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The Zombie Apocalypse, Part 14: Pets Pets Pets

The Zombie Apocalypse Series returns! ~

Jonathan Glazer, 21 April 2017

Having pets happens to be a big feature of American culture. Whether we are talking about dogs, cats, birds, fish, chinchilla, ferrets or llamas, keeping and caring for other life forms is extremely common and quite engraved in the American way. This does not mean it is something peculiar to The United States. Many countries have a strong tradition of pet ownership. I was in Argentina recently and I was struck by the number of dog walkers with large packs of canines wandering the many scenic parts in Buenos Aires. However, there are counties without a strong tradition of pet ownership. China is an example. Dogs and cats are viewed somewhat differently there. This brings us to my disclaimer. While most of the columns in this series are less than pleasant, this one in particular is sure to offend some. If you cannot discuss unpleasant things happening to animals intellectually without having an overwhelming emotional response, stop reading now and wait for the next installment. I will try to be sensitive, but this is still going to be a difficult topic.

The Zombie Apocalypse, Part 13: Love and the Undead

The Zombie Apocalypse Series returns! ~

Jonathan Glazer, 21 April 2017

The dead have risen with a taste for our yummy flesh. Beyond feeding ourselves gathering other supplies and killing zombies, what is our next priority? Well, if you believe most TV shows and movies about this topic, you would probably say finding a hot hookup ranks at the top of the list. Romance seems to be a big thing among apocalyptic survivors in the minds of screenwriters. Will the dystopian future be a great time for grabbing a little something-something? I hate to be the burster of bubbles, but losing our technology and societal support infrastructure will probably have the opposite effect. The reasons for this are many. Chief among them would be our focus on just plain trying to stay alive. Leisure time will be a real luxury as most of the day will be spent doing the things required to feed us, quench our thirst, find us shelter and protect us from fetid snapping undead jaws (not to mention our fellow survivors who will have long cast the Boy Scout’s oath aside). Listen to any mother/wife in our present world and you will hear that the daily grind of food preparation, child care, laundry and other assorted chores leave them with a nightly desire for action hovering around the zero level. And that is without the stress of being attacked by rotten ghouls jonesing for our innards. Add in the collapse of civilization and most survivors, male, female or other will have little leftover energy for boom boom.

The Zombie Apocalypse, Part 12: Do Your Shoes Match Your Bag?

Papa’s got a brand new bag! ~

Jonathan Glazer, 13 May 2016

If you have been reading this series faithfully, I hope you have come away with the observation that this is more of a practical discussion of surviving the zombie apocalypse aimed primarily at people who haven’t devoted their lives to every aspect of survival. za-12-magsWhen I was in Junior High School, I began reading survivalist magazines and that started me on the path towards building the right mindset towards being able to live through a variety of trying circumstances. I also thought that my parents would agree that stockpiling food, water, weapons and all the other stuff needed to be one of the few to help repopulate America Mark II would be a great idea.

As it turns out, I was not as persuasive as I thought. They were more focused on paying the mortgage and making lunches for us every day. As I “matured”, my interest in survival continued, but I realized that there was no way I could prepare for every eventuality and guarantee that my family and I would be one of the few that continued on with a full belly. If I lived in a rural area, my commitment to the cause would be greater because the lower population density and the ability to grow my own food would make hardcore survival into a real option. I have spent my entire life in a suburban environment which means my access to land and proximity to other people makes long term existence in dire times distinctly more difficult.

The Zombie Apocalypse, Part 11: Red Dawn in our lifetime?

What to do when the movies come true ~

Jonathan Glazer, 15 April 2016

ZA-wolvI am going to take a slight departure with this installment and move in a different direction for the moment. Of course we must always keep our eyes open for the first sign of the dead rising with a taste for human flesh. But for now I want to talk about a more immediate threat. This one is very real and in the news daily. I am talking about the invasion of the United States by a human hostile enemy.

The United States Armed forces have always been accused of preparing to fight the next war by training to fight the last war. As Santayana is often paraphrased “Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it”, the lessons of prior conflicts must be studied, but that does not mean we will be fighting the same war over again. The United States Military command still teaches amphibious assaults, as executed on the beaches of Normandy, Sicily and the Pacific Theater of Operations throughout World War II. The reality is that while we do land troops in this fashion, such as in Somalia and a few other engagements, such landings are always unopposed. This is because technology has rendered the survivability of a true hostile amphibious landing to be not acceptable. Surface to shore missiles and man portable rockets along with increasingly sophisticated targeting systems mean that landing craft will be an endangered species by the time they reach a contested beachhead.

The Zombie Apocalypse, Part 10: Can you spare a square?

What to do when you can’t run for things when you run out of things ~

Jonathan Glazer, 11 March 2016

za-scrounger

The Original Scrounger

“Do we have any advil left?” Running out of stuff today is a minor inconvenience. I have been known to dash out of the house 3 or 4 different times over the course of a day to get forgotten, depleted or lost items needed right away. Fortunately for me, I live within 5 minutes of a couple of big box stores, not to mention a choice of super markets and major chain pharmacies. What happens when the lights are out, the undead roam the earth and every other person with a pulse is competing with you for everything? Your biggest problem won’t be sneaking 13 items in the 12-items-or-less aisle. Scrounging will be an extremely valuable skill in the days when there is no more civilization. Even the best prepper will forget something, not anticipate the need for something that becomes invaluable or just plain run out of necessary items. Perhaps a badger will sneak in your shed and eat your spare fuel line for your generator just before you need it most. Where do you get a new one?

