Saturday, October 29, 2011

Zombie Defense ...

    Halloween is fast approaching and I feel its time to discuss zombies. Not everything about them, that would take (and has taken) an entire book. Indeed the horror movie sub-genre of "zombie movies" has a wonderful following around the world. This post will not go more in depth to "zombie lore". What this post will cover is some basic survival information should the Zombie Apocalypse ever occur.
    Specifically, I want to talk about weapon choices and planning. The army has a saying, "Always remember your five P's". Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. There are others like, "Luck favors the prepared" or even, "Blades don't need reloading". All very good pieces of advice.
    Bladed or even blunt, bludgeoning weapons are an important part of your Zombie defense arsenal. I am not denying that at all. Just don't go looking for a sword if you have never handled on before. Instead look for a "peasant weapon". These are anything you can get your hands on. Axes, machetes, knives and even picks or baseball bats. Anything that you can swing repeatedly. Remember, zombies don't get tired but you will.
    That's why I am concerned with ranged weapons. I don't want them getting close enough to use a lead pipe. Bows and crossbows are always a good choice for two major reasons. First they make little to no noise that can attract other zombies to your location. Second the arrows (or "bolt" for crossbows) can be recovered later and reused. The downside is of course the strings can, and do wear out so finding replacements can prove problematic. If you do decide on one of these as your primary weapon make sure you have extra strings and other parts and that you are familiar with their use and maintenance. This is of course true with any weapon or tool.
    My personal choice is High Point Firearms 9mm Carbine. I don't personally own this weapon, yet. Getting a 9mm carbine past my wife and into the budget takes some work. I won't go into detail about that here, but rest assured I do plan on getting one. I digress.
    This weapon is a good choice for a few reasons. First, it uses standard 9mm ammunition that can be obtained from just about anywhere. Most military, law enforcement, and security people use the standard 9mm ammunition that this weapon uses. Now I know what your thinking, what good is a pistol bullet going to do? Plenty. With the longer barrel length accuracy ranges should be nearly tripled over a hand gun. Besides, the popular MP5 submachine gun uses the same ammo but costs around $4,000.
    Using the same ammunition as your side arm means keeping track of fewer items. 9mm ammunition is very small and you can carry a lot of it in a fairly small space. I do recommend having a 9mm pistol as a side arm for when things get really close, say less than 20 feet.
    It also has a wide array of attachments that can be added. While the laser may not be that useful in most situations, the flashlight most certainly would be. Given the right "tactical" light and you can have an on/off switch moved to the forearm or forward grip of the weapon. This lets you control the light without letting go of the weapon.
    Of course it would be better if the High Point Carbine would also accept a standard magazine, such as those made by Glock or even Beretta. This would give you the added advantage of reusing magazines in multiple weapons. But, it doesn't. Still, using the same ammo and saves you a lot of worry about accidentally trying to load the wrong type into your weapon.
    9mm rounds can also be made mostly silent by means that I won't cover here. This would make it as useful as a crossbow or other such weapons in not attracting other zombies to your location. It is much lighter than most "assault rifles" and is easy to operate, even by a novice.
    That is my pick for my "Primary Zombie Defense Weapon". The High Point Firearms 9mm Carbine wins out on more than enough features to push it to the top. While not a perfect choice, a starting price of only $274 makes it very compelling. The money I save now I can use later for other items, such as a better first aid kit, which is a good idea to have anyway, or even more ammunition.
    Until next time remember your five "P's.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Some interesting stats ...

    I was just looking at my statistics for my blog and I got some interesting numbers. Keep in mind that most of the time I never look at these things as I really don't have any idea how to effectively use such information. I am not an analyst. Yet the information is available so I looked anyway. Blogger.com keeps track of all these numbers automatically so I haven't really had to "do" anything to get them, besides look at the page they are on.

    For "Web browsers" that visit my blog, Safari ranks number one with 58% of all visitors using it. Firefox came in second with 26% and Microsoft Internet Explorer came in last at 14%.

    For Operating system Apple Macs won out again by a lot at 54%, while windows was only at 22%. Linux came in third at 17% leaving Blackberry and the Apple iPad to get 2% each.

    Well that's all great, but what does it mean? Not much really. Even though I myself use a mac, none of these "page views" are from me. There is a setting in blogger.com that prevents it from counting a view if I am logged in, which is always. So none of these are from me. I don't have any iOS devices so those are out as well. I don't even know anyone who uses a Blackberry.

