31 December 2013

I Believe In Harvey Dent Too

"There are two of you, don't you see? One that kills... and one that loves..."

Harvey Dent says in The Dark Knight, "You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain," shortly before all that he loves is taken from him and he is left forever scarred and deeply embittered from the experience and downright half insane as a result... the embodiment of everything that was ever good in a man, a man that fought for truth and justice in the diplomatic way rather than by way of a cape and cowl; but no longer...

This year like the year prior succeeded once more in breaking me down right to my very foundations and leaving me more than just a little fucked up... I've definitely come to realize time and time again how easily I get burned and remain more or less unscathed but after all the drama and bullshit and backstabbing I've kinda just had it... usually I'm more or less a nice guy... lately though I've just had it.

I don't ever think I could ever go full chaotic evil... truth be told that whole categorization system is kind of lost on me... though I have always admired the anti-hero, that always suited me better... Captain America, Spiderman, Superman...? Nah, give me Wolverine, The Punisher, Spawn, Rorschach or Venom any day...

....that said, here's hoping everyone survived their version of 2000 the 13th alive and mostly intact. Call it a wish a hope a fervent fucking prayer or whatever you want but I've found my toast to the New Year to be:
To Better Ways
and Better Days

Cheers all, Happy 2014

02 December 2013

This motherfucker's gonna get my metal

[Considering I brought the Zombie Tools article back to life I figured I'd re-showcase my own purchases from them here as well especially since they've been returned to my possession finally]

My newly arrived order from the hammersmithing geniuses at Zombie Tools can't help but make me think of Manson's Lunchbox... I've got my lunchbox and I'm armed real well

Well I certainly won't be packing these new toys of mine for lunch but if something is trying to have me for lunch, plan on seeing plenty of these bad boys.
I've even gone so far as to name them.

The squids I've named Edward (Gein) and Charles (Manson) since these remind of a favorite game of mine Who's the better Killer? The Spikes I've named Larry, Moe and Curly (who will soon have a paracord length tied around him and be fashioned into a rope-dart for those Scorpion impressions). And the Machete is named Ol' Painless for obvious reasons. They were even kind enough to etch a 13 onto the handle, 13 being my lucky number. Now I feel safer. More on arms and armament to be reported later.

01 December 2013

Apocalyptic Blade Runners: Zombie Tools

A friendly Public Service Announcement
from Zombie Tools brought to you
in part by your local Pabst Blue Ribbon brewer
When it comes to the Apocalypse you'll need the right tool for the job, the job being kill as fucking many of the undead as possible! While guns are fun, they draw too much attention and require ammo... and let's be honest: Nothing beat's a good old fashioned sharp object. The coolest blades in my opinion would have to be hand-crafted by my good friends and drinking buddies at Zombie Tools. I met these guys back in 2011 at a preview event where they showcased some of their wares to us before the big show... I oogled and drooled at the craftsmanship... a year later I would blow my entire convention's pay on a hand crafted katana from them. As the Good Doctor would say, Res Ipsa Loquitur (the thing speaks for itself) and holy shit do these tools ever do that alright.

The Apokatana

Now that you've wiped the drool off we're here with the boys behind the blades with Zombie Tools

Single Bullet Theory: How did Zombie Tools get established?

Zombie Tools: Zombie Tools was the product of a convergence of interests among a group of friends over many years. Max and Joey met about 12 years ago and discovered that they shared an interest in swords. They started a tradition of beating the shit out of each other with rapiers and shinai once a week, a black Sabbath of beer and violence known as the Drunken Jedi Pirate Circus. About 7 years ago, they decided that they were sick of buying other people's swords and decided to try to do it themselves. They began begging, buying, borrowing and stealing tools for their backyard projects, and learning from books and internet forums.

Chris showed up about 6 years ago to photograph and write a story on the group for a local magazine. They haven't been able to get rid of him since.

Max and his friend Wes Saint John met while hitchhiking around the West many years ago. They ended up in Missoula (where Max went to high school) and spent a lot of time together getting drunk and making horror paintings, assemblage and performance art. They were known as the Tainted Saints.

In October 2007, these people and more came together to produce a Halloween performance for a local bar. Over the course of 6 weeks, we transformed an abandoned Mexican restaurant into an Old West zombie brothel. It was somewhere in the midst of creating this show that the streams of swords and zombies began to fuse. In November, the concept began to solidify, by December we had our first blade prototypes, and in March 2008 we launched our website.

