Friday, December 30, 2011

Russians Sieze Caviar from Morgue

Even people who think caviar is worth dying for might lose their appetite when it's stored in a hospital morgue.

But that's where St. Petersburg police found a huge stash of the delicacy this week -- 385 pounds stored in the refrigerated space where cadavers are kept.

A morgue employee and a businessman were arrested after the Wednesday discovery, but police said Friday the matter is still being investigated and it is unclear if the men will be charged.

The arrested men said the caviar was to be a treat for hospital employees at a New Year's party.
(Full story here). Would zombies accept caviar as a substitute for brains? Or just the snobby ones?

Roundup of UFO and Monster Sightings for 2011

The end of the year always brings a plethora of articles that attempt to highlight some of the significant (or funny) moments of the prior year. So, here is one that looks at UFO and monster sightings in 2011, as well as doomsday predictions that didn't come to pass, and some thoughts on the Mayan prophecy next year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"5 Real Life Zombies"

From "Paranormal Haze," a summary of five actual types of zombie behavior--four in the insect world, and than a short description of the Haitian zombies. (Story here). (Warning: this story is safe, but some of the links and advertisements appear to be not safe for work (NSFW)).

The Floating Dead

Interesting news story about coffins washed out of their crypts in Louisiana:
In Louisiana, the dead float and the living must chase after their fleeing coffins.

Or at least that's what happened at one Baptist cemetery in the tiny parish of West Feliciana north of Baton Rouge.

Raging flood waters on Tuesday swept through a church burial plot and lifted the heavy stone lids on several crypts and washed one casket several hundred feet down stream.

In parts of Louisiana, the water table is so high that coffins cannot be buried six feet under the ground. Coffins were known to burst back through the ground after it stormed and the ground water rose.

Instead, Louisianans long ago took to entombing their dead in crypts and mausoleums above ground, which protected them from the water beneath the surface.

Unfortunately, as the floating coffin at the Magnolia Baptist Church cemetery proved -- it makes the coffins vulnerable to floods.

Mystery of "The Birds" Solved

I had known (from what source, I don't remember) that the movie, "The Birds," was based on an actual account of seagulls attacking a small California town. Now, a news story with some background on the incident and a possible answer:
The bizarre event which inspired Alfred Hitchcock's cinematic masterpiece The Birds has finally been explained.

The director was said to have based the 1963 film on a creepy incident in California, where flocks of frenzied, dying birds flew into the windows of homes in Monterey Bay.

Scientists have come up with an answer for the freak of nature - that the birds had been poisoned by toxic plankton.

'I am pretty convinced that the birds were poisoned,' said ocean environmentalist Sibel Bargu of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge to USA Today.

The scientists came up with the theory after studying the stomach contents of marine life from the time of the birds' deaths in 1961. They discovered toxic algae on three-quarters of the plankton the birds ate which damaged nerves - causing seizures, disorientation and finally, death.

The algae were believed to have become poisonous after being infected from leaky septic tanks, installed quickly during the housing boom in the Sixties across California.

At the time, police officer Ed Cunningham had been on patrol when a deluge of dead birds began to land on his squad car at around 2:30 am.

The officer told the Santa Cruz Sentinel in 1961: 'By the time I had stopped the car they were raining down all around me.

'They were big birds and they were falling so fast and hard they could have knocked me senseless. I thought I had better stay in the car and that's just what I did.'
(Full story here).

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Mystery Space Ball Mystery Solved.

A couple days ago, I noted the discovery of a metal sphere that had fallen from space into the desert of Namibia. The mystery of the sphere appears to have been solved:
Adrian Chen of Gawker reported that it was most likely a fuel tank for storing hydrazine on unmanned rockets. He said this after a commentator wrote on his blog: 'For anyone wondering what it actually is, it's likely a 39-litre hydrazine bladder tank.

'They're used on unmanned rockets for satellite launches, which would explain why they're falling down in such a specific geographic footprint.'

When the ball fell it caused a crater 12 inches deep and 13ft wide, although it was found some 60ft away.

Locals claimed to have heard several explosions in the days before it was discovered by a farmer on his land.
 (Full story and photos here).

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone!


(Source: Zombie Christmas)

Friday, December 23, 2011

KRISS Vector Review from the Firearm Blog

While we are on the subject of firearms, here is a link to an extensive review of the KRISS Vector in .45 ACP. The Vector is a small .45 ACP carbine or submachine gun weapon (although it is only semi-automatic). What makes it unique is that the barrel is placed directly in line with the firing hand, instead of on a line above the firing hand as most firearms. This reduces the felt recoil, and makes follow-up shots quicker and more accurate. (The Rhino revolver does the same type of thing). Anyway, full review and photos at the link.

The Best AR For Self Defense

In Word War Z, the best zombie-killing gun turned out to be a very accurate, small caliber, high-capacity, semi-automatic weapon. This is basically a description of the modern civilian AR-style rifle and carbine. With a plethora of choices and options available, its nice to get some ideas as to what makes the best model to get. Accordingly, readers may find this article on the best self-defense AR from The Truth About Guns blog to be useful.

Mysterious Space Ball Crashes in Namibia

Around mid-November, authorities in Namibia were alerted to the discovery of a hollow sphere that had apparently crashed to Earth from space.

Eyewitnesses reported hearing a series of explosions a few days before the extraterrestrial find. The "space ball" was consequently recovered near a village in the north of the African nation, 480 miles from the capital Windhoek.

The mystery sphere has a diameter of 35 centimeters (14 inches), a rough surface and appears to consist of "two halves welded together," police forensics director Paul Ludik told the AFP news agency.

Ludik also described the object as being made of a "metal alloy known to man," weighing in at six kilograms (13 pounds). "It is not an explosive device, but rather hollow, but we had to investigate all this first," he added.
 However, it appears to just be space-junk--a "composite overwrapped pressure vessel" or COPV.

(Fully Story Here).

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More on the Man-Made, Super-Deadly Flu Virus

A few weeks ago I posted about scientists "tweaking" with the bird flu virus to make it more deadly infectious. Well, it's in the news again. (Story here).
A super-strain of bird flu that could infect and wipe out millions has been developed in a laboratory.

Dutch scientists who created the ‘Armageddon virus’ say it is ‘probably one of the most dangerous viruses you can make’.

Their research focused on what it took to convert bird flu – which can kill more than half of those infected but does not spread easily – into a highly contagious virus.
It is somewhat amusing, in a scary way, to read the reaction of those that somehow think that by keeping it secret, no one else will be able to do the same. How naive.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Some Rules for Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

Get them here. I think that Rules 1 and 9 are the most important.

