survival

ADVICE FOR THE ONCOMING HORDE: SURVIVING AS A ZOMBIE

While many books exist to get you into what remains of the minds of zombies, most practical guides are made for Preppers. That’s just discrimination, people. Luckily, there’s a handful of intrepid authors who can help you survive in the new Undead World.

eaters1. The Brain Eater’s Bible: Sound Advice for the Newly Reanimated Zombie, by Pat Kilbane and J.D. McGhoul

Have you read Max Brooks’s best-selling and infamous “The Zombie Survival Guide”? Did it leave you unsatisfied because of your actual chances of survival? Here’s what Barnes & Noble.com says of the book: “Your body is numb and your memory is foggy.  Someone tried to give you medical attention, but you repaid their kindness by savagely killing them and eating their brains.  You are a zombie my friend, just like me.  Though most zombies are slow and stupid, the fact that you are reading this tells me that you are different.  Some of us are.  Welcome to the PACE virus apocalypse.

zen2. The Zen of Zombie: Better Living Through the Undead (Zen of Zombie Series), by Scott Kenemore

This post-Z self-help book is described by one reader: “This book discussed the 24 habits of highly effective zombies (which are the only kind there is), which include such genuine gems as this: be adaptable, be your own boss, remember its just stuff, and digging a grave? You’ve got it made!”

newlyundead3. So Now You’re a Zombie: A Handbook for the Newly Undead, by John Austin
Amazon.com says of this practical self-help guide and intro to being Undead: “Being undead can be disorienting. Your arms and other appendages tend to rot and fall off. It’s difficult to communicate with a vocabulary limited to moans and gurgles. And that smell! (Yes, it’s you.) But most of all, you must constantly find and ingest human brains. Braaaains!!!
What’s a zombie to do?
Thankfully, zombiologist John Austin details everything you need to know, as a newly undead soul, to hunt, fight, and feed on the living. As the first handbook written specifically for the undead, So Now You’re a Zombie explains how you ended up in this predicament, the stages of zombification, and what you need to survive in this zombiphobic world.”

cookbook4. The Zombie Cookbook, from Damnation Books

This mix of short stories, recipes, and poetry will get you in the mood for upcoming Plague. Quotes, per Damnation’s website:

  • Eating half now and half for breakfast shouldn’t ruin the diet.
  • That explains the overly seasoned dinners.
    • Eating humans is hazardous to my health.

zeo5. Z.E.O.: How to Get A(Head) in Business (Zen of Zombie Series), by Scott Kenemore
Another in the Zen of Zombie series, this book will help you not only survive as the undead, but become the “Head” of your horde!

POETRY APOCALYPSE: BOOKS OF ZOMBIE POEMS

For the more sophisticated member of the undead horde, there’s several books of poetry about zombies to help prepare yourself for rising from the grave.

jack1. Jack and Jill Went Up to Kill: A Book of Zombie Nursery Rhymes, by Michael P. Spradlin and Jeff Weigel

For those parents who want to make sure their children are prepared to become members of the shambling undead, this book of nursery rhymes will catch their ear … and maybe the ears of some Preppers, too!

christmas2. It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Zombies! A Book of Zombie Christmas Carols, by Michael P. Spradlin

Do you love holidays? You may already be part of a horde of shoppers and celebrators, especially around Christmas. Get into the spirit with this book of songs to rouse the smallest of hearts.

haiku3. Zombie Haiku: Good Poetry for Your … Brains, and Dawn of Zombie Haiku, by Ryan Mecum

Both books are from the perspective of the walking dead, in haiku format, documented in journal format.

