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30 September, 2014

REVIEW: The Walking Dead (AMC Network TV Series): Season 4 - Episode 11 "Claimed"

A number of plot points will inevitably be revealed in the course of these writings.  My intent is to review this program from the perspective of the Doomer / Prepper / Survivalist community, but, to do that effectively, some things have to be explained in greater detail than I might normally prefer in a review.  As a result, spoilers will follow.  You have been warned.  In truth, you might more accurately describe these posts as in-depth discussions of certain aspects of each episode with an emphasis on how the character's actions might be applicable in a real-life societal collapse.  I hope you enjoy.
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Ever wonder if there's anything to be learned from survival Doomer fiction like The Walking Dead? I think so. Here's what I mean...
A large portion of this episode centered on Carl and Michonne continuing to bond during a supply foraging run. The trio that includes Rick is still residing at the house where Michonne discovered them, and they talk Rick into remaining there while they go out, so that he can continue to heal from his run in with The Governor. On a side note, Rick is unsure as to whether or not the house they have taken over should be their new home or simply a stop along the way.

A lot can be learned about foraging for supplies by watching the methods that Michonne and Carl employ. They observe proper noise discipline, which is important in any survival situation that doesn't involve you actually hoping for some sort of rescue. Rather, what they are showing us is a good way to handle oneself in an environment where threats may be present. They go about very methodically, clearing rooms of any threat before moving on to looking for supplies in the order "food, batteries, then water," which apparently suits their needs at the moment. I'm assuming they must be good on bottled water, otherwise that would definitely take precedence over food. Michonne also does a very good job of making the work involved in what they are doing into a game that keeps the boy motivated and distracted.

It was actually shown in a previous episode rather than this one, but I wanted to also make the point that if you find yourself in a situation where there are electronics around that have now become useless, be sure to save the cords. You never know when a good, thick piece of cordage will come in hand in a survival situation. The last time we saw these characters, Carl used the power cord from a useless flatscreen TV to make the cordage needed to tie the front door of the house closed, increasing their safety from Walkers as they slept.

The simple act of sleeping becomes complicated in a survival situation, because doing it when alone can expose one to danger. We see that happen with Rick in this episode. It is much better to have backup to keep watch while you are sleeping in order to be able to provide advance warning in the case something goes amiss. Rick found himself awakening inside a house full of strangers during this episode, and he had to sneak out, only barely intercepting his son and Michonne as they returned before they could walk into what would have been a hornets nest. All three managed to escape together, but it was a close thing.

And this episode also showed us the havoc that can result from allowing an untrained person to get their hands on a weapon, in this case an automatic rifle that causes a great deal of damage to the only vehicle to which the characters have access. Everyone ends up on foot, the moral being either to keep weapons away from the untrained or – better yet – make sure that everyone is trained properly.


The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]


My previous reviews for this series can be accessed by clicking the links below:

29 September, 2014

REVIEW: The Walking Dead (AMC Network TV Series): Season 4 - Episode 10 "Inmates"

A number of plot points will inevitably be revealed in the course of these writings.  My intent is to review this program from the perspective of the Doomer / Prepper / Survivalist community, but, to do that effectively, some things have to be explained in greater detail than I might normally prefer in a review.  As a result, spoilers will follow.  You have been warned.  In truth, you might more accurately describe these posts as in-depth discussions of certain aspects of each episode with an emphasis on how the character's actions might be applicable in a real-life societal collapse.  I hope you enjoy.
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Ever wonder if there's anything to be learned from survival Doomer fiction like The Walking Dead? I think so. Here's what I mean...
With respect to the timeline of the show, this episode is meant to be taking place basically concurrently with the previous episode. Like episode 9, which showed us what happened to Rick, Carl, and Michonne in the immediate aftermath of the rout at the prison, episode 10 follows other major characters during the same time period. This episode features several disparate groups of survivors. We see Daryl and Beth together; Maggie, Sasha, and Bob following the bus of refugees along the road; Tyreese and three children he is looking after (including baby Judith, whom Rick and Carl both assume is dead after finding her bloody car seat during their escape at the prison); as well as Glenn and Tara, whom we met in the previous episodes as a member of the family (the last to survive) who unwittingly hitched their wagon to The Governor with no idea what type of man he actually was.

