Article – Zombie-proof log cabin has 10-year anti-zombie guarantee

You hear the horrifying groans. Decaying hands scrabble at the door, trying to find a way in. They want to eat you. You sit down on the sofa, kick your feet up and open a can of Spam. No worries. You’re inside a Zombie Fortification Cabin from Tiger Log Cabins. All you have to do now is wait in safety and comfort for the zombie apocalypse to blow over.

The ZFC-1 is a log cabin kit designed with the walking dead in mind. The structure consists of three connected buildings. It comes stocked with reinforced slit windows, walls and doors; a barbed-wire surround; an escape hatch on top; and a living room with Xbox, TV and sound system. It comes with an arsenal storage unit to secure your anti-zombie weaponry. There’s also a toilet system, garage, kitchen area with microwave and an upper deck with a full view all around so you can keep an eye out for the oncoming horde. A garden section means you won’t have to take over an abandoned prison to start a small produce farm.

The interior looks like a cross between Ikea and the bunker from ‘Lost’. Still, it’s a fun thing to wargame in your head…designing your apocalypse-friendly house. I kinda like that concrete one from a few posts back better, though.


Comments seem to be down. Trying to get a handle on it. Hold that thought.

Update 19:51 – I think I got it, but it looks a touch wobbly. We’ll see.

Update 20:10 – Nope. Still not working right.

Update 20:30 – A couple re-installs dont help. I suspect the problem is server-side on Yahoo’s end of things. They’ve been having some hiccups for the last couple days. I’m going to continue to tinker a bit but I suspect the real solution is being patient and waiting for Yahoo to get their act together. A systems status message can be found here.

Update 00:19 – Maybe.

Update 00:30 – If I log out as admin, and leave a comment as a regular user it seems to work. The comment is dumped into the ‘pending review’ folder. BUT…when I try it on two other computers using Chrome, I get redirect errors. This computer im using now uses Firefox and it *seems* like thats working. Im still not unconvinced Yahoo isn’t having some issues. We’ll see in the morning. Feel free to try and comment to this..let me know your browser.


Fun with mylar and first aid supplies

Part of being prepared means that a lot (!) of stuff spends a looooooong time sitting around unattended waiting for that moment that, honestly, may never come. But if it does come, that gear needs to be in operating condition and ready to perform…otherwise its just been a waste of space and instiller of a false sense of security.

Some stuff stores really well. Drop some ammo in a new metal ammo can, sit it on a shelf, come back in 50 years and it’s probably gonna be perfect. Sadly, other stuff is not as durable…without some help.

I keep a couple first aid kits laying around and packed up, ready to be dropped into a backpack or jacket pocket for t hose hunting and fishing trips. As you can imagine, first aid stuff needs to be kept dry, clean, and prefereably in its original sterile packaging. Most of the time, the factory packaging is good enough but there are those times that you can kinda foresee things being a little rough-n-tumble and you might wanna hedge your bets.

So…a couple weeks ago I picked up a Hand Held Heat Sealer to go with the mylar bags I bought a few months ago. Mylar bags are nothing new, if you do any type of food storage you probably have some experience with them. However, didja know that they come in varying thicknesses? Oh yes, they can be had in a gossamer wispy thickness all the way up to something that looks like it will stop bullets. That bullet-stopping thickness is where I started my purchasing.

IMG_1864My goal was really quite simple – when I go hunting I want a small-ish pocket first aid kit that will be absolutely 100% impervious to the environment. Now, a lot of times that means something like a little pocket-size Pelican case. However, I wanted something a) disposable and b) flexible. I wound up getting samples of several sizes and thicknesses of mylar bag and eventually settled on these. They are 7.5 mil thick and about 5″x8″ with a resealable closure to keep everything in one place. I wasn’t trying to fit a surgical suite in there, just the usual combination of gauze, pads, bandages and tape to let me fix whatever owies are incurred in a day of tromping through the boonies.

Never having been satisfied with premade first-aid kits, I figured I’d just assemble it using components I felt were necessary for my anticipated usage…buncha Telfa pads in varying sizes, assorted adhesive bandages, some rolled gauze, gauze pads, triple antibiotic, assorted pills, and some tape. No muss, no fuss. My anticipated owies when afield are fairly simple – cuts, tears, scrapes, perhaps a burn. I want to be able to stop the leaking and prevent infection until i can get out of wherever I am and get back to a real medical facility or at least back to my house where I can do a more professional job of skinfixing.

IMG_1865So I played around a bit and found that if you carefully tetris* your supplies, you can fit quite a bit into what appears to be a small space. Once the bag as sealed, I took a Sharpie and listed out the contents on the bag. A more professional way to do it would have been to print a nice adhesive label, but for a first effort I think I’ll be okay. So, that gets tucked into my hunting pack and it should stay pretty much impervious to any inclement weather or conditions that get dumped on me. In the future I’ll probably throw some dessicant in there. Or maybe not. need to think about the good/bad effects of that.

So…after making a handful of these things I still have a sheaf of mylar bags. What to do? Well, a box of 50 rounds of pistol ammo will fit in there nicely. So will a change of socks and underwear. Really, anything that I’d like to keep perfectly clean and dry for a long period of time will work. This is the sort of thing that is ‘only limited by your imagination’ and, well…Im a pretty imaginative guy.

The heat sealer was a hundred bucks and its a made-in-China piece of work. I suspect you could get the same effect with a $20 hair straightener and in the past I’ve simply used an iron. But the ‘waffle’ pattern lends an air of neatness, and its a more fumble-free method than juggling an iron and a straight edge to seal the bag. The mylar bags, in small quantities, are around fifty cents, depending on size and thickness, but that still puts them in the realm of disposable-without-regret. If you have some small (or small-ish) items you want to protect..small radios, parts, first aid stuff, medications, etc….you may want to check out getting a similar setup for yourself. Pick up some dessicant or oxygen absorbers while youre at it. (Although, I am told, you don’t use both in the same package.)


