Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Good Training, Gents

I haven't been posting regularly -- things are nutty. But I did do something cool this weekend I guess.

I saw I am Legend this weekend and I really enjoyed it. It was really nice to be able to go and see a movie without having seen a single trailer, and as a result I spent the first good part of the movie trying to figure out just what the crap was going on.

--- Spoiler Alert ---

The movie had some really good scary elements in it, but the thing I liked the most about it is how they portrayed the main character dealing with being the only person on Manhattan Island (or as he thought the rest of the world). How did he do this? Routine. He had weird little routines that I can guarant-freaking-tee you would do too. I think the average movie goer would dismiss this stuff as weird and as a sign that he was going crazy, but I thought it made perfect sense. Dressing up mannequins, talking to them, renting DVDs and pretending like it's all normal, watching recorded news on the TV as he eats his breakfast. There was no normalcy in his life, so he manufactured it.

And when the Brazilian chick shows up and he freaks out because she eats his bacon that he was "saving"? You'd freak out too. And how even though he hasn't seen a soul for 3 years, he doesn't seem particularly happy to see her. Why? She fucked up his routine. He had stuff all how he liked it and she started throwing monkey wrenches in the mix. (As it turns out, big time..)

When I was in Afghanistan, North Korea, and on ship, I spent a lot of time being bored. Not 3 years by any stretch, but if I were to put you in a confined area with nothing to do for a while, you'll be bored and get stir crazy too. Try it sometime -- just sit in your room all day and do nothing. The one thing that kept us sane during the boring times was routine, and breaks in routine were incredibly irritating. Routine is an excellent remedy to boredom -- it gives you a purpose, even if it's pointless, and if gives you a reason to wake up. The main character had his projects (like, you know, curing the weird virus), but he still had his daily routine that he did. He wasn't nuts -- quite the opposite -- he was maintaining his sanity, and I found it to be way more insightful than it appeared on the surface.

I've loved the post-apocalyptic getup ever since I read "The Stand". That book really freaked me out and made me, a highschool freshman, think pretty hard about what I'd do in a similar situation (assuming the Cap'm Trips didn't get me.) One thing people will do if everyone except for a small population dies is arm themselves to the teeth, mainly to protect themselves from other people who are armed to the teeth and taking advantage of a consequence-free bonanza. Just think of it. People would be living off of 7-11 food, unless they knew how to skin a deer or met someone who could skin a deer that didn't murder you. Otherwise it'd be beef jerky and ramen. A man alone on Manhattan could live a really long time by siphoning gasoline and eating cheeze-its and canned corn. I could at least. If you were in the midwest or somewhere that isn't an island you could probably survive as an individual almost indefinitely, barring any animal attacks, disease, injuries, weather/acts of nature, and everything else that can go wrong when you have no social infrastructure. One thing I really liked in The Stand that it was really good about showcasing people dying for really stupid reasons following the breakdown of society, which would totally happen. You'd try riding a motorcycle for the first time, fall off, and die a slow agonizing death wishing you hadn't been so stupid.

I think a lot can be learned from this movie and movies like it, especially when the zombie/vampire-like-zombie virus either arrives via meteor or is created by the government. And it will. While this isn't a zombie movie per-se, a lot can be learned from it in case of post-apocalyptic-humanoid-buffoonery.

  • Don't hunt deer with an M4

    This guy was an army officer and he would have had an arsenal at his disposal, no doubt including high-power rifles with scopes. A .556 isn't gonna stop a deer, but an elephant gun with a x50 scope would. Or some other ridiculous rifle that he'd no doubt be able to find in the NYC. If I were in his shoes, a high-powered rifle would definitely be organic to my up-armored SUV.

  • Don't hunt post-apocalypse humanoid creatures with an M4

    Again, if an M4 can't stop a skinny all hopped up on khat, you know it's not gonna stop these guys. Semi-automatic shotgun all the way! As I mentioned before, you'll be armed to the teeth, and will have plenty of time on your hands for weapons training.

  • Procure more than one dog

    This movie showed how invaluable dogs are. Man's best friend for chrissakes. If I were alive in this situation, I would have a pack of dogs. Not just one. I'd be the consummate alpha dog, and my loyal hunden would protect me and the rest of the pack from whatever was out there.

  • He was prepared...pretty well... Make sure you're more than pretty prepared.

    I figured he'd be more prepared. It's like he was, but he wasn't. No panic room. No backup IR lighting. No redundant fail-safes just incase they found out where he lived, which they likely would anyway. Once they breached the house he was pretty much fucked. My house would be a giant IR lamp encrusted steel death trap -- just incase -- if the humanoids were indeed vampiric. I would tailor it to whatever their achilles heal was.

    I think any zombie apocalypto would agree with me on these points, and I haven't really put a lot of thought into it. Still, it's good that we make movies like this, because when the zombie virus comes, we can't predict the exact nature of its effects. Now we have some tools in our toolbox, just in case the zombies are suspiciously vampire-like and can only come out at night.

    With that, I leave you with this.

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