Home       Why Prepare?        Contact Us       Prepper Films       Prepper Books       Advertise       Support/Donate       Survival Seeds

27 May, 2015

PREPPER PRODUCT REVIEW: Mountain House Noodles and Chicken

Slight change in the schedule for the week, so I'll be reviewing the Mountain House Freeze-Dried Noodles and Chicken Entree this evening, instead of the typical Friday schedule, and trading places with it and the usual book review I normally post on Wednesdays. This particular dish is another of the ones typically talked about by enthusiasts of the Mountain House brand of foods, so I was very much looking forward to finally getting around to trying it for myself. And, as usual, it was definitely a satisfying experience.

The instructions call for 2 cups of boiling water, and then it needs to sit for 8-9 minutes
Final product pictured above. A very satisfying meal that reminded me a great deal of chicken noodle soup (shouldn't really be surprised by that) minus the soup part. At the risk of sounding like a bit of a broken record, serving size is consistently an issue with almost 100% of these mylar pouch freeze-dried meals. This one is supposed to represent 2.5 servings, but – as you can see – all you get from making the entire pouch is one fairly substantial bowl. As always, my advice is to take the serving sizes listed with a proverbial grain of salt, and plan on serving these on a bed of rice or something similar in the event you're actually breaking into your supplies. Two cups of rice with a cup of this on top and maybe a bit of soy sauce for the rice would make a really nice meal, and it would serve the double purpose of making your freeze-dried long-term storage survival rations last a lot longer and keep costs down, since rice is extremely cheap and keeps very well.



Photobucket

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out the rest of the site, and please consider subscribing to the blog via email by placing your email address in the sign-up box on the right-hand sidebar of the screen. You can also "Like" our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

25 May, 2015

MOVIE REVIEW: "The Andromeda Strain" (2008)

Our film review for this week focuses upon "The Andromeda Strain" (2008). As of the moment I'm writing this review, Amazon only has this film available as the DVD version (available for purchase by clicking the name of the film or the graphic depiction of the DVD cover to the left as always). I cannot tell you if there are currently any plans for them to carry a Blu-ray copy. This miniseries is, of course, something of a remake of the original 1971 film (though, admittedly, it's only a very loose remake thereof), and it can be described as being similarly loosely Based Upon the novel of the same name by Michael Crichton. Honestly, I haven't yet read it myself (an oversight I will hopefully correct soon), but in speaking to those who have done so I would say that the typical Based Upon statements truly does mean Based Upon in this case as there are apparently quite a few changes from the original source material. Like I said, I don't know that for sure myself and I'm only taking it from what others have said, so YMMV with respect to your own assessment.

You will also quickly notice, I'm sure, if you follow my provided links to the Amazon site, that this film garnered decidedly mixed reviews. Some enjoyed it, while others hated it. I suppose it's possible that my own opinion is a bit jaded by the fact that I'm a Doomer Fiction fan with a special interest toward anything involving disease pandemics (because that's one of my greatest fears as a Prepper / Survivalist), but I thought it was a decent enough film. Far from the best example imaginable, but not nearly as bad as what some others seem to have thought. That being said, it is a Made for Cable TV miniseries produced by the folks over at SyFy that originally aired on their sister network A&E, so you can't go into this expecting Hollywood-level production values. The cast are some very capable folks. We're talking Benjamin Bratt, Rick Schroder, and Andre Braugher here, though, not Hollywood action heroes that make $20 million per film and win Oscars. Still, in my opinion, those involved did a pretty decent job with the script they were handed, and – honestly – while mostly relegated to TV acting, I think the stars of this one are fairly talented guys and gals. That being said, the script was a bit clunky at times and definitely could have been better. All in all, though, I think it's pretty decent.

The basics of the plot (without really giving away any Spoilers) revolve around a bunch of military and government liaison scientists tasked with investigating and putting down a sudden and deadly disease outbreak that is somehow related to a downed satellite in the American Intermountain West region. These folks are part of a team working under the auspices of a government program known as "Project Wildfire" that involves them being sequestered in a rather impressive underground facility, which includes its own dedicated state-of-the-art decontamination protocols, laboratory space and living areas where they must stay for the duration of the emergency, and is powered by its own small nuclear reactor. Together, these experts must work under the scrutiny of the government to attempt to ascertain both the cause for the sudden plague as well as how to keep it from spreading and, ultimately, to find a cure. Needless to say, being based upon original material written by Michael Crichton means you can expect a little bit of a deviation toward science fiction, but I really thought this was a pretty decent effort for a TV movie.

I think you'll enjoy it.


