Prepare you mind for the apocalypse.

We all know having the proper supplies, tools, and even clothes for the apocalypse is vital. We prepare our bodies with exercise and diet, but how do we prepare our mind? How do we ready ourselves for the predators who will use mental tricks and manipulation to assert their will?
I recently read an article about Pick up Artistry or PUA. It’s a school of thinking and series of behaviors designed to coach men that women aren’t interested in to manipulate, bully, and otherwise deceive their way into bed.
Delightful.
There’s a book, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists by Neil Strauss, about understanding and employing this technique that has a nearly perfect score on amazon with about 720 reviews. Overwhelmingly, these Seven Hundred and Twenty people, likely a vast majority of men found topics like “Selecting a Target” and “Isolating the Target” to be valuable information.
Read the book, not to become this kind of person but to recognize them when they approach you, your friends, your daughter. Explain to your friends and relative what it looks like to be manipulated by a Pick up Artist. Every potential victim needs to not only be confident in their own mind and cues it’s providing but also aware of what might be churning in the mind of that seemingly vulnerable man who needs help on the other side of those buildings.

We all know having the proper supplies, tools, and even clothes for the apocalypse is vital. We prepare our bodies with exercise and diet, but how do we prepare our mind? How do we ready ourselves for the predators who will use mental tricks and manipulation to assert their will?

I recently read an article about Pick up Artistry or PUA. It’s a school of thinking and series of behaviors designed to coach men that women aren’t interested in to manipulate, bully, and otherwise deceive their way into bed.

Delightful.

There’s a book, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists by Neil Strauss, about understanding and employing this technique that has a nearly perfect score on amazon with about 720 reviews. Overwhelmingly, these Seven Hundred and Twenty people, likely a vast majority of men  found topics like “Selecting a Target” and “Isolating the Target” to be valuable information.

Read the book, not to become this kind of person but to recognize them when they approach you, your friends, your daughter. Explain to your friends and relative what it looks like to be manipulated by a Pick up Artist. Every potential victim needs to not only be confident in their own mind and cues it’s providing but also aware of what might be churning in the mind of that seemingly vulnerable man who needs help on the other side of those buildings.

Because for all their placating and explanations of how harmless it is and how when a women “acts like she’s not interested she’s just playing games,” PUA is disturbingly similar to emotional abuse. That special kind of abuse that isolates the victim and makes them question their self worth so that the abuser can swoop in and be the hero in a situation that they caused.

There is nothing at all wrong with going out and trying to get laid. There is nothing at all wrong with using techniques to better “your game.”

The problem arises when the game is more important than the person being played. People who refuse to treat people like people are shitty people.

After spending three days immersed in a Mystery Method Corp (now Love Systems) seminar, Gene Weingarten expressed his uneasiness about “a step by step tutorial for men in how to pick up women, make them comfortable in your presence, and bed them, ideally within seven hours of your first meeting” and wondered aloud, “Is there something inherently wrong with the notion of seduction as a classroom-taught skill, complete with a long hierarchy of ‘lines’ that work, seemingly spontaneous topics of conversation that are anything but spontaneous, tricks for seeming ‘vulnerable’, and tips on how to behave so as to deliver subtle but effective nonverbal inducements to intimacy? [SOURCE]

It is vital that in all our preparations we recognize shitty people from the jump and never give them the upper hand. Recognize when people are playing at our emotions and trying to manipulate our minds by saying something so random and out of the blue that it confuses and thus disarms us[1. Yeah, that’s a technique.].

Read the books your predators are reading so you know if you’re being treated like prey.

A few other books to add to the Prepare Your Mind Reading List:

The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence by Gavin de Becker
In this empowering book, Gavin de Becker, the man Oprah Winfrey calls the US’s leading expert on violent behaviour, shows you how to spot even subtle signs of danger – before it’s too late. Shattering the myth that most violent acts are unpredictable, de Becker, whose clients include top Hollywood stars and government agencies, offers specific ways to protect yourself and those you love, including: how to act when approached by a stranger; when you should fear someone close to you; what to do if you are being stalked; how to uncover the source of anonymous threats or phone calls; the biggest mistake you can make with a threatening person; and more. Learn to spot the danger signals others miss. It might just save your life.

