Coming Soon to a Campus Near You

Galleons, the following is a theory I made up two or three years ago, at the height of my Left 4 Dead career (and before the second one came out). I think it’s about time I fleshed it out and wrote it down here, for your reading pleasure.

***

Shelley: Ames, there are legions of the risen undead on our heels. These aren’t frat boys, they’re zombies. Animated corpses that would rather suck out your cerebellum than peek at your knickers.

Amy: Oh, fine. Last week it’s “I wish I could find a boy who was interested in my brain and not my body” and now you’re all “Aaaugh zombies!” Seriously, Shel. Make up your damn mind.

Though our generation seems a bit zombie obsessed these last few years, we aren’t so much spending our time trying to create the t-virus (except as a cocktail), learning to shoot a variety of firearms, or stockpiling for the apocalypse we all claim to desire… instead, we’re playing copious amounts of zombie games and discussing increasingly ridiculous plans for how our badass selves will fight off the undead swarm come doomsday.

While I have long since come to terms with the fact that I’m going to die a horrible death come the zombie apocalypse (see this post for more on that), some people are just now beginning to realize that their intensive gaming will not enable them to survive a brain-loving horde. There aren’t going to be ammo piles stashed in office buildings and random sheds. Pistols don’t have unlimited ammo. There isn’t going to be a musical cue signaling the arrival of a mass of zombies. There’s no guarantee zombies won’t be able to open doors. Wrapping a bandage around your leg won’t cure a broken bone or an infected zombie bite. You aren’t going to die and then respawn in a closet a few hundred feet away.

However, I think there is an aspect of the ZA that Valve got right in their Left 4 Dead series: the special infected.

Don’t believe me? I’m about to show you that every special infected from the first game can be found at your typical college party.

Lock and load, galleons.

***

The Tank

This is the guy you cannot fucking miss at the party. He kicks the door open, loudly announcing his presence, and slamming two fifths (Jäger and Jim Beam or Maker’s Mark) down on the table, which will be all-but-drained by the end of the night, leaving the party-goers who manage to maintain their mental faculties while imbibing alcohol wondering just how the hell that son-of-a-bitch isn’t in the hospital with alcohol poisoning.

Probably something to do with weight ratios or BMI or something.

Regardless, the Tank (it’s highly likely that pre-ZA, he already had this nickname) is a booze-consuming machine. He’s loud, he’s huge, and he’s always fucking drinking. He brought his own beer bong. By the end of the night, his shirt is getting so soaked with beer and liquor that he will likely end up ripping it off (literally… that shirt’s seams will leap apart like two positive magnetic poles or high school kids when a cop comes up to the car they are making out in and bangs his flashlight on the fogged up window).

Here we see a herd of Tanks at a watering trough:

And this is when his naturally loud, aggressive personality combines with the pints of alcohol churning in his stomach to make him into a drunk, hulking rage machine. Remember, this is the guy who probably peaked in high school. He was on the football team, and in his hometown, he was like a bulky god. But he didn’t get onto a college team, and now his body is going to seed due to the amount of beer he downs every weekend and he overcompensates for his sports failures by being too loud and too in-your-face and willing to fight every man that so much as blinks at him.

Yes, he wants to fight you. Did you accidentally bump him while threading your way through the crowd to the bathroom? Did you grab the last beer out of the fridge? Did you beat him in beer pong? Did you start making out with a girl who may or may not have made eye contact with him at one point during the night when she was trying to find the rest of her ladypack? Did you make the mistake of breathing near him?

Prepare yourself- you’re about to be on the receiving end of some full-on Tank rage.

So, when the ZA rolls around, our Tanks just become stronger and meaner. As if you dumped steroids and three handles of Wild Turkey into their undead bellies, all you have is one pissed off, flesh-eating monstrosity. You no longer have to do anything to become the sorry sack he’s going to turn his blood-drunk anger on- you’re fucked if you are within his line of sight. Announcing his presence with a load roar (which is about the same as when he was alive, actually), he’s upgraded from chair-tossing to rock-hurtling. Still, he’s not much different than he was in life- you’re still trying to avoid him, running if he targets you and hoping some other sorry bastard manages to catch his eye.

