Archive for the ‘books’ Category

Note: This posting was originally written as a submission for Pool Boy Magazine,  the independent adult lifestyle magazine for badass women, and clearly a NSFW site.

Hollywood loves to play with how our sexual morals will change after humanity falls. In reality, some women living in the end times will not want to get pregnant from just any man possible.  Not everyone will agree that it “will be our duty to procreate and replace the human species.”  People will most likely continue to have sex for fun. It is, after all, the world’s oldest recreation.

So let’s assume your local pharmacy has already been raided by looters, what is a woman to do?  Without a doubt the best place to start is the Hesperian Foundation’s book Where there is no Doctor.  The Hesperian Society is committed to spreading health care to developing countries.  Their book is designed to give medical advice to a community who has limited resources, which is just what like the Apocalypse will be like.

Included in Chapter 20 is a handy reference guide outlining the various birth control methods currently available, and the varying degree of success of each to protect against pregnancy as well as STD’s.

I realize a woman may not want to rely on her ability to count on a regular basis, but Chapter 20, page 291 describes in great detail how the counting method works.  Me, personally, I would trust the Hesperian Foundation’s version over the Catholic Church’s version.  I would also recommend Wikipedia’s entry on the Calendar method as a good place to start one’s research, but unfortunately the internet will not work when the grid fails.

Now obviously the calendar method is not a lady’s first choice as an absolute guarantee against pregnancy.  So what else have we got after the modern-day pharmaceutical empire has fallen into the dust bin of history?

Let’s assume that modern medicine had ways to prevent pregnancy, and let’s assume that we no longer have modern medicine.  Let’s also assume that much of modern medicine borrowed from things people knew about plants.

The only  list I have found that describes which plants are good to replace birth control, is halfway down the comments in a long online conversation about birth control without the pill.  As we all know anything anyone says on the internet has to be right, right?

Now I, nor Wikipedia are advocating for abortions, or that people start to take these chemicals arbitrarily.  However, it stands to reason that any plant that could cause an abortion could also prevent a pregnancy.  The dosage might be a little different.  Now I am no doctor, and I have never played one on TV, but Wikipedia has a list of plants and chemicals that can induce abortions.

Consulting a local medicine/plant expert  would probably be best. I know who I would recommend in Arizona, but I can’t speak for the rest of the county.  Note, a class would be best to do before society crumbles and we have to live by thunderdome rules.

Searching the internet for birth control methods came up with a couple of  less-than-practical options.  The first is condom’s made of animal intestines, used since the time of the Egyptians.  However I am guessing putting on a goat’s small intestine might spoil the mood.

Also heavily discussed is the option to continue brest feeding.  In the Eighteenth Century is was common for women to breast feed all the way until toddlerhood in order to space out the births.   According to breastfeeding basics the mother has to be “exclusively breastfeeding” meaning the poor woman is constantly going to have the kid attached.  If the goal is to not get pregnant, and one has to have a child for this method to work, then we are left with a Catch-22

So without the pill and modern medicine a woman is not left with a lot of great options,  the sexual revolution did come after the pill after all, no?  So I hate to get all religious right on you, but perhaps the woman’s best choice to avoid pregnancy after the Apocalypse is absence or if that not is possible,  have a mutated animal as a boyfriend.


Lessons learned and Thoughts Pondered while watching “I Am Legend”

Add Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” (lyrics include Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.) to youtube playlist of  Songs to listen to during the Apocalypse.

To survive after the Apocalypse (APO) one will need to stay highly organized.  This will involve religiously doing a lot of boring chores.  Try to relish the chores, relish the routine.

New York’s infrastructure would collapse into itself much quicker than the movie portrays.  At least according to The World Without Us by Alan Weisman it would.  The first shocker is the huge potholes that would quickly appear throughout the cities streets.  I should revisit this book, as I read it originally a couple of years ago.

A good dog would be great to have when one is wandering around the ruins of society.  A Boy and His Dog also teaches this lesson, just a little more dramatically.

Being the last man on earth would most likely drive you a little insane.  This is a common theme in Post-APO movies but probably best explored in The Quiet Earth.


I Am Legend is the third feature film adaptation of Richard Matheson‘s 1954 novel of the same name, following  The Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price and 1971’s The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston.  I haven’t watched the Last Man on Earth yet.  I did enjoy Omega Man, and not just because it has all the ingredients of a B-Movie classic.  It is a whole lot hookier than I am Legend, but fun none-the-less, with its own set of thoughts and lessons learned.



People in authority lie.

Those who survive will most likely wear beige.

The people need hope to survive (Nothing new here, this same lesson is in every post-APO movie ever made.)

Ceremonies are important and useful.  They mean there is a tradition strong enough to defend itself.

If being tracked, walk through a snow storm and not after it.

Apocalypse (APO) movies just love their changes to morals about sex.  Better cinema than history proves the most commonly stable relationship is one man and one wife.

If you find a good place to stay, then stay.

Once you have established a tribe, who would be your first ambassador to go out and meet other tribes? You would want to see who is out there, and trade with them but also not let the hostiles know you had stuff to raid.

Take any airborne rangers who want to join your tribe.

We walked on the moon once.  If we keep just a fraction of what we have learned, then mankind will not be rooting in caves.


The Postman might be a good book to read, the movie is a little hokey but it brings up some interesting points. There are some scenes that don’t seem to fit into the movie that I would guess are fleshed out more in the book. The Postman plays like a movie that was too focused on staying true to the book which makes the movie suffer a little.    

Update: Afer reading the wikipedia entry for the Postman, it looks like the movie was completely different than the book, yet the book got good reviews and props, including nominated for Hugo award, and that ain’t bad.   Off to the library!

One the last places people would think to raid is their local library.  But there is a whole shit load of knowledge there.  Probably best if you read the books first, however your tribe will have people who have an immediate desire to learn but no repository of knowledge to pull from.  Library raiding is more beneficial for the mid and long-term survival rather than the short- term.  But, as I said, this will be one of the last places people think to raid.

The problem is the library’s card catalog system will be down.  So here is the Dewey Decimal System of places on the bookshelves to hit first.  Print this list for your bookmaker. The subjects you probably learned in high school will the least useful and there is no need to scanvager them first.  Once the inital shock has jelled for a while you will probably be able to roam the literature section.

180 Ancient, medieval, Oriental philosophy
500 Natural sciences & mathematics
508 Natural history
550 Earth sciences
581 Botany
582 Plants noted for specific vegetative characteristics and flowers
600 Technology (Applied sciences)
610 Medical sciences; Medicine
611 Human anatomy, cytology, histology
612 Human physiology
613 Promotion of health

613.69 Survival Guides

614 Incidence & prevention of disease
615 Pharmacology and therapeutics
616 Diseases
617 Surgery & related medical specialties
619 Experimental medicine
640 Home economics & family living
645 Household furnishings
646 Sewing, clothing, personal living
647 Management of public households
649 Child rearing & home care of sick

I might edit this list as I come across new numbers when I check out books, which is like raiding a place with the safety wheels still on.

Most likely potential causes of the End Times.

When discussing the apocalypse, people are always preoccupied with what would cause the apocalypse.  I doubt this would matter because the end of the world means end of the world, will we really care how it happened?

Regardless, here is my current analysis of the most likely cataclysms to succeed.

Zombie- Apocalypse

Despite Hollywood’s fascination and a shit load of websites on this particular Armageddon, a un-thinking horde of slow-moving attackers who have no brains because they are technically dead is not one of the likely cataclysms to succeed.

Some crazy-ass kind of bird flu (or Mad Cows disease, or fast-moving AIDS)

Mother Earth at some point has got to act out. How long would a planet’s menstrual cycle be? The impact could be immediate, but most likely the quickest it could take for an epidemic to destroy all of society is 9 months. This is a total random guess. I suppose the black plague and smallpox would be good examples of how quick a disease can spread and kill at least one-third or more of society.

Nuclear Holocaust

Now that the cold war is over a nuclear holocaust destroying us all is unlikely. Because there is such a thing as tactical nuclear weapon, it would no longer automatically be total annihilation. Unless China and India have a nuclear arms race. That would change the scenario.

However, Russia and the U.S. are no longer inclined to MADly send hundreds of weapons into space. Of course the kissing-cousin of the nuclear holocaust is the nuclear winter, which would be more of a slow freeze. How many nukes would it take to blanket the planet?

