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Cottage Zombies

Given it’s a holiday where I live, and most townsfolk around these parts have gone away for the weekend, I thought for today’s Monday Mayhem feature I’d talk about zombies in cottage country. As weird as the subject sounds, I would find it interesting should the zombie apocalypse occur on a long weekend in an isolated area. Let me explain what I mean.

Boat on the lake

Boat on the lake

What if you’re sitting in a boat in the middle of a lake fishing to your heart’s content while you hear awful noises coming from the woods? Would you row the boat to investigate or would you simply sit there hoping no one or anything notices you? The idea that the zombie apocalypse could occur in a rural area is remote—no pun intended. In a city, if there is an infection of undead proportions, not everyone would have a chance to make it out alive. The infection would spread from person to person, and those caught by the the roaming hordes will become part of the crowd.

However, in rural areas, there is a slim possibility that whatever happens in the city will also happen on the farms. The likelihood of that happening is slim, since people would be further away from each other in order for anyone to infect others.

What about cottage country? Wouldn’t the zombies have the time of their lives hunting humans, since the environment would be quieter than the city and anyone making any noise would alert the chewers to their location? What if it were a long weekend?

Running through the woods

Running through the woods

To me, if such a scenario does take place, I can only relate the incident to one thing—those caught on the beach on Amity Island in the film Jaws. In the film, the small island becomes a feeding ground to a great white shark. The town is small and it relies on summer dollars from tourists to keep the economy afloat. Similarly, many of cottage towns in our vicinity thrive on summer dollars to stay in business, therefore, there is a heavy push for towns to bring in city-folk into the region.

Again, I ask, would it be possible a zombie apocalypse could occur in cottage country?

My answer is a resounding yes. An ordinary cottage town of a thousand people mushrooms in the summer to ten to fifteen thousand. If one should have the zombie infection, the whole region could come under scrutiny. Furthermore, since many of these cottage towns border on a lake, most if not all the people will be on the beach enjoying the sun while the rampage occurs.

Ah, yes. But someone may ask, how could it affect other towns?

Remember that guy in the boat? Do you think he has a chance of getting out if he knows the whole town has turned zombie? Would he row to another area of the lake as a means to escape? He could. It is possible. Unfortunately, it isn’t probable. He has one of two decisions to act upon. Either a) he stays in the boat hoping he has enough provisions to outlast the apocalypse, which I doubt, or b) he could land his dingy ashore, take a chance and run through the woods for an escape.

Either way, he won’t make it.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, folks!

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Do you think a zombie apocalypse could take place in the rural backwoods of cottage country? What do you think would be the best way to prevent such an event from occurring?

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The Airport

The other day I went to pick up my wife at Toronto Pearson International Airport. I wish the circumstances for her trip could have been better, but that’s life. Nonetheless, I used the time in a way I hadn’t imagined and I thought for Freedom Friday, I’d share my experience.

Toronto Pearson International Airport

Toronto Pearson International Airport

Her flight came in delayed, which isn’t unusual since things like that happen. Instead of grumbling, as many of the others who were waiting for their loved ones were doing, I found myself watching those around me. People-watching is something I do a lot. I try not to make it obvious, as it takes a certain skill to watch people without garnering attention on oneself. I’m not speaking from a spying perspective, but from a natural curiosity of what people do when they think others are not watching.

For instance, I saw a young woman sitting by herself studying the crowd with a sign on her lap. She didn’t readily hold it up, but grabbing a quick peek, I found she was part of the Pan Am Games welcoming committee. I assumed either she was waiting for an athlete or an official arriving from the same flight my wife was on. I was wrong. Eventually, she rose when a man approached her from another flight, and she said his name. She also had assumed wrong. The look on her face told the whole story. Disappointment. Embarrassment. Defeat. She quickly raised her sign and waited until the right person appeared. Somehow, she was self-conscience holding up the greeting sign.

Airport Reunion

Airport Reunion

The other scene that piqued my interest was the joy a mother and father experienced when their daughter rushed into their arms. Water flowed. Embraces were strong. The grins on everyone’s faces could have powered half a city block. All those movies where you see people slamming into each other at the end is reminiscent of this scene. The emotional impact from the event couldn’t stop me from smiling. I’m still trying to figure out why those emotional moments affect people somewhat the same way. Oh, how wonderful is the power of a hug!