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

Drawn from 3,000 years of the history of power, this is the definitive guide to help readers achieve for themselves what Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, Louis XIV and Machiavelli learnt the hard way. Law 1: Never outshine the master Law 2: Never put too much trust in friends; learn how to use enemies Law 3: Conceal your intentions Law 4: Always say less than necessary. The text is bold and elegant, laid out in black and red throughout and replete with fables and unique word sculptures. The 48 laws are illustrated through the tactics, triumphs and failures of great figures from the past who have wielded – or been victimised by – power.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Collins Business Essentials) by Robert B. Cialdini

Influence, the classic book on persuasion, explains the psychology of why people say “yes”—and how to apply these understandings. Dr. Robert Cialdini is the seminal expert in the rapidly expanding field of influence and persuasion. His thirty-five years of rigorous, evidence-based research along with a three-year program of study on what moves people to change behavior has resulted in this highly acclaimed book.You’ll learn the six universal principles, how to use them to become a skilled persuader—and how to defend yourself against them. Perfect for people in all walks of life, the principles of Influence will move you toward profound personal change and act as a driving force for your success.

If you know of another books that should be added to the Prepare Your Mind Reading List, please let us know in the comments.

Calgary Horror Con: the vendors

Every good convention has vendors. And those vendors have some of their wares available for you to buy and take home that day. Which is good for the vendor, potentially not good for your wallet.
Calgary Horror Con was no different. There were a lot of different vendors there, and while I didn’t talk to every single one of them, I did talk to quite a few.
Some of the most interesting booths had to do with survival — by survival I mean surviving the zombie apocalypse (because there’s no other kind of apocalypse, especially at a horror convention).
First, I stopped to talk to The Forge Western Martial Arts about their Fite the Bite Zombie Survival Workshop (link here). In their workshop, you learn the basics of sword fighting, knife fighting, and hand-to-hand combat (well, among other things). Oh, and you get to beat the snot out of a zombie mannequin.
And really, swords + zombie = fun.
I also talked to the man behind Zombie Survival Escape Resist and Eliminate (ZSERE). His website, zsere.com, isn’t up yet, but it’s presented by Spiritwalker Survival School in Calgary. The ZSERE course is a three day course that runs over a weekend, and the focus is urban tactical training. You get to practice with airsoft guns before going out to a gun range to use the real thing. The course also covers basic survival skills, including what to pack in your survival kit, what you do if the apocalypse hits while you’re at work, and a whole lot of other stuff.
This course had me at “gun range.” (Also, the instructor was carrying a crossbow and was in full camo. Which was also full of awesome.)
Also at the con was the Zombie Apocalypse Response Team. Which is pretty self-explanatory, yes? Heh. (Link is here.)
As for tangible goodies, there were a lot of books, a lot of DVDs, and a lot of illustrations/comics there. There were also some neat items I didn’t expect to see at a horror convention.
For example:

ouija board
Gothic-style Ouija board

skull and eyeball earrings
Handmade skull and eyeball earrings from Animus Origin.

vampire smurf
Vampire Smurf

zombie star trek: the next generation crew
Print of an original work–zombified Star Trek: The Next Generation crew (signed by artist) (also, sorry for the crappy photo)

Note: I did get permission from the vendors of the top two photos to take pictures of their table. I bought the bottom two items.
Also note: There’s a possibility I will be giving away the vampire Smurf and the print at a later date. I haven’t decided yet, though, since our last giveaway was a little slow. So tell me if you’d like to give a little, non-sparkly vampire and/or a zombie print a new home…
 

STUFF

I’m still moving, and currently wondering how I got so much STUFF. I won’t be able to keep so much STUFF with me post-apocalypse, that’s for sure!
Like last week I direct you towards an interesting post-apocalypse thing.
Awesome Zombie Stories.
That should take up an hour or two you should be spending working.
And hopefully in a week or two I’ll be back to writing proper posts. Because of course, your life is bereft without my paranoid rambling.