Photobucket

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out the rest of the site, and please consider subscribing to the blog via email by placing your email address in the sign-up box on the right-hand sidebar of the screen. You can also "Like" our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

22 May, 2015

PREPPER PRODUCT REVIEW: Mountain House Turkey Tetrazzini

Anyone who is a regular reader here at Backwoods Survival Blog and has previously read my reviews of the different varieties of long-term food storage products that are currently available for purchase and stocking-up your survival pantry and supplies will, no doubt, already be aware that – with few exceptions – Mountain House brand foods are some of my absolute favorites. One of the particular dishes I have always heard good things about from others has been the Mountain House Turkey Tetrazzini, so I decided to throw my hat in the ring and give that one a try. And, I've got to say, I was mostly happy with what I found.

Just beginning the process of setting-up, which takes 8-9 minutes after adding 2 cups of boiling water

When it comes to taste, this one would have to be pretty high on my list of favorites, though there are issues to consider. Chief among those, at least for me (and this one seems to be a running theme with pretty much all of these freeze-dried pouch meals), is the fact that what you see in the picture above is listed as the manufacturer as being 2.5 servings. As you can see, I got one good-sized bowl out of making the entire pouch. Now, that's not really a dealbreaker for me, but it makes it quite a bit more expensive to stock these, and also there is the concern over the nutritional content: taking the amounts listed in the picture you see above for calories, carbohydrates, sodium, etc., one would have to multiply those numbers by 2.5, meaning you're getting a whole lot of sodium in the event you have to live on these for any extended amount of time. With respect to my weekly reviews, I just make a meal out of these and eat them for dinner one night, but I'm thinking stocking them for long-term food storage in the event of an actual survival emergency would have to involve planning on using them as part of a larger meal. I intend to use them, poured over rice. This way, you're not getting nearly as much sodium in your diet and you can actually stretch them to the listed amount of servings supposedly included in an effort to save money. YMMV.



Photobucket

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out the rest of the site, and please consider subscribing to the blog via email by placing your email address in the sign-up box on the right-hand sidebar of the screen. You can also "Like" our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

20 May, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: "Station Eleven: A Novel" by Emily St. John Mandel

Changing it up for something just a bit different this week, I will be reviewing "Station Eleven: A Novel" by Emily St. John Mandel (Kindle edition). Interestingly, this is actually a novel that does a very good job of spanning different genres… Well, that may not be 100% accurate. It isn't really that the genres are different, but rather the novel jumps back and forth in time to the before and after picture of a world ravaged by a terrible influenza pandemic. As a result, it qualifies both as Doomer Fiction as well as something more contemporary. It's definitely unique among the novels I am accustomed to reviewing for Backwoods Survival Blog, let's just say that. Personally, I would view this one as being a great candidate to recommend to anyone you or I might be attempting to entice into reading more typical disaster fiction as it would provide them with a view of the post-disaster SHTF scenario we always talk about where society has collapsed, while providing them with a bit of a softer landing in the more contemporary parts of the novel.

The novel quite literally begins with the death of a major character, who – even without living to see the state of the world post-pandemic for himself – somehow manages to touch on the lives of some of those few who do survive. The tapestry of this man's life and relationships also makes up a certain amount of the pre-pandemic story featured throughout the narrative, and his completely unrelated demise actually occurs on the same evening as the onset of the influenza outbreak in Toronto. From there, the story quickly follows a man with a peripheral professional attachment to the first, who receives advance information from a friend of his who works as a doctor at a nearby hospital ER, allowing him the time needed to stockpile as many supplies as he is able from a neighborhood grocery store and go to his brother's apartment. The two men remain barricaded there as they essentially watch the slow but steady unraveling of much of the world on TV (as long as the TV news stations continue to broadcast) and their own local area from the vantage point of high-rise windows.

The story also follows a young child who is present during the death mentioned above, fast-forwarded years into the future into a post-apocalyptic version of the Great Lakes region. She is a child who has grown up in the new world created by the terrible disease that wiped out much of humanity and tore society apart. She walks through this wasteland, a member of a traveling troupe of performers and musicians who tour the small towns and settlements that remain in a caravan of tents and old automobiles (pickup trucks now being pulled by horses) in order to perform music and Shakespearean plays in an effort to ensure the survival of art in a world turned harsh with violence.

Obviously, there's much more to the story than all of that, but I'll leave the specifics of the plot up to you to discover for yourselves. This is definitely a novel I would recommend.


