Category Archives: 1 Survival Sunday

Everybody panic: expert says Yellowstone Supervolcano could ‘destroy the United States’

So people are freaking out because (a) the Yellowstone supervolcano blows up every 600,000 years, (b) it would turn North America into a sea of ash and create a mini Ice Age, (c) the magma pit under the supervolcano is causing earthquakes and bulging and  (d) there’s a viral video of bison running along a highway, supposedly fleeing the coming explosion.

Well, grab your bug-out bag and run for the hills.

Except it might not happen for another 100,000 years. So there’s that.

This video lends weight to survivalist types pointing at the stockpile of canned food and ammo in the basement and saying, “See? It was all worth it. Throw the tent in the pickup and let’s head to the Yukon.”

On the other hand, a supervolcano is a complicated thing. It doesn’t sleep for eons and suddenly wake up to go boom, as this man of science explains in a smart, rational look at Yellowstone.

And finally, this park ranger at Yellowstone, who sort of knows more about the bison and the supervolcano, seeing how it’s his job, destroys the whole “the bison are fleeing, so we must run for our lives, too!” thing.

In the end, I disagree with the viral video folks and End of the World theorists saying “This is it.” Will this supervolcano go nuts? Someday. Scientists say there’s a 1 in 10,000 chance Yellowstone will blow in our lifetime.

Those odds make this far, far more likely than (1) a zombie infestation, (2) U.N. black helicopters coming for your shotgun or (3) killer robots that transform into cars making a mess out of Manhattan. If you’re going to be smart about being prepared, yeah, it’s worth thinking about Yellowstone.

But it’s not worth obsessing over, and there’s no need to panic.

It’s far smarter to think about heart disease, traffic accidents, cancer, getting mugged in a dark alley, diabetes, climate change.

Will you likely dodge most of them? Sure. But 10 out of 10 people die, those are known dangers and it only takes one of them to get lucky and add you to the list. It’d be smart to prepare and prevent the most likely dangers, seeing how they’re basically sure bets compared to Yellowstone going boom or a giant asteroid slamming into Florida because Bruce Willis was too busy making THE EXPENDABLES 12: BUSTING OUT OF THE NURSING HOME.

So while I agree with survivalists about being prepared for more than a flat tire, you should be brutally practical and look at the odds, then spend time and energy on the most likely Terrible Things You Would Like to Avoid, and 99 percent of those problems aren’t solved by me stocking up on more cases of MRE’s. Though I do have a killer plan for making any house zombie proof.

The Red Pen of Doom’s Greatest Hits Collection: 10 Epic Posts

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  2. The Mother of All Query Letters
  3. Why every man MUST read a romance – and every woman a thriller
  4. The Red Pen of Doom impales FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
  5. The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books
  6. A BOWL OF WARM MILK AND MURDER
  7. 30 achy breaky Twitter mistakeys
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  9. The Red Pen of Doom murders THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand
  10. Quirks and legs matter more than talent and perfection

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Photo by Suhyoon Cho

 

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award and is represented by Jill Marr of the Dijkstra Literary Agency.

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Filed under 1 Survival Sunday, Gear, guns and such, Zombie apocalypse

You’re doing it wrong: FIGHTING

As a teenager, I spent years learning how to kick people in the head, and avoid getting whacked in the noggin.

Great exercise, good discipline, all that. But it’s not practical for real life OR the zombie apocalypse, which are the two infallible acid tests on this blog.

Even the best fighters in MMA are crazy careful about kicking high, because it’s high-risk, high-reward. Fighters tend to unload high kicks late in the fight, when their opponent is already reeling, because a fresh enemy will catch your fancy high kick and plant you on your butt, then rain down elbows until the ref pulls them off before your face turns into raw hamburger.

So sure, high kicks look impressive, and they’re great in kickboxing matches where wrestling isn’t allowed. Yet high-kicks are just one example out of 5.83 bazillion why we’ve been doing it wrong when it comes to fighting.

Let’s take an average-sized woman and train her in kung fu and karate since birth. Take her in the prime of her life, in her 20′s at her strongest. I still don’t want a 5’4″ woman weighing 135 pounds taking on 6’3 man who’s 235, no matter how little training he’s had.

Or two men. Or five drunks in a bar, like we see in the movies all the time. Sure, there’s a chance she could wipe the floor with them. Yet even if she’s the UFC middleweight champ, two-on-one is a bad fight.

And no, I’m not saying our hypothetical Super Woman should also dedicate her life to wrestling, Brazillian jiu-jitsu and Thai kickboxing to round things out and turn her into even more of a killing machine.

This is what I’m saying: if it takes a lifetime of training to make it a fair fight between somebody who’s shorter and smaller versus a bigger and untrained opponent, then we’re doing it all kinds of wrong.

