‘Walking Dead’ spinoff

So the other night was the premier of the ‘Walking Dead’ spinoff – ‘Fear The Walking Dead’. The premise, in case you missed it, is that unlike ‘The Walking Dead’ which shows us the zombie apocalypse about a month after it started, we get to see it from the start.

I find this interesting because I want to see the descent into a dystopic world. Walking Dead shows us the ashes of the world, but I want to see the world when it was burning.

Im expecting that since the first episode was used primarily to set up who was who and what their situations were, the second episode will get to the ‘meat’ o the matter. I want to see the panicked mobs in the supermarket, the violent traffic jams, the looting, the every-man-for-themselves police, the mobs of scared people, the infrastructure failure, etc, etc. To me, thats the most interesting part.

The first fifteen minutes of the otherwise forgettable World War Z movie was like that.  There was a great scene in the supermarket where the cop ignores the patrons shooting each other while he grabs stuff for himself. Sahdes of hurricane Katrina.

So far, though, Im less than impressed. I understand that the real zombie action has to wait until we’ve been introduced to the characters. Thats fine, I understand that. But, geez, there was not a single person there whom I cared about. Drugg addled son, bitchy daughter, desperate-to-be-a-family dad, badly-defined ex-wife, angst-ridden new wife…genuinely no one I cared about. We’ll see if that changes.

29 days ’till Paratus

The free ice cream machine, as Tam calls it, has been a little empty lately. Sometimes real life gets in the way, m’friends.

It is worthwhile to note (or at least I think it is) that Paratus is rapidly approaching. I know what you’re thinking…”But, Zero, it seems like I just put away all the Paratus trimmings from last season!”. Hey, man….that’s how holidays work.

For your full Paratus shopping needs, I recommend this list of Festivus items I put together a few years back. For the budget minded they are broken down into the cheap, middling, and dang-you-really-like-me price range.

Given the nature of the crappy storm we had recently that resulted in power outages that, in some areas, are still going on, I think this year a lot of the local people will be getting the LED MagLites as gifts. I am stunned at how many people dont have a good, quality, flashlight around the house. Stunned, I tell you. Me, I loves me some MagLite…..sure the Pelican lights are nice, and sure its hard to beat SureFire on a lot of stuff….but for a $25 flashlight that will take abuse like Clinton’s wedding vows, you can’t do better than the LED MagLite.

Anyway…Paratus approaches! Get out there and shop!

Pocket machete

Well, I guess since the cat is outta the bag, I can quickly mention a cool toy I was gifted.

20150731_151835The knife is done by Cold Steel with input from SurvivalBlog’s own ,Rawles. (Yup, thats his name on the blade. Yes, they included the comma.) Proceeds from the sale of the knife go to charity.

This monster of a pocket knife was gifted to me at the Missoula gun show a couple weeks ago. It’s an interesting knife and a far departure from what I normally carry around. While calling it a ‘pocket’ knife may stretch the definition of ‘pocket’, it definitely doesn’t depart from the definition of knife. This thing is a big folder with a half-serrated blade, beefy, rough-textured handles, and everyones favorite black/olive tacticool finish. It’s a litte big for my personal EDC, but it will definitely go in my bag when I’m out tromping around the woods or E&E’ing ahead of the zombie hordes. Personally, I like half-serrated blades. Sometimes stuff needs to be cut that is just too challenging to a straight blade….nylon/plastic strapping comes to mind…and the serrations make short work of that sort of thing.

From Cold Steels website:

The RAWLES VOYAGER was made to James’s unique specifications, with an O.D Green Griv-Ex™ handle, heat treated 6061 Aluminum liners and our famous Tri-Ad® locking mechanism, offering unparalleled shock and impact resistance and durability in the field.

The Rawles Voyager has also been equipped with a high performance American CTS XHP steel Tanto point blade and a durable black DLC (Diamond Like) coating, making it an excellent choice for the modern day survivalist!

This limited edition knife is the only version of our highly popular Voyager that features an American CTS XHP blade, giving it even greater edge retention properties!

