The Apocalypse of the Mind

Surviving the Apocalypse will probably be the most stressful thing you ever do. Considering that many of us (your fair writer included) already have mental health issues when we live in a developed country with clean water, regular food access, and life-saving medicine, what on earth are we to do when everything is on fire and the zombies are at the gate?
Well, the standard advice for managing mental health issues is even more important when everyone you love has died in front of you.

Talk about it:

Reach out to whatever community you have around you, whether that be your fellow mutants, your pet radioactive cats, or actual people (lucky!). Talk about your feelings, good and bad, and work out ways to manage them – together. A therapist or counsellor would be excellent, but since they’re all dead consider drawing a face on a sack of live rats and talking to that instead.

Eat healthy:

Alright, so you’re probably pretty limited on your diet right now, but do your best. Don’t just eat the canned beans – add some freeze-dried fruit and some mysterious green stuff from the cave walls to your diet, too. Your brain needs a balanced diet!

Try journalling:

There’s nothing like twenty pages of ‘Kill them all’ to express your feelings of furious, broken rage. If you don’t have paper, write it on walls in the blood of your enemies. Bonus: It scares off FUTURE enemies!

Get some exercise: 

Death fights in the cage will increase your adrenaline and help your poor tormented mind pump out serotonin. Plus, the rush that comes with surviving another day might block out all those terrible memories for an hour or two.

Don’t be ashamed to try medication:

Ok, so you might not have access to a psychiatrist or even a GP any more, but that glowing stuff that grows by the wasted river has to have some kind of effect, right? Right?

Meditation works wonders:

Block out the noise of screaming and gunfire and take deep breaths, imagining yourself in a peaceful natural scene that no longer exists anywhere.

Learn to self-soothe:

Lying under a bed with your fingers in your ears chanting ‘everything’s fine, everything’s fine’ might not be the healthiest activity but whatever keeps you going.

Practice self-care:

Self care means taking the time to look after your body, mind, and spirit. Whether it’s organising all your weapons by most kills, going to regular machine-god sacrifices,  or decorating your trophy skulls, be sure to set aside some time and avoid burnout.
 
We hope this helps you with your deteriorating mental state and keeps you alive and with it enough to grimly and stubbornly claw your way through another day.
(please note, this is not actual advice for mental health conditions. Please see your doctor if you feel like you may be depressed, anxious or otherwise mentally unwell. If you are considering suicide, reach out to someone on this list of crisis aids. This article is a work of humor)

You Should be Watching: SugarCharmShop Makes a Zombie with Her Bare Hands

Art is hard. People who make art look easy are basically magical. SugarCharmShop has amazing videos of her making things look amazing using the magic that his her hands and talent.
In the video below you get to watch her make a zombie better than you’ll see in 80% of the zombie movies on Netflix right now. If this little dude was on my night stand there would never be any chilling in my house. … Well, after a while you’d probably get use to it like a cat. Cats are creepy at first but that’s neither here nor there.

Watch SugarCharmShop make a beautiful zombie monster:



And if you’re appropriately amazed but can’t imagine trying this feat of artistic daring on your own, you’re in luck. She sells her artwork online at Etsy.

[PAX East 2017] Survival Tip: Leave and Talk to Strangers

Main Event implies you can leave and find other events… maybe better events.

PAX East is sometimes described as a giant party. I’d think of it like a party in the way that Prom is a party. Sure, it’s “a party” but the real fun is around Prom. Pregaming, after parties, anti-prom parties. Sometime the most fun you can have at an event is by leaving the event.
Every year since we met Kae and I meet up at PAX East with water bottles filled with wine or rum and Coke. Werevel in the awesomeness that is nerding out among your peers over shared interests. Every year except this year.
Foolishly, we though we’d have a joyous time with just the environment and good company alone. PAX, over time, has become less and less the place you go for the environment and company alone. Especially now that they no longer serve alcohol at the bar. Yes, the Sam Adams bar in the convention center was not serving alcohol…
Large companies and innovative vendors have been fewer and further between as the years  passed. Drinking became even more vital to the social aspect of PAX East. Apparently last year an underage youth was served at the bar and now no one can have drinks…

Not super clear on the logic behind punishing adults because children can’t be trusted we decided to leave.

Hungry, bored, and searching for libations lead us to the Marriott hotel next door to the convention center. Specifically, we found the Asylum Gaming Esports at Laugh Boston party situation. We walked in hoping for some overpriced drinks and undersized bar food only to be greeted with an adult nerd’s paradise. It was the PAX we’d always wanted.
Lining the walls were consoles of vintage games like Duck Hunt and Metroid. In the space behind the bar there were two beer pong tables set up. The menu was even gamer themed with drinks like the “Power Up.”  I had the pleasure of seeing a guy order one of these specialty drinks then watch the bartender respond by looking at this temporary menu and saying, “Sure, let me just figure out what that is.”
Kae and I  sat at the bar drinking cheap (but not inexpensive) beer from plastic cups and some basic but delicious buffalo chick tenders and fries.

