Sunday, October 17, 2010

Humans vs Zombies

The game occurs every Saturday on Evergreen campus. This time we had around seventy people, which I assume is fairly normal when it isn't raining, but this Saturday was my first time playing. The rules are fairly simple. The Humans will try get the objectives back to the drop zone before time ends. The Zombies will try to tag the humans, if they do that human is down for 10 seconds in which they're encouraged to dramatically act out their death and reanimation before rising again as a Zombie. To prevent this the humans have boffers (padded toy weapons) and nerf guns. If a human tags a zombie, which includes shooting them, that zombie is down for 30 seconds. 90% of the crowd starts as humans, the rest as Zombies.

This means that at the start of the game there are only going to be a few zombies, and a huge number of people. We travel in large groups at first, but every time one of us goes down that's another zombie. And the number of Zombies is only going to get higher.

My team, which we called "The Mad Bane," in reference to the current storyline in our D&D game, consisted of Kevin, Adam, Niles, Monica and myself. We're a solid group. I've got a sword, Kevin has a good pistol and a sword as backup, Adam has a rapid fire gun and a dagger as backup, Niles has a sword and shield and Monica has a large bat.

It started with a lot of running. We were searching the dark abandoned library, looking for the prize, and knowing that out there, somewhere, they were looking for us. We were in the main floor lobby when they found us. Ten of them on the balcony overlooking us, and shouting to the entire building.


At that point we ran. My team made it out, but not every human was so lucky. The next twenty minutes were tense. Every corner you pass your weapon goes around first. Every few seconds I would look back to make sure they weren't sneaking up behind us. We advanced through the building, clearing parts of it, knowing where the objectives aren't and not finding a thing. We had gone up and down a number of floors, and eventually had grouped up with a number of other humans. There were maybe twelve of us as a group, searching the darkened hallways of floor 1, when I turned around to see one of them. I yelled "Contact! Zeds on our Six." The group turned to fight, but from off the in the distance one of them yelled "Humans?" and you could hear a stampede heading our direction. I had inadvertently alerted the horde. There were too many of them. We fell back the freight elevator, holding the line as well as we could. Most of us made it. Adam didn't. Those of us who were still alive moved on.

We were moving through a hallway, Kevin headed with another group of humans up a flight of stairs. It wasn't long after we heard the sounds of screams and running coming from the floor above us, and we fell back to the elevator, which had become our own kind of safe zone, and moved to the fourth floor. There's nothing up there, we know that, but it's safe. We were shuffling around the main room when the elevator dinged behind us. With barely a word we're in position. Niles has his shield forward, I'm covering him with a pistol someone dropped as they went Zombie. The seconds are agonizing. The doors open and a padded spear sweeps the corners. No one steps out. I yell "Humans?" and they respond simply "Human." Their group is just as decimated as ours. With both of our groups combined we have six people.

We're forced out onto the roof. There's a stairwell down, and at this point we're moving low, slow and silent. There can't be more then twenty survivors at this point. There's a handful of Zombies below us. We're on the stairs when one of them sees us. We fight at the base of the stairs, but the horde is converging on us, and two more of us go down. We scatter.

At that point I was on my own, and out of ammo. I headed for a small area of benches, keeping my back to a wall. There are maybe 8 of them surrounding me. One of them lunges, my sword meets his side before he tags me. Another lunges when he sees the opening, but they didn't count on my experience with a boffer. More of them are forming around me, and I begin lashing out. I drop one then another, the rest go after my remaining team mates. Except for one, who I'm walking straight towards, sword raised high. He calls out for his friends and before long I'm surrounded again. I lash out again, preempting their attack. Two, then three, then six of them fall, but by this time the ones I took out before are back up, and more are coming. In that last stand I took down nearly twenty of them, but there were too many. Eventually I feel a hand on my shoulder, and I fall to my knees.

I look to the horde still gathered around me and yell into the night. "I'm not going to die a Zombie!" then lift my pistol to my head, and pull.

Ten seconds later I get up, tie on the red headband that signifies that I'm now a zombie, and take a deep breath. I spent a few minutes commiserating with my fellow zombies, many of which congratulate me on the success of my last stand. I remember someone walking away with his friends, and loudly saying "I love last stands." Before long I'm joined by Kevin, Adam, and Niles who have all been Zombies for a while now. I was one of the last survivors, and the humans are woefully short on objectives, so we head off to look for the last of them, and before long another round is started.

so yeah, all in all it's a really really fun game.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sticky Note

I don't have time to write all of this now, but I have a few things I want to write about. As I have in the past, I'm making a list to remind myself later. If any of these things are of particular interest to you, and I don't get write about them soon, feel free to prod me.

