Monthly Archives: June 2012

Essential Author Survival Kit Item

Here’s the thing, all of us creative types, we just don’t know how the hell to stop. It’s a reflex, a comfort blanket, an obsession, a drive, a best friend, worst enemy, love/hate, do it or die essential and, you know what? Even in the event of a cataclysmic world breakdown, that instinct is unlikely to take a powder and run for the hills. You’re going to have a LOT to say.
So how do we go about planning a practical, workable solution to this unavoidable instinct that won’t add a whole bundle of unnecessary crap to your survival bag? Not only that, but this extra piece of kit kind of has to be manual, because there’s no guarantee anything electric is going to work ever again.
Here then is an essential item a scribbler of any stripe is going to need to tuck away into the survival bag:



A metal pen – yes, you heard me, a METAL pen. This puppy will write on anything, under any conditions, even under water! Yes, you heard me… under water! I think I’m in love. It’s apparently got endless ink, but I’m a practical sort and my instinct says to buy two or more; because two pens are better than one, and more pens are even better than two, every writer knows that.

And watch this epic video of its full awesome powers here:

Now, you may want to grab yourself some paper for this puppy but, like I said, it’ll write on anything and we write to be read, us writing obsessives. In an apocalypse I suspect book sales will go down with civilisation, but those left will hopefully read the words we scrawl upon the walls of abandoned buildings, cracked paving stones, and the smoking hulks of cars.
Keep your creativity, your passion for writing the world, never let it die, and leave behind some evidence of your experience for those who come after those who survived. And also smile with smug satisfaction that they will, rather like we do when observing the Mayans, have no idea whatsoever how the hell we managed it!

Zombie Preparation for fun and education

So you,like me have been thinking about the end of the world. What if it’s chemical, or nuclear, what if it’s machines. Still I keep coming back to zombies, i’m not sure why.
But here are a few things I have picked up trawling pinterest that have amused me and I wanted to share.

Seriously, we all want one of these don’t we? One in every room and under your desk at the office? Just in case?
Although mine would have a fold up shovel and a sword in it.

heehee, yeah, I like it. We need UK ones, that count even without a zombie apocalypse. You seem like a zombie to me and I have a license. mwahahaha.

So many days at work. Seriously. Telling me you’ve never sat in a meeting and thought… a zompoc would get me out of this? I have. I’ve even sat there contemplating my exits, whether i’d try and take the others with me or just leave them to be eaten. This, people, is how I pass the time.

You need good rules people. They can save your life. Rules are the foundation of survival. Every house needs to set rules, post them up on the fridge with the kids pictures and be prepared.

I just love this, I am no where near artistic enough, but it’s very, very cool. Also, makes me think she wants to bite you.

Sadly I don’t have the original sources for all these, but love the work people are doing on the zompoc. You have favourite zombie stuff you want to share? Use the comments. 🙂

Know Your Idols #29: Fox

You may not have heard of Fox. (Depending on the context, that’s not altogether a bad thing, for reasons which will be abundantly clear if you’ve ever come across Mark Millar’s “Wanted” comic.) But if you have heard of her, there’s a good chance it will be via the Timur Bekmambetov film, where she’s a completely different animal and portrayed by Angelina Jolie on top tattooed, ass-kicking form.

What’s her deal?


Fox is a member of the Fraternity – an elite group of assassins – recruited after her DA father was murdered by a mob boss. Distant and often aloof, she may not say much but she’s always watching. And when she does have something to say, it’s worth listening.

Unflappable, with a hell of an aim, she thinks nothing of climbing out of the windscreen of a speeding car just so she can get a better shot at her target. And, frankly, who hasn’t wanted to do this in a grocery store once in a while? Fast driving, fast shooting, brass-knuckle wearing… Fox is a tough one to crack.

Determined, ruthless and brave enough to stand in front of a bullet,  she’s a woman in a man’s world and one impressive lady; willing to live and die by her code of honour.

