thrive and survive

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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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.

Welcome to the Rainpocalypse

If you live in the UK you will, by now have noticed the damp. Flash floods, endless days of grey drizzly wetness, houses washed out, ponding in the streets. Oh it’s not so severe really, but it has gone on all summer. Wettest summer since records or something. Not much of a summer at all really.

This is of course the sort of apocalypse we could have. We could all end up just washed out, damp, depressed and facing gradually rising waters. Grab your sandwich boards folks, ‘The end is nigh’. Nothing so dramatic as the next ice age or an asteroid to wipe out mankind. We just drown. It’s all very bibilical if you are that way inclined, but i’m not and instead it’s making me think practical thoughts. Thoughts like… ‘I wish I had a Kayak in the garage’ and ‘what would the world look like after a Rainpocalypse’. Then I realised, that ones easy.. it would look like this…

Yup, Waterworld. A terrible cheesy, Mad Max on Water of a movie but none the less this could be our future (hopefully with less Kevin Costner and no small children acting as maps to dry land).

Perhaps as guardians of apocalyptic survival, we should be busy constructing small sustainable towns on large reservoirs, just to be ready.

Keeps Grays Grayer

Let’s face it – even when the world ends, you’re going to want clean clothes. But with electricity a precious or non-existent resource the options are limited. Washboards work, sure, but they’re inefficient and heavy. Who has time to scrub when you’re hunting zombies or being chased by would-be robotic overlords?

Enter the Laundry Pod.


Built like a salad spinner on steroids, this device is durable, light, portable, and water efficient, not to mention entirely man-powered. Plus the design is simplistic enough to be duplicated with salvaged modern-day materials, making it the perfect project (and chore) to keep children occupied and contributing.

Keep Your Powder Dry,
Green Valkyrye

Handbook for the Apocalypse: Riddley Walker

by Katemandi, Last Girl on Earth

Apocalyptic fans the world over mourned this week: Russell Hoban has left us to our fates on this earth. Wordy wordy wordsmith Will Self has called Hoban his hero and called Riddley Walker “perhaps the post-nuclear-apocalypse novel sans pareil” and it is an epithet well-earned.

Told in the fractured post-nuclear apocalyptic English of a twelve year old just reaching his rite of passage, the novel offers an indelible image of the blighted world to come and demonstrates the importance of keeping your Punch and Judy puppets close to hand.

In its pages you will find optimum tips for surviving the apocalyptic future, making coal, hunting wildlife with a spear, exploring the archeology of the past world and of course, the undying importance of storytelling as the way we make sense of even the most destructive world.

Trubba not and watch out for the arga warga.

Apocalyptic Birthday Wishes

by Katemandi, Last Girl on Earth

Happy birthday wishes to our own Honeybadger, on whose baking the post-apocalyptic religion will be founded. Lift a glass, survivors, to our inspirational chief and kickboxer supreme — a woman who knows how to pick a good team!

Sometimes It’s the Little Things

Once the pain and horror of immediate survival has faded, it’s important for survivors to remember that life will go on. One way to do that is to incorporate beauty into the practicality your new society needs.


Are there more efficient ways to reclaim rainwater? Sure. But when the world has become shades of grey and sepia, something as little as color can have a huge psychologically uplifting impact. Plus, this might be a great project for children – collecting, threading, and setting up the bottles.

Keep Your Powder Dry,
Green Valkyrie

Petal drops can be found here.

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