SBT: Do you have a blade your tend to favor in particular?
ZT: Asking us to choose our favorite blades is like asking a mother which of her children she loves best. But, of course, like any mother, we have our preferences.

As the lead designer on the blade, and a student of Japanese sword combat styles, Max is a big fan of the Apokatana.

The Vakra is Joey's design baby. Two-handed, he's a fan of the Deuce.

Chris likes the new Backwoods Bone Machete, and whenever we do test cutting it's hard to get the Reaper out of his hands.

SBT: When it comes to beverages: Brewed or distilled?

ZT: As for brewed vs distilled.....we'd prefer both, but if we had to choose, it would probably be brewed. We've modeled our company after the ancient Egyptians, who built their pyramids with labor fueled by beer. Give us a couple thousand beers, and we're sure we could do just about anything.

SBT: PBR, Miller High Life or Busch?
ZT: Any port in a storm. But while the beer is still cold, we'll always take PBR.

SBT: How is this gnarly etching achieved on your blades?
ZT: We get our distinctive finish by spattering the blades with a mixture of bees wax and Essence of Evil. We then coat the blades with ferric chloride acid which does not react with the wax.

SBT: What exactly do the different steels mean in laymans terms? Can you do more with certain kinds over others?
ZT: There is a huge variety of steels available, and the fundamental difference between them is the proportion of elements added to iron -- among them, carbon, manganese, and chromium. Differing percentages of these elements affect the steel's hardness, tensile strength, and ductility.

We use 5160 spring steel in our designs currently. In general terms, spring steel is an excellent compromise between hardness and durability, which is what you need for the longer types of weapons that we make and the conditions that we make them for -- day after long day of killing. Other steels can be harder, which gives them a very sharp edge, but they are also brittle, and if they were used to make a sword, would be at risk of breaking under long use.

SBT: How do you come up with some of your creative designs like The Reaper or The Squid? What's the story behind the Tooth and the Squid Axe? 

ZT: The Reaper came straight out of Max's personal sketchbook. Max has been drawing and painting his whole life and has been working on graphic novel ideas off and on for years. He drew a picture of a hot, lithe chick holding the Reaper. Joey saw it on his desk one day and said, "Let's make THAT!"

The Tooth was the second attempt at a smaller knife after the ZT Lil' FUK (the Field Utility Knife) that we sent with about 30 Montana soldiers to Iraq. And the FUK was not designed specifically for the troops. The Squid Ax started as a custom knife for a group of security guys at a local gaming convention (MisCon) who were all fans of Cthulhu, thus the "Squid" and the shape of the knife.

The Squid came about at a local gaming convention. A group of friends that run security for the con were into Cthulhu and they wanted a unique knife that they could all carry. So we started working with a basic squid shape, and out came the Squid Ax.

SBT: Do you have any other new designs in the works to the lineup of Fistful of Fuck Yeah?
ZT: Always. Currently in the design stage are a cutlass that will replace the d'Capitan; a kopis, which is an ancient Greek blade that's like an over-sized kukri; a kopesh, which is a crazy looking ancient Middle Eastern weapon with an extreme curve and something like a hook on the back of the tip; and a hand-ax that we'll call the Traumahawk.

SBT: I noticed 'the kids' are looking a bit different these days, what's new about them?
ZT: About a year ago, we decided that our whole line needed an aesthetic overhaul. Most of the blades in our lineup we had designed almost 2 years earlier, and we've learned a lot since then. So we cleaned up lines, added our maker's mark to all the blades, made our handles more ergonomic, eliminated features that were a production pain in the ass, and focused on issues of balance and cutting dynamics.

SBT: After a long difficult day of cutting, chopping and slicing your way through the undead horde, what would you recommend for care and blade maintenance?
ZT: First, dip that nasty girl in some bleach to kill the biologicals. Wipe her down til she's good and dry. Then apply any form of oily hydrocarbon that you have handy. We'd use bear fat, but you can substitute with the fat of your local fauna.

SBT: What will Zombie Tools do when the shit finally hits the fan during Z-Day?ZT: Throw a party.
Really. The worst thing you could do in the early stages of any apocalyptic crisis is panic. If you panic, you'll do something stupid and probably end up getting killed -- not by the primary threat -- but by other people as panicked and as stupid as you are.

