Friday, April 29, 2011

Zombie Hunting Permit!

Renminder: Please make sure that your zombie hunting permit is up-to-date.

Terror in the School Years: Late Bloomer

An award-nominated short film out of Miskatonic University's Arts and Modern Multimedia Department.

Gear Pr0n: AA12 Automatic Shotgun

Pump-action shotguns are great in most situations. On human opponents, that clickety-clack working of the action gives you a huge psychological edge through sheer intimidation. They are easy to maintain and super reliable -- which makes them preferred weapons against slow moving zombies. And they are very versatile because they consume a variety of ammunition types.

But sometimes you need all the knockdown firepower of the shotgun with the rapid fire and easy reloading associated with an assault weapon. For those situations, you need the AA12 Automatic shotgun.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Zombie Peeps Wish you a "Hoppy Easter!"

This is what happens if you keep Peeps past their expiration date.

Miskatonic Collection: Statue 7

Generally regarded as the most magnificent of Cthulhu effigies, this idol was unearthed from the ashen ruins of Pompeii. The fine detail of the head is remiscent of the cuttlefish, while the fine, bat-like wings a folded into a lifelike pose on the back.

Need A Little Boost?

Here are the latest in energy boosting aids from a subsidiary of the fine folks at Umbrella Corporation.

I don't condone the use of performance enhancing drugs even in my line of work. History shows, again and again, how messing around with forces beyond human control only brings about the downfall of great men. So kids, don't mess with drugs or magic potions. Eat your veggies, drink plenty of water, and stay away from processed sugars.

Beast Hunter: Episode 1 Part 1

Pat Spain, a descendant of the great Charles Fort -- and also a trained biologist -- goes in search of mysterious monsters.

In this episode he searches for the man-ape of Sumatra, the Orang-Pendak!

Musical Interlude -- Thriller!

The big bad voodoo daddy of horror themed music videos!

Gear Pr0n: Crye Precision SHOT Show 2011

We finish our review of the new 2011 Crye Precision offerings in this second part of the video.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Gear Pr0n: The Rambo Knife

Back in the 1980's, you weren't badass if you didn't have a "Rambo" Knife.

The movie First Blood introduced us to John Rambo, a Special Forces vet suffering from extreme Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and some form of dissociative disorder. Pushed too far, the rugged individualist Rambo struck back with his survivalist skills. And he used his trusty Bowie knife to help him out.

The first two movies set the pattern for the pop-culture phenomena of the Rambo Knife. He used large Bowie knives with sawbacks and hollow handles. An assortment of survival goodies were stored in the hollow, including a compass under the cap.

The third movie broke the pattern by using a knife without the survival kit handle. But the knife was still over-sized and created as an artfully-shaped Bowie.

The recent sequel went further. The knife was the biggest yet, but the shape had changed completely into a Jungle machete or parang type blade. Also, while the other knives had been handcrafted by artisan bladesmiths, the fourth knife was intentionally left more crude and primitive to reflect the storyline of the movie. (The knife itself, of course was still handmade by a bladesmith.)

Above are replicas of these iconic knives. And while the Rambo knife has had critics over the years, any of them will serve you well in the inevitable zombiggeddon. Just make sure you're buying a quality survival knife and not a $15 Taiwanese import.

Zombie Hunter Bracelet: Show Your Pride!

Tell the world you're ready with these popular stretchy-rubber bracelets from Milspec Monkey.

Zombies Taking Over!

National Geographic talks to the experts about the inevitable zombie apocalypse!

Gear Pr0n: Crye Precision at SHOT Show 2011

Crye Precision, a manufacturer on the cutting edge of military gear, presents an overview of their latest offerings at the SHOT Show 2011. (Part one of two.)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pop Quiz, Hot Shot! Zombie Survival Kit Week Practicum

OK, folks. Just how prepared are you? We've been talking all week about thinking through your survival kit needs. Did you really think you'd make it through the week without a test on whether or not you've been listening closely?

So, what object is at hand on your left? How do you intend to use it? Can it get you to your primary stash? If so, what better preparations are available to you in your main survival kit?

Please comment.

Monsterquest: Giant Arachnids Part 4

The senses shattering conclusion to this expose of Giant Spiders lurking in our rain forests!

Zombie Survival Kit Week: The Basics

Glock and Shotgun for basic defense. Machete for conserving ammo. Knife for utility needs. Crowbar and Tomahawk for melee weapons and the all-important task of breaking into spaces to scavange for necessities. Plus, a handy copy of the Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. This person is off to a fantastic start.

First Aid: Self Tourniquet

There's a lot of nay saying about first aid in the zombie preparation world. I don't know why. Sure, if one of those rotting shamblers bites you, you're done for. Do us all a favor and put the bullet in your own head.

But all kinds of things can go wrong in the zombie apocalypse. And chances are good there will be shortage of trained doctors. (I suspect many of them will be compromised in the opening stages as they are called to treat the infected.) So you need a basic knowledge of first aid.

Here we look at using the tourniquet. It's useful for many combat-type injuries. While I advocate cooperation among survivors for the long term benefit of all, I am not naive. Others will not take the long view, and chances are good you will encounter hostile human survivors.

Keep in mind the tourniquet is not a long term solution. It is intended to treat you immediately until someone can get you safe for better treatment.

I've mentioned before that while it's nice to have a bag full of cheap, efficient, sharp machetes, axes, and large knives, having a sturdy, craftsmen-made blade is a worthwhile investment when you've reached a certain level of preparedness.

Craftsmen lavish care and attention on their work, and turn out something special. These are knives and swords that won't let you down in a pinch. Having that level of confidence in your knife can help you sleep at night while the demons released from the gaping maw of hell wail in the darkness surrounding your fortified hide site.

There are a number of sword and knife smiths I've found that specialize in historical blades and forging methods. These are proven designs and that's why I like them. But maybe you're looking for something a little more flashy, yet still practical and combat-ready. Then maybe is for you.

These guys seem to "get it." You're sure to find a blade that suits your badass, zombie-hunting personality from them. And while they aren't cheap, their prices are right in the sweetspot for craftsmen's work. I easily paid in this range a few years ago for a Last Legend Katana. So go on... Check them out.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cold Steel Gladius

Everyone loves the machete because it's cheap, sword length, handy, and choppy-choppy.

And everyone loves swords because they tend to add a bit more control in anti-personnel situation.

So here's a machete that also a sword! It's the Cold Steel Gladius. The Gladius was the standard sword of the Roman Legions. It was originally used by some of their opponents, but the Romans found the shape incredibly useful for their way of way.

The Roman Legions were trained to fight in formation from behind shields. The sword would chops and stab, chop and stab, chop and stab, creating an action along the front of the formation like an enormous chainsaw ripping into the enemies. The short length of the sword encouraged the Legionnaires to close with the targets, and also brought them within the business end of their enemies' spears.

Most of us won't fight with shields, and while we don't really want to get too close to our zombie foes, we do appreciate the handiness of the shorter length. It's a good size for a one handed sword. And Cold Steel makes it cheap! AND they offer a polypropylene training version, so you can actually learn to handle the sword properly without risking your blade.

Zombie Survival Kit Week: Break Glass 3

While I am a fan of this kit, it does have some drawbacks. The shotgun does not have adequate ammunition available, the paddle looks a little too flimsy (import a cricket bat instead), the explosives are potentially more dangerous to the user than the zombies, and keeping Max Brooks excellent book behind glass until the moment of truth is shortsighted. Better to have it available and read well in advance of needing it.

Monsterquest: Giant Arachnids Part 3

You know, usually I'll take a Red Devil vacuum and suck up spiders around my house and then bring them outside. Do you think the giant spiders will consider this behavior helpful and benevolent and leave me alone? Or do you think it will be viewed as a terrible torture for which I must be punished?

Maybe I should stock up on ammo belts for the SAW (those suckers are fast!) and invest in some Raid-filled gas grenades for the M32 launcher...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Zombies & Politics 2

I'm pretty apolitical most of the time, but something about this just spoke true to me.

Zombie Jerky?

Okay, here's the thing.

I found this at one of my local outfitter's place and bought a package.

Bullet #2 says it's "beef jerky" but the product name is "zombie jerky." So I'm a little nervous.

Am I getting jerky made out of zombies, or maybe zombie cows? Sure, the package promises that its "for eating" and "delicious" but I caught a Charlton Heston marathon one Sunday and after Omega Man they showed Soylent Green, so now I'm leery.

I sent the package for testing to a buddy with a laboratory. I'm hoping it comes back okay to eat.

But in the meantime, I think I'll just stick with plain beef jerky I get at the local supermarket.

Zombie Squad Commercial

Maybe I need to do something like this to advertise my services? Work's been a little slow lately.

Zombie Survival Kit Week: Break Glass 2

The nice thing about the "Break Glass" kits is that they come in some many varieties. Last time we saw a compact pistol and ammo arrangement. Here we see a more substantial, if snubby, shotgun. I hope this person has more ammo on hand. But maybe this is just intended to help them get to their larger cache.

Zombie Survival Kit Week: Gucci Gear

This guy seems to be sponsored by Oakley. Now, Oakley makes some good stuff, including some awesome boots I should review some day, and the assault gloves featured in this video (approved by both Batman and Delta Force). And I should note, you get what you pay for in terms of quality. But Oakley stuff is expensive, and most of it isn't designed for combat. His vest and his leg pouch are for adventure seekers. They aren't designed or constructed for hauling military gear or taking the abuse that's associated with combat.

His leg pouch can carry magazines, but they're just tossed into the top pouch. He's going to be fumbling around looking for one when his back is against the wall and zombies are closing in. A dedicated pistol mag pouch will hold the magazines sure and true and he'll be able to lay his hands on one quickly and reliably.