Calgary Horror Con: the presentations

If you were following my tweets on Twitter this weekend, you’ll know I was at Calgary Horror Con. If you didn’t know I was at Horror Con, then you probably weren’t reading my tweets; in which case…why not? (Kidding!)
Anyway. So yes, I was Horror Con. Hubby thought I’d gone a little nuts (and was acting geekier than normal) for wanting to cover the con for ICoS. But hey, horror = zombies, right? So there you go.
Horror Con was a two-day event, with the same group of presentations running both days at different times. I spent Saturday wandering through the vendor tables, chatting with vendors and looking at their wares. (And buying some of their wares. Ahem.) On Sunday, I attended a couple of the presentations and watched a short film.
Presentation 1: The Alberta Paranormal Investigators Society (TAPIS)
Website: albertaparanormal.com/TAPIS
So Alberta’s haunted. Well, okay, not all of it, but some of it for sure. Some of it is still undetermined. And if you live in Alberta and think your house may be haunted, TAPIS can investigate it for you. Who knows, you might have Casper the Friendly Ghost living in your basement. Or it might faulty wiring messing with the electromagnetic fields in your house. But either way, you’ll know, right?
Two TAPIS members showed a film that talked about different investigations that the society had conducted (that, unfortunately, all ended up in the “undetermined” pile). The film showed clips from the investigation videos, as well as audio clips. At the end, there was a Q&A session that ended up being a discussion between one of the TAPIS members and one of the audience members, because the audience member really wanted to join TAPIS (or so it seemed) and she kept saying that she “wanted to know more” and that she loved all things paranormal. Which wasn’t what I expected from a Q&A, but what can you do.
TAPIS had brought along some of their equipment, and it was interesting for me to see. Why? Well, because for the most part, they use things that you or I could use on a day to day basis. For example, they had noise-cancelling headphones (handy for tuning out screaming children, but I didn’t say that, no I didn’t); a handheld digital camcorder; a digital audio recorder; and a laser pointer (albeit one that points in a giant grid, and I totally wanted it because a grid!). They did have an EMF detector that was a bit more specialized than the other pieces of equipment. At least, it seemed more specialized–I don’t know anyone who’d have that in their basements, but maybe I just don’t know the right people.
Admittedly, ghosts and hauntings have nothing to do with the apocalypse, but the presentation was interesting nonetheless. If they didn’t have to do eight hour stakeouts for two or three days each for their investigations, I might consider joining. Alberta’s got more haunted places than I thought!
Presentation 2: AM Makeup, special effects makeup workshop
Website: ammakeup.ca
Note: This company’s website is extremely hard to find, so if you’d like to check out their site please use the link above.
This workshop was more of a presentation than a workshop, but it was interesting nonetheless. Two guys were being turned into normal human males into a werewolf and a vampire (because of course they were). The makeup process had been started before the  before the presentation began, because the entire process would take too long for the amount of time the company had for their presentation.
The process was quite interesting to watch. The makeup artists used cream-based makeup for both models, and the werewolf had crepe hair put on his face by using an easy-to-remove adhesive you can get from specialty makeup or Halloween stores. The vampire wore dark contacts. Both of them got “mouth blood,” which apparently tastes minty. (I’ll take their word for it, because I ain’t trying that stuff, heh.)
The CEO/head makeup artist, Ashley, also talked about makeup for zombies, burn victims, and the like. She uses bits of silicone that can be sculpted and painted over for things like burns, but also uses gelatin molds that are sculpted before being put on the silicone for things like wounds. And other stuff that needs molded gelatin on silicone. You know.
Seriously, it was fascinating. AM Makeup also offers local makeup workshops if you want to learn how to do wound makeup, burn makeup, zombie makeup, and other special effects makeup. (That zombie makeup workshop would be pretty fun to do.)
The special effects arm of AM Makeup, AMFX, did the makeup for the locally-filmed movie The Dead Mile, which had its world premiere at Horror Con.
Movie: Deadwalkers (short film)
IMDB page: Dead Walkers
Deadwalkers is a short, 13 minute film I classify as a “spaghetti zombie western” (not a technical term). Set in a dusty town somewhere in the West back in the days when the west was wild, a bounty hunter takes his bandit bounty into a town to find it quiet and seemingly abandoned. Except for one woman sitting on the front stoop of a building, who turns out to be a zombie waiting for her dinner to walk up to her and introduce itself. One of the criminals gets bitten and turned pretty quickly, and the remaining criminal has to team up with bounty hunter Jack, widowed-by-zombie Beth, and First Nations woman Sepe to survive. [SPOILER ALERT, HIGHLIGHT TO READ] Only…they don’t. Well, except for Sepe.
This movie was woefully short, and I thought, suffered because of it. It felt rushed, a little cliched, and, I have to say, a little over the top at times. Watching this movie immediately after the AM Makeup presentation highlighted the zombie makeup in the movie…and I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that AMFX did not do the makeup on this film. (Which was…unfortunate.)
On the other hand, the exploding heads was very well-done. Priorities, right? Heh.
Overall, though, it was a zombiliciously campy film. I mean, it had zombies. In the Wild Freaking West.
Interested? Lucky you! It’s on iTunes here (Canada/US) and here (UK).
 

