Walking Dead observations

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Given that the skull of the average ‘Walking Dead’ zombie seems to be pierced very easily, I see no reason why the smart zombie hunter in this show wouldn’t be best served with a suppressed Ruger 10/22. Fast followups for crowds, quiet signature, highly portable ammo, lightweight guns….seems ideal for the travel-intensive survivor lifestyle of a zombie apocalypse. Until, of course, you encounter the other walking dead – the less-than-friendly survivors. Then you’ll be wanting your AK and M4 back.

I was complaining to the wife that I like the episodes that deal with the nuts-n-bolts of day-to-day existence in the zombie-infested world – securing food, scavenging, security, fuel issues, hygiene, etc, etc. When it turns into interpersonal drama, the show could be like any other soap opera only with the element of zombies. Now, obviously, in a real crisis of any sorts there are still going to be interpersonal dramas…a couple that was at each others throats before the bombs go off will probably still be at each others throats afterwards…maybe even more so. And there’s always going to be love triangles, naked self-interest, betrayal, etc, etc. I know that but I still wish they’d just stick to the issues instead of going to war with New Bern..I mean, Woodbury.

How many times do these people need to have near death experiences before adopting a two-man rule? And establishing departure/return times? And contingency planning? And organized searches for supplies? Heck, there’s still parts of the prison that have bad guys in it.

As long as theyre sending out people to scavenge, they may as well scout out a couple secondary and tertiary fallback positions as well. Stock them, secure them, hide them, and be ready to evac the minute a superior force looks like it’ll take their primary location. Did these people learn nothing from eight months of wandering after their farm was overrun?

I know its the end of the world, but personal hygiene really needs some attention. A bucket of hot water, some soap and a washcloth at least. Whats the point of avoiding getting bitten by a zombie when you wander around all day covered in it’s decaying gore, filth and who knows what else. Avoid dying of zombie virus just to die of some other easily avoidable infection?

Still, I’ll continue watching the show. If nothing else it’ll be interesting to see how some of these personal dramas get worked out.


Fridays NCIC…’anomaly’….

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Various outlets (Saw this at a few other places but this was the first one I linked to) are reporting that Black Friday Friday Of Color saw a tremendous surge in gun sales…so much so that the NCIC ‘instant background check’ system became a good bit less than instant. I was doing a check for a customer Friday and the drone on the end of the phone was completely flustered that her system wasnt responding. In fact, it was so chaotic that the ‘examiner’ deviated from their oh-so-carefully scripted interaction several times with exclamations of frustration.

Now, I’m not really a conspiracy guy, but I am a guy who is open to exploring all possibilities in the interest of being prepared. If transactions from a dealer require a background check, and that system is ‘down’ for some reason (or it is claimed to be down), then you effectively shut down new gun sales for at least the three-day wait. Of course, in states where having something like a carry permit preclude the need for the NCIC check you’ll still be able to purchase your new thundertoy, and, of course, private transactions will still be exactly that.

Additionally, ignoring the conspiracy angle, record-breaking gun purchases, even on a day known for heavy discounts, should still tell you something: the natives are restless. I always view gun sales as a highly cynical form of ‘consumer confidence’ and ‘leading economic indicator’. Right or wrong, when folks are feeling threatened..by their government, by the economy, by their neighbors…they want a gun. Record purchases, to me, mean record levels of uncertainty about the future. I’m sure that I’m reading too much into it, but when folks were relatively pleased with the government, gun bans weren’t whispering in the breeze, and the economy wasnt sucking wind, you didnt see near the amount of weapons stockpiling.

Not that there’s anything wrong with stockpiling, mind you. It’s just that this is a horrible, horrible time to be doing it….it shoulda been done years ago.

Festivus gift ideas – the

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Well, the day after Thanksgiving usually marks the beginning of the Chrismahanakwanzakah season. For me, it means that Festivus is right around the corner.

So, what’s the thoughtful shopper to get for the LMI in their lives as gifties for this coming gift-giving season? Well, obviously ammo and freeze-drieds are always nice gifts but sometimes you gotta watch your pennies. So, I’ve undertaken it upon myself to present some ideas for those who want to let the bunker-dweller on their list know that they were being thought of, but still don’t want to spend a lot of money. Because, let’s face it, some folks are $10 friends, some are $20 friends, and some are $50 friends. That’s just how it is.

So, with a little under four weeks to go, here’s the first part of a suggested gift list. We’ll start off with nothing more than ten bucks.

Swisskey – Kinda useful, but always cool for the ‘neat!’ factor. I use it mostly for opening mail at the post office although it has served well in it’s capacity as a screwdriver for small detail work.

Gerber Artifact – I find this one a bit more useful than the previous item. The replaceable xacto blade is handy and the ability to be used as a handy little prybar is very appealing. A little bulkier, but the apocalypse won’t be won with carbon-fiber and ultra-light materials.

Silva Carabiner 28 – No reason not to have a last-ditch compass hanging off your zipper pull or your hunting bag. Not for precision mapwork, but when you need to know which way is N-NW so you can “Get to da choppah!” you don’t need much more than this. Plus, Silva is usually good stuff.

Improved Military UTM/MGRS Reader & Protractor – Speaking of knowing where youre going, these thigns are awesome when used properly in conjunction with a map. They let you get down to some very, very fine coordinates and make maps much more useful. They make a circular version of this template as well, but I like the straight edges for measuring distances and drawing lines. Use this with your UTM-marked map and you’ll wonder how you ever navigated without.

