Bluetooth Zombies Stalk Our Travel Spaces

no bluetooth sign arinell pizza If you’re a frequent traveler you’ve seen them. Unlike real zombies, they don’t just come out at night; they stalk airports, hotel lobbies and various modes of public transport everywhere. They’re Bluetooth zombies, roaming our travel spaces, spewing words forth, loudly, into our public spaces.

This morning, at a business class hotel in the Midwest, I had breakfast next to a woman who spent her entire breakfast, and mine too, making a series of hands-free calls loud enough for the entire room to hear. I’m not sure why, but there is something about travelers who are constantly on the phone as they walk through airport corridors, eat their breakfast at the hotel or stand in line at the car rental counter that is disconcerting to me.At first, you hear them talking but see no phone and wonder if they’re talking to themselves or someone else in the vicinity. How are these folks any different than any other travelers who walk around using mobile phones? It might be my imagination, but it seems like they tend to talk louder in public spaces than normal callers. I’m not sure if this is because they’re overcompensating for the fact that they aren’t directing their voice into a device or if they only seem louder because their voice booms out into the air, rather than into a device.

zombies at mcdonaldsAlso, Bluetooth zombies are more empowered to multitask, since they aren’t using their hands to hold a phone. This means that many think nothing of continuing their conversation while ordering their coffee or meal at the airport, checking into or out of a hotel, renting a car and so on. Some businesses, like Arinell Pizza in San Francisco, refuse to serve people who are talking on Bluetooth devices, and I don’t blame them (see their illustration above).

If you have to physically hold a phone, it’s a bit more cumbersome to be taking your food tray, digging into your wallet or purse for ID, credit cards or money and the like. The Bluetooth zombie is free to keep talking, oblivious to the world.

I know that business travelers have to make calls while on the road to earn a living. I worked in sales for a time right after college, so I know how that goes. But I think this particular piece of technology, while perfect for making calls in a car, is a bit of a scourge in terms of inflicting noise into our public travel spaces.

If a traveler plans to make a longish call, or a series of calls, why not go to a spot in the airport with some privacy rather than doing so seated, in a crowded area, right next to a variety of other travelers waiting to board their flight?

Virgin Atlantic is already allowing in-flight phone calls on at least one route, and according to CNN, in-flight calls are going to be par for the course everywhere soon. That might seem like a frightening development, but there are two rays of hope. First, the calls will be expensive, so hopefully people won’t talk that much, and second, people are talking less and texting more anyway.

Some young people are barely capable of conversation, while old-school business travelers use new technology to inflict noise on the rest of us. But why is it that a traveler having a loud conversation on the phone seems more intrusive than two people having a face-to-face conversation at the same volume level in the same space? I have no idea, but there’s something about the army of Bluetooth zombies that march through our travel spaces that rubs me the wrong way.

[Photo by Disrupsean on Flickr]

Is Mexico The Zombie Capital Of The World?

zombies With zombie culture becoming more and more popular, it’s not uncommon to see corpse-themed walks and parades popping up in cities all over the world. While it’s easy to get into these events and have fun, Mexico seems to take celebrating the undead to a whole different level.

Zombie Walk started as a way to promote a film festival in Sacramento, California, in 2001. The event began spreading all over the globe, including to Mexico. After breaking Sydney‘s Guinness World Record in 2011 with more than 9,803 zombies in Mexico City, the country’s zombie culture has grown tremendously. Zombie Walk Mexico has gone from being an annual event to a full-on lifestyle, with themed parties, film festivals, media releases containing zombie news, promotions and games. In fact, each month, there are at least one or two zombie parties.

Along with the parties, says Martín Emilio Zavala Santamaría, the Press Department Chief of Zombie Walk México, “It is fairly common that there are from one to three zombie activities each month, mostly during October and November, as the date of the ‘Dia de los Muertos’ comes close in Mexico.”

