Apocalyptic Shoe Fetish: Hot Topic

Recently I’ve been feeling some shoe lust. I want all the shoes all the time, especially if they’re boots that could be perfect for the apocalypse. Then I got the Hot Topic e-news (I can’t hear you laughing at me over the sound of my husband laughing at me) and it was filled with boots and studded heels of every make and model. Squee! Continue reading “Apocalyptic Shoe Fetish: Hot Topic”

Review: Orchid Volume 1 (Dark Horse)

When I first heard about Orchid (blurb and facts are down below), the brain child of Rage Against The Machine‘s Tom Morello, I had low expectations. Admittedly, I thought he was already skilled in one area, music, what were the chances he would be skilled in another completely unrelated one, comics.

I’d read interviews and press releases that made me think Orchid would be a heavy-handed political and social diatribe vilifying politicians and the rich and babying the rest of us, barely held together with pictures– pretty much a Chick Tract for social revolution.
When I finally got my hands and eyes on Orchid Volume 1[1. A copy of this title was provided for review by Dark Horse Comics.] I found myself wrapped up in a fast-paced action-adventure starring the quirky and blindly optimistic nerd, Simon, and the surly whore, Orchid, with nothing and everything to lose.
Volume one, covering issues 1-5, is a proper set up of the characters and why we should care about them. This post-apocalyptic world is vast, feeling vaster than the current world at times.
The first couple issues start with historical exposition set over elaborate, intricate scenes. I was reading on my kindle fire and often found myself zooming in to see what all was going on. Tom Morello (writer) and Scott Hepburn (artist) brought this somewhat over done setting new life. From fascinating creatures roaming the wild to the concept of people spending generations on “the derelict barges,” it all felt fresh and exciting.

But once the characters took center-stage it was hard to notice much else– though the art stays well done throughout– with the snappy dialogue and constant progress.
Orchid, Simon, and The Mask (this is an actual, literal mask but with so much legend and power it is pretty much a character in its own right) face more than their fair share of foes and near misses. At some points the adventuring hits a lull and I realized this is seriously heavy, seriously sad, and just generally serious.
That’s one of the greatest things about Orchid; it takes the path of children’s stories and parables, the lesson and the story work so well together that I didn’t realize I was being taught.
I was attached to the story and the characters and the world as not only a fantastic place but also the home of these people who deserved better. Before I knew it, after experiencing their world, watching their struggles, triumphs, and failures, and even getting a glimpse at the antagonists, I’d joined their revolution.
Almost every character — the exception being some villains who do seem to be more symbolic power hoarders than individuals– is fleshed out with a back story, from being a simple bridge folk whore to a nerd who wouldn’t be so out of place elsewhere where he was a slave specially trained because of his aptitude[2. I thought Simon was a time traveler when he was first introduced, until his manner of being was explained away sufficiently enough to re-suspend my disbelief].
You’ll be hard pressed to read Orchid and not to be moved or inspired on some level. Maybe simply by Simon’s unwavering courage and idealism, maybe by Orchid as a strong woman, or even by one of the “villains[3. Issue #5 SPOILER: I’m not willing to call Don Barrabas an actual villain so much as a survivor/victim/pawn who aligned with a man, Tomo Wolfe, willing to do right by him to accomplish much greater wrongs.]” who was somewhat of an ugly duckling (if the ugly duckling turned out to be a duck hunter-chef).
Sure, you might not feel you’re now expertly educated about class warfare or moved to “damn the man, save the empire.” But I can definitely say through Tom Morello telling Orchid’s story I felt heard, and seen, and important as a woman, and a person of color, and a nobody with no power or clout. Generally, as a person with things that can be or have been used to marginalize me. In Orchid, all those things that they use against us were the building blocks to make powerful characters, powerful ideas.
At the end of most comics the writer includes a short essay about their thoughts on the work. While I don’t really I care about nearly any issues, including class, in the real world, the passion Tom Morello shows for this project and this message is the kind of passion that can only create great things.

