Friday, September 30, 2011

Fun Stuff, Cool Stuff, and Scott Kenemore...

          This has been a fun week to say the least.  I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I came in contact with Scott Kenemore, one of the funniest zombie authors I’ve ever read, and I made chocolate chip cookies (which, by the way, were delicious).  Now some of you might be thinking, “Jack, you?  A mild-mannered, boring, humorless S.O.B who wouldn’t know comedy or fame if they busted the tail lights of your minivan?  How on earth did you convince anyone to actually speak with you?  Well, it was simple.  It involved an ancient, long-forgotten technique previously known as “asking nicely.”  Now, for some of you, (and by some of you, I mean you Tom, you) this might be a somewhat abstract concept, so I’m not asking you to understand my methods, only to accept their results.  It took some effort (and by effort, I mean Google-ing), and after a week of searching (and by week, I mean 3 Google searches) I found Scott’s blog.  Immediately after finding his email in the back corners of the “Contact” tab (and by back corners, I mean on the top-ish of the page), I typed up an email, trying meagerly to hide my excitement, and then prayed to god that he’d receive it well.  In an action I’ll never fully understand, whether out of pride or pity, Scott answered my brief set of somewhat poorly written interview questions, and the following is a post based around those questions and his responses.  You are now reading:

Jack’s Highly Classified Zombie Survival Guide: DOUBLE FEATURE!

Jack: “Would you rather have a zombie weapon with a blade (i.e. and Ax) or with a barrel (i.e. a Shotgun/Handgun/Sniper gun...)?”

Scott: “I would rather have a zombie weapon that explodes.  Homemade Molotov cocktails, for example. . .”

          Amen Scott, amen.   As much as I love my guns, knives, and wicked weapons of wickedness, a Molotov cocktail is definitely a weapon of terrifying……wickedness.  Anyways, the Molotov is an amazing weapon, and as far as homemade weapons go, it’s as good as it gets.  A do-it-yourself hand grenade that doubles as a poor man’s incendiary explosive is great by any standards.  There is very little on earth (short of a cockroach) that can withstand one of these things head on (‘cause, ya know, cockroaches are tough little creeps).  Despite its effectiveness, the one issue that keeps it from being epic is the fact that it’s still (like the shotgun……and cockroaches) designed for the sole purpose of screwing shit up.  It lacks versatility, but you can’t deny that, as far as homemade explosives go, nothing beats the Molotov.

Jack: “If you could pick one thing to take with you from your house in the event of the zombie apocalypse, what would you bring and why?”

Scott: “I'd bring the giant meat cleaver I bought in Chinatown.  The reason for this selection should be obvious, I think...”

          Well, it needs to be said, so I might as well say it; what is pictured above, is not a meat cleaver bought in Chinatown.  I know, I know, everyone’s disappointed, and I apologize for that, but there are times when a man has to do his own thing.  There are also times when a man decides to stay up until 4:30 in the morning playing Global Agenda instead of working on his Friday post, wakes up in the morning and realizes he has absolutely no time to finish the project the way he intended to (care to guess which time this is?).  Having said that, we’re going to talk about the Machete, in a post I’d previously written, and intended to put up last Monday.

          So, the Machete, as iconic as the Fire Ax and Shotgun combined, there is very little that beats this weapon.  It wouldn’t have two separate variants on Zombie Tools if it wasn’t the single most awesome zombie slashing tool on the face of the earth.  There is very little that beats this weapon when it comes to sheer cutting power.  Not only that, but because of its relatively small size and weight (compared to, ya know, everything else) it can be carried anywhere, used anywhere, and make you look like a badass everywhere.  However despite general awesomeness, the Machete (like, ya know, everything else) has its drawbacks.  The first, and most dominant, is versatility.  Like the shotgun (and…wait for it……cockroaches) it’s designed for a purpose; of which the Machete’s is hacking limbs to the shotguns…well…we’ve been over this.  Point being, the Machete’s still carries an acceptable amount of weight behind it, being both usable and accessible, it’s absolutely a must have for anyone who wants to live through the first week of the apocalypse (or a camping trip to hell*)

P.S. A big thank-you to Scott, if only for taking the time...


Friday, September 23, 2011

Showman Stuff: Shotguns, specifically the Mossberg 500 series, Part 1

The Showman (or the “Michael Bay”):  
          Top of the line tech that blurs the line between performance and pleasure, the equipment here is designed for one thing, and one thing only:  to create the biggest spectacle on the face of the earth, regardless of effectiveness, cost, or personal safety.  If you want to have the most fun you have ever had in your life, with the intense possibility of dying young, then the Showman is made for you…and the enjoyment of everyone who’s ever known you.

          Let’s assume for a second that zombies feel fear.  Let’s also assume that they can think.  Now let’s say that you’re alone, facing a wall of rotting retirement home nurses.  Let’s assume that they see you, standing there, with a 400 round bandolier, and the Mossberg 590 over your shoulder (‘cause, ya know, you’re a badass).  Now, taking all current assumptions into consideration, how scared shitless do you think these undead waste-of-spaces are? Very scared shitless, that’s how.  Unfortunately, these are assumptions, and we all know what happens when you assume right?  You get your brain eaten by your undead grandma, that’s what.
          So let’s assume that zombies are still stupid, and they’re running at you in a giant slobbering mass.  Now you’re standing at the end of a long, thin hallway, (an ideal choke point) with your 400 round bandolier and the Mossberg 590 over your shoulder (‘cause, ya know, you’re still a badass).  Now, taking all that into consideration, how much ass do you think you can kick with a classic spread weapon, more ammunition and willpower than the Punisher and a complete lack of bubble gum?  A ton of ass, that’s how much.  Fortunately, these are facts, not assumptions, so you can sleep in peace knowing that Jimmy the Zombie is lying on the floor in a puddle of zombie blood minus everything from the waist up.
          There are few weapons that’ve appeared more often in epic zombie tales than the shotgun.  Like the fire ax, this is a must-have for any zombie survival flick.  There is nothing nearly as satisfying as watching a zombie’s head explode like a balloon of brain, blood, guts, skin, head lice, and dandruff (Imagine Scanners, except zombies).  The shotgun is definitely one of the most effective mid-range weapons for blasting the undead into tiny, tiny, tiny pieces.

          However, despite its non-negotiable, self-evident awesomeness, there are still a few minor issues with the shotgun.  The first is that it’s not a very versatile weapon.  However, what it lacks in ultimate situational potential, it sure as hell makes up for in ultimate situational epicness.  The second issue is the fact that, at the end of the day, the weapon runs on ammunition, and at the end of the day, we all know that you will run out of ammunition; this (no matter how disappointing) is an important fact of life.  But despite these small hiccups, one can’t overlook the fact that this weapon, regardless of versatility, was designed for a job, and damn, does it do its job well.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Zombie Eye: Almost Relevant Writings

Welcome to Hell, or "Zombie Eye." As it stands, it's a bi-weekly column of barely relevant stuff that has no bearing whatsoever in survival, or anything else for that matter. Just pure, clean, crystal-clear stupidity operating at its finest, churning out the randomnesses that are these Almost Relevant Writings.

Why the Zombie Apocalypse will save America (and the world):

          There are an incredible amount of things wrong with this country. Taxes, national debt, poverty, war, auto insurance, the fact that Linkin Park hasn’t released a good album since Meteora , Saturday morning cartoons going down the porcelain express ever since Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends was taken off the air, not to mention Texas. If this doesn’t prove to you that society has hit rock bottom, then watch Good Morning America every now and then and you’ll realize how deep of a hole we’re in.
So yeah, we definitely have got problems, but the answer to them all however, cannot be found in books, money, and sure as hell not in Michele Bachmann. The solution is in your local cemetery rotting away 6 feet under. A radical destabilization of the government through the means of a demonic attack of flesh hungry undead is the only way to save this nation (and the world) from running out of oil, polluting the environment, and Elton John (he’d be the first to go).