Of course, no people-watching session would be complete without the screaming kid. The parents looked as if they had gotten off the flight from hell. The father was dragging the baggage from behind and the mother was pushing the stroller while holding her bawling daughter. It was awful. The kid wouldn’t stop crying. She wanted to get into the stroller but her mother had stuffed the front seat with a carry-on. Poor kid. I know the father was about to blow. The veins in his neck had bulged and he was turning red by the second. I think they had all they could do from loosing their minds. Poor parents.

Eventually, my wife arrived and we drove out to eat. But having noticed how people behaved, I wondered something. I wondered if there was anyone watching us.

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Have you watched people lately? If so, what have you learned?

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Robbie Hart

No matter how many times I watch The Wedding Singer, the character Robbie Hart always does something in the film that makes me think hard about true love. This time around, since I saw it a few weeks ago, it was all about the little things. Today, I’d like to talk about Robbie Hart and about what makes him so unique that I would include him in my Wednesday Warriors series.

Adam Sandler as Robbie Hart in The Wedding Singer

Adam Sandler as Robbie Hart in The Wedding Singer

You know you’re in trouble when you look through your movie collection and all you can find is an Adam Sandler movie. In truth, that’s a good thing, since trouble means laughing through it even after multiple viewings haven’t diminished the impact of the content. The film The Wedding Singer is like that. Filled with inside jokes and funny transitions, the flick comes with two admirable stars whose chemistry flows from the screen.

Robbie Hart (Adam Sandler) is a wedding singer who loses his fiancée at the altar. The no-show devastates him enough to cause him to have a meltdown of sorts. During this time, Julia Sullivan (Drew Barrymore), the new employee at the wedding hall he plays at, and his future romantic interest, promises to hire Hart’s band as the band who should play for her own wedding. As the story progresses, the two discover that their friendship is more than what they expect and confront their feelings for each other in one of the most sentimental and funniest movie endings.

What makes Robbie a unique character to admire is the way he handles life. Other than his fiancée dumping him, he doesn’t allow life to dictate the way he lives. He’s a wedding singer—how cool is that? Every weekend is party time. Additionally, given he lives in a small town where he grew up, he has decided to live his life where his kids can grow up safe and secure away from the big city madness that grips all twentysomethings like him.

Drew Barrymore as Julia

Drew Barrymore as Julia

He doesn’t make a lot of money. So what? He may not have the best of opportunities to move forward with his life. So what? He’s happy. That’s what counts. He realizes that, and anyone around him knows he’s the relaxed type who enjoys his time with friends and family. That counts for something, doesn’t it?

Regarding his relaxed attitude—nothing really bothers Robbie. One of his older students could pour two meatballs with sauce in his hands, but rather than get annoyed, he runs with it and is grateful for the thought. His best friend Julia has that same relaxed attitude. She doesn’t have a problem with Robbie’s wedding singer status, his small-town dreams and his penchant for laughing at the weirdest of things. She loves him just the same.

Which brings me to Robbie’s best character attribute. With him, it’s the little things:

I wanna make you smile whenever you’re sad
Carry you around when your arthritis is bad
All I wanna do is grow old with you.
I’ll get your medicine when your tummy aches
Build you a fire if the furnace breaks
Oh, it could be so nice, growin’ old with you.
I’ll miss you, kiss you, give you my coat when you are cold.
Need you, feed you, I’ll even let you hold the remote control.
So let me do the dishes in the kitchen sink
Put you to bed when you’ve had too much to drink.
Oh, I could be the man to grow old with you.
I wanna grow old with you.

If anything, Robbie Hart has heart. And in a world where things sometimes move too fast, Robbie is a welcome relief to de-stress and look at life through a different pair of eyes.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
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What do you think of Robbie Hart. Have you seen The Wedding Singer?

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Why Do Zombies Attack?