I’ve always been drawn to epic tales. Beowulf, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars. But for me, there was always something missing. I could never entirely get behind the goal. “C’mon, subjects! Let’s get the king back on the throne!” Or “To arms, vassals! Let’s return the princess to glory!” In my book, kings and princesses are the bad guys. But what was really missing from these epic tales was the unspoken but ever present dirty five-letter word: CLASS. Who rules and why? Who has a lot and who has nothing? And why the hell doesn’t somebody do something about it?! In Orchid the cool monsters, the narrow escapes, and epic battles are front and center, but somebody finally does something about the remorseless inequality that mirrors our own world. And that somebody is Orchid.

Orchid is successful as something new and different, something intriguing and engaging, and something worth reading.
I’d stand up to The Hangman for it.
[rating:5/5]
 

The facts about Orchid Volume 1 direct from Dark Horse:

When the seas rose, genetic codes were smashed. Human settlements are ringed by a dense wilderness from which ferocious new animal species prey on the helpless. The high ground belongs to the rich and powerful that overlook swampland shantytowns from their fortress-like cities. Iron-fisted rule ensures order and allows the wealthy to harvest the poor as slaves.
Delve into the first chapter of Orchid, the tale of a teenage prostitute who learns that she is more than the role society has imposed upon her.
CREATORS
Writer: Tom Morello
Artist: Scott Hepburn
Colorist: Dan Jackson
Cover Artist: Massimo Carnevale
Genre: Action/Adventure

Publication Date: July 11, 2012
Format: FC, 112 pages; TP, 7″ x 10″
Price: $17.99
Age range: 14
ISBN-10: 1-59582-965-2
ISBN-13: 978-1-59582-965-8

 

Review: War against the Walking Dead – By Sean T Page.

More than 63% of people now believe that there will be a global zombie apocalypse before 2050…
So, you’ve got your survival guide, you’ve lived through the first chaotic months of the crisis, what next?
Employing real science and pioneering field work, War against the Walking Dead provides a complete blueprint for taking back your country from the rotting clutches of the dead after a zombie apocalypse. 
* Arm yourself with the latest scientific insight from the world’s leading zombiologists including startling new analysis on why survivors must fight back within the first years of the crisis or risk being crushed by unstoppable ‘meta-hordes’ of the walking dead.
* A glimpse inside the mind of the zombie using a team of top psychics – what do the walking dead think about? What lessons can we learn to help us defeat this pervading menace?
* Detailed guidelines on how to galvanise a band of scared survivors into a fighting force capable of defeating the zombies and dealing with emerging groups such as end of the world cults, raiders and even cannibals!
* A strategic plan on how to deploy anti-zombie forces including training your new militia, creating fleets of foraging ships and a microlight air force.
* Features insights from real zombie fighting organisations across the world, from America to the Philippines, Australia to China – the experts offer advice in every aspect of fighting the walking dead.
Packed with crucial zombie war information and advice, from how to build a city of the living in a land of the dead to tactics on how to use a survivor army to liberate your country from the zombies – War against the Walking Dead may be humanity’s last chance.
Remember, dying is not an option !
There are a lot of zombie survival guides out there these days. It seems I can’t go into a bookshop without seeing one – so how is the zombie preparer supposed to make a choice? Apart from the classics, where are they to turn, and what makes one zombie manual better than another? What should make you buy War against The Walking Dead? [1. provided for free by Severed Press. The author also attempted blatant bribery and corruption by including some cool rubber bracelets in the package. For future reference, I’ll take cash.]
Well, this one is a bit special, for one main reason.
Instead of covering the immediate aftermath of a zombie assault, as so many guides do, it focusses on the destruction of the zombie plague and the rebuilding of society. With sections on how to organise a community, trap and kill large numbers of the living dead, and how best to rebuild communities after the end it concentrates on an area we at ICoS find sadly under-represented in the survivalist world. Most survival guides concentrate on immediate survival, which is all well and good, but what about long term? What about rebuilding?
This is where War Against the Walking Dead comes in. With in depth coverage of how best to survive zombie assaults both small and large, the pros and cons of various survival compounds, and how to build a fighting force out of scared, hungry refugees, it really is an excellent resource. If this decently-sized tome hasn’t been enough for you, it includes lists of other websites and books to help you with your rebuilding plans (though we’re not on it. I DEMAND AN EDITED REPRINT.). Definitely worth the purchase price, and unlike many books of a similar kind, it is attractive as well.
In terms of the writing, it is very readable and informative, and in places very funny. There are flaws, of course, but the day a book without flaws is written is that day the world of writing and publishing collapses in on itself. In places the sentences can run on, and the writing can be clumsy. There are minor errors in grammar which, while they don’t ruin the book, had the misfortune to include some of my pet hates (the use of commas where – : or ; would be more appropriate), but if you aren’t the sort of person who ignores their own grammatical errors to concentrate on a little known grammar guideline, you’ll probably ignore it just fine – and ultimately, the occasional clunkiness doesn’t detract from the book at all.
Of most interest to ICoS readers – even the non-zombie kind – will be the sections on rebuilding and battle techniques – these were based on real techniques through the ages, and could be useful in any apocalypse – so any serious post-apocalyptic survivalist could do with this on their shelves.
Overall, an excellent zombie survival guide. Minor flaws knock 1 star off.
Rating: 4/5
As well as buying his book, you can talk to Sean on his website, The Ministry of Zombies.

