Thursday, April 16, 2009

If You Can Read This, The Bitch Has Been Eaten By The Undead

In event that zombies rise up and take over the world (slow, shuffling rising, naturally), best to have a plan. My friend Raza sent me this list of zombie contingency plans, which are okay. (Most of them seem to rely on the basic premise of feeding your grandmother to zombie hordes.) But they lack a certain...finesse. A certain je-ne-sais-quoi. They fail to take into account that I, upon zombie uprising, will not transform into a ripped action heroine capable of dismantling the undead with my machete. I will still be the same basic nerdette, albeit with a crippling case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

This zombocalypse will require a cool, collected head. Someone with working knowledge of firearms and the back roads of Canada, along with the ability to create a fire by giving kindling a tough look. Unfortunately, my gang tends to be a pretty high-strung bunch. If zombie-fighting skills included "smoking cigarettes" and "flirting with strangers" and "writing webpages" then yes, we would prosper. But I kind of doubt it.

However, for the sake of argument, I'll outline my zombie plans. These are all reliant on not falling prey to step 0.5: become a zombie.

Step 1: Recognize, fool! Zombies, unless actively covered in gore, are not easily spotted. They could be escaped mental patients, or people under sedation, or having a seizure. I'm not hating on those demographics, but seriously: red herring much? So, make sure I'm vigilant about when the transformation happens. Spot 'em quick.

Step 2: Load up on supplies. I'm thinking a couple weeks worth of food, a whole bunch of water, Diet Coke (it's an addiction), "lady products," candles, camping stove, walkie-talkie, crossbow (not that I'll know how to use it...right away), warm clothes, bike gear, batteries, flashlight, a tent, sleep gear, trashy magazines, and maps. Anything else I can pick up on the road, but that food and water is the kicker: I'm holing up in my place for a while, at least at first.

Step 3: Hole up in my place. Invite non-zombified friends over to play Boggle and get used to not having the internet. Learn how to shoot the crossbow. Get really tired of eating food from a can. Get really scared every time we hear gunfire outside. My place is decently big; maybe a half-dozen or so people can hang out. They have to bring their own crap, though. I'm not a damned post-apocalypse Zellers. I figure safety in numbers, safety on the top floor of a house, and safety in not going fucking insane all by yourself.

Step 4: Hit the road. After a while, Toronto's grocery stores will be trashed and my non-zombified friends will be tired of sharing a bathroom. I'll be travelling by bike. Yeah, I know: wimpy, right? But bikes are easier to fix than cars, I won't have to worry about gas, and they're super quiet. You pilot a tank down Yonge Street and people notice that shit. We'll head east, and then once the border gets a little easier to cross, south. Obviously, at some point during this journey, we'll have to remove someone's appendix with, like, a Bowie knife and dental floss, and start having insane dreams. Naturally.

Step 5: Find a safe space. I'm thinking maybe a quiet island, but one that has plenty of arable land and is accessible by one (!) bridge. Zombies are stupid and can't work boats. But I, likewise, will probably die if I try to live outside in Canada during the winter. Fighting the undead will continue, we'll all be incredibly fit, I'll be in charge of running the still and my friends will be in charge of repopulating the earth.

So there you have it. From zombie insanity to utopian saloon in five easy steps. Couldn't be simpler.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hip-Hop Hooray

I know that's it's generally considered lame to be say such-and-such album "changed my life," but in this case, it's true. Let me set the scene: I am thirteen. I have two younger siblings. I have my very first job. And in the process of working at my first job, I meet this crazy redhead who goes to raves and swears and is skinny as hell and just impresses my thirteen-year-old ass to death. At the end of the summer, she hands me a cassette tape and tells me to check it out.

On one side, Belle and Sebastian was wienering out, with some Elliot Smith and Elvis Costello thrown in for good measure. On the flip side, like a message from the gods, was my beloved Jurassic 5.

For those of you who are from parts of the world that hate fun, J5 is a Southern California sextet made up of four MCs and two DJs (one of whom played the science teacher in Juno!). Lots of Islam and basketball and an MC with the deepest voice I've ever heard. The album I was listening to, over and over, every day, was their debut LP, which changed my life.

Before you're all like, "But how could this raucous hip-hop have affected you, Canadian girl loser and freshman in high school?" let me remind you: two younger siblings. My brother is eight years younger than me, which means that when I was 13, he was five years old. When I was starting high school, we were still listening to Raffi and Sharon Lois and Bram. Oh, and this little number called Unplucked!, which made me want to hurl myself right out of our minivan every time it was played. Which it was. Daily.

Furthermore, we lived in a teeny tiny town, with Ottawa (read: shitty) radio stations that played Billy Joel's song "River of Dreams" every fifteen minutes. There was zero access to good music. My parents liked Leonard Cohen, who, to a twelve-year-old, sounds like a sex-obsessed brontosaurus, and my first CD was Dance Mix '95.

You can see that I'm starting from pretty rough scratch here.

In any case, J5 was the tape I played all the freaking time. I dug out my walkman and listening on my way to school. I played that thing as I was falling asleep. Strangely, at no time did I ever wonder if there were other like-minded music acts out there; not until later in high school, when my classmate Graham put together a tape for me, did I encounter Mr. Lif and Aesop Rock. When I went out and did my own research, there was a wealth of shit out there (all of which, it should be noted, drove my mother crazy). I'm not going to name-drop everyone I've ever listened to; suffice it say there was a period of time when I was fucking obsessed with it.

The Hip-Hop Years (1999-2003) were some of the most fun I've ever had as a music fan. I still listen to hip-hop. I still love dancing around in my underwear, fully knowing how strange I look, not caring. For example, the new K'naan is freaking my shit out. Seriously: go buy it. Buy it. It's incredible that I can trace a decade-long interest back to a single source. From that initial tape to a entire world of music? Pretty awesome. One might even say life changing.