Some people never change. If you’ve heard that expression, you’re not alone. Yet In a zombie apocalypse, everyone can change. No one is safe. And the stubborn, those who run merrily along pursuing life’s little rewards, are the ones who the apocalypse will affect the most. Now, if only I can explain the zombie’s incessant need to attack—life would be perfect. Maybe there is an answer to this perplexing question. After all, Monday Mayhem wouldn’t be the same without answering another of life’s little mysteries:

Why do zombies attack?

The Walking Dead Attack

The Walking Dead Attack

Have you ever stood face to face with a lion while staring at it behind the bars of its den? I have. I’ve always wondered why it simply doesn’t attack the cage when it senses people nearby. The same goes for tigers and bears. Why don’t they without relent, pound the bars to get at you while you peruse their domain? Apparently, feeding them quells their inner desire to harvest us as their next meal. What makes zombies so different?

One would assume zombies work the same way. Feed the zombie and it would forget about dinner. It doesn’t work that way. If a stadium of people had a horde of the undead after them, the undead wouldn’t rest until every human dies an excruciating death. A handful of zombies can clear a room of unarmed humans without much trouble. In other words, no matter how much a zombie eats, it still wants more. Why?

Lions, Tigers & Bears

Lions, Tigers & Bears

Firstly, unlike animals, zombies have an “always on” switch that no one can turn off. Well, that’s not true. Shoot them in the head and they turn off—permanently. I digress. Zombies’ visual acuity does not function on movement alone but on the recognition that a live human is present. Call it thermal imaging, stealth detection or plain “I can see you” principle, zombies have a sharp optical sensor that allows them to spot its prey miles away.

Secondly, complimenting their evolved optical cortex, zombies sport an acute sense of hearing. Somehow, their auditory tracks allow them to hear whispers, which would add to the list of things that spring them into attack mode.

Lastly, as I mentioned, the zombie appetite is resilient. They are always hungry.

Put these all together and you have a good grasp of the undead killing machine.

Zombies attack because they have no choice other than to attack. Their sole motive is to consume. Their visual and auditory senses propel them to act on their impulses to maim and eat human. Simply eating one, two or three of us will not satisfy them. They want to eat us all. Their insatiable appetite hovers around madness, because their senses dictate for them to purge the world of our presence. Zombies can’t help themselves, and they will not surrender for any one of us.

If only zombies could remain docile behind the bars of a cage so as humans can visit them like lions, tigers and bears. Wouldn’t that be something?

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

Why do you think zombies attack?

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Facebook

I’m not seeing my friends’ posts on Facebook anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I’m seeing a lot of their activities, their comments, their likes, but I’m not seeing their actual posts on my news feed. I don’t know why. Then again, on a good day my care less factor when it comes to Facebook ranges between 9 and 10. So, yeah, I guess I’ll tell you a bit about my experience with the platform for Freedom Friday and hopefully I’ll make some sense of this predicament.

The facebook news feed

The facebook news feed

The news feed is a good place to start. I loved Facebook a few years ago. I could pop in, check to see how my friends were doing and if I found anything they had written interesting, I’d interact with them like a cool drop-in or social. I loved the photos they shared and the cute stories attached to the memory.

I don’t see any of that now. My news feed has become a mishmash of so-and-so commented on this and so-and-so liked that. It’s become more of a reporting system for anyone curious to see what their friends are into. I liken the current environment to someone walking through our backyard and peeking through our window to spy on who we’re hanging with. The whole idea has shifted from seeing what others are posting to what others are commenting on and liking. I’m not sure when it changed, but lately I’ve been trying to bring back the old news feed in order to not feel so much as a Peeping Tom than anything else.

Behind facebook

Behind facebook

First order of business was playing around with the “Follow” button. I notice when I unfollow someone on Facebook, I don’t see anything of theirs on my news feed. No likes. No comments. Nothing. That sort of defeats the purpose of wanting to only see their posts. Next, I worked through all my friends’ walls to like and comment on things I found interesting much like I would have as if the posts had appeared on my news feed. Facebook took my actions to indicate I enjoyed following those friends and shortly thereafter, my news feed once again became a hodgepodge of nonsense. You got it. Facebook enabled the “Follow” button for my friends’ activities and thought I’d appreciate knowing what my friends commented on and liked. I was back to the very beginning.

