Episode 628: ‘Bout That Time

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: Settling In

No matter how old people get, no matter how much they learn, no matter how cynical they appear, there’s something about the darkness of the night that makes the most primitive part of our brains light up with fear. This holds true even when we can be reasonably sure that we’ll survive the night, safe in a comfortable bed inside a warm house, and guarded by all the auspices of modern society. In the zombie apocalypse, terror will reclaim the night, and that’s going to really negatively affect people’s ability to get a good night’s sleep.

About this Episode:

I got rid of Sam’s goofy grin. I thought it was pretty funny as a contrast against the scowl he had in previous episodes, but the joke would have worn thin pretty damn quickly.

Discussion Question: Night Time

Look, I know we’re all adults here, or close to it anyway. We’re not afraid of the dark. Most of us anyway. In fact, I know I sleep a lot better when my bedroom is as dark as I can make it. that means I try to minimize lights from electronics, and love my black-out blinds that keep ambient light to a minimum.

Of course, we’re all living in the civilized world, and a time of unprecedented personal safety. It’s a lot easier to fall asleep now than it has been at probably any other time in history, ignoring light pollution, noise, and all the tricks we’re playing on our brains’ internal clocks with electronics. In the zombie apocalypse, we’ll have no such sense of security. If we fall asleep too soundly, and with no one watching our back, who knows what we’ll wake up to.

So how would you cope with the night, and more importantly getting the sleep you need to function well, in the midst of a zombie outbreak? What sort of safeguards would you use that would let you close both eyes in the evening?

13 thoughts on “Episode 628: ‘Bout That Time”

  1. Typo alerts: “we can be reasonable sure” reasonable–>reasonably 😀

    “would have wore thin” wore–>worn 😉

    “fall asleep now that it has been” that–>than 😀

    “any of time in history” of–>other 😉

    Right after history, above, remove the parentheses, they’re really not needed, and you’re ending the sentence with a full stop right next to the closing parentheses anyway, which IMO looks a little out of place. if taken out, it’s a continuation of the sentence, and fits naturally.

    Again, the mouseover text seems to have gone missing. I suspect Dave’s site upload software is doing weird things to wherever he puts it, or maybe he just forgets to put it in, I don’t know anymore. 😀

    • Fixed all. This has nothing to do with my upload software, and everything to do with me doing a whole week’s worth of updates in one sitting when I’m tired.

  2. I’m not sure the new head is totally great, he just went from having a goofy grin on his face with black eyebrows to a smiley face with red eyebrows and pupils in his eyes.

    I think you need to either photoshop his eyebrows to be black, or get some black magic marker that matches the black LEGO print color well, and manually color them in. It all depends on whether you’re better at photoshop editing than using your hands to recolor eyebrow color. 😀

    Either way, I’m sure your continuity editor would be having fits if she wasn’t unconscious. 😉

    • I try not to worry too much about the eyebrows. It bugs me that they don’t match, but it’s quite difficult to mix and match different expressions on characters if you force everything to match exactly, so I have to compromise.

      • I don’t know hard it would be to lay your hands on one, but a quick look on BrickLink turns up this smiley face with black eyebrows, and took well under 30 seconds to find:


        I think you need to browse BrickLink and see if you can find him a more suitable match! 😉

  3. With power gone, we won’t have any trouble finding our sleep… No lights, no sound,… Oh I forgot about horde of zombies ready to eat us while sleeping and other survivors eager to kill because you had 1 chocolate bar remaining. Night althoug could be great help when it will come to hiding from other people. As for taking some rest or trying to sleep, it’s safe to say that night or day, we’ll have a hard time enjoying those times…

    • Yes indeed.

      I wonder how quickly we’ll adapt to the lack of light and sound. When I’m camping, for instance, I often have a tough time falling asleep at first because it’s so dark and quiet. I suspect I’d get used to it pretty quickly though.

  4. As I believe I’ve stated before, my house has an attic that I am currently renovating. Its to make into a sort of loft for my girlfriend’s nieces and nephews. I would just go up there to sleep and pull up the ladder. Problem solved.