If you’re going to go to a bar, you might as well talk to strangers while you’re there.

After returning a few stray ping pong balls and meeting the Beer Pong players we were heckled into joining in. I’ve never pretended to be good at any game physical or digital but for some strange reason I was killing it at Beer Pong. Our opponents, Nate (who really didn’t like when I trolled him and called him Nick) and Dude with the beard and yellow hat (who we later found out had a name and it was Colin) were fellow PAX attendees who also wandered away from the main attraction.
This was the scene we’d been craving. We were trash talking IRL and meeting strangers with common interests. There were assists, sweet plays, drinking rules, rules we didn’t understand (Thanks for playing the role of Options and Settings, Ray aka TheHandsomeGinger). It was XBox Live… LIVE
We learned through experience that you might have the  best time by leaving the party and going to a different one.

Watch Out: Lucy Garland Psychotic Bunny Makeup Tutorial

For some bizarre reason, Lucy Garland’s youtube channel only has about 100k subscribers.  This is insane considering her talent and production level. Sure she mainly focuses on avant-garde drag queen recreations… Hopefully, you’ll take a gander at the gem below and realize this woman could be the edge you need to make your next Patient Zero costume.
Sure the bunny portion might not be for everyone, but the  infected sickness version sure is.
Do you want to:

  • Trick your mom into letting you stay home from school for a straight week?
  • Win best costume without having to really make a costume?
  • Convince the government you’re recording your last will and testament while dying in a hovel in the jungles of South America?

Watch Lucy Garland in the Psychotic Bunny makeup tutorial below:


Obviously, now you’re deeply interested in Lucy Garland’s talents. No one blames you.
If you’re a hard sell and need additional evidence of the amazing Aunty Entity (Tina Turner in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome) possibilities you can achieve with her guidance, here are some of her instagram gems:

tried @sashavelour face, loved it! Eyebrows 10/10

A post shared by LUCY GARLAND (@lucygarland) on

A post shared by LUCY GARLAND (@lucygarland) on

A post shared by LUCY GARLAND (@lucygarland) on


Also, you’re welcome.

Everyday Survival: Going to Work

Going to work is, on the surface, a straightforward and simple task. Unfortunately people are often caught off guard by the simple perils of going to and being at work that they fail to prepare properly for.
So, lucky you, you’ve got a job. But now you’ve got to keep it and if possible improve it by way of financial compensation or upward mobility in the organization that give you said job. This is not as simple as simply showing up and doing your job. No, people have to see you and formulate opinions about you and that’s where everyday survival tips come in.

Everyday Survival: Going to Work

1. If you’re on time, you’re late; if you’re early, you’re on time.
No one care that you have a life outside of work or that traffic exists or that anything aside from you got to work in time to be set up and working before it’s time to punch in. It shows forethought and self-management and give you the time to put yourself and your thoughts in order so as not to just jump in a react. That’s how dogs get skunked and bouncers get punched. Take you time to show up, assess the situation and your place in it, an then join in.
Leave early – Earlier than you think you need to. Give yourself at least a half-hour of early time because you’re better off tweeting in the parking lot for 20 minutes than running in out of breath just 5 minutes late.
2. You stink.
As a human, you likely sweat and it probably smells. If you’re a lady, you’ve got lady parts and those sweat and smell sometimes too – sorry dudes, it’s just a part of life, like this “ball sweat” I’ve heard about. No one wants to smell your stink. I mean, we’ve all had some epic long weekends in our twenties where we woke up on the couch and wondered what that smell was only to find out it was us. Maybe your face, under arms, or private parts.
It’s biology and it’s nothing to worry about. However it it something to be aware of and in control of. People notice smells and they’re distracting. so distracting they make you seems less intelligent – Why would I trust your opinion on sales strategies if you can’t even wash yourself properly?
Keep a stash of toiletries in your car or bag. Deodorant, mouth wash, floss, tiny disposable toothbrushes, wet wipes, feminine hygiene products – including scented liners and summer’s eve wipes.
Notice the lack of “perfume” and “cologne”? That’s because those things stink and make people gag or get migraines and make you smell like you have human stink that hiding under chemical-flower stink. Don’t try to mask your funk, fix it.
3. Murphy’s Law is Law
Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. When you’re going to work, hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Don’t put off car maintenance. Don’t try to squeeze in a coffee before the train instead of getting it in the city once you arrive. Don’t assume they’ll clear the snow enough for their to be a reasonable number of parking spaces. Don’t trust that capable of wearing white and eating food and drinking coffee before a big meeting without an incident.
Don’t go to work everyday under the assumption that because you have a job today you still will tomorrow. They may like you but business isn’t about feelings and if you don’t prepare for the worst and preempt issues like missing handouts, double booked conference rooms, skipping lunch, having a headache, then you’re not being realistic and you should be saving up for unemployment.
4. You’re not that pretty without makeup.
Sorry, ladies but in the real world, we don’t live in a Dove campaign. On the other hand it’s not YouTube beauty guru land either. If you have a meeting, complete with a meeting maker and someone who outranks you, put on a little  makeup. It sucks but it’s true.
Women are expected to wear enough makeup to look naturally fresh-faced and healthy. Mascara, BB Cream, blush and lip gloss are all it takes to look like you give a shit. Just like men should know when buttons all the way down a shirt and a tie are appropriate, women should know when people want to look at a filtered version of their faces.
Keep those four basics on hand at all times so you can always run to the bathroom and quickly put on a face people want to see. Guys, maybe keep a shirt and tie handy (but for God’s sake, don’t let it get wrinkled).
5. Assume you’ll be stuck here.
This is where my crazy, paranoid, apocalypse fever dreams come in. Look at your car and think about what you’d need if you were on a major highway and traffic just stopped for hours. Do you have what you need?
More than half a tank of gas at all times?
A bottle of water that’s not frozen solid?
A spare phone charger?
Your toiletries so you can show up without looking like you’ve been in traffic for hours?
An emergency car kit?
Your insurance information?
Self-defense skills?
Something to kill a zombie with?
A good playlist and or data plan?
A hair tie in case you get hot?
Your boss’ phone number?
Sneakers in case you need to walk/run?
A healthy imagination?
What do you consider a necessity for every day survival when you’re going to work? Nothing? Other things? Something I over looked?