Tuff Quickstrip Black 6 Round – Pack of 2 (.44/.45/.460 Caliber) – I’m a .357 kinda guy, but I know lotsa folks still packing wheelguns like the .41, .44 and .45 calibers. Bianchi still makes their SpeedStrips in .38 so I’m cool on those, but they never made them for other calibers. This company makes them for the bigger calibers that Bianchi ignored. Flatter than a speedloader and ‘universal’ to pretty much any swingout-cylinder revolver these things are a great way to carry spare ammo for faster (but not fastest) reloading. Drawback: Made in China. Can’t have everything, it seems.

Mainstay Emergency Food Rations – 3600 Calorie Bars (Single) – Nice for adding bulk to a Christmas stocking. I see these as a very limited use item, since freeze drieds are lighter and taste a lot better. But, for leaving in a vehicle these are almost the perfect food…impervious to temperature shifts, non thirst-provoking, long shelf life, high calorie content. Just the thing for when you let James Kim plan your roadtrip. Beat’s spending weeks stuck in your car eating M&M’s and lint.

Israeli Battle Dressing and Blood Stopper Compress – Some day there might come the time when the rest of your life is measured in that thick red stuff pouring out a new orifice that you didn’t have five minutes ago. You can’t scoop the goop back into your body but you can keep what you’ve got left from leaving with one of these. The Israeli version gets high praise in the survivalist forums…I’ll take their word for it because this is not the sort of product I can ‘real world’ test without causing more damage to myself than I’m willing to inflict. (Although someday there might be someone willing to inflict it for me, which is why we have these.) As a side note, anyone ever actually see any footage anywhere of the IDF using these things?

I should also point out that these items make excellent gifts for yours truly. (Shameless plug.)

Article – Why your toilet paper is shrinking

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Everything shrinks in a recession: GDP, investment portfolios, even the products on store shelves. Consumer  goods companies know that customers won’t go for price increases during a downturn. Instead they often use a different tactic to offset things such as new competition or the rising cost of raw materials: cutting quantity while maintaining price. Yet it may not be obvious that your ice cream or OJ containers have shrunk. Manufacturers must note new specs on packaging, but the changes don’t have to be advertised (ever seen a now smaller! label?). Here’s a look at one of the most recent examples:

This still comes as news to some people. Apparently, there are still folks out there that don’t actually read the labels on the containers of food they purchase. I’ve been noticing this for a while now. Most notably my 1/2 gal. of Breyers has been melting faster and faster as the packaging continues to shrink and the price remains the same. Same for the spaghetti sauce I buy. The price stays the same, the quantity shrinks and the net result is you pay more for what youre buy but you don’t really notice.

This is kind of a ‘soft inflation’…it’s happening, but it’s being quietly slipped in under cover of careful labelling and packaging. One of the reasons I notice is because a) I almost always evaluate prices by comparing price/oz. and b) I have items purchased last year that I can compare against. This has been going on for a while and if more folks were aware of it more folks might realize how their purchasing power is slipping away.

This is another reason we stock up on things when we can. That can of vegetables that cost $1 per 15 oz. this year may wind up buying an identical sized can next year that only holds 13 oz. at the same price. When you see those sales, stock up.

We’re planning on hitting the local grocery stores Friday and seeing what kinda discounts we can get on turkeys. ‘Cause, let’s face it, prices ain’t going down.

Article – Why there are no Red Cross shelters in New York City

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, the Red Cross held several emergency training sessions for shelter volunteers (I attended a November 2 session), telling classes that they needed to plan for a three-day stint away from home and be able to lift heavy loads.

But that shelter operation never came to pass, and volunteers were told that the Red Cross would not be needing shelter workers. In the meantime, images of New York City’s many devastated neighborhoods filled nightly newscasts; and the housing situation for many New Yorkers grew increasingly dire. The city has estimated that between 20,000 and 40,000 residents could be homeless or forced to live in unheated homes with no running water or power. The conditions are particularly deplorable in the high rises that dot the landscape near the waterfront in Brooklyn and Queens. About 5,200 Staten Islanders have applied for FEMA housing, but according to the New York Post only 24 or so have been placed.

Criticism has rained down on the Red Cross for not providing places for this mass of displaced people to live, but it seems that the aid organization is not permitted to set up shelters in the city due to a snarl of red tape.


This doesn’t surprise me. In a political/union heavy environ like NYC it’s a “Brazil”-like experience getting anything done.

Most NYC public schools are old WPA projects from the first third of the twentieth century. They are built like fortresses and usually have very large fenced yards. Excellent staging areas if you don’t mind cancelling classes. Virtually all of them were designated (and stocked) as fallout shelters back in the day. The hurricane hasnt been invented that could knock one down. Fabulous resource, too bad it’s caught up in the usual morass of inefficient local government.

Moral of the story is, even if there are groups predicated on disaster services, and they get to the scene, and local governemnt has plans as well, there’s no guarantee anything is going to get done. You’re far better off preparing on your own.

Which, really, brings me to something I’ve been curious about. Everyone is related to everyone in NYC. Big Catholic, Jewish, Italian, Irish families with relatives spread all over the place….why are these people not staying with relatives? I can understand wanting to stay with your stuff to rpevent looting, but thats a choice. These people in four-story walk-ups complaining about no elevators, no heat, no water, etc…why don’t they head over to their cousins or uncles place and crash in their basement for a week or two?