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He continues to talk about how the movement has grown, explaining, “In the beginning we never expected 12,000 zombies at our walk, and now we see at least 200 people at every zombie event and are expecting a thousand runners in the Zombiecausto. With a webpage producing texts, audio and photos, making our own videos, appearing in public radio and TV, we keep producing more because people keep asking for more.”

Some activities Zombie Walk has had in the past include “Sony Flash Mob,” where they helped Sony with the recording of an impromptu public zombie dance; “Zombie Night at the Drive-In Cinema,” where they played “Night of the Living Dead,” served themed foods and gave out costume prizes; and the “Morbido Film Festival,” an annual horror and fantasy film event.

Their biggest event, however, is right around the corner on August 4, “Zombiecausto.” It entails racing through the woods scrambling for your life to get away from a zombie mob to a safe zone. The goal of the event is get participants to feel as if they’re actually living in the world of the undead. Additionally, the country’s next zombie walks will take place on October 22, in Guadalajara, Leon and, of course, Mexico City.

If you’re interested in taking part in some zombie-related fun in Mexico, you can contact info@zombiewalk.mx for information. For a more visual idea of Zombie Walk Mexico, check out the gallery above.

[Image above via Bob Jagendorf; Gallery photos via the Mexico Tourism Board]

Using Google Maps To Launch A Zombie Invasion

Zombie, Zombies
It was only a matter of time.

The zombie craze has now infected Google Maps. A horde of living dead is coming to your street. A new app called Home Sweet Zombie from Confused.com allows you to type in the surname and address of someone you hate, then sit back and watch as zombies descend on their house. It’s a great way to get back at your former boss or the significant other who dumped you. If you’re filled with self-loathing you can even send them to your own house.

This app was designed by Jamie Gibbs, who writes about all things geeky on his blog. There, he reveals that he has more zombie stuff in the pipeline.

I tried it out on a few addresses in different countries and most worked. The only time the program came up blank was when I typed in Obama and the White House, proving once again the liberal bias among zombies. This also raises the question of whether they’re really as dead as they claim. I mean, has anyone actually seen their death certificates?

[Photo courtesy Confused.com]

Zombie Survival Map

zombie survival“When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth,” they say in the zombie movie classic “Dawn of the Dead.” Let’s hope they don’t have smartphones, or they might find you stocking up supplies or searching for the closest gun store. Map of the Dead is an interactive, Google-map based website designed for zombie survival. Just enter your location and you’ll get nearby resources like liquor (hey, you might as well have a drink) and hardware stores to help you survive the zombie apocalypse. The map also shows you danger zones marked in red, basically areas with large, man-made structures where more zombies are likely to congregate, so steer clear of airports.

Should the apocalypse be more of the mutant-and-killer-robot variety, this film has you covered for post-nuclear survival.

5k zombie infested obstacle course comes to the United States

zombie 5k run for your lives come to the united statesAdventure-lovers and zombie-enthusiasts will be excited to hear about a new zombie infested obstacle course coming to the United States this Fall. Like any other obstacle course event, such as Warrior Dash or Spartan Race, Run for Your Lives will include man-made challenges (12, to be exact) as well as tests of physical fitness. This obstacle course in particular will involve mud, water, climbing, crawling, ducking, diving, running, and maybe even blood, as you navigate through sewage systems and conquer uphill climbs to reach the finish line.

However, unlike your usual obstacle course race, there is a scary twist here. Participants will be given a flag belt that will hold flags that represent their health during the course. While making your way through the event, zombies will be attacking and trying to grab these flags. Don’t worry too much if you lose a flag, however, as there are “health bonuses” hidden throughout the course. If you lose all your health flags, you die and the zombies win.

This video game come to life has different possible routes to the finish line, so runners should be aware that while Run for Your Lives is called a 5K it could end up being longer. Participants are encouraged to dress up however they would like, as the living or the dead. There will also be an Apocalypse Party after the event so you can celebrate your survival (or drink with the rest of your new zombie friends).

Just in time for Halloween, the first Run For Your Lives event will take place on October 22, 2011, in Baltimore, Maryland. Other dates and locations include: