This post originally appeared on the Zombie Preparedness Initiative website.
We all need hobbies to take our minds off of the daily grind, and relax. However, there’s no reason these hobbies can’t also help to hone skills needed in the case of the inevitable.
At its heart, canning is about sterilization and food preservation, two things very near and dear to our hearts. The general idea is to heat the food and container to a temperature that will kill any bacteria, and then vacuum seal it to prevent contamination. Canned foods can last up to five years (or even longer in some circumstances), require no refrigeration or electricity, and are self contained in a package suitable for travel.
Low-acid foods, such as meat or vegetables, must be canned in a pressure canner. (Note: a pressure canner is not exactly the same as a pressure cooker!) High-acid foods, such as fruits or pickled vegetables, can be canned in a simple hot water bath. Recipes can be more or less complicated, but this can be as simple as filling a sterilized jar with fruit and sugar water and dropping it in hot water for 15 – 20 minutes.
The equipment for hot water bath canning is easy enough to come by. The hot water bath itself is easily improvised with a large pot and a fire. However, the more difficult part to obtain are mason jars, lids, and rings. Jars and rings are re-useable, but lids are not.
In my experience, small, local hardware stores are surprisingly one of the best places to get canning supplies. Since you will undoubtedly need to raid a hardware store at some point, be sure to stock up on lids. This should be especially easy, since the foolish or short-sighted will probably not be thinking of this long-term item. Jars can be obtained at the same place, but vast, undiscovered caches of jars are living in the basements of old ladies everywhere. Jars can be reused, so you can also start with a few and grow your collection over time. Just be sure that there are no chips or cracks around the edges of the jars, since these will prevent the jar from sealing.
There is a little bit of an art to canning, so it is smart to invest some time now, while you have the luxury. In the long term, you have a relatively sustainable way to preserve the vegetables from your rooftop garden (you are planning on having a rooftop garden, right?) to help sustain you for years to come. And the best part? This is a useful hobby to know in a non-post apocalyptic world: nothing beats homemade jam!
For reference books, I suggest the old standby, the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving. However, if you’re looking for something a little more modern, I’d recommend Food in Jars or Canning for a New Generation. For an online reference on canning (as well as a literal map on where to head for food when the collapse comes), check out pickyourown.org.
Shane is a programmer and writer who blogs at shanehalbach.com about zombies, bacon, pirates, and his children (not necessarily in that order).
Of course, we all know how valuable bacon would be in the case of a zombie apocalypse (the correct answer being “more valuable than gold”). This very topic was discussed at Baconfest in regards to the Tactical Bacon. Commenter Victor Tookes was quick to point out this post on How to Make Bacon Post Apocalypse.
This article is great, with some fantastic quotes:
There is no reason that the walking dead should stop humanity from enjoying it’s crowning culinary achievement.
Pigs are fantastic, magical animals, they turn vegetables into bacon.
Tell me that is not just *dying* to be put on a tee-shirt.
However, the informative bacon posts are just the beginning! It is well worth looking around the rest of the Zombie Preparedness Initiative’s website!
Hours and hours of things to read there. Important, life saving things. Keep in mind, this is the only zombie organization specifically inspired by Shaun of the Dead. And if that doesn’t make them serious enough, they have an .org extension on their webpage. They are an organization people!
An important organization with an important mission. I want all of you to study up. We’ll each have our roles to play, and we don’t have room on the team for any slackers.
Some people get tired of all the stupid April Fools jokes that run around on the Internet. It seems like every company has some “joke” up their sleeve, to the point where there’s just no chance of anybody tricking you on that day.
On the other hand, I like it. April Fools day has turned into something like an Internet holiday. Wearing a green, pseudo-Irish outfit and drinking beer doesn’t make sense either, but everybody goes along with it because it’s St. Patrick’s day, and why not? Putting out a silly fake ad or doing something dumb on your website is the April 1st equivalent of wearing green. It shows you’re participating.
So, in honor of the 3rd annual baconfest this weekend, I give you Scope’s contribution this year: bacon flavored mouthwash, “for breath that sizzles”
This is the perfect example of an April fools joke. It’s a ridiculous and terrible idea, and yet it’s *just* plausible enough that a bunch of talking head idiots at a company might try to capitalize on the bacon sensation. Plus, there’s some serious production value on that commercial. It’s more enjoyable than a lot of actual commercials.
ThinkGeek, on the other hand, continues to use April Fools “pranks” as a way of beta testing perfectly good ideas to see what people actually want to buy. Seriously guys, there is an art to a good April fools joke. You have to start by making something that’s ridiculous, and then convince me, despite my skepticism, that it is a real thing. That’s a well done joke. Just showing me some products that you could make and sell, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet, is not a joke.
Scope link via Sylvain (and it should be mentioned this video came out *before* April fools, lending it credibility).
You know, some people think that movies glorify gun violence. Maybe they are just watching the wrong movies. Because, as Thumbs & Ammo knows,
Real tough guys don’t need guns, they just need a positive, can-do attitude
To prove it to you, I give you the following scenes from all the biggest movies. Do these guys need guns? No they do not!
(I could probably put every single one in here, but I’ll try to restrain myself.)
Thumbs up, bros. Stay positive!
I’ve mentioned before the important, and useful ability of the common man to petition the federal government for important services. Now, unfortunately, some people have put this powerful website to silly uses, which is a shame, because it obscures the truly useful petitions. I’m referring of course, to this one: Have the USDA set a Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for bacon.
We, the undersigned, respectfully request that the USDA set a Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for bacon, so that all Americans can be guided on how best to participate in this amazing, nation building food.
Finally, something useful and important that the government could actually accomplish!
Please join me in signing this vital petition. We need 100,000 signatures by April 21st, and we have a long, long way to go.
My friends. Ohhhh my friends. What a wonderful, wonderful world we live in.
Did you know that somewhere in the world, possibly right at this moment, robots are racing camels? It’s true.
Apparently, the wildly popular sport of camel racing had just a teensy bit of a dark side:
Camel racing has been around for thousands of years. “The Sport of Sheiks” almost exclusively utilized small children, usually boys around the age of four, to ride and direct the camels. Often, the boys would be starved to be as light as possible. Many of the boys used for the races were often sold to race organizers or camel owners, and there was an active child slave trade for camel jockeys, involving victims of kidnapping or the children of destitute families who sold them into servitude.
The elegant solution? Robots. Ranging from the realistic:
To the simplistic:
Not only do the robots save the lives of these poor boys, it also allows the owners to take a more active role. If you’re going to drop the kind of cash it takes to enter into a competitive breeding and racing program, wouldn’t you rather be holding the remote control than just sitting on the sidelines watching?
What is it about robots riding camels that is so outrageously awesome? It’s like the sport of the future mixed with the sport of the past.
How is this not popular in the U.S.? How is it not televised?
WHY AM I NOT WATCHING IT RIGHT NOW??
There is probably not a minute of my day in which I don’t have a song from the Music Man by Meredith Willson running through my head. We got the soundtrack for Christmas, and Evie has lately become obsessed with it.
I love musicals, but the Music Man was not one of mine. I know of it vaguely, having heard some of the songs (especially Gary Indiana and the Wells Fargo Wagon), and somehow knowing that this is a thing people like, but that’s about it. So I’m not really sure why we picked this one out of a hat, but I didn’t really expect it would take off as it has. Evie went through a huge Wicked phase (because I was going through a huge Wicked phase), but subsequent musicals were sort of meh. Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music never really became favorites, and the Wizard of Oz soundtrack keeps in the rotation but never really had that, “play it again, play it again!” quality that the Music Man seems to have acquired.
The thing is, I have to hand it to the Music Man: turns out it is a mighty fine musical after all. I’m not ashamed to admit I really dig the songs, especially Rock Island and (Ya Got) Trouble. Even Ollie has been running around singing the songs (his favorite is Shipoopi, but he likes Marion the Librarian quite a bit as well). I doubt Evie could pick a favorite.
Evie has always excelled at picking up song lyrics, but she’s just about got the whole CD memorized. Picking up song lyrics happens to be a talent of mine as well, but she’s got me whipped. She doesn’t always understand the words she’s saying (at least she knows that “a woman who’ll kiss on the very first date is usually a hussy”), but she’s pretty impressive. The words are *so fast* in the Music Man, I can hardly believe she can follow along.
When I see her enjoying this so much, my consumer-instinct is to buy more musicals. However, I’ve convinced myself not to (although we already have one more in the pipeline). The thing is, when I was a kid, we were fanatical about Jesus Christ Superstar. Was it because this is the greatest musical of all time? No, it is not. But it’s the one we had; the one we listened to over and over again until we could sing the entire musical from memory, start to finish (and still can!). Musicals are like anything: having 5 or 10 at your fingertips doesn’t make you like musicals more, it makes you uninterested in musicals and full of ennui. Needless to say, I’m resisting the urge.
In the meantime, if you come slinking around here, expect to hear the big trombones and the rat-a-tat drums, big brass bass, big brass bass, and the piccolo, the piccolo coming out of the kitchen radio.
He’s a what? He’s a what? He’s a MUSIC man! And when the man dances, certainly boys, what else? The piper pays him!
Yessssss sir. Yessssss sir. Yessssssss sir.
You want to learn some important truths? Our friends over at Verified Facts are serving up some truth bombs. Hurry over there before the Feds shut them down!
Here are a few of the verified facts. My friends, prepare to have your mind blown:
You might not think that there’s a link between the 2008 financial crash and most of the negative events you’ve experienced personally in your own life, but there is, and it’s real.
Did you know that people with Rocky Mountain spotted fever are admitted to Harvard at half the rate that other people are, even when they have similar applications? Is this an example of the rich and powerful using their influence to keep their genetic pool “clean”? (The answer is yes.)
By tracking the shapes that nuclear power-smugglers’ secret trails leave in the deserts that line the US-Mexico border, we can easily tell that many of these criminals are in league with the Church of Scientology.
Oh, and by the way?
While excavating anthropological sites in Three Mile Island, rusty canteens from the Great Depression were found five feet below the surface. The logos on those canteens? “FEMA.” Everything we’ve been told about the past is a lie.
In all seriousness though, it’s amazing how simple it is to generate random conspiracy theories. This thing is quite brilliant. A couple of conspiracy-laden quotes, combined with a few find-and-replace lists of keywords (The Feds, FEMA, The Church of Scientology, financial crash, etc.) and a sprinkling of quotes such as
Our demands for transparency on this issue have largely been ignored.
And you’re in business. I really don’t think I could distinguish one of these auto-generated ones from an actual conspiracy rant.
Any particularly good ones you’ve found?
In order to better “connect with the people”, the White House set up an area on whitehouse.gov where the common man can enter petitions, or suggestions to be implemented by the President. Realizing that this was the Internet, and all sorts of dumb things would likely get entered in there, they made a minimum number of signatures required before the White House would actually examine a petition and respond to it. Not realizing this was the Internet, they set the threshold at 25,000 signatures in 30 days, something that is almost laughably easy to achieve (note that they’ve since raised the bar to 100,000).
Logically, this new petition system quickly lead to a brilliant suggestion: the government should begin construction on a Star Wars-style Death Star.
The petition makes some good points, and is appealing to many different segments of the community:
By focusing our defense resources into a space-superiority platform and weapon system such as a Death Star, the government can spur job creation in the fields of construction, engineering, space exploration, and more, and strengthen our national defense.
What’s not to like?
Not surprisingly, this petition quickly reached the required number of signatures, triggering an official response from the White House (and changes to the way the petition system works).
Although I support the creation of the Death Star (and signed the petition), in the government’s defense, they make some pretty good points as well:
Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?