And it looks like he's soaked all his money into the Oakley gear and cheated himself on the giant bowie knife. His SOG tomahawk is a good choice, but that bowie looks like a flea market special. Maybe if he'd spent less money on his video collection, he could've purchased a San Mai steel Kukri from Cold Steel. That's a worthwhile investment.

Monsterquest: Giant Arachnids Part 2

There is something alien about spiders already: the eight legs, multiple eyes, venomous bite...

But the idea of enlarging them to the size of dogs -- or even bigger -- makes them even more frightening. Now you can see their chittering mandibles, the chitonous shell studded with coarse hair... You'll have to excuse me. I need to go make sure my .50 Beowulf rifle is cleaned and lubricated.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Miskatonic Collection: Statue 6

Another idol, this one found in an Assyrian site in 1935, of the great god Cthulhu. This squat depiction clearly has him in a dreaming pose.

Anti-Gear Pr0n: This Man Is NOT Prepared!

Face obscured to protect the innocent. While being able to turn common items into defnesive articles during zombiggeddon is a laudable skill, there is no doubt in my mind that this poor soul -- conditioned by the Air Force Way of War -- is woefully underprepared to face the undead hordes.

Monsterquest: Giant Arachnids Part 1

Those trees are shrouded in spider silk... There are reports out of Africa indicating that giant spiders are growing in number.

These creepy crawlers have lurked in the jungles and stalked the savannahs for centuries, little changed since prehistoric times. They are the size of large dogs, and pack enough venom to knock out a hippopotamus.

Zombie Survival Kit Week: Commercial Kit

A zombie survival kit that includes medical supplies? That's good. It also has nutritional bars and water purification tablets.

But this is really more of a generic disaster kit than a true zombie survival kit. There's nothing wrong with that. But what separates the Zombie Apocalypse from other natural disasters is the fact that you will be required to defend yourself. You need weapons. It's not an option. With weapons, arguably, you can buy time to scrounge for the other necessities.

No kit is perfect, so understand the weaknesses and supplement.

Zombie Survival Kit Week: Video Review 1

Hmmm... This man has obviously placed a lot of thought into his zombie survival kit. Unfortunately, his kit has a high degree of Fail associated with it.

He does okay in his choice of firearms (the ever popular M4 and Glock) and knives (a Kukri and a RAT). He's pretty smart to include binoculars. And, of course, he has water.

But he's critically short of vital supplies such as ammo and water. Now, you could argue that he's only showing a representative selection, but it doesn't appear he has provision for carrying much more ammo and water.

What about food? Why does he waste space with a Rubik's Cube? And an iPod??? Seriously? Oh, yeah, I'll be sure to plug into earbuds and waste one of my most important senses for situational awareness.

Still, he has some nice equipment, and we can learn a lot from looking at shortcomings.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Zombie Survival Kit Week: Break Glass 1

Based on the old fire emergency kits that hung in institutional corridors, these kits are perfect for schools, churchs, hospitals, even you own den at home.

How to make a Zombie

More on the Haitian variety of zombies. If these are a serious problem in your neighborhood, the best course of action is to deal with the Voodoo practitioner who is the source of the problem. Of course, I only recommend notifying the law enforcement authorities to the problem.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Gear Pr0n: A Fully Kitted Hunter

Most of my Gear Pr0n features have highlighted equipment rigs -- the basic load carrying equipment. But I've had a few questions about what a fully kitted-out zombie hunter looks like.
This is a pretty good example. Weapons include an M4 and a pistol, in this case a Beretta M9. The main load carrier is an Eagle CIRAS plate carrier with plenty of pouches for ammo and gizmos.
He wears a black combat suit; a Propper Tactical Response Uniform by the looks of it. He's personalized it with some morale patches and identity patches so his teammates know him. He wears a helmet with a hard point for NVGs and goggles strapped on. He also has knee pads which are helpful when you go banging around in the dark. He wears Mechanix gloves, which are excellent for shooting
Our hunter also carries water in a CamelBak carrier and uses a radio to communicate with his teammates. For some reason he has on a rappelling harness. I don't usually bother with this as it can restrict my running and is needless weight, but maybe his mission requires it. He also has flexi-cuffs. These are unnecessary when slaying bodies because the walking dead don't need handcuffs. But... Sometimes you run into real-live humans -- "quislings" we call them -- who misguidedly think they can help the zombies. Those folks you need to secure so they won't interfere with you.
Lastly, our hunter friend has a large pouch on his left leg. This may be a dump pouch for spare mags. If so, it is an old style, but one that offers plenty of room. From the way it sags, it appears to be a gas mask carrier. Gas masks are an item of controversy among professional zombie hunters. Many believe they can help protect against infection. However, there has never been a case -- regardless of the origin of the infestation -- in which a human was proven to be infected by airborne contagion. All cases appear to be by body fluid via an open wound. Our hunter is probably well protected already in his clothing against this possibility -- especially with his stylish skull-logo balaclava (I need to get one of these).

Miskatonic Collection: Statue 5

Another bronze idol of Cthulhu, date and provenance unknown. Interesting in its depiction of the deity in that while he is usually described as dreaming, this sculpt gives off the impression that Cthulhu has just awoken and is about to uncoil from his slumbers.

Ten Ways: Zombies

Musical Interlude: Hungry Like the Wolf twofer

Ash displays his raw animal magnetism while crooning his favorite Duran Duran song.

Hail to the king, baby!

Here's the original by Duran Duran.

It's all about werewolves, right?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

For Your Kit

I keep about a dozen of these stickers in the admin pouch on my chest rig at all times. They're handy to slap onto fences, gates, doors, etc. in order to warn folks off while I'm working. Do you think it helps? Meh, sometimes, but not consistently. In fact, in a couple of cases, it seems to have attracted attention from nosey, know-it-all kids. But I figure my liability will be covered if they get themselves eaten.

US Army Shotgun Training Video

Basic use of the shotgun from the US Army.

Gear Pr0n: The OD War Belt

War Belts are increasingly popular because they efficiently put all the bare essentials close at hand. I like this set-up. Here we see a Safariland kydex drop holster. It has an accommodation for a tactical light mounted to the pistol and the leg platform drops the pistol slightly off the hip for an improved draw without putting all the weight on the leg. Low-slung holsters look cool, but can fatigue your leg much more quickly. There's a small pouch mounted to the platform, I'm guessing for the light if it is removed. Behind the holster, we see three more utility pouches. One is obviously the hunter's blow-out kit because it's marked with a red cross. The other pouches hold other accessories, probably a flashlight for the vertical one.
On the other side, the hunter has placed two spare carbine mag pouches with open tops and a Maxpedition Rolly-Poly as a dump bag. Below the carbine mag pouches, he has taken the unorthodox choice of a pistol pouch drop-leg extension. I don't like this, but it's certainly a valid choice. Note the addition of a black pouch, which I would bet carries his multi-tool. He also has a so-called "morale patch" that says "Regular Guy."
Here's a view of it all at once. War belts typically come in two pieces, an inner belt -- here a nylon duty belt with a quick release buckle -- and an outer belt, or sheath really. The outer belt typically has two or three rows of MOLLE webbing as attachment points. The whole thing fits snuggly around the waist.

When the Dead Walk Part 2: Haitian Zombies

Friday, April 15, 2011

Good Advice Never Goes Out of Style

Politics & Zombies

When the Dead Walk! The Haitian Zombie Phenomenon


You know what really sucks?


Dragons are the main event for monster hunting professionals. They're the real deal. You don't start out with dragons, you have to build up to them. Dragons are smart, powerful, and deadly. It's hard to sneak up on them and it's even harder to kill them. Stuff just tends to bounce off their scaly hides.

Of course, slaying a dragon means you've hit the major leagues of monster killing. Over the years they've been hunted nearly to extinction, despite the immense danger involved. And when I say "nearly" I mean it's possible there are none left already. No one on the job has heard even a rumor of a dragon in over a decade. The last confirmed killing was in 1883 in Indonesia. Let's just say it went poorly because the hunter wasn't really up to the task and got "lucky."

These are excerpts from a National Geographic special recreating the lives of different dragon species.

We can't be certain they're gone because dragon metabolisms haven't been studied closely. It's believed they can live for centuries and can hibernate for decades at a time. Also, we can't be certain that some percentage of the lake monster and sea serpent sightings aren't, in fact, dragons.

Gear Pr0n: Night Vision Week

Miskatonic Collection: Statue 4

A bronze piece identified as unearthed in during the 1930's in Iraq in a layer that suggested interment during the Babylonian period. It is another Cthulhu icon emphasizing his vast bulk. It is eerily reminiscent of prehistoric "Venus" totems. A fact made particularly creepy because those are generally interpreted as fertility idols.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gear Pr0n: Night Vision Week

Lost Tapes: Hellhound

The hellhound, sometimes known as Black Shuck, has been reported numerous around the world.

Television: The Walking Dead

Generally, I don't find fictional stories about zombies entertaining.

Nor do I understand why anyone would kick back to relax by watching something about zombies.

The zombie threat is real and it is serious. For me, it is literally serious business.

But AMC recently completed a fine series entitled, The Walking Dead about a full-scale zombiggeddon. I'd recommend it, but I didn't see much of it. I got to the opening credits and started having flashbacks involving teddy bears. I turned the boob-tube off and went to practice my speed reloads. Never turned it on again.

I probably wouldn't even mention it except for this odd juxtaposition in a photograph that appeared in my in-box.

Some genius in the United Kingdom rented advertising space for The Walking Dead on a billboard adjacent to a funeral home. Brilliant advertising... But for whom?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gear Pr0n: NVG Week Monocular

One of the advantages of the monocular arrangement is that using it won't entirely destroy your own "night vision" while maintaining some semblance of binocular vision and depth perception. Your eyes adjust to lower levels of light by expanding your irises, thus allowing more light to enter your eye. It takes time for your eyes to adjust to the dark because the iris expands relatively slowly. However, if you are exposed suddenly to bright light, the iris contracts very quickly to protect your eyesight. Re-adjusting to the dark will be slow again. Using goggles exposes your eye to the light of the display. If you must take off your goggles, it will be at least 20 minutes before your eyesight adjusts to the dark. But with a monocular, only one eye is exposed to the light, meaning only it expands. Your other eye remains adjusted to the dark. While using the monocular, your brain "prefers" the clear image but continues to take information from your "dark" eye. If you have to remove the night vision, the process is reversed somewhat and you can function with the dark eye while the NVG eye readjusts to the dark. Oh, and don't worry about the skull; he wasn't anybody we knew... well.

Gear Pr0n: More on the Knight's Armament Company's "Chainsaw"-style Machine Gun

One of my first posts included photographs of the Knight's Armament Company's concept gun, a light machine gun mounted "chainsaw"-style.

Here are some videos in which the creators explain and demonstrate the purpose of the design and the use of it.

Miskatonic Collection: Statue 3

Another depiction of Cthulhu, this one distinctly cephlapodian not only in the head but in the amorphous depiction of the body. The wings appear to be present, but understated -- perhaps atrophied? The information accompanying this picture indicates this idol was recovered from the town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts during the 1920's. However, the age of the idol itself is uncertain.

Voodoo Variety

Aside from briefly mentioning Dr. Herbert West's experiments and their 1940's offshoots, we haven't really covered the various origins of zombies. There are several. Being raised as a mindless slave by a voodoo practitioner is well-documented and even examined in mainstream academic literature.

Fortunately, these zombies tend not to be as hungry or as contagious as some of the other varieties. They can still be dangerous, so it's good to learn more about them and how to identify them.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gear Pr0n: Night Vision Week

A whole week featuring the wonders of Night Vision Goggles (NVG), or Night Observation Devices (NODs), Starlight scopes, etc. Light enhancement technology is an awesome force multiplier for the zombie hunter. Generally it comes in two forms; Active: which emits infrared light and converts it back to visible light, and Passive: which enhances ambient light on a screen for viewing. Both have their strengths and weaknesses in our profession. For zombie work, either works fine. But some beasties can see infrared light and using Active NVG only advertises your presence -- but at least you'll be able to see your threat as it charges.

A Guy's Guide to Zombies

This is pro-zombie propaganda. Don't believe it. Zombies are highly contagious and extremely dangerous. They are no longer human and, despite what some quislings would have you believe, they have no claim on human rights. They must be exterminated!

Burn and purge; purge and burn.

Lost Tapes: Beast of Bray Road Part 2

What hairy beast is stalking Middle America?

BTW, I feel I should comment that the "paramilitary" boneheads in this video exhibit horrible weapons discipline and tactics. No wonder they were eaten.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Musical Interlude: Dragula

Rob Zombie's classic "Dragula."

Mysterious Planet: Caddy

Lost Tapes: The Beast of Bray Road Part 1

One of several American werewolves who have bubbled into public awareness.

FMA drill

Sorry; I've been collecting and posting so many FMA vids over the last two weeks that I've lost track. I don't think I've posted this.

If I have, let me excuse it by saying that drills are important to any martial art. You need to drill your melee weapon skills, and you should carry over to drilling your firearms skills. Drill, drill, drill. It's the heart of preparation.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Book Trailer: P&P&Z: Dawn of the Dreadfuls

Out now for your perusal is the heretofore unknown sequel to Jane Austen's classic tale of love and the undead, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls. This story explains the rise of the English zombie plague and the training of Elizabeth and her sisters as scourges of the walking dead.

Lost Tapes: Bear Lake Monster Part 2

The monster so ornery that even Pecos Bill couldn't tame it.

Gear Pr0n: ARMAT M41A1 Pulse Rifle

The ARMAT M41A1 Pulse rifle is a weapon ahead of its time. It fires 10 x 24mm point detonating high explosive ammunition with an underslung high velocity 30mm grenade launcher.

While it is an exceptionally powerful small arm, it is expensive and restricted completely to military sales for use in extremely hostile environments. It is a personal goal of Flint's to shoot one of these.

Max Brooks on Machetes

Renowned Zombie expert, Max Brooks, provides some advice about the Machete as an anti-zombie weapon.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Lost Tapes: Bear Lake Monster Part 1

The enduring legend of the Bear Lake Monster.

Miskatonic Collection: Statue 2

My academic contact at Miskatonic University in Arkham, Massachusetts has been providing me with photogrpahs and video from the University's collection and archives. Here is an artifact of indeterminate age identified as an idol of Cthulhu, the Dreaming God.

FMA Week Too: Beginner's Sparring

The secret to developing practical martial arts skills is resistance against a thinking, live opponent. (Yes, this is ironic since so many of our opponents are technically "dead.") Sparring -- early and often in the martial artist's career -- is probably the best way to develop true skill. But often the examples we see are high level practitioners who have been sparring for years, even decades. This can intimidate beginners, who are afraid they will just look silly trying the skills with which they are still uncomfortable.

We've seen several examples of people who are excellent fighters, so I thought it might be worthwhile providing an example of beginner's at play. You'll see how tentative they are. You'll see mistakes. There is obvious room for improvement. All of that is completely understandable at this level. The goal is only to try hard and use what you've learned.

FMA Week Too: Fight Quest Part 5

The final challenge awaits! The guys face two battle-hardened Filipino Marines who are experts in Pekiti Tirsia Kali. Who will win?

Gear Pr0n: A Neighbor to the North

A Canadian take on a hunting rig. This shooter uses a SIG carbine in 5.56mm, which is a fin alternative to the venerable M4. But he still wisely chooses the Glock pistol, here fitted with a tactical light. Our friend carries his equipment in an OD plate carrier, and situates his primary spare magazines in the center front. On his left is his Individual First Aid Kit, marked with his blood type and a NKDA patch (for "No Known Drug Allergies"). It looks like he has a simple knife tucked behind the IFAK. He also carries gloves -- highly recommended, and oft over looked. (Maybe we should have Glove Week sometime?) A helmet. And a communications radio. Good, solid kit.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Gear Pr0n: What is Ready?

On the surface, this person appears to be "ready" for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. He's got the M4, pistols, a scoped rifle, a shotgun, and plenty of edged weapons. But his collection begs the question: just what is "ready?" How, for example, does he plan on carrying all this? Instead of buying a leveraction rifle, maybe he should invest in some pouches for his M4 magazines, or holsters for his pistols? Does he even have a backpack to carry loose ammunition? Something he could strap his swords to? This is haphazard. He has purchased without a plan. He's bought things that look cool. How many swords does he need? Something I learned early in this business is that you have to understand your Requirements, with a capital "R." What is your mission, what do you need to accomplish it safely and efficiently, and how can you wisely spend your resources to achieve those two functions? I recommend you start with three guns: carbine, pistol, and shotgun. Now, I like the M4, the Glock, and either the Mossberg or Remington 870 in tactical furniture. Next you need ammunition and something to carry it with you. After that you need to start thinking about a good melee weapon. Then take it from there. I don't just post Gear Pr0n features because the stuff looks pretty. You need to think about what you're seeing and adapting it for your needs. Today, my advice to you is to seriously consider what your needs will be for everyday zombie hunting, or Zombieggedon

Miskatonic University Archives: Statue 1

As part of a response to some of my inqueries, an old professor at Miskatonic University forwarded this film, which has the rather curious file name of "Unclassified Find -- 1928"

What does the "unclassified" mean in this case? Is the staue not type-classified according to some scholarly regime? Or is this statue "unclassified" in the government secrets sense? I don't know. That's just one mystery regarding the video file.

According to my source, the statue is an idol of the pagan god Cthulhu, who according to his cultists sleeps beneath the ocean awaiting the alignment of stars which will announce his return. The idol was apparently uncovered in 1928 by a Miskatonic team working in New England. The places and circumstances of the find are murky, but he's looking into the paperwork associated with this.

In Search Of... Dracula part 3

The conclusion of the "In Search Of..." crew's look at Dracula.

FMA Week Too: Bonus Pikiti Tirsia Drill

Drilling is important for martial arts skills.

FMA Week Too: Fight Quest Part 3

The guys continue to train with sticks and knives so they won't be hurt too badly during the final challenge.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Gear Pr0n: M32 Grenade Launcher

Grenade launchers have limited application against zombies. Real close-in the fragments have a high probability of entering the skull, but that probability drops below reliable levels the further from center you get. And you can't rely on the explosive shock wave of the blast to take out a zombie brain. It's basically old fashioned penetrating trauma or nothing.

But that doesn't mean grenades and grenade launchers are useless. You can use them to slow down an advancing horde, which means they can be good for breaking contact with the hungry undead. And a repeating grenade launcher like the M32 can lay down a withering barrage of grenades practically on top of each other, so you can guarantee a pretty good kill rate for an expenditure of a large amount of ammunition.

I tend to like the grenade launcher for hunting other creatures, large creatures, like a living dinosaur, or a woolly mammoth, or fishing for Nessie... Plus, grenade launchers can release many different payloads these days, such as gas canisters or flares. Both have their uses.

So I like the M32 and keep one in the toolkit for special purposes.

Sometimes you can't be afraid to dream a little bigger.

What is it?

This strange video of a large shell-like egg appeared online a few days ago. What is it???

In Search Of... Dracula Part 2

Leonard Nimoy guides us further looking for the truth behind the Dracula legends. Fascinating!

