jmfargo: (sam the eagle)
I am a morning person.

I am a solar-powered person.

When the night creeps in, so do all the negative thoughts/emotions. I never really realized this before because I had little to be negative about.

Now, the darkness happens and all the happy-go-lucky good things I had in my brain during the sun-lit hours go away, followed by doubt and insecurity.

I guess that means it's time for bed. Sleep allows me to ignore these things, at least consciously. Sub-consciously I'm guessing it's time for yet another zombie dream where nothing I do is good enough to hold them off.

But hey, at least I get to shoot the zombies right in their f#@$ing* faces. Good dreams. Zombies go bye-bye.

G'night all.

*My mom reads this. Hi mom!

Dream Movie

Dec. 4th, 2008 01:22 pm
jmfargo: (Default)
I don't dream about zombies as often as you'd think. I especially don't dream about zombie situations that feel realistic, that wake me up in the night, heart beating hard against my chest, sweat lightly beading on my forehead. Most times the dream is just that, a dream, where as every now and then it's too real, too gritty, nightmarish.

Last night I had one of the worst I've ever had. I remember it clearly, know how it started, how it ended, the feelings it elicited, and even the music playing in the background.

Yes, sometimes my dreams have soundtracks to them.

I wish I knew the first thing about writing a screenplay. This dream is so strong in my mind that I think I could write a rather terrifying movie out of it. By "terrifying" I don't mean the Hollywood version that includes buckets of gore, but instead the kind of movie that you watch and feel fine about afterward. You leave the theater thinking it was a good movie. You get out of your car and start walking to your front door when your brain clicks on. Did you just see movement out of the corner of your eye? Maybe your breathing starts to get a little heavier as the adrenaline kicks in. Is there a zombie around the corner? HOW WILL YOU SURVIVE!?

Oh, it was wind in the tree. Heh. Silly brain.

Seriously, I want to write this movie. Wish I had the talent and know-how.
jmfargo: (Default)
Okay, do you see the cutest little zombie there in my user icon? That was created by a really cool guy named Chris Pallace who created some really cool games. We met selling our wares at a convention, and I think I spent most of the time talking to him and his wife about surviving the zombie apocalypse.

What? It's what I do. I try not to get too bad about it, but if you give me your ear and seem halfway interested, well...

Well, Chris drew this for me to use as my icon, and I've been using it ever since. Very cool.

So [ profile] heartlessrose, a fantastic lady who happens to be his wife, wrote to me the other day when I was feeling down. Apparently, my little zombie guy has been made into a sticker, AND has others with him. It's a horde of sticker-zombies!

I just really wanted to put this out there for all of you to see, because I think it's really very awesome, and made me smile. Go take a look, and if you love zombies (well, zombie survival in my case, but you know what I mean), you'll most likely smile too.
jmfargo: (Default)
Three quick updates, and then I'm off to do my morning Wiirkout.

1) This is why I need an artist for my web comic idea:

A bad drawing of a man in a hat, leaning against a white background.

This picture, drawn by me, showcases the fact that I have NO idea what to do. Okay, you might point out that I've got the generalities right, that he has arms and legs, and a head, but what about hands? Or a freakin' face? Those two things are impossible for me to make look decent when I draw them.

Plus, that little sketch took me about 20 minutes. That's just sad.

2) I'm currently working on upgrading my zombie defense blog into something more than what it is. I'm wondering if Word Press might better suit my needs. Does anybody have experience with the free version?

3) My three favorite fantasy authors are Robin Hobb, Raymond Feist, and Jim Butcher. Terry Pratchett would be in there, but he's my favorite comedic author, so I wanted to make room for someone else.

I just thought you'd like to know something about me that you might not already have known. That, and I didn't actually have three things to say when I started, so I had to come up with something.
jmfargo: (Default)
Hey, Florida people!

I'm doing a little bit of vacation planning that's a little out of the ordinary, and I'm wondering if you can help me out of this pickle?

[ profile] reverendfixxxer says I have no chance, if the worst happens, but I think there has to be some way to make sure I'm safe. I'll have my wife, my parents, my sister*, my brother Andrew, and all of his soon-to-be-wife's family to think of.

So please go there and let me know if this is something you've thought about, something you can help me figure out. Thanks!

*Assuming she makes it out of the DC airport with no mistakes, but that's a story for a different time.
jmfargo: (Default)
1) Hey all! Over at my zombie blog I've got a poll that I'd love to see get some extra results. If you have a minute, would you run over there, check it out, and let me know your answer? I try to put up weekly polls, and get some great info from them, but this one hold a special place in my heart.

2) I've sort of been forgetting to mention that I've had a bunch of photos published over at Insect POD, so here's a list of the last 7:

Black Aphids
Other Aphids on a pretty flower
Honey Bee
Jumping Spider with a cool story.

Some of those posts have two pictures in them, so make sure to scroll down! (Especially the Black Aphids. David did an awesome job on that with the story and pictures.)

3) I'm starting a new online project, and am looking for submissions. If you're interested in having your dog featured on a premium* website, please feel free to send your pictures to me!

*"Premium," in this particular case meaning "I think it's cool."
jmfargo: (Default)
A lot of us, myself included, get winded after jogging for a short distance. We struggle even more with running, and sometimes even just walking to the store can make us wheeze for breath while our companions look at us like we're some sort of three-eyed purple alien creature.

Guess who's going to be the first to go, when the zombies come? It's going to be the people who aren't faster than the zombies. They may only shamble, and lurch towards their victims, but it doesn't necessarily have to be a slow shuffle. I'd assume at least a walk, and a walk that will not stop until they either have you, or you're safe!