The Antichrist takes over the planet,  the good Christians miss it all by taking a one-way escalator to heaven before the 7 years of trials and tribulations.

The rise of the anti-Christ is entirely possible,  it would be very easy for the incarnation of evil to make it famous and rule us all,  just watch Jersey Shore to see what I mean.   Also things are mostly likely to fall apart slowly, so that “7 years” part makes some sense as well.  I have my doubts about millions disappearing into the air however.   The thing about the bible is you are never sure when it is speaking in metaphor.

Robots (or machines, the system, computers, the matrix) kill all organic meat.

Possible: Every time I hear someone say “Wait, my computer is thinking,”  I feel humanity has already surrendered.   I got no idea if this would happen quick or slow.  I mean they beat us at chess, how are we going to out think them when total annihilation is the goal?  In fact, why don’t computers just fight our wars for us?

The internet, the banking system and all systems that rely on technology collapse.

People, I am sorry but this will not destroy us.  Really, the internet and the banking system are not that important.  Of course the electrical system might be a different story.  See Robots (or the machine, system, computers, the matrix) kill all organic meat.

Mayan Y2K

Ah Puch returns and kills us all.  See The Antichrist takes over the planet,  the good christians miss it all by taking a one-way escalator to heaven before the 7 years of trials and tribulations.

Global Warming

This is the most likely cause.  This is also most likely to be the slowest, even slower than an Al Gore lecture.  California and all coast places are screwed.  The problem will be too much water.  I hate to sound like Lex Luthor but glad I live in Phoenix if this one happens.

Aliens Attack

Well, if that happens all bets are off.  Who knows what fuck would happen.  In that case grab your towel, your copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and don’t panic.

On the list of places one might be able to raid without too much trouble is the large big box Hardware stores. I assume after all of society burns down we all will have to build again at some point.

Some would obvioulsy already have these tools in their workroom. I probably don’t. While doing tasks as simple as building a ladder and changing out my garbage disposal I have learned not only do I have very few tools, but I am not entirely familiar with the few that I have.

So I need to consult an expert on this. To get me started I have been skimming through the Reader’s Digest: Complete Do-it-yourself Manual Circa 1973. I found it in a used bookshop.

What I like about it, is it has a list of the “Job to be done” with a corresponding “Appropriate Hand Tools” column and a corresponding “Useful Power Tools” column. I assume I can ignore the “Useful Power Tools” column. Power Tools, as a rule, are heavy and also need power. Which I assume we won’t have much after the power plants all implode.

Here are some of the tasks and the corresponding tools. I have selected the tasks one should be able to do to build a basic fortification and shelter, without use of the Grid.

Installing a door

Installing a door lock

Securing loose brick
cold chisel
mortar (Sidenote: Can one build their own mortar?)
whiskbroom (Which I am sure one could build themself.)

Repairing rotted clapboard
nail set
pry bar
paint and brush

What is not in the book, is how to build a fence. That is worth learning as well.

Next step would become familiar with these tools and look for opportunites to use them around the house.

Books are heavy. Libraries are worth having. At some point after society breaks down I will probably most have likely to wander at some point and carry all of my shit.  Again books are heavy. To be willing to sacrifice the energy needed to carry it’s weight the book better include some useful knowledge and a lot of it.

From my current bookshelf I only think I got two books that could meet that criteria. One because it is lightweight. One because of the content per ounce.

First, is the “Marine Battle Skills Training Handbook: Individual Combat Basic Tasks”. Best book to have in a pinch. Hands down. At some point one better be prepared to kill after the apocalypse. Just don’t practice the skills too late.

Second is by Paul Tawrell, Camping and Wilderness Survival. It is a bit thick and heavy, when considering whether it is worth its weight in water or dried beans. But it has how to trap an animal for every sort of climate on planet earth. Which is useful , because one does not know what the weather will be like after millions have died. It could be colder or maybe hotter. My guess is on colder.

After extensive internet searching it looks like the next book I should study is Emergency: This Book Will Save Your life to pick up some skills. Even though the author, Neil Strauss is seen as a sleazeball by some because of his other books of how to pick up some skills.

Also recommended by friends is Reader’s Digest: Back to Basics, which I have their construction book and I like it.  Very clear and straight.  This looks like a good solid book.

Above: Not a useful book for the Apocalypse.