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).
 

Meta-Post: Writer-Type Announcements.

Now, this isn’t strictly speaking apocalyptic, but if you like my writing style and you want to read my opinions about games, gaming and the games industry, you could do worse than pop over to PlanetIvy.com now and again, as I now write for them. My first post can be found here, and trust me, there are more where that’s coming from.
Planet Ivy like gonzo-style journalism and opinionated people, so if you like those things too you’ll fit right in.
I hope to see you over there!

Storing food for the post-apocalypse

So my husband will be going on a week-long backpacking/hiking/camping trip in the depths of the Canadian Rockies. Very soon. Which means, of course, that he’s in the middle of preparing for this week of torture trip into the wild.
Since he, you know, doesn’t want to survive on pine needles and berries, he’s packing food. Enough food to last him a week. Which, when you have to carry all this food on your back, can add up to a lot of weight. (It also added up to a lot of dollars at Mountain Equipment Co-op, but that’s a totally different story.)
Anyway. All of Hubby’s trip preparation got me to thinking: what’s the best way to prepare (food-wise) for the post-apocalypse? Now, I’m not talking about making sure your bunker is fully stocked with canned goods and other non-perishables. I’m talking about that possibly lonely trek on a possibly long, lonely road through a possible wasteland (lot of possibles, here). I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that if/when you’re making that trek, you probably don’t want to be carting around three cases of Alphaghetti and two cases of KD. Plus a box or two of instant ramen. And maybe some Girl Guide cookies.
My husband is not taking cans of Alphaghetti. Nor is he taking a bunch of watermelons and half a tub of grapes, like that one guy did last year. Instead, he’s taking those freeze-dried camping meals (well, at least I think they’re freeze-dried). The last time he did this hike, he brought a backpack full of MREs.
Apparently, MREs weigh more than the freeze-dried meals, even though they obviously weigh less than cans of Alphaghetti and a watermelon.  Instant ramen would be pretty light, though, so maybe a desperate person could take those? (With Girl Guide cookies. Because to be perfectly honest, I’d miss Girl Guide cookies. Especially the mint ones.)
So now I’m wondering, is it a good idea to stock up on MREs and freeze-dried camping meals? What do you think?
You tell me: What would be your preferred trekking-through-a-post-apocalyptic-wasteland food supply?

Zombie Training – Guest post by Jamie Gibbs

Regular readers will know Jamie, as he’s one of our most prolific commenters. Based on that, I assumed he had enough time to send us a guest post on Training for the Zombie Apocalypse… and he did!
The zombie survival workout – 4 workouts you need to not get eaten
The Buddhists say that your body is a temple. The Buddhists are liars. Your body is no more holy than my browser history is free of questionable Google searches. Don’t listen to them. Your body isn’t a temple.
Your body is a weapon.
And when the proverbial world fan is spinning the proverbial shit everywhere, you’re going to need your weapon in tip top shape. Don’t bring a butter knife to a gang war and don’t bring an overweight, wheezing sack of meat to a zombie apocalypse. Here’s how you fine tune that body of yours, from head to toe, against the oncoming hordes.
Rule #1 – Cardio
Yes, Zombieland rules apply here. Fatties do indeed die first. Before you even think about slaying zombies en masse, you’re going to need to be able to outrun them. Not only that, but you’re going to be doing a lot of walking across the desolate, post-apocalyptic landscape, so you need to be damn sure that your stamina is as high as possible.
So what do you train for; distance or speed? Surely it’s better to outpace zombies for the first few hundred metres and then slow down once they give up chasing you. That’s a good point, except for one thing. Zombies don’t give up. They don’t get tired. You will, sooner or later. And that’s when they’ll make you an entree. Always opt for long distance walking and running when you train. If you can, spice it up with hill climbs and interval treadmills work. You’re likely to hit the countryside at some point, and those inclines are tough.
Your general survival completely depends on your ability to outpace the undead all the friggin’ time. Throw in a sprint every now and again during your workout so you can be sure you can rely on that extra burst of speed if a shuffler gets too close for comfort.
It’s all in the shoulders
I’ve seen enough zombie movies to know that if you want to properly down a zombie, you need to use blunt force trauma. Unless you’re a master at decapitating bodies in a single stroke, avoid sharp weapons and opt for your sledgehammers, crowbars and cricket bats. Most zombies are the slow, shuffling type, indicating that the only part of their brain that is active is the basal ganglia, the ‘reptilian brain’. That little sucker is buried deep inside the brain tissue so you’re going to need a lot of force in order to cave in the skull and keep a zombie down for good.
Strength training for using these big, blunt weapons needs a lot of work on your back and shoulders. If you think that biceps are the way to go, think again. What are you, applying for Mr. Universe? The force of your swing and the strength you put into it comes from the shoulders, so make that a priority when strength training. Pushups and overhead presses will give you the strength you need to swing a bat with enough force.
Tighten the core
If you’re anything like me, the weekend pizza and beer sessions have left you with a slight paunch, making you more than a little front heavy. If you need to make a quick getaway or are knee deep in flesh-hungry undead, this will give you some disadvantages, the biggest of which is you dying a hell of a lot quicker.
Get shot of that beer gut as soon as possible and tighten up your core – your abdomen and back muscles near your spine. Every athlete knows this is one of the most important sets of muscles to train, as once you sort that out the rest of the body starts to fall into place. Sit ups and squats are your best friend in building up your core muscles and losing that belly.
State of mind
Even though blunt objects should be your weapon of choice, the one thing that you need to keep sharp is your mind. Complacency leads to stagnation, which leads to you getting eaten. The last thing you want is for stress to get the better of you and for you to freeze up mid swing, leaving you open for attack. Throughout your workout, add in some stretches, yoga and meditation to keep your mind focused and clear. Your brain is the biggest advantage you have against zombies (hence why they find it so damn delicious) so use it.
Jamie Gibbs is the overweight, wheezing sack of meat that is doing his best to get into shape before the zombie apocalypse finally hits. You can find him on his fantasy blog Mithril Wisdom by day, and brooding over the city rooftops at night (that last bit might not be entirely true).

Your Post-Apocalyptic Tribe: Dress for Success

Does anyone remember that show The Tribe about all the kids left over after a disease kills all the adults? They kids banded together in tribes based on their needs, interests, and location (e.g.: The Mall Rats). You could tell a lot about a person in that world based on how they looked and what they wore.
In the post-apocalypse you might want people to know who you’re allied with or where you’re from. It could mean the difference between being shot on sight or welcomed with open arms.
Now, I wouldn’t recommend tattooing your affiliation post-apocalypse. While it’s the permanent method that many gang members and sub-cultures seem to be fond of nowadays, it’s also potentially fatal if not done by a fully sanitized and licensed professional. You want to go through all the trouble of finding a group to belong to and then dying of tetanus right after your initiation? Not a good look.
Colors, also a gang favorite, are another great way to show your affiliation. But colors are going to be hard to find and be selective about come the end times. Also, if you’re team chooses red and their team chooses blue, the robots will still find all of you way more easily than if you all wore army green and hid in the forest.
Where you choose to hide, or set up for the long haul, will heavily impact not only who you’re associated with but also how you’ll need to dress to survive that environment. We here at In Case of Survival are all about practical[1. Psyche, we’re the least practical bitches on the earth.] survival.
If you’re residing in the sewers, you should have some goggles and a wrench and some sturdy boots for wading through muck and tightening drippy pipes. If you’re in the forests, you’ll need flexible shoes for climbing and stealthy movement, also a lot of form-fitting clothes so they don’t get caught on things.
More to the point of post-apocalyptic tribes, you’ll need to consider how to merge both recognizably and practicality.  If everyone looks like a hobo then no one likes someone you’d trust. Would you invite a hobo into your house, campsite, or country club?
Well maybe you’re a better person than I am, but I sure as shit wouldn’t.

Dos and Don’ts When Dressing Your Post-apocalyptic Tribe:

DO dress for your environment– both weather and terrain.
DO make room for weapons relevant to your environment and any enemies you might encounter.
DON’T go for garish colors or accessories– this is how the robots will spot you. Everyone in bright colors will die first.
DON’T let the tribe members get too flexible with the dress code.
DO have something that’s difficult to replicate in a pinch like being black, or bald or tall or … Well those aren’t really feasible. Hair dye! Nail Polish! Piercings (though, like tattoos, there is a health risk involved).

Any other suggestions for dressing your post-apocalyptic tribe for success?

Feature: GeekChic cosmetics

One one of my forays into the internet, I was pleased to discover GeekChic cosmetics. I immediately clicked on that link. I love makeup, I love being a geek. Fortunately, the name lived up to the expectations.
GeekChic produce a makeup range that not only is cruelty-free and allergy friendly (important things), but also has one of the best range of nerd-culture inspired colours I have ever seen. The eyeshadows range in colour from delicate, light, pretty shades all the way through to deep crimsons and true blues. Every single eyeshadow is named after a geeky thing, and the collections are named after TV shows and Games. For example, go take a look at the Geeks vs Zombies pallette, and tell me if it isn’t just the most perfect thing you’ve seen. Not only that, but GeekChic’s foundations have a good range of colours as well – it’s one of the few makeup brands where all three of the ICoS girls would be able to buy a foundation that blended.
Not only that, but as everything at GeekChic is based on mineral formulations, it’s good for your skin too – and it keeps, unlike liquid foundations, meaning that if you stock up you can be made up well into your post-apocalypse lifestyle.
We asked the GeekChic girls a few invasive questions, and we give you their answers for your files.

1. Who are you, I mean, really?

What an exestential question. I’d like to think that I am awesome, but awesomeness is subjective. As far who Geek Chic Cosmetics is, we are an organization 4 like minded people who have a passion for gaming and all things glitter. We are die hard workaholics, and spend way more time with each other than we probably should LOL. It doesn’t hurt that we all have a common goal. that is, to make really awesome products and make them the best we can. Oh, and we are all really close friends!

2. What is it that you do?

I personally wear many hats. I do all the packing and shipping, financials, taxes, graphic design, formulation, and management type stuff. On occasion I will answer emails too. Phil is our resident webmonkey and perfumer. Deb does all the nitty gritty production, filling, labeling, and a bulk of the product formulation. She also answers emails on occasion too. Gwynn is our resident Igor, she does all the PR stuff, and helps in pretty much every other aspect of the company. Basically whatever needs to be done that day, she has her hands in it. We all wear many fine hats!

3. When did you first realize you wanted to do that thing?

GCC was my brainchild a few years ago, and I knew that there was no way I could do it all on my own and Deb was the obvious choice as she is my best friend. As for the individual jobs we all do, we looked at our own personal strengths and assigned the jobs that were best suited to each person.

4. Where are you from (and how do you feel about that place?)?

I was born in Ogden, UT. I have really mixed feelings about being from Utah. I love that I have a family homestead that I can go visit to get back in touch with my roots from time to time, but I don’t care for the vibe in the state overall. It doesn’t really mesh with me as a person so well. But it will always be home cause that is where my family is.

5. Why would you make a good apocalypse party member?

I’m not convinced I would be a very good apocalypse member. I am pretty sure I wouldn’t last very long at all. I have a bum left leg and can’t really run so I think at the very least I would probably be the first to die. But I am very logical and can think of creative ways to do things so there’s that at least. I’d be useful for as long as I survived LOL.Prices start at $5.99 for an eyeshadow, though it’s usually cheaper to buy sets.

There's no power!

It won’t take long for the power to go out when the world ends. I bet you understand that, intellectually, but were you aware of just how much chaos there’ll be if the power craps out all in one go? Hell, the grid for my area went down for 20 minutes recently, and that meant two near-accidents and dozens of people wandering the streets looking confused.
“My TV is gone? Whaddido?”
I talked to my neighbours for the first time since moving in five years ago, that’s what I did. Then I sat on the sofa.
We’re so used to every element of our lives being technologically driven it can be hard for us to imagine life without it. Hell, unless you print our blog out, you won’t even be able to access it. And then what will you do when there are sentient badgers? (run.) No instant communication, no music on demand, having to rely on our own natural sense of direction and time sense… Not being able to write self-important comments on the internet (I think some people might just die at the thought. The internet is the only place they can think their opinion has weight and merit. Stop looking at me like that, I HAVE WEIGHT AND MERIT.).
They say civilisation is three meals from anarchy. Well, judging by the display of humanity the internet shows me on a regular basis, I think all it’ll take is a whole country unable to access funny cat videos for a day. I mean, these are the sort of people who care – I mean really, really care – if you liked a game they don’t, so much so they will threaten your life over it. That lack of self-awareness combined with that refusal to grasp proportion and the sheer level of mindless entitlement is a dangerous combination when something is taken away.
Trust me on this: People are awful, selfish monsters who are crap at disasters. You smuggos sitting there with ‘well I have generators and solar power’, what you gonna do when a whole load of people missing microwave popcorn come rushing down on you with makeshift weapons? The only good point is some of them are so babified by easy-use items that they’ve probably forgotten how to get out of the door. They certainly don’t REALLY know how to cook food found in the wild, or build a shelter, because shockingly for them watching re-runs of Man Vs Wild doesn’t give you practical experience. Neither does playing video games. So they’ll starve to death pretty soon waiting for the magic food pixies to come back.
And if my neighbours don’t come home and switch off their FUCKING alarm while I am trying to FUCKING concentrate I will find some way to shut down this whole city and watch it burn.
See? When humans are slightly inconvenienced, we respond as if someone murdered our dog and interfered with it’s corpse.
 