Photobucket

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out the rest of the site, and please consider subscribing to the blog via email by placing your email address in the sign-up box on the right-hand sidebar of the screen. You can also "Like" our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

18 May, 2015

MOVIE REVIEW: "The Towering Inferno" (1974)

Of all of the Disaster Films I have reviewed here on Backwoods Survival Blog, "The Towering Inferno" (1974) Blu-ray (DVD version) is, without a doubt, one of my absolute favorites. I'm a big movie guy, a Cinephile, and I'm embarrassed to say that I had actually never seen this film before screening it recently for this review. Let's just say that I am supremely glad to have corrected that oversight, because truly nobody should go without seeing this top-notch example of cinema greatness.

If you're a fan of Old Hollywood at all, then this one enjoys the very special flavor of featuring an unbelievably star-studded cast. Top billing was shared by Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, but the film also featured performances by William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Robert Wagner, Richard Chamberlain, Susan Blakely, Robert Vaugn, and even an older Fred Astaire, a much younger and less murdery O.J. Simpson, and many others, so it's kind of a must-see for that reason as well. Also, it marks the first time that two major Hollywood studios got together and joined forces to put a film together. Aside from all of that, though, it is also a supremely effective Disaster Film which should go a long way toward satisfying the particular sensibilities of those of us in the Prepper / Survivalist subculture.

As the title of the film as well as the art pictured above makes it abundantly obvious, the centerpiece of the film is a raging fire taking place in a high-rise building. The story is actually adapted from elements of two separate novels, one set in New York City and the other in an unnamed city, but the film places events securely in San Francisco, California. The setup that doesn't really spoil anything for you to know ahead of time is that it's an awfully impressive building, the first of its kind and the tallest high-rise in the world. Needless to say, they are holding a highly anticipated Gala event as a grand opening with many VIPs attending, including one of the U.S. Senators from the state of California as well as the Mayor of San Francisco among many others. It is an immense understatement to call it a big deal.

Paul Newman plays the architect who designed this monstrosity and who is finalizing plans to move to somewhere quiet in the country after all of the pomp and circumstance (of which he is a required but reluctant centerpiece) is over. Unfortunately and unbeknownst to him, subcontractors have cut corners in the construction of the building in order to bring the project back within its estimated budget, and those unauthorized changes will soon lead to a night of both tragedy and heroism.

The first few frames of the film will quickly let you know that it is dedicated to all of the firefighters of the world, and it stands as a wonderful testament to the valor displayed by those men and women on a regular basis. Their story is embodied by Steve McQueen, who plays the city Fire Department Battalion Chief tasked with fighting the inferno and saving the lives of those within the building.

Definitely check this one out! I should've watched the years ago, and I am so unbelievably happy to have finally had a chance to screen it now. If you haven't seen it already, you're in the same boat I was and you don't know what you're missing; and, even if you saw it years ago, it is definitely worth owning on Blu-ray. My own personal endorsement couldn't be more adamant.


Photobucket

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out the rest of the site, and please consider subscribing to the blog via email by placing your email address in the sign-up box on the right-hand sidebar of the screen. You can also "Like" our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

17 May, 2015

REVIEW: "Revolution" - Season 1, Episodes 11 & 12 (Combined)

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.
----------



Could you and your family survive a post-apocalyptic world without electricity or any modern technology?
These two episodes largely deal with issues that are more philosophical, rather than pertaining directly to survival. One very interesting thing for those of us viewing this series with a Prepper / Survivalist mindset to make note of, however, involves the use of a commercial walk-in freezer as a stand in for a bomb shelter, due to its steel construction. You never know when that kind of information might come in handy. 

With respect to the more philosophical issues this episode attempt to tackle, it is important to remember that divided loyalties, arising originally from whatever circumstance, can begin to rear their head as a direct result of some individuals taking their methods too far and others not being willing to follow. Sadly, such schisms can occur no matter how close a relationship was previously shared between the people involved. And it's likewise important to remember that some who fight for a cause might be motivated by hatred and a desire for vengeance, rather than ideology. In truth, though, these emotions can make them just as effective for the cause, whether or not they believe in it. The only real issue to keep in mind is that the rage might have the potential to burn them up inside before the fight is fully won. 

The final point that came to my mind while viewing this episode is simply a question, which might amount to something the writers forgot to take into account when coming up with the details of the story. What good is a device that allows machines to operate the way they did before the Blackout when no oil refineries have been making gasoline or any other fuel for 15 years? Those of us in the Prepper / Survivalist community are, no doubt, well aware that gasoline and other fuels have a definite shelf-life before becoming unusable without extensive measures being taken to safeguard them against this degradation. I'm guessing this is one point where we will simply have to allow for the suspension of disbelief in order to enjoy a nice bit of Doomer Fiction.

Photobucket

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out the rest of the site, and please consider subscribing to the blog via email by placing your email address in the sign-up box on the right-hand sidebar of the screen. You can also "Like" our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

16 May, 2015

REVIEW: "Revolution" - Season 1, Episode 10

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.
----------



Could you and your family survive a post-apocalyptic world without electricity or any modern technology?
This episode follows the general theme of individuals needing to be adaptable in order to survive in a much harsher setting, such as a society crippled by some huge disaster or long-term emergency that renders the rule of law and order powerless to control things any longer. Never doubt that, in such an environment, the base instincts of the average person will take over. Obviously, some people are going to hold onto their morals, but it is naive to think that the vast majority of individuals won't be willing to do whatever it takes – things you might never believe them to be capable of doing right now – in order to survive.

In this series, we also see how people who were big shots before the Blackout experience a reversal of fortunes in a world turned upside down. Suddenly, they find themselves having traded places with those who were previously lower on the proverbial totem pole, yet possessed the inner strength to change their circumstances in the new world. Never doubt that such strength is a survival skill in and of itself. 

And finally, this episode makes the point that time can change people. Those who used violence and other harsh means as tools for instilling order during the initial anarchy may truly turn out to have been individuals simply strong enough to do terrible things when needed and for the right reasons. On the other hand, even someone initially less comfortable with such means may be changed by the things they have seen and become someone more violent and ruthless. Always remember that any situation where the rule of law and order is no longer in effect will be a fertile breeding ground for psychopathic and sociopathic tendencies to emerge.

Photobucket

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out the rest of the site, and please consider subscribing to the blog via email by placing your email address in the sign-up box on the right-hand sidebar of the screen. You can also "Like" our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

15 May, 2015

PREPPER PRODUCT REVIEW: Backpacker's Pantry Chocolate S'mores

This week's long-term food storage review is going to represent a bit of variety from the norm as I take a look at and sample Backpacker's Pantry Chocolate S'mores dessert. As you might recall, I usually concentrate mostly on meals with respect to these reviews, usually either full entrees or breakfast meals as those are obviously the most important when it comes to actually putting away food storage for years of keeping to eat in an emergency. But, while that still remains true and most of my reviews will still center on those types of meals, pretty much every expert agrees that no larder is complete without some of what we call "comfort foods" that exists largely for morale purposes. After all, a steady helping of rice and beans with the occasional freeze-dried entree will help you survive, but it will also get very, *VERY* boring after a while, so it's a good idea to have something like Backpacker's Pantry Chocolate S'mores dessert on hand to mitigate that issue.

Powdered graham crackers added

Once everything was mixed and allowed to set up properly (which took, I think, 13 minutes, if I remember correctly), the final product looked like what you see above. Very much like a big bowl of chocolate pudding with graham cracker crumbs and tiny marshmallows mixed into it. Very good! Honestly, I haven't been eating a lot of sweets lately, and it was so rich it seemed to shock my mouth a bit. This is definitely something I will be purchasing more of for my own long-term food supplies, and as such I'm comfortable recommending it to you guys out there as well.

Photobucket

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out the rest of the site, and please consider subscribing to the blog via email by placing your email address in the sign-up box on the right-hand sidebar of the screen. You can also "Like" our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

14 May, 2015

REVIEW: "Revolution" - Season 1, Episodes 8 & 9 (Combined)

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.
----------


Previous episodes:
Season 1: Episode 1 - Episode 2 - Episode 3 - Episode 4 - Episode 5
Episode 6 - Episode 7

Could you and your family survive a post-apocalyptic world without electricity or any modern technology?
The main value of these episodes to those of us in the Prepper / Survivalist subculture revolves around the depiction of certain military concepts that have arisen in the world post-Blackout. What makes it particularly interesting is that these are actually very Old World facts of life which have returned to being a reality for people in a world suddenly reverted to something not terribly unlike a medieval setting.

One example of this is that Philadelphia, the capital city of the Monroe Republic, is now surrounded by 30-foot tall concrete walls. This is, of course, analogous to a medieval city like Paris, built to repel invaders. Underground approaches that remain open, such as sewers and subway lines, are secured by mines. 

And that isn't the end of the Old World ideas that have resurfaced after the Blackout. For instance, bridges are yet again strategic assets needed for crossing rivers and exile has returned to its former prominence as an alternative punishment to execution. The latter of these two concepts is represented in the storyline of the show by the son of an important officer being assigned to a diplomatic detachment that is about to be sent 3000 miles overland to establish diplomatic relations with the California Commonwealth, made up of all of the current West Coast states. In the world within which the show takes place, this represents an extremely dangerous journey, also doubling as a pseudo-exile offered as an alternative to execution for crimes committed by the young man. 

