Born in Lake Charles, Louisiana and raised in Sugar Land, Texas, Flanery began training in various forms of martial arts at a young age, taking part in his first full-contact kickboxing match at the age of 12. He continued his training while attending the University of Saint Thomas in Houston, but then one fateful day he followed a girl to a drama class and was immediately bitten by the acting bug. Later he moved to Los Angeles and waited tables for a living, before long appearing in television commercials and quickly making the transition to TV roles and onto movies.
Commander Flanery has an impressive filmography, and remains today one of the hardest-working actors in the business. He has appeared in in several episodes of HBO’s hit series Dexter, currently airing its eighth and final season. He has also co-starred in The Devil’s Carnival,now available on Netflix and Hulu, the TV series Blackout, films The Last Word,and Broken Horses. Keep an eye out for The Kiss, currently in production.
When not working on various projects, including film, television and music videos, Flanery can be found training and teaching the finer points of BJJ to his fellow Los Angelians – check out Hollywood Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu. He is also a regular guest at comic conventions all over the country. He often enjoys reaching out to fans via online bloggingand social networking, and also spending quality time with Donut – his most loyal friend, sidekick and quite possibly the coolest canine on the planet. Despite an ongoing struggle with a powerful Reese’s addiction, Flanery is without a doubt the most suited for the daunting task of leadership, and defending our western shores if and when it all starts to hit the fan.
Brains or brawn? Which would you choose? In survival situations, brawn may often win. The importance in being able to physically survive unexpected encounters with the undead can’t be understated… but neither can the ability to think and take intelligent, decisive action.
Purple Brigade’s First Lieutenant Anthony Michael Hall is one of the most recognizable faces in just about all of our favorite movies. An original member of the infamous Brat Pack in the 1980’s, Hall nailed a triple John Hughes score in Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Weird Science before appearing in Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands and many other films. He has taken on several television roles in addition to films, most notably the successful television adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dead Zone.
While First Lieutenant Hall has not yet been tested against the true horror of the endless shambling horde, this Boston native is surely as well-equipped as any of us to not only just survive, but to stand firm with the other Commanders and loyalists when the time comes. Working from an undisclosed location, Anthony’s movements are unpredictable and undetectable, making him an invaluable asset to the more covert operations within the ZSC. But even the most covert of operatives must eventually resurface.
Anthony Michael Hall recently appeared in Dead in Tombstone, starring alongside Danny Trejo and Micky Rourke. He has previously been spotted in the popular television series Warehouse 13, Community, and Psych, and in 2013 he was cast in MTV’s teen comedy series Awkward.
If you’re just joining us for this series, please be sure to check out our previous Commander Monday reports!
Keeper of secrets, slayer of demons, romancer of vampires, destroyer of zombies and things that go bump in the night, Orange Brigade Commander RC Murphy is as gifted with the pen as she is with the sword, and twice as deadly. An accomplished writer, blogger, student of history, musical theatre and Oreo aficionado, RC Murphy is a creature of extraordinary talent. She resides in a dungeon of red satin and lace by day, putting her talents to work in order to best prepare us, the hapless and clueless, for that fateful day when all that goes bump in the night becomes reality. By night she patrols the California coast with a sharp eye on the perimeter and an ear tuned into the undercurrents, listening, watching, and waiting for even the smallest sign that the Z-pocalypse is upon us.
Light Blue Brigade, salute your Commander Anthony Guajardo! Enthusiastic, energetic and loyal, he leaps into action without hesitation, fears neither defeat nor the undead even when faced with the most overwhelming odds and never misses the opportunity to use (or misuse) sharp pointy weapons. He has a smile even more infectious than the most devastating of zombie viruses and can charm his way in and out of even the most precarious of situations.
Anthony hails from San Antonio, Texas. When he is not busy thinking up ways to save our collective behinds from the shambling hordes, he is a hard-working actor who has appeared in television commercials and live theater since the age of 5.
With high marks for his studies in Technical Theater History, Anthony got his first true taste of the business after landing a featured role in Robert Rodriguez’ film Shark Boy and Lava Girl. Through hard work, perseverance, faith and perhaps a healthy dose of sheer stubbornness, Anthony landed the role of Miguel on the AMC original series The Walking Dead, an experience that he would later describe as the best experience of his life.