***

The Smoker

Oh, you know this douchebag. Him and his cronies are the ones you have to fight through to get into the party, moving through a haze of cigarette smoke and inane conversation. He’s the one who, when inside, nods to several cohorts scattered throughout the party, and stands up. As if of one mind, 1/3 of the party-goers suddenly stand up, ambling toward the door as they make their way outside to inhale that sweet, sweet cancer.

Wait… where the fuck did my conversation partner just go? Oh, that’s right- the fucking smokers have snagged them and dragged them outside. They are now spending their time with the hipsters, the wanna-be academics, the assholes who have spent their time in the classroom learning nothing except how to parrot the ideas of their professors. They’ve read one article regarding a current political situation, so they decide to spend thirty minutes arrogantly expounding on the socioeconomic issues currently in play, all the while not really understanding the situation and knowing nothing about the region, the culture, or economics in general.

Smokers are complete cocks. Not only are they incredible windbags, making your brains pour out your ears in a painful stream, but they spend half the night conning cigarettes off anyone and everyone in the immediate vicinity, citing the Smoker’s Code (bum generously and ye shall be bummed to during your own time of need… cancerous karma at its finest) and making promises of repayment they’ll never honor.

So when the ZA rolls around, these guys are fucked. Still hooked on their deathstick habit, they don’t have cigarettes or conversation partners anymore. Those tongues that they used to flap so wantonly on porches and balconies they must now use to ensnare survivors, hoping for one more smoke or someone to listen to their opinions on Derrida.

Come on, buddy. I promise I’ll pay you back when the cure’s found.

After years of useless chatter and chainsmoking, all they are composed of is hot air and smoke. When shot, they explode into their base constituents, desperately sucking in one last lungful of their own filth in an attempt to get another nicotine high.

***

The Boomer

Nobody likes this guy.

This guy wishes he was the Tank. Maybe he played the sports in high school, too. It’s more likely he played the tuba in the band. Or held dungeon delves in his mom’s basement. Whatever his origins, the fact remains that he is now a large, squishy ball of danger. He shows up to the party and proceeds to immediately start the drinking games. Beer Pong. Flip Cup. Quarters. Ride the Bus. Kings (or Waterfall or whatever the fuck you call that dumbshit game). He’s got a case of the cheapest beer he could find, and he’s in it for the long haul. He is always playing a game, always downing a beer. Less aggressive than the Tank, he tends to be quieter, though he’s still actively keeping the beer-based games alive.

Mostly because he’s incapable of any other form of party socialization.

Besides being slightly annoying (one can only be asked to join his Flip Cup team so many times before irritation sets in), this guy really isn’t anything to worry about. For the bulk of the night.

But the more booze that pours into him, the more dangerous he gets. He’s like a time bomb, and it’s only a matter of when this fucker’s gonna blow. And oh, how he’ll blow. The vomit will spew from him like a mighty cannon. A chunky, soupy fountain of vomit will arc through the air, and for just a moment, you’ll almost be impressed.

Until you get hit by the spray.

A serial projectile vomiter, all anyone can really hope for is that the alcohol incapacitates him enough before he lets loose that all he manages to do is soak himself in his shame.

And after the ZA, these poor slobs, their sensitive stomachs full of zombie bile, can do nothing but resort to old habits. Whether the horde is drawn to the scent of the bile or the smell of your humiliation as you wipe the Boomer’s vomit from out of your eyes is up for debate.

***

The Hunter

You see that kid along the wall there? Yeah, I missed him the first time I looked over as well. Dressed mostly in black, his hair a jagged swoop over his eyes, he’s doing his damnedest to not actually interact with anyone at the gathering. His phone may be in his hand, but he’s not actually texting anyone- he’s just updating his Twitter about how lame everyone is and possibly blogging about the futility of trying to socialize with people who just don’t understand what he’s going through.

Oh, emo boy in the corner. You are such a cocksucker.

With his hood up over his head, he’s completely isolating himself from everyone around him, though at the end of the night, he’ll tell his friends about how awful the party was. How the hell would you know, emo kid? You weren’t really there. You were the scenery, not a party-goer.

Every so often, someone will approach this guy. They’ll make an effort to include him. He’ll respond by viciously tearing them apart with his sarcasm and angst-ridden fuckery. Bitchy, the other person will leave, and the emo kid will roll his eyes, certain that this was proof that everyone at the party is a mindless idiot and he’s better off not even trying to engage people this vapid.