DIG DEEPER IN THE MIND: MORE ZOMBIE NOVELS

Still looking for more Undead points of view? There’s lots of novels being written from the zombies’ perspective, suggesting more and more people are beginning to realize that they’ll be part of the horde, not the survivors, after the Zombiepocalypse occurs.

brains1. Brains: A Zombie Memoir, by Robin Becker

Amazon.com’s description says: “Subtitled “A Zombie Memoir,” Brains looks at America’s favorite walking-dead flesh-eaters from an audaciously original and deliciously gruesome new perspective. Debut author Robin Becker blazes new ground with this story of former college professor-cum-sentient zombie Jack Barnes, who recounts the tale of the resistance he organized in the wake of the recent zombie apocalypse. World War Z; Shaun of the Dead; Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies… Becker tops them all with Brains—a witty, tasty treat for anyone who every spent a midnight glued to a classic George A. Romero zombie epic!”

This novel received 4 out of 5 stars, so it’s popular with the horde!

breathers2. Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament, by S.G. Browne

Goodreads.com says of the book: “Meet Andy Warner, a recently deceased everyman and newly minted zombie. Resented by his parents, abandoned by his friends, and reviled by a society that no longer considers him human, Andy is having a bit of trouble adjusting to his new existence. But all that changes when he goes to an Undead Anonymous meeting and finds kindred souls in Rita, an impossibly sexy recent suicide with a taste for the formaldehyde in cosmetic products, and Jerry, a twenty-one-year-old car-crash victim with an exposed brain and a penchant for Renaissance pornography. When the group meets a rogue zombie who teaches them the joys of human flesh, things start to get messy, and Andy embarks on a journey of self-discovery that will take him from his casket to the SPCA to a media-driven class-action lawsuit on behalf of the rights of zombies everywhere.”

The book clocks not quite a full 4 out of 5 stars, but one reviewer left a nice poem about the book:

“zombies need love too
we deserve equality
frat boys taste yummy”

lifeless3. The Lifeless: A Zombie Novel, by Lorne Dixon

Amazon.com says of the book: “A school full of kids. A mysterious yellow rain. High school will never be the same. They are outcasts and misfits, teenagers lost on the path to adulthood, living day-to-day inside a high school culture of taunts, humiliation, and isolation. They are the misunderstood, the neglected, and the abused. They are . . . The Lifeless. For them, every school day is a nightmare. But on Monday, October 2nd, they will discover the true meaning of terror. Classes are cut short by news of explosions in the city across the river, part of a series of horrific terrorist attacks that paralyze the nation. But that is only the beginning: amber clouds fill the sky, burning rain pelts down, and the surviving students of Verlaine High learn that their tormentors have mutated into something far worse-reanimated corpses with a primordial instinct for murder. It’s time to stand up to the in-crowd . . . or be consumed by it.”

This book, too, received just shy of 4 out of 5 stars, but most reviewers love the book. The two 1-star reviews suggest that the book is not that creative, but the horde overwhelmingly enjoyed the book.

Abandoned mall for sale. Is it really a good place to hide from zombies?

Hiding in an abandoned mall?  Get used to looking at this while you starve to death.
Hiding in an abandoned mall? Get used to looking at this while you starve to death.

I’ve been getting sent this article about an abandoned mall in St. Louis.  I’ve already written about other structures that were up for sale that may be ideal for surviving the apocalypse (a prison and an underground train station), so I guess that’s why people are sending me the story about the mall.

For the love of god, all of you.  What possessed you to think an abandoned mall would be a good base of operations?

For every possible structure there are pros and cons.  What is the pro that makes everybody think of a mall?  Supplies, right?  There is food, sporting goods, a firearms store if you’re lucky, etc.  So before we get into any other considerations, because the mall is abandoned you’ve already lost the biggest pro of making a dash for a mall.

However, all the negatives are still in place.  Any place that wants to sell you something wants you to be able to see inside which means lots of glass on the outside, and glass ranks between hope and a strong breeze in its ability to keep intruders out.  Yeah, there are those rickety gates you can pull down which might deter a thief who worries about getting seen if he spends too much time trying to break in.  But when you’re up against zombies, which can beat on it and throw themselves into it constantly, it will eventually come loose.  What’s more, if you’re on the other side, where are you going to run once you’re blocked in at your only exit?