For several days, I worked through the problem trying various combinations of “Follow” button and “Acquaintance” status changes as a way to achieve my goal of bringing back the old news feed. Nothing worked. No matter what I did, Facebook wanted to show me what my friends were doing through their kitchen windows as opposed to admiring their rose gardens out front.

Then, in the middle of dinner one night, a bright idea hit me. I say a bright idea because it was as if someone had flipped the switch in my brain and I could finally see the answer in front of me.

Lists. Yep. Lists.

Apparently, if I add all my friends to a list I can see their posts just like the good ol’ days. Well, guess what I did? Yep, I added all my friends to a list and I’m back to the way I like it—admiring the rose gardens at the front of my friends’ homes.

Facebook makes sense again.

Do I regret not going to my news feed to check out what my friends are commenting on and liking? Not really. I just want to know what they want me to know, not what Facebook thinks I should know.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
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Have you had a similar experience with Facebook? What have you done about it? What is your experience with using Facebook? Do you like it?

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Jordan Belfort

A lot of folks are not going to like today’s Wednesday Warriors feature. If anything, a lot of folks are going to hate it. To be honest, I wouldn’t be writing this if I hadn’t seen something in Jordan Belfort, the main character in Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street, that merited a closer look.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort

I’m going to cut to the chase and talk about the elephant in the room. It’s there, it’s sitting on the couch, and no one wants to say a word about the thing but someone needs to say something about it. It is my opinion that the character Jordan Belfort portrayed in the film by Leonardo DiCaprio is a misogynistic narcissist. The Stratton Oakmont founder thinks of no one else but himself and hates anyone who would dare get in the way of his success. As documented in the film, when Steve Madden tries to double-cross Belfort, Belfort retaliates by dumping Madden’s stock for pennies.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort

Not a flattering intro, but there’s more to dislike about this character. In the 180 minutes this film runs, I lost count of how many Quaaludes Belfort pops to keep him primed and juiced for his deal-making sessions. He goes so far as to descend into a ‘lude induced bender. Fortunately, the only victim to the incident is his very expensive sports car. In his own words:

“On a daily basis I consume enough drugs to sedate Manhattan, Long Island, and Queens for a month. I take Quaaludes 10-15 times a day for my ‘back pain’, Adderall to stay focused, Xanax to take the edge off, pot to mellow me out, cocaine to wake me back up again, and morphine… Well, because it’s awesome.”

It doesn’t stop there. Belfort’s exploits with women places him in the same league as the Roman emperor Caligula. As depicted in the film, he uses and abuses women for his own pleasure, leaving them for others.

To top it off, he preys on the greed and fear of others to sell them shares of worthless companies in one of the biggest pump-and-dump scams in U.S. history. He doesn’t fear justice. He doesn’t fear death. Moreover, he certainly makes Wall Street‘s Gordon Gekko proud.

Why then would I even consider placing a spotlight on Jordan Belfort?

Because of this one scene in the film featuring him and his best friend Donnie Azoff:

Jordan Belfort: You want a beer, pal?
Donnie Azoff: What are you drinkin’?
Jordan Belfort: I got this non-alcoholic stuff…
Donnie Azoff: What’s that?
Jordan Belfort: It’s like a non-alcoholic beer. It’s got no… no alcohol.
Donnie Azoff: It’s a beer?
Jordan Belfort: Yeah, with no alcohol.
Donnie Azoff: But, you drink enough and… you drink a lot and it’ll get you messed up?
Jordan Belfort: No, there’s no alcohol. That’s the point.
Donnie Azoff: I’m not a scientist; I don’t know what you’re talking about. I can get you beer if you want beer.
Jordan Belfort: I know, but I don’t drink, remember? I don’t drink anymore?
Donnie Azoff: What, you wanna go inside and blow some lines of baking powder, baking soda? Can’t imagine ever not enjoying getting messed up. I love it.
Jordan Belfort: Yeah…
Donnie Azoff: How’s being sober?
Jordan Belfort: It sucks.
Donnie Azoff: Boring, right?
Jordan Belfort: So boring. I’m gonna kill myself.