Anthony recently worked with writer and director Cedric Thomas Smith in the short film The Symphony of Silence, a powerful story about teen bullying in America today. The film premiered to rave reviews in San Antonio, Texas and also premiered at the South by Southwest and Sundance Film Festivals.
Anthony is currently living in Los Angeles and has continued to train extensively through Calliope Talent under the guidance of leading filmmakers and casting directors. He also devotes time to touring the convention circuit regularly, sharing his knowledge and growing expertise in zombie survival skills.
Very recently, Anthony took part in a Top Secret mission to our Caribbean outpost alongside ZSC Special Forces leader Michael Rooker and ZSC Loyalist Steve Cardenas. With our Red Brigade Leader and Sergeant at Arms providing logistical support and security, highly classified sensitive documents that had been intercepted by undercover carrier pigeons were successfully delivered to Commanders Guajardo and Rooker. The overall mission was a complete success and several new recruits have joined our ranks, including the pigeons.
If you’re just joining us for this series, please be sure to check out our previous Commander Monday reports!
Hate to break it to you, brigadiers, but once the undead shamble from their graves, there’s a pretty good chance we won’t have the technology most of us rely on every day to keep entertained. Say goodbye to your tablet games once the battery dies, same with cell phones and laptops. Television, internet, anything requiring power will become rather expensive dust catchers. We’re breaking out in hives thinking about it. Boredom is a slippery slope. Most of our energy will be spent staying alive. But what happens once we settle down for a few days to recuperate? One can only patch so many clothes, do so much laundry, and gather supplies from nearby sources before going batty.
Before you take flight, here’s a few things you can pack or gather in order to keep your mind busy.
Dollar Store Games – The majority of these games are designed to entertain kids while in the car. They’re compact. Simplistic. The pieces may be a bit small for younger children or adults who’re a bit clumsy. But, for a couple bucks, you can grab a handful of games that’ll pass the hours.
DIY Travel Games – Break out those mint tins we told you about a while back. With some paper, markers, and small magnets, you can make your own pocket-sized 4-in-1 game—chess, checkers, backgammon, and tic-tac-toe. Finding directions online is pretty simple. Or wing it. You can also get creative and make a miniature Scrabble game the same way.
Playing Cards – There’s about a billion card games you can play alone or with a group. If everyone packs a deck, you should be good to go with any game you can think up. Cards are also a good way to fairly divvy up camp chores, guard schedules, leave coded messages in camp, etc.
Dice – Like playing cards, there’s numerous dice games out in the world with endless variables to prevent monotony. Find a pocket book with game ideas to keep in your go bag.
Written Games – Pack a notepad/pen or a small dry-erase board to make your own Mad Libs, Hangman, cross-words, trivia, etc.
Good Ol’ Dirt and Rocks – No, we haven’t gone totally insane. Yet. There’s a few games that require little in the way of equipment. A stick in the dirt can draw just the same as a notepad and pen for written games. You can also strike up a game of Mancala, or any game that requires only spaces on a board (the ground) and markers (rocks).
We’ve covered food quite a bit. Understandably. While a human can survive for three weeks without food, it isn’t pleasant. Starvation means no fuel to make our bodies move, and we’re all about mobility here at the ZSC. Staying put, unable to defend yourself is the very thing we’ve been preparing our brigadiers against. A stationary target becomes zombie chow pretty quick. But how are we supposed to maintain a balanced diet on the run? You won’t. However, if you focus on finding steady sources for protein, keeping one step ahead of the undead will be much easier.
The CDC recommends teens and older eat about 50 grams of protein a day. It may sound like a lot, but not when you consider that a single fillet of striped bass contains a whopping 28 grams of protein. Just remember, the more active you are, the more protein you’ll need to keep your muscles going. Despite running for your lives, you’ll need to self-check your health anytime you stop to rest.
–Are you overly exhausted despite adequate sleep? Lethargy and the overwhelming urge to sleep is a huge red flag for protein deficiency. If you’re having trouble finding motivation or focus to do anything or curling up for an afternoon nap when you’re normally not a nap person, time to take a look at what you’ve eaten the last few days.
–Feeling weak as a newborn lamb? Muscle weakness is one of the first signs that you need to up your protein intake. Look for trembling muscles, wobbly knees, along with trouble focusing your eyes.
–Not filling out your clothes the same anymore? It’s an old wives tale that says a starving body will go for the fat first. Bodies need protein to keep internal organs going. They’ll start cannibalizing healthy muscle tissue in order to get what it needs. Sure, you’ll look like you lost weight, but you won’t be able to swing a q-tip, let alone an ax at a zombie.
–That cut on your arm refusing to heal? Slow healing goes along with the bit up above. Your body will focus on keeping your internal organs going, only sending excess protein to help rebuild damaged tissue such as wounds and sprains. If you have a fellow survivor who is injured, don’t think their lack of mobility means they need to cut back on food.
–Bald isn’t your hairstyle of choice? Hair loss and brittle finger/toe nails happens for the same reasons stated above—your body is conserving protein and energy for vital functions.
Where can you find protein? Below are two lists, arranged from the highest amount of protein per serving size on down.
Protein sources to pack: Dry whole milk, pork chop, chicken thigh, chicken breast, turkey breast, edamame, non-fat dry milk, steak, chicken leg, ham, kidney beans, white beans, lima beans, black beans, fava beans, mung beans, canned tuna, non-fat/low fat cheese, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, beef jerky, almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, tofu.
Protein sources to find in the wild: Rainbow trout, beaver, striped bass, bear, catfish, deer, muskrat, rabbit, squirrel, opossum, boar, horse, goat, raccoon, freshwater bass.
The wild resources are numerous and vary by location. Best bet is to fish for your supper. One fillet of rainbow trout is well over half of what you need per day at 33 grams of protein.
A quick note for those thinking, “Why don’t I just pack a bunch of protein bars?” While that’d seem like a good idea, it isn’t. Most of the popular protein bars are a bunch of sugar and fat wrapped around a minimal amount of protein. The kick you feel from eating one isn’t from the fuel you need, but from the junk they used as filler. During my research, I found one protein bar that wasn’t full of fat and sugar. For the 20 grams of protein it’d give you, the cost (over $2 per bar) isn’t worth it. You’d get more from buying $2 worth of kidney beans.
You’ve got your shopping list. Better make sure your emergency food supplies include most of the dry ingredients listed above. They’ll keep you going long enough to establish camp and hunt.
If any evidence of the pen being mightier than the sword must be given, Special Forces Brigade member Jonathan Maberry will gladly oblige. While ZSC Command seems unable to agree on exactly when Jonathan joined the crew, all reports indicate that he appeared in the command center in the middle of the night and made himself at home. Upon closer inspection, it was discovered that Jonathan’s impressive expertise in the area of zombie literature is not the only talent he carries with him. At this point, ZSC Command decided that they probably couldn’t make him leave if they really wanted him to… but it was also decided that nobody wanted him to leave and he was immediately assigned to Special Forces.
Jonathan has nearly fifty years of martial arts experience, and has achieved an 8th degree black belt in Shinowara-ryu Jujutsu. This former bodyguard and bouncer has invested valuable time teaching and sharing his knowledge with a vast range of self-defense groups of all ages and backgrounds. He’s been inducted into the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame, and the word around town is that he’s also taught combat techniques to CIA agents and Special Operatives. His earlier works revolved mostly around martial arts and self defense, including Judo and You, Ultimate Jujutsu and Ultimate Sparring.
Our previous Commander Monday field reports have centered around actors, directors, producers and others closely involved in the film and television industry. As we continue to delve deeper into the ZSC Special Forces Unit, we will uncover those with an even wider range of talents and unique abilities. This week the spotlight falls upon a different stage as we take a look at our next Special Forces Brigade member, musician and songwriter Paul Phillips.
While it’s true that Paul’s experience with actual (un)living, (not)breathing zombies may seem somewhat limited, he has faced a shambling horde of an entirely different sort, made up of adoring fans and admirers from one rock & roll venue to the next. His extensive traveling experiences alone have no doubt taught him that sometimes the best way to survive is to keep moving, with one eye on the horizon up ahead, and the other to the road behind.
Paul Philips hails from Brunswick, Georgia and first began plucking at strings from an early age. He has admitted to taking a few lessons but is primarily self-taught, taking inspiration from his father’s musical background as well as influencing bands such as Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Pantera, Nirvana, and Alice in Chains. Paul’s travels took him to Florida and eventually further West. In 1999 he landed in Los Angeles, California, which eventually led him to join forces with the alternative rock band Puddle of Mudd . Their first album, Come Clean, was released in 2001 and has gone triple platinum while selling nearly 4 million copies to date. Paul also toured briefly with the band Operator, releasing one album before returning to Puddle of Mudd. In 2011, Paul and Puddle of Mudd parted ways once more as he decided a much-needed break from the road was in order.
