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30 November, 2014

REVIEW: The Walking Dead (AMC Network TV Series): Season 5 *Mid-Season Finale* - Episode 8 "Coda"

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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Yet again – as expected – this show succeeded in presenting its viewers with a riveting, yet hard to watch hour of television. My purpose here, as it always is, is not to blatantly give away the plot of these episodes, just in case there may be someone out there who hasn't seen it yet, but rather to talk about the episode from the point of view of a Prepper / Survivalist and try to see if there are any lessons to be taken away from what the writers have presented us with. Allow me just to say, though, that if you've been a fan of the show and this episode doesn't get to you a little, it's probably because you're dead inside. Just sayin'.

The first lesson I was able to draw from this storyline, being the mid-season finale and therefore the culmination of things we have seen up to this point this season, is that a world where the thin veneer of polite society has been ripped away will inevitably change people. Even you and I with our lofty ideals are likely to find ourselves very different a few months or years into an episode of extreme hardship. We must all fully accept, unfortunately, that our families and/or survival groups will become hardened to the point where you might one day look at yourself and see what the you of today would think of as a barbarian.

Think about it. The "villains" at Grady Memorial Hospital that we've been watching so far this season were once police officers, sworn to serve and protect, yet now they victimize as many people as they help. Of course, this is not to say that all police are great people, but I personally know many who are – I wonder how many of the cops at Grady Memorial would ever have imagined themselves acting the way they are now before the Zombie Apocalypse occurred around them? The best advice I can give (and try to take myself) is to fully expect this change, and thereby be able to more readily guard against the more insidious parts of such a personal evolution. Being conscious of such a thing would seem to make it easier to stem the tide and keep yourself on point and guided by your moral code.

Everyone wants to think of things in clear-cut terms of good and evil, but real life doesn't really work that way. Sometimes, rather than easy to identify villains, those that wander into your orbit of experience will simply be people – both good and bad – who will represent the end result of tired, hungry, frightened individuals who are trying to evolve and find their own way. I think that's a good explanation for the character of Dawn this season. I don't really think of her so much as a villain, but simply a leader who has only a precipitous and fragile hold on her situation and yet has convinced herself that – even as bad as it is and as many morally ambiguous decisions she has made – what she has built is better than what is outside. In all truth, I imagine that in the event of a real societal collapse TEOTWAWKI scenario there will be a whole lot of individuals running around just like Dawn. Don't be one of those people.

And our final lesson, without giving way spoilers, is to never take your interactions with someone for whom you care lightly or for granted, because death can always come... even for the least deserving.


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:



Cool New Survival Gear: New Solar Knife Available for PreSale!


"... The Solar Knife™ has a very innovative ergonomic handle (scales), that not only serve to hold the knife in one's hands, but one side of the handle (scale)is also a very shallow parabolic reflective surfaces that is able to focus the sun's energy to a singular point above the knife to ignite combustible materials and start your campfire!

To use the Solar Knife™ to start a campfire the user simply aims the handle of the knife towards the sun and positions the fire starting tinder at the singular focus of the parabolic handle. To aid with positioning of the tinder, the Solar Knife™ itself is also a blue print that allows the user to fashion a precise tinder holder arm using any branch or twig that mounts quickly into an angled receptacle also machined into the Solar Knife™. Once in position, the end of the twig is split and wild tinder is wedged into place at the end of the twig. This firmly holds wild tinder at the exact focus of the parabolic handle above the knife! This maximizes efficiency without the need to carry extra parts! Talk about bridging man with nature!

Unlike optical magnifying glasses the parabolic reflector has no spherical aberration and is highly efficient focusing every photon to a singular point is space igniting combustible materials in seconds! Works great with char cloth and wild tinder such as dry leaves!

The Solar Knife™ is constructed using high quality materials. The full-tang blade of the Solar Knife is made from 420HC (high carbon) Stainless Steel that has been fully hardened to give both great edge holding and sharpening capability."