Stress: It'll kill ya.

Stress. Our bodies natural response to emotional experiences. Stress can be good or bad, but most people agree that when the bodies natural fight-or-flight response is prevented, it can cause some problems – including but not limited to: headaches, heart attacks, strokes, IBS, stomach ulcers and over-eating. It’s important to remember that the Human Being is still an animal – a clever, emotional, complex animal yes, but most of our responses are still rooted in the animal.
You’d think that post apocalypse this animal reaction to stress would be great, right? Fight or flight? You’re going to be doing that a lot, and surely the nasty sides of stress won’t be such an issue any more.
Well, read on, my minions. Read on.
The problem with that theory is that while we are still animals, we are also still thinking human beings. Stress and trauma can be longer lasting for us, for a start. Even if the horrific expereinces don’t seem to have made a mark on your friend yet, that’s no guarantee they won’t be curled up, catatonic, in the fetal position in the next hour, week, month, year or decade. Add our huge, complex brains to the post-apocalyptic stress equation, and you have some serious problems.
And obviously, those more immediate problems come to mind – such as the heart attacks and strokes – after all, if one of your top fighters suddenly conks out in training, you’ve lost a great resource as well as a much loved member of your team. But it’s the more subtle stress problems that could be tearing your group apart from the inside. Thing like:
 
Emotional instability: which could lead to infighting, irrational thinking and even murders or suicides
Lack of sleep: Which could lead to guard missing something vital
‘Foggy thinking’ : which could lead to injury or death of the suffererand any people relying on them.
 
So, what it there to do? After all, you’re going to be extrememly lucky to have a trained therapist in your team, and the other options to deal with stress (yoga, healthy diets, etc) are going to be seriously premium.
Well, I suggest violence. Allow the stressed people to BEAT things and drink too much. It worked for the middle ages – and it’s not as if they were a time period where whole continents were ripped apart by civil and religious war while battling city states slaughtered men, women, and children… oh.
 
Well, just do the best you can.
 

5 Apocalyptic Lessons From Halo: Reach

Halo: Reach, the final installment-prequel in the Halo series by Bungie, chronicled the initial invasion and downfall of the human race on the planet Reach to the Covenant.

The planet Reach is humanity’s last line of defense between the encroaching Covenant and their ultimate goal, the destruction of Earth. If it falls, humanity will be pushed to the brink of destruction.
source

Known for it’s fairly short campaign mode and extensive multiplayer offerings, Halo: Reach is a perfect way to learn a few apocalypse life lessons. Continue reading “5 Apocalyptic Lessons From Halo: Reach”

There won't be any video games.

So, my life is so utterly dull right now it’s untrue. I wake up, I study some, I look for a job, I write some fiction, I go to bed. Sometimes I go on a run (I am really excited for the release of Zombies Run! for android, because I’m pathetic) or do some weights. The rest of the time I play computer games. Mostly Skyrim. I’m so obsessed with this game I have the OST on my writing soundtrack. I nearly had an orgasm over the Dawnguard trailer.
 