He never ends up in the actual party photographs as he prowls around the fringes of the gathering, avoiding the flashing cameras and phones with a sneer of derision. Nobody will notice, but for twenty minutes or so, he will vanish into the bathroom, taking his own photos of the party…

127 stupid

Fucking

Ridiculously angled

Self-portraits

…Often in mirrors.

When the ZA hits, he has to give up his sharp tongue for a set of wicked sharp claws, but it’s about the same. He prowls around the edges of the mobs, pouncing on some poor sap and ripping them apart.

And he never gives up the hoodie.

***

The Witch


Some of you might be surprised that I feel the Witch is not the emo kid of the ZA. And while a fairly strong case can be made for the whiny bitch being super emo, I say there’s a better explanation.

Galleons, meet the party’s drunk crying chick.

There’s always one. One female that gets too drunk off her wine coolers and the 2 shots of coconut rum she giggled her way through. She doesn’t have the courtesy to just sleep with some random guy or quietly vomit in the bathroom.

Oh fuck no.

Already an emotional basketcase (due to her unfortunate condition of possessing a vagina), this bitch decides to just let loose with the waterworks in the middle of the festivities. Her wailing, ragged sobbing causes everyone to turn slowly, knowing exactly what they’re going to see slumped on the floor of the kitchen. Her hair is disheveled, her makeup running down her face in watery black trails. Clutching her hands to her rapidly reddening face, she starts warbling about being unattractive and how nobody likes her and what an asshole that Mark boy is and how she can’t believe she’s single and how all her friends really hate her… It’s a torrent of unwarranted bitching.

She’s not an emo kid, she’s an attention whore. She needs to be reassured that she’s pretty and fuckable and interesting and that people like her and that Mark is going to call her and if he doesn’t he can just go to hell because she’s an amazing person and he should be honored she’d even consider going out with a guy like that…

Of course, she’s not going to believe a goddamn word that’s said to her, but she’s also not going to shut up until some unfortunate soul gets close enough to try to calm her down. And when they do, she’s going to lash out, physically and verbally, screaming at them and clawing at them to get their goddamn hands off her, she doesn’t need their pity, they don’t understand, just leave her the fuck alone. Somebody is going to be stuck with the unsavory task of pinning her arms to her sides in a half-hug while attempting to soothingly rub her back while she flails like a fish and yells watery obscenities. Eventually, she’ll give in and finish it all with a truly spectacular flood of eye water and I’m so ugly and you’re my best friend and I’m so sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

Nobody wants that fucking job.

Instead of leaping to crying chick’s side, everyone is going to shuffle their feet, nervously glance around, and try to turn their backs to her and begin a stilted resumption of their previous conversations. People who need to piss walk carefully past her, tip toeing their way around the sobbing female and rushing to the safety of the bathroom. Make no sudden movements. Do not attract her attention. You don’t want to be the one stuck consoling her for an hour and a half.

The ZA happens, and she’s basically the exact same. Only now, instead of just slapping at you, she tears your face off with her terrifying claws.

Bitch be crazy.

***

And really, if you think about it, the rest of the party goers are the same kind of single-minded rabble as a regular ol’ zombie horde. You have to fight your way through them to get anywhere.

It seems parties are probably the best preparation for the ZA. If ever there was an excuse to attend them, dear galleons, I think this is it.

Tech Week v2.7 (Beta Testing)

Song of the moment: Holiday Dizzee Rascal

So much to write about… so little ambition to do so. Oh well, here goes:

Thursday was opening night of Arsenic and Old Lace. And it went quite well. It’s proof that, despite how fucked up everything seems during tech, Players always manages to scrape shit together and put on a good production. We had a decent-sized, responsive audience, so that was great for the cast.

After the show, it was cast party time (round one). This was the big one at Sean’s, with the full-cast (mostly) champagne toast and all our friends. It was insane. I developed a wonderfully antagonistic relationship with Matt McGee (I approve of where this is heading- toward an angry friendship) and then got super trashed. I don’t remember the end of my night… Ah, blackouts.