The response is great, and filled with Star Wars references, however, I think that you have to read between the lines a little bit. My takeaway is that the government IS ALREADY working on a Death Star, though they can’t come right out and say it. They reference the “giant, football field-sized International Space Station in orbit around the Earth” and the laser-wielding Mars rover. Message received Mr. Shawcross. ::wink wink:: Message received.
Finally, some words of wisdom from the White House:
Remember, the Death Star’s power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force.
Do you know someone who is really into music? Like *really* into music? Like would-rather-die-than-be-without their music?
Then I suggest CataCombo, the world’s first combination catacomb and music lounge. The casket contains a full sound system ”tuned to the coffin’s unique interior acoustic space” for high quality, audiophile sound. Now you will have access to your tunes for all eternity. Literally. (No word on if this can be combined with the Kiss Kasket)
But wait! Upon further reflection this is a terrible idea.
First off, if you’re accidentally buried alive in this thing, nobody’s going to hear you. “Hey, is that Shane clawing at the ceiling of his grave, or just a fantastic bass line?” “I don’t know, but either way, let’s dance on his grave!”
Second off, the music selection can be remote controlled, ”allowing friends and family to spare you a thought by adding tracks and keeping it up-to-date.” Absolutely not! The last thing I need is for my brother to clear out my playlist and replace it with Beiber for all eternity.
No thank you CataCombo! I’ll stick with the pine box after all.
If you like Star Wars (and if you read this blog, it’s a fairly good guess that you do, but there are a few of you in particular I’m thinking of), then you should go check out the web series Space Janitors.
This is a show that examines life on the “other side” of the Imperial Death Star, the low level flunkies and janitors who are just trying to eke out a living while keeping the Death Star plumbing flowing. It’s kind of like a cross between that scene in Clerks where they discuss the poor contractors who got blown up on the incomplete Death Star in Jedi, and the Eddie Izzard Death Star canteen skit.
Most of the episodes are hilarious, but if you’re looking for a good intro episode, I’d start with Laser sword:
I recommend listening to the audio, but if you prefer, here it is in text format:
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the edifice
Not a creature was stirring, neither mouse nor St. Nicolas
The stockings were hung by the aperture gaping
Where smoke, in it’s wisdom, had ‘ere been escaping
Downstairs my uncle was strapped down in bed
While visions of ichor danced round in his head
His nightmares of late had been growing much stronger
And sense dared not trespass his mind any longer
Once a learned professor at Brown University
My great-uncle had often, in secret, conversed with me
In his study at night, over manuscripts moldering
With a pipe at his lips, always lambent and smoldering
All that research of his, into cults esoteric
Strange symbols and glyphs and arcane numerics
Of that Dutch survey crew and their frenzied report
Of a vast arctic city filled with sunken faced dwarves
And that journal recovered from one ‘Ensign Lamar’
Which references “He that rides beasts through the stars”
Gloaming and heaving with corpulent dread
Bloated, batrachian and covered in red
And then there’s the relic in my uncle’s display:
A 4-sided top carved of wood, or some clay
With symbols engraved into each of its sides
That surely must tell of coming end times
I was pondering this manifold doom that would smite us
When out from my window shone a miasmal brightness
How the pale gibbous moon shown down on his back
Which bulged with the throngs of some hideous sack
With some alien ululations in a primordial tongue
He froze me in place, and unable to run
I was forced to bear witness to things vile and foul
So unspeakably horrid I can scarce speak them now
He summoned his steeds by their blasphemous names
And with his gangrenous grasp he pulled down on their reigns
Then suddenly upwards that noxious horde flew
That red bellied nightmare rising up from my view
Cacodemoniacal laughter I heard from my roof
And the lumbering clomps of thick octopoid hooves
Then repugnant and hoary, his stench filled the air
While he writhed down my chimney as I watched from the stairs
He spoke not a sound as then off from his back
He heaved up that thick throbbing cyst of a sack
And from it a stench came so charnel and dense
That I nearly passed out when he drew from it thence:
An Amazon Kindle, and a few pairs of nice socks
A sweater, a tie, and Call of Duty: Black Ops
Law and Order Season V on Blueray DVD
And an espresso machine,…hope he kept the receipt
Then all at once swung round this tenebrous being
And with dark ancient eyes of unfathomable seeing
Their biliferous blackness spanning eons extinct
Revealing my own maddening fate, with a wink
Then into that monolith of chimney he lurched
With the gelatinous frenzy of invertebrate birth
Ripping free to the roof he launched into the night
With a vow to return when the stars are just right
Sometimes technology takes such an amazing leap forward, that you just stand there, stunned. I give you the “world’s first airborne Mexican food delivery system”, the Burrito Bomber.