It does have one advantage though!  People will be interested in a place with resources (which is why malls and grocery stores are so appealing).  Without any resources there, you at least won’t have to interact with the human element much.

Forget the abandoned mall.  There will be plenty of abandoned buildings that will serve you much better.

 

UC Irvine offering a course in zombie survival – for free!

BandageOk, so the CDC isn’t going to help you to prepare (at least not yet), and there’s only so much that I can do to prepare you.  If humanity is to survive the inevitable, experts somewhere are going to have to step up to fill the void.  Finally, that has happened.

The course will deal not only with how to keep your physical body alive and in decent shape in the wake of disaster, but also how to keep your mind sharp in conditions that can cause insanity or panic.  The course will touch on:

  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs—is survival just about being alive?
  • Social order and structures—from the farm and the prison to Woodbury
  • Social identity, roles, and stereotyping—as shown through leaders like Rick and the Governor
  • The role of public health in society—from the CDC to local community organizations
  • The spread of infectious disease and population modeling—swarm!
  • The role of energy and momentum in damage control—how can you best protect yourself?
  • Nutrition in a post-apocalyptic world—are squirrels really good for you?
  • Managing stress in disaster situations—what’s the long-term effect of always sleeping with one eye open?

Preparing costs time though (laziness or other commitments, it turns out, are the biggest impediment to preparedness).  This is about what you’ll be in for as far as a time commitment, and what you can plan to get out of your investment of time:

We recommend that you plan on spending about two (2) to four (4) hours per week on this course, though we believe the course is compelling enough you’ll want to spend more time.

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe how infectious diseases—like a zombie epidemic—spread and are managed
  • Apply various models of society and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to existing and emerging societies as a means for understanding human behavior
  • Analyze existing social roles and stereotypes as they exist today and in an emerging world
  • Debate the role of public health organizations in society
  • Describe how mathematical equations for population dynamics can be used to study disease spread and interventions
  • Apply concepts of energy and momentum appropriately when analyzing collisions and other activities that either inflict or prevent damage
  • Summarize multiple methods for managing stress in disaster situations

The course will be taught by experts on social sciences, astronomy, public health, and mathematics.  The course is being taught online, so there’s no excuse for not signing up.  There’s an optional textbook: The Walking Dead and Philosophy: Zombie Apocalypse Now.  Admittedly I’ve not read it, but I will fix that just as soon as I get back from the hardware store.  I’ve recently moved in with my fiancee and need to zombie-proof the house.

Preppers Will Dig Their Own Grave: Zombie Defense Against Shovels

bazooka

When you become a zombie, defending yourself against arrogant preppers will not be that hard. Many of these idiots will go for chainsaws, katanas, and shotguns, without being trained at all in their proper use. It won’t take long to make a meal of these morons, although I might warn you about empty calories. (rimshot)

There will be hold-outs, though. These preppers will know how to use guns, distinguish poisonous and edible plants, and will have no problem raiding defunct Lowe’s and Home Depot’s to get the right supplies. These preppers will be hard-earned meals for your zombie horde, but it is still possible.

One of the tools that a good prepper will go after is a shovel. Most people in these pre-Zombiepocalypse days prefer lighter shovels, for snow or automobile emergencies. These shovels look like this:

snow

They have a broad, flat-ish head, but a small handle so the tool easily fits into the trunk of your car. But, as this video demonstrates, these shovels are not made from very tough materials.

The second part of the video, though, is a worry. Your rotting flesh is very susceptible to blows from tougher shovels, or improvised weapons. A larger, heavier shovel with a steel blade is durable, useful, and could be sharpened to create a slicing weapon with incredible reach.

monkspadeThis is not the first time anyone would have thought of this type of weapon, either, so the information is out there. Shaolin Spades or Monk’s Spades were, according to legend, developed by monks that carried spades or shovels with them when traveling. The shovel became a great multipurpose tool – defend yourself against bandits, then bury their bodies when you were through. Over time, the shovel became a more stylized weapon.

