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…
 

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).

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.

Pack your bags and go NOW.

You know how I told you about this?
 
Yeah, well, now there’s been a similar attack in Maryland. Two within a week.
If I were you, I’d get OUT. And if I were the British Government, I’d close the borders and patrol them with our army and navy shooting anyone coming from abroad. It’s fairly easy to defend an island when you have gunboats and a few nukes.
Seriously, you don’t have to run yet, but I would keep a very close eye on the news and be ready to go at short notice. Maybe take some holiday time and go to an isolated cabin in the mountains.Even if this isn’t the start of a Zombie Apocalypse, something VERY ODD is going on and it needs watching.
You can always trust us to bring you the information.
So, with it being this imminent, this is what to ficus on.You need food, water, a first aid kit and weapons you can use. I suggest buying them now. You need to find shelter. An old bomb shelter will do if you can’t find anything else at short notice.
Good luck.
 
 

POTENTIAL APOCALYPSE ALERT.

I come out of my self-imposed exile (caused by the fact that studying a degree, writing a book and looking for a job all take a shocking amount of time) to tell you about THIS.
A naked man has been shot dead after attempting to chew a homeless mans face off in Miami.
Now, I’m not trying to say this is the start of a Zombie Apocalypse, but… this is the start of a Zombie Apocalypse.
Continue reading “POTENTIAL APOCALYPSE ALERT.”