The question was posed on Twitter yesterday and it's a completely fair one worth discussing...
If the zombie apocalypse happens tomorrow, which building on the Syracuse University campus are you making a run for?
If you've read How To Grow An Orange, and obviously you have, you know how I feel about the Carrier Dome. It's a HUGE no-no. Way too much open space, way too many doors and way too easy for the horde to find you once they swarm.
Anyone who's watched a couple zombie movies, read a zombie novel or two and watched a couple episodes of The Walking Dead can tell you that you're looking for some very specific things when the undead rise and come for you. An they will.
Secure doors/windows. And honestly, don't count on the windows. Sooner or later the horde will crowd-surf its way through that flimsy glass.
Escapability. It's not just a made-up word for college quarterbacks. What happens if (when) the horde breaks through your stronghold? You need options and you need them fast. If you're in a tiny apartment, you might not have that.
Food source. The more food you have access to without leaving the stronghold, the better. You want food that's canned, frozen or full of preservatives. Sorry fruit, your day is over.
Immediately the thought that comes to mind is one of the dorms. I was in Brewster as a freshman so let's go with Brewster-Boland.
First, the security is solid. Those doors close tight, you can shut down the elevators to make sure no one gets the "elevator doors open to massive, waiting group of zombies" moment, and the entrances are made up of two glass entryways. Even if they do break through, you can seal off the lobby from the rest of the building and keep them out.
What's good about connected dorms is that, if the horde gets in through one, you can shuffle over to the other one. If the lobby is compromised, you better make sure the underground connection is still okay. That's your priority in pre-planning.
As for food, you're connected to a dining hall full of falafel, you've got a stocked Burger King mini-restaurant, a whole bunch of vending machines and whatever awful-yet-delicious food is in everyone's dorm room. Depending on how many of you there are, you can survive for a while.
That said, if there's a drawback to a place like BB, it's that you're an island. You can't make a quick run to a nearby store. You won't find supplies too close. Once you run out of food, you're probably going to have to head out. And nothing good comes from that.
Same goes for Flint/Day, all the way up there on the Mount. Way too isolated and way too easy to get cornered off.
Ernie Davis Hall might not be a bad spot. You've got the security, you've got the escape routes and you've got the food. You're fairly close to a number of markets and dining halls as well that some brave souls can make a run at.
Aside from dorms, there's Schine but I fear for those glass doorways. Old Crouse-Hinds is a warhorse but you better bring your own sustenance. Same goes for most classroom buildings on campus.
I'm sure I'm forgetting something and there's some new buildings on campus that might meet zombie-code. You tell me...
By the way, since we're on the subject of zombies, let's do a little post-season recap for The Walking Dead.
Here's the thing. It was good. I had fun. There were zombies. There were people. There were people killing zombies. But it all could be SO much better.
So far, the show doesn't pass The Lucy Test. Lucy would be my wife and I trust her instincts when it comes to these kinds of shows. Right now, TWD is not hitting her standards.
She's no sci-fi or horror hater, mind you. She loved Lost. She's a huge fan of Fringe. She LOVES Dexter. She was a mega-fan of The X-Files.
Same as me. But my problem is that I let my emotions get the better of me sometimes when watching these kinds of shows. I want the shows and/or movies to be so good that I trick myself into thinking they're better than they are. I actually walked out of the theater after seeing The Phantom Menace and thought it was pretty good...before I realized what in the Jar-Jar Binks was going on.
I watched Lost before Lucy did and I got her hooked. She loved the storytelling, the mystery, the good acting. It passed the test.
I also watched Heroes before Lucy. She tried watching with me for a while until she couldn't take it anymore. Too poorly written, too badly acted and too much wasted effort. And it wasn't until she pointed it out that I realized she was right. I just wanted Heroes to be so much better than it actually was.
So that brings us to The Walking Dead. I knew the show was coming. As a zombie nut, how could I not? It boggled the mind that it took this long for a zombie TV show to get made but, here we were. I coaxed Lucy into watching the first episode. So far, so good. She was already an Andrew "Grimes" Lincoln fan so I had the advantage.
As episodes went on, we both kept watching an both relatively enjoyed it. I couldn't but noticed a nagging feeling in the back of my mind but I pushed it aside. It's a show about zombies! And people chopping their heads off!
By the end of the season, it was clear the show wasn't cutting the mustard with Lucy. She was still interested but there wasn't the same excitement as there was for a show like Dexter or Lost. By the time the finale aired and ended, she broke the news to me.
She didn't like where the show was heading. Not plot-wise, mind you. Just...show-wise. Her big qualm...it was kinda boring for the most part.
And I have to agree with her.
NOW, I'll be the first person to tell you the show can't be sixty minutes of zombie-killing. As cool as that sounds, it would get boring. Besides, I think we're all on the same page that "The Walking Dead" has two meanings, one for the literal dead and one for the figuratively-dead humans still living (and still walking). I'm all for heartfelt conversations and deep discussions tinged with insight into the human psyche and all that fun stuff.
But you've gotta hold my attention while doing it. You do that by doing three things:
1. Giving me characters I care about.
2. Writing great dialogue for them.
3. Having actors that can make it work.
There were very few times all three of those things were working. The truth is, I only care about five or six characters currently on the show. Everyone else just oozes expendability. For a show that's taken a risk here and there, it sure decided to stay generic when it came to its characters.
I'm all for having long, deep conversations that build character and are 100% zombie-free, they just have to be done well. And if Grimes wasn't involved, it probably wasn't done too well.
For a show with that much gore, that much death and that much suspense, you'd think they'd have a little balls in their storytelling. How does the season end with all those people still alive? One lady dies in the CDC explosion? ONE? Almost all of them should have been killed off. The CDC blowing up fills me with some dread. Watching everyone in that group get eaten alive, save for about five of them who barely make it out alive...THAT NUMBS MY BRAIN AND MAKES ME WANT TO WATCH 100 MORE EPISODES RIGHT NOW TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS...
The big difference I've heard from the graphic novel to the TV show is the way the show is holding onto characters that the novel kills off with reckless abandon. In fact, it's common knowledge with readers of the comic that no character is above getting shockingly killed at a moment's notice. The show doesn't give me that same sense of impending dread. There's some dread...just not enough.
As for that finale...meh. I get what they were doing with the whole CDC thing but it was pulled off rather...meh. And don't even get me started on the "oh, FYI, I have a grenade in my purse so you can stop throwing chairs at that window" moment.
The season ended and I was left with the feeling of, "that was pretty alright but I hope it gets better." Unlike the way I used to feel when a season of Lost ended and I'd throw things at my TV because I needed to see more episodes ASAP.
Anyway, Lucy's not sold. I'm still a true believer but I'm a concerned true believer. My hope is that Season 2 doesn't waste time on characters we don't care about, cranks up the dread factor and throws in some more surprises. My fear is that it's going to pull a Heroes: Season 2. Throw more characters on top of the current ones, get convoluted, lose focus. They've got a blueprint to follow in the graphic novel, there are worse ideas than just doing that. We'll see...
That was a lot more writing that I thought it was gonna be...