There’s also zombie-specific shovels already on sale. Tactical shovels can dig holes, chop wood, and slice through your delicate brain tissue.

You have some options, however. If you happen to be one of the smarter members of your horde, you can watch the preppers and wait until their shovels are destroyed through regular wear and tear. All materials degrade eventually. When they head over to raid the hardware store, you can take them out while they have to use crappier weapons. You can also hang back and wait for other members of your horde to take the preppers out – shovels are still melee weapons, meaning that the prepper has to be within a certain range to actually land a blow. This puts them in immediate physical danger, no matter how good their martial arts or melee weapon.

So there you have it. Take down the dumb preppers first, then the preppers with plastic “emergency” shovels, and by that point, the truly prepared preppers should have worn through one round of good shovel, making them easier targets when they head into town for supplies.

World’s first zombie survival store opens.

How nice would it be if you didn’t have to run between hardware stores, sporting outlets, and grocery stores to find everything you will need to survive when the outbreak finally occurs?  It seems that may be a reality now with the opening of the world’s first zombie survival store in Las Vegas.

Let’s take a peek at some of their products to see if they are the sweet ambrosia they purport to be.  First up is the 3 day, 2 people grab ‘n go kit for $47:

Grab_n_go_3p_2d_large
3 day two people. 6 water pouches, 2 – 2400 calorie food bars, first aid kit, 2 – rain ponchos, 2 – solar blankets, super bright survival flare, 2 – light sticks, hand crank flashlight, hand sanitizer, and tissue pack.

Oh hell to the yes.  This isn’t everything you need to survive, but it’s a damn good start.  You may be wondering why you’d want water pouches and not just a canteen.  Well, you’ll also want a canteen…but only when you know the water you’re drinking is pure.  Having water set aside and sealed will hold you over until you find a reliable water source.  I give the grab ‘n go kits a gold star for sure.

Next up is the Israeli gas mask for $45:

Gas_Mask_large
Issued by Israeli government to protect citizens of Israel from terrorist attacks. This item is regarded as the benchmark gas mask for civilian protection. NATO Approved. Never used. Intended for use during the EVACUATION from a contaminated area. Will filter out All Nuclear, Biological (Anthrax and Small Pox) and Chemical Agents. Comes with NBC filter (lasts up to 8 hours depending on level of contamination) Made of soft rubber and fits snuggly and comfortably protecting the face, eyes and respiratory system.

Seems good on the surface, and will certainly perform the task for which it is intended, but I’m going to say it will likely be unnecessary.  Gas masks work on filters.  They’re designed to either give you enough time to get away from the source of the gas or for brief excursions from a base where more filters are available.  They are not designed to protect a person indefinitely, which is likely what you will need.  If the virus is airborne, you need to hole up somewhere and keep it sanitized and on lock down.

In a zombie overrun scenario one of the things with which you will have to content, that many people don’t even think about, is the stench.  The stench of decaying flesh from one body is enough to make most people vomit.  Add into that the stench of millions of corpses loosing their bowels (as well as the fact that there are millions of corpses, not just one) and the odor may be so repugnant as to make you pass out.  A gas mask would be good for dealing with that, but it would come at a price: gas masks severely obscure vision.

A better solution would be a handkerchief worn over the nose and mouth with a sweet smelling cologne or something drizzled onto it.  Cheaper and you’ll be able to see just fine.

I give the Israeli gas mask a silver star.

CDC continues to deny the existence of zombie vectors.

through window smallerOne needs only read the news on a daily basis to see what is coming:

The zombie craze seemed to start with an attack in Miami on Saturday, when Rudy Eugene, 31, was killed by cops while in the process of eating almost the entirety of a homeless man’s face off. The victim, Ronald Poppo, miraculously survived, but doctors are having a hard time figuring out how to put his face back together.

Then, on Tuesday, 21-year-old Alexander Kinyua of Maryland allegedly admitted to dismembering his roommate and then eating his heart and brain.

