Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I keep thinking...a lot of prepping is perception. In my last post, one person commented on stockpiling versus preparation. Well, what does it look like when we stockpile cases and cases of MREs? It looks like stockpiling to the average person. We know it's not because hey, the government isn't coming to save us. You would think that Katrina's response would have shown them that they are monstrously incompetent, but here we are. Maybe it's the perception that nothing bad can ever happen to them that makes it worse. Why prepare if it won't happen, and even if it does, the government will save us?

I remember at school, it was the worst. I actually confronted a teacher about whether he walked the walk and prepared, and he turned it around on me. I said yeah, I have my month or two or supplies, water, and plans if something happens goes sideways. He said his plan was to visit me, and I didn't take kindly to that. I suggested that I had plans for that, a whole case of them. I bluffed, sure, but it really got to me. The attitude in the class, the indoctrination is 'if someone has something you need, take it. We call it seconding'. So hey, if I have the food you need because you, as a professional in the emergency management field didn't prepare, you will try to take it by force?

I think that's when I got much more serious about preparing.

Trying to get people past the perception is like pulling nails. Some can't legitimately afford it. I mean, they live hand to mouth. Alright, cool, do your best even if it's a can of spam or some ramen noodles in the closet. But the rest? I mean, even Costco sells a bucket of food-like substances you can jam into a closet. And I know there are other priorities, like car payments and bills, but still. It's not hard to budget a little here or there.

Now, why is that important?

I believe that in a WROL situation, most people will be driven by hunger, entitlement, or malice. If you can get most people to not be hungry, then that's one less element on the street. And, come to think of it, one of the more dangerous. What would you do to feed your kids during an extended period of WROL if you didn't prepare or stockpile?

Monday, December 26, 2011

My Random Thoughts on Preppers, Part One

I've been thinking a lot about this lately, and as such this is sort of a train of thought experiment than something well-constructed.

Firstly, why are some people preparing, and others not?

I'm going to make a broad statement here: We are almost all A+ personalities. We are independent minded people who when presented with a problem, they confront it. When there may be a problem, we try to prevent it. I have yet to hear a prepper say 'it won't/can't happen to me'. That, I think, is our greatest strength. We are stubborn, we have foresight, and we act. That's the important one, we act. We don't just let things happen.

This also a list of our greatest weaknesses. We're independent and stubborn, which means we don't exactly get along too often. We think we can go it alone, and we tend not to listen to others unless provoked. This is really prevalent in the less desirable elements of survivalism and prepping. The odds of a Red Dawn survival situation are limited, and even then, what would retreating to the mountains do? Why stockpile firearms and not food?

The more I think about it, the more I tend to reject retreat-based ideology. Having a retreat won't make things better if the economy collapses. In fact, that is the number one thing we should be preparing for. A global economic collapse will definitely mean riots and shortages, but more so, a period of scarcity. Your everyday problems will involve feeding your family and friends, keeping them out of trouble, not Soviets in the street. Preppers need to go back to their roots and figure out what they should be worried about all over. For me, I'm worried about economic collapse and flu pandemics, and the problems stemming from that.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

EDC and Man Purse

Alright, let me preface this by saying I'm in a Canadian suburb. There's two glaring omissions from my kit- a lighter, and a knife. The lighter is easy in my AO: if I need fire for a reason other than light or making sure some hot girl can have a smoke, what I actually need is a full assault rig and a flak. I'm in the burbs. I travel to more densely urban areas. When I head towards the woods, I bring it, sure. But there's no reason to start fires in an urban area.

The second is a knife. Quite frankly, the Canadian laws regarding carrying a knife are so vaguely, poorly written that it's largely up to the officer who catches you with one as to whether your folding knife is a weapon or a tool. I don't feel comfortable carrying one, and the public reaction is almost the same as brandishing a handgun.