Friends, frenemies, and neighbors

Sorry for the late post, you guys. I had a busy weekend and while I’ve been online via my phone, I haven’t been able to sit down at my computer. Which meant I wasn’t able to write my post. And my post had me thinking quite a bit, which is…unusual.
So, a bit of background: this past weekend, my bestest friend EVAH came down for a visit. There was much squeeing and much acting like high schoolers, since we haven’t actually seen each other in roughly two years (since right before I moved to Texas).
On the flip side of this, the mother of my daughter’s best friend now refuses to have anything do with us, because…I don’t know. Maybe it has to do with my “day” job? (I’m a local rep for a company that sells what I like to call “adult relationship aids” when I’m being PC about it.) For the record, she knew the nature of the job when I was still considering starting my business–and she didn’t have any issues then. So I have no idea what changed.
Continue reading “Friends, frenemies, and neighbors”

Talisman of El by Alecia Stone


The Talisman of El by Alecia Stone
Publisher: Centrinian Publishing
Release date: May 18, 2012
Note: Review copy provided by the publisher
Amazon blurb:

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS A LIE?
One Planet.
Two Worlds.
Population: Human … 7 billion.
Others … unknown.
When 14-year-old Char­lie Blake wakes up sweat­ing and gasp­ing for air in the mid­dle of the night, he knows it is hap­pen­ing again. This time he wit­nesses a bru­tal mur­der. He’s afraid to tell any­one. No one would believe him … because it was a dream. Just like the one he had four years ago – the day before his dad died.
Char­lie doesn’t know why this is hap­pen­ing. He would give any­thing to have an ordi­nary life. The prob­lem: he doesn’t belong in the world he knows as home.
He belongs with the others.

Okay. So. This book. It was different. Not in a bad way, mind you; it was just different.
Charlie Blake, fourteen year old orphan, is sent to yet another potential adoptive family. He’s hopeful, but so many possible adoptions have fallen apart that he’s always thinking he’s going to be sent back. This time he’s sent to live with a single guy named Jacob, whose late wife died in an accident that raised eyebrows throughout the village (she broke her neck). At first Jacob’s the nice quiet type. And then Charlie discovers something hidden in the house and we find out that Jacob is a total psycho nutjob.
I know, right? Just when things were starting to look up. I mean, he makes friends at his new school and discovers a guy who looks like he’s 102 but is really only 27.
Okay, wait. I’m getting ahead of myself.
Continue reading “Talisman of El by Alecia Stone”

Passing down your history.

