooker mentioned the game that has annoyed me most in my life, I knew he was a kindred soul.

Myst, the most pompous and boring videogame of all time, a plodding, dismal “adventure” in which you wandered around solving tedious puzzles in a rubbish magic kingdom apparently modelled on pretentious album covers, originated on the Mac in 1993. That same year, the first shoot-’em-up game, Doom, was released on the PC. This tells you all you will ever need to know about the Mac’s relationship with “fun”.

–Jane, amused by it all

Star Wars by George Lucas v. The Inheritance Trilogy by Christopher Paolini

***Warning: Spoilers for Eragon and Eldest ahead. You have been warned!***

Mr. Rochester recently finished reading the first two books of the Inheritance Trilogy and he remarked how much they mirror Star Wars and LoTR.

Below is a guest posting by Mr. R which lays out the similarities of the original Star Wars and Eragon & Co. The comparisons do give away plot points of the books so please stop reading if spoilers make you cry.

Episode IV: A New Hope – vs. – Book 1: Eragon

Ben Kenobi – vs. – Brom
Old man with mysterious background takes up quiet residence within a farming town and we find out in the second installment that he is keeping an eye on the son of his best friend turned enemy.

Luke Skywalker – vs. – Eragon
Simple, young, farm boy barely out of adolescence who has no knowledge of his parents and has been raised by his uncle and aunt. Something the evil empire wants falls into his backyard and, when the empire comes looking for it and can’t find it, they kill his uncle and burn his home to the ground. The boy then leaves his home and follows the mysterious man through the empire as the old man trains him in the ways of a mysterious power.

The mentor dies. Boy meets up with loner who plays by own rules (Han Solo – Murtagh). The boy saves the princess (Arya) who had been captured by the empire. Boy joins the rebel forces. Boy is involved in huge battle in which he gives the killing blow that decides the outcome of the battle.

Episode V: Empire Strikes Back – vs. – Book 2: Eldest

Yoda – vs. – Oromis

Boy journeys to hidden place where an old teacher exists unbeknown to the empire.

Side story about a “sibling” and their struggle to escape the empire while the rebellion tries to regroup. In the end, the boy battles with another of his kind who reveals to the boy that his unknown father was the man who betrayed the old order and helped the emperor gain control.

The second in command, the right-hand man and the executor for the empire, turns out to be a blood relative of the boy. The boy is wanted captured alive to take before the Emperor but is allowed to escape the clutches of the second-in-command.

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi – vs. – Book 3: ???

Farm boy and “sibling” work together to recover the “sibling’s” loved one.
Defeat the empire.
Teacher dies?
Turn the second in command to the good side?

–Mr. Rochester, now do you see why I married him?