Here’s a great fight scene from THE BOURNE IDENTITY, which Matt Damon fighting for his life against an equally skilled opponent. They’re about the same size, too. Take five inches and thirty pounds away from Matt and tell me he wins this fight.

These days I’m taking boxing from Mike, a Marine Recon commando in ‘Nam who’s been studying the sweet science since before I was born. He could whip me in two seconds. Yet as much as I love pounding the heavy bag and making the speed bag blur, it’s not a practical self-defense art for my wife or 11-year-old son. Great for me. Bad for them. It’s pretty unlikely I’ll be getting into scraps with 6’7 dudes who weigh 300, not unless the offensive line of the Seahawks comes to town and I spill beer on all of them while talking smack about their moms and Pete Carroll’s hair.

Tell me boxing will help me against seven dudes who all make me look like I’m in kindergarden.

Now it’s true that mixed martial arts and the UFC are changing things fast. Traditional martial arts that haven’t really been tested against others are being told to put up or shut up. Your stuff works? Show me. Put it in the ring.

Yet MMA isn’t an answer, not for the average person.

A huge part of MMA fighting is going to the ground against a single opponent. It’s true most fights turn into wrestling matches and wind up on the ground. But guess what? Rolling around on the floor with somebody is something you absolutely, positively cannot afford to do in real life, not if your enemy possibly has a buddy within shouting distance.

Standing, two-on-one is bad enough. On the ground, it’s deadly.

Even MMA isn’t street conditions. Fighters wrap and tape their hands to protect themselves. The gloves are to protect their opponents. Even then, these highly trained gladiators, the best in the world, often break their hands.

Your wrists won’t be protected by wraps. Your knuckles won’t be cushioned by tape. If you get in a fight in a back alley or the street, and punch somebody right in the face or head as hard as you can, you’re going to break your hand.

If you’re lucky and don’t break your hand, a smaller person–a woman, a kid, whoever–will typically lose a fist-fight against a taller, heavier opponent.

What do we need instead?

Continue reading

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Filed under 1 Survival Sunday, Fighting and MMA

Pro-tip: hand wraps for heavy bags, unless you like scars

image

10 Comments

by | April 13, 2013 · 1:51 pm

Prepare yourself for the robopocalypse

So this robot can walk, carry heavy objects — and hurl those heavy objects at your noggin.

This is either (a) the best thing ever or (b) Step No. 4,932 toward making TERMINATOR a documentary film.

Related posts:

Zombie movies are NOT standard horror movies

Why doomsday preppers are DOING IT WRONG

How to survive the coming Robopocalypse

Epic Black Car deserves good owner; are you worthy?

Survival Sunday: The world’s first zombie-proof house

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.

Google+

 

6 Comments

Filed under 1 Survival Sunday, Zombie apocalypse

DECAY, a zombie movie made by real scientists

Not just any old scientists playing with beakers in the lab or whatever.

No.

Brilliant boffins who work at the world’s greatest superconducting super-collider made this zombie movie, using the creepy tunnel parts of their fancy machine as movie sets.

I would actually watch this thing.

Not too shabby, scientist peoples of CERN — keep on making these things.

Related posts:

Zombie movies are NOT standard horror movies

Epic Black Car deserves good owner; are you worthy?

WORLD WAR Z by Max Brooks

Survival Sunday: The world’s first zombie-proof house

JUAN OF THE DEAD, the epic Cuban zombie movie

How to survive the coming Robopocalypse

Joss Whedon + politics + zombie apocalypse = EPIC WIN

Surviving the coming zombie apocalypse

Why doomsday preppers are DOING IT WRONG

THE WALKING DEAD walks into Dumb Movie Land

 

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Filed under 3 Tinseltown Tuesday, The Big Screen, Zombie apocalypse

Joss Whedon + politics + zombie apocalypse = EPIC WIN

Joss the Whedon, I am impressed by your funny and interesting zombie apocalypse shebang.

I salute you, and would happily save a space for you on the armored school bus with a 20mm anti-aircraft gun.

Related posts:

Zombie movies are NOT standard horror movies

Why doomsday preppers are DOING IT WRONG

How to survive the coming Robopocalypse

Epic Black Car deserves good owner; are you worthy?

Survival Sunday: The world’s first zombie-proof house

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.

Google+

2 Comments

Filed under 1 Survival Sunday, Gear, guns and such, Zombie apocalypse

Why doomsday preppers are DOING IT WRONG

There’s a big trend on the Glowing Tube of not just (a) reality shows, but (b) reality shows involving extreme people. And it doesn’t get  more extreme than people devoting all their time and monies to preparing for the apocalypse.

This is fun stuff that actually poses interesting questions. It also lets us watch people prepare for doomsday by shooting their thumb off.