She Says:

“You apologise too much.”

“We kill one, and maybe save a thousand. That’s the code of the Fraternity. That’s what we believe and that’s why we do it.”

Research:

“Wanted” (2008), IMDB, Wanted Wiki

—Daystar out—

Music for the Apocalypse #37: It’s Not the End of the World, by Lostprophets

A song called ‘It’s Not the End of the World’ might seem incongruous on an apocalypse themed blog, but this song is somewhat duplicitous. The singer calls out in the chorus:

It’s not the end of the world now, baby, 
So, c’mon, dry those tears
It’s not the end of the world now darling, 
But I can see it from here

This song has a delightfully unreliable narrator. One senses the classic metaphor of the end of a relationship being likened to the end of the world, and the undercutting of such hyperbole by the unsympathetic boyfriend. Yet what the chorus gives with one hand, it takes back with the other – ‘It’s not the end of the world’ he says, ‘But I can see it from here’. He sets himself up as the one with clearer sight, but he contradicts himself, and the verses suggest that whatever is ending, whatever is upsetting his partner so much, he’s not entirely innocent:
My soldiers march tonight in the city of your dreams
This beautiful army are tearing at your seams
Down on your knees, cure this disease
I’ll take it all, everything I see
Oh, can’t your hear this symphony?
He’s at fault for her pain; he enjoys her devastation and destruction – he finds it beautiful, symphonic. Yet he sadistically mocks her for expressing the despair he has caused. At the same time, the tone of the song is one of protest against destruction. In confessing that he can see the end of the world from here – screaming it at the climax of the song – one senses that this isn’t really what he wants, but he can’t stop himself, anyway.

There’s something delightfully maverick, here. Of course, it’s all metaphor for a relationship, but the imagery is evocatively apocalyptic, as is reflected in the rather wonderful visuals of the music video, where the buildings are seen to disintegrate around the band. At the same time, we see an interesting angle on the appeal of apocalypse in art. The common impulse to destroy things because you want to see them burn, even though you actually value the things you are destroying. The fear and exhilaration of losing control – of letting yourself go even though you know the ultimate consequences will be contrary to what you desire. Lost prophets indeed.

You can download this song in a whole host of places:

iTunes
HMV
Play
7digital
Amazon
Visible Noise

And hey, this is a relatively recent tune, released in 2009, so why not give some young artists some love? You can visit them at their website, here: http://lostprophets.com/ .

 – ApocalypseWomble out.

Shovels and their many uses

Shovels are your friend.

Come the zombie apocalypse they are weapons, sharp enough to take a head off, don’t need reloading, you don’t even need to be good with the thing, no skill here folks, just ram it at them roughly neck height and don’t let go of the handle. In fact it doesn’t need to be zombies, a good whack around the skull or ramming the edge into the throat and you can dispense more than just the animated dead.

You can dig holes to hide your stash of emergency supplies whether you suss out whether the new people are safe or not, hell you can dig holes to sleep in and cover yourself in leaves at a pinch so you can remain safely hidden while you sleep.

Shallow graves, say you are out training for the zompoc with your friends and umm, oops, didn’t mean to do that, quickly hide the evidence.

Strange and unpleasant substances? Poke it or shove it with your shovel, see if it moves or you know, attacks. If it does attack, whack it. Of course they are also made for purpose for gardening, the one thing you can’t do without when ‘digging for when the canned goods run out’ is your shovel.

Make sure you have at least one and keep it somewhere accessible. I still haven’t told my mum the real reason I leave my garden tools so close to the back door is just in case of the zompoc, but that’s why it’s there.

You can even get cute little fold up shovels now you can fit into a back pack. How perfect is that?
Honeybadger out.