How far can you get if you're walking fast, or jogging? A mile? Half a mile? Not far at all? 20 miles? It's important to know, because if they're coming for you, you need to know what's nearby, and if you can get there without having to stop for breath. Stopping can very easily get you killed if you don't have any other means of protecting yourself.

Note that I don't bring running into this. Why is simple: In the wrong environment, one of twists and turns like a city or even certain sections of a small town, you could easily run around a corner and find yourself in the arms of a waiting zombie before you know it. If you can run and keep a cool head, that's fine, but if you're panicking and running, you could land yourself in some hot water.

If you can't walk far, or jog, but are physically able, you need to start fixing that problem right now. You never know when the time will come that you'll need it, and if you don't start now, you may never have a chance.

If you're a rank beginner, start by walking every day, as far as you can go for a half hour, even if it's just around the block or up and down the driveway. Don't worry too much about making yourself sweat, but just moving for a full half hour. Move up slowly to jogging for short intervals back and forth. After a while, you should focus on tiring yourself out, otherwise you'll never get any faster.

If you can, add in a day or two where you can go for an hour and see how far you can move in that hour. This will help you gauge your ability to get away, and where you can go in your neighborhood in that first hour if you're stuck outside of your house. This may come in handy. It's also a nice change of scenery, and gets you out into the neighborhood if you haven't been before. Added benefits of trying to prepare for the zombie apocalypse.

Finally, move up to jogging. How long can you do it? Can you jog a full half hour? An hour? However long you can, just make sure that you are able to sustain the pace long enough to get you somewhere safe. If you're in a small city, that's probably a fortified building near your house, your work, your daycare, or your school. If you're in a large city, that means leaving the city. If you're in the country, miles away from no one, it probably means you should stay put. If you're in Alaska, it means watch television and laugh at all the havoc you avoided.

So, you want to survive? Start preparing now, mentally and physically. You'll be grateful you did.
jmfargo: (Default)
EDIT: When it comes to dealing with zombies, I know what I'm talking about. When it comes to walking a long distance with not much on my back, I don't. Tomorrow I will be writing up a much better and more likely packing scenario, assuming I can stuff enough knowledge into my brain to do it. Stay tuned. This is what it looks like when I mess up big-time:

Let's say you're alone, and it's the end of the world as you know it. Let's assume you feel fine and then stop singing that song.

For some reason, after the zombie apocalypse hit, your plan went wrong, and you're not in your bastion of safety that you had told all of your friends to get to. You, of course, have a back-up plan, but part of it meant you had to hole up in your house first, and things outside quieted down.

You've been surviving on your canned goods and bottled water for about a week, maybe a little longer. The power probably went out by now, at least in a localized way if not far-spread. Your little hand-crank radio gives you little hope, though a few people are still broadcasting.

You figure it's time to move. Get out and go to either the fortress you had planned to go to originally, or to a secondary location. You know that if you stay in your house too much longer you're going to run out of food and water, and so it's time to pack up.

What you're able to bring with you is mostly dependent on what mode of travel you plan on using, so let's talk about that first.

A car is most likely right out. Stalled cars, bodies, toppled electrical poles - these things are going to be a huge problem. Plus there's the noise, attracting the attention of any nearby zombie, causing them to swarm, or at least follow you to where you're going. You don't want that.

A motorcycle or small ATV is better for getting in and out of where you need to go, but it still has the noise factor. If you're planning on going out somewhere to the country, avoiding major highways where the pile-ups can make passing impossible, then this might be a good choice for you. The noise, as you leave the suburbs, will become less of a factor, but still make sure you keep an eye out for any potential problems that you might have to deal with after you get to your safe haven.

Walking, if you need to, will suffice. Make sure you have good boots, and understand that you won't have a lot of room to bring things with you, but it's quiet, you can most likely out-pace any zombies in a foot race, and you can go around problem areas. Just remember that if you start getting tracked by the living dead, they can follow through scent, and will not stop coming after you*, so be ready for a fight if you start to get followed.

Then there's the bicycle. It's quiet, can move around objects in the way, and allows for faster travel than by foot. If you're preparing for the outbreak and you have a bike, you've either put on a basket or two for more carrying capacity, or at least have a tow-behind hitch basket. A bike that's good for this kind of situation will have the ability to go off-road as well as on, so mountain bikes are more useful than racing bikes, but both are good. Bicycles are probably the best way to go, and lightweight if you need to transport them over some barrier that you can't go around.

Still, let's assume the worst. You don't have any bike, car, or motorcycle. It's only you and your own two feet, and you have a ways to go. What should you bring with you? How do you prepare? What should you expect?

We'll start with gear.

You're going to be walking, so you need nice sneakers. You don't want anything that's going to give you blisters, and you need the sneakers to have good traction on the bottom. They should give you good ankle support - the worst thing that could happen while trying to outrun creeping doom is that you hurt your ankle. They might be able to shamble quicker than you can hobble, and that's a bad situation.

Tight clothing. Any kind of zombie guide book will tell you that you need tight clothing, and either short hair, or something like a hat to cover your hair. If the zombies do get close enough to grab at you, you don't want your clothing to be working against you. Let's try not to let them get that close though.

A good backpack, camping pack style, suitable for carrying a variety of items. This backpack should fit comfortably, and not chafe your shoulders while you walk. If possible, for the same reason you want tight clothing, avoid using the kind of pack that comes with a belt to help support the weight. It helps you feel like you're carrying less, but in the heat of the moment it can be difficult to unclip the belt, and that can lead to a nasty bite.

The necessities. What do you need to put in the backpack, carry in a pocket, have on hand?

Of course, you need a weapon. If you have a gun, know how to use it, and are relatively sure that you can use it with deadly accuracy, go ahead and bring that. That might come in handy, but be sure you're aware of the noise issue - maybe try not to use it from about a mile near where you plan on shoring up, so as to avoid unwanted visitors sooner than expected.

If you don't have a gun or a projectile weapon (avoid thrown weapons - they just aren't powerful enough to actually damage a zombie's brain), then you're looking at hand-held weapons meant for bashing in a skull or cutting off a head.

I believe, personally, that bashing in is easier than cutting off; less aiming involved, and much less skill.

So, you have a couple of good items that you probably have on hand at your home somewhere. You could use a shovel, a baseball bat (wooden is better than metal), a crowbar, a large piece of wood, a hand axe**, just, whatever you have on hand that's not too heavy, easy to swing, and could cause a good amount of mass trauma damage to the side of a zombie's head. Even a table leg will do, if that's all you have. Just make sure you have something.

The weapon goes in whatever hand you're best at swinging it with. If it needs two hands to swing, just make sure it's on hand at all times.

Assuming temperate weather, here is the rest of your list, you'll note that I've packed enough food and water for a week if you eat and drink liberally. This is in case your safe-hold isn't as safe as you thought it was, and you have to find a new place:

21 fl. oz water - make sure to drink 3 per day.
A water purifier, and clear knowledge of where you're going to get your water (streams or lakes nearby, etc)

Canned food - 14-21 cans of vegetables, beans, anything that doesn't need to be heated up.

Can opener
Toilet paper - yes, I know it's the apocalypse, but that doesn't excuse horrible hygiene.
Whistle - this is to be used only in an emergency, when you believe help is nearby to draw their attention to you.
Hand-crank radio
Flashlight with red cellophane cover - only to be used in an emergency. The red cellophane is so you don't lose your night vision.
First Aid Kit

These are the absolute minimum. If you have more space, bring more, but no personal items, nothing you can't use - it's vital that you keep yourself as light as possible, even as heavy as this pack is. Bog yourself down with too much, and within the first hour you'll find yourself inattentive to what's around you, sweat pouring in your eyes, and zombie food.

You're going to be carrying pounds and pounds of stuff in your backpack that you're probably not accustomed to carrying with you when you go for a jog, walk, or run. To get used to this, I suggest you start practicing. Get on a treadmill with a backpack that has all this equipment in it (minus any weapons, as you should try to be as safe as possible when your life isn't on the line), and see how far you can go. Then make sure you can go farther - you never know how long you'll have to go when there might not be any safe havens for miles.

What am I missing? What would you bring with you? Would you try to supplement the canned food by hunting on your own? Would you bring jerky with you instead, seeing as it's lighter, but at the same time more expensive and doesn't last as long?

How far do you have to go to get to your safe house? How long can you keep on the run?

Good luck. I hope to see you there, when the zombies are in our streets.

*Unless they find easier prey, which could be a good thing for you, bad thing for someone else.
**My personal favorite. Use the blunt side for striking, and the other side for whatever you may need it for - getting into buildings by cutting through a lock, removing obstacles, etc.

Hit The Hay

Jan. 3rd, 2008 08:42 am
jmfargo: (Default)
For some reason, you left the defenses of your fortress behind, possibly to look for other humans, or maybe because you missed something in setting up your defenses, and they got in. It doesn't matter why, really, the fact is that you are out on the road. You might be alone, trying to just stay inconspicuous, unseen, or you could be with a group, moving by day and sleeping at night, trying to find a new place to be.

But that's the crux of it, isn't it? Sleeping. Where? When? If you're alone, how do you make sure you're safe, that you won't wake up to the site of broken, jagged, teeth coming towards your face?

This is what we're going to cover today. The assumptions we'll make are threefold: You're on the move without vehicles; you have food/water/basic protection; you and your group are in good physical shape. These three things are important to being on the move, and I'll explain why as we go along.

The first thing to note is that you can't bring attention to yourself. Your weapons need to be silenced, or silent by nature. Avoiding detection is the key because the moment one zombie finds you, you can be sure the noise will bring in any curious rotting onlookers that might be within a small radius, which can then draw more in from a larger area. Basically, assume that the second you draw two or three of these creatures on you, there will be 8 more coming towards you in minutes, and you need to be on the move to get out of that area, as far as you can.

That's where being in shape comes in too. You need to be able to move at a moment's notice, keep ahead of the horde if you find them coming. They don't move fast, but they keep coming. If they can find your scent, they can find you, and don't think that just because they have no nose, they can't smell you; smell is processed by more than just the nose, and can be scented even by those that appear to have rotted beyond the ability to smell at all.

So, you need to keep on the move until you find whatever it is you're looking for, that's a given. But what about those times you can't stay on the move? Everyone needs sleep eventually, even the toughest among us. Where can you find shelter, what should you look for in a potential sleep situation? Let's talk about locations, and whether they're good for the soloist, or groups.

Location #1 - Basements

If you're alone, the basement is where you go to die.

If you're in a group basement sleeping becomes marginally better because you'll have people set to watch, and the people on watch will be outside the house, keeping the perimeter clear in groups of two or three. Bigger than that and they're too obvious, smaller and you might as well be asking for a disaster. If there's only two of you, then the person who is awake should stay stationary, right outside your exit, making sure to keep it clear, and waking you up the moment there is a problem. Time to move on.

Location #2 - Attics

Slightly better than a basement, if you have time to prepare, and can scrounge up a way to get out from the heights if you realize you've been followed. A ladder, a hole in the ceiling to climb out of, and an escape plan can be very helpful. The fact that zombies don't climb anything steeper than stairs means that you're relatively protected if you're in the old style attic where you could pull up the stairs behind you.

In a group, most attics get crowded quickly, and are difficult to get out from quickly considering the tight quarters. You still have the same basic protection of being able to pull up the stairs behind you, but getting out might be a problem, even with a hole in the ceiling and a ladder to the ground. People can panic, and in this situation, panic is deadly.

Location #3 - Nature

Alone, and with about an hour to prepare, a tree can be a very uncomfortable but safe place to sleep. Assuming you have brought a few basic ingredients with you, you can make a very basic noise trap (the ONLY time I advocate noise is when it will save your life) to wake you up if you're stumbled upon. You want to make sure the perimeter is completely surrounded by a string roughly 6 inches off the ground, high enough that a single zombie won't step over it, but low enough to catch most draggers*.

If you're in a group, you can assure that everyone has a restful night by doing a few things: Set up watches. Know where you are; is there a large city nearby that might provide many zombies coming your way? Be ready to move at a moment's notice.

Location #4 - Defensible Building

A warehouse, a prison, a castle in the middle of the wilderness. These things can be protected fairly well, and though it may take some time to shore up extraneous doors or any holes in the defenses that you can come across, you might want to look at this as a way station. Stock it up, scout around, and find your next best path. Mark it on a map that you brought with you, and be ready to use this as a long-term solution if you didn't have anywhere in mind to go. You may have just reached your new home. Set up regular watches, establish sleep patterns, and even if you plan on must moving along soon, make sure everyone gets enough rest to keep moving.

Those are four locations that can be good or deadly, depending on what your situation is. For the solitary person, attics, trees, and defensible buildings. For a group of three or more, basements, tree/nature in the middle of nowhere, and defensible buildings.

When the day comes, remember this above all else: Keep yourself safe. Find a place, and fortify, but know how to get out when/if you need to. Have a plan, and don't get yourself trapped.

Stay safe. When the day comes, hopefully I'll see you there.

*"Draggers" would be those zombies that have no legs or locomotion beyond dragging themselves along the ground.
jmfargo: (Default)
So, where will the zombies come from?

George Romero, well known zombie expert and apologist (have you seen Land of the Dead? Bah!), believes that the staggering zombie hordes will be caused by radiation from outer space that revives recently deceased humans and causes them to have a deadly spittle that is passed on to other humans when they are bitten. The bite is not what makes the person a zombie, but what kills them, thus causing them to rise as a zombie from the radiation.

His theory has merit in that we are constantly exploring the universe, and it's always throwing new things our way, but I think that if it were a form of radiation, it would probably have more of an effect on living tissue than dead, and we'd have more to worry about than zombies. At least zombies can be defended against by the common man if diligent. Radiation is a whole other problem.

The creator of The Zombie Hunters, obviously well-versed in the hidden lore of zombies but a little caught up in the fantasy of it all, believes that zombies will be caused by a virus of some kind, spreadable through bite and saliva. This, to me, is the most probable cause, and the kind of cause that I tend to focus on when talking about zombie defense. I don't believe all corpses will rise, only the infected.

The Resident Evil line of thought would have you believe that the virus is even more fantastic than the one above, and could spread through various types of animals, mutate humans, and cause worse monsters than even zombies. Fast monsters that can walk on walls. I hesitate in calling most of the creatures made in this line of survival-skills-teaching media zombies, as they are mostly simply monsters. Still, these games can teach you the basics, like finding the blue and red gemstones to put into the raven's eyes in order to get a better gun.

The Zombie Survival Guide (the currently most complete and well-written zombie survival guide available) also believes that the zombie virus is passed on through the general means and that it is a virus, not radiation, or genetic manipulation. The end result of the virus is simply zombification, no mutation or change. For the most factual accounting of zombies, aside from this blog, this book is where to go to read it.

What other theories are there? Millions*, I'm sure. I've looked at those I could find, and my best guess is that it will be a man-made zombie virus that mutates slightly, and gets loose. I just pray that it will never mutate enough to get airborne. If it does that, the only way that humanity will survive is if enough people are immune to it, otherwise we're all doomed.

So let's just hope the zombies can only transmit it through biting. That, we can fight against.

Let's go kill some zombies.

*Hundreds? At least ten?
jmfargo: (Default)
So You Wanna Become Part Of A Zombie Strike Squad

Sometimes, when you're in this modern day world, you may realize that you're not doing much on a day-to-day basis to help save the world from the menace of zombies that is an ever-present threat. The thought may strike you that, in order to help save the world, you should grab your shotgun, get on a plane, chase down some zombies, and start saving!

Hold on. Just you? Alone? Against a bunch of zombies? What if it's not what you expected? What if you run out of ammo? What if you end up like this poor soul?

Don't worry. We're here to help. We're the pros. Let us help guide your beginning process, and after the first few precision strikes you'll be doing this with ease!

1. Find zombies
2. Assemble your team
3. Make your plan
4. Get the hardware
5. Don't freeze up

Find Zombies

Step one in any successful zombie strike squad is to find an area that is infected with the zombie virus. This may be hard to do since so many outbreaks are quickly covered up by the World Health Organization and international government conspiracies.

For a start, if this is not the time of a major breakout in a first-world country, you may want to try places like Africa, where they have many rare, dangerous, and unusual/mysterious diseases.

Or you could just go here. Look for unusual things in the media. Meteor strike down? Large portions of the world quarantined? Just keep an eye out. You'll find what you're looking for.

Assemble Your Team

People who have prepared for the zombie outbreak are going to make better team-mates than those who don't believe zombies exist, obviously. If there's a group of specially-trained Marines on your list of friends, even better.

Most of us aren't that lucky.

You need to look for people who can fire guns, won't scare easily, and who you trust to watch your back. You're going in to wipe out zombies, not to loot at the first chance you get. They don't need to be the fastest, but brains and a cool hand will be more useful than almost anything else.

Find at least five people to go with you, and get a partner. While in the field, this person sticks with you. Going into a house to check it out? They come with you. Heard a strange noise just around that corner? They come with you. Going to take a leak? You got it. They come with you. Optimally, your six person group never separates, but you have to work in the real world, and it's not always optimal.

Make sure you have at least one person with medical experience. You're fighting zombies here, but not all the damage will come from them. There's always accidents, and the best way to become zombie-chow is to accidentally twist your ankle while running and not have someone there to splint it for you.

It's also best to choose a leader before you begin, someone whose orders are obeyed instantly, without question. You may think you make the best leader of the group since this is your idea, but be honest with yourself and with those you are choosing and find out who among you has planned the best, has training, and knows what to do.

Make Your Plan

Look at your main objectives. Are you going to rescue someone? Are you simply eradicating the threat in an area? Is there a stronghold of safety you're trying to get to? (And if you think it's a stronghold of safety, figure out why it's already overrun and what went wrong.)

Plan accordingly. You must know three things: How many? General layout? Safe escapes?

How many - how big of a horde are you facing? This will help you plan your ammo needs, your expected time in and out, etc.

General layout - Are you exterminating zombies in a specific building? Are there blue-prints? Are you wiping out an infected town? Can you get aerial surveillance?

Safe escapes - Look for ways to roofs, bolt holes out of the way that can be locked behind you as you run from a bigger horde than you realized was there. Anything that can help if everything goes wrong.

A fourth good thing to know is simply your objective. Make sure you discuss this with your group beforehand so that you all are on the same page and know exactly what you are planning on doing. If you're looking to rescue someone, you don't need to chase down every zombie. If you're trying to exterminate all the zombies, you shouldn't be looking for loot in old buildings.

Get The Hardware

For a good look at all the hardware you'll need to take down zombies, get The Zombie Survival Guide. While I don't suggest taking everything at face value in any one book, I do suggest listening to the suggested ammo and supplies here.

You may also want: Night vision goggles tuned to low light, not heat sensitive. Untainted bottled water. Any locational gear, depending on where you are going (heavy clothing for cold conditions, etc).

Don't Freeze Up

It's going to be hard out there on the battlefield. The moans of the undead echoing from building to building, confusing your senses. The first time your party gets together, your finger very well come freeze on that trigger, and not be able to pull when you realize that these were people.

Don't. Remember: These aren't people now; you're saving the world.

And besides, this is supposed to be fun, isn't it?
jmfargo: (Default)
I was listening to a record here at work tonight, and in the background I happen to catch the words "Ebola," followed closely by "Outbreak" and "Switzerland."

Nothing on Yahoo News yet, and Google wouldn't have had time to pick anything up.

Can anyone confirm? "Ebola" and "rabies" are two of my major watch words for that thing I'm constantly obsessing over, and each is dangerous even without them around.
jmfargo: (Default)
What's the best way to check if a zombie is dead?

Shooting it in the head from 20 feet away, or burning it to ash from 20 feet away.

What? You thought it was to go up to it, and gently nudge it with your foot, or something? You won't last long once the major outbreak comes.

That's okay, that's why I'm here; to teach you what to do.

The first thing I need you to do, and to help me with, is get in shape. I've realized my goal for getting in shape is to be able to survive when the zombies come. Sure, they can't run fast, but they're relentless, will track you by scent, and unless they're distracted, they will not stop.

Sure, you can walk faster than a zombie can shamble, but unless you can put a good mile or more between you and the nearest undead, they'll track you by your scent, and if you're a large, out of shape person, you'll probably be sweating, putting that sweet scent of yours everywhere.

So, that's the problem for us out of shape folks. What's the solution? You're not going to like it, and I'm sorry, but here it is, that dirty word:


My exercise routine that I've been following for a while now has been simple and easy to do. First off, I cut wood with a hatchet. This works on my upper body, giving me strength to swing tirelessley if I end up having to fight hand-to-hand (Okay, weapon-to-head) with those rotting atrocities. I didn't realize how quickly my arms would tire until I started doing this, constant chopping, using both left and right arms.

If you expect to get out there and do weapon-to-head combat with zombies, don't have a gun of some kind, and think that your sword, axe, sharp cutting implement of your choice is going to be enough, let me dissuade you of that notion: Use hand weapons only as a last resort unless you've practiced at it. It gets ridiculously tiring.

Now, aside from preparing for battle with an axe, I'm preparing for the most important bit: Running. I'm getting my lungs back by doing some Dance Dance Revolutions, jogging in place, and generally making myself breath hard in hot weather. Yesterday was 80+ degrees, with high humidity, so I went in back after cutting some wood with the axe, and got myself sweating by power walking back and forth.

If everything goes down tomorrow, I'll have my plan, but if it comes down to me having to outrun zombies, fight them to get them back, and generally everything goes to hell, I might not be ready. I need to change that, and so do you if you think this might be a problem.