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28 November, 2014

The 5 Ws of Survival

Photo courtesy of ModernSurvivalOnline.com
I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We had a great time here in the mountains, but now it's back to the grind stone and, for us, that means talking about emergency preparedness and survival. The focus of this blog is obviously more geared toward surviving with the benefit of a retreat or stronghold, but it doesn't hurt to touch occasionally on the idea of raw wilderness survival as well. There's no telling when you or I may find ourselves stranded somewhere in the wild, so let's go over one aspect of that area of survival.

Being stranded in such a situation, your first goal should be either to affect a self-rescue and get yourself back to your retreat or group or to wait for them to locate you, but you may need to spend one or more nights out there alone in the process. This article will be about things you need to keep in the forefront of your mind with regard to whether or not a certain spot is a good one for you to make your temporary camp and perhaps even think about building a shelter in the hopes that your people will come looking for you. That is: The 5 Ws of Survival.

Water: 

It shouldn't be difficult to figure out why this one is of utmost importance. It's truly surprising just how long the human body can go without food, but just a few days without water could mean certain death. Also, water that isn't clean and safe to drink can actually gets you so sick that you end up becoming more and more dehydrated and die even quicker as a result of diarrhea, etc. If a site doesn't have access to clean water, then you should not be camping there.

Weather: 

If there is anything that living in the mountains all my life has taught me in abundance is that the weather often times rules everything. You spend most of your life either dealing with it or preparing to deal with it. Furthermore, this appears to be a universal theme of human survival, regardless of the climate in which one may find themselves. It is just as true in the desert where you desperately need to find shade to wait out the hottest part of the day, yet feel like you could possibly freeze at night, as it is in the mountains where any type of shelter you build in the wild had better be well-insulated, unless you are lucky enough to be stranded only in the summer months. The warmth of the day fades early here as the result of the sun dipping behind the mountains even before it is technically considered nighttime, and while you may not have the issue of it getting down to freezing (unless you are unlucky enough to be stuck out there in late fall or winter), it can get uncomfortably chilly at night throughout probably eight months of the year here. The weather can be wild in mountainous terrains covered in deciduous forest. What seems like a nice day can quickly give way to dark, menacing clouds and fairly intense thunderstorms that will soak you to the bone, and that's without even mentioning the comparatively heavy snows and ice storms of winter. If you are stuck out in the wild, weather has to be a consideration.

Wood: 

Putting it as simply as possible, if an area is not such that you have access to a good supply of dry wood, then you had best move on. Even on a warm night, fire will almost always be a necessity. You need it to cook as well as to quell any wildlife in the area from becoming overly curious about your camp. There's a very good chance you will even need it for boiling water to kill any parasites and bacteria that may be calling it home before drinking it. Building a fire is probably the most important thing about your camp. You need to walk around the immediate area and gather up any dry dead wood you can find that has already fallen, then perhaps cut down a few saplings to add to that supply. The general rule of thumb is to gather however much would you think you will need to get yourself through the night, then put it down and go back out and gather four or five times more than that. That will be how much you really need. In addition, if you intend to stay in the area for any amount of time (if you manage to locate a good source of fresh water, you may not want to leave immediately, but rather simply stay there and wait for your people to come for you), you will need wood to build your shelter as well. Even a rickety lean-to to keep you out of the rain will require some wood. If an area doesn't give you access to this resource, move on.

Widowmakers: 

Another important thing to think about, specifically with respect to where you build the shelter you will be sleeping under, is if there is anything around that poses an immediate danger. Not a good idea to camp directly under an old dead tree, despite the fact that it might give you some shelter from wind and rain and a ready supply of limbs you can hack down for your fire, because none of that is going to have done you any good if it falls on you and crushes you to death in the middle of the night. Likewise, a good source of water is unbelievably important and so it might seem convenient to make your camp right at the water's edge of a river per se, but what happens if a flash flood comes through and washes you away? Or how about a damn crocodile? All of these things are relative and may not apply to all areas, but I'm sure you can get my drift. Some areas will be more dangerous than others.