What better way to avoid panic than to throw a party? We'd gather our troops, get drunk, play some music, fuck somebody. Do some hallucinogens to increase group cohesion, think deeply about the threats facing us, and get our priorities straight. Then wake up in the morning and calmly go about executing our early-stage plan.

SBT: How has Zombie Tools prepared for an apocalypse?
ZT: We've focused most of our energies on what we consider to be the single most important factor in post-apocalyptic survival -- community. You can have your stockpiled food and weapons, your bug out bags and safe houses. We'll trade all of that for a group of skilled, intelligent and creative people who know how to work together as a team. And that's what we have. Within an hour of anything going down we'd have a minimum of 12 people gathered here at the ZT shop. This group has a wide variety of skills: we have mechanics, we have combat veterans, we have hunters, we have carpenters, we have people who know how to grow food and purify water, we have people who can tell a good joke or story (not to be underrated under stressful conditions), and we have metalworkers who can fabricate just about anything given enough useful junk. We've worked together doing difficult things and have developed a working style that allows us to make good decisions quickly. A crew like that will have no problem getting what it needs.

SBT: Who would win in a swordfight, Conan the Cimmerian...


...or Miyamoto Musashi?
ZT: Neither. One is a fictional character. And the other is dead.

SBT: Haha ok. No but seriously. Who would win in a fight between the two of them?

ZT: It would all depend on how much Conan partied the night before. If the Barbarian was having a queasy morning, Musashi would probably have no problem carving a lovely Zen landscape on C's chiseled pecs. Otherwise, Conan would give the master some trouble.

SBT: Any swordfighters you hold in particularly high regard, real or fictional?
ZT: We're rapier fighters, so we like some of the boys from the golden age of dueling. Take the Chevalier D'Andrieux. He was a hired blade during the days when just about any dispute was settled with a duel. He killed at least 70 opponents. He wold regularly disarm his opponent and then promise to let the dude live if he renounced Christ. When the opponent complied, he would proceed to kill him anyway, just to have the pleasure of killing the man both body and soul.

SBT: The 2012 calender you sent over looks awesome. Do you have anymore artistic projects like it lined up?
ZT: We've never had any problem coming up with ideas around here. We've probably got about 5 years worth stacked up. In the immediate future, our major project will be a TV show.
As for the TV news, yup, we've started shooting the first two episodes. Our production company, Warm Springs Productions here in Missoula (they are the group behind the Travel Channel show "Making Monsters" which recently premiered to outstanding reviews), is going all out. They hired a fancy-ass helicopter to shoot some intro scenes in downtown Missoula on Sunday. (Funny side note: one of our scenes was shot a half a block away from our local "Occupy Wall Street" protest. Folks at the protest thought they were being harassed by the government.) We can't yet announce the network, but it's one of the big ones. Don't know exactly when the show will air, or *if* it will air, but it will likely be in the spring. The show will be about 3 douchebags making kickass weapons and fumbling their way toward something like preparation for an apocalypse. Name of the show is to be determined, but it's probably not going to be "Zombie Tools" as was reported in our local press. Which is too bad. We kinda like that name.

The boys have continued to grind out all the hand crafted instruments of stabbing and slashing undeath dealers even releasing a 3-episode special on Discovery channel.
Check out the first episode of Surviving Zombies!

One of my favorite videos though is a demonstration by Max vs a 24-pack of PBR cans!

And another... testing the breaking point of the Deuce

Some highlighted moments from ZomBcon 2010:
Maxon bestowing the Urban Bone Machete to the One, the Only
The Chin himself and Guest of Honor: Bruce "Don't call me Ash" Campbell

Author of World War Z and The Official Zombie Survival Guide Max Brooks with his Apokatana

Zombie Tools is:
Joey Arbour: Master-at-Arms
Chris Lombardi: Minister of Propaganda
Maxon McCarter: Chief of Surgery
Rob Lawlor: New Wave Ninja
Dillon McAfee: Sheath Hippie
Dan “the Man with an Ax in his Hand” Griffin
Check out the Zombie Tools website and Facebook

No, seriously, invest in some of their wares to add to your arsenal... you will not regret it like forgetting to save the last bullet for yourself....

"...aw shit,"