Cold Steel, Lynn C Thompson, Andrew Demko and James Wesley, Rawles have all chosen to donate all proceeds from the RAWLES VOYAGER to charity.

Cool knife with cool backstory. My thanks to the person who generously gifted it to me.

Some folks just Will Not Learn

The world is populated by idiots.

Im in the bank this morning and the teller and the woman next to me are talking about the power outages that continue in many areas around here. This woman is saying how she hasn’t been able to charge her laptop, that she has no water (well pump), that she’s going to lose the food in her freezer, and how she hates being in the dark.

I gently steered the conversation to ask her if, when this is over, if it will change her behaviors and perhaps she’ll keep some battery-powered chargers around for her cell phone. “Oh, no..this almost never happens.”

You know, your house almost never burns down, you almost never have your car stolen, you almost never get cancer, and you almost never get disabled from your job….yet you have insurance in place for that, so why not this?

For these… clueless idiots…. it appears it truly is better to curse the darkness than buy generator.

My buddy on the other side of town is still without power after a transmission tower (not a power pole, mind you…a transmission tower) decided to go horizontal not far from him. Is he inconvenienced? Yes. He has no internet. Is he still in the game? Absolutely. He has not one but two of the Honda generators. He’s got his freezer, fridge, lights, cell phone charger, and all the other accoutrements of civilization up and running. And he has some stored gas on hand to keep it that way. As his neighbors live out the lifestyle of “Home & Garden: North Korea Edition”, my buddy drinks hot coffee, has lights, has communication, and can continue to run his business. (And also the means to keep it if someone decides his bit of civilization needs to become their bit of civilization.)

I still need to do some after action things… I need to top off the tank on the generator, get all the cords in one place, put some emergency lighting in that one place, log the run time for the generator, pick up some accessories for the extension cords, etc. But, all in all, the generator did the trick.

The EU2000 is too small to run the entire house, but Im thinking of picking one circuit in the house and seeing if I can’t have an electrician come in and set that one circuit up with a transfer switch. That way, I can have one room of the house with the outlets running. The alternative, which I’m also seriously considering, is an entirely new circuit throughout the house of emergency ‘red outlets’ that are completely independent of the house panel and would solely be connected to the generator.

The Honda EU2000 usually runs right around a grand. Worth it.

Windstorm/thunderstorm outage and damage

Had a hellaciously bad windstorm blow through here a few hours ago. My particular neighborhood took a nice hit and for the first time in several years, the power is out. Thus far its been out for about three hours..which is actually quite a while for an in-town issue. Some neighborhoods are with power, some are not. My neighborhood is without power, but my house is with power.

I’ve got the Honda chained up outside and its been providing me with internet, full computer service, and microwaved my dinner. Lemme tell ya, that microwave is a pig…the minute I hit the power button you could hear the generator suddenly shift gears.

Inconvenienced? A bit. But I’m magnitudes of order better off than my neighbors. I’ve some 12v lighting rigged up to give me some area lighting around the house, but my computer room is pretty much The War Room. Lights, computer, laser printer, police scanner….life is good. In another hour or two I’ll swap out the extension cord and run the freezer and fridge for a little while. I fully expect the power back on by morning. If not…well, I’ve enough gas on hand to run the generator for a week if I need to.

Observations:…..

  • You really need quality extension cords and know where they’re at.
  • I have a good cable and lock for the generator. A must.
  • Battery lights for wandering around. The Streamlight Siege is awesome. Get three.
  • The Goal O daisy-chainable 12 v. lights are also quite handy.
  • Extra MagLites to pass to the neighbors are well appreciated
  • LED lights are the way to go. No two ways about it.
  • Your teenage neighbors will be your friends for life if you give them the pass to your functioning wifi.
  • Got extra space in your freezer? Keep your water bottles in there so when the power goes out your stuff stays cooler longer.

More to follow.

