Survival skills

A New Recruit Arrives..

Apocalypses come and go, but there will always be people needed to survive. You see, if no one survives an apocalypse, how do we know we’ve had one? I mean, until we get *clever*, and start digging around in the dirt for things, uncovering evidence and all that… Which is great, if the apocalypse you’re looking into is off the back of a huge chunk of frozen space metal hurtling into the planet, causing earth-wide devastation…

Times have moved on since then.

I rather suspect that more recent apocalypses have gotten a bit more sneaky in their approach…

 

Enter stage left.

A pink haired, doc marten wearing, emergency go bag carrying gal walks into view. You get am immediate sense that she doesn’t take kindly to crap, and has a veteran look about her. Oh yes. Definitely been around the block a couple of times and seen some things, this one. Her eyes expertly rove around the room, mentally checking off a list, though you aren’t quite sure what that list is; good points for duck and cover, who’d be easiest to kill, or simply what shopping is needed to make dinner; in any case, it’s a little unsettling.

After a few moments, she seems to have made up her mind, and the boots come off, and she makes a cubby in the corner of the room, still watching, and waiting on the coming storm….

 

 

 

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…

Continue reading

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.
 
Continue reading

How to Survive Life in a Survival Shelter

Here’s the situation: The end is nigh, and you’ve been fortunate enough to be given space in a shelter. You’ve gone into the underground fortress, the doors have been bolted, and the whole thing has been sealed. Outside, storms rain fire upon the land and the seas are boiling, but inside the shelter, you and 899 strangers are able to wait out the blasts, snug as bugs in rugs.

Wait a second. Eight hundred and ninety-nine strangers? Living in 135,000 square feet? Jebus, that’s only 150 square feet for each of us… you can’t even take a city bus without getting frustrated at the smelly old man sitting too close to you, and the woman with the screeching baby, and the drunk teenager vomiting in the back seat. Crap! How long are you stuck in here?!?!

FIVE FREAKING YEARS?!?!

Okay, so a few ground rules will have to be established. Plus, it’ll be hard to repopulate the planet if, upon release, you can’t get away from everyone fast enough and no one want to speak to each other again. So, here are a few:

Suggestions for Surviving the Shelter Experience

  • Farting in closed spaces is now normal, considering everywhere you go is a closed space. Get used to the smell, especially after bean night.
  • The ugly carpet is only going to look uglier as time passes, but once you go insane, you won’t care about the decor, so that’s something to look forward to.
  • The people who live in the room next to you? The ones who are coping with stress through copious amounts of copulation, even though only a curtain separates you? When they reach orgasm, I bet they’d love to hear you scream along. That’d be fun!
  • Get a few people together and start an amateur dramatic society, then act out your favourite scenes from thematically-relevant movies like ‘Apocalypse Now’, ‘Road Warrior’, ’28 Days Later’ or ‘Armageddon’. Shake it up by making them musicals.
  • It’s okay to pick your nose and eat it, but don’t expect any kisses.
  • Water will be strictly rationed so showers are no longer an option, but it’s easier to stomach the stench of body odour if everyone pretends its the newest fragrance from Gucci.
  • Only flush toilet paper down the toilets. Please please please remember this rule, now more than ever.
  • That woman with the annoying hyena laugh? The one you hear late at night, echoing through the halls? I hate to break it to you, but that’s actually you. Doesn’t the carpet look beguiling tonight?

    If you watch the swirling patterns long enough, they start to look like a map to a magical land of pixies. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy….

     

Preparation Everyone Can Do , The Bunker

By Honeybadger

Ok, I know what you are going to say, you can’t afford a large, lead lined nuclear bunker under your garden, especially as you live in a first floor flat. Fine and fair, but for many of us there is something we can do in terms of preparing a reinforced space to retreat to.

Starting with the obvious. The Garage.
I foyu are fortunate enough to have a garage you may well be like me. My garage is full of the debris of a previous relationship, old tool boxes, gardening stuff and a moulding weights bench.  The plan for my garage is simple though. Clear it out, put up some racking make it a useable space. Now my garage even has a power point and lights, so worst come to worst and my home turns out to be no where near zombie proof enough (which I suspect to be the case) then I have somewhere I can retreat to with the cats. What I need is to set it up. That means water, a storage heater, a toilet, food and cat food supplies (things with long expiration dates and circulate into your home restocking into the garage, the little camping stove and gas, sleeping bag and the tool boxes and garden implements can stay for defence. I’ll also need to rig up some means of seeing outside without giving my presence away. That requires more thought.

In a push though it doesn’t have to be a nice big comfortable garage. Line your loft with those heat blankets they use for runners to disguise your body heat from searches and create a little last resort bolt hole up there, even the cupboard under the stairs could be used in this way if needs be, remove the outside handle on the way in and stay quiet till trouble passes.

