Friday, June 22, 2007


Not that anyone is actually reading this, but I'm going to reboot this blog at some point, start over from scratch. For your current amusement, here is a zombie survival supply checklist:

Ideally, you want something that will keep for a hell of a long time, is easy to prepare, and will give you the nutrition you need. Military grade MRE's are probably the ideal ration you want. They're specifically designed to give someone all the nutrition they need when under combat conditions, and are completely self-contained, even including a cooker. They're lightweight, and easy to stow, and in a pinch, you can turn that heater into an explosive device, if what I read on the internets is accurate. Some of your better army surplus places will have the military grade MRE's, otherwise you may have to settle for civilian models. I'm given to understand that MREStar comes closest to matching the military spec ones, but ideally, you want military grade.
Other food can be scavenged from abandoned stores and supermarkets while on the road, but this will be intermittent. Try to lay in a good supply of MREs as a base, and supplement as you will with whatever fresh and/or canned food you can get your hands on.

It's always a good idea to have a handy supply of antibiotics, painkillers, and penicillin type drugs. They can be obtained in various ways, be creative. I personally have bronchitis which acts up every now and then, but I never need to take all the drugs they prescribe to me, so I hoard them. The same goes for other types of drugs, particularly painkillers. I take as few as possible when I get an occasional prescription for back pain or something. Not only does this reduce my dependency, since I really don't want to get addicted, but it allows me to have some in reserve for a crisis situation. A good first aid kit is a must, as well. Again, check army surplus stores. I can't say enough about how much better most military grade equipment is compared to civilian camping gear and what not. A lot of what I recommend is available at army surplus stores, and the prices are usually a lot cheaper than what you would find at a sporting goods place like Academy or REI.

BDUs. Again, army surplus. Not only are they good, rugged clothes with reinforcement in needed places, like knees and elbows, but they are often made in a ripstop fashion, and they have LOTS of pockets, all the better to stow your gear close to your body. Hell, I don't even buy jeans anymore, I just wear BDU pants when I want something other than shorts. And they make BDU shorts, as well. While you're at the army surplus store, get yourself a web belt, because there are other things you can get at the army surplus store to hang on it, such as:

I went into the army surplus store the other day, as I wanted to get a new bag. I found a great courier bag, hella durable. While I was there, I looked around for gear to fill out my zombie survival kit, and there's plenty:

Machete: The machete is the perfect blade for the novice melee combatant. It's durable, lightweight, easy to swing, and sharp enough to penetrate the skull and destroy the brain. It also costs under $15 for a good military grade model. Ideally, you don't want to get close enough to a zombie to engage them in melee combat, but you should be prepared for the eventuality.

Army shovel: There are several varieties. They all have a shovel blade that folds down, and there's usually a belt sheath included so you can hang it from your web belt. The main difference is that you have the kind with the fixed, longer wooden or metal handle. This is definitely durable, but can be awkward while hiking with it. There's also a kind where the handle itself folds up, and the whole shovel folds up into a belt sheath the size of the shovel blade. Personally, I prefer this one. The particular model I looked at had a good pointed shovel blade, a serrated edge on the right, and a good sharp knife edge on the left. It's designed for both digging trenches and cracking skulls. I loved it.

Knives and bayonets: Most army surplus stores will have a great variety of Ka-Bars, bayonets, not to mention the odd switchblade here and there. You can never have enough knives, and if you end up getting a rifle that can take a bayonet, (M1 Garands and AK-47s are some of the sturdier rifles when it comes to melee combat), you really should have one on hand.

I'll add more to this list later.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Further Preparations

I have been taking stock of the strategic situation of my home. There are four staircases leading up to the second floor apartments where I live, a straight and a spiral near my side, and two two-flight staircases on the other end. Three of these are wrought iron, and will be relatively easy to disable when the time comes, but the fourth one is mostly concrete, and that will prove more difficult. I do have a sledgehammer that can help in that regard, and I have tools for dismantling the other ones, but in a pinch it might be handy to have some thermite on hand for rushed situations. Luckily, directions for making thermite are found pretty easily online, and I should be able to get the components without too much difficulty. If I can lay in a sufficient amount of supplies, knocking out the staircases will allow me to hold off the zombies for as long as they hold out, since zombies can't climb. The buildings of the complex are relatively close together, so if I did need to get out, it would be a simple matter to hop on the roofs and make my way to the other end of the complex if I needed to.