Wigglies: 

This one goes along pretty well with the one above, at least in some cases. Wigglies can be used to represent any sort of creepy-crawly, deadly or otherwise. I would not personally advise making camp in what appears to be an area riddled with water snakes any more than I would building a shelter next to a nest of fire ants. Some of the things with which you may come into contact in the wild will represent a detriment to your survival, either by threatening your life outright or by needling at you by covering you in itchy bites that will distract you from your own well-being. And never forget that many of them also carry sickness that may follow along with you even after you have found your way back to your survival retreat or group. Leeches, mosquitoes, rodents, etc. are all known to carry pathogens that can affect humans. Watch out for wigglies before you decide where to lay your head at night.

So there you have The 5 Ws of Survival when it comes to finding oneself out in the wild. Take from it what you will. I can't take credit for coming up with it; I believe it was something I heard Les Stroud mention, and it always stuck with me.

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26 November, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW: "Hours" (2013)

"Hours" (2013) is a film that hearkens us back to the horrendous events of Hurricane Katrina that decimated much of the United States Gulf Coast, especially the city of New Orleans (where the film takes place), in 2005. As readers of Backwoods Survival Blog might recall, Hurricane Katrina is the event that personally pushed me into a lifestyle promoting emergency preparedness. I had given some thought to the philosophy previously in my life. I grew up in the mountains where harsh winters are the norm, and I lived through two major blizzards as a teenager - the one in 1993 being especially memorable as it stranded my family for nearly three weeks, during which time we ate from our stocked pantry, melted snow for water, and were basically kept alive by the woodstove and kerosene heaters.

It was watching the news coverage of Hurricane Katrina and reading the personal accounts that filtered-out in the weeks and months after, though, that truly lit a fire under me, and so I definitely wanted to check this film out. The now-deceased Paul Walker wasn't the best actor in the world, but he was far from the worst either, and I personally enjoyed the film. He plays a man, desperately trying to keep his newborn daughter alive in a virtually abandoned hospital during the storm and subsequent flooding and chaos.

His wife having died during childbirth, the premature baby needs 48 hours on a respirator to survive. Unfortunately, the power goes out, followed by the backup generators once the levies break and the flooding hits the hospital. That's okay, though, since the respirator has its own battery.. which quickly turns out to be a piece of junk that won't hold a charge. What follows then is the story of a man doing his best to keep his daughter alive with a hand-crank generator he locates while looking for assistance, amid all the expected chaos and hardship of a city that has been crippled by nature's wrath.

Definitely worth checking out as a movie for Peppers / Survivalists and those interested in emergency preparedness.

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25 November, 2014

Guest Post: Electrician Talk -- Benefits of Appliances Using Solar Power

By: Jake Hyet


It seems that without even trying solar power has become the hottest trend in energy conservation. Sure people have been promoting its advantages for years, but it never quite caught on the way it has now. Which is great, because those people who are utilizing the power of the sun are also contributing to the efforts to save the planet? But, as any electrician will tell you, the increasing use of solar power has created a real need for more solar-powered products.

As the use of solar power has improved, people are now able to live a great deal more effectively by building solar-powered houses than they were in the past. In these houses they also want solar-powered appliances, lighting, water pumps, heating, water heaters, etc. Fortunately, there is now a way to buy solar-powered appliances to use in the kitchen and throughout the house. Here are some of the benefits of doing so:

Appliances Available

Now it goes without saying that it would be rather foolish to go through the expense and effort of converting your home to solar-power and then still continue to use standard appliances. When you have a solar-powered home you want solar-powered appliances.

Refrigerators: Any electrician will tell that the one really great thing about solar-powered refrigerators is that they provide the convenience of a refrigerator, as well as a freezer, and that's usually at a minimal cost. They are also thermostat-controlled which permits you to set the proper temperatures for both the refrigerator and the freezer. There is very little noise when it's running, which is generally true because the flow of electricity is constant. Plus they come in a variety of sizes and colors in order to fit into any solar-powered kitchen.

Appliances that are Efficient: Unfortunately, as even an electrician Brisbane will tell you, not all appliances can be solar-powered, and because of that fact, efficient appliances are the next best choice. They use a minimal amount of energy to keep them running, while at the same time, give you the service that you would have a right to expect out of that particular appliance with no problems. Dishwashers, stoves, microwaves, chest freezers, washers, and dryers are all types of appliances that can be bought on an efficient level to conserve energy and also save money.

