Friday, July 15, 2011

The Moral of Morale

It has been brought to my attention that my previous post may have upset a few people. I understand. Coffee is a wonderful thing. Telling you to quit is mean. Deal with it. It's tough love. I want you all to survive. That's why I recommended keeping some coffee in your pack for emergencies. It's wonderful. You just don't want to rely on it.

Go on. Play with them.
That said, keeping up morale is very important. Surviving is easier if you have some sort of enjoyment in your life. Low morale causes sluggishness, apathy and, eventually, the desire to eat brains. Don't eat brains. Play cards. A deck of playing cards is perfect for warding off boredom. They are small, light and easily packed. Just chuck a deck in your bag. Checkers or chess also work well, and they are easy to improvise.

Good way to keep your mind occupied.
Hand cranked radios are also perfect for morale. They give you a connection to other people and larger society. That is, of course, assuming that people are still broadcasting radio signals after the apocalypse. Battery powered gadgets probably aren't the best idea. Batteries run out of juice, then you have lost the item you were depending on to keep your morale up.

If you have a portal solar cell, this is the perfect use for it. Bring an iPod and speakers [small.] The solar cell should be able to produce enough juice to power an iPod. Music does wonders for the soul.

Music and women: Good for morale
If you have any suggestions for a good, portable, non-powered way to keep up morale, please share with the rest of the class, either in the comments, on our Facebook page or in an email to us.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Joe, not G.I.

These are a few of my favorite things.
Coffee. Most adults have at least one cup a day. Some have much more. It helps you wake up in the morning. It helps you stay awake at night. Some people seem like zombies before they've had some. Some people seem infected after having too much. It tastes wonderful. It tastes awful. No matter what camp you fall into on coffee, the one thing it is is addictive.

I could write for days on why I love coffee. In my college years I was going through about twelve cups a day. I'd drink it first thing when I woke up. I'd have a cup right before bed. My study time was spent in coffee shops. In high school I worked at a small local coffee shop. We roasted the beans right there in the front room. Good coffee is, to me, one of the great pleasures of the world.

Now that I have fully disclosed my love for coffee, it is addictive as anything. When running for your lives from hordes of zombies the last thing you want is to be going through withdraw. Stop drinking coffee right now. Wean yourself off of it if you must. I went from drinking twelve cups a day to not drinking it at all, overnight. What followed were two of the worst weeks of my life. My head felt like it was going to explode. I had very little energy. My whole body ached. This is not the state you want to be in when you are fighting for your life.

Post apocalyptic America is not the best place for finding your own coffee beans. If you're in Columbia, hey, you may be good with a coffee addiction. In America you will suffer for it. When your body is reliant on the caffeine you don't get the boost that normally comes with the substance. It just takes you to the normal level. In a survival situation you want to be at your peak as often as possible. That is not possible if you need coffee to reach that level. So I do recommend that everyone keeps a few packets of instant coffee in their pack. It's good for when you really need the energy boost. It also is wonderful for boosting morale in hard times. Just don't get too reliant on it. The coffee will run out.
Then you can get up and kill other people.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Spark of Life

Not the good kind of fire. You should
probably stay away from this one.
Hello class. I hope you enjoyed your vacation last week, but it's time to get back to the grind. Survival is not a part time job. If you quit surviving for even a moment it's impossible to start again. Once you're out, you're out. A person cannot survive after failing to survive. With that in mind it's time to begin our training again. Today we will discuss that obsession of so many young males. (Not that! Get your mind out of the gutter.) Fire.
Fire is one of the most essential elements of survival. It provides warmth, light, a place to cook food, a way to sanitize water and gives you a sense of security. A sense, mind you. Not actual security. There is no guarantee that zombies will burn. They are mostly water, just like all humans. 

Carry these at all times.
Exposure is one of the single biggest risk factors in a survival situation. (Zombies are, of course, a bigger risk factor.) Hypothermia will kill you just as surely as a being bitten by the infected or falling off a building. Remember that survival is our goal here, not killing zombies. If you die from exposure you are still dead. Fire can help prevent this. In a post apocalyptic situation there is a good chance there will be no working heat, so being able to light a fire is essential. [We will cover fire-making methods in a future lesson.] With that in mind there are a few things you should always have with you. Matches, a lighter (preferably Zippo for the ease of use) and flint and steel. A person should have one of these on them at all times, except in airports (unless you enjoy being fondled by strangers.)

Your family has died of dysentery.
Food will also be an issue in an extended survival situation. Powerbars will only last you so long. Eventually you will need to cook food and boil water. Having that fire will allow you to do that. Stoves aren't the most common things in the wilderness, and cooking ranges in buildings may not be working. Any water you take from a lake or stream MUST be boiled. An infected zombie may have fallen in and we don't understand the limits of the transmission of the Zplague yet. Boiling the water will kill any germs in it. Nobody wants to go the way your family did every time you played Oregon Trail.

Remember, fire saves lives.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Company That Cares

I don't have a lot of experience with Toshiba products, but their latest commercial for the Satellite laptops just sold me on their company. I suggest everyone take a look and see what a company that cares about their customers looks like. Good on you Toshiba! Good on you!

I urge all companies to follow their example and look to the prevention of infection. This commercial lays out how not having his laptop's harddrive working causes this consumer to become infected.

Apple and Dell have not responded to my inquiries about how THEIR laptops keep you from becoming a zombie.

[Zeke has no relationship with Toshiba, nor has he ever knowingly used a Toshiba product. This is not an advertisement for Toshiba. This is just something Zeke found amusing as hell.]

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sleep with One Eye Open

Eyes up. Watch for zombies.
In our last lecture we discussed escape routes. In a similar vein, today we will discuss what to do after you have established your camp for the night. Sleeping is a dangerous time in a world infested with the infected. You have no defenses when you are asleep. It doesn't matter if a person is the greatest zombie killer in the history of the world, when they are asleep they are as vulnerable as anyone else. The thing is, survivors know this and, as G.I. Joe taught us, knowing is half the battle.

Stay awake while your buddies sleep.
The best solution for keeping yourself safe while sleeping is to stay with a group. While in a group you can set up watches. The members of the group take turns sleeping, breaking the night up into smaller segments, with each member taking a few hours. This lets everybody get some sleep while keeping them all relatively safe. If the group is a large group then split the watches up by day. One day persons A, B and C will each keep watch for two hours. The next day persons D, E and F will each keep watch for two hours. Alternatively, have two people on watch. This is the much preferred method. While one person can become bored and fall asleep, two people have each other to keep themselves company. Conversation is wonderful for staying awake at 3AM after running all day. In this scenario, assuming six people, persons A and D would take first watch, B and E would take second and C and F would take third. With eight people, alternate letting two get a full nights sleep. Middle watch will be the hardest. Instead of getting four hours of uninterrupted sleep, you will be getting two sessions of two hours. That will make the next day much harder, but you will also get more sleep the next night. 

If a survivor is on his own he is in for an entirely different experience. A person cannot keep watch over him or herself. In this scenario it is essential that you find a defensible location with limited entrances. (Make sure you still have your alternate escape routes.) A system of alarms will need to be set at every entrance to the sleeping area. Tripwires and cans are excellent for setting up a very basic alarm system. Anything that will make a lot of noise when hit is good. Zombies will not attempt to avoid such traps. They will walk into them. Hopefully you will be woken up. Blocking up all entrances in a method you can undo in the morning is also a good move. You are putting yourself at risk if you need to bang out in a hurry, but you are also less like to have that need. 

No matter what your situation sleeping is a dangerous time. Just remember to make yourself as safe as you can be. Keep your weapon with you. Don't sleep out in the open. Don't be stupid. Survive.