It works like this:
- You connect to the Burrito Bomber web-app and order a burrito. Your smartphone sends your current location to our server, which generates a waypoint file compatible with the drone’s autopilot.
- We upload the waypoint file to the drone and load your burrito in to our custom made Burrito Delivery Tube.
- The drone flies to your location and releases the Burrito Delivery Tube. The burrito parachutes down to you, the drone flies itself home, and you enjoy your carne asada.
Don’t believe me? See for yourself:
Unfortunately, the Burrito Bomber will not be available until 2015, when the FAA reforms its regulations in regards to unmanned drones. However, just the fact that a prototype exists gives me hope for this world.
Remember those little army men you used to play with when you were little? I used to love those things, but what could you really do with them? Not much. And honestly, is it really appropriate to have kids waging little wars? Probably not.
UNLESS those army men were doing something a little more constructive than fighting wars, such as fighting zombies. Thanks to ThinkGeek you can now get scaled down zombie and zombie fighter army men.
Not just for kids either: now you can practice your zombie plans easily and accurately. You want to talk about constructive toys that can really teach your kids something worthwhile…
Here in the futuristic world known as the present, robots can be used to manufacture goods. But sometimes you long for simpler times. Here’s an invention that combines the simple, old-time pleasures of a rocking chair and a knitted hat. The rocking chair harnesses the power of your rocking and puts it to good use, answering the age old question: how can we use old people for fuel?
The chair looks so simple, that I’m completely flabbergasted that it can do something as complicated (to me at least) as knitting a hat. No robots or computer chips or even electricity required.
You know, now I feel kind of silly for all the time I’ve spent knitting…
Link via Sara.
Most makers of pole barns probably target farmers, or other country types. Only a few go out of their way to cater to special niche markets. CB Structure is one of those few, with this article: the comprehensive plan for surviving the zombie apocalypse from your pole barn.
The article covers all the most important design decisions: what type of hinges can best withstand the cold strong hands of the undead? Which type of siding makes it easier to hose off the guts? How big should my barn doors be to admit my modified jeep/zombie destruction mobile? What kind of square footage should I be looking at to store all the necessary food-stuffs?
In fact, the article even goes so far as to help you plan your pole bar for a time when the zombie horde has been defeated, and life can go back to normal. What better way than a zombie survival museum?
It’s called thinking ahead people!
Look, I have no idea if their pole barns are any better than anybody else’s pole barns. But at least I know that they are serious businessmen with serious consideration of serious issues. Would somebody please order one of these pole barns so that I know where to go in case of emergency??
I can’t decide if this is the greatest invention ever made, or the stupidest. I give you hi-call, the bluetooth enabled glove that enables you to take calls in the winter without removing your gloves or getting your phone out of your bulky pocket.
The left glove has a speaker and a microphone sewed into thumb and pinkie
Remember in the 80′s when we all thought we’d have flying cars (or at least hoverboards) by now? Well folks, we just took another step towards all that fantastic 80′s technology.
This the the poem I read to the kids tonight in honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day:
By Shel Silverstein
Oh, the blithery, blathery pirate
(His name, I believe, is Claude),
His manner is sullen and irate,
And his humor is vulgar and broad.