Watching the scene through once, I didn’t catch the nuances. Only after watching the film again, did they become clearer. Here’s a guy who was living at the top of his game, doing drugs, sleeping with a treasure trove of women, had access to enormous amounts of cash that he could fill several Olympic-sized pools with, but after getting caught he was really trying to overcome the temptations that put him into this mess in the first place. The line, “I know, but I don’t drink, remember? I don’t drink anymore?” hints on an element of remorse for all he had done in the past. He is trying his best to stay sober and focused. And like the majority of those fighting addiction, he confesses he can’t stand the withdrawal and much rather kill himself instead.

He’s trying, and that’s what I took away from the film The Wolf of Wall Street. If a guy like Jordan Belfort can put in the effort to overcome his greatest urges, what’s to say anyone else can’t do the same?

On that note, I have one more thing to say: “Sell me this pen.”

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
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RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

Have you seen The Wolf of Wall Street? What do you think of Jordan Belfort?

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Do Zombies Poop?

When I write about something, I try to find an angle to the story. Although I may have an idea, and it may be a good idea, I won’t write about it until I discover the hook. When it comes to zombies, as much as I enjoy the genre, the hook may not be so obvious. The reason for this stems from the fact that the genre has a number of mysteries I have yet to answer. I’m sure someone out there has the answer, but I don’t.

Do Zombies Poop?

Do Zombies Poop?

Today’s Monday Mayhem feature will concentrate on describing what three of those mysteries are.

Do Zombies Die?—I’ll have to admit I haven’t watched or read all the zombie stories out there. Yes, I also feel it is a travesty. Other than Warm Bodies, where, after some time, the zombies become Boneys, and in The Walking Dead, where the zombies show signs of aging, no stories of which I am familiar address this age-old question. What happens to the undead? Do they simply shrivel into a fetal position and drool their life away? Or do they rot until there’s nothing left? I don’t have an answer.

Do Zombies Sleep?—One of the lingering questions that has gnawed at my bones, no pun intended, is do zombies take time to have a regular siesta? In the last act of the film World War Z, the zombies stand in one position not really doing much of anything other than staring into the distance. They jerk around, but still, they are awake. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a zombie sleep in either a film or any other story. Why not? Don’t they tire chasing after people? The way I look at it is they don’t need sleep. Sleep regenerates cells, repairs internal damage from ordinary use and refreshes the brain in order for the mind to stay sharp and focused. I think zombies have passed the point of staying sharp. I could be wrong, though. What do you think?

Do Zombies Poop?—This, to me, is the biggest mystery of them all. With the amount of meat zombies consume, one would assume they digest and eliminate much like their human counterparts. But that would fly in the face of logic. If the undead are indeed undead, their digestive tracts would not function, their bowel muscles would certainly not work as well. So what’s the answer? Are we the audience to believe zombies can eat a whole man and not push him out the other end? What happens to the material the undead ingests? My theory? I think it piles in their stomach and comes out without digestion. My rule of thumb? Gravity rules.

That’s all I have for now. If I haven’t written about a mystery you feel needs addressing, go ahead and add it. I’m sure I will write a Part II to this discussion one day.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

What great zombie mystery do you find unsettling? Have you yet found a reasonable explanation?

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Food Favorites

Whenever the family and I go to a restaurant, I look for something different to try. I do have my favorites, but I also go out of my way to find a dish that is unique in taste and original in presentation. Sometimes, I won’t know what I’ll be getting until the server places it in front of me.

For today’s feature Freedom Friday, I would like to give you a sampling of what I’ve had the pleasure of eating. I wish there was a way to transform the photos into real dishes in order for you to smell the aromas and savor the sweet flavors, but this is not the Starship Enterprise where I can say, “Tea, Earl Grey, hot,” and the replicator will create the item for you. Wouldn’t that be something? Instead, I’ll give you some background to the shot, and relate my thoughts about the experience.

My goal is to make you hungry.

Prime Rib Burger

Prime Rib Burger

Prime Rib Burger—For Mother’s Day, I thought I’d treat my amazing wife to one of our favorite restaurants here in Canada. They have a delicious gluten-free menu she can enjoy while the kids and I can gorge on the pizza and burgers. For this time around, I chose to order a Prime Rib Burger. Since I love mushrooms so much, I added them as a topping for a buck. I can only describe the meal as an explosion to the taste buds. The chef cooked the meat to perfection and the mushrooms added an extra level of flavor. The side Greek Salad complimented the meal, making it all the more enjoyable.