Now be aware that when you use appliances that are efficient, they normally cost more up front, but in the long run they are definitely worth the cost as they ultimately do save money. Furthermore, given the proper maintenance, these appliances can last for quite some time. It wouldn't hurt to perform a simple inspection every now and then though. If any malfunctioning or damaged parts are found, just check online for a place to replace them. So that's basically it. As even an electrician Brisbane will tell you, for not much cost, and a little cleverness on the part of your handyman, your solar-powered kitchen can last for years to come.

Keep in mind that when you conserve energy you aren't just helping yourself, you are benefiting everyone. When the day comes that all of us can use solar power to provide energy for our homes and appliances, we will all see a difference in the cost of our energy bills. So use energy efficient appliances and think of it as a great investment that will last for years.


Biography: Jake Hyet is considered an expert when it comes to anything to do with electricity and energy conservation. He was a Static electrician for seven years and worked as an electrician Brisbane, where he perfected his knowledge and skills. He now writes extensively on the topic of electricity in many forms.


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23 November, 2014

REVIEW: The Walking Dead (AMC Network TV Series): Season 5 - Episode 7 "Crossed"

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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I find it very hard to believe that this episode represents the last before next week's mid-season finale, but here we are nonetheless. Unfortunately, that means there won't be any more episodes after next week until the show returns sometime in February. I'm a little bummed about it, to be honest, just like I am every year. Not sure what other entertainment one can find this time of year on a Sunday night. LOL

One thing we can learn from watching this episode is that it is possible to improvise defenses for a retreat or stronghold from things that you and I today might not even consider to be in the realm of emergency preparedness gear. Not to give away spoilers, but since it involves a simple detail of the setting, rather than a plot point, I'll just say that what I am referring to specifically are the preparations put in place to protect those who stay behind at the church. The pipes from the church organ are repurposed to create what are essentially sharpened poles to protect the approaches to the building, and some of the pews of the church are cannibalized for their wood in boarding-up the door. After all, the only people remaining behind are two juveniles – one of them a baby – and two adults, one of which is the minister Father Gabriel who has shown no willingness or ability to be an asset in a fight up to this point. They are, essentially, locking themselves in for safety's sake until the others can return. They even came up with a makeshift hammer for pounding the nails... they used the leg of one of the pews to beat them in. Very ingenious and a wise use of available resources.

With respect to the church, I know some of you may disagree with this assessment, but I imagine in a world ravaged by a societal collapse that there will be instances wherein a church might become more of a sanctuary, rather than a spiritual center. Call it a sanctuary for survival, rather than for the soul. I understand that it is the role of a man of the cloth to look principally after people's spiritual well-being, but there comes a point when being a shepherd might translate to the physical definition as well. Churches might be a place where good people can get together and help each other survive a bad situation, and I – for one – can't imagine any Higher Power having a problem with that.

One issue we may all run into in the event of a TEOTWAWKI-style societal collapse situation will involve other groups of survivors. This shouldn't come as a surprise, considering I have said many times what this show does its best to hammer home to its viewers: no matter what danger exists, it's likely that other people will be the true monsters with which one has to contend. But what I'm talking about here, specifically, is the possibility that there may be other groups of survivors around whose leaders are barely holding things together, resulting in a situation where the proverbial "inmates are running the asylum." Beware of any of these sorts of people. One can never know how far things have been allowed to go down the wrong road in the effort simply to keep things from falling apart through appeasement of people in that group who might be very bad characters.