Paul is currently operating out of Jacksonville, Florida. He recently completed work on the upcoming filmNitro Circus 3D, for which he was offered an opportunity to compose the original music score in collaboration with former Puddle of Mudd bandmate Damien Starkey. he has also been involved in The Fallout Collective and Chiller Channel’s Real Fear.
We look forward to seeing more from our own resident rock star, and have nothing but confidence that he will continue down the road to success wherever it may lead…
If you’re just joining us for this series, please be sure to check out our previous Commander Monday reports!
WARNING: Before clicking on any of the links in this article, please be aware that many of them go directly to Billy Tackett’s website. Billy advises that those who suffer from heart problems, weak stomach, fear of the dark or a shortness of a sense of humor should never visit his website www.billytackett.com.
In order to better understand what makes the shambling horde shamble, it is important to employ only the brightest, the strongest, the bravest and most twisted of imaginations. The Zombie Survival Crew has hunted far and wide for new recruits, having successfully located loyal supporters of all colors, shapes and sizes. But even the best of the best are not always able to look at the enemy from inside out. Our elite Special Forces Brigade combines brawn, brains, creativity, and experience into a powerful, unstoppable force of sheer awesomeness to do just that. Just last week we introduced you to our Special Forces Commander, and this week we will begin to delve into those on his command.
For starters, who else but zombie mashup master and creator of the original Zombie Sam, the world’s foremost Zombification Specialist™ Billy Tackett can bring us a unique, striking and honest perspective on our future foes? Few others have had the foresight to ask the most difficult questions of all, the what ifs of the upcoming Z-pocalypse.
What if ‘monsterism’ is the next stage in natural evolution? Do we have the right to interfere with mother nature? Wouldn’t the killing off of werewolves, vampires or zombies be akin to genocide? Or at least the extermination of a species? Conservation should be the keyword. We live in a world filled with endangered species lists. I’m not sure we can justify killing off a creature just because it wants to eat us.
Billy’s approach to the growing undead problem may seem unorthodox, even controversial. Some may suspect he’s a sympathizer and a security risk… but the Zombie Survival Crew thinks otherwise. In a world changing rapidly before our eyes, a kill or be killed attitude is not only common, but for many it’s the only way they can imagine survival when the dead outnumber the living. Billy’s unique perspective is not only one that should not be be lightly cast aside, but may in fact hold the key to our survival in the days to come. Perhaps in better understanding that which we perceive as our enemy, we might find a way to survive and even co-exist in the next evolutionary era.
Billy hails from a rural Kentucky town, and little has been documented about his childhood. He began drawing zombies, vampires and other undead things that go bump in the night in the 1970’s. But you’ve seen his work. Everyone has, somewhere at some point in their lives. His work has appeared in magazines, book covers, as fine art and advertising illustrations. He has spent the last decade and more building a solid reputation and a loyal fan base from all walks of life. We’ve seen him on National Geographic, in Horrorhound and ImagineFX magazines. Billy’s always entertaining Daily Arting gives us something to look forward to as we struggle forward with the daily grind, and we strongly recommend an occasional dose of Splatter Art for everyone.
Among others, Billy has created brilliant cover art for authors Robert Silverberg, Shane Moore, Piers Anthony, Richard Lupoff and fellow Special Forces Brigade member Jonathan Mayberry. Billy’s Dead White & Blue comics series are a masterpiece of horror, patriotism, humor and ingenuity that no self-respecting zombie genre fan should ever miss. He has also recently launched his own line of apparel and merchandise, and his art book For the Love of Monsters is also available to all.
Billy is always on the move. He travels the country on an exhausting schedule, keeping in touch with fans, supporters and his fellow ZSC members at all times. Billy doesn’t actively recruit for the Zombie Survival Crew, choosing instead to educate and inform the public of the nature of Monsterism from a rarely-seen perspective. For his love of monsters and for decades of awe-inspiring artwork, we salute Special Forces brigade member Billy Tackett.
Ideally, when plotting your escape routes it’s best to remain on the road. Venturing into the landscape is dangerous, full of unknown dangers from more than just the undead. In reality, you’ll need resources like flowing water, edible vegetation, and game animals who shy away from busy roads. Once away from the beaten path, it’s easy to get turned around and lose sight of your escape route. Relying on GPS during the apocalypse (or heck, even driving through Texas today) isn’t a good plan. We have no clue how long technology will continue to run post undead uprising. Now it the time to start honing your navigation skills. Below are some tips and tricks to keep you from relying on breadcrumbs to find your way.