Curry Beef

Curry Beef

Curry Beef—During one of our Thursday night dinner dates, my wife recommended the Curry Beef. I’ve never liked beef unless prepared on a burger. This time, she was right. I had one taste of her dish, and I quickly ordered one for myself. The plate comes with tender sirloin drowning in curry sauce. Added in the mix is a sprinkling of onions and green pepper. A surprising finish to a morsel is the heat delivered by the sauce. Not overly strong, but having a kick, the dish leaves a satisfying aftertaste.

Salmon Sushi Combo

Salmon Sushi Combo

Salmon Sushi ComboThis year’s Canada Day festivities included a trip to our favorite sushi restaurant here in town. While the rest of my family was ordering Vegetable Maki, Chicken Fried Rice and Miso Soup, I order a Salmon Sushi Combo. I gotta tell you, of all my favorite dishes I’m writing about today, this is my absolute favorite. The meal comes with six salmon maki, three sushi and one salmon hand roll. Like all sushi meals, it also comes with a generous helping of soy sauce and wasabi. I have to tell you something. Sushi is the only meal that feels like home to me. I don’t feel stuffed, sick or bloated when eating sushi, and the next day, I’m gearing up for more. I wish the whole world was made of sushi because then I wouldn’t have to wait so long before eating it again.

Grilled Chicken Salad

Grilled Chicken Salad

Grilled Chicken Salad—As part of an extended celebration my family and I had for my youngest, recently having performed in the drama troupe’s rendition of Beauty and the Beast at a Ribfest, we stopped by the Greek restaurant down the street. I typically order a lamb dish, but that night I had already eaten a bit at the Ribfest, I needed to go for something light. The Grilled Chicken Salad was perfect for this occasion. A Greek Salad topped with the moistest grilled chicken I’ve ever tasted made this meal a treat to enjoy. Every single ingredient was fresh. Every single bite had a perfect finish. One day, I hope to learn to cook chicken this way.

That’s it, folks. Are you hungry yet?

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

What was the last thing you had that made your latest trip to a restaurant special?

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Ray Ferrier

One of the most unforgettable movie-going events my wife and I experienced happened ten years ago when we went to watch Steven Spielberg‘s War of the Worlds. We were in Nova Scotia at the time, and it was two years after Hurricane Juan had hit the Dartmouth/Halifax area. Naturally, we were all apprehensive when storms were brewing off the coast that summer, and that night was no exception. To add to the creepiness, it was ice-cold inside the theater. I was sure it would take me a week to thaw from the air conditioning.

Tom Cruise as Ray Ferrier

Tom Cruise as Ray Ferrier

If you’ve been following this site long, you’ll know I write my feature Wednesday Warriors for those characters I feel are larger than life or strong in overcoming tribulation. Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) is one of those characters.

I have to say one thing about Tom Cruise. A lot of folks are not into Tom Cruise the man, mainly for his views on psychology or his ties with Scientology or the highly publicized couch-jumping incident on Oprah. War of the Worlds came out while he was courting Katie Holmes. However, regarding Tom Cruise the actor, it is my opinion he is one of the most overlooked actors in the film industry. He should have won an Oscar for his work in Magnolia. The characters he portrays have a quiet vulnerability that shows well on the big screen.

Tom Cruise as Ray Ferrier

Tom Cruise as Ray Ferrier

The film War of the Worlds revolves around a father’s quest to protect his children at all costs. Not alien, human or anything else can get in his way to earning the title “Dad”. In a story where one thing goes wrong after another, and the state of the main characters spirals into a dark pit of depression, Ray takes it upon himself to keep everyone sane and safe.

Dealing with an alien invasion is one thing, but in this movie, the audience can feel the frost as Ray’s breath turns to vapor while dashing between buildings with the hope of seeing the storm that is brewing overhead. Unknown to him, the storm is more than a natural occurrence. The churning in the sky signals an ominous force ready to change his life and the lives of those he loves.

