Posts Tagged ‘zombies’

The Adventures of A Hermit: Year 1 Retrospective.

January 6, 2012

We should be just about done with all the ''Best of" and Top 10 Most Spectacular Vomit Moments of 2011  that clog practically every newspaper and magazine in the land. But I wouldn't be a contributing member of blogger-society if I didn't put the Hermist's fondest adventures on record.

I've come into myself this year, owning up to the role of the Hermist, and no longer trying to force the social butterfly bullshit that simply wasn't me.  Once I did that, I found, much to my surprise, a feeling of relief and also an abundance of good things.  Let's look, shall we? 


A new and entertaining friend, Cheffapetta came to visit the wilds of Austin from the Land of the Sophisticated Palate (Denver), so I had to show him a thing or two about gritty-Coke-In-The-Glass-Bottle-With-Yer-Brisket barbecue.  Wood paneled walls, duck decor, plastic plates and a roll of paper towels. You've been schooled.

they wish they had something so divine in Colorado as the Smokehouse.

 This was the year of canning. I canned practically anything I could get my hands on, from boozed-up strawberries to grilled corn to watermelon rinds and lime-slapped kiwis. I actually killed my nice stove in the process and never had so much fun. The highlight of all that sweating and domestic syrup were the get-togethers with my hermitty friends who weren't afraid to step into the kitchen with me. Now, I'd post photos of the gooey leche quemada, the swimming-in-whisky strawberries and the rows of jeweled fruit in jars, but there are other sites that do food porn so much more justice.   
Can it.
Here was our first canning party, with myself in a feverish state, surrounded by my beautiful domestic-lovin' friends. God love ya. I barely remember anything thanks to that penicillin, what a hell of a party!   

Bringing the world together around a pressure cooker...

 Part of my hermit transformation was learning a lot about how to fend for myself.  And part of THAT includes a pressure cooker, which I was afraid of, and now, am only slightly afraid of.  Just a little bit.  Thanks to David Alexander, for the story about his grandmother blowing up her stove top/roof... but that is another story.  *Do take a special note of the Mistress of Ceremony, the lovely Milan, parked directly in the center of all the quick-paced and high-energy action in the kitchen.   She knows who's in charge.

Too much canning can only lead to drunken moments like this... (drinking cold stew)

Here's Russ. The man makes an excellent elderberry wine, which he creates himself of course, along with above-pictured beef stew, and can fully stock his own larder single-handedly.  The man has amazing potential for  Hermit status...   

Where The Wild Things Are.

My role this past year was the designated wielder of the knife and spatula, cooking up outdoor meals for the people crawling through bushes, being chased by zombies, and living the primitive life.  My inner hermit got much joy out of witnessing moments like these.

This wood elf will find you. Track your ass down and find you.

I loved watching the process of Human Pathers evolving into crafty, independent diy-ers who weren't afraid of getting dirty, doing it from scratch and taking care of themselves.   

Girl kicks man's ass soundly.

  Honestly, and I know everyone agrees on this one. There is nothing better than a girl who can kick your ass.  

No, I promise you I am totally normal.

When we hosted the 1st Annual Zombie Apocalypse this past October, it was an awesome experience to watch how zombies can really put a crimp on carefully planned disorder. 

Zombies and the People That Love Them.

Plus we got to witness zombies who barely stumbled, barely moved, barely accessorized. Zombie baby, zombie kid, zombie bride, zombie gung-ho dad.  And one zombie, who was a streak of darkness, running after pathers in the pitch black.

The Fastest Zombie We've Ever Seen.


A Drill. A Vat of Glue. And An Apron.

One of my outward expressions of happiness is to create textile installations.  Its a surreal Dr. Suess meets The Stepford Wives world, with my alter ego, the Kitchen Goddess.  Somehow, working with fabric and lots of laborious applications of string, stick-pins and nails, has become my defining mark.  My college art professors would be so proud. (probably not)   

Noche De Recuedros with my buddy Rick

  Here is the floating altar, year two, that Rick and I set loose in the Woodlawn Lake.  After an intense summer drought, 'setting loose' might not be the right term, as it grazed the murky bottom of the very low casting pond.   The highlight of the year for me was the day I could step out of Vi's hair salon with my hair sprayed so fastidiously into a beehive that it took me almost a week to get it out.  I stuck two shellacked forks in my hair, put on my pink flirtin' gloves and my favorite blue chiffon apron, was handed a never-empty glass of wine and out I went ... the kitchen goddess.