Some questions:

1) Are you ready for doomsday?

2) What version of the apocalypse is your favorite?

  • Zombie infestation
  • Mad Max nuclear wasteland
  • Global economic collapse
  • Invasion of the Snooki clones

3) Are the doomsday preppers (a) admirable, self-reliant people with useful doomsday skills or (b) whackadoodles spending insane amounts of money on bomb shelters that will never get used?

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Filed under 1 Survival Sunday, Gear, guns and such, Zombie apocalypse

THE WALKING DEAD walks into Dumb Movie Land

Movies make people dumb.

Not the people watching movies, unless that movie happens to be TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN PART 5 or whatever, in which case yes, your LSAT scores will never be the same.

No, I’m talking about characters in movies.

Characters in books sometimes do stupid things, but not usually. Put that same character in a movie and they turn into absolute idiots.

This is true for romantic comedies (bumbling fools in love!), action movies (no henchman can shoot, and no heroine or sidekick can avoid getting kidnapped by the villain) and especially horror movies, which deserve a post all their own.

If a person with a functioning brain cell rattling around their skull wouldn’t go into the spooky abandoned house where people keep disappearing, you can bet the movie character will march right in. Does the hot young teenager know that a serial killer is chasing down and killing hot young teenagers? Well, she should definitely wear high heels and fall down six times while the psycho chases her.

There are websites dedicated to listing the stupid things that movie characters do.

However: I want to pick on THE WALKING DEAD, a zombie shebang that’s on the Glowing Tube.

As a fan of zombies, I am aware of this show, and though I haven’t watched every flipping episode, I kinda keep track of things by recaps and reviews and such. It’s a good show and not at all stupid.

So why did a smart show have their characters get so idiotic in the big series finale?

Here’s the setup: the non-zombie hero peoples are holed up at some farm, and the big finale is a battle that happens when the zombies show up, en masse.

What made me want to throw things at the YouTube clip is how the zombies happily marched across the fields and surrounded the farmhouse.

No, no, no.

If you or I are hanging around a farmhouse during the zombie apocalypse, the zombies won’t ever march up on us from every direction. Why? Because we’ll get busy, real quick, using all the tools and equipment that any decent farm has the second we arrive there and take inventory of the place.

First thing we do is fire up the tractor or backhoe and dig a long ditch around the farm.

Second thing we do shove the dirt we dug up into a berm, a rough wall. So they fall in the ditch, and if by some zombie magic one of the undead gets out of the ditch, he’s gotta climb a wall.

Third thing we do is put a barbed wire fence on top of that berm.

Fourth thing we do is find some fuel and make Molotov cocktails.

If there’s a working tractor, this sort of thing takes a day or two.

And it’s worth it, because now a single Farmer Joe type with a flipping .22 rifle can stand on top of that berm and pick off zombies all day while he sips moonshine. Because there’s no way a horde of zombies is magically getting past the ditch, the wall and the barbed wire. It’s not happening.

Zombies can’t climb.

Instead, the heroes of THE WALKING DEAD go on foot (to get nom-nom-nommed) and drive around in cars trying to blow away zombies. Which isn’t smart, either. Shooting from a moving vehicle may look cool, but you have a much better chance of hitting a moving target when you’re not bouncing around, too.

Bottom line: If you really want to survive a horror movie / zombie apocalypse, please use your noggin first and your trigger finger second.

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.

Google+

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Filed under 3 Tinseltown Tuesday, The Glowing Tube, Zombie apocalypse

The aliens, they have landed

This is not a scene from PROMETHEUS.

Fast forward mid-way through this sucker, to the point where the scientist applies flame to the white powder, which is when you should be screaming at the screen, “Don’t do it, you fool!”

Because once this thing springs to life, we are all doomed.

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.

Google+

6 Comments

Filed under 1 Survival Sunday, Zombie apocalypse

How to survive the coming Robopocalypse

Zombies, nuclear war and the Spanish Flu wiping out civilization are all fun to talk about. Mad Max! Bartertown!

But a robot uprising is a real possibility. Maybe they get smarter than us and don’t like being slaves to inferior beings.

Maybe an evil genius creates an unstoppable army of robots.

Or maybe some programmer screws up the C++ whatever and turns happy little lawn-mowing robots into roving blades of robotic death.

Either way, this Daniel H. Wilson man (do NOT forget the H., peoples) is not only a robot expert with a PhD and such, but an author who’s written about surviving the coming robopocalypse. Also: the animation to the video is awesomesauce.

Bonus: A glorious poster thing about robot and the future. It has numbers and such.

bow down to your robot masters

Robots will take over the world. Resistance is futile.

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Filed under 1 Survival Sunday, Gear, guns and such, Zombie apocalypse