Unlike the regular Hollywood heroes who can fight through anything and come out of a battle unscathed, Ray has a complex personality. He’s not likable. He’s not the best father in the world. And, if anything, he is one of the most selfish characters a moviegoer will ever encounter. But when the invasion finally hits, Ray’s instincts kick in and he becomes the one who leads those who depend on him for freedom.

Ray’s fears take a major role in the plot, making him as ordinary as the audience viewing his growth throughout the film. What was once a man filled with assertion of his abilities, transforms into an unlikely hero with weaknesses and vulnerabilities. The key to Ray is his kids. Without his kids, he might as well not live, as denoted in one scene where he had to let one of them go.

Soon after having watched the film and exiting the theater, it had begun to rain. My wife and I dashed to our car and wondered if an alien invasion was in the midst of those clouds.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

Have you seen War of the Worlds? What are your thoughts about Ray Ferrier in the film?

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Zombie Apocalypse: A Survival Guide

Two years ago, I wrote an article called Zombie Emergency Kit based on the CDC‘s Zombie Preparedness page. In the article, I go on in detail about what kind of items people should keep at their disposal in order to survive a zombie apocalypse. I thought for today’s Monday Mayhem feature, I would revisit the topic and add a few more points to the already long list of items.

Emergency Preparedness Kit

Emergency Preparedness Kit

Let me be clear about one thing: If there ever was a zombie apocalypse, I hope I’m dead and buried way before then. I don’t know about anyone else, but if I see a zombie roaming about my property, no amount of convincing will deter me from my main course of action—and that is to run.

Right, but what if you make it through the first wave of zombie attacks? What then? You’ll need to make do with what you have on hand. That’s where this list comes in handy.

Jack Flacco’s Zombie Emergency Kit

  • Water, food, clothing and any other miscellaneous items—your neighbors will have many of these items available once they’ve turned into zombies
  • The only item on the CDC list left untouched: first aid kit (whistle, antibiotic ointment, bandages, face masks, gloves and reference book)
  • Multipurpose supplies (Louisville Slugger baseball bat, golf club, screwdriver, hammer, butcher knife, darts, picture frame wire, shards of glass)
  • Real paper map(s) of the area

Having the supplies is one thing, knowing what to do with them is another.

Finding a place to hide for a few days at a time will be the key. If a one-gallon ration of water per day per person is doable, then hiding in a basement will be comfortable. Food can be hard to find, given much of the supply chain will no longer exist. But if you can muster canned goods from your now-undead neighbor, life will be good. You can live for months in the same neighborhood going from house to house living off supplies stashed in cupboards and pantries.

Be prepared.

Be prepared.

Getting your hands on a first aid kit will also be critical for survival. Zombies love the smell of blood. One nick from a razor could mean death. Make sure you have plenty of bandages and lots of antiseptic. You don’t know what germs will be floating around when the undead walk the earth. My rule of thumb is never to touch your face. Germs tend to live on surfaces for a long time, up to twenty-four hours. Best keeping your hands where you can see them. You never know when touching something can lead to unintended results.

Now comes the fun part. As a means of keeping your friends and family safe, you’ll need a few things. My personal choice, as it should be in any zombie survivor’s bag of tricks is the Louisville Slugger baseball bat. It’s portable, you don’t run out of bullets, and you can make a mess of things from a fair distance. A golf club will do the same thing, but I prefer baseball to golf. Again, that’s a personal choice. A screwdriver, hammer, butcher knife will take care of things as well, however you’ll have to get close to the undead to unleash your brand of justice. Suffice it say, there is no end to the creativity a zombie slayer possesses in the throes of an apocalypse.

Last thing on the list is sporting around a real paper map. Can you still find one these days? If you don’t know where you’re going, you certainly don’t know where you are. Having a paper map will help with finding supply stores that may still hold stock. However, should a good portion of the population have survived a change into zombiehood, it would be better to hunker down in some farm, grow your own food and live the life of a nomad.

In other words, and this is my final advice—stay out of the cities.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

What is your strategy for surviving a zombie apocalypse? What supplies would you look for when scavenging for good?

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