I've broken my EDC down to two levels: All day, every day, and daytrip. And I'm going to skip the picture of my wallet and cell, and just show the interesting stuff:

Sorry for the poor quality, it was taken using my cell. Anyways, that is one nightmarish keychain. It has a pen, a flathead and Phillips screwdriver, bottle opener, the original key fob from a Corvair, and all of my keys. Beside it, there's a stainless steel Embassy Pen. In addition to being an absolutely excellent and elegant writing tool that makes me look more stylish, it definitely has some weight. Getting wonked in the head with it would certainly be unpleasant, and it can be used ot load a punch. In either case, it's a non-obvious self defense tool with other uses, so it rides where my knife used to.

As it stands, when I know I'm going to be out for the day, I'm trying to get back in the habit of bringing the Man Purse. People snicker and laugh periodically, but they stop considering it has all of this in it with room to spare:

So, let's start with tools. It has my multitool, duct tape, paracord, battered notebook, fine point screwdriver, medical shears, two flashlights (the little orange LED fob and the 6P LED), and a sharpie. Everything you need to fix most problems are breakdowns you encounter day to day.

There's the emergency stuff: a set of nitrile gloves, a CPR mask, a SOF-TQ, and an Oales bandage. Basically, everything you need in an OH SHIT scenario to save a life, yours or another's.

There's the boo boo kit: Bandaids, Asprin, Pepto, Reactine, alcohol swabs and a warrior wipe.

Finally, there's my Android tablet. It mostly fits in pant pockets, but sometimes it prints real bad. Anyways, it fits in there like a dream.

Finally, what it needs is a Cliff bar or something, and one of those Gatorade Accel Gels. Something to make your body work. So basically, everything you'd need during an average day. That was the aim here, a really nondescript bag to get you through most inconveniences and some pretty serious situations. Where does it need improvement? I'm not sure. It works pretty well most days, and I have a lot of bases covered from heart attack to serious injury. I mean, in an active shooter scenario, I'll have to make do, but concealed carry is illegal here (functionally, at any rate). Here's what it looks like all packed up:

Anyways, opinions?


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

From the Ashes...

Had a long downtime. I'm sorry, folks. One part, I've become embittered with the survivalist movement, even the preppers. It's largely a part of the whole A+ personality aspect. There's no co-operation. Or, rather, between sane ones, there isn't much. And I'm not talking insane like By The Sword, he's just odd. I'm talking the guys who if you ever got pneumonia and laid up in camp, they found it and you, they'd stand over you fixing bayonets and asking "Y'all love Jesus, don'tcha?"

I've slacked. I went from bearing the Man Purse of Utility to just what's on my keychain, not so much as a multitool and lighter. I've gotten fat and lazy, and I've been stupid. So be it. Well, I'm starting over, re-approaching things. Thinking about disasters again beyond the large-scale. Back to basics. What do I need every time I walk out the door? What do I need if I'm out all day? What do I need for an overnight, three nights at the woman's?

I bought my first gun.

That should be big news. It's an 870 Tactical in ATACs, all tarted up with a sidesaddle, red dot, single point sling, flashlight. Got some buck for it. It's a start, I suppose. I've been re-examining the idea of prepping as a whole, but the idea of this post is I'm back. Like Volrath said...I stepped out. I did not step down.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

In Case of Emergency...

Pound your smartphone button.

I've been cruising the internet lately, and I came across this:
Panic Button!

I like the idea. Set the options up. "Are you sure you want to wipe your phone? Send mass text/email? I like it as a concept- I can send out a text to all the people in my life if things go truly sideways, wipe my contacts if I need to, etc.


Monday, April 4, 2011

A Pop Culture Moment

So, I was tooling across Youtube, and I saw this video:

Now, I kind of like Rise Against's sound. Their politics can eat my ass, but they are entitled to their opinions just like everyone else. They lionize 'revolutionaries', violent fanatics bent on a vague leftist uprising. And they paint them as the young, the everyday. The tattooed hot girl who usually serves you coffee at Starbucks is brewing and packing pipebombs. The douchebag with the funny hat who you see at HMV is putting bombs into backpacks. Everyday people rising up against...what?

They lionize revolutionaries of every stripe, but they omit the important parts.

They omit that a lot of them get caught, and instead of being working-class heroes, they die with a pistol screwed into the base of their skull in an alley.

They omit the interrogations. The late nights. The constant fear.

And for what? Vaguely anti-Bush, pro PETA, and globalization ideals? They make heroes out of the people who busted up my Goddamn downtown last year, and burnt up my Goddamn tax dollars by the barrel and the bowlful with frivolous lawsuits against the police. I really hope that these kids grow out of the Che-worshipping asshattery someday soon. This protester culture fad has got to die.


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Another Election Year

I suppose it happens often enough...Canada has had federal elections every other year for almost the last decade. It's hardly a surprise that a country this size is divided. Different regions have different needs. On the East Coast, the collapse of the fisheries and traditionally strong unions have made it the traditional grounds of the far-left NDP. Quebec's distinct society-within-society have created the basis of a party based solely on looking out for number one, the Bloc Quebecois. The hyper-left Green party has its stronghold in BC, and the Conservatives the West. It's all a patchwork. Mostly, it's Liberals and Conservatives as the big dogs.

The Liberals have never really been anything but a 'I guess it's better than nothing' choice since Trudeau left them. And lately, the Conservatives have been doing very little, trying to toe the line as the inevitable upsurge of leftist new voters (produced by left-leaning educational institutions) start to stop throwing rocks and use their votes. I wonder how much longer it will take for the idiots who were smashing up downtown last summer to realize that it's easier to change the country using a ballot than a ball-peen hammer.

At any rate, I've been thinking about the election. Will it be more of the same? Another minority government constantly doing nothing for fear of an inevitable no-confidence motion? I'm still voting Conservative, because frankly there's no other party which even vaguely lines up with my ideals.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

On Horror: Lessons from Dead Space 2

Well, sorry I've been gone so long. I recently got Dead Space 2, the sequel to the game that really got me started on writing horror. More than being a fun, scary-as-hell game, I find that dissecting the game is actually very worthwhile for understanding it works. Well, why it scares, and applying that to writing.

1. Force People to Pay Attention to Detail

Dead Space isn't an especially easy game, which is where we get the 'survival' part of survival-horror. You're an engineer with a motley assembly of mining equipment taking on hordes of mutant zombies that require dismemberment due to the their distributed nervous system. Since this series is set on space stations/ships, there's a lot of fans and ductwork around so people can breathe and whatnot. Of course, this is also a popular avenue for the smaller zombies (children, babies, skinnier ones) to travel in. It doesn't take long before you start regarding every fan and ceiling duct with suspicion on principle. This isn't helped by the spectacular audio, which features everything from muffled speech to skittering sounds and taps that could be either an off-time fan, or a monstrosity lying in wait. Any sound could be a warning- there are plenty of enemies, some who sneak, some who flank, some who howl to summon others. At least two kinds actively communicate with other zombies.

Speaking of dismemberment, the game also punishes you for not paying attention to detail by having some of the wounded monsters lie doggo once wounded, or simply when you arrive. Other humans have been fighting them as well, so you never know if a dead one you roll up up on is REALLY dead. You learn to check carefully, since there isn't exactly a dearth of supplies around. You learn to be careful, so I'm going to try to figure out a way to work that into my story.

2. Familiarity Breeds Horror

Necromorphs (the primary antagonists in Dead Space) aren't scary because they have claws or teeth or are particularly murderous. They're scary because they're familiar. You can tell that they were human at some point. Their heads are largely intact, minus lower jaws. vestigial arms hang from their fronts. They wear clothing. The smaller ones look like deformed children. Some look like skeletonized dogs. You can tell what they were by looking at them.

Likewise, even on a starship, an elementary school and hospital look like they do today. Washbasins. Beds. Flowers. There's one particular scene where you walk into the lobby of the doctor's office, and it looks just like one. There are balloons. A gift shop soaked in blood. Discarded magazines and cards. An abandoned wheelchair. It could be any doctor's office anywhere, minus the body parts and blood.

Those are the two big lessons I took away so far. Suspect everything, and the more familiar and comforting something seems, the easier it is to subvert that feeling.