Things begin with a voiceover of Beth, narrating what she had written in her diary while still living at the prison. She talks about keeping her bag – basically what we would call a "bug-out bag" – packed and ready to run for a long time even after they had settled and been living there for while. She goes on to say how she eventually unpacked the bag as a way of having faith that they had finally found a home. As we know, though, she should never have unpacked that bag. In a survival situation, keeping your "bug-out bag" within easy reach as well as your weapons is key at all times, just in case a hasty exit is required. I don't see this as a lack of faith, but rather an insurance policy.

One problem we all need to be on guard against is that, in a world where medical pharmaceutical interventions are not longer an option and there is no mental health apparatus in operation, unstable people are likely simply to get worse and worse. It is a sobering thought to realize just how many psychopathic and sociopathic individuals are walking free among us every day, kept in check by the pills they take. And, when that medication is no longer readily available and unlike someone who might suffer from depression and be more likely to harm themselves in the event they must go untreated, many people with mental illnesses may very well become more dangerous.

Ever wonder if there's anything to be learned from survival Doomer fiction like The Walking Dead? I think so. Here's what I mean...
In a societal collapse / TEOTWAWKI kind of situation, especially one where you may find yourself on the run and in the wild as these characters have, young children are likely to have a very hard time and will require definitive guidance as well as protection. If you find yourself traveling with a baby, be aware – as any parent already is, I'm sure – that they tend to cry wholly on their own schedule with no notice as to whether you are trying to be quiet or not. Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do about it, other than stay on your toes until you can get them somewhere safe.

One thing that interested me with respect to this episode was the idea of following the railroad tracks in search of a better place. One character is given information by another survivor with whom he has com into contact, whereas others see signs promising a safe haven ahead referred to as Terminus. The railroad thing is no great revelation. It simply struck me as a theme. People lost in the wilderness and attempting to self rescue are sometimes told to follow railroad tracks and power lines, because these things lead inexorably toward civilization.

Let's see where the character's road will lead them in the weeks to come.


The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]


My previous reviews for this series can be accessed by clicking the links below:

28 September, 2014

Sad But True

It's a real shame that things have come to so sad a state over the years, until now finally this statement couldn't be more true. That's what happens when the media, once a service provided in return for free use of the airwaves, becomes a profit-seeking venture that contains more entertainment news than *REAL* news, and when the majority of major mainstream media outlets are owned by a cabal of conglomerate corporations eager to push their own agendas and hide inconvenient truths from the public.

REVIEW: The Walking Dead (AMC Network TV Series): Season 4 - Episode 9 "After"

A number of plot points will inevitably be revealed in the course of these writings.  My intent is to review this program from the perspective of the Doomer / Prepper / Survivalist community, but, to do that effectively, some things have to be explained in greater detail than I might normally prefer in a review.  As a result, spoilers will follow.  You have been warned.  In truth, you might more accurately describe these posts as in-depth discussions of certain aspects of each episode with an emphasis on how the character's actions might be applicable in a real-life societal collapse.  I hope you enjoy.
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Ever wonder if there's anything to be learned from survival Doomer fiction like The Walking Dead? I think so. Here's what I mean...
This episode, of course, deals with the aftermath of the disastrous attack on the prison that led to the fences failing and a full evacuation becoming necessary as the place was overrun with Walkers. For our purposes, we can deal with the prison stronghold as we would with any other fortified survival retreat, and one thing is for certain: just as the show portrays, the time directly following such a hasty evacuation will be chaos with loved ones and friends becoming separated from one another.

As I stated in the previous review, much of the consternation that will no doubt follow the evacuation could have been mitigated by simply setting a rally point a few miles down the road, where any survivors of a rout like the one we witnessed at the prison could meet, regroup, and form up once again together. In the absence of such a plan, the best thing that one can do is to attempt to watch for tracks or other signs of egress in order to reconnect with the group members from which you find themselves separated.

Ever wonder if there's anything to be learned from survival Doomer fiction like The Walking Dead? I think so. Here's what I mean...
There will likely pass some time before it is possible (if it does prove to be possible at all) to regroup with friends or family, so it is important to keep one's own survival skills honed and to always be on the lookout for possible shelter and supplies. Abandoned homes and even cars would be good places to search. Again, these writings don't refer to a natural disaster when this sort of foraging could teach you in deep trouble because it is considered looting, but rather we are discussing how to handle things in an all-out SHTF / TEOTWAWKI / societal collapse. In that sort of environment, abandoned homes and cars could both contain supplies one might find useful as well as guarantee protection from the elements. If in an automobile, try to choose one in an out-of-the-way spot or move it there yourself, so that you are less easily detected. In a residential dwelling, be sure to secure the door, pull all shades, observe light discipline after dark, and be as quiet as possible. This should help you lay low until such time as you are able to move on.