And lastly, these two episodes of the series bring home a couple of more philosophical ideas as well. The first of these is the need to understand and prepare for the fact that psychopaths and sociopaths are likely to find an outlet for their particular brands of mental illness without the rule of law and order to constrain them. Secondly, it is also important to realize that one-time friends might become enemies in a different world. They may have shared ideology in the beginning, but one party could eventually carry things further than the other is able to abide, causing an irrevocable schism that could even lead to violence between them.

Photobucket

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out the rest of the site, and please consider subscribing to the blog via email by placing your email address in the sign-up box on the right-hand sidebar of the screen. You can also "Like" our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

13 May, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: "Battle Lines (The Survivalist Book 5)" by Arthur Bradley

Continuing on with recent reviews, today I will be writing about "Battle Lines (The Survivalist Book 5)" by Arthur Bradley (Kindle edition). Obviously from the title, you can see that this is the fifth book in this series that has – over time – evolved into one that I really enjoy reading. You can click on the link above titled Prepper Books (or just click that link I just provided) to look at my reviews of the previous four titles in this series as well as many others. Unfortunately, book #6 in this series (which, I believe, will probably be the final one) won't be out until sometime in June, so I'll be moving on to a few others to review until I can get my hands on it.

As per usual and by way of simply giving you a bit of background, in the event you haven't read this series for any of my previous reviews, the action takes place in the southeastern United States region as well as further up the East Coast in a world where a deadly disease pandemic has killed off astronomical numbers of people, resulting in the expected collapse of society that would no doubt result from such a calamity. Worse still, a certain part of the population who were not immune to the virus actually survived, the disease having mutated them instead of killing them. This adds additional danger to the characters in the story, because not only are they operating in a world where the rule of law and order no longer exists, but they also have to deal with people who have been turned into monsters by the disease.

Enter into that setting a Deputy United States Marshal as our principal protagonist. He is, essentially, a lawman operating in a world without law, and so he is forced to dispense justice often from the barrel of a Colt M4 rifle and/or a Wilson Combat Supergrade 1911 .45 caliber handgun. In addition, however, each novel also follows a secondary plotline, which actually involves the deputy marshal's own father, who began in the first novel as an incarcerated convict being freed by a guard with whom he has struck up a friendship in the wake of society collapsing around them. This individual has a definite moral code by which he lives, and we will later learn is in prison only by virtue of killing two men in a fight who had previously victimized a female friend of his. Needless to say, he's got a temper that has landed him in prison. He ends up becoming an unlikely guardian, mentor, and surrogate father-figure to a young girl lost in the chaos of the world who has her own interesting secret to keep.

This installment follows our Deputy Marshal Mason Raines as he treks into a city devastated by an unlikely and unexpected attack in search of more breadcrumbs to further his quest begun in previous novels, fueled by a sense of vengeance, and likely to serve as the climax of the story in the final Book 6. Meanwhile, his father Tanner Raines and young Samantha find themselves forced out of the hopeful sanctuary they settled into in the final moments of the previous novel and back out onto the dangerous roads of an America collapsed into chaos and violence. Interestingly, their travels will expose them to information with a bearing on both the origin of the disease as well as some hope of a future cure and a small community of survivalists, whose ways of doing things doesn't sit well with a man like Tanner. In addition, my least favorite plotline (yet, I'll admit, one that is necessary) exposes the reader to individuals in the highest echelons of what remains of the United States government seemingly gripped by an insanity that has driven a great many of the tragedies in the series and is pushing each and every character to what will, no doubt, be a stunning climax to the overall story.

One final thing I'll say by way of a slight Spoiler is that Mason and Tanner finally do meet up near the end of this penultimate installment in the series. This is something for which I've been waiting for quite a while as these characters have operated independently yet sufficiently close to be in the same places at different times and have previous word of each other's survival. If you find yourself looking for a new series to read, I would definitely recommend this one. The novels are short and to the point, but that also gives them a certain momentum that makes for exciting reading. There are very few dull moments. Also, now would be an ideal time to catch up to me, since the final volume won't be released for over a month now.


Photobucket

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out the rest of the site, and please consider subscribing to the blog via email by placing your email address in the sign-up box on the right-hand sidebar of the screen. You can also "Like" our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

12 May, 2015

REVIEW: "Revolution" - Season 1, Episode 7

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.
----------


Previous episodes:
Season 1: Episode 1 - Episode 2 - Episode 3 - Episode 4 - Episode 5 
Episode 6

Could you and your family survive a post-apocalyptic world without electricity or any modern technology?
This episode provides us with glimpses both into the past as well as into the workings of the society that has evolved over the past 15 years without electricity or any modern-day technology. Of course, the same could be said for virtually every episode of the series so far, but this one goes into quite a bit of detail and sheds light on some things that have been a mystery up until now. 