Find a weapon, learn to use it with aim, ease, and power. Remember, just hitting won't do, you have to hit them in the head, with enough force to destroy the brain. The skull is not easy to get through, you need leverage, speed, and power. Working with a weapon, seriously working, getting the muscles ready, that will take practice. Start now while you can.

Walk places, or jog in place. Get ready for long travel, not sprinting. You'll do better to be able to power-walk 10 miles than if you can sprint 1 mile. Running is great, but when the big outbreak comes, you might run a mile, and find yourself with more zombies around than when you started. Power-walk 10 miles and you have a better chance of getting out of a city/populated area.

That's my goal, by the way, to be able to power-walk 10 miles after all of this, with a backpack full of water, and necessary items.

What's your goal for getting in shape before the hordes come to tear you down?
jmfargo: (Default)
So what is a zombie? When I say "Zombie Apocalypse," exactly what am I talking about?

Basically it's broken down into three or four main categories. I figure you have:

Fast zombies, like those in the box-office semi-hit 28 Days Later, which can run at high speeds, usually have greater strength, and an enormously high pain threshold. These are also normally thought of as "raging humans." Their bite transmits the disease, or blood, or spittle, or maybe just something in the air.

These are not zombies.

Intelligent zombies, that wait in the shadows for you, before they jump out in ambush as you go after the one they left in the light as bait for you. These zombies can be fast, slow, or anything between, but normally they show signs of intelligence by turning door knobs, remembering things from life, and generally anything more than an animal of very low intelligence could figure out. Their flesh can be dessicated, or pristine, but their brain functions on more than just the predator/prey instinct.

These are also, not zombies.

Slow, unintelligent, dessicated husks of what was once a person, shambling from place to place, only reacting to signs of life, and then still only shuffling forward, hands outstretched, mouth hanging slack, letting out an unworldly moan as it comes for you?

These are what I mean. These are zombies. A good solid door could withstand one of these creatures. Plexiglass could keep one out of your house without any issue. Door handles are the most complex mystery in the world, and if they cared about mysteries, they'd be stumped.

So, why the hell would anyone be afraid of a slow moving zombie that can't even slide open a sliding door?

Numbers and relentlessness. That lone zombie, banging at your door, smelling your scent wafting from inside the house, will never stop. Never. The only way it would stop is if another food source was nearby and it noticed that. Then it would be back at the door or window, hands smashing, clawing, and grasping. It's low moan echoing through the streets, calling to others of its kind.

Others of its kind. There's the other major problem. Where you had one trying to get through the picture window at the front of your house, suddenly you have 5. Their weight alone makes the glass that could take a sledgehammer blow bow slightly inwards. Still, it took a sledgehammer when the sales guy showed it to you, so you should be fine, right?

What about when suddenly, one morning you wake up, and there's 15 out there? All 15, never stopping, never needing sleep, and never ceasing their moaning, calling more and more, all for just you, you and your family.

With enough pushes, almost anything will pop out of place (a window is only as strong as the wall around it, after all), or shatter, or give out in some way. Fences, doors, windows, none of these things will keep you safe from 25, 50, hundreds of the recently undead that are coming for you.

That, then, is why you have to be afraid. That is why you have to learn to fight back properly.

The Horde is coming. You must be prepared.

Are you?
jmfargo: (Default)
The snow reports I'm getting from my friends on Livejournal tell me that it's winter out there, that we have some light, drifting snow on top of heavy-packed snow that will quickly become icy, and that it's very very cold.

Fantastic! That means I don't have to worry so much about zombies.

See, I think I've said this before, but I can't find where, so I just wanted to reiterate: Winter cold is zombie bane. Now, they'll still be dangerous if you get too close, but if you're getting that close to a walking corpse it's your own damn fault that you're getting bitten by a half-frozen, barely moving, freezer-burned zombie.

Ice is a zombie killer, especially when mixed with the slowing effects of the cold. You'll want to fortify your building (you DO have a building that you're holed up in, right?) by melting down snow and getting a nice thick sheet of ice around key points (doors, walkways in, etc) outside of your fortification. Chances are that any zombies that do make it that far in will not have traction on the bottoms of their feet, will not have the control of their limbs necessary to keep themselves upright, and will be fodder for headshots, flailing around on the ground while you are safely perched somewhere nearby with your weapon of choice. I don't suggest going at these flailing monsters with a hand-held weapon, as their flailing can be unpredictable and could catch you unaware.

Places like Alaska, Northern Canada, and Siberia should be pretty safe most of the year. When it gets above freezing for the two or three days a year that this happens in those areas they might have a problem, but by then the zombies should have already been cleared out by the survivors. Also, in the very beginning the people in these areas will probably have just as much trouble as everyone else because the bodies are still being assimilated by the virus that causes zombism, but the survival rate is likely to be higher because this cold onset will come faster.

So listen, spend the warm months preparing for the cold months, but even when you're shivering because all you could find were a few blankets, and not enough wood to build a fire every day (you should have gotten more wood - you NEED heat), at least you'll know your biggest foe is the cold, and that it's actually helping you against your other foe, the Horde.

Now that you know that, though, make sure you've found a way to keep yourself warm if power and gas go out. Fires are good, in the proper environment, but not in a wooden house or a completely enclosed (airtight) area. Blankets, heavy clothing, dressing in layers, these are vitally important for those nights that are cold, but not yet freezing. The last thing you want is to draw the zombies down on you with a fire, without the benefit of their slowed reflexes and frozen joints to help you combat them. Light that fire on a 40 degree night, and when you look outside in the morning you may realize you've just killed everyone you're with.