FMA Week Too: Fight Quest Part 2

The boys continue training in the brutal FMA. They also re-enact the fable of the City Mouse and the Country Mouse, as one trains in the maountain jungles, and the other trains in the crowded city.

Both of them get hit with sticks.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Gear Pr0n: Medic!

There aren't many hunter teams that are large enough to maintain a dedicated medic. Most of us make do with our Individual First Aid Kits. Besides, medics aren't much good against zombie bites. Still, this is hazardous work and other injuries can occur. So it's worth looking over a medic's rig to consider the layout. I'll just note even the medic carries ammunition; everyone fights.

In Search Of... Dracula Part 1

Leonard Nimoy guides us in an investigation of the truth behind the legends of Dracula.

The Great Old Ones?

Okay, you'll remember that a little while back some skell in McDonald's pushed his crazy religious literature on me and was just oozing to tell me about "the great old ones."

I ran into the creep again yesterday at my favorite diner. He cornered me near the men's room and started proselytizing again about Dreaming Cthulhu and Dagon, Azathoth and Nyarlathotep. He was very insistent, and I admit, the idea of casually pulling back my jacket to display the butt of my Glock did cross my mind...

But he finally passed me a slip of paper with a YouTube URL before slipping out through the kitchen.

I looked it up last night and this is what I found.

That's when I made the connection! I thought the Necronomicon sounded familiar. My college library was supposed to have a copy. You'd think I'd recognize it right away, but you have to remember that college was awhile ago for me. At the time, I was more interested in my beer pong score and chasing tail. I never did spend much time in the library. The only reason I remembered Herbert West's story was from a Halloween story-telling session one semester and the fact it intersected with my current line of work.

So I started looking stuff up about the Great Old Ones. Jeez. Unknowable and unameable; I just hope they aren't unkillable. One more thing to prepare for. Anyone know a good source for recoilless rifles?

FMA Week Too: Fight Quest Part 1

Once again we follow two intrepid martial artists as they train with FMA masters in preparation for a challenge match.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Soviet Reanimation Experiments of the Post-WWII Era

Yesterday we saw the propaganda film from Nazi Germany calling for a zombie army to overrun the Allies. I recounted how the plan backfired and was also implemented too late in the war to gain momentum.

The Soviet Red Army captured the parts of Berlin in which these top secret experiments were being performed. Although they claimed all of the research was destroyed in the battle, evidence later emerged that they had absconded with the records and were working to re-create the experiments in their own facilities.

This video shows Soviet film-footage demonstrating their experiments. It is not for the weak-willed and tender-souled. These experiments are inhuman. But the truth must be told.

FMA Week(end): Pekiti Tirsia Kali

More from the particular FMA discipline Pekiti Tirsia Kali, the art taught to the Filipino Marines

Lost Tapes: Monster of Monteray Part 2

Do plesiosaurs still swim our modern oceans?

Musical Interlude: Hooters -- All You Zombies

80's New Wave (read as: "Proto-Emo") group The Hooters sing their hit, "All You Zombies."

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hypothetical: What if the President of the United States turned into a zombie?

You don't expect me to answer this, do you? I mean sure, I'm a pretty smart guy, but I'm smart enough to turn to the really big brains on the planet to answer serious questions like this.

I turn to Daniel Drezner, professor of International Politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and author of the book Theories of International Politics and Zombies, who recently addressed this exact question on his blog hosted by the journal Foreign Policy.

You can access the blog article here.

Lost Tapes: Monster of Monteray

An investigation into the disappearance of yachter off the coast of California.

Movie Trailer: Re-Animator (1985)

The notorious case of Dr. Herbert West -- the so-called "Re-Animator" -- was quickly covered up by Federal and Massachusetts officials. Officially, Dr. West was killed in a random act of violence and the government swooped in on his estate to confiscate material related to US Government research the doctor had been conducting intermittantly for decades.

But Dr. West, a graduate of Miskatonic University, was whispered about by his neighbors for years afterward. His strange fascination with Dr. Victor von Frankenstein of Ingolstadt had been well-known among his classmates. They simply had no clue how far he'd taken his hero-worship. They thought the warnings provided by Mary Shelley's fictionalized account were clear enough for any medical professional.

So with rumors swirling throughout small-town Massachusetts, and the active medical alumni of the MU Medical School, it really shouldn't have been a surprise when the writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft looked into the reports, discovered the abundant evidence, and published his own fictionalized account of Dr. West's activities. He was only able to get away with releasing the tale because the US Government pressured serious news outlets not to carry the story. Only the pulp magazines would deal with H.P. Lovecraft's bizarre stories. So Dr. West's hideous, foul crimes were hidden among equally lurid tales of horror, terror, and high weirdness.

In 1985, a brave film maker released a version of Dr. West's tragic and horrific career. He had no budget, and his talent at writing dialogue was negligible. But the movie was made anyway. You can view the trailer above.