If possible, try to group together with at least one other survivor in your attempts to reconnect with your group. Surviving alone adds a higher level of difficulty to the entire situation. Not only is there no one to watch her back, but even something as simple as falling asleep would be very dangerous without someone to keep watch. Such situations are far more easily endured when two or more people can sleep in shifts with at least one of them keeping watch at all times.

And, lastly, with respect to a survival situation where children or adolescents are involved, it becomes your responsibility to help them build confidence in their own instincts. Teach them how to survive, including having your children join in on the things you are doing right now, so long as they are old enough as to not frighten them. Even as you help them gain their feet as young men and women in an uncertain world, however, always understand that they need you for emotional support.


The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]


My previous reviews for this series can be accessed by clicking the links below:

27 September, 2014

REVIEW: The Walking Dead (AMC Network TV Series): Season 4 - Episode 8 "Too Far Gone"

A number of plot points will inevitably be revealed in the course of these writings.  My intent is to review this program from the perspective of the Doomer / Prepper / Survivalist community, but, to do that effectively, some things have to be explained in greater detail than I might normally prefer in a review.  As a result, spoilers will follow.  You have been warned.  In truth, you might more accurately describe these posts as in-depth discussions of certain aspects of each episode with an emphasis on how the character's actions might be applicable in a real-life societal collapse.  I hope you enjoy.
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The greatest lesson you and I can learn from watching this episode is that, whether you are a determined Prepper with a fully stocked-survival retreat or simply someone who possesses the skills needed to thrive and find a home among a group of like-minded survivors in the event of a societal collapse, someone out there is inevitably going to want what you have. In the aftermath of a true TEOTWAWKI event, every person who has managed to keep themselves alive is going to be looking for a place that affords them a greater level of safety than being on the open road or in a soft target situation like your average residential tract home. And, you better believe, the blood, sweat, and tears you and yours have poured into carving out your little spot for survival is going to look pretty good to them.

Ever wonder if there's anything to be learned from survival Doomer fiction like The Walking Dead? I think so. Here's what I mean...
While I have always rejected the idea that being a Prepper or even an old-style Survivalist is all about weapons and running around in the woods, dressed in camouflage, the truth of the matter is that you are wasting your time and effort working on emergency preparedness if you aren't also willing and capable of defending what is yours after TSHTF. The other option is to simply try your best to stay invisible and slink around the edges, so that you don't draw an attack. That is a fools game in my mind, however, unless it is your only choice. A single-family unit of only a few people can survive this way, but it won't be easy and there is no guarantee you won't be found in any way, no matter how good you think you are at hide and seek. If you live in a climate where it gets cold in the winter, give a few moments of thought to just how far the smoke from your woodstove travels into the sky and what a stark contrast it makes from miles and miles away. Being completely out of sight will be almost impossible for most of us, so I favor surviving in some sort of stronghold instead. If that interests you, you might take a moment and read some of my articles about Medieval Survivalism.

But, as I said, you need to be willing and able to do what is necessary to defend the infrastructure that helps you and the people you love to survive. For the record, though, if the people attacking you have a tank, you might want to speak to them very, very politely and try to work something out. Just sayin'.

Ever wonder if there's anything to be learned from survival Doomer fiction like The Walking Dead? I think so. Here's what I mean...
It turns out that The Governor has changed somewhat, but in many ways he is still the same man we saw wreaking havoc during season three of the show. He is still, obviously, something of a cold, calculating psychopath. This is a state of mind and personality that doesn't simply go away, and it isn't even always dangerous in a murdery sort of way. There's a lot of research, for instance, that says many successful business people have tendencies that might sometimes verge on psychopathy or sociopathy. But, in the event of an all-out pseudo-Apocalypse where TS has HTF and society has collapsed taking with it the structure of law and order that keeps people in check, society's thin veneer is stripped away and someone like this becomes very dangerous indeed.

Yet, he also truly loves his new adopted family and simply wants to make sure that they are safe, no matter what he has to do to achieve that safety. He knows (and he is correct) that the way their group has been surviving is a temporary situation, wherein they will continue to be steadily picked-off, needled down, and kept weak until finally a herd of Walkers passes through and simply wipes them out in one fell stroke. It could happen next week or next year, but the odds are that it is going to happen eventually. He knows that they need a stronghold in order to thrive. He was previously instrumental in building Woodbury as a bulwark of civilization, behind the walls of which people lived in a state of almost peace and normalcy, and he knows that is key. If you recall, he had originally wanted the prison in the first place but was assured that it was far too overrun with Walkers, and so the town was taken and fortified as a second choice.