Apparently, conscription into militia service is something that happens often, and is basically no better than kidnapping. Young people are taken from villages by force, transported as prisoners, and then subjected to a reeducation program that makes them into soldiers. And, as disgusting as such a tactic is, it is also effective; which is why it's common practice even in our current era with various African warlords. These young people are told that their leaders have made them strong and moved them away from the filth and corruption that was endemic in the United States before the Blackout, their reeducation basically taking the form of brainwashing meant to make sure they will follow orders given by militia commanders. 

Despite the practice being inherently despicable, one thing that is very interesting with regard to the conscription storyline revolves around the repurposing of existing modern-day structures by the society that has arisen post-Blackout. The conscription facility highlighted in the episode, for instance, appears to be a cargo freighter anchored offshore to basically act as an artificial island. One aspect of the story I found rather unlikely, however, was the fact that the militia contingent stationed at the conscription facility failed to garrison any men at the lighthouse on the shore nearby, despite the fact that this is where wagons would bring captured young people prior to rowing them out to the freighter. Anyone familiar with even basic military strategy would have insisted on having a small detachment of men stationed within the lighthouse at all times, both to maintain the integrity of the beachhead on shore as well as to utilize it's superior height as a long-range lookout point.

This episode also reveals to the viewers the cause of the mysterious Blackout that plunged the world back into an almost medieval era overnight more than 15 years before. The culprit appears to have been some sort of weaponized technology that had been discovered accidentally while researching how to produce clean energy. Whatever the nature or form it took, we learned that it somehow got loose on a global scale in order to cause the worldwide Blackout. Interestingly, it is not terribly difficult to draw a parallel between this and the fears surrounding a virus escaping from containment while it's being researched and tinkered with.

Photobucket

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out the rest of the site, and please consider subscribing to the blog via email by placing your email address in the sign-up box on the right-hand sidebar of the screen. You can also "Like" our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

11 May, 2015

MOVIE REVIEW: "Meteor" (1979)

The 1970s produced a series of very enjoyable disaster films, among the best of which was "Meteor" (1979) Blu-ray (DVD version). That has always been my opinion, though I'll admit part of that might simply be the result of the stellar cast, which includes the always wonderful Sean Connery, Karl Malden, Natalie Wood, Martin Landau, Trevor Howard, and even a few scenes of Henry Fonda playing the President of the United States to decent affect. I remember watching this on cable growing up (I was a bit of a toddler during its actual theatrical release back in 1979) and really enjoying it. In addition to the talent of the actors involved, the film has a really exciting plot, and I have to say that it still holds up well even after all these years.

Watching it with today's eyes, the special effects may seem quite a bit outdated. Honestly, as impressive as they are at times when you remember how long ago this was, they truly don't even come anywhere near the polish of the Star Wars films, the first of which actually preceded this film by two years. Unlike Star Wars (which started out largely with a cast of unknown actors that didn't draw a big paycheck until it became a hit), however, I would imagine that a more mainstream Hollywood film like this spent a lot more of its budget on actors salaries and paying writers than it did on the special effects. And there's nothing wrong with that. The special effects are meant to be simply a backdrop to the story, rather than intensely eye-catching, and they serve their purpose well.

What moves you forward and keeps you engaged is the actual plot of the film, which essentially follows a scientist played by Sean Connery attempting to convince Cold War Era-minded military stalwarts (one of which is well played by Martin Landau) to cooperate with Russian authorities in a plan to save Earth from an approaching meteor, knocked out of its regular orbit and into a collision course with the Earth as a result of a comet strike deep within our solar system's asteroid belt. In addition to convincing those who are normally suspicious enemies to divulge guarded secrets and work together against a common threat, all those involved must also execute the plan needed to save us before it's too late.

Watching this film, it will be easy for you to see that it had to have been a huge influence on the makers of both the films "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon" in later years. Both of those later projects borrowed various plot motifs from this one, and it isn't overly difficult to understand why once you have enjoyed the experience. Imitation truly is the sincerest form of flattery, after all, and the makers of those 1990's era disaster flicks were obviously fans of this one just as I have been for many, many years.


Photobucket

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out the rest of the site, and please consider subscribing to the blog via email by placing your email address in the sign-up box on the right-hand sidebar of the screen. You can also "Like" our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

10 May, 2015

REVIEW: "Revolution" - Season 1, Episode 6

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.
----------


Previous episodes:
Season 1: Episode 1 - Episode 2 - Episode 3 - Episode 4 - Episode 5

Could you and your family survive a post-apocalyptic world without electricity or any modern technology?
This particular episode gives us Prepper / Survivalist viewers less in the way of things we can learn from the storyline, being rich instead in what seems to be ideas for ways that simple things available to us could be modified for better use in the event of a crash that seriously alters the society in which we live. One example of this is with respect to simple bread mold being grown for use as homegrown penicillin, though I will admit to having no idea how to actually use it in the treatment of patients. That's something that would be a good idea to research for any possible future threats. 