Note: Dr. West's crimes were terrible, violent, and unspeakable. The movie did not shrink from depicting them in all their unnaturalness. The preview may not be suitable for younger viewers.

Nazi Zombies?

What's worse than zombies?

Two words: Nazi Zombies.

I mentioned the other day how Hitler's cadre of mad scientists had been working on ways to bring dinosaurs back from the near extinction they suffered, or capture specimens from Africa to breed as a super army. But they were also worked on an army of Undead soldiers. By some reports, they succeeded, but their creations soon formed slightly different notions of who the Master Race really was...

It saddens me to say that some of this work was based on early experiments by Dr. Herbert West, an infamous alumnus of my own alma mater, Miskatonic University, in Arkham, Massachusetts. Dr. West, who's crimes were originally swept under the rug by authorities rose to notoriety after pulp writer Howard P. Lovecraft used them as the basis for a series of short stories. How the Nazi's got ahold of West's research was a subject of much investigation by the FBI and OSS in the waning days of the war. But there are rumors that one of West's own horrible creations was working with the Nazi establishment. He may also have been the source of the idea that the Nazi Zombies, being immortal, were in every way superior to the living Nazis.

Thankfully, the Soviet's overran Berlin about the same time that the Nazi Zombies revolted, and according to the Soviet reports, the threat was contained and eliminated. But as we'll see tomorrow, perhaps the Soviets weren't telling the whole truth.

FMA Week Continues Through Next Week!

I'm enjoying the stick-swinging and knife-flinging so much, I decided to keep posting FMA vids through next week too! It is my humble opinion that this is the best art going right now for proven self-defense in any Post-Apocalyptic scenario; but especially the inevitable Zombiggeddon.

When the law breaks down, you'll be the only law you can count on. And the only law that will matter is the Law of the Jungle -- which is the Law of Tooth and Claw. Stockpile those weapons, your teeth and claws, and know how to use them. Ammunition will get short at some point, so you need to be able to deploy the old stand-bys: knives, swords, axes, and spears.

Everyone of them is devastating against the undead. But you have to be efficient. Train hard.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Gear Pr0n: Hanwei Saxon Sword

Our Odin and Thor worshipping ancestors knew a few things about dealing with the undead. The Scandinavians told stories of revenants they called Draugr. These things didn't often leave the great barrows in which they were buried, and were mostly interested in protecting the wealth and grave goods that had been buried with them. They were still dangerous as draugr had magical powers and superhuman strength. But a stout hearted hero could still use three feet of good, cold steel to finish them off.
Which brings us to the new Hanwei Saxon sword. Based on an actual blade found in England this beautiful modern replica recreates the pattern welding used to forge the original Saxon swords, and frequently used in other fine swords of the Viking Age. This is the weapon of a hero.

The sword is named Saxon because it is reminiscent of late Saxon-type swords, however, high quality Saxon swords often feel into the hands of their enemies, the Danes and Norse, so we can't be certain who wielded the original. No matter, it's a fine weapon whoever smote mighty blows with its edge.

Viking Age swords are one handed and were intended to be used in conjunction with a shield. Parrying was done with the shield, not with the fine blade of the sword. Recent experimental archaeological use (yes, by scholars bashing about with wooden swords and shields) seems to indicate the swordsman was quite active in manipulating his shield. However, it is still unclear how fighting in the typical, close formation of the "Shield Wall" would've changed this. We are pretty sure the common attacks against the Shield Wall were aimed low, under the rim of the shield at the legs and ankles.

This threat is somewhat analogous to the use of these weapons against the modern zombie. The Shield can be used to ward a zombie, and the sword is as effective as it always was at destroying the brain. But a zombie can sneak in under the shield and inflict a bite. So while the sword and shield combination is attractive for the modern zombie hunter, it has its weaknesses as well.

Fine Art: Zombiscape

The horrific nature of zombie has not made them a popular subject for fine art, but they do sometimes appear as symbols of decay and collapse in society. In this painting by Flemish Romantic artist Pils Laroof, we see the citizens of a Classical period co-mingling with the undead. The serenity of the scene is disturbed by the punctuations of the unwelcome undead. Clearly something is rotten.

Sea Monster Short

A quick montage of sea monsters.

Gear Pr0n: H&K MP7A1 Personal Defense Weapon

The Heckler and Koch MP7A1 is intended as a replacement for both the military service pistol and the submachine gun for those soldiers who face the occasional serious threat but don't need the weight of an assault rifle. Frankly, I don't know a military threat that isn't "serious," but I understand that not everyone needs an assault rifle's weight. I'm always looking to lighten my load. This tool has excellent characteristics for a CQB weapon, and might be perfect for hunting some of the lightweight beasties Flint and I go looking for.

FMA Week: Making knives

British martial artist and TV host Chris Crudelli investigates traditional methods of making fighting knives in the Philippines.

FMA Week: Human Weapon Escrima Part 5

The final installment of HW's Escrima. Will Jason win his stick-fighting match against an Escrima champion?