Zombies!!! A day in the j-life

In Spring 010 on March 5, 2010 at 7:53 pm

There’s three exclams that just shortened by life my a few minutes. Professor Foley has some sort of theory that for each of these hateful punctuation marks used, the Fates take a minute off your time above ground.

But zombie zeal calls for such things.

I wanted to cover a story in the Tampa Bay area because I was going home for the weekend. I checked at a St. Petersburg event site and found out about “Zombie St. Pete,” The Pier Premiere.

It’s weird how the amount of time it takes to do something is basically determined by the amount of time you have available to do it. For example, you have three days to do research, and it takes three days. You have two hours to do research, and it takes two hours. My high school teacher knew the name of this law, and I have Facebooked him to find out what it is. Stay tuned!

Anyway, the days following the decision to cover this event were filled with interview requests, Romero clips, zombie searches and goth sluts. I see now the last was a humorous departure from normal sincerity of fiction writers, and had I know the person better, I would have realized this was not his personal website.

I did manage to get an interview with S.G. Browne who wrote the forward to the anthology being released. The book website for his novel Breathers was also indispensable as a resource. I recommend the Ed Helms and claymation videos.

The day of, I couldn’t help visualizing myself as a zombie with a guard rail imprint on my cheek or a hole from a runaway lead pipe in my forehead as I drove down 275 to St. Pete. Somehow, this morbidity seemed appropriate, and I congratulated myself on having my head in the game (unintended pun, but I’m keeping it).

I had my interview with Browne at 9:15 a.m. at the Hilton Bayfront. Of course it was raining, and I had left the house at the last possible second, so I arrived at 9:18 and still needed to navigate the guest parking process. Surprisingly intuitive but something that I made 10 times more difficult for myself. What can I say, it’s just my nature.

Browne was welcoming, pleasant and chatty about his book, zombies and writing in general. I got audio of the whole thing for a Sounslides assignment and hopefully it comes out well. In a cursory listen, it sounds like I have some sort of fan noise in the background, which is stupid.

I went to Starbs after because I knew I could find an outlet and a dry seat. Lady Luck was on my side and I nabbed a cozy armchair right as I received my chai tea latte and Perfect Oatmeal. The rest of the poor schmos were stuck standing around.

After organizing some thoughts, I headed to the Pier for my interview with the editors of Zombie St. Pete. This was also awesome and chock-full of zombie cultural analysis. The sound was much better and they were really into it. Their enthusiasm makes me want to do a really good job on the story, and I know I don’t have much to offer in the way of exposure as a student reporter.

Then I drove back to Clearwater for a nap. I wasn’t planning on doing this, but I didn’t want to sleep in my car or inconvenience the acquaintances I know in St. Pete for a couch.

Two hours later, I think I’m refreshed, and I head back to the Pier for the event, which includes a book signing, readings from a few of the authors, live music from Have Gun, Will Travel and a Thriller dance.

My main focus is getting attendee quotes, sound bites and 200+ photos.

The photos prove the hardest because the lighting is total shit. Shadowy yet florescent hell. I think I got a couple, but sweating my ass off trying to get good shots is very distracting from interacting with people.

As the Thriller finale caps off the night, I just think of Tim Gunn as I hold my camera above my head and pray that autofocus is good enough to capture the gory dancers lurching across the room.

Then I head to the bar. After a twelve-hour day, I need a beer. Just saying.

  1. Parkinson’s Law… Shadowy yet florescent hell is the worst kind of hell.

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