Also following along with the theme of medical care, we see individuals in the episode carrying out a person-to-person direct blood transfusion. This is something that is definitely possible with the correct equipment and knowledge of compatible blood types. Lacking proper modern medical technology, you would literally need to allow the blood to run downhill by placing the donor at a higher elevation than the individual receiving the blood, but these were carried out regularly before medical care was modernized to the level we are accustomed. Doing such carries with it serious risks, however, rendering it inadvisable except in serious emergencies.

We also see that former plantation lands have been converted over for use in growing the poppies needed to produce heroin, supplying narcotics to the legalized heroin dens throughout the Monroe Republic. This makes perfect sense from a purely logistical standpoint as plantations were based on the medieval idea of manor estates in Europe. This was a system under which the Lord of the surrounding land resided in a large estate or Manor House, all of the agricultural land surrounding it being part of the estate and worked by individuals who owed homage and taxes to the Lord of the Manor (this is basically where we get the concept of paying rent to a landlord, even in our modern society). As many of you might also recall, I ascribe to a philosophy that I often refer to as Medieval Survivalism, so I can definitely see how a return to this kind of Old World hierarchy (leaving out the part where the average person had few rights and was completely beholden to the Lord) would be proper in a return to an agrarian society. 

And, finally, we see the way that typical flatbed trailers have been converted into wagons similar to those used in the American Old West era. Sides have been built-up on the existing trailer in instances where it didn't already have such features, and the hitch typically hooked to the back of a truck is instead attached to a horse or oxen rig for pulling. There is even a glimpse in a previous episode wherein someone has built-up a frame and attached canvas to emulate the look of a covered wagon.

Photobucket

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out the rest of the site, and please consider subscribing to the blog via email by placing your email address in the sign-up box on the right-hand sidebar of the screen. You can also "Like" our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

09 May, 2015

REVIEW: "Revolution" - Season 1, Episode 5

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.
----------


Previous episodes:
Season 1: Episode 1 - Episode 2 - Episode 3 - Episode 4

Could you and your family survive a post-apocalyptic world without electricity or any modern technology?
There seems to be an underlying theme I can see developing over the course of watching multiple episodes of this series. Not surprisingly considering the subject matter and genre of the series, the theme I'm talking about seems to revolve around the change that occurs in the world post-Blackout that moves what survives of society to a much more violent one and, specifically, how people adjusted to the new normal in order to survive. Focusing specifically on the subject matter portrayed in the episode, we are shown the evolution of an individual character from being someone who shies away from confrontation to someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to keep he and his family living. This is an an example of one of those times when we can learn an important lesson for the future from fiction, in my opinion. Pacifism is a lofty philosophy, but frankly adherents are going to have two choices in the event of a societal collapse that shatters the rule of law and order: either rethink their worldview or die as victims. 

A few additional interesting points one can take from watching this episode include the fact that – even in a world where electricity and modern technology have all but been forgotten – 19th century technology like steam locomotives would still be functional. It would simply be a matter of locating individuals with the skills necessary to restore and operate a steam engine, which means attaining this skill now would make any of us willing to do so much more valuable in a future post-collapse society. Speaking of the 19th century, we can also see from this episode that many towns very much resemble towns from the Old West era of American history, except for the fact that it isn't unusual to see a disabled car being pulled along by draft animals in place of a conventional wagon. And, in addition, this episode marks the point in the series where the viewers are afforded a more clear look at the way the former United States has been broken up into several smaller nations, complete with a map.
Could you and your family survive a post-apocalyptic world without electricity or any modern technology?
Basically, we can see on the graphic above that the so-called Monroe Republic in which the series takes place marks it's southern border roughly at or around where the modern-day state of North Carolina begins and stretches west as far as the Mississippi River. It's immediate southern neighbor the Georgia Federation encompasses most of the states of the American Southeast. Meanwhile, an independent nation based in Texas stretches also somewhat into modern-day Mexico and has absorbed most of Louisiana, while the entire heartland of the country is dominated by a country called the Plains Nation. In the far west, California seems to be surviving as a commonwealth  nation that has also absorbed the Baja Peninsula, the westernmost parts of Nevada, and virtually all of Oregon and Washington, stretching even north into modern-day Canada. The desert areas of Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, west-Texas, etc. are marked simply as the Wasteland.