And we actually saw someone on the show creating a water filter this week. This is something I have thought was missing for quite some time, simply because it should be well known to everyone reading this that drinking water from wild sources can sometimes result in health problems, due to bacteria, parasites, etc. A lot of the time we have seen the characters catching rainwater, which is okay, but we've also seen a lot of them filling up their water bottles directly from rivers and the like, yet there hasn't seemed to be much talk about people suffering from dysentery or anything of that sort because of this. Anyway, what we see created is a simple drip water filter that appears to be created by stuffing rags or cloth into a water bottle to clog the opening, and then turning the bottle upside down to allow the water to drip slowly out, having been filtered through the fabric. One good thing was one of the characters mentioned the necessity of boiling the water even after this, but it was still a welcomed addition to the narrative of the show. FYI, using a mixture of sand and gravel in place of the cloth would also achieve the same goal in this situation. For that matter, looking at the screenshot above and to the right, it looks as though it's even possible she may have used some silt from the riverbed or something like that. We never actually see her build it, so it's kind of up in the air.

A bit of a theme for this episode seemed to be the importance of loyalty in a world where law and order no longer constrains people. We have all talked about the issues that abound from attempting to trust people in that type of setting. Hell, it's nearly impossible to find trustworthy people in today's world; it will be even more difficult when the thin veneer of polite society has been ripped away. That is precisely why loyalty and trust will be paramount in dealings with other people, including members of your own family, friends, and/or survival group. In the episode, members of the group have been taken prisoner, and so it is only right that their compatriots put forth a plan to rescue them. If I were stuck somewhere in a bad way, I would want to know that there were people out there looking for me and trying to figure out how to get me back. And so, it is only right to say that I would make that effort on the part of one of my people. How else can I expect them to have faith in me if they cannot be assured that I will fight to keep them safe and do whatever I can to bring them home?


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:



22 November, 2014

Don't Sleep on The Ebola Virus: That Particular Fat Lady Ain't Sung Yet

Now that the craze has passed, for the most part, you would be hard-pressed to hear much at all mentioned in the news media regarding the disease outbreak that everyone was sure was going to end us all just a few weeks ago. Interestingly enough, though, the outbreak isn't over yet. In fact, we just recently had another death here in the U.S. from Ebola as well as the death of one of the hundreds of New York patients currently being monitored for the disease. That one, thankfully, turned out to test negative for the virus, and I never actually heard what the real cause of death was.

In the meantime, A Brooklyn man – having recently returned from West Africa – started feeling sick on Thursday (20 November). He did the responsible thing and apparently called 911 pretty quickly, resulting in him being rushed to Bellevue Hospital. Since then, we've been told that he tested negative for the virus… yet, for some reason, he remains in isolation as a patient? Interesting.

So, despite the fact that we aren't hearing much about it lately, the current Ebola outbreak hasn't gone anywhere, at least not yet. In fact, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop spoke before the United Nations Security Council recently, referring to the disease as nothing less than a threat to global security.

One very telling detail that a lot of people seem to have overlooked, in my opinion, is the fact that the doctor who recently passed as the 2nd Ebola victim to die here in the U.S. had initially tested negative for the virus. It wasn't until his health continued to deteriorate that further testing confirmed he was suffering from Ebola after all. So what that tells me is that even the testing is not to be trusted.

How are we to know that the lady who died in New York didn't actually succumbed to the Ebola virus after all? And do they know that the testing is inconclusive and are just afraid to tell us that? Is that why the guy at Bellevue, who supposedly tested negative after returning from West Africa and showing Ebola-like symptoms, is still in isolation?

My advice is to get yourself squared away with regard to pandemic emergency preparedness right now, while things are relatively calm. Even if this particular bug doesn't turn out to be the one that threatens civilization itself, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is not an issue of if that particular disease will come along, but rather when that will happen. Prepare now and you will already be ready for the future threat when it comes along!

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20 November, 2014

Bug-Out Bag Essentials: A Link to a Very Informative Article

While I have always been more of a proponent of sheltering in place (sometimes referred to as "bugging-in,") I have always considered it very important to account for the possible need to Get Out Of Dodge either in a hurry or at all. As much as those of us who are very proud of having built a place geared towards survival, one never knows what circumstances may come to pass that could force us to leave behind our retreat / stronghold. In the event of a societal collapse, you could find your homestead suddenly overrun by invaders intent on taking it away from you, or something as simple as a chemical leak in the area or other unforeseen area-based event could force a situation where leaving is the only option. For that very reason, I have always found it wise to have a Bug-Out Bag packed and ready at all times. In fact, I keep one in each vehicle as an emergency kit.