Cops in Canada are also searching for a low-budget porn actor who allegedly killed a young man with an ice pick, dismembered the body and then raped and ate flesh from the corpse. Luka Rocco Magnotta is being hunted after he allegedly mailed some of the body parts to Ottawa. He’s also accused of killing cats on video and posting the footage online.

Gawker fingered a “mysterious rash” breakout at a high school in Hollywood and other parts of Florida — which hazmat and disease control teams still can’t explain — as further proof that zombies are taking over.

Zombie-like characteristics have been confirmed in the animal kingdom, just not in humans. A newfound fungus in a Brazilian rain forest — called Ophiocordyceps camponoti-balzani — is known to infect an ant, take over its brain so as to move the body to a good location for growth, and then kill the insect.

So far, it seems that the WHO and the CDC have managed to keep it under control.  The strange thing is that they have released a statement in the past in response to stories like these, outright denying the existence of a zombie virus.

“CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms),” wrote agency spokesman David Daigle in an email to The Huffington Post.

I would say they are doing so to avoid panic, but that’s never been the CDC’s style.  When the swine flu broke out, the CDC slathered its website with all sorts of precautionary steps they wanted people to take, all while admonishing us to not panic.  The CDC has a history of going overboard, apparently living by the axiom that it’s better to be safe than sorry.

So why the denial of a zombie virus even though it’s obvious that more and more cases are surfacing and that it’s only a matter of time before an infected person gets loose?  If I had to wager, I’d say it’s because unlike the swine flu and other outbreaks, the CDC and the WHO don’t know what to do about it.

Time to go out and buy a new pair of running shoes.  You’ll need them.

The Original Zombie Apocalypse: Ancient Cannibals

HannibalLecter2

Cannibals have been all over the news lately. Most notoriously, there was the case of the bath salts-driven face-eater in Florida last year; however, several other cannibalism cases have hit the courtrooms just this year.

First, Alexander Kinyua pleaded guilty on August 19th to killing a family friend and eating the victim’s heart. However, the judge in the case found him not criminally responsible and committed Kinyua to a mental health facility indefinitely.

On August 14th, the case of a man who stabbed his girlfriend and threatened to eat a police officer was routed to a grand jury. While his girlfriend survived the incident, “He made a statement to one of the other officers that he was going to cut her up in little pieces and eat her,” according to a police detective. The suspect described himself as a cannibal.

The United States isn’t the only place with cannibal problems. Sture Bergwell, a Swedish 63-year-old man, was deemed wrongfully imprisoned for the slaying and molestation of a 15-year-old boy, and seven other murders. Bergwell described to authorities that he killed many people, and in at least one case ate parts of his victim. However, in 2008, he retracted his statements, and has finally been released from the psychiatric institution in which he served time.

The post-mortem of a Russian fisherman showed that his two friends ate the victim’s flesh as they traversed the snowy Russian wilderness. Evidence suggests that the fisherman’s companions intentionally killed and ate him.

Generally, humans avoid eating each other. Many stories of cannibalism are linked to either desperation or mental illness. But is there more to this seeming upsurge of feasting on humans?

300x168_82426_ancient-peruvian-burial-site-unearthedAs it turns out, cannibalism has been with the human species for hundreds of thousands of years. “These practices were conducted by Homo antecessor, who inhabited Europe one million years ago,” according to the research team, led by Eudald Carbonell, that conducted the study into suspicious bones found at Homo antecessor sites.

“Cut marks, peeling, and percussion marks show that the corpses of these individuals were processed in keeping with the mimetic mode used with other mammal carcasses: skinning, defleshing, dismembering, evisceration, and periosteum (membrane that lines bones) and marrow extraction,” according to the researchers (emphasis mine).

“Other small-sized animals were processed in the same way,” the scientists wrote. “These data suggest that they (Homo antecessor) practiced gastronomic cannibalism.”