Discovered some old food bars

Was doing some gear swapping from one vehicle to another and, naturally, discovered a few things I had forgotten about. Most notably, these:

20150809_111508Everyone is familiar with those ‘lifeboat ration’ bars that come in a brick of 3600 calories, right? Well, turns out they make smaller size ones as well. The USRDA of pretty much everything is based on a 2000 calorie a day diet. It would take five of these things to equal that recommended intake. Interestingly, five of these bars is actually fairly compact and while I would hate to have to subsist on them for any length of time they would certainly beat starving to death. Someone on one of the forums decided to try eating nothing but those Mainstay/Datrex bars for a week and see what would happen. I can’t find the link but he was less than enthused about the experience.

But, hey, something you can stick in your pack and not worry about for several years is kinda handy. As I said, it definitely beats eating the upholstery. I’ll be folding some small pouches of Mountain House into the vehicle kit just in case. A small Esbit stove and a canteen cup are already in there so that’s half the battle towards having a ‘real meal’. MRE’s work too but theyre just too darn bulky and heavy.

Birthday Friday

Unfortunately, this planet has made another rotation around the sun and Friday is my birthday. I’m not going to ask you to get me a gift, instead I’ll tell you that if you were inclined to get me a gift you should take the resources you would have used and get yourself something nice. If you think some dude on the interwebs deserves a gift more than you do, well…youre probably wrong. In the end, you’ll always be the only person you can count on so you may as well treat yourself nice.

In other gifting news, Paratus is five weeks away. Get your shopping done early and avoid the crowds.

Emergency bag repack

Like many folks, I keep an emergency bag in the truck for that occasion when the only thing standing between me and an embarrassing death is whatever I managed to tuck into the bag. In Montana, your choices of how to shuffle of the mortal coil in a vehicle related stranding are pretty easy – you either starve to death, freeze to death, or dehydrate to death. (Or any combination of the above.)

If you’re smart, and I hope you are, you’ll pull that bag out every so often and check the contents for any problems that may have arisen from being stored in a vehicle where temperature swings can easily span 120 degrees.

Case in point: my flashlight. For personal use, I like small LED flashlights that run off of lithium batteries of some sort…either AA or CR123. They are far less sensitive to temperature swings and self-discharge than the usual batteries. For vehicle use, I prefer the Mag-Lite (Yes, it’s actually hyphenated…says so right on the light.)

What I like about the Mag-Lite is that, in the LED version, you have an essentially bomb-proof flashlight. You can drop it and not worry about bulb breakage, it resists mosts damage, and it can always be used for ‘percussive persuasion’ if the situation calls for it. Problem is, the ones I like take D-batts and finding lithium D-batteries is virtually impossible and when you do find ’em….they ain’t cheap. Interestingly, lithium 9v. batts are available…I suspect for smoke detector usage.

When I put the Mag-Lite away in the bag I made sure to load it up with fresh Duracell batteries. I then set aside two extra sets of batteries as well. So they’ve sat out there in the heat and cold for over a year. I turned on the flashlight and compared it to a similar Mag-Lite with fresh D-batts and the results were…illuminating.

20150802_113830Clearly the batteries has suffered over the course of the year, what with the huge temperature swings that make Montana such a delight to try and dress for.

Now, yes, i could avoid this problem altogether by simply going to a flashlight platform that uses AA lithium batteries, which are easy to find. But I want the big, reassuring heft and handling of the large Mag-Lite.

So, the moral of the story here is – change out those in-vehicle flashlight batteries at least every year. And if you really wanna go the suspenders-and-a-belt routine do it like you’re supposed to do with your smoke detectors and change the batts every time you reset the clocks for Daylight Savings Time.

Missoula Gun Show

Ah, the great Missoula Gun Show is going on this weekend. This is the largest show in the state and, happily, it takes place in my own backyard.

I’ll be around cruising for deals and doing the ol’ meet-n-greet to the familiar faces. Hopefully I’ll pick up a few deals and fill in some gaps in my supplies.

What I really wanna see is one of the CZ Evo’s….I wanna handle one and see just ow much more I like it over the Uzi.

So…if you have time this weekend, c’mon down to the University and hit the gun show.