Thursday, January 04, 2007

Potholes and zombies

Sometimes you regret your little whims -- such as today, when I was driving along Military Road, heading down toward Torbay Road in the pursuit of errands. For no particular reason, I turned left on a street whose name I don't know up to Circular Road. Why? I don't know. Variety, perhaps. It was taking me in the direction I needed to go anyway, so what the hell.

Halfway between Military and Circular I hit the Mother of All Potholes, sending a shock through my car that, while painful, didn't seem much worse than other pothole strikes I've had since moving here (for the uninitiated, St. John's is the Pothole Captital of Canada -- the frequent oscilations of temperature a few degrees above and below zero all winter long make our streets a veritable slalom of divots come spring). A few seconds after turning onto Circular however, my front passenger-side wheel started making that tell-tale lugubrious wobble.

There's nothing quite like the sinking feeling of getting a flat.

Still, I shouldn't complain -- if there was a time and place to blow out a tire, this was it: on a beautiful mild sunny afternoon just around the corner from the Kingsmill Service Center. Leaving my poor stricken Corolla, I walked down and returned with one of their cheerful and helpful mechanics. Then ensued a fun little bit of travel, where he'd pump my tire, I would drive for about a hundred feet and stop, and he'd pump it again. All the way to the garage.

Would you believe this is the first time I've ever been struck with a flat tire? I'm pretty blessed when it comes to car trouble ... what crises I've had have always been a little like this one: close to home or otherwise situated conveniently, as opposed to on a lonely stretch of highway miles from anywhere. I'm touching wood on that one.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share that little escapade, if for no other reason than I'm seriously considering returning to the scene of the crime, taking a picture of the offending pothole and trying to get my money back from the city. A long shot perhaps, but at least then I'll be able to post pictures of a hole on my blog.

Which brings us of course to the Untitled Newfoundland Zombie Project (actually, the segue's not quite that abrupt -- as I walked from my car to the garage, I mentally cursed Danny Boyle for having used the must-change-flat-tire-before-zombies-get-here sequence in 28 Days Later, which means of course that I can't now use it myself). I was oddly heartened to hear that my idea's not entirely original, and quite taken with the university-dorm setting titled Residence Evil ... not exactly the same kind of narrative I was thinking of, but it occurred to me: of course we have to have a few scenes take place in rez! Why our heroes would need to make a foray into those buildings I don't know. A reason must be found! Obviously, this means that one of our besieged ensemble will have to be a first-year student, and he/she will have something in his/her residence room of vital necessity for the fighting of the zombie hordes. But what is it? Suggestions solicited.

The other plot point that has occurred to me is that our putative heroine, Meg, isn't a biochem grad student but is instead studying epidemiology. In the tradition of the science-saves-the-day-in-a-weirdly-simplistic-fashion deus ex machina (a tradition with a well established pedigree, from the SF B-movies of the 50s to Independence Day), it makes sense that Meg will have been working on some series of experiments that will contain the secret to defeating the zombie hordes ...

Or perhaps: it was those experiments themselves that were responsible for the outbreak? Hmmmm ....


Mandy said...

or could meg perhaps be a geneticist or cell biologist? if somehow her thesis supervisor had discovered a way to speed up the normal bodily process of apoptosis, this could theoretically create some kind of zombie.

apoptosis is defined on one website as "programmed cell death, or "cell suicide"; a form of cell death in which a controlled sequence of events (or program) leads to the elimination of cells without releasing harmful substances into the surrounding area. Many types of cell damage can trigger apoptosis, and it also occurs normally during development of the nervous system and other parts of the body. ..."

so, if these cells are being programmed to die while bodily systems continue to develop...voila! horde of zombies!

hey! i've found a concrete use for my biology degree. happiness ensues.

andrew said...

or the first year student could distract the zombies with a strip dance (the rez might be called something like schmaugeen...), then post the footage to youtube (your gonna need product placement for the budget), which naturally becomes the most viewed clip, but it's thought of as fake, until some plucky young youtube-addicted nerd figures out the location and notifies the rcmp. epic battle ensues: zombie versus horse/stetson hat.

Lesley said...

You could always use the pot hole/change tire/ zombies are coming story line except, have the zombies NOT come. Instead, have an ominous fog roll in just at that precise moment. OR, you could always have a mechanic come and help and BOOM, he's a zombie!

Sorry, I'm not much help. When I got a flat, it was at a very bad time, I ended up having a police cruiser following me all through White Oaks, and onto Exeter Road, at which time he stopped me. I was ticked because I know I wasn't doing anything wrong. I was sitting there cursing myself, the police, jerk police officers, people who think they're all that BECAUSE they're police officers, and the world in general. Until he came up to the window and apologized for stopping me, telling me he saw I had a flat tire and wanted to let me know. Added to that, he STAYED with me until a tow truck came and then got into trouble for staying with me and wasting valuable time. Sigh..

Hey wait a could have the pot hole fell the hero's car, then have the police come to see what the problem is, have a mechanic come to change the tire...all the while ominous music plays making the audience believe that something is going to happen...then have the hero drive away....hopeful music swells....and then as the police officer is moving back to his car BOOM, the zombies get him! I'm telling you this now, if you use it, I get my name in the credits!!!

Adam Riggio said...

I was thinking back to your original sequence of joggers in Quidi Vidi in the fog as the opening scene for the movie. Since it's pretty far from the campus, it wouldn't really make much sense to have the main characters run to the equally death-trap-esque university from the lake.

But the lake sequence would make a lot of sense just to set up the aesthetics of the movie. Maybe a few creepy shots moving along the surface of the water, some blood-streaked benches, etc. And it all ends with a jogger being attacked from out of nowhere by a couple of zombies. The camera moves back into the fog and emerges on campus, maybe out of the fog of a fire extinguisher putting out some flames of a chemistry lab gone wrong.

Good idea?

Mandy said...

kelly and i have been discussing and have a few suggestions, as well:

- the clock tower would be a great locale for the denouement.
- the janeway should be involved in some way, perhaps with zombie children
- the library bookstacks are creepy as it is--perhaps a great suspense scene could be staged there.

i am expending more time on this than i thought ;)