The rest of the complex is woefully inadequate for defensive purposes. The gates are often in ill repair and even one person can push them open enough to enter, and a mob of zombies would make easy work of them. Even if the gates themselves were to hold, the wooden fences are rotten and full of broken sections. They have wire fences on the exterior, but I have no confidence in them. There is a bar across the street which looks reasonably fortifiable, with gated windows and such, along with a quickie mart, so that's always a halfway decent fallback position. My current location is still way too urban to make any kind of permanent base, however, so the plan will most likely involve heading north west, away from the city as far as possible. The wife and I are planning a road trip in a few months. We're going to take two weeks and travel as far as Vancouver if we can. We've been wanting to relocate to the Pacific Northwest anyway, so the trip will serve a dual function. The trip will have an added bonus of allowing me to plot a course away from population centers.

I've also been pricing equipment that I will need. I can get an M1 Garand online for around $500, and if I go to a gun show, or shop around locally, I can probably get one cheaper. We'll see. Someone mentioned that the stripper clips for the Garand are hard to find, but I found a website that sells them at a dollar a clip, so I'll probably stock up on those. I could easily drop $50 for that kind of deal, and that would put me holding 400 rounds of ammunition, ready to go. 12 gauge shotguns are easily gotten at Wal-Mart for a close quarter dispersal weapon, and those are usually under $200. Ideally, I'd like to acquire the Garand, a shotgun, and a 1911 Colt 45 for myself. I'll have to get Cat tested out on the guns too, if she can't handle the 12 gauge shotgun I'll get her a 20 gauge, probably along with a .22 rifle (light, easy, and perfect for scrambling zombie brains once you can shoot well enough to penetrate the skull), and some kind of pistol. If she can handle the .45, I'll get a matched set (I'll even have them engraved His and Hers, ;-D), but if not, we can get her a 9 mil. The pistols are a last ditch weapon in any case, ideally, we won't let any of the ghouls close enough to where they're necessary, but as the Scout Motto says, "Be Prepared." Various magazines and cartridges will also need to be purchased, of course, since you don't want to have sufficient ammo without a quick way of utilizing it in a tight spot. I figure a minimum of 500 rounds for each weapon should be our stockpile. Ammo belts and what not will be another necessity for when we're on the move.

I'll test out the bladed weapons we have, most of which, particularly the knives, I know will be useful. We will probably want to acquire some military grade machetes, just to be on the safe side, as well as good sturdy crowbars. The rest of the equipment will largely consist of good, durable (likely military surplus) gear, packs, cookout gear, compasses, etc. We'll probably want to stockpile batteries like we stockpile ammo. They will probably be worth their weight in gold when the shit comes down.

That's it for tonight. More as I think of it.

P.S. I don't know if it's just because I've been obsessing about zombie survival lately or what, but I've been finding weird rumors floating around lately. Apparently the alleged nuclear test recently conducted in North Korea has been having some strange after effects. I don't have any details, but I'm getting a weird feeling. Might be time to step up my preparations...

The Zombie Zeitgeist

Is it just me, or have others out there noticed that Zombies just seem to be everywhere in media today? There seems to be a great resurgence of the genre, and it's just popping up everywhere. Dawn and Day of the Dead get remade, Romero brings out a 4th of his own with Land of the Dead, 28 Days Later, Resident Evil 1 and 2, House of the Dead 1 and 2, Dead Rising and Stubbs the Zombie for XBox, Shaun of the Dead, The Walking Dead and a whole slew of other comics doing great business, All Flesh Must Be Eaten and the Zombies!!! boardgame with its numerous supplements, and of course, Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z. That's just the stuff I'm aware of, I'm sure there's more that I haven't found yet. I mean, I know the genre's always been around, but it seems that in the past few years, it's exploded. I suppose the Zombie is the creature of the decade, like the Vampire was the creature that was everywhere in the 90s.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the political climate, at least here in the US. In the 90s, we had a relatively moderate political climate, with Clinton in the White House. The creature that seemed to capture the imagination was the vampire, which, in most of the popular fiction they're associated with, are kind of the Republicans of the "monster" world. They're usually rich, sophisticated, elitist in their attitudes, and they seem to take great pleasure in manipulating people for their own ends, even beyond their need to drink blood. Vampires are the true assholes of the monster world.
Werewolves are generally people who get inconvenienced every time a new moon comes around, but aside from that, they're pretty decent people. Their curse is something that they rarely, if ever, in the popular mythos have any control over, and when they can, it seems like if they can get their wild on, they'd be perfectly happy to hunt down some wild animal when they're changed, and then be done with it. I don't know of any popular werewolf "mythos" material that has them fucking with people to the extent that vampires seem to do. Sure, every now and then you get the "tortured, romantic" depiction of the vampire, but even with those bloodsuckers, their behavior is fairly sociopathic. I think those very sociopathic tendencies are what make people attracted to the idea of the romantic vampire. After all, Ted Bundy got lots of marriage proposals after they caught him.