So listen, stay warm, stay protected, and keep an eye out. Prepare for the worst, and you'll probably survive.

EDIT: For good ideas on keeping warm in inclement weather, zombies or no zombies, see [ profile] akdidge's comment to this entry! It could save your life some day, especially when the zombie apocalypse comes.
jmfargo: (Default)
Let's imagine that you're a smoker. We might not even have to imagine. You've heard that it's a dirty habit, it's killing you, and that you should quit now. Maybe you've even tried to quit, but it's too hard, the nicotine cravings have your hands shaking and your lungs quivering for that next burning suck. Maybe you're looking at a cigarette right now thinking "One more won't hurt, I'll just take one more little puff."

Now imagine that cigarettes are free, you just have to go get them. Free, you just have to go in the store, grab a bag, and load up! Really, no problem, just get as many as you want, and grab a lighter too if yours has gone out.

Of course, there's the zombies to contend with, but that shouldn't be a problem, right? Sure, one bite and you're as good as dead, but that sweet sweet nectar of life is worth it, right? I mean, afterall, the zombies are taking over the place and getting people left and right, it's not like smokings going to be the thing to kill you, might as well light up!

I'm here to tell you differently.

What's the number one complaint about smokers, aside from that "death" thing from lung cancer and second hand smoke? It stinks. Get someone who has been smoking for a year and they reek of it, their breath, their clothes, hair, bodies, everything. After about a year even showering doesn't completely cleanse the body any more of that smell. More than a year and they start to actually exude the smell, not just up close.

What is we talk about with zombies that makes them so deadly? Other than their bity-ness and their ability to tear you limb from limb I mean. They use every sense available to them at its fullest. The smell of a smoker, actively smoking or not, will draw them like honey. They'll swarm when the faintest wind picks up the smell of a newly lit cigarette, and suddenly your safehouse isn't any more and you have to move on. Unfortunately you're leading them on with the scent of smoke and nicotene, and they'll just keep coming. They're relentless.

So I'm here to tell you that smoking won't kill you in the post apocalyptic times of the zombie Hordes. It's not going to give you lung cancer and second-hand smoke isn't going to kill. What will kill will be the zombies it attracts, lurching forward, inexorably searching, sniffing the air, coming on always, simply not stopping until they find the source of the smell they know means humanity. Smoking won't kill, zombies will. Do you want to do this to your loved ones in the Afterwards? Because remember, they're not just coming after you, they're coming after every single person with you. Congratulations, you had to have that smoke, and you've killed everyone you're with.

Want another puff? Quit now, your life depends on it.
jmfargo: (Default)
The streets are quiet except for the heavy sound of your breathing and the slap slap slap of your companions flip flops. The air smells like a pine forest, but the dessicated, bleak buildings around you show a different scene. The city is quiet, dormant, dead. The gun is heavy in your hands.

A mild wind stirs dead dollar bills to softly skitter down the street. The wind moans quietly through the otherwise still street.

Wait. Moans?

Spinning around you see them coming, five or six of them, no, wait, nine! Ten! More coming from buildings! The zombies are behind you! A quick glance shows that you have options of escape. Do you run, or stay and fight to take out as many as you can, even though your gunshots ringing through these decaying city's streets are sure to bring more?

These are the questions that you and your friends will have to answer when you come to

Jeremiah's Zombie Apocalypse Training Camp!

Hone your wits and your zombie IQ! Enjoy an adventure by day, and our fine hotel and dining establishment by night! Or enjoy a day trip to battle the encroaching hoardes of zombies intent on safely tearing you limb from limb!

Our programs involve day trips, group encounters, overnight stays, and team-building exercises all intent on making sure you enjoy yourself while you help battle the scourge of the planet, zombies.

So come, enjoy a stay here, learn what you can do to help save the world, and while you're at it, blast a few zombie heads in the process!
jmfargo: (Default)
Supposedly over the next couple of nights there is supposed to be a series of meteor showers caused by an "unusual comet." This bit of news comes from one of Maria's coworkers, and though I can't quite verify it I have been reading some interesting things when I found out about the comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann. This was the one that NASA was busy about a while ago convincing us that it wasn't going to collide with the Earth. I'm not saying that I distrust NASA, but it was right around that time I started learning all I could about canning food and warding off radiation.

Remember folks, radiation is not your friend when it's just running around all willy nilly!

I have been accused of pontificationg too much about zombies, and I feel that for the sake of brevity I will keep this brief:

If rocks from outer space start hitting the ground the time is there to start moving to where you're planning on holing up. If something has happened to your main point (like, say, a huge chunk of glowing green rock crashed through the roof) move on to safety elsewhere.

Keep an eye on the skies folks. If the government isn't the cause of the Zombie Apocalypse, something from the skies will be, most likely.
jmfargo: (Default)
This started as an email to a dear friend of mine, [ profile] kimmaline, but I realized at some point that it would make a better post here, for people to see and learn about me. It's something I need to write, as rambling as it may be.

I have so much I'm supposed to be doing today around the house, but am in the exact wrong mood to want to go do them. What I really am in is an inspired mood, and feel like writing. I hope you don't mind but I'm going to take this chance to tell you a little bit more about me, the thoughts and beliefs that shape my every day actions. I'm a little strange, and I like to be upfront with my friends so that if I say something kind of out there they'll at least have a little background on my thought processes to understand at least a little why I am who I am.

I've always been slightly misunderstood and not quite a part of the crowd which was almost always fine with me except during high school, which is difficult for most loners, as I understand it. Even my parents saw me as a little strange, weird, and not the kind of person that fit in. They tried to push me to just go with the flow and get along, but it never quite worked.

See, I don't quite live in this world. It's one of the reasons I love fantasy stories to much - I've lived them my entire life, even before I really knew what fantasy was. I was always the hero as a child, and wanted desperately to be that way outside of when we played Pretend. I wanted to be brave, but I was scared, strong, but I was weak, tough, but I was the first to give up if it looked too difficult. When I started reading fantasy books (Ursula K Le Guin was my first fantasy author) I saw even more what I wanted - not just to be the hero, but to be The Hero.

Instead, I live mostly in this world, where The Hero is a hardworking guy who goes to work and does his best to be noticed by management, works hard, and brings home money to help pay for the house that his girlfriend owns. The Hero is a pudgy, overweight guy who talks a lot about going out and Getting Things Done, but doesn't really ever end up getting there.

The Hero in my mind, though, is the guy that's going to survive the Zombie Apocalypse, the guy who's going to lead hundreds of survivors to safety and find others to save, while at the same time thinning out the herd of zombies that come at us from all sides. He's heroic, he's brave, and he's strong. I may not be strong yet, but I'm also no longer the kid who hides in the corner because a bully might beat him up. I might not go and physically stop someone from breaking into a car, but I'll remember everything I can about the person, watch where they go, and try to keep track of them while I dial 911.

The Hero in my mind snarls at the weakness that won't allow me to rush out there and stop a robber, but he doesn't live in this real world, I have to filter what he would do into real world scenarios. He doesn't know about guns, about pain, about the bad things that can happen. He just wants to rush out there, save the day, and live to do it again. I have to filter that with, well, actually living and doing it again.

Who I am and who I want to be have always clashed for me. I want to be suave, friendly, and loveable, but two out of three have to suffice. I want to be the guy who rushes into a burning building to save the child on the third floor, but I also want to be the guy that lives, and my rational mind says that those two things just don't go together - that's why firefighters get all that special equipment.

This hero lives here, now, working from a home that his girlfriend owns, making enough money to help out. This hero mows the lawn, takes care of the puppies, and plays roleplaying games with friends. This hero is happy with his life, and almost content, but every now and then, when the weather turns chill and the air darkens to an ash grey that would signify something important is going to happen in a story, the Hero in me tries to get out. "Run," he says, "got out there and do something. Make a difference. Save lives! Win!"

I turn back to my keyboard, maybe typing a little quicker on my transcriptions, pushing myself a little more to get them out, get them taken care of, faster, more, pushing myself.

Because I'm a hero, at least in my mind.
jmfargo: (Default)
The Zombie Apocalypse is coming, and with it, the Horde. The Horde will shamble, creep, and limp its way onward towards whatever food source it can find, starting with the humans that they once were. In desperate situations, when needing simple substance, their disease-riddled minds will allow them to feed on each other and on animals that they are able to catch.

There are seven things to remember about the zombies that make up this creeping Horde:

1. They are stronger than you. Not because their muscles are any better than yours, and not because they are given super-human strength by being "undead." Strength of the zombies comes from a constant PCP-like effect, allowing them to use the full potential of their muscles without any regard to personal injury. They can crash through doors, shatter windows, and rip doors from their hinges with their bare hands, if only through persistance and tenacity. Where you or I may give up because of bloodied hands caused by glass or repeated beatings on a wooden door, they will not give up.

2. They are faster than you. At least the ones with legs. They will not tire, or stop to gasp for breath. At no point will they stop pursuing your fleeing form. Their legs will not stop moving at their relentless pace until well after a normal human would have to stop. Their muscles do not know "tired," they only know the final stage of "exhaustion." They will chase you until their legs literally cannot run any longer, and that's much longer than you can run.

3. Zombies have eyes, but they also have scent, hearing, and an acute sense of what is edible. The eyes of the zombie are secondary in importance to their hearing and scenting abilities. Their human brains no longer cloud their sensory imput, and so these abilities become just as powerful as sight, if not more so. Just because it doesn't have eyes doesn't mean it won't see you sneaking nearby. This also means that the dark of night doesn't grant you the cover that it grants them.

4. These creatures are not sneaky. However, this doesn't mean you will hear them coming. Movies would have us believe that Zombies are constantly moaning and groaning as they slink their way towards us, but truthfully there is no reason for them to make any kind of loud verbal noise beyond the expellation of air from dessicated lungs. They will crash through barriers, making much noise, and their feet slapping pavement will easily be heard if listened for, but you cannot expect to hear their pernacious laments fill the air as they come from around a corner. This is why constant vigilance will be so important.

5. They have one overriding goal that precludes them from doing anything else: They want to kill you. They don't want to maim you, hurt you, or escape from you when you start chopping off their limbs and killing their friends. They want to eat your flesh, and convert you to their ways. Nothing but their destruction will stop them. Nothing.

6. You cannot count on a Zombie opponent to "make a mistake" when attacking you. They have no plan, no finesse, and no right way of doing what they are trying to do (see #5), so they will never make a mistake in their fight for you. Their lives mean nothing to them, they fight haphazardly, using unhuman-like strength and driving will to simply press into you, ignoring your attacks.

7. The Zombie Menace can be ended. The zombies can be destroyed. There is hope.

Here you can find my reason for creating this series. This series will continue, every Monday, detailing information about the encroaching enemy, about what to do when it happens, and about what we'll do when it's all over, or at least almost all over.

April 2017

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