Ginger Apocalypse 2016: The Good, the Dead, and the Sugary

Time has passed in the land of the ginger zombies. Though the sugary horror continues, the unrelenting march of the seasons continues. Spring turns to summer, which bleeds into autumn, which in turn changes to winter. The cycle continues, on and on, while the ginger zombies continue their domination of the world.

Sarah, the reluctant hero of our holiday tales, was last seen in Romania, running a zombie carnival with her lumberjack-crush, Jon. Though the zombies were entertained for a time, the shaky peace was soon shattered, and the two found themselves on the run from the ginger zombies once more.

Jon and Sarah wandered to the English countryside, where long abandoned manor houses dotted a wild landscape. The zombie population was low (with most of them having moved on to more populated regions of the cookie world), the homes were stately, and our heroes were weary. They soon set up camp in Frostingshire Manor, and things seemed peaceful.

For a time.

8

“First we take over the table, then… THE WORLD.”

Unfortunately, peace doesn’t last in a time of sweet monsters. When their new friend Darryl came back from a supply run, he brought more than food back to our lumberjack-and-jill. And now chaos has overtaken Frostingshire Manor, while our heroes once again fight for their lives.

Jon has taken up his trusty chainsaw once more, dismembering one of the deadly sugar zombies on his front walk:

unnamed.jpg

A proud homeowner, Jon made sure the walk remained impeccably clean.

At his feet sits a second Molotov cocktail, the first of which he threw at a zombie lurking near one of the large trees on the estate. The zombie has yet to realize she will be burnt sugar in but a few moments:

2.jpg

Two minutes from now: “THAT ZOMBIE’S ON FIYAAAAAAH!”

But as prepared as Jon may seem, he needs to be careful. A third ginger zombie has crept onto the second story balcony, ready to leap down on an unsuspecting cookie at ANY TIME:

3

“Be vewy vewy quiet. I’m hunting COOKIE.”

After a rough start (in which an eye was lost to a hungry zombie mouth), Sarah has come into her own over by Darryl’s truck. The memory of her time as a lumberjill has flowed into her arm, and while she may not be wearing plaid, she IS wielding her axe with deadly precision. Darryl’s truck bed, once loaded with supplies, is now piled high with the remains of the zombies that have crossed Sarah’s path:

6

*cue zombie country song*

Unfortunately, the owner of that truck was… not so lucky. Darryl met a tragic end when he tripped, fell into the pond… and was the first to discover that even the local wildlife has succumbed to the sugary zombie virus:

4.jpg

Zombie ducky, you’re the one. You make bath time so much OH GOD, THE AGONY!

Nearby, another zombie skips rope with Darryl’s intestines, which is rude, even for a zombie:

5.jpg

Crossfit began marketing to zombies almost immediately.

Watching over all this is the first zombie to attack the manor, a zombie Jon strung up as a warning to the others. A warning they promptly ignored, but it was a valiant attempt:

7.jpg

“C’mon guys. I just wanted to HANG OUT.”

Will Jon and Sarah repel the zombies once more? Will Sarah get a really cool eyepatch now? Is that duck an ominous portent of things to come? Will the world be overrun by zombie ANIMALS too? Tune in next year to find out!

*Insert Expletive Here*

A note for you, my galleons:

I’m hoping to be back to regularly harassing you within the next few days, but I have developed some serious computer issues that are completely beyond my ability to repair. That’s right- first the car, now the computer (not to mention the iPod and Xbox not too long ago).

Apparently, I break everything.

Ghiert may or may not be receiving a new hard drive (and I may or may not be able to afford it). We’ll see what the computer doctors say.

Here’s hoping it’s a quick/easy/cheap fix.

Also, WordPress… did you really change your layout in the last two days? Apparently, that’s what happens when you aren’t on the Internet for two days- it moves on and leaves you behind.

Barflies

Back in the day (summer of ’08), the original Appletree gang got a bit tipsy one night and decided it was an utterly brilliant idea to get our cat drunk with us. Many valiant attempts were made, but the ever discerning Tutley never fell for any of our oh-so-clever tricks.

I’m assuming Ulrike Heberlein of the University of California also thought getting fruit flies drunk was a terribly bright idea, though (unlike us) she both succeeded and managed to make a valid scientific study out of it.

Perhaps I should be taking notes…

Anyway, Heberlein was supposedly studying how social experiences affect addiction (which is just another facet of her previous research in the genetic factors surrounding addiction). Particularly alcoholism. And it only made sense to study a social experience that often ties in with alcohol- sex.

Essentially, Heberlein wanted to know if sex (or a lack of it) directly impacted the amount an individual would drink. So, she got some fruit flies plastered.

It might seem strange to use fruit flies in place of humans in an experiment, but despite how odd it sounds, fruit flies are frequently used in research (remember that sleep study we looked at a few months ago?). And, in this case, the results could translate quite nicely to humans.

But, more on that in a minute.

Before Heberlein got her fruit flies drunk, she first let them commence the sexin’. Well, half of them. One half of the flies were placed in a container with females that had recently mated. Because there is a peptide in male fruit fly sperm that interacts with the female’s brain and causes her to reject all other males, all the little guys placed in with these females were told to FUCK OFF in fly talk. The other half of the male flies were placed in a container with virginal lady flies and proceeded to get their freak on.

Heberlein then took all the male flies (sexed and unsexed alike) and plopped them in a vial with two types of liquid food- regular food and food mixed with ethanol.

Turns out, the males who had just been rejected showed a much higher preference for the boozy option.

So… why?

We always talk about folks “drowning their sorrows” in a pint at a local bar after some dame/bloke breaks their heart, but what is it about that sweet, sweet alcohol that causes us to gravitate toward it during these times of sexual duress? Heberlein posits that, in flies, it’s neuropeptide F.

What is neuropeptide F? It’s a neuropeptide that’s part of the fly brain’s reward system. The flies that had mated exhibited a much higher level of neuropeptide F than those who had not. To test if there was a direct connection between neuropeptide F and excessive imbibing, Heberlein genetically fiddled with her flies, increasing the neuropeptide F in the unsexed flies (which caused them to drink less) and lowering it in the sexed flies (causing them to drink more).

Yep, there was a definite correlation between neuropeptide F levels and alcohol consumption.

This can (potentially) transfer over to humans. The human version of neuropeptide F is neuropeptide Y. Neuropeptide Y is already tied to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. This evidence, coupled with the recent fruit fly study, suggests that neuropeptide Y could also have a direct link to alcoholism.

You know what that means, right?

*ahem*

ATTENTION WORLD AT LARGE:

SEX IS GOOD FOR YOU.

Shocking, I know.

***

More importantly, I think we’re all wondering… just how funny was it to watch those fruit flies get drunk?

“The first time I saw a drunk fly, I thought: ‘Oh my god, this is just like humans,” [Heberlein] recounted.

According to Heberlein the flies become uncoordinated, hyperactive and uninhibited.

“They bump into each other and the walls. If you give them more alcohol they become lethargic and uncoordinated. They fall over, pick themselves up and fall over again. Eventually they pass out.”

I bet that was fucking hilarious.