In any case, getting back to my point, after a decade or so of vampiric fascination, the Republicans, the most sociopathic (in my opinion) of political parties took control of the country and quickly proceeded to use and abuse it to their (non-beating) heart's content, sucking it dry for the benefit of their fellow vampires, namely corporate oligarchies and other "elite" assholes.

Interestingly enough, the media glorifying vampires started to dry up. What vampire media that still flourishes usually involves either vampires getting their asses handed to them (the Blade Trilogy), or stuff that casts Vampires in a very unfavorably light (The Underworld movies). What has replaced the vampire largely is the zombie genre. George A. Romero once said, "I also have always liked the monster within idea. I like the zombies being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters." I think this is a key notion in this new zombie zeitgeist.

People are no longer enamored of vampires simply because in a very real sense, they're already being dominated by vampires in the political arena. Looking to a similar creature for entertainment is simply no fun anymore. But anyone can be a zombie. You don't need connections. You don't need to be attractive. You don't need to participate in any kind of complicated ritual. You just have to get bitten. What could be more democratic? Zombies don't care about your bank account, or your race, or religion, or whether you got a degree from a reputable university or at all. They don't care about any of that. They just want your tasty, tasty flesh. Now granted, it's a horror genre, so the fact that people are getting eaten is a bad thing, of course, but I think that there's also something rather comforting in the indiscriminate nature of the zombie holocaust. That asshole who cut you off in his Lexus while talking on his cell phone? His money and entitlements won't protect him, not once the apocalypse gets up to speed. Do you have credit card debt? Who cares, when there's zombies running around trying to eat people? No one does, and as horrible as the zombies are, I think people do get some sense of relief from the fact that the soul-killing pressures of modern American life all slip away when one has to revert to basic survival needs.

...An entire generation pumping gas and waiting tables; or they're slaves with white collars. Advertisements have them chasing cars and clothes, working jobs they hate so they can buy shit they don't need... We were raised by television to believe that we'd be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars -- but we won't. And we're learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed-off. - Tyler Durden, Fight Club

Most people drag their asses into work at a cube farm every day, listening to inane chatter around the water cooler, watching their 401K like hawks, dreaming of being an old person because then they'll finally be free of the rowing the wage galley. They get migraines while trying to pay the bills, since their measly 3% pay raise ends up being a pay cut in real dollars since inflation has risen to 6 or 7% in the meantime. They have to try to keep up with the bullshit of car registration, license renewals, medical co-pays, all the little things that take tiny nips out of their soul all year round.

Suddenly, you give them a scenario where all of that BULLSHIT no longer matters. All that matters is their ability to shoot a rifle, run faster than the shambling dead, and secure and fortify a temporary location to hold off the hordes of the undead for one more night. Sure, it's tough to do, but there's also an enormous sense of freedom in it. It's like returning to tribal hunter/gatherer days. You don't need money, you just climb into the nearest Wal-Mart and loot what you need. If someone else got to it first, well, you move on to the next one. Is it a tough existence? Sure it is. But it's also a remarkably honest one. If you have the skills to survive, or the ability to learn them, you can flourish. If you don't, well you can join the ranks of the undead, and still be free from all of those burdens and cares and worries that were killing you slowly from the inside anyway.

People ask me why I'm working on a zombie survival plan, since there's "obviously" no such thing as zombies. Maybe they're right, maybe they're not. I'm not just preparing, I'm looking forward to it.

Bring it on.

In the world I see - you are stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center. You'll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life. You'll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. And when you look down, you'll see tiny figures pounding corn, laying strips of venison on the empty car pool lane of some abandoned superhighway. - Tyler Durden, Fight Club

Not a Whole Lot Going On...

