Monday, October 29, 2007

Dead Media

Last time, as you may recall, I posted pics of the 2007 Richmond Zombie Walk, which was absolutely fantabulous, a complete and total blast, and something I may actually participate in next year--hey, I've already got a genuine body bag, a certain amount of greasepaint, and a reprint of Dick Smith's Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up Handbook; the only thing stopping me is/has been laziness on my part.

But anyway...

My camera is an Olympus Camedia D-380, a two megapixel minimally-frilled device that was quite the bargain when I bought it back in--2002? 2003?--and it has served me well for the kind of occasional (very occasional), grab-'n' go photography I do these days, but photographing a bunch of zombies with an eight megabyte memory turned out to be distinctly limiting, since 8mb translates to about maybe 15 images. Obviously, I need additional, larger memory cards.

You know what's coming, don't you? You can smell it.

Yeah. The D-380 uses SmartMedia, an obsolete flash memory card, very difficult to find these days and, as you might suspect, the Olympus website had absolutely no redirects to current sources since they're long out of production. Well, "long" in digital terms, which can mean "minutes" in this ever changing world in which we live in.


Leave it to me to be a piss-poor consumer and not upgrade all my electronics on a regular basis. I have an Olympus OM-1n 35 mm. film camera from the late '70s that's pretty much a high-tech paperweight because it uses mercury batteries, which are no longer sold legally in the U. S. and for which there are no satisfactory substitutes. I have a cassette deck as an integral part of my stereo system, a VHS player in the closet; hell, I still have a Super-8 movie camera and a vacuum tube Yaesu FT-101ZD HF radio transceiver. Oh, and a working (last time I checked) but no longer used Mac 512Ke.

I'm an Analog Zombie from the Dead Media Project.

Well, this is where eBay comes into its own and, yes, I found SmartMedia cards for a reasonable enough price, but still, it saddens me to think that my apartment is becoming a monument to obsolescence.

Cautionary Tale: When my friend Anne got married of course I took my trusty D-380 to her pre-wedding party and at one point during the evening I had to make a mad dash for the bathroom (imminent diet soda/bladder emergency) and left it in the care of several friends, one of whom happened to be Bill G.

I should have known better.

At the end of the evening I came home, fired up my editing software, downloaded my pictures, and noticed one of them was a bit... odd: a little out of focus, strangely underlit, possessed of a mysterious abstract nebulosity, certainly not something I remembered taking (I'm not that artistic). A few minutes of digital fiddling solved the mystery--Bill G. had shoved my camera down the front of his pants and produced a post-modern portrait of his genitals.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The 2007 Richmond Zombie Walk

Okay, first we need to establish the mood and you can do that by clicking here and watching Commander USA sing "The Zombie Song" (it's a tad faint, so maximize your volume). I'll wait.

Done? Cool!

Today was significant for two reasons: (1) my friend Beth was pimping her new horror novel, Homeplace, at Creatures 'N' Crooks Bookshoppe in Carytown (she's even got a YouTube video for it done by illustrator Cortney Skinner!) and (2) the third Richmond, VA Zombie Walk was taking place... in Carytown, which meant I didn't have to forsake one for the other!

I hauled my lazy ass out of bed much earlier than I preferred for a Saturday morning (having stayed up way too late getting psyched by watching Saw III), whereupon I showered, shaved, dressed, grabbed my man purse, my Olympus digital camera, extra batteries, a bottle of Diet Pepsi (you know, the essentials!), and headed over to the parking lot of Benedictine High School where the zombies were receiving their last minute instructions (click the pics for a larger image).

"And if the mummies show up again this year let's try not to have any altercations. We'll do our thing and they can do theirs."

You couldn't have asked for a nicer day to take a Zombie Walk--deep blue sky, fluffy white clouds, temps in the low eighties. People were in a great mood, even the Zombie Pope!

Jesus drove up a little later (hey, He's one of the Living Dead, too!), but I didn't get a picture.

Having been briefed, the zombies then headed for the Krogers parking lot at the west end of Carytown while I scurried towards Creatures 'N' Crooks in the middle, but not before grabbing a shot of my future ex-wife loading a few things into her pick-up truck.

By this time Beth had been hanging out at the bookstore for about an hour with only Cortney and Hamilton the Cat for company... which point I burst in announcing "Zombies a-comin!", which they were, but heading east on the other side of the street. This gave me a chance to purchase Homefront and Joe Lansdale's Lost Echoes (and yes, I apologized to Beth for being unfaithful) while catching up with Beth & Cortney and waiting for the crowd of... what? Fifty? A hundred? zombies to make the return circuit, eventually passing right in front of the bookstore.

I'll be linking to other, better pictures by those more skilled than I as they get posted, but in the meantime...