The good folks over at the Last One Alive site recently published a really informative article discussing essential items to have in your Bug-Out Bag. Check it out when you have a chance. You won't be disappointed.

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19 November, 2014

Making A Campfire Without Matches Using A Surplus Flashlight

As pretty much everyone (including, likely, your own common sense) will tell you, probably the most important thing you can do in the event that you find yourself attempting survival outdoors in the wild is to build a fire. There's a reason why the discovery of fire represents such a momentous achievement in the history of mankind. Fire keeps you warm when it's cold, cooks your food and can boil water to make it safe for you to drink, and it can even help to ward off wild animals that might see you as either prey or a nuisance in their habitat.

Not surprisingly, survival gear retailers are flush with hundreds of different little gadgets to help you start a fire, but I thought I would take a moment to highlight one method that is very ingenious and probably gets overlooked by most people. If you read the title of this article, you will read that I mentioned specifically using a "surplus" flashlight. This is because the process essentially breaks the flashlight. Of course, it might still be usable as such as long as you keep it away from moisture, but I wouldn't bank on it having a long life after you do this. Still, if it gets you a fire on a cold night (and especially if you have followed the Rule of Redundancy and have more than one flashlight packed in your survival gear, as you should), sacrificing something so small could easily be worth it.

You can watch a video of this process below that is actually a clip from the Survivorman TV program with Les Stroud (an absolute favorite of mine), but the essentials are thus:

1) Disassemble flashlight
2) Break the outer lens of the flashlight to gain access to the bulb
3) Carefully break the bulb without destroying the filament inside
4) Reassemble the flashlight
5) Place tinder (fire starting material i.e. dry grass, etc.) within the bowl of the lens, so that it makes contact with the now-exposed filament
6) Switch on the flashlight as you normally would


The exposed filament should now generate enough heat to cause combustion and get you a tiny fire going. Be sure to have more tinder available as well as some dry wood to keep your young flame going until it can blossom into a proper campfire.



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18 November, 2014

The Meaning of Those Codes Used Over the Airwaves by Law Enforcement, Etc.

During the any type of actual emergency for which we prepare, a police scanner can be a very useful tool. Whether it be a riot and civil unrest or some sort of natural phenomenon, such as a wildfire, listening to your scanner can allow you to be on the front lines as far as information is concerned. You don't have to wait for the news to tell you something is coming, because you know it at the same time the authorities on the ground become aware of it, and this allows you a better chance of preparing for any future threat. The only problem is that they often talk in code that can sometimes be difficult to figure out.

Courtesy of Zipscanners.com, here is a detailed info graphic to let you know what those codes actually mean:

Police Codes


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16 November, 2014

REVIEW: The Walking Dead (AMC Network TV Series): Season 5 - Episode 6 "Consumed"

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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This particular episode of The Walking Dead was mostly character-driven as well as being a vehicle through which the writers are moving more toward reuniting characters who have been separated and showing what some of those characters were doing while we weren't seeing them on screen. That being said, it was probably less juicy from the standpoint of someone looking for Prepper/ Survivalist ideas, but it too was not without its lessons to which we should all pay attention. Here are the tidbits I was able to draw from it:

If you are on the move, surviving in temporary locations, such as in an abandoned office building, you can get yourself some fresh water in the event of a rainstorm. The episode portrays a nifty trick where one of the characters constructs a tiny rain-catch outside of a window. She uses some sort of plastic bag-type material (maybe just pieces of sheet plastic that she has torn from a larger roll) as a means of actually catching the rain. She appears to be attaching them (she had multiple small rain-catches) to the window frame using a bent piece of what looked like typical coat hangers. If not that exactly, it was close enough and that would work to do the same thing she was doing. One could even use normal sandwich baggies if available.

Her plan, I'm sure, was to pour the few ounces she caught in each one into her actual canteen/water bottle, which is exactly what I would suggest. One could even use more of these than she is shown using in the episode, attaching them to multiple windows. Obviously, this isn't the kind of permanent solution we would look for at a stronghold / retreat, where using a food-grade plastic barrel tied into building guttering would be the absolute best option. Rather, this is the kind of thing you could do if you were on the road, passing through and just looking to hole up for a day or two in an abandoned home or building.