* = Yes, tetris is now a verb.

Article – Dig in for apocalypse in a practically invisible ‘Bunker Moderne’ home

This partially buried home in Southern California combines the luxury of a multimillion-dollar estate with the practicality of a concrete bunker.

Made of steel-reinforced concrete, it’s carved into the Santa Monica Mountains’ Saddle Peak and practically indestructible. (Really: Its astounding resilience is documented. The house survived the 1993 Old Topanga firestorm that burned homes on Saddle Peak “faster than kids eat candy,” in the Los Angeles’ Times phrase. Environmentalist Mary Ellen Strote had commissioned the earth-sheltered house a few years earlier, and she told the Times after the firestorm: “There is no worse case than this. I did not have one bit of damage inside the house.” The concrete house was restored to tiptop shape by a simple steam cleaning of scorch marks — whereas a traditional wooden house on her property had been reduced to ash.)


I like this design. Without getting too geeky, its kinda reminiscent of Skywalker’s abode in the original Start Wars movie. I like the idea of a below-ground atrium and the rest of the residence opening onto it. Its hard to do bunker-style housing with concrete that doesn’t look like a bunker and this seems to handle it pretty nicely. I bet this would be an excellent choice for the desert environs.

Baselines and false standards

Years ago, I was in one of those cheesy ‘dollar stores’ picking up some calculators for use in the shop. I picked up five of them, for a dollar each. Typical flimsy made-in-China LCD calculator. A few months after that I was doing some bullet weight/quantity equation…something like “how many 240 grain bullets in a 70# box”, or some similar equation. Anyway, I did the math in my head and then checked it against the calculator. I was wrong. Huh? Okay, got a pen and paper and ran the numbers again. Checked against the calculator, still wrong. Hmm. I got distracted by some other stuff and put the issue away for a few days. When I got back to it, I got lazy and used the calculator function on my computer…and got a different number than running the same equation on the calculator. The dollar calculator was wrong. (Although it is possible that my computer and myself were wrong, but that seemed pretty unlikely.) At this point I was a little surprised…I mean, when was the last time you caught a calculator doing bad math? My trust in the inherent infallibility of the calculator was so strong that when my own calculation with pencil and paper said something different I was doubtful of my math rather than that of the calculator.

The point? Nothing is infallible. But more importantly, I was so confident in the calculator that I was willing to doubt every other solution to the equation because “calculators don’t give wrong answers”.

Know what a baseline is? Its the point of reference that is used to measure other things. Kind of like those little surveyor marks in the ground. The answer given by that calculator was my baseline for the answer to that problem. If the answer, from any other source, didnt match the answer from the calculator, then those other answers must be wrong.As it turned out, the opposite was true.

How do you tell if someone has a fever? Well, our baseline is 98.6 degrees being the ‘norm’ anything above that is a fever. But if you didnt know what the normal temperature of a human was, and you simply took the average of the first ten humans you met, you might come up with something different…especially if a couple of those humans weren’t healthy. You might come up with 100.1 as your baseline and think that anyone with a temperature of 99.9 is simply a little cooler than most when in actuality, its a fever.

In preparedness, we establish all sorts of baselines to give us a metric for our planning purposes. We constantly hear “two gallons of water per day, per person” and so when we calculate a weeks supply of water for ourselves we use those numbers. And the guy in New Mexico in August winds up getting really thirsty. But the baseline was two gallons per day, and if thats not enough for him he must have done something wrong, right?…exerted himself too much, not stayed in the shade as long as he should have, etc, etc…but it must have been his fault because the accepted baseline was not working for him. As was once posited in Star Trek, maybe youre right and its the universe thats wrong.

We hear “2000 calories per day” for the average person. But the average person isn’t undergoing the huge stress, adrenalin dumps, sleepless nights, moments of panic, periods of intense labor, and physical demands that a disaster or apocalypse is going to bring.

These numbers are as good a jumping off point as any at which to start your planning, but blindly accepting them at face value will give you faulty data. A very easy example: a years supply of toilet paper is how many rolls? Now go ask your wife. Two different baseline assumptions giving two different answers to the same question.

A very large part of preparedness is storing stuff, right? And we calculate how much of that stuff we think we’ll need, right? But where are we getting those numbers from? Six months of food for you may not be what I envision six months of food looking like for me.

So, next time someone says “Lifetime supply”, “one month supply”, or “72-hour supply” keep in mind that the yardstick their using may not be the same as yours. Always use your own.

Further fun with ebola

So…you take a Third Worlder with Ebola, stick him in a US hospital, crow about how ‘all precautions are being taken, there’s no risk’ and…surprise…someone tests positive for ebola. Dude, you can’t get a hospital to even prevent MRSA, why would you think that ebola is going to be different. Sure, the risk is virtually nil if you wear the protective gear, if you wear it properly, if you clean and decontaminate, if you dispose of materials properly, if, if, if…and all you have to do is be sloppy on one little detail.

This is really becoming a fascinating event to watch unfold.

I’m still waiting for some troubled loner to grab a diaper from the Sierra Leone isolation ward, mail it to his sleeper cell in Virginia, and start smearing it all over doorknobs on Capitol Hill. There has always been a saying that biological weapons were the ‘poor mans nuke’.

Speaking of infectious disease bring about the end of mankind, season five of The Walking Dead starts this weekend. Go forth, appreciate the irony!