Walmart may seem to have everything in stock now, but once all goes to hell in a handbasket, your neighbors will likely forget their manners and chaos will ensue. A day or so after the big one hits, shelves will be picked clean quickly. In the days before the last two hurricanes here in the Northeast, things like batteries, flashlights and generators disappeared. Even a heavy storm makes people buy eggs, milk and break like there is a French toast bakeoff the next day. Once it is clear there are no consequences, people stop waiting in line and just take what they need. There are videos of the stores in New Orleans following hurricane Katrina and they were enough to give any retail manager nightmares. The scenes in many zombie movies of survivors entering supermarkets to find what they needed are not likely to happen. Markets, big box stores and discount clubs will look like empty warehouses with scattered debris everywhere. The only exception might be if an armed group takes over one of these centers of consumerism as a means of safeguarding the contents and using them until the cavalry arrives. In that case, you are looking at a hell of a fight to gain entry and get your hands on some toilet paper and baby wipes.

The Zombie Apocalypse, Part 9: Back to the ’40s!

the 1840s! ~

Jonathan Glazer, 18 February 2016

One of my favorite slogans found on an internet meme states “The hardest part about a Zombie Apocalypse is pretending not to be excited”.   I know several people who are stockpiling weapons and ammo because they truly believe it will happen and they need to be ready.

The problem is that the ZA is not just a shooting party where you get to continue your everyday life, but shoot zombies instead of going to work. This is the proverbial crap on the fan situation. In the original move Dawn of The Dead, there was a scene where the local rednecks were described as having a good time while they were shown having cookouts and stopping to snipe at ghouls unlucky to approach across an open field. It won’t really be like that. Life will change for everyone (if it even continues) forever. TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World as We Know It) will become a reality.

There will be exceptions. People who truly live off the grid in remote areas and provide for all of their own food probably will not see a huge change, other than having to take more head shots than in the past. But for the rest of us, life will not be so rosy. Eventually, the power grid will fail. That is because the power plants and transmission facilities required to distribute the electricity around the continent need to be maintained. And the people responsible for said maintenance will be eaten. The power shuts down which means no refrigeration, air conditioning, internet, cell phones, land lines, lights, microwaves or iPads.

The Zombie Apocalypse, Part 8: Keeping Your Sierra Together

Will you know it when you see it? ~

Jonathan Glazer, 22 January 2016

We envision ourselves in crisis acting in certain ways. Some of us emblazon ourselves with logos on our chests and capes, despite the impracticality of capes being settled by The Incredibles. Others have a more realistic understanding of how we act under fire and identify which rock we will use for shelter when the poop hits the radial cooling device. In reality, the intellectual part of our brains cannot comprehend how our emotional side will react once the hounds of hell are unleashed.

When we perceive a fight or flight situation to be upon us, our adrenal glands situated on top of our kidneys squirt adrenaline into the blood stream. This causes a cascade of hormonal and other physical changes designed to enhance our ability to either beat the living feces out of someone or grow wings and fly away from them.   Our heart rate, respiration, circulation patterns, muscle response and thought patterns all work in harmony to bring out the inner caveman (or woman) in all of us.

z-apoc-1Unless you are actually in the moment, you will have no way of knowing what our Incredible Hulk looks, sounds or smells like. Once you have been in a number of those situations, you begin to recognize the consistent patterns that are a part of this process. Seasoned combat veterans know what happens when the lead flies. Over time, they gain control over the chaos. Guys who have been in the field too long have been known to fall asleep during firefights. This is because adrenaline is like heroin in that we build up a tolerance to it. When you spend a lot of time in crisis mode drinking the hormone like Gatorade, it eventually has less of an impact. The result is Robert Duvall as Colonel Kilgore in Apocalypse Now not even noticing mortar shells exploding nearby and ordering his men to surf amidst a hot combat operation.

The Zombie Apocalypse, Part 7: When is it time?

Will you know it when you see it? ~

Jonathan Glazer, 22 January 2015

 

Most discussion of preparations for the Zombie Apocalypse and activities undertaken during it ignore an important element: The start. At what point do you go from your comfortable position in society as a part of an economy and a civilization to a defensive operator acting in ways to secure your and your family’s safety? It is easy enough to answer that question with “when I perceive a threat”. But what is the trigger that makes you openly carry a firearm, create a defensive perimeter (or perhaps move to a better position) and ready yourself to take a life (or stop the advance of the undead)? There won’t be a message from the emergency broadcasting system alerting you to the need to act like you are Mad Max. The news may initially report craziness afoot, but at a certain point, the authorities will put the lid on really bad news and even the media will not be reporting what is truly happening. If you ever have the chance to talk to Gulf Coast residents about what happened immediately following hurricane Katrina, they will tell you that they were in the dark, figuratively and literally for a long time.