Monday, October 18, 2010

HvZ at SBU

I am following a group of about 25 college students on a windy, chilly night as they make their way across the Stony Brook University campus, heavily armed with sock grenades, Nerf pistols, blowguns and automatic rifles that shoot rubber tipped darts using compressed air. Suddenly the cries ring out – “ZOMBIES! ZOMBIES!” – as a large group of 50 to 60 zombies appear from the shadows and spot the rear guard of the humans. Ten seconds later, the zombies attack – charging on the dead run as the rapid-fire clicking of plastic unleashes a hail of foam darts which stop the first wave of zombies in their tracks. But wave after wave they just keep coming, eventually breaking through the human firing lines to tag their hapless victims, turning them into zombies and switching allegiances in this eight-day war. With their backs against the school library, the remaining humans make a valiant stand before they are eventually wiped out and assimilated into zombieland.

Zombie attack!

That was highlight of my weekend of adventures that started with an Open Love NY camp-out (which was really more of a camp-in because it was at someone’s five-bedroom vacation house in New Caanan, CT). I drove Yoshi from Princeton after work on Friday and picked up an OLNY newbie named Glenn at my apartment before heading out there. We watched movies and the Yankees game, played games, ordered pizza and I made spaghetti and sauce for everyone (which people seemed to enjoy). We built a fire in the fireplace and people recited poetry and told stories as if we were around a campfire.

In the morning, I led a grocery shopping trip with Leon and his companion Ardella and Bill to get supplies for the remainder of the weekend. After those were put away, I played a game of chess with Ardella (the first time in years for of us) and eventually I prevailed by checkmate.

Then I left to drive to Bridgeport and board the ferry, arriving at the landing only three minutes before departure – damn, that was close! The 75-minute ferry ride across Long Island Sound was pretty rough since the wind was blowing so hard, but it was fun watching the curl of white foam on the waves. I also enjoyed watching seagulls trying to break open shellfish by picking them up and dropping them on the rocks over and over as we arrived in Port Jefferson on Long Island.

Bridgeport to Port Jeff ferry

It was a quick drive to Stony Brook to meet up with Polina, and we went to Target to buy and exchange some clothes. I found a pair of work-appropriate jeans, i.e. ones that weren’t pre-ripped. Polina also found some cargo pants and jeans in the men’s section. Then we went to the drugstore and to John Harvard’s Brew House for our anniversary dinner, where we exchanged cards and gifts and shared a glass of delicious pumpkin ale. We talked about our relationship and how much we are enjoying each other, and our hopes and ideas for the future.

We came back to campus and went out at 9 pm so she could assume her role as moderator of the Humans vs. Zombies game that started last Thursday and runs for eight days, and involves over 1,000 student players. We attended a briefing for the human army (about 50-60 people) before they split up into three groups to try and accomplish their mission.

Dressed to kill at the briefing

Polina took on the role of an engineer and unfortunately got killed at the library, reverting back to being just a moderator.

Massacre at the library

Fortunately for the humans, one of their other groups managed to succeed in their mission at the Javits building by hiding their engineers in the bushes while the rest of the human force held off a large zombie mob in the open plaza. I know it sounds really dorky, but being out in the night and seeing a zombie army charge screaming “BRAINS!!” is actually kind of cool to watch.

Mediating a dispute

The next day I went with Polina to a moderator meeting where they talked about how things went poorly the previous night and how to balance the game a little better, since the humans are losing badly and they weren’t even at the halfway point yet. Afterwards Polina made us some lunch before going out again for a Humans vs. Humans mission in the daytime. For this mission, two teams of humans battled each other to obtain a zombie cure, which could be used to convert some of the zombies back to human.

Humans-only mission

After that was done, we went out to dinner at Carraba’s and sat at the kitchen counter to watch people cook while we ate, then got some groceries before I dropped her off to go home.