Photobucket

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out the rest of the site, and please consider subscribing to the blog via email by placing your email address in the sign-up box on the right-hand sidebar of the screen. You can also "Like" our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

08 May, 2015

PREPPER PRODUCT REVIEW: Backpacker's Pantry Cajun Style Rice and Chicken

I'm not ashamed to admit that I entered into my review of Backpacker's Pantry Cajun Style Rice and Chicken with a bit of trepidation. My personal tastes run toward in joining food that is somewhat spicy, but I don't really like it at all once it gets past a certain point and gets really hot. As a result, the word "Cajun" being attached to this one worried me a bit, but I'm happy to say that I walked away with all of my taste buds firmly intact after this experience.


Not my favorite, by any stretch of the imagination, but not bad either. A bit spicy without being overwhelmingly hot. Also, as is often true with these freeze-dried pouch meals, it's a bit hit and miss with respect to serving size. What you see in this photo are the contents of the entire pouch. It is listed as being two different servings, and you could certainly stretch it by perhaps adding something like Ramen noodles or additional rice with this dish poured over it, but if it's just this, then you should count on needing the whole pouch for one adult to have a filling meal outside of rationing.




Photobucket

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out the rest of the site, and please consider subscribing to the blog via email by placing your email address in the sign-up box on the right-hand sidebar of the screen. You can also "Like" our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

07 May, 2015

REVIEW: "Revolution" - Season 1, Episode 4

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.
----------


Previous episodes:
Season 1: Episode 1 - Episode 2 - Episode 3

Could you and your family survive a post-apocalyptic world without electricity or any modern technology?
This episode reminds us all of the looming future threat of roving feral dogs in the wake of any seriously debilitating disaster or societal collapse. This occurred on a smaller scale even during Hurricane Katrina when many pets were abandoned and began to turn wild, though I don't recall any reports of attacks, thankfully due to the short-term nature of the emergency situation. To put it frankly, as bad as things got, it didn't get bad enough for long enough to fully develop into as serious a situation as it had the potential of being down there when it came to the dogs. And, adding to that the possibility of someone actually utilizing trained attack dogs, things could definitely get quite hairy (pun intended) very quickly. 

Honestly, this particular issue is one that bothers me quite a bit when thinking about survival and future threats. I'm an animal lover, especially with respect to dogs, so thinking about being forced to shoot wild dogs at some point isn't a pleasant part of my own emergency preparedness planning… Yet it is part of my planning, just the same, because doing so would be a necessity of survival. Dogs who go feral will form packs that will rove the countryside and pose a threat, not only to any livestock people are attempting to raise, but also to people themselves, especially children. 

As much as I might hate it, they will need to be put down any time they stray close to human areas, and it may seem distasteful but they will also provide a source of protein for human diets. Realistically, people have been eating dogs for well over 100,000 years, so it isn't going to hurt anything; and, being that we are going to have no choice but to kill them anyway, I'm all for planning on them as a dietary protein supplement. I actually consider using them as a food source, rather than letting the meat go to waste, to be something that will help to appease nature and the sorrow of being forced to pull the trigger. 

We are also reminded that severe weather situations, such as tornadoes and hurricanes, would remain a future threat for which we would need to continue to prepare even in harsher times. In my own part of the world, this would especially be true when it comes to harsh winter weather. My part of Appalachia actually gets pretty rough winters, complete with the occasional blizzard that blows through and literally shuts down all of civilization every few years. Imagining that exact same weather in a world where there is no Department of State Roads to come and clear away fallen trees, etc. is a rather sobering thing to consider.  

And finally, this episode of the series also places a spotlight on the possibility that not everyone would necessarily be home when a serious disaster happens to strike. We talk a lot about certain situations among the Prepper / Survivalist subculture, not the least of which the wisdom of keeping sufficient supplies with you in your car or whatever to make sure that you can get home to where the rest of your supplies are located. In fact, it's typically referred to as a "Get Home" bag or kit and mine personally doubles as a bug-out bag for use in case of a necessary evacuation or being stranded somewhere in my vehicle. 

A discussion that doesn't get a lot of attention, however, is what about folks who find themselves stranded such a great distance from home that it would be nearly impossible to make it back there? Specifically, the series gives us the story of a British woman who had been vacationing in Seattle at the moment of the Blackout, instantly and permanently being exiled from her home and torn from even the most vague possibility of ever seeing her children and family again. I can't imagine how demoralizing it would be to face a similar situation, yet everyone of us who has ever vacationed a distance away from home has technically been in danger of finding ourselves in the same proverbial boat.

Photobucket

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out the rest of the site, and please consider subscribing to the blog via email by placing your email address in the sign-up box on the right-hand sidebar of the screen. You can also "Like" our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.