Friday was busy. Classes and meetings (with me still a bit hungover), then meeting up with the girls to go into Lansing for a Christmas festival/lighting of the tree by the capitol building. We got on this little bus that was all decorated festively and played crappy 90s Christmas music. When we got there, we wandered toward the crowd to watch the parade.

For the record, that was the strangest parade I’ve ever seen. No one seemed to stick with a holiday theme… except the Auschwitz train. They were so festive.

Then , we had to practically run through a sea of people to catch half of the fireworks show… and missed the lighting of the tree completely. When that was over, we were confused- the event was supposed to last till 9, but it was only 8. So we started wandering down Michigan Ave… where we discovered the coolest, semi-themed bars. There was a medieval one (my personal fav), a cute pub, a harem-inspired one, and a tiki lounge. We’re going to have to bar hop there soon.

The buses were packed, so we couldn’t even get one to stop for us. Because it was chilly, we decided to just start walking toward home, hoping we’d eventually snag a bus along the way. I had an interesting conversation with Chrissy and Emily about my overpowering desire to break into the field of medicine and how I’m disappointed I didn’t go pre-med in college.

And just when we were getting disgruntled, unable to find a bus… we stumble across a fish and chips joint. So, I started blaring some Dizzee Rascal, ordered up some fish and chips (vinegar and all), and proceeded to feel extremely British. It was fantastic.

We end up calling Libby to give us a ride home in her giant van. The middle seat has been removed, so I lay across the floor and pretended to be a kidnap victim the entire time. I don’t think she appreciated it, but I enjoyed myself thoroughly.

Back to Chrissy’s for cast party number two. It was a lot of freshmen we didn’t know, and I spent most of the party trying to avoid the party (namely by being outside). Floyd and I determined we were soulmates, which was funny. I really do need to hang out with him more, though. After it wound down, I helped Chrissy kick the stragglers out so we could go to Stauff’s and play L4D2.

I had to redeem myself, because I played while super drunk on Thursday… and apparently spent the time cussing out my poor partner and jumping out of windows. Playing sober, though, I was once again competent. And we stayed on normal the whole time (we’ve had to kick it down to easy on a few instances in the past… this game is fucking brutal).

So now I’m sitting in the theatre, watching the tail end of the second performance of Arsenic and Old Lace. Not going to lie, I dozed off through most of it.

Bonus link of the day: The It’s Always Sunny Christmas episode. It’s a thing of beauty.

The Eternal Search

So… finding internet in my apartment is like the mythical male search for the clitoris. It’s apparently impossible to find, but if you happen to stumble across it, it’s goddamn magical. Just know that it will never be in the same spot again. Ever.

Remember, I’m comparing this to the male idea of the clitoral search, not the actual position of the clitoris… which, weirdly enough, doesn’t change from lady to lady. This is difficult for some men to understand, but that’s okay. They’ll learn… possibly.

I don’t know what to say about today. Improv was great. I’m so proud of the newbies. They did such a fantastic job, for their first show. I’m breathing a huge sigh of relief, knowing a talented group will be taking over this organization once my year leaves.

After the show, we had a party. As per usual. I can’t say it was that great, truth be told. Got pleasantly drunk, yes, but… oh, I don’t know. I probably shouldn’t have drank at all- I’m too stressed on too many fronts, and I’m so strained emotionally, it could take anything to tip me over the line. Which happened at the end of the night, sort of. Namely, nothing happened. Still, it wasn’t the best end to my night. I ended up stupid and emotional and walking around with Chrissy, crying and being retarded. Thank you, dear Chrissy, for putting up with my tears and bullshit.

Now, it’s a toss up between going home (where I’ll just cry more and pass out), or sleeping on Chrissy’s couch (less crying involved here). Awesome.

I really just wanna play WoW and ignore all this shit. Fuck people- give me Internet games any day.

Emo Doesn’t Exist Anymore?

Song of the moment: Skullcrusher Mountain Jonathan Coulton

It’s four in the morning, and I’m sitting in Sean’s kitchen/dining room area, wide awake, sober, and bored as shit. And listening to Sean and Cricket try to tell two freshmen girls about college life. Namely, about the freedom of thought and some other such bullshit.

