Monday, July 12, 2010 Rule #1 - Cardio

"If you're ready for zombies, you're ready for anything" has been my personal motto for years now, and yet I still don't get my fat ass off the couch. From the Chicago Tribune:
Zombies as exercise motivation

St. Charles' Zombiefit classes don't really have the undead, but do use parkour and other techniques to whip students into shape.

By Pat Dunnigan, Special to the Tribune
June 24, 2010

St. Charles bills itself as a place that "bursts with naturally charming adventures" where paddlewheel boats cruise the Fox River and pedestrians stroll safely through leafy parks.

So why are residents of the area drawn to a fitness course designed to improve their chances of survival in the event of a zombie invasion?

Rich Gatz, the 28-year-old lawyer who founded Zombiefit in October, says the program, which is built around the practice of parkour, attracts people because of its focus on "functional fitness." Parkour enthusiasts practice running, vaulting and climbing an obstacle course of structures found in an ordinary urban landscape.

"Nobody actually comes to class because they really believe in zombies," Gatz said.

But Gatz isn't taking any chances. "If you're ready for the zombie apocalypse, you're ready for anything," he said.

And so, two nights a week in a gymnastics studio in St. Charles, five to a dozen people gather to run, jump, climb and vault up, over and around obstacles that stand in for the features of a city in the grip of a zombie infestation. They also undergo strength and conditioning training because zombies are relentless.

There are no actual zombies or zombie stand-ins, though Gatz says they are invoked for inspiration. A precision jump, for example, requires participants to land in an exact location, much as they would have to do if fleeing a zombie from rooftop to rooftop.

"You've got to land that, or the zombies are going to get you," Gatz tells students.

Gatz says he and partners Jeff Strening and Jesse Randall didn't go into the fitness business with any particular expertise in zombies. The idea, he says, sprang from a discussion in which something was said about being in the kind of shape where you'd be "unstoppable, ready for anything, even zombies."

But as word of the program spreads like an out-of-control virus, the zombie element is threatening to take over. There is no place to hide. Everyone, it seems, wants to talk to Gatz about zombies.

At times, his weariness comes through and he sighs like a man who has just spent a sleepless night barricaded in an abandoned building surrounded by the ravenous undead.

"Aren't zombies kind of slow?" asks a reporter. "Why the sprints?"

There is, says Gatz, a debate on that point, of which he was blissfully ignorant before Zombiefit. He would rather talk about the distinction between anaerobic and aerobic workouts. But it turns out there may be different types of zombies, fast and slow.

"In a hypothetical zombie apocalypse, you want to be as ready as you can," he says.

But for a place only hypothetically infested with zombies, the area has had its share of zombie-related happenings.

In 2008, an old farmhouse west of Illinois Highway 47 was the scene of a horrifying standoff between a young woman and a mob of zombies intent on devouring her.

Geneva filmmaker Jose Carlos Gomez, who witnessed the scene in the course of shooting his film "Bled White," says the area provided more than a zombie-conducive setting for his movie..

"When I put out an ad asking for zombie extras," he says, "most of my zombies came from St. Charles."

Police in St. Charles had little to say about the possibility of zombie activity.

"No comment," said spokesman Paul McCurtain. The mayor declined to be interviewed.

But at least one expert says the city's natural landscape and proximity to a major population center are textbook zombie bait.

"Imagine you roll yourself in honey and lie next to an anthill," said Max Brooks, a Los Angeles writer whose 2003 "The Zombie Survival Guide" launched his career as a zombie defense consultant.

Brooks' latest work, "World War Z," recently garnered him an invitation to speak at a book club on the campus of the U.S. Naval War College in Rhode Island.

Brooks says St. Charles residents would be wise to prepare. But he is not quite ready to endorse Zombiefit.

"Parkour would probably work better against vampires," he says. "Vampires are the wall climbers. Zombies are the shamblers. To get away from zombies, you want to do something more like power walking."