    For one thing, I noticed that it separates iPad and Mac, but I am sure that iPhone uses safari as well, and it doesn't show me those. Also, I am not sure if Googles Android OS would show up separately or as Linux.

    I think it is because I talk so much about Mac's and Cocoa programming and generally a lot about Apple that just more people with Mac's tend to find my blog. Not that I really care how or why a person gets on the internet, but it is nice to see that people do actually read this stuff from time to time.

    Still, it is a good reminder that companies do track this sort of information. I suppose I could read into this that my "target audience" should be Mac users running "Safari". I don't think I will.

    For whatever it's worth, these are my bog stats for that last month. I won't post actual page visits or any "real" numbers, there really is no need, and I really don't care enough about actual numbers to put it all down. Still, these numbers are fairly interesting and I often wonder who are all these people that actually visits my blog. I guess anonymity is worth something. Until next time ...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Its been a very busy time ...

Work, work, work ...

It's all I seem to have time for these days. From employee health issues, to staying on top of paper work it has been a very busy couple of months for me. The upcoming holidays don't seem to be helping much either.

At one point I wondered if I would have time to stay on top of a blog. As I said in many of my early posts, I didn't know if I was up to it. It does require a certain amount of persistence. It has been over two months since my last post and I do apologize. I have decided to recommit myself to this blog and try to push through till the end of the year.

Stress management is more useful and not nearly as scary as one might think. When most people think of stress management they tend to get visions of yoga classes, or meditating. Something that is generally relaxing and peaceful. Not always true I have discovered.

This month, I, the man with an admitted fear of large bodies of water, went scuba diving. Not for very long mind you, but I went. I started off by holding on to the side of the boat of just holding my face under the surface to get used to breathing pure oxygen while trying not to panic. Just getting that far took me almost an hour of practice. I was ready to dive, or so I thought.

The instructor was very friendly and encouraging. He took me some fifty to sixty feet down a guide rope to the ocean floor. After more than a few panic attacks I was at the bottom, clinging to the guide rope for all I was worth. I would panic, and force myself to breath regularly about every 15 seconds. The instructor went back to the surface to get another member of the dive group and bring them down. I was alone at the bottom the ocean. It was spectacular.

The water was amazingly clear and I could see everything. The rocky cliff a few hundred feet away, the school of tropical fish swimming by, the giant sea turtle that had decided to swim circles around me, and even something that looked like an eel making its way across the ocean floor.

For what seemed like an eternity I was completely entranced by this strange and beautiful new world. In reality it was less than five minutes. I tried to look up and my mask came loose, water flooded my vision. I started to panic. Somehow I managed to remember the steps to clear the mask and I did. I started to calm down again.

I looked for the giant sea turtle again, but could not find it. Then, without warning, the respirator (the part that allows me to breath) came out of mouth. I frantically forced it back in to my mouth and tried clearing it as I had been instructed only an hour or so before. I swallowed what felt like a gallon or more sea water before I got it clear. But, the damage was done, and so was I.

I met the instructor about half way back up the rope and used the hand signal he had taught me to indicate my distress and and that I was going back up. He followed me up to ensure I was ok before handing me over to another instructor already on the boat and heading back down with the other members of the group.

Only one person (who shall remain nameless) also chickened out of the dive. The rest enjoyed nearly forty minutes along the ocean floor and even got to play with a friendly octopus. I was happy for them and glad they had a good time.

I have been deployed with the United States Army to both Iraq and Afghanistan. I have been shot at, mortared, had rockets and RPG's fired at me, and more. None of that scared me to anything close to the levels of fear I felt at the ocean floor. I was terrified. And I liked it.

The adrenaline rush was stronger than anything I have ever felt, ever. I am not sure when I will get the time or opportunity to do it again, but I will do it again. Hopefully very soon.

On a side note, one member of the group was an eight year old boy who successfully did his first solo dive and gained his solo diving certification. Yes, an eight year old boy was braver than me that day.

It wasn't until my next day at work that I realized how much stress I had let go of that day. I was in a much better mood than I had been in a very long time. As I feel that stress returning I think of that dive, and the ocean. I am wondering when and even "if" I will be returning to that magical place at the bottom of the ocean. That place of such intense beauty and fear.