I find I have no patience for this kind of crap anymore. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense, because I simultaneously feel starved for real intellectual conversation and stimuli. I think a large part of it is that these are the same types of conversations, rehashed again and again. I have heard everything Swartz and Sean really have to say. I know how they think, and I don’t agree with it, and it becomes a constant argument where no side wins, and I just end up frustrated and without any new insight into life, the universe, humanity.

Oh, and now they are talking about empathy. Which I really can’t talk about, because I’m not an empathetic individual. At all.

Anyway, today was Ginger Stauff’s birthday party, and it was a fairly decent time. I don’t know, I can’t say I had a great time. I mean, I had great beer (Rogue Mocha Porter… one of my personal favorites), and I got pleasantly drunk without it being too much. And, at first, it was a great crowd. Even Paul made an appearance (though we barely interacted, which pissed me off greatly… I think I’m going to have to give this one up and pursue other possibilities with more gusto).

The funny thing was that tonight seemed to be a night for reestablishing old friendships. First, I saw Erik for the first time in about two years. It was hilarious, all of the old ROIAL crowd greeting him as he walked in. We awkwardly tried to catch up and promised to get back in touch. We’ll see if that happens.

Then, more importantly, when I arrived back from my escort quest with Grix, the room was full of freshmen I didn’t want to associate with. I sat down on the couch, irritated and considering going home. Just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore… Hersey and I started an argument with Swartz. Then, Hersey joined me on the couch, and we talked for almost an hour about the NFL and Players. It was like the old days (namely, my sophomore year).

At the end of it, when Liz was ushering him out the door (though him and I weren’t done talking yet), John turns to me and tells me that we need to get together with a few drinks more often. Because we are more candid when we are drinking, as our natural walls and barriers lower and we stop constantly sizing each other up and trying to one-up one another and just talk. I laughed, because he was basically asking us to go back to our old friendship. And it made me smile as I promised him that this was going to happen soon. And he smiled and grabbed my arm in that Hersey way that denotes camaraderie and good-will and told me he’d really enjoy that.

Like I said in a previous post, it feels like all the pieces of my life are falling back into place, that the world is righting itself around me, and I’m simultaneously thrilled and confused by it all.

We’ll see what life throws at me next, I guess.

Bonus link of the day: Hehe, I’ve tried to use these markers to determine interest before. It gets even more confusing if the individual in question is bisexual, because none of these rules are completely concrete.

Elaine Scarry is a Shit Writer. Discuss.

Song of the moment: Queen of Pain Devil Doll

Ugh. That’s what I have to say about today. Ugh.

After falling back asleep around noon, I enjoyed a fitful, irritating bout of sleep. I have discovered- well, no, not discovered, but perhaps finally admitted to myself- that, while I may have extremely comfortable pillows, my mattress is very uncomfortable. I think that futon at Bambi’s was more comfortable.

Not that I should bitch, as the mattress was free.

Still, I awoke feeling poorly rested and sore. Apparently, that’s my body’s new thing, by the by- when I get severely sleep deprived, my thigh muscles start to ache like I took a 6-hour walk the night before. So frustrating.

Did homework, visited Stauff and Chrissy, played WoW with Sean and Amanda (couples should never game together), then visited Paul at work.

I was nervous about the last one, as I didn’t really know if our relationship (well, interactions… fucking semantics, I know what I mean) would change after last night. Personally, I hoped it would. For the better. Or, at least, that we’d remain the same.

Well, the status is still quo. FUCK. He claims he doesn’t really remember the end of last night. Which means he doesn’t remember all the cuddling and stuff with me. He doesn’t remember the very sweet things he said to me. Which is so maddening. I mean, I know he’s aware that we slept together, since he woke up curled around me. But I don’t think he knows anything else.

There wasn’t anything R-rated, for the record. I didn’t even kiss him (though I really wanted to and had the perfect opportunity a few times… add another item to my pile of regrets). And now I’m left wondering… what do I do? How do I progress this? Does he even want to be more than friends? Last night, I would have said yes. Today, however, I’m less sure.

Shit, why can’t people just say what they mean? I like Paul. I want to be with him. Why can’t I just tell him that without it sounding weird? FUCK.

