Sunday, October 30, 2016

Zombie Defense: Waiting for Z Pizza

I'm waiting for a last minute pizza at Your Pie--one of my favorite brick oven pizza joints.  It's calm now, most of the customers are gone, and the place is just about to close.  Since I have a few minutes until my order is ready, I can't help but wonder what would happen if Zombies showed up at the door.

What if Zombies lurked outside?
If Zombies did show up, we'd have to barricade ourselves in.  There are plenty of stout wooden tables that we could use as barricades.  They might slow Zombies down a bit.  Plus there are hand rails to guide the crowds into an orderly line up to the counter.   The rails are all made of big heavy metal pipes.  If you could take the rails apart, the pipes themselves would be awesome weapons. But, if the Zombies were here, now, there wouldn't be much time for that.  Instead, we'd have to retreat and look for other protection.

The Brick Oven at my local Your Pie pizza joint
The middle of the restaurant is where they make the pizza.  The huge brick oven has huge oar-like wood and metal spatulas hanging off to the side side.  They would make fearsome pole arms if the staff was forced to make a last stand.  

Pizza Parlor Pole Arms?
The service counters are also protected by thick plexi-glass breath shields that help protect all the fresh ingredients from infectious customers.  I wonder if the staff would let me back there.  They wouldn't sacrifice me to the Zombie horde would they?  I've been a good customer.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Can You Help Others During A Zombie Apocalypse?

One of the big practical and philosophical questions raised in shows like The Walking Dead and Fear of the Walking Dead is -

Can you / should you help other people during a Zombie Apocalypse?

Zombie Photo By Scott Simmons [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

In a world where energy and supplies are scarce and risk of Zombie exposure is high, it's a very tough question.  I think a survivor has an obligation to save life when it is immediately threatened.  There is no question that you should kill a Zombie that is just about to bite one of the living.  However, sharing limited supplies is an entirely different matter.

The supplies that you and your group have gathered are precious and should be used to preserve your own.  Group supplies should only be given when some return on investment is expected.

Everyone Contributes After A Zombie Apocalypse

The old van bumper sticker of the 1970s is germaine to this discussion.  "Gas, Grass, or Ass,"  it read.  "Nobody rides for free."  During a Zombie Apocalypse no one rides for free either.  If a survivor group shares supplies, then the recipient is expected to contribute to the group in some way.

In exchange for help, a recipient should be able to contribute by fighting Zombies, growing food, building fortifications, assisting the wounded, or providing other goods and services.

If you have extra supplies, you can use them shrewdly to build your own power, prestige, influence, and safety.  This is probably how warlords and new civilizations get started.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Planning to Evacuate- Lessons Learned from Hurricane Matthew

When the Zombies or another hurricane comes your way, you may need to evacuate with your loved ones.  Evacuating millions of people is not an easy task for governments or individual evacuees.  Here are a few things that my family learned from evacuating for Hurricane Matthew.

Hurricane Matthew

1.  Evacuate as soon as possible.  If you think you will need to evacuate, don't wait.  If you hit the road before most people, you'll avoid at least some of the heaviest traffic.

2.  Make hotel reservations immediately.  If you think you're going to be evacuating, you'll need to make a hotel reservation right away.  During the Hurricane Matthew evacuation, every hotel that was connected to internet reservation systems completely booked up.  My parents found that all hotels in Georgia off of I-75 and all hotels in Florida off of I-10 were completely booked.  That left only a few non-chain independent hotels and motels with vacancies.

A Motel 6 in Valdosta, GA photo by Michael Rivera (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

3.  Have a list of evacuation locations in mind.  When you visit other parts of the state, note potential evacuation destinations (fish camps, non-branded mom & pop motels, campgrounds, etc.).  I remembered a few independent motels, bed & breakfasts, campgrounds, and fish camps that were off the beaten path in the Florida panhandle.  I was able to work the phone and find them an undisclosed secure location.

4. Gas Up Early.  A full tank of gas makes it easy to bug out.  Gas started to get scarce in North Florida just before the evacuation.  Many evacuees lost valuable time waiting in gas lines.  During hurricane season, staying gassed up is a good idea.

Gas Lines in Summit, N.J., after Hurricane Sandy - photo by Tomwsulcer (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

5.  Pre-cut plywood speeds the process of boarding up.  When my parents returned to Florida, they made sure that they had plywood pre-cut to fit their windows.  They also had anchors drilled into the bricks around the windows and screws set aside.  All of these preps made boarding up a far faster process.

