Friday, May 26, 2017

american blackout


A loyal minion gave a link to the YouTube version of National Geographic’s “American Blackout ( 2013, hour and a half full movie )”.  I would normally ignore such shows but for some reason, perhaps because it was a Sunday and that is the no exercise and no writing day so I had extra time, I starting watching it ( on the smart TV which gets YouTube, so it was an easy chair viewing.  The resolution blew, but the bigger picture and relaxed posture made up for it ).  After a half hour I grew restless ( I hate watching TV during the day, the few times I give in to the urge I regret the time spent and the low quality product.  I’ve had LESS reading time since I went to writing full time and bemoan losing even more with daytime television ) and turned it off.  Typical writing and production values of the “Doomsday Prepper” genre.  But I couldn’t concentrate on other matters as this low quality show somehow had got its hooks into me.  I don’t know why.  I HAD to go back and finish it.


This was actually one of their few shows that made you think.  Not the typical response of “these morons deserve to die”, which I believe is the standard mega-meme each of these shows pushes since it gives the viewers a superiority complex and encourages their return, but more of a tactical puzzle line of thinking.  The show had parallel stories and you could dismiss the idiots in the elevator ( it was a Express and had no doors in between.  I don’t care for regular elevators on principle but I’d never get on one of those if there weren’t secondary escape doors ) or the Yuppie Scum up top on a skyscraper with no storage water or food who had one stab himself opening a can of peaches with a butcher knife and another go out into the hallway expecting rescuers but encountered a gang.  But the one story I thought I’d hate, the bug-out guy in Colorado, was captivating. 


Here was your typical quasi-fat macho guy leaving expensive suburbia for an expensive rural retreat, the prototypical prepper plan.  He had his mouth breathing son who lived on a video camera ( yes, I know, archival footage of the disaster in the cheap movie style of this day, but irritating nonetheless for its oxygen wasting Facebook user vibe ), a daughter who picked a real winner of a boyfriend ( who one assumes was invited along only to get the grown daughter to come along ) and a typically trophy wife tagalong to, one supposes, cook dinner.  You can’t help but dislike these spoiled pukes.  Well, almost upon arriving, I believe a mere Day Two into the grid-down ( evil Russian hackers isn’t mentioned but surely implied ), the neighbor comes along to the common fence and begs for some food.  If these are typical ass to elbow one to three acre “country” plots you could see how there would still be plenty of those.


The dad tells him to piss off but dumbass boyfriend along volunteers how as they could obviously spare some canned foods ( the “real” food in freeze dried is down in the basement bunker, the cans in the house mere decoys, as explained in the initial tour ).  Typical, your stuff is freely expected to be all their stuff.  Dad tells the neighbor, no, boyfriend is a dumbass and they can’t spare any.  Neighbor is mumbling threats as he leaves.  It then degenerates as you might expect with fighting and raids and whatnot.  Now, forget about the neighbor having food because he was a country dweller.  These most likely were countrified estates more suburban than actual rural.  Yuppie Scum overpaying for the illusion of rural but the reality of quick commutes to shopping and entertainment.  What I loved was how the neighbor didn’t even know dad was a prepper, he just expected a sharing of the food because they were sited next to each other.  He expected “neighborly” without even knowing the guy.  He had the same attitude of the boyfriend ( the news was still up in some areas, letting everyone know the grid was down in most places, so the perceived threat was known and most didn’t believe this was merely a short term power outage.  They knew it was a cyber attack ).  Not of entitlement.  I hate that label as it denotes crack head Blacks on welfare, given its users a moral superiority which blinds them to the boots on the ground reality.  The same with “income inequality” which fails to separate well paid workers from rich parasites.  No, the attitude is one of “never ending abundance” which always assume the next guy can help you if you don’t plan, just because We Can Never Run Out ( true to form, that is how the show ends against all logic ).


Not only that, “you are expected to provide because you are a neighbor, prepper or not”, but the damned if you do and damned if you don’t aspect of it all.  If you help, they come back for more and if you don’t they attack.  As expected, dad failed to be proactive and let them attack, but that is typical prepper philosophy.  He had layers of defense and escape and zero offensive thought.  Of course, that turns out to be the correct decision according to National Geographic, a long time Imperial Center Occupant company, since the power magically resumes in something like ten days ( despite all those transformers blowing and the out of control fires, of course ).  No one expects you to attack the potentially dangerous neighbor on Day Two, as things could recover soon.  But Day Ten?  The whole episode highlighted the difficulties, potentials and trials of a semi-secluded retreat and hence is why I’d heartily recommend your viewing of this otherwise silly show.  It is indeed Food For Thought, unlike most of its ilk. 


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  1. The , you must share aspect of being in suburbia after SHTF causes me concern more than any other scenario.
    It is a situation which all involved end up likely losing in.
    By no means do you even hint to having food , in fact when the neighbors ask , you counter with " damn I was just coming to beg you for food "
    From that point forward , it is time to either GOD , or batten the hatches ! Repelling all comers with all means necessary....which even if magically the grid comes back , you are within your legal right to defend home.

    Of course all bets are off when martial law and confiscation for the better good , go into effect.

    My answer to that scenario , are multiple caches hidden. Give em the obvious.....

    From my house I have flood control channels and a wide strip of undeveloped woods , running all the way to the St. John's and the BOL's in that area. So bug out remains an option even after travel is restricted. I may be old now , but I used to be a sneaky snake in the jungle , and all the youngsters in LEO and current military are not well equipped for jungle duty. Damn straight most of the city geeks aren't either lol. So I believe I could sneak on past them to bug out to the retreat spots.
    I am a firm believer in having many plans available, no matter where I'm at.

    Bottom line though...keep in mind "Today is always a good day" to live....or die.

    1. I don't think the govt will be organized enough to confiscate, but at the local level probably so. Like, the cop who lives in the gated community will deputize the gate security force, or something similar.


    Please review SHTF "doucmentaries", you're one sharp & merciless reviewer.

    Here some suggestions :
    BBC Blackout :
    (put the children to sleep ASAP after apocalypse)

    After Armageddon :
    ("this is not a real emergency", as per the documentary's introduction)

    1. Let me think on this. Most minions hate me when I review books or movies.

    2. I love the reviews

      I read a review of Taxi Driver written by Kurt Saxon which made me laugh so hard I had to call an Ambulance because my sides literally split (jokes). Anyway his take on it was that New Yorkers are only good for target practice. Genuine laughs. Taxi Driver is really good though.

    3. Well, taken as a whole, any readership is like a bunch of children, they would eat nothing but candy if left with a choice. To a survivalist crowd that would translate to firearms articles.

      Your readership comes for your thoughts and your strategic views. Nobody else talks about wheat grinders, for instance. And sometimes, an article for a seemingly unsignificant aspect reveals itself to be a source of insight and inspiration.

      Survivalist humour is very appreciated, since we have so little of it. I found the text Dingo refers to :

      And indeed it is funny :)

      IMHO ridiculing public service "survivalist" porn would be welcomed :)
      Also, these movies are what newcomers get to see before they dwelve in more specialized movies (fantasies involving black rifle badassery)

      BTW, there is a chinese movie ( ) which deals with a SHTF situation in WW2 China ( no food + raiders + govt & army are not helping, rather the contrary + children are prostituted) that I haven't seen yet, but looks promising.

      Or you could review the second season of "Jericho". Just throwing ideas in the air, see what sticks :)

    4. I think my ass is still chapped from over ten years ago when I spent $100 renting DVD's, then writing a lengthy book on them, and still to this day haven't gotten a 10% payback-if that-on them. And of course, most minions do express actual hatred to most reviews. I will be compiling a book on the 12 Best PA Books Ever, but doubt it will be anything other than a one day post, for fear of rejection and hatred from the minions. That one goes slow since I need to re-read each book since its been too long.

  3. Might vote is one article a day.
    it might be an illusion but two a day breaks my train of thought.
    one a day with maybe a 1500 word minimum.
    one longer article is easier on the brain than 2 shorter ones.

    1. So far, baring unforeseen comments, I was leaning towards six regular length once a day and then one day a week booklet length. I like your idea, I'm just afraid rather than skimming once a week folks will skim every day.

    2. Okay, never mind the above. Your idea perculated a bit and I found it was actually damn good. I'm going with it. Much praise and Good Minion Biscuits.

  4. I enjoyed American Blackout for what it was. A bit of a thought exercise

    The Yuppie couple were dumb dumb dumb. I can totally see their plight being played out in exactly that fashion by those living in high rises in big cities

    The single mum & her young teen son was interesting. She ditched him and worked as a Nurse and they wouldn't let her go. So basically she left her son in danger. He's lucky he found a gat, she's luckier he didn't pop a cap in her ar53 when she got home (trying to use the lingo of the host nation)

    The elevator story was boring. Soz guys, you be dead in real life.

    The Yuppie Prepper was good. He had it down pat, bugged out but of course the daughters boyfriend ruined it all. I don't buy him saving the day at the end of the show. Zero gun training but can load and operate an AK? You need SOME training. Also the Yuppie Preppers had woeful night security. Woeful I tells you.

    All in all it's fun to watch with the obligatory "They're so dumb" and "What they SHOULD have done is ...." comments before the missus tells you to shut up and just watch it.

    1. I think if he had a FLIR scope he would have had no problems. FLIR scopes are like using The Force, but just with batteries.

  5. I watched this show when it first came out but your review made me recall all the same feelings I had when I first watched it. Obviously the lesson the bug out guy's lesson was supposed to teach was OPSEC but you nailed it with the "semi-rural" exposition. I also thought the ending was really dumb. All through the movie they're saying how the power will be out for a long time then all of a sudden it's all fixed? Sorry, Hollywierd, the real world is much more brutal. So what should he have done? I think his pivotal point of failure was being so rude in turning the neighbor away. He could have politely lied or even given him a mercy can of beans or something as a "gosh I wish I could do more" gesture. Instead he riles everybody up (including rock brain the boyfriend). My two cents.


    1. Well, like I said, it stuck with me because there were no right answers. Even being really polite, the neighbor would tell himself what he wanted to hear, namely, the guy really did have food. Desperation is NOT countered with rationality.

  6. I thought it was ridiculous at the end when the boyfriend was about one second from mortal combat, and his cellular rings. So there's been no cell service for 10 days or whatever and you still have your phone on, you're carrying it around in your pocket, and the battery still has a charge? Someone with a brain should have rewritten the ending, maybe the girlfriend could have come out of the house to advise the power was back on.
    Peace out