Well, now he wants the prison again.

I'm sure there is an element of revenge present, but it is obviously secondary to his wanting to keep his new family safe. He could have killed Michonne immediately, instead of using her as a bargaining chip, but he let her live because – as much as he might like to see her dead – the goal of getting his adopted family inside the safety of those walls is paramount in his mind. And, despite all the bad he is done, there is a certain nobility in what he is doing. He is willing to do whatever it takes, including setting aside his own anger, in order to do what must be done to achieve the safety of those for whom he has accepted responsibility.

Another really important thing this episode demonstrates is that the group at the prison has a plan in place in case it becomes necessary to evacuate. That is an awesome thing for us to all keep in mind. Rick and company basically have a running prison bus parked out back and pre-stocked with supplies to act as an escape vehicle in the event that things go terribly wrong. That one is definitely going into my retreat planning.

Unfortunately, it seems the one forward thinking thing they failed to do was to set a rally point somewhere a few miles distant where all survivors are supposed to meet and regroup in the event of an evacuation... also now a part of my personal survival retreat planning.


The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]


My previous reviews for this series can be accessed by clicking the links below:

26 September, 2014

The True Face Of Government

The natural state of any bureaucracy is to continue to grow to perpetuate itself. This is a fact stated in pretty much every public administration class textbook at any college or university. Yet, people seem to forget that government is simply the largest of all bureaucracies, dependent on those who perpetually hold out their hands for charity to keep being needy in order to justify its continually bloating like a tick feeding.

Public assistance has its place, but it is a myth to believe that any government or representative of such will ever truly take steps to do anything but expand the bureaucracy for which they toil. It's, quite simply, the business they're in. Grow and hire new people who then depend on government for their livelihood, making it in their best interest to help it grow even further, so that it can then hire even more people to keep it expanding (often through outreach programs that, literally, look for new people to join the ranks of the perpetually needy - people who hadn't even asked for help) and so on and on and on and on forever.

Never contracting. Always expanding with the ultimate goal of making every citizen (and, apparently, non-citizen as well) either an agent of the bureaucracy or one of its many clients. An automaton or a slave.

25 September, 2014

REVIEW: The Walking Dead (AMC Network TV Series): Season 4 - Episode 7 "Dead Weight"

A number of plot points will inevitably be revealed in the course of these writings.  My intent is to review this program from the perspective of the Doomer / Prepper / Survivalist community, but, to do that effectively, some things have to be explained in greater detail than I might normally prefer in a review.  As a result, spoilers will follow.  You have been warned.  In truth, you might more accurately describe these posts as in-depth discussions of certain aspects of each episode with an emphasis on how the character's actions might be applicable in a real-life societal collapse.  I hope you enjoy.
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Ever wonder if there's anything to be learned from survival Doomer fiction like The Walking Dead? I think so. Here's what I mean...
This episode again follows The Governor and shows us the evolution of what his character has been doing, leading up to when we saw him outside the prison a few episodes previous. Traveling with the family that, essentially, adopted him as one of their own in the previous episode without knowing the real truth about him, they all eventually find their way into a larger group of survivors led by one of The Governor's past followers. This is a group with no stronghold, only a camp of RVs and other vehicles, and which has a policy of not allowing any "dead weight." As it is stated, people either chip in somehow or they are cast out.

This is interesting because, much like the situation where Rick sent Carol away a few episodes ago, it harkens to an earlier time when exile was considered a real form of punishment for crimes and other misdeeds. Through much of human history, the "wilderness" didn't mean the forest; it meant anyplace outside of civilization. Recall that the Bible tells us that Jesus wandered in the wilderness when he was actually in the desert and the same with the Jews of the Exodus. And, human history is also mostly full of times when being out on your own in the "wilderness" was very dangerous. Even just a few hundred years ago, England was plagued by Highwaymen who waylaid travelers on the road on a regular basis, and a few hundred years before that people in Scotland were forced to build stout wooden walls because of the danger of roving packs of wolves that traversed the countryside. In a world suffering from a societal collapse and conditions that many would think of as the apocalypse, this type of punishment will once again take on the same kind of gravity as it did back then, due to the dangers involved for one person alone and without the support of a community.