6.  Bring food, water, and snacks for the road.  Traffic often moves slowly during an evacuation.  You'll want to keep moving and minimize pit stops.

7.  Evacuate, but don't believe the hype.  The Weather Channel and other media outlets led everyone to believe that 8 to 10 foot flood surges might obliterate coastal property.  But, in Florida, that prediction didn't come through.  So, keep a positive attitude until you can confirm the damage yourself!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Zombie Fighting Tactics - Mission Planning

If there is ever a Zombie apocalypse, you don't want to be wandering about aimlessly.  Instead, you should consider any excursion outside of your defenses to be a mission.  Each mission should be rigorously planned ahead of time.

US Military, Turkish Military, and Civilian Contractors plan the movement of earthquake relief supplies - Photo By: Cpl. Jimmie Perkins, U.S. Marine Corps [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

On TV, characters usually just get their gear together and roll out.  If your life is at stake, you'll want to be far more careful.  The Army plans small unit missions by asking officers to consider the mission, the enemy, the troops, the terrain, and the time available (METTT).  You can too.

Mission - Why are you going?  What do you expect to achieve?  You need concrete objectives to ensure that there is a well thought out reason for going.

Enemy - Will you be facing zombies or humans or both?  What are the capabilities of the enemy?  How many are there?  How fast can they move?  What kind of weapons do they have?  What is their morale like?  What are their strengths and weaknesses?

Group of Zombies from film - Meat Market 3 - Photo by Joel Friesen [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
 Troops - In The Walking Dead terms:  Do you have five Daryl's and a Mishone or a bunch of scared Alexandria citizens?  You have to honestly assess the condition of your group.  What weapons do you have?  How much ammunition is available?  Are you healthy or wounded?  How fast can you move?  How skilled is your team in moving and fighting?

The Pope's Swiss Guards Could Kick Zombie Ass - photo by [CC BY 3.0 ( or CC BY 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Terrain - Where can you hide?  Where can the enemy hide?  What areas will have the most Zombies?  Where will humans lie in ambush?  What's the best route to your objective?

A Sand Table Used By the Afghan Army to plan route clearance missions - photo By Sgt Bryan Peterson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Time Available - If you need to get medical supplies for a seriously injured family member, you will be operating faster and more urgently.  If this excursion is just to bolster an already bulging supply cabinet, you can move more slowly and more deliberately.

No one is going to transform your family of survivors into a hardened military unit.  But, you can stop, think, and plan before you take action that might have life altering consequences.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Zombie Apocalypse Weapons - Spears, Pikes, Halberds, and other Pole Arms

If you have to reach out and touch a Zombie, it's best to touch a Zombie from a distance.  Unfortunately, guns make noise and attract more Zombies.  Bows and crossbows can be unwieldy in close quarters and hard to reload quickly.  For close quarters fighting against Zombies, bats, hatchets, axes, machetes, and knives are the typical weapons used by survivors.  However, if you had a choice wouldn't it be better to kill a Zombie from a little more of a distance?  When it comes to killing Zombies, you might want to get medieval. 

Castle of Nideggen, exhibits in keep (pole arms, including halbred, voulge and pollaxe).  Photo By Sir Gawain (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

In ancient and medieval times, soldiers used spears, pikes, lances, and other pole arms.  These were intended to allow soldiers to jab enemies from behind a wall of shields or to reach up and engage mounted horsemen.  They typically had spear points that could pierce through armor.  Some weapons such as a halberd had a spike and an axe built in.  Both of these features would be outstanding against Zombies.

When it comes to Zombie killing, a spike or spearhead could penetrate a skull or a spinal cord.  A pole axe might be able to remove a head.  Since Zombies don't feel pain and aren't intimidated by martial displays, they may well impale themselves on a spear or pike.

Unfortunately, when the Zombie apocalypse starts, most people won't have a spear or a halberd laying around.  However, if you are really getting ready, you could be the first in your neighborhood to own a pole arm.  I think the most practical modern pole arm would be the Cold Steel Boar Spear.  But, there are plenty of halberds available on Amazon. In a pinch and with some access to metal working tools a shovel could also be converted into a fearsome anti-zombie weapon.