But Gatz says his students will be ready.

"Take some of my athletes against readers of the book, and I bet they will do pretty well for themselves," he said.

They won't be the only ones without a plan. At the St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau, Executive Director Amy Egolf would not be caught dead unprepared.

"From a tourism standpoint ... if I find it's burgeoning and they're willing to spend the night in our hotels," she said. "We'd be delighted."

Considering St. Charles' close proximity to Fermilab, preparing for a large scale sci-fi catastrophe might not be that silly.

Zombie Roadblock

The undead are rapidly becoming America's greatest road hazard. From the website of KGW TV, Portland:
"Zombies" crash on I-84 near Lloyd exit

Emergency crews had various lanes of eastbound I-84 shut down as they investigated the crash.

by Justin Burton, KGW news staff
Posted on July 9, 2010 at 11:38 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A car full of people dressed as zombies crashed on Interstate 84 near downtown Portland on Friday, causing initial confusion by people who witnessed the crash.

Portland Police said the car was swerving in the eastbound lanes of the freeway just east of the Lloyd District just after 9:30 p.m. when it rolled over and crashed onto its top.

Emergency crews took five victims from the crash to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.

Police said that in their investigation they learned that the people inside the car were dressed as zombie costumes and they were headed to a party at the time of the crash.

Sgt. Greg Stewart said people who witnessed the crash initially thought the victims' injuries were much more serious, because of the zombie costumes.

"We're glad that everyone is alive, despite being 'undead'," Sgt. Stewart said, referring to the costumes.

While everyone in the car was taken to the hospital, Stewart said crews are investigating the possibility that more people were in the car at the time of the crash but fled the scene on foot.

The crash halted traffic in the eastbound lanes for about an hour, reducing travel to just one lane. All eastbound lanes were opened at around 11 p.m.

Wow, they're pulling a reverse Scooby-Doo here, claiming that the undead milling about after a car accident were merely folks in costume. The tip-off is that none of the names of those involved have been released; you can't tell the world that Joe Blow survived a car crash while you're trying to explain to Widow Blow why she can't see her husband's body.

Thursday, July 1, 2010 Catwoman Strikes!

We had a real-life Joker turn up last year, and now this. All we need is some fat little mofo stealing rare bird's eggs or something and the rogue's gallery will be complete. From Tuesday's New York Post:
Holy masquerade! Cat woman strikes

Last Updated: 4:15 AM, June 29, 2010
Posted: 3:00 AM, June 29, 2010

Cat Woman is on the prowl.

A serial stickup artist with a penchant for disguises -- including a
cat mask -- has sunk her claws into shoe and beauty stores in
Manhattan and Queens, The Post has learned.

The last two hits by the sleek, amber-eyed thief took place last week
-- targeting the high-end Arche shoe store on Astor Place in the East
Village on Thursday and The Body Shop in Forest Hills, Queens, the
next day.

In the strike at Arche, which was caught on video, the slick thief
donned a cat mask, the source said.

According to the source, the lithe 5-foot-6, 115 pound thief,
described in a wanted poster as possibly Middle Eastern, strode into
the store at around 1:30 p.m. She prowled for about 45 minutes before
donning her disguise and pouncing on a sales clerk.

"Give me the money. I have a gun," read a note Cat Woman passed to the
worker, according to the source.

She got her paws on $86 in cash and scampered off, the source said.

A day later, Cat Woman turned into the Burqa Bandit, wrapping a black
scarf over her head.

According to the source, she strode into The Body Shop on Austin
Street and Continental Avenue in Queens at 12:50 p.m. and barked out
her order to hand over some cash, the source said.

She fled with $500.

When I first started reading this story, I was wondering if she was like a Julie Newmar Catwoman or an Eartha Kitt Catwoman or a Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman. Then I saw she only netted $560 from two robberies, and realized she was a Halle Berry Catwoman.

Clearly, the police artist is no Darwyn Cooke.