Review| The Kill Crew by Joseph D’Lacey

I don’t normally do this but i’m cross posting this from Un:Bound because it’s definitely one for my girls… strong female lead, end of the world, guns and stuff… Honeybadger out.
——–

The Kill Crew
 by Joseph D’Lacey
 pub Stonegarden.net
 The five word review? ‘F*ck me that was great’.

Sheri volunteers on the kill crew regularly, she’s on it more than a lot of the men that volunteer and she’s damn good at it. Since the world went quiet it’s pretty much what keeps her going. Can’t say much more than that for fear of spoilers.

 D’Lacey does a superb job of little by little building the world post ‘event’, letting the reader in on what they need to know and creating the characters that matter. The knife edge between hope and inevitability is handled masterfully and I was held, rapt throughout. There are some nice twists and the action is mostly deceptively gentle in pace for a fairly violent story.

 Zombie fans, this is….. something wonderfully, deliciously different and yet still right up your street. It asks the questions zombie tales usually duck and hints at things that twist your head a little. In short, it’s brilliant, it’s tempting me to Meat even though the subject matter is a particular squick issue for me. I will perhaps read everything else he’s written first…. also, that cover, very Girls Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse.

Zombie Survival Can, review

 

First of all as a drink I have to say I prefer the taste of the zombie survival can to redbull or relentless. It has something of  a refresher sweets quality so it goes down easily.
As to the claims it makes on its handy ‘In case of zombie apocalypse’ guide.
‘Drink entire can contents to ensure speedy escape’
Hmm, I am not convinced the drink made me faster or even gave me more stamina for running. I felt no great burst of leg power after drinking and would require some convincing of this claim.
‘Fill can with rock, then throw can at zombie’
I have two issues with this, first, the time taken to fill the can’s small opening with small pebbles would probably allow zombies to gather and eat you. Second, it’s a small can of pebbles. It’s not going to destroy the brain or spinal column so throwing cans is unlikely to be an effective defence.
‘Substitute for gas mask in case of toxic cloud’
Frankly if I had a gas mask I’d hang on to it, however the empty can would contain a small additional air supply so in a pinch, with your face sealed off via plastic bag or masking tape, then the can could give you a few more moments to escape the cloud and unwrap your head. I’ll give them that one.
‘Use can to collect rain water, boil if necessary’.
Absolutely yes. Quite right, especially if you can find a piece of plastic to use as a funnel the can could be key life saving equipment.
‘Dispose of can properly, sounds of litter can alert zombies to your presence’
Always a good idea to clean up signs of your presence.
What they missed…
This is an energy drink and I must admit I am feeling buzzy and alert after drinking it, so I would recommend it for guard duty, those all important small hours of the morning when it’s so hard to stay sharp. A little extra buzz could save your life and the lives of everyone in your camp.
Overall then I’d say, it’s a little pricey and probably any energy drink would do, but the zombie survival can does come with a handy pictorial reminder of its uses and it a nice little liquid buzz. Worth having a couple in your bug out bag. Or just for really long meetings.

Apocalypse First Aid – Unconscious (and un-zombied)

The main purpose of First Aid is to keep an injured person stable until the Emergency Medical Services arrive. Of course in the event of apocalypse they might not be available.

In a First Aid situation you should always get help straight away.
If you have a doctor or medic in your team refer to them. If there aren’t any professionals available make sure you have back up, you shouldn’t deal with this on your own.
It is worth having some First Aid knowledge yourself so you can help out injured teammates and keep yourself from danger.



Unconscious Casualty
Whenever you are dealing with an unconscious person remember DRAB.

DangerAlways check if it’s safe to approach. This is especially important during the apocalypse.
If you are dealing with a zompoc your first instinct on seeing an unconscious body should be Double Tap. Remove the head or destroy the brain.

Response – If it is safe to approach see if you can get a response from them. Try talking, shouting, prodding them with something, shaking, light pinching, or your most hilarious joke. If you get no response they are probably unconscious, but be careful it could be a trap.
If they do respond then they are (hopefully) conscious, so something else is probably wrong and hopefully they can tell you what that is.
If they say “Braaains” RUN!