Take a walk around your home and think, what can you do if aliens or zombies attack and you need to convince them there is no one left alive in your home?

Honeybadger out.

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.

 

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!

Going Back for Jonesy

You all know Jonesy right? The ships cat in Alien? Ellen Ripley defies all sense of personal survival, sacrificing time and manoeuvrability to go back for the cat. Taking a pure survivalist view on this, it’s stupid. Seriously who risks their life for a mog? Ripley is facing impregnation by face hugger and death by chestbuster or a straight death by slathering monster by going back, but she does, she even puts the carrier down to do stuff, then goes back and picks it up again. It’s nuts. It’s suicide! It’s not what you do in a life or death, time is of the essence situation.

Except it is really isn’t it. We’ve all seen pictures of people in the floods carrying pets above their heads through the flood water, people trying to go back in to burning houses to rescue the family pooch and how many of us feel it’s an entirely appropriate use of the fire services time and resources to rescue cats from trees (clue, I do, totally). This is in the job description for british fire fighters ‘rescuing people and animals from disasters such as fires, floods, or terrorist attacks’. Seriously, terrorist attacks, never mind the children, get the damn cat!

It’s been on my mind for a long time… why does Ripley go back for Jonesy? Why is it that all my anxiety about a break in or my having an accident is based around what if the cats get hurt, or don’t get fed. How long can they cope if I don’t come home? Will my neighbour with a key call in if I’m missing? When I was ill recently my fever had me awake at three am worrying about whether there was an escape route for them if I actually did have a zombie virus and turned in the house. If I’d had a jigsaw (the tool not the puzzle) I think I’d have woken again on the kitchen floor with a hole in the bottom of the door.

So why do we do it? Well Dana sums it up nicely in Plague Town, if you want to live forget the pet, if you want to live with yourself, go back for the cat.

Our humanity is tied up in how we treat the people and things dependant on us for our well being and really, what is the point of surviving the apocalypse if we forget what it means to be human?

The Ultimate Fantasy Weapon

Taking a break from the ANOS (apocalypses not otherwise specified) I thought I’d take a moment to showcase what would come top of my list of ‘desirable but not necessarily real weaponry’.

Ladies (and of course gentlemen) I present to you: The Chainsaw Katana



This is the ultimate weapon of choice for the discerning zombie slayer. It has everything a slayer might need – a high-powered, many toothed electric chainsaw and the cutting ability and reach of the elegantly deadly katana.

This picture is from a brilliant and insane apocalyptic Japanese movie called HellDriver. I leave you with its superb and rather mind boggling trailer. This may be the bloodiest, most bizarre movie I have ever seen.


In other words I highly recommend it.

Think Pink

Despite it being a tad annoying that the automatic ‘girl’ version of anything means painting it pink, or, god help us, adding decorative flowers, there are some items in your survival kit that you can get away with having prettied up. Like guns. Doesn’t matter what colour they are, no one is going to accuse you of being less than a hard-ass if you’re pointing one at them.

If you want to go subtle, there’s plenty of small pink guns on the market –

This one is easy to conceal with just enough pink to accent it without being overwhelming. Especially useful if you’re off on a night out in zombie-town as you can stash it in your handbag but still be ready to do violence if the hoards try anything funny.

Anything in hot pink is always a fun addition to your weapons cache and this has a certain kind of disco-diva vibe to it. Another one good for a night out but can be worn openly as it’ll finish off your dancing outfit perfectly.

For extra awesome-sauce, check out this Walther P22 – James Bond wishes he had something this sexy to take out the bad guys with. There’s digital style patterning in khaki and pink which makes it a bit more subtle than the above but still very funky.

Sometimes you need something that’ll let you shoot over distance, so here’s just the thing, with handy telescopic accessories. You can snipe the zombie hoards from the safety of a gun perch while still being safe in the knowledge that you’re bringing a little much-needed glamour to the post-apocalypse.

For heavier shooting action there’s the AK47, though the pale pink is a bit wishy-washy so we’d prefer a shade of pink with a bit more pizazz.

And then there’s Hello Kitty. More specifically, the Hello Kitty assault rifle which no self-respecting post-apoc princess should be without. Again, could do with being in a slightly funkier shade of pink but it’s a fun piece of kit and if nothing else, you won’t be accused of toting boring weaponry.

And if pink guns aren’t enough for you, there’s a host of other pinkified combat equipment out there – just avoid anything that comes in pink camo, because the only place the camo part will work in will be the girls’ section of your local toy store and how often are you going to need to hide out there?

Though having said that, just because they’re all trying to kill you, doesn’t mean you can’t be practical and glam at the same time, and a little pink camo will go perfectly with your new weapons so you can kick ass and splatter brains in style and who doesn’t want that?

Battleaxebunny out.

Categories