So I did end up knitting

Some time ago, back when we updated regularly, I promised I would learn to knit. Knitting, I proclaimed, was an excellent post-apocalyptic skill, and one that would also make me some post-apocalyptic money.
(not real world money. No-one is willing to pay what it’s worth).
Well, I learned. I’m at a reasonable level of skill now. I’ve made a jumper and a vest, and I can do lace and cables.  And I still maintain that knitting is an excellent post-apocalyptic skill to gain.
But tell you what. So are all the other fibrecrafts.
Spinning, with a drop spindle or a wheel. You can make your own yarn, out of pretty much any animal fibre. Even plant fibres

Drop spindle with wool
Drop spindle with wool (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

including nettles. Meaning as long as you have some sheep, maybe a goat or two, and some nettle patches around your compound, you won’t have to rely on your scavengers finding the last good wool. I can spin using a drop spindle and am slowly making less awful looking yarn.
Weaving. Faster than knitting, and creates different kinds of fabrics. Great, wonderful. Can’t do this yet, but I am looking into learning.
Crochet. Like knitting but done with a hook instead. Better for larger projects like blankets and stuff. I’m not any good at this, so I plan to befriend at least one crocheter so I can force them into post-apocalyptic blanket-based slavery.
See, currently my plan is to basically have a super-defended fabric and clothing store. Oh, it sounds silly, but remember how flimsy and useless modern clothing is made to be. It’ll tear, wear out, rot. And then I’ll be there. With lovely, season-appropriate, knitted or woven goods.
And I’ll take all your valuables in exchange, thanks.
So, if you want to survive, maybe learn to knit, or crochet, or weave, or spin, or any number of old-fashioned life skills that are now hobbies. I can’t promise anything, but if you’re quick by the time the apocalypse comes you could have a place with me.
 

The Worst place for a Post-Apocalyptic Home

Post-apocalypse you’re going to need somewhere to live. You’ll want somewhere fairly secure, with access to land where you can grow food, and a lot of space for your growing community. But what you don’t want is one of these death traps.
 
Here are the worst places to try and build your new post-apocalyptic home.
 
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Review: The Girl with All The Gifts by M.R. Carey

The girl with all the giftsEveryone and their mother is reading The Girl With All The Gifts, and that is how it should be.

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.
When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh.
Melanie is a very special girl.
 

It’s hard to review this without spoiling the various reveals. A smart reader will figure things out fairly early on in the book, but the discovery process is still part of it.
Enough to say that M.R. Carey has created a wonderful, unique take on a tired old concept. The Girl With All The Gifts is a heartbreaking novel, in places. The characters are real, and believable. Melanie herself is a lovely main character to spend time with.
We also spend time in the heads of the other characters. This could have spoiled the book, but Carey has the skill of writing genuinely different POV without ever confusing the reader.
The ending is right, and natural. It could never have ended any other way, but it still comes as a surprise. The whole way through The Girl With All The Gifts, we are asked to challenge our attitudes to humanity, and to ‘monsters’ and the ending makes it happen perfectly.
Read this book.

Mental Illness in the Post-Apocalypse

Panic-attack
Panic-attack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hi there. I am a crazy person. My mental illness impacts every part of my life. Specifically, I am a person with severe depression and a panic disorder. It’s possible (undiagnosed, but confirmed as very likely by a psychiatrist) that I have Borderline Personality Disorder. I am medicated in order to control this, taking a regular dose of Citalopram, and I am in therapy.
Obviously, none of these things will be available to me post-apocalypse. This could be a problem.
Continue reading “Mental Illness in the Post-Apocalypse”