If they are unconscious:

Airway – The airway needs to be as wide as possible to make breathing easier. To extend the airway put a hand on the forehead and use two fingers on the chin to tilt the head right back. This is very important and can help them to breathe again without further action on your part.
Here’s a quick demonstration you can try right now:

  • Put your chin as close to your chest as possible and take a deep breath.
  • Now tilt your head back as far as you can and take another deep breath.

Feel that? That difference is absolutely vital when you can’t move your head and all your muscles are completely relaxed.

Breathing – Check if they are breathing. If you are comfortable doing so put your cheek above their nose and mouth to see if you can feel breath. Look along the body to see if the chest is rising and falling. Do this for no more than 10 seconds.

First Aiders are no longer advised to check for a pulse.
It’s hard to find one if you don’t know how, you can waste time doing it, and you might find your own blood is thundering in your ears too much to find one, especially if it’s weak.

If they are breathing normally put them in the recovery position (see below).
If they aren’t breathing start chest compressions. Here is hard man Vinnie Jones to tell us how.

If you are comfortable doing so you can perform mouth-to-mouth (this is an excellent way of spreading disease, so don’t do it if you aren’t comfortable). Only ever perform mouth-to-mouth on someone who isn’t breathing.

  • Make sure the airway is fully extended, otherwise the air won’t go where it’s needed.
  • Pinch the nostrils closed.
  • Cover their mouth with yours and blow into their mouth steadily.
  • Lift your head to breathe in and check if the chest rises (if it does you got it right, well done you).

Each breath should take 1 second.
Do 2 of these rescue breaths after every 30 compressions.
If you aren’t sure whether you’re doing it right just do the compressions.

It’s worth mentioning that CPR is only a stop gap measure until the professionals arrive. It’s a way of pumping oxygenated blood to the brain while the body can’t do it properly. You aren’t supposed to do it for more than 10 minutes. If help isn’t coming, and the casualty isn’t breathing, stop before you exhaust yourself.

If someone doesn’t have a pulse CPR will not bring them back to life. 

Recovery Position
If a casualty is breathing but unconscious put them in to the recovery position.
There have been various different ways of doing the recovery position, but the most important things are:

  • The casualty is resting stably on their side and can’t roll onto their back.
  • The airway is extended. 
  • The head is supported 
  • The mouth is pointing down.

This is important because any vomit (or other unwanted fluid) should end up outside the body, not sitting in the throat blocking the precious, precious oxygen.

One of the keys things about unconscious people is that they don’t move of their own accord, so you can move them into different positions. One of the other key things is that they have no muscle responses and they are completely floppy, so you will have to do all of the moving for them.

Once someone is in the recovery position you can let go of them and even leave them. Though if there are carnivores around that might not be a good idea.

Here is a lady from the British Red Cross demonstrating what to do.

Remember in an apocalypse situation everyone will be more disheveled and dirty, and something will probably be on fire in the background.

When doing First Aid always get help as soon as possible. Do not do anything to put yourself in danger.
If you want to learn more check professional groups like The Red Cross and St. John’s Ambulance.

I am not a medical professional, simply a well-informed amateur with a background in lifeguarding.

Hekate out.

Music for the Apocalypse #36: God Save the Queen, by The Sex Pistols

Queen Elizabeth II
God Save the Queen (but if he can’t, dibs on that hat)

Liz X from The Beast Below, Doctor Who
“I’m the bloody queen, mate.”

As the second longest reigning monarch of these isles of Britannia (the longest reigning being the formidable Victoria), there’s a lot to admire in Liz II. In fact, the queens of Great Britain have a lot going for them altogether. Pope Sixtus V said of Liz I: “She is only a woman, only mistress of half an island, and yet she makes herself feared by Spain, by France, by the Empire, by all”, and the success of both Liz I and II’s reigns inspired the rather wonderful Liz X, in one of the most marvellous episodes of the Matt Smith era of Doctor Who, ‘The Beast Below’. Liz X saves her people from the death of the Earth by whisking them away on Staship UK.