 

Training for the post-apocalypse

Now that my mind has re-injected itself into my body (the last few weeks have been rather hectic), I’m able to start thinking about post-apocalypse things again.
One of the post-apocalyptically focused things that have crossed my mind these past few days is the idea of training for the post-apocalypse. I know Anninyn has talked about it before, and she’s even got a training regimen already planned (and, you know, follows).
I, on the other hand, am nowhere near that organized. Or athletically inclined. I got a gym membership recently–and I’ve actually gone to the gym!–and have been working with a personal trainer. Which is all well and good and all that, but sometimes I have to wonder how effective personal training is when thinking about exercise in terms of post-apocalyptic survival.
Continue reading “Training for the post-apocalypse”

Why is no one talking about Revolution?

Once and only once I saw a commercial for the upcoming NBC pop-apocalypse show Revolution. Normally when this happens I think nothing of it because pilots come and go like sunsets.  But this actually looks like something worth watching — if you know to look for it.
Revolution is a J.J. Abrams and Jon Favreau baby. The show depicts life 15 years after a global blackout. From the preview it feels a lot like what Jericho  would have grown up to be if people had a bit more cowboy in them rather than ranch hand (as a personified noun, not what the show would have evolved into). There’s gun-slinging, sword fighting, and apparently crossbows grow on trees.
You might recognize the main actress as one of the wierdo werewolf twins from Being Human (US) and the warlord as the kingpin from Breaking Bad.
Check out the official trailer and summary from NBC:


Our entire way of life depends on electricity. So what would happen if it just stopped working? Well, one day, like a switch turned off, the world is suddenly thrust back into the dark ages. Planes fall from the sky, hospitals shut down, and communication is impossible. And without any modern technology, who can tell us why?
Now, 15 years later, life is back to what it once was long before the industrial revolution: families living in quiet cul-de-sacs, and when the sun goes down, the lanterns and candles are lit. Life is slower and sweeter. Or is it?
On the fringes of small farming communities, danger lurks. And a young woman’s life is dramatically changed when a local militia arrives and kills her father, who mysteriously – and unbeknownst to her – had something to do with the blackout. This brutal encounter sets her and two unlikely companions off on a daring coming-of-age journey to find answers about the past in the hopes of reclaiming the future.
From director Jon Favreau (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2”) and the fertile imaginations of J.J. Abrams and Eric Kripke (“Supernatural”), comes a surprising “what if” action-adventure series, where an unlikely hero will lead the world out of the dark. Literally.

Tune in to the series premiere on September 17th (MONDAYS) 10/9C and check out NBC’s official site for more information.

Finally! | The Walking Dead – Episode Two: Starved for Help

With such an amazing Episode One of The Walking Dead I was growing more and more devastated every day that Episode 2 didn’t show itself. Well, The Walking Dead – Episode Two: Starved for Help has finally come out of hiding.
As promised, this episode will feature all new scenarios and decisions. New characters will be introduced and old characters– if you didn’t see them to their death– will return.
Rather than dealing with the immediate aftermath of the zombie outbreak, Episode Two: Starved for Help deals with the group trying to settle in to life in the post-apocalypse. Food is running low and desperation is running high.
[wpspoiler name=”Check out the summary video for Episode One: A New Day (it’s Filled with SPOILERS):” ][/wpspoiler]
[wpspoiler name=”If you’ve already played episode 1 and you don’t mind seeing SPOILERS for Episode Two, check out the launch trailer.”]

[/wpspoiler]
Details from the Telltale Games Press Release
 
[wpspoiler name=”Details from the Telltale Games Press Release” ]
The Walking Dead is set in the world of Robert Kirkman’s award-winning comic book series.  Lee Everett, a man convicted of a crime of passion, has been given the chance for redemption in a world devastated by the undead. Players experience life changing events, meet new characters and familiar ones from the original comic, and also visit locations that foreshadow the story of Deputy Sherriff Rick Grimes. The Walking Dead offers a tailored game experience – player actions, choices, and decisions affect how the story plays out across the entire series.
The Walking Dead: Episode Two – Starved for Help is the second in a series of five episodes. Each episode is available for 400 Microsoft®Points on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for Xbox 360® and for $4.99 per episode or as a $19.99 season pass on PlayStation®Network. The Walking Dead is also available as a $24.99 five-episode season pass on PC and Mac from the Telltale Online Store and other digital outlets.
The Walking Dead: Episode Two – Starved for Help is rated ‘M’ (Mature) for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, and Strong Language by the ESRB.
[/wpspoiler]