I had so much more I wanted to say. I’d composed paragraphs in my head. Really good paragraphs. I had written this whole entry on the walk home. Then I got here, ate dinner (or whatever you want to call the meal I just had), lay down on my bed, and promptly forgot it all. So it goes.

Bonus link of the day: I hate people who get on YouTube and watch video after video of cats. It seems to be a trend among the women I know, and it’s irritating. Get a goddamn life. That being said, enjoy this cat video.

See What I’m Seeing

Song of the moment: Perfect Day Collective Soul

I’m going to come right out and say it- I just got home from the best party I’ve been to in ages. It was also the best night I’ve had in a some time, for reasons I shall share as we delve deeper into my experiences from last night.

Woke up yesterday in a hell of a lot of pain (fuck the lady time… fuck it). Opted out of watching the game and going out to another party in order to recuperate so that I’d be good for Bambi’s bash. I ended up compulsively cleaning the apartment. Not that it didn’t need it (it totally did), but I think it was funny that I cleaned the shit out of my place before going to a party at someone else’s place. It’s not like I was impressing anyone. I’m odd.

Late in the afternoon, I went over to Grix’s apartment and hung out with her and Cricket. We drank a bit and were generally silly. It was a good time.

After a few hours, however, it was time for the big event. So, we pile into Grix’s car, pick up our favorite cripple, and head over.

I’m going to be retardedly girly from here on out. You have all been warned.

Upon arrival, Cricket, Grix, and I ensconced ourselves in one corner of the couch upstairs. I didn’t see too many people I recognized (they were yet to arrive), so I figured… okay, you know what? I’m sick of the codename. Fuck it. Three is no more. I figured that Paul wasn’t there yet, but it turns out he was just downstairs. When he came up, he greeted me from across the room. This caused Cricket (worse than a woman, I swear) to giggle and geek out for me. Dork.

Well, Paul and I ended up outside smoking. We were both on our way to drunk. More people arrived. Life was bitching. Even when a certain douchebag showed up, life was good. We didn’t really speak, which was fine. When we did converse, I was kind of a cunt anyway. Reciprocity. I was, however, pissed when dickhead monopolized Paul for a while. I did not approve of feeling cock-blocked by that bastard.

He left early though. And that’s when shit got good (for me, at least). Paul and I flirted a lot, in silly little ways. I was happily tipsy and glowing at the banter. Sean fucking hurt himself (Stauff junior) falling down the stairs and had to leave kinda early. Dumbass.

Paul and I ended up on the couch at one point, kind of cuddling. This was before Sean left, because I just remember looking up into the kitchen and seeing Falk, Sean, and Cricket all grinning and giving me thumbs up. But after a bit, Paul said we should go downstairs and see what was going on. We did. I stepped out for a sec, and when I came back, he’d folded the futon down and was patting it to have me join him.

And we cuddled and slept together (just slept, you randy bastards) the rest of the night. I was so warm and happy. God, I missed sleeping next to someone. So goddamn much. And Paul is a warm and cuddly sleeping partner. Very nice. I caught him staring at me a few times during the night, but I was sleepy and just cuddled closer and closed my eyes, smiling slightly. I could go on and on, but just know it was cute and I’m super fucking happy.

I need to take my contacts out now and sleep some more.

Bonus link of the day: Cooler than the interrobang. I must start using the irony mark in day-to-day chat.

Tech Week: The Aftermath and Night Three

God damn, that was a fine party. I feel it bears reiterating.

Anyway, tonight was the third performance. Once again, they pulled off a fantastic show. We had a wonderful turn out. We also got a variety of glowing compliments. Surprisingly, I had someone say it was the finest production they’ve seen us do in that space. Others commented on the fluidity of the lighting changes and the quality of the acting. All in all, I can’t help but be pleased.

After the show, a few of us ordered wings and watched Dr. Horrible and a ridiculous number of YouTube videos. It was silly fun. I then shotgunned a few zombie hoards into submission while polishing off my rum from last night.

Good times.

Might it be said that I hate shirts. Not in the way I hate pants. I hate pants in principle. I hate shirts because I can’t ever find one that fits me wonderfully and looks good from all angles. Some have a great neckline. Others are great in profile. Still others are good from the front. But no fucking shirt succeeds at being all of the above. Stupid.

I really need to figure out how to reattach my closet door. It was the only casualty of last night.