Halloween was pretty slow this year. We decided to take it easy, I picked up some candy, but we didn't get any trick or treaters. We'll probably go check out Saw III tomorrow, since I'm off. I wish there were some new zombie flicks out, it's Halloween, dammit. We have a few good ones coming up, like the remake of Day of the Dead, 28 Weeks Later, and World War Z, but I want some now. Max Brooks rules. I really hope they do WWZ justice. Personally, I think it would be better done as a series on HBO or something, but we'll see.

Just for shits and giggles I've been seeing about working up a good Zombie Survival Plan, based on the ZSG. I figure most of the material in it is good solid survival advice anyway, and I've been wanting to bone up on that type of stuff. We usually have a good supply of water in the apartment, and I have a crapload of camping gear. While I don't have any guns, I do have a crapload of swords, most of which, while not in total "combat readiness", would do in a pinch. Per the ZSG, I should probably consider getting myself a gun at some point. Ideally, I'd want a World War II M1 Garand, as I've heard great things about them. They're semi-auto, but in a zombie situation I'd need to go for head shots anyway, so that's no big deal. No need to waste the ammo. When I was at the Renaissance Festival this past weekend they even had a ton of bayonets that I recognized as being specifically designed for the Garand, thanks to Wikipedia. I may pick one of those up when I go back in a few weeks, if I can find one in good condition. Most of them were rusty as hell, but nothing a good sheet of fine grain sandpaper couldn't fix.

I think I'll look around for a good Garand reproduction. My only experience with guns up to this point has been with shotguns and .22s when I worked at scout camp, and I was a crappy shot then. Knowing how to shoot seems like a good skill to have, at any rate. I figure a Garand should be my primary weapon of defense, and I'll supplement that with a good shotgun and a pistol. As much as I'd like an AK-47 or something, I don't have the need or money for something like that, even if it is just semi-auto, like the ones I'm told that it's legal for citizens to have. Garands, shotguns, and pistols have the advantage of having readily available ammo, at damn near any gun/sporting goods shop. I figure a Mossberg for the shotgun, and probably a 45 for the pistol, since both have good knockdown power. Shotgun shells, 45 caliber bullets, and 30-06 rounds, which the Garand takes, are all easy to find. I'll probably want to get Cat some guns of her own as well. I'll find out what she wants, and if we can afford them. We can probably take them to the range together and practice. It'll be fun. That'd be important if a zombie apocalypse situation actually does go down. I need to be able to scavenge for stuff where I can, and I'm sure there's a hell of a lot more of that type of ammo at places like Wal-Mart than there would be of exotic NATO and WARSAW Pact stuff. I could be wrong, though. I'm incredibly ignorant about the subject. I'll have to see what I can do about that.

Enough about guns, for now. I'm certainly no Raptorman or Alpha Dog. I'm a fat, out of shape guy, with no military training. I am, however, an Eagle Scout, ;-). I'm certainly not as good as Les from the Survivorman show, but I remember some basic wilderness survival stuff from when I got the merit badge. I need to focus on other supplies, like foodstuffs and medical supplies, things of that nature, that are relatively easy to get a hold of. I think I'll take an inventory of what I need, and think about laying in some stocks. I'll also see about putting together a "bug-out bag", like Raptorman talks about. Something I can grab and go.

Other things to consider are escape routes. I think the city will rapidly deteriorate when Zed comes to town, so I'll want to plot a quick route out. I think we'll shitcan my truck if it comes to that, it's cramped, and needs work done on it. It is not a reliable vehicle, at all. Cat's Jeep gets just about as good, if not better mileage, so I'll plan on that as our means of transport, for as long as we can get gas for it, at any rate. I'll figure out what we can leave in the Jeep on a permanent basis, what we can stow quickly, and I'll also see about getting roof racks for our bikes, for when gas becomes unavailable.

I think I should put together a group, other than Cat and myself. There might be safety in numbers. I'll have to see if my friend Adam wants to get in on this. He's another Eagle Scout, and he can probably help me with some of the stuff I'm weak on. He doesn't have much, but I know he has at least a bit more experience with guns, for instance, and he tends to be pretty handy with vehicle maintenance and whatnot.

This is going to be so much fun.