-Qi Gong, energy medicine, and the resurgence of the most ancient paradox in my life.

-A return to organized religion. Structured Religion? The power and importance of tradition and ceremony, a.k.a. throwing out the abstract bullshit.

-Eastern Wisdom

-The unspoken power of actually doing the work.

-Move, and my return to motion gaming.

-Thinking very deep thoughts about Trix

Friday, October 08, 2010


The following post is entirely about tabletop role playing games, particularly my World of Darkness games. I mention that so that those of you who don't care can just ignore this one.

I've found over time that if I'm not actively working on writing a story, or setting up another session of a given game then the back of my mind will continue working on things without me even being fully aware of it. Recently the ideas I've been getting have all be piggybacking off of my last game. It had a good ending, albeit rather abrupt, and the more I think about it the more I see room for a sequel.

The sequel idea is a new one to me. It also interacts with a previous part of my creative process in an odd way. I've found that I can't get a story properly formed until I have the title. Once that's in place it all begins to crystallize around that point, and expand from there. It also helps keep me focused on the theme. This means that I have, here and there amongst my more productive notes, sheets labeled BBBB2:SRR, which is the quickest way to write the full name of the game I'm designing, Block by Bloody Block 2: Streets Run Red.

In case the title didn't make it flagrantly obvious this is going be a high violence game.

I don't have all that much written in terms of what will actually happen in the game. Since I don't have anything along the lines of concrete plans to play the game this isn't a big deal. What I am going to be writing though is the cut-scenes that will form the prologue to it. The ideas keep bouncing around in my head and I've decided I need to get them down in some solid way.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


I just had an interesting moment. I was going to look at my own blog, to see what I'd last said, and I found myself laughing at the URL. Interesting to think that this all started out as a way of informing my benefactors of my life at UW.

That obviously has changed, as have a great many other things. It's almost a reflex for me to say that I have complex and nuanced views about how people change, but really this is a subject so complex that I wouldn't commit to any of the viewpoints that I may take at any given point. Nonetheless I have changed in serious ways since I started at UW. The task of quantifying just what lead to these changes is too herculean for now, but as I look around I can pin down a few of the changes themselves.

-I care about my physical body now. Five years ago I honestly didn't. I ate whatever I felt like, which was determined entirely by striking a balance between taste, cost, and convince. I'm still not in excellent shape, but I actually think about these things now, and have genuine respect for my physical self.

-I care about my physical living space now. Another extension of moving out of the world that consisted pretty much entirely of my thoughts and the images on my monitor. this has also made me more set on keeping things clean. When they aren't, particularly when they're out of order, it's started to bother me.

-I'm allowing myself to be outgoing in person.

-I like light now, particularly sunlight.

-A great deal of my knowledge has crossed the line from conceptual to hands on.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Mindful Eating

The idea of mindfulness has always been key to mind body medicine, even long before people started reliably referring to it as mind body medicine. The idea that food is medicine, really just an expression of the core idea of living and being healthy starts long before what modern society thinks of as medicine ever comes into it. The obvious synergy of this is mindful eating.

There's a lot of things I could say about this. I could point out that once again a philosophical idea or practice of mine has ended up being something that Zen practitioners have already been doing for thousands of years. There is a great deal more elegance in their meditation on eating an orange over the course of an hour then in my focusing fully on the sensation of a cold diet coke, but I'm still a bit miffed that this keeps happening.

Narcissistic ranting aside, I've taken up this practice again in a more serious way. The fact that I'm actually studying it in class has helped keep it in my mind. I'm finding it very valuable, it enhances my life, and I've realized this is really why I wanted to have a dining table in the new place. Part of the process of focusing fully on the act of eating is having a place to eat that isn't in front of a TV or a computer. After doing it all the time for a few days I learned the key lesson that it's much more difficult to take your time and focus upon every sensation of the food when you're hungry.

It's a very different way of living, but I think it will be a better one.
This level of mindfulness is a very different way of living. It's almost hard to get my mind around sometimes.


I've been operating under special circumstances for the last twenty days or so. That in and of itself could be a story, but what really interests me is that I had really only been finished with the setup process for maybe ten days. Given the influx of resources that came with my mom, for which I am extremely grateful, I was actually able to do some enhanced setup, beyond what I could have done on my own. During this period of special circumstances I've also started attending classes.

It gives me an interesting position of not actually knowing what my normal routine will be when I return to it. I had a gym, but I left that gym because along with my student status I gained access to a better gym. I have a car, but I plan for the normal routine to include bus travel to and from school. I've done some scouting for places to work, since years of experience have taught me that I can not do school work at home except when under extreme deadline pressure.

The thing is that this is all still in the conceptual period. The real test starts Monday, and we shall see, but I have high hopes.