"RULE 1: Aim for the head, and you won’t be dead."

"RULE 9: When in doubt, know your way out."

Sort of like if Dr. Seuss wrote a book on surviving zombies. 

Who Ya Gonna Call?


IF there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, who you gonna call? If you live in Lincolnshire, it won’t be Ghostbusters – it’s apparently the police.

Over the last five years Lincolnshire Police reportedly received almost 1,000 bizarre emergency calls from people claiming to have seen UFOs, zombies, ghosts and witches.
* * * 
The grisly and weird list of reported stuff:

627 demons

171 witches

152 ghosts

20 wizards

10 UFOs

9 zombies

5 vampires

2 werewolves
(Story here). Nine zombies over a 5 year period does not make an outbreak, but it compares favorably to the number of UFO sightings; and beat out vampires and werewolves combined!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Are the Strange Patterns in the Gobi Desert Fractal Antennas?

About a month ago, I posted about the strange structures and patterns found in the Gobi Desert in China. I suggested that the patterns might be fractal antennas. Well, not to pat myself on the back--but I think I will *pat*pat*-- it turns out that an expert on fractals thinks the same. From Business Wire:
But Fractal Antenna Systems’ Nathan Cohen knows exactly what they are: fractal screens. “Built of RF reflective paint, to radar they can be blindingly bright. Presumably they were built by China to hide, shield and/or protect stuff underground from radar or extreme radiation,” said Cohen. “We should call them ‘Gobi Screens’.”

Cohen, an astronomer and physicist, dismisses the explanation that the Gobi Screens are optical test patterns for satellites. “They wouldn’t provide any ability to calibrate on the meter size scale and corrections needed, and the multiple air strips in the area provide better test patterns optically. In fact, the airstrips have finer detail. Putting a Chinese-made digital camera on a balloon or satellite can give crisp imaging that doesn’t need some huge, weird test pattern.”

Cohen explains that the intricate designs are deliberately exploiting fractals (complex shapes built up from scaled structural properties) to make fractal resonators as lower frequency radio wave screens, that have key advantages over other types of designs, such as a filled-in square. “And there is a fill-in square there too,” observed Cohen, “They obviously tried it out first.

“The screen may try to prevent ground penetrating radar from seeing deep under the sand, or maybe it’s being used to check their own limitations. That’s the limit of my interest, which is to say the Chinese have obviously ‘reinvented’ technology that I created and invented some twenty-odd years ago. I spent little bucks to innovate. They spent maybe $100 million to imitate. FRACTAL holds the patents on it, and I am using the term ‘reinvention’ to be kind. An amusing way to look at it is being ripped-off ---on a gigantic scale.”

Cohen adds that he does not inform Chinese researchers of his work, much of it published up to 16 years ago, but based on their recently published research the Chinese have embraced fractal antennas and fractal resonators research with focus and vast resources. The Gobi Screens are thus one of many examples, according to Cohen.

On smaller scales, fractal resonators, fractal metamaterials, and fractal antennas are experiencing a boom in uses in the commercial wireless world, offered exclusively through Fractal Antenna Systems. “The fractal advantage is now getting wide acceptance—even in the remote Gobi desert,” noted Cohen.

Clifton's Gates of Hell

Clifton, New Jersey has a spooky tunnel.

Some Thoughts On Securing Your Windows

A series of posts on the FAL File Forums about securing your windows. This is from over a year ago, but there are some interesting ideas there.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Selecting the Best Car for the Zombie Apocalypse

What should you look for in a vehicle to survive the zombie apocalypse? Power, to bust through any barriers (or hordes of zombies blocking the road)? Size, to haul all of your supplies, family and friends? Stealthiness, so as to not attract attention? Environmentally friendly so ... you feel better about yourself as the world spirals into a living hell?

Anyway, this article discusses all of this and picks some interesting choices. Apparently the number one choice is the Hummer, like from the movie Zombie Land.

While you're there, you might want to visit the author's companion post on picking an emergency zombie retreat. He suggests the following considerations in picking a place to hole-up:
Safety: Has the structure been thoroughly cleared of undead and is it locked down and fortified to prevent unwanted entry?  
Defensibility: Can you defend your new home from an undead assault or marauding band of looters?  
Detection: The best defense is not being found in the first place. Can the undead hear or smell you from outside? 
Does your home look enticing to marauders who may want to evict you?  
Escape Access: Do you have a secure second exit if your position becomes overrun? 
Sustainability: Is there an accessible source of food, water, or alternative power? 
Sanity: Is there room for more than just you? After a few weeks it can get awful lonely as “the last man on earth”. And if you are with a group, do you have a good supply of books or board games to entertain the troops?

Santa vs. Satan vs. Zombies

Article about a team that maps data points to show, geographically, internet content for Santa versus other malignant creatures such as Satan and zombies. (Story here).
Graham, who also runs the blogs floatingsheep.org and zerogeography.net worked with Monica Stephens, Taylor Shelton, and Matt Zook to look at the amount of content indexed by Google Maps at each location containing the term "Santa" and then comparing it. To zombies and Satan.

So, some places have more content referring to Santa, and others have more content mentioning "zombies," "devil," or Satan.
 * * *
Houston, Dallas, Chicago and San Francisco all have more content referencing Satan and Zombies than Santa.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

More on the Abandoned Amusement Park in China

About a month ago, I posted a link to an article on an abandoned amusement park in China. Today, I came across another article about the same park at The Daily Mail website. Some additional pictures, anyway.

Chinese Village Besieged by Police

I had previously posted about the possibility of a quarantine where officials would prevent people from leaving a town or city in the even of an outbreak. Although it's not a zombie outbreak, police in China have thrown a cordon around a small village to prevent people from getting food or supplies from outside. (Story here). This is where a CBOP (covert bug-out plan) would be handy. One thing to note is the distance the cordon is at--three miles from the edge of the village. So, it's not enough to simply get to (or just past) the edge of your town, but to actually push beyond it for some distance.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Converted Missile Silo Shelter

Awhile back, I posted about emergency zombie shelters. Now, Dvice.com has a story about an old missile silo converted into a shelter from the zombie apocalypse. Love the drawing:

Gear Check -- Condor 602 Jacket

I have had my Condor Model 602 "Summit Tactical Soft Shell Jacket" for about seven months now. I selected black, but it is available in "foliage" (pictured above), O.D., and "coyote" colors as well.

According to the information on the tag, the jacket is constructed with three layers: an outer shell made of polyester, a middle-layer made with a "breathable film membrane" (i.e., something like Gortex), and an inner layer of "super fine fleece."

The fleece is really thin and doesn't provide much insulation. In cooler weather, you will want a warm shirt or base layer. Notwithstanding the breathable layer, the jacket tends to trap perspiration. So, in warmer weather or when active, its easy to get a damp, sticky feeling when using the jacket. I would say that this jacket is best in the range of 40 to 55 degrees, depending on the undergarment you are wearing. Any warmer, and you will probably want to move to something lighter; any colder, and you will want a heavier coat.

There are some things you can do with the jacket to help vent or cool it a bit. One of the interesting features are zippers in each of the arm pit areas, which help with venting. There is also a zipper on each side on the back of the jacket that open into each side of a single mesh pocket. If you don't have anything in the pocket, you can leave those zippers open which also help to vent.

The jacket has a hood that folds into a pocket in the collar. The hood is actually pretty good, and has a velcro strap on the back so you can adjust how much it overhangs your face.

There are matching pockets each side of the inside of the jacket. There are also matching outside pockets on each side that zip open. These actually have a larger inside pocket, and smaller pocket to hold a radio or cell phone. The outside pockets are intended for gear only--they are too high to slip your hands in. There are also openings to feed the wire for earbuds or ear-pieces from an IPod or radio out of the pockets.

As you can see from the photo, there are pockets for both the upper and lower arms. I have to admit that I haven't used those pockets much, other than occasionally to hold a set of keys.

There are velcro squares on each upper arm to attach patches or insignia. I got a Zombie Hunter patch, of course, to use with mine.

(Source)


I haven't used the jacket in a heavy rain, but it seems to work fine in a light rain or drizzle. Although it hasn't been an issue, the jacket does not have a storm flap to cover the front zipper, and I wish it did.

One thing I want to emphasize is that the jacket is undersized--you need to get at least one size larger than you would normally wear. For instance, I normally wear an XL, but I needed to get a XXL in this jacket. Frankly, I would have liked it if it was even a bit larger since, once you fill up the front pockets, it is starting to get tight and "prints" the outline of your wallet, cell phone, etc.

In short, I would give the jacket a thumbs up. It is a really nice looking jacket, and works well for cooler, wetter weather. With the limitations I've noted above, it makes a good tactical jacket.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gerber's Zombie Apocalypse Kit

Gerber, the well-known maker of knives, axes, multi-tools, etc., has come out with a selection of knives, axes, machetes, and so on, in its own carry-case, specifically for a zombie apocalypse. More here as well.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Emergency Zombie Shelter Design

This is pretty cool. A competition to select the best zombie "safe house" design, and there were more than 200 submissions this year.
They settled on Texan Austin Fleming’s Vagabond Mobile Safe House Device, which incorporates potable water filtration, tracking devices and photovoltaic cells into a handy and stylish leather backpack.

The whole things flips out armadillo-style in under three minutes and is covered in reflective coating to confuse drooling marauders.
(Source)

More designs from the competition here.

Another Seeming Link Between Zombies and Vampires

After I got back from my Thanksgiving trip, I found this article discussing a new television series in the U.K. This is the interesting part:
Often such bizarre beliefs developed as ways of warding off the many dangers that beset the British Isles. In response to the 14th-century plague the Black Death, which wiped out about a third of the population, people compensated for the loss of loved ones by creating the legend that the dead rose from their graves and walked around as zombies.

Occasionally, corpses were beheaded, or a stake driven through their hearts, as a way to prevent this ‘resurrection’ – a practice that persisted for four centuries.

Thanksgiving

I spent time with my parents this Thanksgiving, driving all day to get back this evening. I hope all of you had a good Thanksgiving. I guess, if nothing else, we can be thankful that there was not a zombie apocalypse.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A "Dead Island" Interview

Interview with "Dead Island" author, Haris Orkin.

Scientists Create a Bird Flu that is MORE Contagious

Yes, you read the title correctly. Scientists have created a more contagious bird flu.
At a flu conference in Malta this September, virologist Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands made an astounding, and terrifying, announcement.

He found that a few simple genetic tweaks to the virus made it far more infectious among ferrets - a standard animal model used to study how viruses spread among humans.

Fouchier found that a mere five mutations to the virus were sufficient to make it spread far more easily.
For some reason, this reminds of the poster on "How Everything Goes to Hell During a Zombie Apocalypse."

Kingdom of the Crystal Skull?

A mummified elongated skull found in Peru could finally prove the existence of aliens.

The strangely shaped head - almost as big as its 50cm (20in) body - has baffled anthropologists.

It was one of two sets of remains found in the city of Andahuaylillas in the southern province of Quispicanchi.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How to Kill a Zombie

Just came across this article from 2004 on how to kill a zombie. (Can you really kill the undead?). It lists decapitation, bludgeoning, burning and exploding. Decapitation and bludgeoning seem the surest way of the four. (I don't know why it doesn't mention shooting them in the head...). Burning seems more dangerous than helpful. Imagine a huge torch lurching around, touching off fires here and there. Explosives probably aren't as useful either, unless you use one of these.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Doctor Turned Serial Killer in WWII Paris

An interesting story of a respected doctor in occupied Paris that used the cover of war to hide his killing spree.
[O]ne man used the lawlessness for his own terrible purposes, killing perhaps as many as 150 people and dismembering and burning their bodies.

It wasn't until thick black smoke seeped into buildings in a fashionable part of the city that firefighters and police found body parts scattered around an elegant townhouse — setting off a manhunt that led them, eventually, to Marcel Petiot.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Initial Results from Planning a Covert Bug Out Plan

When I discussed earlier plans for a covert bug out plan (CBOP) to get out of a zombie quarantine, one of the first steps was to use Google Earth or Google Map to get a preliminary idea of my route, followed up by a physical reconnaissance.

Obviously, in a zombie outbreak resulting in a quarantine, there will be a cordon around the city that is being quarantined. There may also be patrols through the town, roadblocks, and surveillance helicopters. Thus, a CBOP route must get around these obstacles. With this in mind, part of my preliminary route was going to take advantage of some smaller irrigation canals. My thought was that these would provide good concealment, but still relatively easy to get out of if necessary.

Much to my surprise, when doing a physical recon, I discovered that there is still considerable water in the canals--at least two feet. I anticipated this during the summer months, and figured it probably would not be a big deal. But cold water in the winter can be deadly. Time to explore some other options. While I'm disappointed, I'm glad I learned of these issues now rather than later....

"Walking in a Winter Zombie-Land"

A zombie Christmas song.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Abandoned Amusement Park Outside Beijing

A couple weeks ago, I had posted about urban exploration, and its usefulness in preparing for the zombie apocalypse. For obvious reasons, such exploration will almost always be limited to public spaces. However, it may be possible to explore abandoned commercial property. Here is an example of one such place--an abandoned amusement park in China.

More Evidence of the Yeti?

One cynical Russian media report summed up the mission as 'we haven't actually found anything, but we very, very much wanted to have found something'.
Exactly what I think about zombies.

China Building Strange Structures (Updated)

Gizmado reports that China is building strange structures in the desert. (More here from the UK Daily Mail). My guess is that they are trying to summon Cthulhu, or some other Old One.

Actually, more seriously, the concentric circles of vehicles and structures is obviously to test the effectiveness of some sort of explosive. The grid of structures of vehicles is also for testing bombs (see the blown-up photo at the Daily Mail website).

The other structures that seem to follow the course of gullies and washes is a little more strange. I wonder they are some sort of fractal antenna.

Update: Appears that the seemingly random lines are for calibrating spy satellites. (Another article here).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Tactical Sammich

The CMMG Tactical Sammich--stores for up to five years. From the review:
They laughed at you when you warned them about the zombies. They called you crazy, paranoid—a lunatic. Now, the economy has collapsed. Civil unrest has rocked the cities and suburbs. Food is scarce, and what little can be found is unappetizing. Fortunately, you don’t care, because you were smart enough to stock up on CMMG’s Tactical Sammich.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Jonah Goldberg weighs in with some complaints about The Walking Dead

Think of it as creative critisicm--he no only points out issues that bother him, but also makes some good suggestions.

The Walking Dead Examines Faith

As most anyone who follows the series "the Walking Dead" know, the title refers not to the zombies, but to the survivors. The show's intent is to explore how people respond in a world where civilization is stripped away and the animal instincts move to the fore. This article discusses religion and the Walking Dead based on events in the last couple of episodes.

King Aurther and Zombies?

Review of the new graphic novel: "Knights of the Living Dead." At last, an explanation for the dramatic reduction of the population of Europe following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Zombie News

Another story on the rise of zombies in the popular culture.
Tim Delaney, associate professor of sociology at Oswego, and an expert on popular culture in TV and film, said that the Zombie phenomenon has been around since the “Night of the Living Dead” was released in 1968. “This is when people started to learn about voodoo and the concept of being able to bring someone back to life after they have died,” Delaney said. “We have always been told that when you’re dead, you’re dead, so this was a fascinating concept to us.”
Delaney said he has seen a huge increase in video games with zombie storylines and shows like “Beavis and Butthead,” which recently came back on the air, that incorporate zombies into their plotlines.

However, one nice tidbit is that AMC has announced that it will be picking up "The Walking Dead" for a third season.

White House Will Neither Confirm Nor Deny Zombies

The story here is that the White House has denied contact with extraterrestrials, but essentially had no comment as to zombies, leading to suspicions (at least from the author) that there is a zombie coverup.

Is There a Spiritual Signifcance to 11/11/11?

Some people obviously think so. This report from Fox News indicates that some people believe that the 11/11/11 date is related to the end of the Mayan long count calender due to expire next December. Not clear how that works since they didn't use the Gregorian calender, but okay.

The other story, also from Fox News, reports that Egypt is closing access to the Great Pyramid because of reports of "Jewish" or "Messianic" rituals scheduled to take place on 11/11/11 to take advantage of special powers that will be emanating from the pyramid. This one also sets of the BS meter, not just because I'm not aware of any special Jewish affinity for the Great Pyramid, but because Egypt's government has come out with some pretty kooky excuses in the past. Remember the shark attacks that they blamed on the Mossad?

On the other hand, some secret ritual by an unknown cult attempting call forth Cthulhu...now that would be something to write about.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

King Tut's Curse

A new book claims that several of the death's related to the curse on Tutankhamen's tomb were actually committed by Alister Crowley. (Story here).

Evidence of Ogopogo

Video that is claimed to be of the Canadian Ogopogo lake monster. (Story here).

A Brief History of Zombies.

A very brief overview of zombies from voodoo to the modern popular culture. The author even mentions that Sears has a zombie web-site. Who knew?

Plus this from the comments:
I am getting ready for it! I worked at Holloman AFB (Whitesands Missile Range) out in New Mexico. They have a primate facility there that they do tests with. One of the SP/SF’s (Security Police/Security Force) there told me about primate security procedures. If a primate escaped and it had a blue collar on, it was safe to apprehend, if it had a yellow collar on, it was to be shot on sight and then could be covered up with a blanket or tarp, if it had a red collar on, it was to be shot on sight, stay back 50 yards and call in a fire team to torch the body. I was told they were working on a Super Rabies virus that North Korea was experimenting with and this virus did the same as the rage virus in the movie 28 Days Later. Basically a high fever, swelling of the brain which caused loss of memory and most remembered motor functions like driving, operating equipment or guns, etc., and it cut off the supply of serotonin to the brain, which causes extreme rage. It could be passed by bites and blood transfer. Sounds like zombies no? Not the movie zombies… but people infected with the virus and go nuts killing and are zombie like in intelligence. They will be fast and they wont be totally dumb, but they will still have the same limitations as normal human anatomy. They will starve and dehydrate, stabs or gunshot wounds to major organs or arteries will kill them. So either take them all out, or wait for them to die of dehydration or starvation. I myself believe it 100% and am preparing. I am not preparing for that zombie crap on tv, but I am preparing for an epidemic like in 28 Days Later.
Uh, okay.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Oetzi -- the Iceman -- May Have Died from Fall

Okay, this isn't a story about zombies--well, at least, not that we know of. Maybe if they defrosted him. Anyway, this is still interesting. The Iceman ("Oetzi"), a mummy found high in the Alps, has long been thought to have been murdered due to an arrow wound. However, some researchers suggest that it may be an old injury, and he actually died from a fall while climbing. (Story here).

Sunday, November 6, 2011

More Zombie Targets

Cheaper-Than-Dirt (I've always thought their name was a misnomer) is selling a 6 pack variety of Champion VisiColor Zombie Targets. The targets are photographs of a "zombie" attacking a defenseless young woman in different poses. Looks like there are 2 each of 3 different targets. It might be worthwhile as far as practicing hitting a "zombie" in close proximity to an innocent.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

"Some Maternity Pictures are More Intense Than Others"

Oleg Volk's site is a mixture of photography and firearms. Apparently a lot of recent work involves zombies, including this zombie maternity picture. Check it out. He has more zombie pics, and a few Steampunk pics as well. (Warning: lots of cat pics).

Covert Bug Out Plan

In an earlier post on urban exploration, I mentioned the possible need to evacuate from a city under quarantine. (See here). I think the term "covert bug out plan," or CBOP, seems to summarize the concept. But rather than just stop at a cool sounding name, I decided to think about this further. Exactly how would I get out of town under quarantine or siege conditions?

When I was a kid, my friends and I would sometimes sneak out of the house late at night and play a type of "hide and seek" where we would walk or ride our bikes around town, well after curfew, and hide from or avoid cars. In that case, however, no one was looking for us, or people like us, in particular. CBOP would be more complicated, with far more serious complications. If one is caught during a covert bug-out--that is, in a city that is quarantined--you might be shot, or sent into a holding pen or facility with people that may be infected with little or no hope of escape. At best, you will be turned back, but the authorities operating the quarantine now know who you are.

As I thought about it more, I realized that this was a situation that was going to require serious preparation. So, First Step--figure out where I need to go. This is probably going to require pure speculation on your part on how far a quarantine would extend and how it would be enforced. It may be as simple as a military or police imposed curfew with roadblocks at major intersections and roving patrols. In that case, simply getting into a rural area would be enough to get past the zone of control. In other cases, a cordon may be thrown up around the city. So, you may need to simply estimate where such a cordon could realistically be set up, and plan for getting past that point.

Second Step--Google Maps or Google Earth, to get the lay of the land. Since this scenario involves getting out of town covertly, the plan is to find a hidden route that can be used. Clearly, I want to look at a general map, but known streets and roads are too obvious. I need to understand the terrain, which will require a topographic map and aerial views of the terrain. Under a CBO scenario, a motor vehicle evacuation is probably not an option--it will have to be on foot, or perhaps on a bicycle. Routes are probably going to involve maintenance roads (that generally won't be shown on street maps), foot paths or trail (both official and unofficial), canals or ditches or streams (better if they are dry, but if not ...), movement through fields or parks, perhaps even storm drains or maintenance tunnels (although getting trapped in a maintenance tunnel by a group of zombies would not be good).


To give an example, I live not too far from a small irrigation canal. I know because I can see part of it where it runs up to a major road, and then goes into an underground pipe, on one end, and have seen it about 1/2 mile away as it runs open through a field. From where it meets the major road, I also know that the canal easement has land on one side that probably was intended for a maintenance road, although it is overgrown and there are several trees visible. Driving around the neighborhoods, it appears that there are houses that back up against the canal easement. This appears to be confirmed by just plain road maps. However, when I switched to Satellite View, I could see why no road had ever been built. About 1/3 of the way from where the canal meets the road, and where it is visible again in open fields, and appears that it simply runs behind a row of houses, there is actually a small bridge that crosses the canal, and what appears to be a small warehouse, or large shop building and a storage yard. Also, while the easement was not maintained near the road, the satellite view showed that the vegetation was cut down and the area maintained for most of its length. None of this information was visible from the road, or from a standard map. If I had simply relied on that information and decided to use the "overgrown" canal easement as an escape route, I would quickly have run into problems.

Step Three will be to physically reconnoiter the areas you plan to use. You are looking not only for possible problems, but also potential opportunities. You want to look to for areas that overlook your route making it easier to monitor. In particular, identify areas that would be logical places for roadblocks, and see if your route can be viewed from that location. Also, obstructions like fences and walls may not show up on Google Earth; grates may block certain areas of a canal or ditch. On the other hand, see if there are other movement options--for instance, even slight depressions or a ditch may allow you to cross an open field without being observed. When doing your recon, think not only of someone seeing you, but also hearing you. For instance, most canal beds are filled with rocks and other debris. Could you move down it quietly?

When reconnoitering, try and use a friend that can try to spot you, or listen to you, as you scout out the particular section you are investigating.

Step Four would be a complete dry run--see if you can actually get out through your route. You may want to try this a few times under different conditions. This is not really an attempt to test the security of your route, but whether it is even possible to go the entire route. (Although, if you hear someone yell, "Hey, what are you doing," your security has been blown and you may need to reevaluate your plan).

Step Five is the final reconnaissance before actually engaging in a CBO. This would be after the quarantine has been imposed, so you can see if any situations have changes, and adapt your plan as needed. This is probably best illustrated by a real-world example. So, let me introduce you to a little known person in history by the name of Georg Elser. Mr. Elser was a simple carpenter who, in 1939, single-handedly undertook to assassinate Adolf Hitler. There were two basic steps to his plan: (i) secreting a bomb in a stone pillar near where Hitler would speak at the 1939 anniversary of his Beer Hall Putsch, and (ii) escape across the border into Switzerland. Elser spent months hiding out in the beer hall at night, slowly excavating a hole in the critical pillar that, when it exploded, would bring down a heavy balcony and part of the roof. He gathered all the intelligence needed to determine when to detonate the bomb; and information on the patrols at the border, working out exactly when and where to cross. The problem is that Elser never did a final reconnaissance.

First, due to technological limitations, Elser was forced to use a time clock. Thus, he simply placed the bomb a few days ahead of time. Problem was, Hitler's schedule changed at the last minute:
Had Elser paid closer attention to the newspapers, he might have felt that all his work had been wasted—shortly before Hitler was due to deliver his bierkeller speech, he canceled the arrangement, only to reinstate it the day before he was due to travel. But then, had Elser read the newspapers, he would also have realized that, as a concession to Hitler’s urgent need to be in Berlin, his speech had been rescheduled. It would now begin at 8 p.m. and last for little more than an hour.
 Hitler left the beer hall 1/2 hour before the bomb exploded.

More significantly to our discussion here is that the patrol of the Swiss border had also changed.
By 9:20 Elser, too, was far from the Löwenbräu. That morning he had taken a train for Konstanz, close to the Swiss border, and when darkness fell he set out to walk into Switzerland. But if Hitler’s luck held that night, his would-be assassin’s ran out. Elser’s April reconnaissance had taken place in peacetime; now, with Germany at war, the border had been closed. He was arrested by a patrol as he sought a way through wire entanglements.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Special Judge for Zombies

Those of you who are into guns undoubtedly know about Taurus' line of revolvers called the Judge, which can shoot either .45 Colt (Long Colt) or .410 shotgun rounds. Taurus is reportedly releasing a zombie apocalypse version, complete with its own "break the glass" emergency storage unit. Story and photo here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Live" Blogging the Zombie Take-Over of the Huff Post

Just read it. Best post: "I've lost the other leg. God damn it"

Plus, what is it with the Skittles? That's what they were using for medicine in the Ohio emergency exercise. Is there some anti-zombie properties to Skittles? It must have to do with tasting the rainbow.

More Government Preparation for a Zombie Apocolypse?

Delaware County, Ohio, staged an emergency prep exercise based on a zombie apocalypse.
Emergency officials from across the county arrived at the university’s Selby Stadium to deal with a pretend toxic-chemical spill that turned regular residents into the living dead. They decontaminated the “zombies” with a fire hose and distributed medication in the form of Skittles and M&Ms.
Also:
The event was serious work for the dozens of emergency forces. Safety workers donned hazmat suits, police shut down roads, and several zombies were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital to be decontaminated.
Two firefighters were accidentally turned into zombies, to simulate the kind of contamination that could happen in a real toxic spill.
Just practice for a toxic spill (wink, wink).

Zombies Are Big Money

The "Zombie Economy" is estimated to be as much as $6 billion.

UFO at NFL

NBC's cameras apparently captured a strange flying object at an NFL game on October 23.
As NBC's cameras returned from a commercial break and focused on the historic, triple-steepled St. Louis Cathedral in the city nicknamed the Big Easy, a couple of lit objects seemed to streak across the darkening sky -- and they've yet to be definitively identified.

Viewed in real-time, it's hard to see much more than something flashing across the screen. But a frame-by-frame scrutiny of the video reveals a rod-shaped object topped with brightly lit dots.
The standard explanation is that the camera focused on something extremely close to the lens, that was moving too fast for the shutter speed, so it blurs into a line, or "rod." I remember watching an episode of "Monster Hunters" that examined this phenomena in great detail to show how the mysterious "rods" show up on cameras. However, while this is the likely explanation in this case, there is one twist:
But one little frame of the video may be the one little problem that could rule out the insect theory. Amazingly, the frame reveals the mystery object is moving behind one of the cathedral towers. But how could that be if it was only an insect?
"The object is not going behind the cathedral -- it's actually in front of it," Dantonio said. "But because of the saturated CCD [charge-coupled device used in digital imaging], it looks like it's going behind. And when you see those three dots or lights [on the object], I think they're wing beats."
But when Dantonio took a closer look at the single video frame in question, he began to bend a little.
"Yeah, that sure does look weird. I won't say it's not interesting, but I'll tell you right now: I'm sure that there's a conventional explanation and I believe firmly that this is something very close to the camera."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

And Now a Weapon Designed for the Hornady Zombie Max Ammo

Ruger has introduced a special version of their LCP pistol known as the "Zombie Killer." It has the text "Zombie Slayer" and "LCP Z" in neon green on the slide, and the serial number is prefixed with "ZO."

Monday, October 24, 2011

Urban Exploration

Exploring the underworld of modern cities. In this case, New York. I think that urban exploration could be important practice for a zombie apocalypse. If there was a zombie outbreak, you may need to move around (or even out of) a town or city while avoiding zombies, or to escape a quarantine. (I understand why a government would need to quarantine a city, but that doesn't mean that I would want to acquiesce to it in my case). In a post-zombie apocalypse world, you will need to scavenge food and supplies, again while avoiding zombies, and perhaps other, less friendly, survivors.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Zombie Survival Barge

This may be old news to some, but since some of you may not have seen this before, check out the zombie survival barge.


(Source is unknown. The blog, Jovian Thunderbolt, indicates that the source is the Zombie Squad forums, but the Zombie Squad forums list Jovian Thunderbolt as the source).

Aliens in the Amazon?

I've linked to non-zombie or zombie-apocalypse stuff in the past, so here goes again.

The Daily-Mail, a British paper, had an article this past week with photos allegedly showing an alien and a blue flash of light. Says the article: "The image comes from a video obtained by noted paranormal writer Michael Cohen and is claimed to have been filmed by two British tourists visiting the Mamaus region of the Amazon."
While the camera is focused on some young children, seen in the distance behind them is a silvery light.
However, it is only when the eyes are diverted to the surrounding jungle does it become apparent that there is a small being standing side-on just to the right of a tree, appearing to arch its back.

It is the 'unmistakable' form of an 'alien'. No explanation is offered as to what the light may be.
Frankly, it reminds me of the video footage from the movie "Signs" that first shows an alien. So, life imitating art, or fake imitating art?

"How Everthing Goes to Hell During a Zombie Apocalypse"

Some more zombie humor for you--a graphic explaining how the zombie apocalypse starts and quickly goes to hell, all because of "some A-hole scientist doing shit he shouldn't be doing." And we're not talking evil, greedy shit, but just plain too-stupid-to-live type stuff.

Wired -- Top 10 Reasons It Sucks to Be A Zombie

Wired magazine offers the top 10 reasons it sucks to be a zombie. I would think that being dead would be somewhere in the top 10, but apparently it didn't quite make it.

Reason number 5--"People are constantly breeding exotic plants to stop you from invading their houses"--is in reference to the game "Plants vs. Zombies." I haven't played it, so I can't give you a review.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Russian AR?

The Firearms Blog reports that Molot, a subsidiary of Izhmash (the primary firearms for the Russian military) is producing an AR. There is no information as to caliber, whether these are being built for export, price, etc., but there are a couple photos of the weapon. Since the Russian Army has announced that it will not be ordering any new rifles for at least two (2) years, this may be an attempt to increase foreign sales. I'm predicting that with their own version manufactured in-country, that the Russian military will slowly start to adopt the AR.

Sniper! No, Sniping!!!

A funny "Dora the Explorer" parody.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Architecture Contest for Zombie-Proof Structures

If you remember episode 2 of "The Walking Dead," you may remember how the group was caught by zombies in a department store in Atlanta. While the back entrances were apparently secure (steel doors and such), the zombies were eventually able to smash their way through the glass doors at the main entrance. So, I'm pleased to see that architects are beginning to take the zombie threat seriously, with a competition to design zombie-proof structures. From the article:

To help us prepare for this potential undead disaster, the folks at Architects Southwest, an architecture firm based in Louisiana, have launched the 2011 Zombie Safe House Competition. The organization has tasked artists, architects and other zombie enthusiasts with one goal: Design a haven that can withstand a full-on zombie assault on civilization as we know it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

Brownells Sees the Inevitable and Now Offers Zombie Advice

I guess the TTAG link I had the other day concerning the Hornady Zombie Max ammo also linked to this page at Brownell's web-site, offering advice for the aspiring zombie hunter. As some of you know, Brownell's is one of the oldest and largest sellers of firearm accessories and parts in the United States, if not the world. Maybe MidwayUSA will see the light too. And how about Magpul? ....

More on Hornady's Zombie Max Ammo

Great video from Hornady to advertise for their Zombie Max Ammo. According to the Firearms Blog, sales are brisk. I haven't seen any in local stores yet, but am hoping to give it shot.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Walking Dead on Netflix

While we are all excited about the second season of "The Walking Dead," I would like to point out that Netflix now has the first season available for instant streaming.

Hornady Releases New "Zombie" Cartridges

Hornady, one of the top ammunition manufacturers in the United States, seems to have released a new line of Zombie Ammo according to The Truth About Guns blog.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

First Nicholas Cage, Now John Travolta...

A short time ago, I'd posted to an article about an antique dealer that had a photo, he claimed, if Nicholas Case dating from the 19th Century. Now he is claiming he has found a similar photo of John Travolta.

What gives? I've looked at the photos and they appear to me to bear more than a passing resemblance to the actors. One, I could fathom--after all, there must be a limited number of combinations of facial features, with the result that there are dopplegangers, so to speak, out there. But two similar photos having been "discovered" in such a short time bespeaks fakery more than coincidence; possibly a "viral" marketing campaign for a new movie.

If they are real, I would advise both actors to read "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" by H.P. Lovecraft, and be warned.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Nicholas Cage Among the Undead?

A purveyor of old photos claims to have a photograph of Nicholas Cage dating from the Civil War.  Says the article: "'Personally, I believe it's him and that he is some sort of walking undead/vampire, et cetera, who quickens/reinvents himself once every 75 years or so,' the seller -- who's asking $1 million for the photo -- writes on eBay."

Reminds me of the plot of the movie, "The Night Strangler."

Friday, September 16, 2011

This Has the Making of a Bad Movie...

An adult film company is constructing a bunker to survive the 2012 apocalypse. There are too many puns and snarky comments that come to mind to pick one. The location of the bunker was not released, but I'm sure that it won't be too far (i.e., far enough) from the San Andreas fault.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Learn How to Change the Tires on Your Vehicle

Well, I did my good deed for the day this morning. My new neighbor, Lil, had a flat tire on her car and was out trying to figure out how to change it when I was leaving to work this morning. She'd been able to find the jack, but that was about as far as it went. She didn't know how to use the jack, or how to release the spare tire from underneath her vehicle. After going through the directions in the owner's manual, we finally found where to crank down the spare tire from underneath the back of the vehicle. After that, it went pretty quick.

It seems to me that there are certain things you need to know how to do on your car, and being able to change the tire is one of them. And by "change the tire," I don't just mean how to jack the car up and undo the lug nuts. Do you know where your jack is? Do you know how to get the spare tire out? This is knowledge that can save you a lot of grief in day-to-day living, or in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Kukri Knives

To survive the Zombie Apocalypse, you are going to have to kill zombies. To kill a zombie, you have to destroy the brain or the brain stem. This is probably best done using a firearm to shoot the zombie in the head--preferably from a safe distance. It goes without saying that it must be a clean head-shot. Shooting off a zombie's jaw isn't going to do much, except maybe make it harder for the zombie to chew on you.

Sometimes, however, you won't be able to shoot a zombie. Maybe you have run out of ammo. Maybe you have lost your gun, or can't get to it. Or maybe you don't want the sound of the shot to attract more zombies. These are situations that call for a hand-weapon.

In the Zombie Survival Guide, the author suggest a variety of different swords, machetes, and other bladed weapons. I certainly don't want to challenge the efficacy of particular weapons in the hands of an experienced warrior, but for most of us, there are problems with these weapons.

Machete: the standard machete has a long blade (generally around 20" on a typical model), but made of thinner metal. While great for hacking through grass or light undergrowth, the blade is too thin for serious zombie chopping, which will need something that will cut deeply into a skull or through a neck.

Sword: there are a great variety of swords out there, but lets face it, most are nothing but poor copies, made of cheap materials with inferior workmanship, and too heavy to boot. Compare a real sword to a "reproduction" and you will immediately notice that the real blades are generally much more narrow and lighter, and much better balanced. The real thing is a weapon, as opposed to a wall hanging. Even if you get hold of the real thing, most will be too long to be useful in the confined spaces of a building. Also, lets be honest here, using a real sword effectively takes a lot more skill and training than most of us have or will acquire.

What is needed is something of almost caveman simplicity--something that takes advantage of the natural and strong chopping motion of the arm, but is strong enough to take out a zombie. One weapon that satisfies this criteria is the kukri.


The Complete Encyclopedia of Arms and Weapons (Simon & Schuster: New York, 1979)  indicates that the kukri (or khukari) is:
The national knife and principle weapon of the Gurkhas of Nepal. Its form, especially the forward-angled blade, shows that it is closely related to the ancient Greek swords MACHAIRA and KOPIS, which almost certainly accompanied Alexander the Great to India. ...
The Encyclopedia of Handheld Weapons (Chrysalis Books: 2002) notes that the kukri is not only a superb weapon, but also "a highly effective field tool which is favoured by many experts besides the Gurkhas themselves for jungle survival use."
The kukri's weight and blade shape provide superb chopping, hacking and slashing performance. The heavy blade chops powerfully through logs and branches, and the reverse curve edge cuts deeply with little effort. The kukri is almost unmatched for heavy survival tasks such as shelter building and clearing vegetation and can also be used for surprisingly delicate work. It also excels as a close-combat weapon, where the power of its chopping stroke is legendary--tales abound of Gurkhas lopping off the heads of their enemies with a single stroke.
The Wikipedia article linked above also indicates that the kukri can be used effectively as a stabbing weapon. For someone with experience in fencing, the angle of the handle relative to the blade may make this seem awkward, but stabbing with the kukri may be more natural to someone with no preconditioning to thrusting in a particular fashion or style.

The particular model in the photo above has a 12 inch blade with a full tang. The blade is approximately 1/4 inch thick steel at the spine. The handle is covered with two wooden scales on each side fastened with brass steel rivets. The sheath is wood with a thin leather covering and (presumably) brass over the tip. The knife was made in India, and supposedly represents the government contract knife for the military.

The knife is solidly built. The knife tang actually stuck up a bit past the wooden scales, and really dug into my skin the first time I tried using it for chopping. I took a Dremel tool and sanded these down, which made it much more comfortable to use. The blade came unsharpened. I typically use a Lansky sharpener, but this was way more than it could handle. I ended up using a fine metal file, and finished it up with a stone.

As promised, the knife puts most of the weight of the blade toward the tip, making it natural to swing. I've tested it out on chopping wood, brush, and grass. It does not cut into thicker wood as well as an ax or hatchet, but would probably work. It does very well in cutting through brush. Surprisingly, I had trouble with chopping through grass and fibrous weeds, such as milk-weed. It would obviously break the stock, but it didn't cut through, which allows the grass and weeds to collect around the blade, which I had to pull off. This may be more of an issue with my sharpening or cutting technique, or perhaps because the blade is so thick.