And yet, although any girl with what it takes to survive an apocalypse has to admire these ladies, the apocalypse is rarely kind to royalty. James Herbert’s ’48 begins with the protagonist occupying Buckingham Palace – deserted after the end of the world. In I, Zombie, by Al Ewing, the palace becomes a pulsating incubator for horrifying insectoid aliens. And, even though the human race survives in her hands, The Beast Below is hardly uncritical of monarchic rule, as the police state she has created and allowed to continue appears dangerously restrictive, culturally stultified, and is founded on the enslavement and torture of a wondrous sentient being: a star whale.

As a nation the UK sustains ambivalent feelings towards the monarchy. We enjoy the spectacle (and the bank holidays) that they bring, and the queen remains a global icon, but we mutter darkly about our tax money being spent on them and wonder about the place of a monarch in a 21st Century democracy. As in our post-apocalypse fiction, royalty hold a tension between fascination and the desire to overthrow the ruling class. What better way, then, for a blog about the apocalypse to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, than with ‘God Save the Queen’, by The Sex Pistols?

It is rumoured that the song was written to coincide with the Silver Jubilee, although Paul Cook has denied this. It has been rereleased to coincide with the Diamond Jubilee. The anarchic lyrics equate monarchy with a ‘fascist regime’, describing a society with ‘no future’, where the population has become moronic from over-regulation, and where people are ‘Potential H-bomb[s]’ – fuelled by pent up anger and frustration, threatening to explode and either destroy us all or clear the way for some new anarchic future. In a genre that places the downfall of civilisation as we know it at the centre, apocalypse and political commentary go hand in hand of necessity, and what could better symbolise this than The Sex Pistol‘s vibrant and violent corruption of the national anthem?

God save the queen.

 – Apocalypse Womble out.

Know your Idols #28 Boudica / Boadicea

A historical figure once again for Idols today, you have probably heard of her, a strong British tribal leader who took on the Roman empire and, while she didn’t win, she gave them a hiding they weren’t going to forget.

What’s her deal?
Boudica’s husband was an Iceni ruler in cooperation with the Romans, until he died. Then the Roman’s saw fit to bit Boudica and rape her daughters. Rather than letting them break her Boudica fought back, gathered the British tribes and devastated the invading forces. Sadly our fierce Brit was eventually defeated, no one knows exactly where but one possible location is right in my home county Leicestershire. It was a massive defeat, the combined tribal forces were decimated and the Roman’s barely touched. This woman had sacked the Roman capitol in Britain  (now Colchester) making her a brutal legend, but now she had made a mistake and ridden everyone into an ambush. After that the Queen is largely speculated to have committed suicide, some versions simply have her falling ill and dying.

She says:
Clearly we don’t have any quotes from this warrior but this is said about her
“Boadicea was tall, terrible to look on and gifted with a powerful voice. A flood of bright red hair ran down to her knees; she wore a golden necklet made up of ornate pieces, a multi-coloured robe and over it a thick cloak held together by a brooch. She took up a long spear to cause dread in all who set eyes on her.”

Boudica wrote the book on revenge (figuratively, i know what you lot are like and no it’s not on amazon), but aside from that, here was a woman who faced with the patriarchal society of Rome and denied her inheritance not only took it back, but united the disparate tribes of the UK to follow her. She had a powerful will and was incredibly strong. She is an example to everyone that you cannot define people by their gender, or limit them because they are women. Trying to is dangerous, push women down hard enough and when they rise up you have legends like this women who sacked Colchester, London and St Albans and is believed to have left 70,000 dead in her wake, before her defeat in the Midlands.
Apocalypse Girls, take note and own your individual power.

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