Ever wonder if there's anything to be learned from survival Doomer fiction like The Walking Dead? I think so. Here's what I mean...
Two other things this episode hammers home for us is that, in the event of a societal collapse, nurses and other medically-trained personnel will be invaluable to anyone attempting to stay alive. Doctors, nurses, military corpsmen/medics, EMTs and paramedics, physicians assistants, and even veterinarians will be so valuable to any community that they will basically be able to write to their own ticket if they need to find a home. Might be a good idea to take a few first aid classes now, while you're able. Just sayin'.

And... a psychotic person will always be a psychotic person, and you just might become a victim of their inner demons if you aren't very careful who you trust.

Whether you have a fully-stocked retreat or you end up on the road with a group of fellow survivors, you will run across many people seeking to join your camp. Inevitably, some will be accepted and some will not, but the truth is a first impression will never be enough to tell you whether or not allowing them to be close to you and your family was a good idea or a disastrous one. Some will be wonderful people, while others will be the worst kind of Survivalist, seeking to pull your group into doing things that are against your morals even in a world where sometimes difficult things must be done. And, for that matter, one of these people could very easily take over leadership of the entire group.

My advice is to be ready to move on whenever it feels like things are going down a road with which you are not comfortable. Others may not follow you, and you will have to simply leave them to their fate, but you need to have a workable escape plan for you and your family in case you need to slip away and go it alone.


The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]


My previous reviews for this series can be accessed by clicking the links below:

23 September, 2014

REVIEW: The Walking Dead (AMC Network TV Series): Season 4 - Episode 6 "Live Bait"

A number of plot points will inevitably be revealed in the course of these writings.  My intent is to review this program from the perspective of the Doomer / Prepper / Survivalist community, but, to do that effectively, some things have to be explained in greater detail than I might normally prefer in a review.  As a result, spoilers will follow.  You have been warned.  In truth, you might more accurately describe these posts as in-depth discussions of certain aspects of each episode with an emphasis on how the character's actions might be applicable in a real-life societal collapse.  I hope you enjoy.
----------

Ever wonder if there's anything to be learned from survival Doomer fiction like The Walking Dead? I think so. Here's what I mean...
This particular episode marked a unique spot where the focus of the story shifted away from the prison and centered on showing us what happened to The Governor after the debacle of last season when he went nuts and killed a large number of his own supporters. We see him soon abandoned by even those few who escaped with him, and he wanders the countryside as a broken man for months, bringing us closer to the original timeline we're following at the prison.

This episode stands as a prime example of why you should be very careful who you trust. In the event of a true societal collapse / TSHTF situation, there will be no way to know if the story someone is telling you about their past is true or not or whether or not they are holding back information. There will be no way to know if the person standing before you might be a psychopath, so we must all be very careful if/when we find ourselves in a similar situation.

This is evidenced by the fact that The Governor, now going simply by an assumed name – Brian – stumbles across a family in need, and these people have no idea just what type of man is in their midst. In fact, the story presents us with an interesting conundrum even as viewers: can people change? One has to wonder, watching this man who we have seen do terrible things brisk his life to help people he has only just met.

It is truly a philosophical question. Understanding human nature, it is difficult at times to believe that people can change, but it is not hard at all to imagine that a very bad person could easily flourish in a new environment and appeared to be different. And who knows? Perhaps some people can change, but others will inevitably show who they really are eventually.

The family – two sisters, one of which has a young daughter, and there very ill father – have been surviving in a town somewhere outside Atlanta, holed-up in their apartment for what has to be more than a year at this point in the story. One thing that has made this possible is that the father worked as a driver for a food company, and, when TSHTF, he grabbed his family and brought them home along with the fully-stocked food delivery truck. That aside, however, it is possible to survive in an urban setting; it simply makes things more difficult, and so it is advisable to find oneself a survival retreat somewhere out in the country.

Another issue raised in this episode revolves around advanced health issues in an apocalyptic / societal collapse. The father suffers from stage IV lung cancer, and requires oxygen. Luckily, his eldest daughter apparently worked as a nurse and had the good sense to take a bunch of the full oxygen tanks from the hospital when everything went down. Hopefully, we would all be so lucky in such a situation, but, if not, it is worthwhile to keep in mind that oxygen tanks and other medical supplies could be foraged from abandoned hospitals and retirement homes.


The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]


My previous reviews for this series can be accessed by clicking the links below: