inspiration

What Hurricane Sandy taught us about the Urban Apocalypse – Part 2


(Mark Segar – Reuters)

It was unsettling how things changed. From the safety of social feeds, we watched as photoshopped spoofs and Michael Bay rip-offs paled before the quiet aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Smouldering burns scarred into whiteboard neighbourhoods. A suburban block turned to some vast waste dump. A seafront bar dragged across a bay, a boat perched on railroad tracks. More than the Boxing Day Tsunami, this felt uncomfortably close to home.

We may be incredulous of the naive expectations of the massive storm; or the religious leader who blamed Sandy on New York State’s acceptance of gay marriage. Yet, what lay in front of us was a solid lesson in where the future may lead for many cities across the globe.

In Part One of What Hurricane Sandy taught us about the urban apocalypse, we looked at Corporate Sponsorship, Disaster Parasites, and the not-so sweet smell of the apocalypse.

Past the cut, in Part Two, we’ll be looking at the comfort of petty theft, how hipsters decorate their fallout digs, and why it’s not over til it’s over…

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What Hurricane Sandy taught us about the Urban Apocalypse – Part 1


(Spencer Platt – Getty Images)

It was unsettling how things changed. From the safety of social feeds, we watched as photoshopped spoofs and Michael Bay rip-offs paled before the quiet aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Smouldering burns scarred into whiteboard neighbourhoods. A suburban block turned to some vast waste dump. A seafront bar dragged across a bay, a boat perched on railroad tracks. More than the Boxing Day Tsunami, this felt uncomfortably close to home.

We may be incredulous of the naive expectations of the massive storm; or the religious leader who blamed Sandy on New York State’s acceptance of gay marriage. Yet, what lay in front of us was a solid lesson in where the future may lead for many cities across the globe. Past the cut, here’s the first of a two part blog on what Hurricane Sandy taught us about surviving the urban apocalypse.
 
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Shoot to kill and can ‘em up!

Viking victim photo by Katemandi

by The Shloo

Shoot to kill and can ‘em up.

That’s it in a nutshell. There are few philosophies smarter because when the world’s getting its apocalypse on you have few other choices. Best you get your head round that from the get-go.

I started shooting when I was eight years old. Air rifles mainly, but by ten I was shit-hot with a bow and arrow. Mum always said they’d make the best weapon anyway – when the bullets run out, who’s going to be making new ones? Arrows, on the other hand, are relatively easy to make. I can shape a bow out of a piece of willow  – or pretty much any tree with enough bend in it  – in less than three minutes. A clutch of arrows will take me another five, tops. Robin Hood would weep at the skill in my fingers.

And I never miss.

Our bunker’s pretty sweet. There’s a room full of bunk beds that are more comfortable than they look, a pretty well-equipped kitchen, a library, a bathroom, a canning room – my Mum’s mantra is ‘waste not want not’ – and a big communal living area. Dad and Zeke worked hard and it paid off. Speaking of Zeke, my brother and I were both trained in and for almost anything you can imagine: hand-to-hand combat, gas attacks, nuclear fallout, weapon making, foraging, first aid – you name it, we went over it. Sewing’s my weak point, truth be told, but at least I’ve stopped sewing stuff to my jeans and Mum says I sew a pretty strong stitch. That’s what matters.

Of course, I’ve not had what you might call a normal life.

Hardly a surprise, is it? Survivalists? Maybe, but we call ourselves “sensible” – what else would you call those not blind to the inevitable? I was picked on sometimes at school, but after the suspension – and the scrum half’s snapped wrist (thanks Dad, for those self-defence drills) – I was left alone. I didn’t go to dances, never been for a sleepover, never even sat with anyone else for lunch. I didn’t get to do any of that ‘normal’ stuff. Getting attached to people only makes it harder in the long run. It would have made me sad once (I’ve got hormones and hopes just like anyone else), but you’ve got to focus on what’s important.

To hell with normal anyway!

Is it normal to sit and wait for Johnny Mutant to come eat your brains? To wait while the nuclear fallout burns through your guts and your brain spills out the bottom of your spine? To pretend there’s hope, that someone out there’s coming to save you? They’re not, y’know. If you don’t want to end up a splatter-fest of ex-human, then you’d better get wise.

There’s no time for frills and fancy, there’s only one prize and that’s life – or at the very least dying on your own terms. I’m old enough to know that. The future is about survival. It’s all it’s ever about. I wised up to that the day I heard Dad telling Zeke that me and Mum were the weak link, that we were the ones who would most likely slow them down and that if he needed to get rid of us, he wouldn’t hesitate. I didn’t understand. I was a good learner, better than Zeke who was a lazy crumb. I was better with a bow and arrow and I could climb a tree in half the time he could. Just because he could dig earth for longer, I was the dead weight? Like digging a hole and carrying heavy stuff makes the difference when the chips are down? As far as I could see, the difference that marked us out in Dad’s mind was that I was a girl and Zeke was a boy – his boy. I was eleven years old and from that day on I hated my Dad, hated him for marking me out as mattering less because I’m a girl, for seeing me as an albatross and not an asset. It was also the day I decided one thing –

I wasn’t going to be left behind. You shouldn’t be either.

Ironic really that Dad was the first to get bit. I had to shoot him; Zeke froze like he’d learned nothing all those years. Typical. So I shot my Dad in the head and then when Zeke got violent a couple of months later – the isolation got to him bad – and went all frothing-at-the-mouth crazy, I shot him too. If he hadn’t tried for the door I wouldn’t have had to do it. We don’t know what’s out there. Still, at least his death won’t be in vain. Mum can pickle anything and what’s left goes in the cans.

So that was the last of our bullets. Mum and me? We won’t need them, we’re prepared.

 

 

    Visit The Shloo on Facebook or drop by her blog.

 

Get your fight on

When planning for a dystopian future it’s sensible to look to the past for inspiration (it doesn’t get much bleaker than that, right?). 
Women weren’t always constrained by society from taking part in combat. High born ladies liberated by the death of a spouse or parent sometimes found themselves inheriting an army, or exposed to sword training normally only reserved for male siblings. Others of lower birth cross-dressed and carved careers for themselves living as men. Some were just in the right (if you count it as lucky) place at the right time. 
So I thought to get ourselves motivated for the end-times, savagery, and survival against the odds we ought to check in with some fighting femmes of yesteryear. There are SO MANY examples you can look to, this is just a small selection.

La Maupin – A fiery, flamboyant, cross-dressing bisexual French swordswoman of the 17th C. She killed at least ten men in duels, and was also a star of the Paris opera scene.

Ana de Mendoza de la Cerda – A Spanish aristocrat of the 16th C. Despite losing her eye in a fencing duel she was considered among the most beautiful ladies at court, and was one of the most talented women of her time.

Jeanne D’Arc – Perhaps the most famous of all. A farm girl who led the desperate French to several victories during the hundred years war, she was later burned at the stake by the English as a witch.

Ann Mills – British sailor 18th C. Ann was a daring female dragoon not averse to a spot of head collection.











Bona Lombarda – 15th C Italian peasant turned condottiere. Kidnapped at fifteen by infantry captain Pietro Brunoro, their relationship developed until Lombarda became his lieutenant and constant companion. After many battles, she tirelessly petitioned for his release when he was imprisoned for treason for ten years, after which they eventually married. At the siege of Castello di Pavone, when it had fallen to the Milanese with Brunoro held hostage, it was Lombarda who, armoured from head to toe and armed with sword and shield, led the recapture of the fortress: “She was the reason the fortress was retaken and she was the first to place her foot inside.”

Catalina de Erauso – 17th C Spanish soldier. She left the convent at 15, having never even seen a street, disguised herself as a boy and signed up to become a soldier in Spanish America.  Awarded special dispensation from the pope to continue to dress in men’s clothing after her secret was revealed, Catalina loved a scrap:
I approached him from behind and said, “Ah, Señor Reyes!”
He turned and asked, “What do you want?”
I said, “This is the face you were thinking of cutting up,” and gave him a slash worth ten stitches.
He clutched at the wound with both hands, his friend drew his sword and came at me, and I went at him with my own. We met, I thrust the blade through his left side and down he went.”

Caterina Sforza – A 15th C Italian noblewoman. Skilled with the sword and given to bold gestures in the face of adversity to protect her family. Most notably when her children were held by invading soldiers at swordpoint Caterina lifted her skirts and yelled “I can make more!”
Mary Read and Anne Bonny – these ladies were true ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, getting into all kinds of high jinks. They were hard fighters and fast lovers who managed to evade the gallows even after capture.

Preparing Your Children

by Katemandi, Last Girl on Earth

If you rely on standardized exams to prepare your children for the apocalypse, you will find your tots will not cope well with the demands of the post-apocalyptic world. Here is a training film that will better prepare them for the realities. Get your conch out and sharpen that spear.

Velma Will Survive, Will You?


Better Dead Than Zed,

Green Valkyrie

Visitors since 03/11/11

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