Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Apocalypse: Strategies

How important is strategy when fighting zombies? I’m sure most would say zombies’ lack of intelligence gives humans an edge against them. However, if fifty zombies trap you in a room and they’re pounding at your door, some strategy would go a long way. Perhaps running into a room with no way out wasn’t such a good idea after all.

Zombie playing chess [Photo Credit: Unknown]
Zombie playing chess [Photo Credit: Unknown]
Writing this post from the perspective of a chess game, let’s see what strategies a potential victim of a zombie attack can employ to defeat the undead for my Monday Mayhem series.

One of the strategies prevalent in a good chess game is the sacrifice. To be specific, giving away a piece on the board in order to obtain an advantage of the enemy later in the game. As I explained in my Zombie Animals post, the zombie virus hops from human to human without infecting animals in a process called zoonosis. What better way to distract a zombie horde than to give away your future dinner. It’s a good idea to carry around a chicken to use as bait for zombies to chase while your group takes the high road. If chickens are not around, then I’ll refrain from suggesting the obvious.

Another chess strategy is castling. The way this works is the player tucks the king away behind an impregnable wall of pawns with a rook used as the anchor to the move. In a real-life zombie situation, the term “hunkering down” may prove to be the best option with a crowd of zombies knocking at your door. The caveat being, whatever happens no one stops shooting. You’ll need plenty of ammo and lots of patience to execute this strategy successfully.

The Snare
The Snare

Up next, the pin. The general idea behind a pin lies in trapping a piece on the board so it can’t move from its position. Same goes for zombies. Trap them, then scrap them. Bear traps work great for those persistent undead who just won’t leave you alone. Holes in the ground with sharp sticks at the bottom can prove to be a survivalist’s weapon of choice. Let’s not forget the snare made from netting and a trip wire to set it off. A good strategy is a planned strategy, at least that’s what I say.

The last tactic involves the king. When the king has lost all of his army, his main goal is to keep alive for as long as possible. In the game of chess, the king has fifty moves to avoid a checkmate by its opponent. Part of this tactic includes attempting to force a stalemate where both sides can’t reach a realistic conclusion. Similarly, in a zombie apocalypse, when all hope seems lost, never give up. There’s always hope. No matter how bad things seem, there is that one chance the zombies will mess up and you can get away. This means maintaining a positive outlook, looking forward to a better tomorrow and remaining filled with the optimism that things will work out.

How different is it from the way we should live our lives today?

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

Are you a chess player appreciating strategies that may one day save your life? If not, what strategy would use to defeat chasing zombies?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

Family Day

During these dark days of winter, nothing quite beats the freedom we have to enjoy our indoor activities. In Ontario, Canada, we have a statutory holiday called Family Day, which is the third Monday in February. Yes, it is this Monday, in fact. My family’s typical use of the day goes something like this: I make a bucketful of sushi, we pig out, then we play board games until dusk. I have to admit, I’m looking forward to it.

Family Day
Family Day

I’ve always tried to make Freedom Friday to revolve around things that make me who I am in an effort for you, the audience, to understand that not all authors who write about zombies are half-crazed loons with a bone to pick on a society gone mad. Some of us, if you can believe it, walk on the right side of normal—depending on what normal is.

As I was saying, here in Ontario we have this awesome long weekend called Family Day. What do I have to do to convince you we don’t only eat, and play board games all day? Some of us—me—wake up at an incredibly late hour and lay in bed doing absolutely nothing other than enjoy the warm comfort of our bed. When I say wake up late, I mean eight or nine in the morning. Remember, I’m a parent whose kids have no concept of what sleeping in is all about.

Chess
Chess

That day is also when I can dedicate a large chunk of my time on productive activities. Like, chess. Have I ever mentioned I once won Second Place in the Eighth Grade Ontario Regional chess tournament? I say it in passing because I think it’s the most perfect game on the planet. I mean, here’s a game with the potential to provide countless hours of fun yet only a handful of folks know how to play. Most of my play nowadays is either on my iPod or on my Nexus 7. I have two different apps to satisfy my craving. Let’s not forget the other apps on my laptop. Needless to say, I get my fill of chess whenever I can.