While it would be a serious weapon, I think that a longer length would work better as both a weapon and as a field tool. In some of my reading, I had come across references to the kukri's used in WWI and earlier were longer--15" or more.

I ordered mine through Atlanta Cutlery, which has other models available. I would also note that kukris can be ordered through Amazon.com. Sarco sells various kukris, including 18" and 24" models.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sorry About the Lack of Posts--"Vampire" Attack

I have really fallen down on posting, but I'm hoping to keep this up better in the future. Jeff and Lissa have moved out of the state, however, so I don't know what to do as far as our little group. I guess this will become more of my own personal blog as to zombie and survival related stuff, and we'll see if our little group continues.

Anyway, came across this interesting little story today about a man attacked by a woman claiming to be a vampire. This may not seem too related to zombies, but this is the weird (as if this could be any weirder) part of the story. You would think that a "vampire" would attempt to drink the guy's blood. But no. "Police told The Times that Smith bit off chunks of Ellis’ face and part of his lip." That bites, but it doesn't suck! More like a zombie than a vampire.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

National Geographic Zombies

No, its not zombies that were found beneath mounds of old issues of National Geographic, but apparently a new program about zombies called "The Truth Behind Zombies." Also, check out this zombie outbreak simulator. Finally, from a link at this last site is a 330 year old text describing human corpses arising from the dead--not to drink blood--but consume human flesh!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 2011 Gear Check

Its always good to check out the gear that you would use during the Zombie Apocalypse. And its a good excuse to have some fun camping! So, without further ado, here is our most recent gear check from a weekend camping trip into the central Idaho mountains.

Condor Summit Tactical Soft Shell Jacket

I tried out my Condor Summit Tactical Soft Shell Jacket that I had bought recently (it has been unusually wet and cold this year). My hope was for a jacket that I could comfortably use as a light jacket (wind breaker), but still be water-proof. The jacket I bought was black, but they have other colors including tan and coyote brown.

First, let me explain what I was replacing. My prior jacket was a poncho-style outer shell made by Helly Hanson, although the particular model is no longer available (the most similar current model seems to be their Vortex jacket). I liked that it was light-weight and would pack into its own front pocket. I also liked the extra flap on the front of the hood to keep rain off my glasses. However, my gripe with it was that it was not as good as I liked at venting inside moisture, such as from sweat. If the weather was warm, or I engaged in a moderate amount of activity, I ended up being almost as wet as if I hadn't used it in the first place. I needed something more breathable.

My first attempt at a replacement was a Mad Dog Growler uninsulated camouflage jacket. It seemed to breath better than the H/H jacket, and worked great in the rain, but I quickly realized that I didn't want to be wearing camo all of the time. Sort of makes you stick out at your favorite coffee shop, if you know what I mean.

So, I then moved to the Condor jacket, as it seemed "tacticool" but still uptight enough that I could wear it to work on a rainy day. Also, it wasn't a budget buster.

As the sales literature notes, it uses a three layer system: a polyester outer shell, a "breathable film membrane" that is supposed to keep water out, but allow body moisture to pass (similar to Gor-tex), and a fleece inner layer. While I wasn't doing any heavy labor with it, I think it breaths better than the other two jackets. Temperatures were getting into the mid-40s where we were camping, and it seemed to be warm enough (and I think if I had been wearing a hat and long pants I would have been toasty warm even without a fire).

The jacket has plenty of pockets: upper arm pockets on both sleeves, and a lower arm pocket on the left sleeve; a large side pocket on both the right and left sides of the jacket (which has lots of small pockets to pack a wallet or other gear into) which is partially accessible from the inside of the jacket (the inside liner also have a cross-cut access hole to pass wires for your VOX transmitter (or iPod)); and a pocket on the lower back of the jacket that is accessible from either side. All pockets zipper shut. The jacket also included a hood that rolls up and stuffs into the collar (Since it didn't rain, I didn't try out the hood).

The jacket has a pretty cool venting system. There are zippers in each underarm area that can be unzipped to allow air circulation. Also, the rear pocket I mentioned--it is made of mesh, so if you unzip both sides, it will also allow some air circulation along your lower back.

There are a couple other features worth noting. First, it comes with velcro attachment points on each upper arm for the velcro backed patches. My jacket is now sporting a Zombie Hunter patch. Second, the back of the jacket is longer than the front (similar to biking jackets) to keep your waste covered even if you are bending forward. Now for those of you who like "crack," this may be a disadvantage....

There are a couple downsides with the jacket. If you are use to sticking your hands in side pockets to warm your fingers, you are out of luck. The standard outside pockets on each side are missing. You could probably use the large side pockets I discussed above, but it seems a little awkward. Also, there is no storm flap on the front zipper. I don't know if this will be a problem since the zippers are pretty tight, but I thought I would note it.

Finally--and this is a big issue--try the jacket on if you can. I think they modeled these on anorexic pygmies. I had to buy a size larger than normal to fit decently (an XXL instead of an XL). If you are planning on using anything heavier than a base-layer or a regular shirt under this jacket, or want to use a shoulder-holster or similar upper-body carry system for a handgun, you will probably need two-sizes larger than normal. (Frankly, if the store I was at carried an XXXL, I probably would have bought it, but since this will likely be used as a middle-layer, it isn't a big deal).

I will update this review once I get a chance to use the jacket in rain.



Swedish Fire Steel

Another new product I tried was the scout model of the Swedish Fire Steel. It worked great, in that it created lots of sparks. However, the user didn't work so well. I was trying to light the fire with dried moss (old man's beard) as a tinder, but couldn't get it to light. (In retrospect, I probably should have ground it up so it was finer). After several minutes, I finally gave it up as a lost cause and used a match, and had a good roaring fire in a few minutes. So, the lesson here is to practice with your equipment so you can use it under stress.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Odds and Ends

I came across this today at SniperCentral: a sniper simulation game. I haven't had a chance to play it, but will give it a shot in the near future.

Good advice here: "How Everything Goes to Hell During a Zombie Apocalypse".

Finally, at the Art of Manliness, a DIY zombie apocalypse shotgun. I do have a slight problem with the bayonet/knife--it doesn't extend past the end of the barrel!!! Of course, it doesn't look like its really up to the task of splitting zombie skulls. Additional criticism here. A couple commentators at the last link suggest the M-1 Garand with the original 18 inch bayonet. May be a good discussion for the next meeting.