So, it’s perhaps a little understandable that my Apocalypse Obsession is being quiet right now (though it’s still there. When studying Pugin and his role in the Gothic revival I was like ‘bloke designed defendable buildings, I’ll  give him that.’ I visited a Cathedral built in the Gothic Revival style, and while other people were praying to their god, I said to my husband ‘Barricade the doors and you have a pretty decent emergency shelter if you board up those big windows.’)
So, I wanna talk about some more things I’ll miss post apocalypse, I have to say that right now the thing  I’ll miss most is….
 
Video games.
GOD I LOVE THEM. SO MUCH.
I mean, I love reading more, but when I’m too tired or distracted or sad or whatever to read, a video game provides the required immersion and reality avoidance with minimal mental effort on my part. I get to feel real human emotions in a muted form about things that don’t matter, and most importantly I get to rack up a terrifying kill count without being arrested because the 1137 people I killed were just pixels.
It sounds like I’m dissing the medium, but I’m not. When I say I love them, I mean I actually love them. I am occasionally critical of bad games or the culture of racism and sexism within the industry, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them. They’re capable of telling real, emotionally affecting stories in a deeply immersivve medium, which is fucking great. Love em. Passionately and positively. I don’t bitch about it when a game isn’t what I want- I am just sad and quietly resolve to not buy the next one as soon as it comes out (Fable 3 I AM LOOKING AT YOU.) This is my hobby, I enjoy it, I generally feel positive about it. I have my favourite franchises like everyone, but I’ll give new stuff a try (By the Way, Enslaved is a shockingly underrated and undersold little game set post apocalypse. It’s pretty cheap these days so if you spot a copy, grab it), but I don’t get overly invested in games in the way I do books. A game has shocked me, often (Bioshock), made me sad in a sort of nice way (Fallout 3 and New Vegas, when coming across the remnants of life before the war) but I’ve never been the sort to cry over a computer game. Throw my controller, sure, but cry, or jump around in happiness? I save that for books. What games do for me is to take myself away from whatever else is happening in my world and make it better for a little bit. I can be an incredible person with magic powers instead of an unemployed 26 year old in rented accomodation.
Post apocalypse, they’ll be gone. Even if elecrtricity is still about, we won’t have enough of it to dedicate to my desperately important Skyrim schedule. And I will REALLY, REALLY CARE ABOUT THIS. Because while I love to read, there are going to be plenty of bookstores to loot, so I won’t run out of new books too soon (though I will kill myself if all that’s left is Dan Brown). And I love to tell stories, but I can do that with my mouth. Video games kinda require modern technology, and there won’t really be anything comparable around, any more. There’ll be nothing that can take me out of my shitty world in the way gaming can, nothing to make me feel amazing, nothing to take out a bad day on, just my unending, heart-crushing life.
 
God, I’ll be stuck with with table top roleplaying. And three of the people on my team are Rules Lawyers. KILL ME NOW.

Dead Island – Game of the Year Edition

Dead Island GOTYE X360Deep Silver must be proud of Dead Island. Why? Because they’re giving it a fully loaded Game of the Year Edition. Sure that doesn’t actually mean it’s won or even been nominated for anything but it’s nice to be recognized—even if it is by yourself.

Dead Island – Game of the Year Edition isn’t really, for recognition or even for Deep Silver, it’s for us. Well I own the game already. It’s for those of you who don’t already own Dead Island and weren’t really to ready to commit.

See in a Game of the Year Edition you often, including this time, get all the DLC that first round buyers paid extra for. Lucky you, loser me.

Patience is a virtue in many an apocalypse. So, if you didn’t run to the store and throw money at the clerks like you were stocking up for some lean times in your fall out shelter, you can sit back and get the game with the following perks (also, GOTY editions are usually cheaper than initial releases):

Dead Island has already grown a huge fan base, having sold way over 3 million copies worldwide. This new edition gives players who are yet to experience the mega hit Dead Island a version packed with content: including the “Bloodbath Arena” mode, the “Ryder White” story line and the weapon blueprint for “The Ripper”. This complete Dead Island package includes all the gripping extra content that was previously only available digitally.

“Ryder White”:
This story line offers a new unique perspective into the incidents in the main story of Dead Island: This time the player will get the chance to play as Ryder White, the antagonist of the main game; learn more about his motivations and why, from his point of view, he did what he had to do. This fresh take on the Dead Island story shows Ryder White both as a military man and a loving husband. The story stars Ryder White as a newly playable character and offers a single player campaign with several hours of story content with twists and turns that will shed new light on the happenings in the main game. Two blueprints and weapons will further expand the already impressive arsenal of Dead Island.

“Bloodbath Arena”:
In “Bloodbath Arena” four different arenas offer new challenges that can be played alone or in coop mode. It’s a desperate fight for survival where waves after waves of unrelenting zombies attack, one more gruesome than the next! In “Bloodbath Arena” characters can loot experience points and items and bring them over to the campaign mode. Players can show off their skills in zombie fighting with the newly implemented leaderboards.

Dead Island – Game of the Year Edition” will be released on June 26, 2012 in the USA and Canada and on July 06, 2012 in European countries for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows PC.

Source: Deep Silver press release – Tuesday 22nd May 2012

Dead Island – Game of the Year Edition

Dead Island GOTYE X360Deep Silver must be proud of Dead Island. Why? Because they’re giving it a fully loaded Game of the Year Edition. Sure that doesn’t actually mean it’s won or even been nominated for anything but it’s nice to be recognized—even if it is by yourself.

Dead Island – Game of the Year Edition isn’t really, for recognition or even for Deep Silver, it’s for us. Well I own the game already. It’s for those of you who don’t already own Dead Island and weren’t really to ready to commit.

See in a Game of the Year Edition you often, including this time, get all the DLC that first round buyers paid extra for. Lucky you, loser me.

Patience is a virtue in many an apocalypse. So, if you didn’t run to the store and throw money at the clerks like you were stocking up for some lean times in your fall out shelter, you can sit back and get the game with the following perks (also, GOTY editions are usually cheaper than initial releases):

Dead Island has already grown a huge fan base, having sold way over 3 million copies worldwide. This new edition gives players who are yet to experience the mega hit Dead Island a version packed with content: including the “Bloodbath Arena” mode, the “Ryder White” story line and the weapon blueprint for “The Ripper”. This complete Dead Island package includes all the gripping extra content that was previously only available digitally.

“Ryder White”:
This story line offers a new unique perspective into the incidents in the main story of Dead Island: This time the player will get the chance to play as Ryder White, the antagonist of the main game; learn more about his motivations and why, from his point of view, he did what he had to do. This fresh take on the Dead Island story shows Ryder White both as a military man and a loving husband. The story stars Ryder White as a newly playable character and offers a single player campaign with several hours of story content with twists and turns that will shed new light on the happenings in the main game. Two blueprints and weapons will further expand the already impressive arsenal of Dead Island.

“Bloodbath Arena”:
In “Bloodbath Arena” four different arenas offer new challenges that can be played alone or in coop mode. It’s a desperate fight for survival where waves after waves of unrelenting zombies attack, one more gruesome than the next! In “Bloodbath Arena” characters can loot experience points and items and bring them over to the campaign mode. Players can show off their skills in zombie fighting with the newly implemented leaderboards.

Dead Island – Game of the Year Edition” will be released on June 26, 2012 in the USA and Canada and on July 06, 2012 in European countries for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows PC.

Source: Deep Silver press release – Tuesday 22nd May 2012

You could win a survival shelter!

And all you’ll have to do is go on a reality show. Spike TV are teaming up with Vivos Shelters  (who are basically a real-life, modern Vault-Tec, hopefully without the creepy experiments) for a new survivalist reality show. If you and your family are preparing for any kind of global disaster, and have always wanted a shelter of your very own, this is an excellent opportunity for you.
Continue reading “You could win a survival shelter!”