          Now I know a few of you must be thinking, “Jack, you sound like one of them no-good, dirty, Red, soviet, anarchist, atheist, terrorist-type people. What you’re saying is obviously blasphemy against this Constitution of these United States of America (which was written in the sacred blood of George Washington after he defeated the 31st Balloon Brigade of General Cornwallis). I’d bet you listen to Jimi Hendrix backwards while clutching to a satanic bible in the warmth of a burning star-spangled banner.” To which I say, “You must be the crotchety, racist neighbor I was telling everyone about. Better run to Canada while you still have the chance. Now get out of my face, you’re blocking all the heat.” We can wait for this country to fix itself, or we can wait for the apocalypse to fix it for us. Personally, I’m all for the latter; just standing here, waiting in endless defiance for the undead to repair my shoddy credit score.

          Now that I’ve insulted people who take pride in the country, people who watch cartoon network, Elton John, Good Morning America, and the entire population of Texas, and my one reader in Germany, you (if you’re still here) should head over to the Misleading Movie Hit-list, where my buddy Tommy will tear apart your childhood memories. Scratch that, Hollywood’s doing it for him.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Chef Stuff: The Fire Ax

The Chef:   
          The gear here is sharp, quick, and has the Kentucky-Fried guarantee to disembowel anything that limps within a 6 foot radius or your person.   There’s no technique here beyond knowing which end is pointy, and how hard you want to swing.  Simple, deadly, and incredibly low maintenance, the tools here create an image of carnage and awesomeness singing a duet at your local nightclub.

          There are few tools/weapons as iconic as the Fire Ax. It goes without saying that a badass, ax-wielding survivor is a requirement in any good zombie flick. Zombies and bladed death-machines like this one go together like peanut-butter and jelly, or peanut butter and crackers, or 2001: A Space Odyssey and permanent brain damage. Even in the real world, this killing tool of immense epicness is one of the most effective pieces of equipment in your crotchety, racist neighbor's arsenal (see "Exploding Stuff"). For the purpose of comparing one weapon to another, I've taken the liberty of using complex mathematical, logical, logistical, and logarithmic equations to rate each weapon based on the product of its usability, accessibility, and versatility. The resulting number is its Survival Score (synonymous with "Rating of Awesomeness"). In this case, the Fire Ax is definitely one of the most effective Zombie Weapons on the planet.

           For example, say you're in an abandoned warehouse. Now, unlike that time you were stuck in Hell (Montana), you came prepared. After learning your lesson from the last time, you dumped the FF comics out of your backpack into a giant pile on the floor. You then proceeded to burn that pile to a heap of smoldering ash, laughing maniacally all the while. You traded out the Fiber One for some Three Musketeers, and filled all the space you had left with glow sticks, machetes, guns, ammunition, explosives, guns, a few more Three Musketeers, a flashlight, bite-proof clothing, more guns and a Fire Ax. Now looking like the epic love child of Mad Max (as in "The" Mad Max) and Eli (as in "The Book of..."), you are literally oozing badassery out of your pores. There is literally nothing in the world you can't take down. This is all (in case you didn't know) because of the Fire Ax. So when cousin Billy (whom you never really liked in the first place) is running at you, you can cut him down without a second thought (infected or not, with Billy, it's better not to take any chances).

Friday, September 16, 2011

Exploding Stuff

The basic rules, principles and techniques of epic guns and kickass explosions.
          Now that we’ve covered knives, swords, and when you should/shouldn’t use them, let’s get to the stuff you really care about; The Showman (or “Michael Bay”)

          There are very few problems on earth that can’t be solved by the careful application of guns, high explosives, and guns that shoot high explosives.  Therefore it is extremely important to have access to all of those when defending yourself from an army of darkness.  Now, you may be thinking, “Jack, I’m just a normal, white, middle class suburbanite living in a nice neighborhood in a two store house with a white picket fence with my 2.5 kids in the middle of the American Midwest.  Where am I supposed to find things like shotguns and nitroglycerine?”  Never fear my friend, for if you truly are living in the American Midwest, I guarantee you that at least one of your crotchety, racist old neighbors are exercising their second amendment rights; so when they inevitably die soon after the infection spreads due to their inability to live without social security, it will be perfectly okay to raid their garages for enough ammunition to turn god-mode on and never turn it off.

          The most important thing one should understand about The Showman is that it is completely unsafe.  Seriously, if you have any sense of personal safety, this is not for you.  You have to physically override every survival instinct you have.  Having said that, it’s also so much fun!  Seriously, if you’ve ever just wanted to light something on fire just to see what would happen, this is absolutely for you.  If you were that older brother who strapped his little sister’s Barbie dolls to bottle rockets just for sadistic pleasure, The Showman was designed specifically for you!  Survivability aside, there are a few things that must be made clear; your end-goal should always be survival.  However, where The Chef prefers survival that looks something like a field domination and final score of Humans: 5.7 Billion-Zombies: 0, The Showman looks more like an epic fourth quarter win after coming back from a half-time drop of somewhere around 1 million points.  Ideally, your chance of living is slim, but your chance of complete awesomeness, has never been higher.

Sharp Stuff

Pointy things, why you should have them, and which ones you should have.
          The most defining characteristic of The Chef is that it’s flexible, and adaptable.  Anyone can become a Chef through the careful application of kitchen knives and/or samurai swords.  Essentially speaking, so long as it has a blade, you can use almost anything to put together your own undead re-murdering kit.  It should be made clear though that there are two types of blades; the kind that have reach, and the kind that (applied incorrectly) will get you killed. 
          For example, when Aunt Jennie is coming at you with Uncle Bob’s intestines falling from her mouth, and covered from head to 60’s mini-skirt in blood and zombie juice, you don’t want to get any closer to her than you have to (you never wanted to in the first place, but it’s especially more so now).  In this specific case, you do not want to be armed with a chipped Miracle Blade left over from when your mom was on her telemarketer kick.  You want something with reach.  Meaning a fire ax, a chopping ax, a throwing ax, a freaking hatchet, etc.  Reach means not only that you’ll be able to keep Aunt Jennie back, but also that each strike will have a reasonable amount of momentum behind it.  Momentum means force, and force means cutting power, and cutting power means Aunt Jennie’s double chin’s gonna become single real fast.
          However, one shouldn’t rely on being able to constantly go medieval on the undead, because we all know that there will be times when six foot tall claymores (more on them later) will not be as effective as your 1 ½ foot long machete.  Say you’re in an elevator at your local library, and Sally Sue, branch manager, is stuck in there with you.  Now she’s trying to eat your brain, and naturally, being a sane, normal, uninfected survivor, that’s the last thing you want.  If you had a three foot long fire ax in the elevator with you, it’s gonna be difficult to swing that thing around hard enough to finish things before they finish you.  It’s for reasons like that to be prudent and logical about your choice of weaponry.  If you’re going to be fighting in broom closets and small hallways, than you might not want to be carrying that katana around.  If you’re fighting in your local state park, by all means, bring the katana.  If you’re fighting in both kinds of environments, bring everything, preparation is key.

Overview of Important Stuff

Weapons, Sports Gear, Gardening Tools, and what they mean to you.
          There are a few pieces of must-have tech necessary to survive a storm of flesh hungry corpses.  These items can be found anywhere from your local Lowe's to your softball-playing little sister.  And I figure that it would be simplest to divide these pieces of precise, technical equipment into two unique load-outs:

#1 The Chef:   
          The gear here is sharp, quick, and has the Kentucky-Fried guarantee to disembowel anything that limps within a 6 foot radius or your person.   There’s no technique here beyond knowing which end is pointy, and how hard you want to swing.  Simple, deadly, and incredibly low maintenance, the tools here create an image of carnage and awesomeness singing a duet at your local nightclub. 

#2 The Showman (or the “Michael Bay”):  
          Top of the line tech that blurs the line between performance and pleasure, the equipment here is designed for one thing, and one thing only:  to create the biggest spectacle on the face of the earth, regardless of effectiveness, cost, or personal safety.  If you want to have the most fun you have ever had in your life, with the intense possibility of dying young, then the Showman is made for you…and the enjoyment of everyone who’s ever known you.

          From now on, all weapons discussed will fall into one of these two categories, learn them, live them, love them.