In that same sort of situation, it would be advisable to do some rudimentary fortification of any place you intend to call home, even if it is only a temporary home of a few days. If you are going to be sleeping there, your shelter needs to be as secure as possible. One great option is to use what I refer to as sound countermeasures. This could be something as simple as spreading broken glass outside the door that you will hear crunch if someone were to step on it, even if they are trying to be quiet. Previously in The Walking Dead, we have seen characters ring their campsites in string from which they had hung empty tin cans, etc. This is the same basic idea. It is simply a system that will allow you to be alerted should someone approach you. While we are not likely to ever see a real-life Zombie Apocalypse, the sad truth is that other people will be the real monsters in any situation where TS has HTF and society has collapsed, so knowing when someone is coming up on your place of rest will be just as important as it is for the characters in the show.

Also, when moving through hostile areas, be aware that the proper use of diversions can benefit you greatly. In "The Art of War," Sun Tzu spends a lot of time making the point that asymmetrical warfare is the proper path one should take if they want to be victorious. Essentially, the lesson is to evade whenever possible, only engaging in battle when it is on your terms and at a place of your choosing. A good lesson to always remember. Simply shooting your way through a bad situation may make you feel like an action movie star, but it is exceedingly stupid and will probably get you killed at some point.

And, the final lesson of this episode is an enduring need to find some sort of balance between the ideals of morality and human survival. If there is no more law and order to fall back on, each of us will inevitably be faced with situations where we must do things that would likely get us thrown in jail in today's society. There's no way around that, if you intend to survive and keep the people you love alive in a harsher world. But, there must be more to living than simple survival. In the absence of laws, we must all work hard to develop our own personal moral compass and allow it to guide us, so that we do not lose ourselves.

As a side note, I can't help but complain about one thing: early in the episode, two of the characters are in a car, attempting to clandestinely follow the car in front of them (I'm purposely trying not to give away spoilers). The problem being that they appeared to be following them from a pretty close distance. I do not understand how it is possible that they weren't seen. Obviously, one must allow a bit of leeway and let realism go somewhat when dealing with fiction (especially Doomer Fiction), but this seemed to be a rare oversight to me on the part of the writers and the people filming the episode. I mean, you're on a deserted road in a world in the midst of a societal collapse where few vehicles are moving at all. It isn't exactly like today where you may not notice a vehicle tailing you. It's the only other car on the road, after all. Even if you don't think it's following you, it's difficult to imagine a situation where the people didn't see them creeping along behind them at all, despite them having their headlights off and all that. It just seemed like a big plot-hole to me.


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:



15 November, 2014

Canned Chicken Noodle Soup... That Just Happens to Be 5 Years Old

All of us in the Prepper / Survivalist movement are no doubt familiar with the idea of the expiration dates on canned food being bogus. They're actually less an indication of food spoilage and more a way for food companies to convince you to throw out perfectly good food and buy more. Well, here is my contribution to the body of proof that your food lasts a lot longer than people would like you to believe.

This Great Value brand soup, opened and consumed in November 2014, was purchased by me from Walmart in 2009. The fact that it was still good after 5 years was no surprise to me. The cans had been stored in a cool, dark place since their purchase. I thought it worthy of posting a pic, however, because of the texture and taste.

Often, folks mention that, even though food may not be spoiled, there could be changes in taste, texture, color, et cetera that come with age. My soup, though, showed evidence of no such degradation. Rather, it presented as no different than freshly-purchased soup once heated. I emphasize "once heated" because it did come out of the can a bit clumpy, but that quickly went away with heat and a bit of stirring. The only aspect that's impossible for me to be able to measure is whether or not it's lost any of its nutritional value over time, so - if depending on this as a food supply - I would advise supplementing it with fresh food from your garden to ensure you and your family are getting all your vitamins.

Just thought I'd share this with you guys. Stockpiling a selection of these soups can make a great and very affordable start to your emergency preparedness efforts.


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