Learn How to Read a Map
We’re all about being prepared, which means you should know well in advance what escape routes you plan to take.
Make sure you have a map, or numerous maps, in your go bag covering the locations you must travel through. Take a little time to study them. Find roads that take you near moving water sources so you can top up on fresh water and have a chance to bathe, catch fish, and gather edible vegetation growing nearby.
An easy map-reading guide:
Check the map key. It’ll tell you what various symbols mean. Important for navigating via landmarks or finding towns/cities large enough to safely resupply.
Learn how to gauge distance using the map scale. For 1:24,000 scale maps, one inch equals 2,000 feet. For 1:25,000 maps, 5 centimeters equals 1,250 meters. Most maps are drawn on grids to help facilitate calculations.
For the most part, maps are color coded the same: Black – man-made structures, roads, train tracks, pipelines, and property boundaries. Brown – topographic features such as contour lines. Green – Vegetation features, like forests. Blue – Rivers, lakes, streams, swamps, water reserves. Red: Main roads, highways, and sometimes tunnels or survey lines.
Use Major Landmarks
Once you’re on the road, keep going for as long as possible before making a pit stop, especially if the area you’re traveling through is mostly wilderness. It’s no good putting yourself in unnecessary danger for a drink of water when you’ve got a full supply in the car. But once supplies start running low or you can’t stand the body odor of your traveling companions, take a few vital steps before heading into the woods:
Find a spot in the road nearest to the body of water you seek.
Double check with your map to make sure the water source is a river, large stream, or lake. Swamps and the like are stagnant and chock-full of harmful bacteria that won’t boil out using emergency purification techniques.
Locate at least two major landmarks on the map, and then make visual confirmation from the point where you leave your car. This gives your brain something physical to work from while calculating which direction to walk on your return trip.
Note which direction the sun is moving.
Using the map scale, judge how far your trip will take you from the road. Keep hikes short. Not only will this reduce exposure to danger, but it’ll use less energy to take a 30 minute hike compared to a 2 hour hike. Less energy means fewer calories burned. It’ll make your food supplies last longer. Also be mindful of the time of day. Schedule your trip so you have ample time to return before dark. Improvised camping is dangerous. You don’t know what native beasts lurk in the woods. Without proper shelter, you could wake up cuddling a snake. Or not wake up at all in the belly of a desperate, hungry mountain lion.
Map and Compass Work
The easiest way to navigate new territory is with a map and compass to keep yourself oriented, even after scouting a few major landmarks. I won’t pretend to be an expert here. Heck, I get lost in the mall all the time. But that’s what the internet is for. Here’s a link to an excerpt from The Backpackers Field Manual by Rick Curtis that covers the basics of map and compass work.
Navigating without a compass
While we don’t advise leaving your compass at home once you’re on the run from the undead, accidents happen. Things get lost or broken in the shuffle. The dog ate your compass. Whatever. So on the off-chance you’re stuck without, here’s a couple simple ways to find north so you aren’t a lost babe in the woods, Hansel.
Never Eat Soggy Waffles. This is a mnemonic, a cheeky phrase used to memorize North, East, South, and West going clockwise. So once you’re facing North, East is to your right, South behind you, and West to your left.
Watch the sun: It rises in the East and sets to the West. If you don’t have time to watch the sun, there’s a quick-ish method to determine which way it’s moving:
Find a tall stick and set it in the ground.
Mark the top of the stick’s shadow with a rock (or whatever’s handy).
Wait 15 minutes.
Now mark the stick’s shadow with another rock.
Put your left foot near the first rock, your right near the second. Now you’re facing north.
Using the stars: This takes a little more work, depending on visibility and your location. In the Northern Hemisphere, there’s two ways to find the North Star (Polaris).
Big Dipper method: First, find the bugger. Then using the two stars forming the side of the ladle away from the handle, mentally draw a straight line until you hit a super bright star. That’s Polaris.
Little Dipper method: Polaris is the final star in the Little Dipper’s handle. Super easy to navigate by, if you can find it.
There you have it, a few tips to prevent you from getting lost in your quest to find food and water while on the run from zombies.