    But if I were on the run, or I got caught in the dark during a supply run, I would find myself a van with manual lock doors to sleep in, or find an abandoned penthouse/apartment at the top of the building so I have less chance of running into other survivors looking for supplies, as well as the great view of the streets in the morning so I can set off again safely.
    In means of safeguards, I think the classic “boarded up door” would be fine, but if raw materials were not available, I would probably use very heavy furniture such as ovens and refrigerators to block the doors.
    Even with every safeguard in place, always sleep with one eye open.

    • That loft sounds quite handy. It reminds me of the idea of demolishing the stairs from The Zombie Survival Guide. That always amused me, mostly because I’ve demolished stairs before, and it’s no small task.

      • Yeah, in my house the stairs are actually reinforced and solid wood (its old) so I think it would be easier to just put a couch in the way

  5. I’ve read that people in ancient and medieval times (actually right through into the 19th century in some places) had two odd sleep-related practices. I think these would come back.

    The first makes good sense. It’s called “shutting in.” They’d literally turn their houses into fortresses with heavy shutters, bars on the doors, etc. Then, they’d leave candles around, it is assumed so that it looks like people are awake and it’s easier to get out of bed and check the room if you had to in an age before light switches. The problem with this practice is that many houses would catch fire, and it was also the age before smoke detectors, telephones, or fire departments. People would die barricaded into their own burning home.

    But the really weird practice was “first sleep” and “second sleep.” You’ll see vestiges of this in old fairytales that haven’t been modernized too much. People would go to sleep when the sun went down. But they’d wake up about midnight or 1 o’clock, be active for two or three hours, and then go back to bed and wake up again when it was light.

    They’d go back into the workshop, or even go out and visit people (with many people dying of injuries in roadside ditches poorly lit by lanterns, or getting lose in dark woods and swamps [see the fairytale parallels?]) for a few hours. I’ve always wondered why they bothered to do this.

    It’s a common belief that people would go to bed when it was dark and rise when it was light to save on candles/kerosene/fuel, but if that was the case, they wouldn’t be getting up in the middle of the night to do some more cobbling. What gives?

    Then it hit me: it began as a security measure. People would get up in the middle of the night to check the cave barricade and whatnot. Once you didn’t have to worry about a wolf or a saber-toothed tiger devouring you in your sleep, people found other things to do with their nocturnal waking time.

    Some sleep scientists argue that our brains are designed to work that way, and the single block of sleep we currently use is a product of factory-age industrialism, which spread to the rest of the world when the colonial powers brought their patterns of life with them. Some go so far as to say this is part of why people have sleep disorders where they can’t sleep through the night — that it’s not a disorder at all — that our pattern of living that requires us to be up all day without a midday siesta and sleep through the night in one, uninterrupted block *is* the disordered part.

    One of these experts (whose name is escaping me at the moment) argue that the natural human sleep pattern is: wake from early light to noon, sleep through the heat of the day, wake from 2pm to dark, sleep till midnight, wake until 2 or 3 am, sleep till sunrise.

    • This is really fascinating… I had no Idea of these sleep traditions from the middle ages. These would be very handy in the event of a zombie apocalypse , as people could get up around midnight to check their barricades, and other survivors in the house, set up a kit for the next day, and get some more kip.

  6. There are many people types and many opportunities to drive said people to act / be a certain way in any situation. I think it is just in the way one carries themselves around others. The easiest way to say it is: “to put on airs” around others.

    TWD’s Governer’s attitude was driven by pride, arrogance and loss, but he became a sad loss.
    The gang members in the first / second season were “bad” until we learned they are / were taking care of a retirement home.
    Now in your comic the lady has been smiling for the past 6 strips while even going through the parts about loss. If I don’t see a half smile or frown when she turns her back on him, then I would like to see if she “cries” once she is separated from Sam. If she can’t do that, then she strikes me as the type that might do more harm than good. Either making others sacrifice, because she isn’t good at protecting herself or a type of nobility that doesn’t think twice about throwing away people she consideres pawns for her own end.
    Neither of which is full on evil, but evil enough to drag up other clichés.
    I can picture her going into the other room, only to have forgotten a low set window, only to have a jump scare pop through, making Sam leap into action and then the story taking turns from that point on. Although a reversal of this statement would be a nice fresh take on this.