There is nothing more divine than a kitchen goddess that knows her place. In the home.

 Who says art can't be fun?  With the indispensible Rebecca Coffey fronting the kitchen lines, we opened up a alternate reality of frozen housewife smiles and pickles on a stick.  View the exhibit photos here!  
The Kitchen Goddess, April exhibit

Are You There Dog? Its me...

Not a day goes by that I don't have the company of my dogs; constant companions, artistic consultants and snuffler-of-ears.  We fostered 3 dogs this year and all found great new homes, mostly with other pathers.

Fozzy Leo.

It is a great life, living out here on the hermit-stead with these fine beasts.  This final image though, is my favorite.  It has been exactly 2 years now that Milan came home with us on the day my beloved dad-in-law Joe died.  She came broken down and tired.  Since then she's slowly recovered and is now our elderly dragon-growling matron, the mascot of the hermit.  Milan the Beautiful.

Sam brings Milan up from the pond at the quarry to help her make the trip.

Happy New Year to all of you.  May good things happen. Eat good food. Pet your friends and hug your dogs.  Live that life with intention and gusto.
-The Hermist.

The. Chomp. Zombie Apocalypse.

November 11, 2011
**by the WAY ...these photos are copyrighted and are not available to be copied or reproduced. If you want to use one of these photos, please contact The Hermist.  We'll set you up with the photographers. Some people run marathons to test themselves. Some lose weight or climb Mt. Everest or go back to school for a new vocation or get married and settle down ... all in a pursuit of a new personal best or to better themselves, to live that life fully, inspired and rich.  Others, like our group of 27 Pathers last weekend, scale their own mountains. They endured discomfort, uncertainty and hunger while trying to evade a horde of barely coherent but ravenous flesh-eating zombies that constantly tracked them down as they tried to navigate a barren abandoned rock quarry. In the dark. With no equipment. 

Its the apocalypse and we're all hungry...

Armed with basic survival skills, the Pathers were testing themselves to see how they would react in a pandemic event.  Messy, disorganized and chaotic, it was an exercise designed to push them, expose their weaknesses and help them find what they needed to work on for their own self-improvement.  Time was against the students; they were scattered as their leader was 'shot' and killed, and they had to run, unprepared, into the bushes and away from a shuffling swarm of undead zombies that re-appeared each time they thought they could pause and re-group.    Sitting on a rock and disoriented as his brain starts to slowly ooze out of his head and onto his neck, this zombie had only one thing he could focus on.  Through a cloudy haze, he can make out the shape of a Pather.  When the Pather turned on his headlamp, the zombie could then see him clearly, hear the quick drum of his heartbeat and almost smell the blood pumping through his veins. The light drew him like a moth to a flame, and in a flash, he stumbles to his feet with a thick gurgle and a hiss.  Although the shouts from his maker, El Salvador, were only muffled bleats to him, he knew what the command was.  Chase. Eat.   

sniff. sniff. sniffsniffsniff .... brainsssssssssssssss.

So why did 27 Pathers choose to do this test?  Joining a book-of-the-month club is markedly more pleasant, and its easier to track transformation by a dipping scale that shows progress.  As temperatures plummeted that night, no doubt they were cold, hungry and worn down from hours of constant running and stress.  From the start, the students were pushed off balance.  Their keys, cellphones and wallets were taken from them by a gruff  post-apocalyptic beauracratic rescue worker who then abruptly ran away, leaving them unsure of where to go or what to do. 

"remember your numbers .... remember your numbers..."

They were forced to crawl through heavy brush and were then met by rescue workers who promptly turned guns on them, searched them, took away all of their gear and ultimately offed their leader in a paranoid frenzy. 

zombie apocalypse turns nasty...

The pathers then spent the next 18 hours running. They ran from zombies, ran from El-Sal's 'minions' who were armed with the zombie virus in their guns, and they ran to beat time as the sun began to slip away and all their gear remained out of reach. They had to read cryptic maps to find gear and juggle the constantly evolving team dynamics as members of their team were captured, infected by the zombie virus, or dealing with the effects of the harsh environment without proper gear.  The students planned well in advance for what they thought would be needed for a pandemic event. They arrived in latex gloves and dust masks to prevent inhaling virus spores or skin-on-skin contact with someone infected. 

fully prepared for the zombie apocalypse? guess we'll find out!

However, they were taken by surprise once their gear was removed and all the careful planning went out the window.  An intentional move, catching them by surprise and unprepared for events that piled up in a big pile of 'not-in-your-favor', its much like life.  The teacher who came out in an 'unscripted' bellowing tirade to push them in the right direction was the slap that life gives you when the chips truly are down and every mistake matters.   Pathers were treated to double helpings of compounded difficulties well into the night, until they could figure out a way around it. Working together as a team turned into a crucial component. Never was it so important to be able to rely on eachother, both physically and mentally.

ok, you push and i'll pull. an engine block. up a cliff. no problem.

The Zombie Apocalypse was a novel approach to testing the skills each of the Pathers aquired by completing the Core Basic curriculum of very basic survival skills.  However,  a greater goal was in play behind the mad warlord dictator 'El Sal', the testy rescue team headed by Dr. Honeycutt, or the constantly creeping hordes of zombies that came from bushes, ditches and hillsides. 

If Dr. Honeycutt tells you to cough, you'd better cough.

The group signed up for more than they'd anticipated from previous scenarios.  This scenario was designed to test skills under stress. There were moments with no clear leader in charge, other planted spies giving bogus directions, and time running out to find their needed gear before dark set in.  The pathers had to learn a vital survival skill. To become flexible.  Participating in a pandemic virus scenario that spawned an apocalypse, the Pathers had to decide how best to protect themselves and reach their goal of finding an anti-toxin that could stop the march of the zombies.  With normal societal rules out the window, the rescue groups that they would normally trust became violent and paranoid and behavior became irrational.     

Are YOU talkin' to ME?!

Students had to adapt, to re-evaluate and to change their goals.  In a real-life emergency, scripted plans might be nice and minimal contact with life's unpleasantness would be the ideal outcome.  However, when that bus stops in the middle of nowhere with no one to protect you but yourself and your wits, how prepared will you be?  The Zombie Apocalypse concluded at dawn the next day, with a deep October chill over the rock quarry.  Pathers found their way back to the main camp area to de-brief and talk about their experiences with the end of society and the advent of chaos.  The zombies, squinting in the daylight, began their fade out of sight. Free from evil impulses and the raging effects of the zombie virus on him, the warlord El-Sal finally took off his always-present black leather gloves.  Students found their sequestered gear at last, and one by one, began their trips home to a non-apocalyptical world. In the pursuit to challenge themselves and their skills, the Pathers took on the uncertainty of post-apocalyptic life where all of society’s rules were changed and life happens on unsteady footing in a hectic pace.  Miles away from that book club, the Pathers took and climbed that first summit, zombies and all.  But be ready. This was only the beginning...   For more information about the Zombie Apocalypse and what is coming next, visit The Human Path. For the Video introduction coverage For an awesome slideshow page. And special thanks to the many MANY volunteers that stepped up to fill the shoes of the undead, the documenting media and so many other crucial parts of this scenario. The Hermist was tickled to work with all of you and loved every bloody minute of it. **A special thanks to Jessica Qualls and Amanda Nicole Villarreal for lending their photography skills to the Human Path.

zombie. chillin'.

Where The Dead Things Are.

November 10, 2011
Here are a few images from the recent Zombie Apocalypse at The Human Path. To see larger images, just click on one of them to start the slideshow. There will also be video that captures more of the action released shortly. Not every human and zombie are shown in the following slideshows. There will be a series of slideshows. Here are the first three, documenting the initial daylight hours of the zombie apocalypse.  Please remember that these images are not for reproduction. If you want an image, just follow up with us and we'll put you in touch with the photographer.  **A special thanks to Jessica Qualls and Amanda Nicole Villarreal for lending their photography skills to the Human Path.

Slideshow 1: In The Beginning...

Slideshow 2: On The Way To El Salvador ...

Slideshow 3: I was a Teenaged Zombie...