Not any different from any other weekend other than for nostalgia, but Family Day also includes a movie. I say nostalgia because I’ll usually whip out a title I haven’t seen in a long time that would remind me of when I was growing up. A title like Raiders of the Lost Ark brings me right back to 1981 watching the movie in one of those big screen/big sound theaters. It may also entail my watching something like Terminator 2: Judgment Day where the film brings me right back to the cusp of my youth. Am I allowed to say, those were the days?

This last Family Day bit has to be my favorite. I’m talking about spending time with the family. The sushi, the board games mean nothing without someone to share. And share I do, with those I love the most—my family. Without a doubt, no matter how bad things may get, family makes things all better. Nothing quite compares to having them around to boost ego and morale. What would Family Day be without family?

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

Do you have a special day where you can splurge doing the things you like doing without worrying about time or responsibilities?

Posted in Freedom Friday

My Room

Growing up I spent a lot of time in my room. Not because my parents punished me or anything. I just liked the time alone to do stuff I enjoyed doing without interference from the outside world. In some ways, I still do that whenever I withdraw from everyone to write my zombie tales of madness and survival. Let me give you a quick peek into my formative years for Freedom Friday, this way you’ll know where I’m coming from whenever I insert a reference of some obscure book, movie or music into my insane writings.

Chess by Thomas Saur
Chess by Thomas Saur

I value my time alone. How’s that for an attention-getting statement? Life moves fast. If I don’t slow down, I’ll end up wishing I had spent more time smelling the roses. I know it’s a cliché, but it works in this case—the smelling of the roses bit, that is.

As a boy, growing up in an active Italian family, I didn’t have time to think about the future. I was having too much fun enjoying the present running around with all my cousins. Not a weekend went by that we weren’t doing something with my relatives, whether it was cooking a BBQ, eating a gigantic meal or stuffing ourselves with oversized sandwiches.

Given my parents had four siblings apiece, it’s debatable since I don’t have my mom’s full history, our get-togethers were massive feasts of food and fun. My dad had recorded some of those events on one of those Super 8 cameras he had purchased. Back then, video did not come from a phone you concealed in your pocket, but from a clunky, old brick you held in your hand. Every so often I’d watch them wondering whatever happened to everybody.

When I reached the age of self-awareness, a teenager (a.k.a. the age of reason), I’d spent a good chunk of my time in my room. I don’t know why. I mean, I had friends and all, and my parents had friends, but I felt as though I needed time to understand who I was.

I learned I enjoyed playing chess. I remember having bought a portable electronic chess game that would play me on different levels, including grandmaster. I can’t say how many hours I’d dedicated to the game, by now most of that is lost in my memory. Yet, because of the time I’d poured into it, my team in grade school went on to win second place in the Ontario Regional Chess Tournament for that year.

About a year later, my interests had changed and my mind had focused more on music than anything else. I learned how to play the guitar. I guess I was pretty good ‘cause I played gigs with a few bands and had my own band by the end of high school.

How can I ever forget those summer nights when I knew my neighbors had gone to some party, and I’d be in my room, cranking out the tunes on my Gibson imitation. My poor parents. They put up so much with me, it’s a wonder they hadn’t disowned me by the time I had completed puberty.

William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare

In all this, I discovered Shakespeare. My first exposure to the behemoth playwright was in the ninth grade English class where we began studying The Merchant of Venice. At the time, I couldn’t get my head around a man possessed with the thought of collecting a pound of flesh for a debt owed. It became an obsession with me to want to find out what it all meant.

A pound of flesh? From where? The arm? The thigh? The buttocks? And when Shylock gets his pound of flesh, what will he do with it? Will he use it to heat his home? Will it be a mantelpiece for use in conversations? Or…will he reduce himself to zombie status and eat it?

From there I went on to devour Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the intense, once-a-year-read Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo and Juliet. Oh, how I fell in love with the notion of lovers wanting to sacrifice their lives for each other. It haunted my nights. It made my days nightmares. I had obsessed over the book. I read, reread, and reread the text, going to the library searching for commentaries to hear what the experts had to say. I wondered how a story so simple could make me feel so insignificant. I contemplated on those last moments when Juliet held the dagger in her hand, waiting to thrust it deep within her bowels so she could be with her lover once again, Romeo.

“O happy dagger. This is thy sheath.”

During my formative years, my room became my sanctuary.

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Do you have memories of wanting to spend time in your room? What did you do? Did you learn anything?