The team added that they ruled out ritualized cannibalism – a feature among the famous Fore people, who faced a massive outbreak of the prion disease Kuru that led them to mostly abandon the practice. Studies into Homo antecessor’s cannibalism hinted that the early humans ate other humans – both other species of human and other antecessors – for extra nutrition. The team showed that cannibal practices likely continued into Neanderthals, a mere 12,000 years ago.

With so many stories of zombies and the undead from ancient times to now, it is possible that cannibalism in earliest humans led to the haunting, visceral fear we seem to have now. Joseph Campbell thought that our collective history led to similarities in narratives across cultures, like the Hero’s Journey, so zombies could follow that pattern.

And it does insinuate that there is a Zombiepocalypse happening now. With so many reports from news sources about cannibals, could we be seeing the Zombie Apocalypse happening now, without disease as the transmitter?

The zombie apocalypse: preparing to live without power.

BiohazardI’ve already gone into detail on the wisest course of action if you are in a major population center when the apocalypse breaks out:  to hunker down and play defense, as it were.  Eventually either the zombies or the humans will win out.  If it’s the humans, awesome.  If it’s the zombies, at least now you’re only facing one major threat without adding panicky people on top of it.

The problem with this is that we are more reliant on electricity than we notice.  When was the last time most of you even saw a radio that operated on batteries?  Without power, how would you deploy the security doors when locking down a major building?  What if you need a hospital?  Consider trying to go a single day without using anything that plugs into a wall as well as no air conditioning, no hot water, etc.  You’ll come to grips very quickly with how unprepared most people are for living in a powerless world.

So how long can you hunker down before the power goes out?  24 hours at most:

Without human beings around to perform certain routine tasks, the electricity system will quickly cease to function. In regions dependent on fossil fuels for electricity generation (i.e., the entire U.S.), power plants will shut down, or “trip,” within 24 hours (or less) without continuous fuel supply. As soon as one plant trips offline, voltage at various points along the transmission system will drop below preset thresholds, spurring a domino effect as automated protection devices kick in and disconnect additional sections of the network. This cascade of trips would bring the system to a standstill, and a blackout would ensue.

Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide has all kinds of helpful tips for how you should spend this very important 24 hours: fill every receptacle available with water, secure your area (in ways that don’t require power, so destroy the staircase, find somewhere that relies on bars rather than alarms for security, etc.), take inventory of what non-perishables are available and how long they will last, if the internet is up you can email people in an uninfected area (you should not only communicate where you are, but also details of what you see so information gets to the outside), etc.

You should also be ready for additional threats that a failed power structure could bring:

Many critical facilities (e.g., hospitals, military bases) have on-site diesel generators to provide emergency backup power. However, these generators have a 40 percent failure rate, are usually designed to run for 24 hours or less, and require an operator around to babysit them. With no one there to refill the fuel tanks, check the oil, and perform other basic maintenance, most of these generators will not last more than one or two days. Without backup generation, basic services like water and sewage treatment cannot function. During the Southern California Blackout, San Diego’s sewage pumps backed up after less than 12 hours without power, bringing the city dangerously close to a real health crisis.

Or you could hope you live in an area whose power is drawn from a microgrid (or distributed generation).  From the article:

A well-designed microgrid—combining distributed, renewable resources such as solar PV and wind with smart auto-controls and energy storage—would continue to provide reliable power with little human control, keeping the lights on, even under chaotic circumstances.

Microgrids do have their drawbacks.  When we’re not in a situation that threatens the power structure (hurricane, terrorist attack, zombies) they are far more costly per watt to operate and, at their current level of development, they are inconsistent.  They can either have exceptionally low maintenance costs or astronomically (and unacceptably) high ones.

But the pro is that if the macrogrid goes offline, the microgrid can be operated as an independent unit, often free of human interaction for long periods.  That is why they are gaining in popularity.  The government will tell you that it’s because of environmental threats that could tank our power structure, but we all know what they’re really preparing for.

If your area runs on a microgrid, you are extremely lucky.  For everybody else, let’s hope they become the norm before it’s too late.