After the nitty gritty is done, you may want to put a thought to passing down history to your descendants. You may want to tell them a few things, including (but not limited to) what happened, how you survived, the way you set up your society, who you are, how to stop it happening again… but there’s a problem with this.
How are you going to make sure it gets down the line unchanged?
Think about the history we know. The further back we go the spottier the evidence and the more specialised knowledge required to understand it. When you’re dealing with oral cultures, it’s even worse. History gets interwoven with myth until the awareness of what actually happened is a foggy mess.
Not only that, but when you take into account human nature – the fact that people will reinterpret or outright make up history in order to suit their own agenda – it starts to seem more trouble than it’s worth.
Still, you have to try. Why? Because every thing human beings do is based on the things that went before. And at the very least, you might want to pass down information about things like electricity, water purification and refined sugar so that these necessities don’t take quite so long to turn up next time.
The best thing to do is to record everything. Keep hold of old fiction and non-fiction books you find, and copy them when they start to fall apart. Carve them into stone if you have to. Write them on parchment made of animal skin and store them CAREFULLY, not just in some musty old cellar somewhere. There’s not much you can do about how much language will change over the decades and centuries. (Seriously, you may think you speak English, but if you were dropped into medieval England you would NOT understand what they were saying) But you can, at least, ensure your documents are safe and intact so that future people translating them don’t have to work so hard.
My mother is a historian, and she says one of the worst things for documents is damp. So a dry place is the most important thing you can do. Perhaps make it law that everyone has to be able to read and write, and that everyone has to copy out an essnetial document once a year so that not only does everyone have access to the information, everyone knows how to read it. If that law sticks, you could have your great grandchildren still understanding how to build a solar power generator – and should the ability to do so ever come around, they’ll be ready.
Survival isn’t just about your survival, it’s about giving all your descendants a fighting chance.

PAX 2012 | The Last of US Live Demo

Naughty Dog has set a high bar for themselves with the Uncharted series and if PAX Prime 2012 is any indication, that bar has been met with The Last of Us.
I went into the demo with Kae from Fuck Yeah! The Last of Us (and Fuck Yeah! Uncharted) and our expectations were high. Before the demo even began Naughty Dog started off on the right foot. The inside of the viewing room looked like the long abandoned bathroom that Joel and Ellie make their way through in the demo.

Naughty Dog has set a high bar for themselves with the Uncharted series and if PAX Prime 2012 is any indication, that bar has been met with The Last of Us.
I went into the demo with Kae from Fuck Yeah! The Last of Us (and Fuck Yeah! Uncharted) and our expectations were high. Before the demo even began Naughty Dog started off on the right foot. The inside of the viewing room looked like the long abandoned bathroom that Joel and Ellie make their way through in the demo.
(Kae took all those pictures)
In the demo Ellie even comments on the couple in the couple in the bathtub and how they “took the easy way out.”
The characters felt very well rounded and realistic. They worked well together and there was no hint of either Joel keeping Ellie around for the wrong reasons or Ellie being a useless little twat you’ll hope will die so you can go play in peace.
After the demo we were given sweet posters –you can see one pictured above—(I got a signed one by Bruce Straley, the game director, that we’ll be giving away here on In Case of Survival ASAP) and t-shirt.
Free stuff is always awesome but really the best part was the the actual demo. Kae and I were holding one another, gasping, giggling, and sincerely feeling all the feelings.
Check out The Last of Us demo below and let us know how it made you feel:

The Last of Us Live Demo from PAX Prime

[More about The Last of Us]

Will the superbug be our downfall?

The super bug. You know, the deadly supervirus or superbacteria that will take over the world and kill us all. Or something. Sometimes I think that one of those superheroes supervillains microscopic killing machines will end up being our ultimate downfall, but other times I’m not so sure. Sometimes I think it’s more likely that someone will genetically engineer one of these superviruses and then unleash it into an air vent at Disneyland or something.
Other times, I think it might be more likely that our current dependence on antibiotics and other medications–and equal dismissal of the importance of finishing the damn prescription–will instead breed a bacteria that’s truly invincible (well, based on current medical technologies, anyway).
For example: there is currently a rising threat of drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Yeah, remember TB? Newsflash: it ain’t extinct.
Continue reading “Will the superbug be our downfall?”