He has often been known to imprison
His friends in the hold dark and dank,
Or lash them up high on the mizzen,
Or force them to stroll down a plank.
He will selfishly ask you to dig up
Some barrels of ill-gotten gold,
And if you so much as just higgup,
He’ll leave you to fill up the hole.
He may cast you adrift in a rowboat
(He has no reaction to tears)
Or put you ashore without NO boat
On an island and leave you for years.
He’s a rotter, a wretch and a sinner,
He’s foul as a fellow can be,
But if you invite him to dinner,
Oh, please sit him next to me!
The other day, we were walking around Chicago and we happened upon this:
Yes, that is a fountain that looks like an enormous pile of poop. And aptly named too:
(I only wish I had a better camera)
After some quick googling, I discovered that it is dedicated to all the neighborhood dogs and their owners who don’t pick up after them.
Only in Chicago my friends.
Chances are you’ve seen this somewhere on the Internet, but just in case you haven’t, I don’t want to deprive you.
When you’re doing some world class diving, you probably have other things on your mind than smiling for the cameras. I think this also speaks to just how fast these people are actually moving through the air. Nonetheless, tell me this isn’t hilarious:
I’m sure they’re all so happy to have these hi res photos on the Internet.
That’s not just some eye catching headline, designed to upset you and draw you in. It’s actually a fact.
It turns out there is something called the “lone star tick”, whose bite actually makes you allergic to meat.
Technically it doesn’t really make you a vegetarian, since you could still eat poultry and fish, but it is still very interesting that a bug bite could change something so fundamental about your way of life.
It begs the question: was vegetarianism originally an unnatural state brought about by tick bites? And are all the vegetarians since descended from copy-cat followers on? And what other states of being can be brought about by bug bites (besides “itchy”)? Could this explain the difference between “dog people” and “cat people”? Could it explain exercise fanatics? People who like the little disgusting things known as deviled eggs?
Wait a minute! Maybe I’m thinking about this the wrong way. Maybe vegetarianism is a super power, transferred by the bite of an insect. There is some precedent for that.
In any case, nature never ceases to amaze me.
Link via Sara.
Okay, I have spent entirely too much time on Better Book Titles. The formula is simple: re-title a book with something a little more descriptive or appropriate, and photoshop the new title onto the cover of the book.
The best ones are when they take a title from one book or movie and put it on the book it should have titled in the first place. I have literally spent hours looking at these, but for some reason Sara does not enjoy them. I don’t know how many I called her over to see. “Check out this one!” I would say, pointing and chuckling, only to have her shrug uninterestedly and say, “I don’t know, it’s just not for me I guess.”
Don’t be like her, go enjoy these. Here are some of my favorites:
This is such a great idea for a blog. Basically, he tries all the worst food the supermarket has to offer so you don’t have to. He’s a connoisseur of the unsavory, and practically a hero if you want my opinion.
Kind of like my “10 things I used to eat that disgust me” post, except if I was still eating it today. And then if I didn’t stop at 10, but continued to keep finding things that disgust me and eat them, in fact seeking out the most disgusting things I could find.
The only downside is that the site is British (if you couldn’t tell by the title), so they have weird things that aren’t available here in the U.S. A quick survey seems to indicate their shite food is much worse than our shite food (well, it’s British, so to be fair nobody’s exactly arguing that good food is their strong suite).
In particular, I would like to call out a product called “Mr. Brain’s Pork Faggots“. People in the U.K. eat something called Mr. Brain’s Pork Faggots. Enough people, that they mass produce them and stock shelves in a super market with them. This is not a joke.
(In case you’re wondering, it’s probably worse than you think: ”A faggot is traditionally made from pig’s heart, liver and fatty belly meat or bacon minced together, with herbs added for flavouring and sometimes bread crumbs”)
So if you actually want to try some of this stuff out (because you hate yourself and want to die?), you’re probably going to be out of luck. However, it’s much better to read about someone else’s trials and tribulations, rather than experience them yourself.