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Copyright © 2011 by Sa Ng u yen Design by Sa N g u yen



The information in this book is distributed on an “as is” basis without warrant y. While ever y precaution has been taken in the preparation of the book, neither the author shall have any liabilit y to any per son or entit y with respect to any loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the instructions contained in this book or by the computer sof t ware and hardware products described in it.

All rights reser ved. No par t of this book may be reproduced or transmit ted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or other wise, without the prior writ ten permission of the publisher. For information on get ting permission for reprints and excerpts, contact



I’m grateful to so many, and while any list like this is bound to be incomplete, my deepest thanks go to: My mother who, gave me the gif t of me, my vision and hear t for the world, raised me, lent me money for lenses and encouraged my photography habit at the expense of her own sanit y. My father who bought me my ver y first camera and gave me the gif t of seeing the world through the camera’s view finder. M atthe w Nolan Park for reigniting my passion for visual language, for encouraging me along the way, and for reading this book while it was still pages of rubbish. Lily Wang for seeing me through the transition to professional Graphic Designer. My brother-in-arms, Tr un g Hoang Khac Pham, for all the encouragement and inspiration. Anh Pham and Caroline Saridewi, for being my great source of inspiration. Lehu Zhang for always being a nice guy and always appreciate my design and encourage me along the way. If no one ever buys this book, your encouragement will be reward enough for me.

everything wiped out...

The sun has gone forever Let Let For Let

the the all the

sin sin you sin

go go leave behind... go

On and on abstain All the more suppression On and off with strain All the more deception Let the sin go For all you leave behind... Let the sin go It's all a a state ofof mind It's all state mind It's all a state of mind For all you leave behind Let the sin go Let the sin go For all you leave behind... Let the sin go Let the sin go For all you leave behind



screa ms

every thi n g burns everything dies burning m y drea ms




There's something wrong with the world today. The light bulb's getting dim.

The world I know is pulling me more and more each day I feel like the odd man out as I begin to pray

Til everything burns While everyone screams Burning their lies Burning my dreams All of this hate And all of this pain I'll burn it all down As my anger reigns Til everything burns

Da y 1 I’ve heard it said that when you are alone in the world you discover what it is you are really made of. I really hope that is not the case.  I’ve been

alone now for 2 years and I don’t like who I am right now. If I had a mirror

I’m sure I wouldn’t look myself in the eyes, but I’m not sure if it’s because

I wouldn’t like what I see there or if it’s because I just wouldn’t care what I saw. Back in my youth I W hile the adrenali n was still pu mpi n g th r would philosophize with my me I checked the area for sig n s of more people, but the only compa n y I had were th friends about the extent we two cor pses on the grou nd. I checked over would go to survive. bodies a nd fou nd only a couple of items wo a n y thi n g to me: a n old box k nife with a li edge left to it, a plastic ca nteen that wa What would we give up?  missi n g its lid a nd two foot piece of rope Who would we give up? 

Would we steal?

Would we kill? Back then it was all theoretical and our answers had the youthful optimism of kids who never knew what it truly meant to survive.  We were twenty,

had never wanted for much and thought that our education was preparing us for the world. We could afford to have high ideals, secure in our

subconscious that we would never have to test the limits of our survival

instincts. I look back on those days with an unpalatable mixture of longing and contempt and so I try not to remember my own words from back then and pretend that it never happened.  Ultimately it doesn’t matter much

what was said in the past. Ultimately it is what you do in the present that

matters, all else is just so much fodder for historians, sociologists and the like, and that is assuming that you’re famous enough or numerous enough for them to care.

alone instincts subconscious


he r the orth ittle as e.

curiosity more than anything



A l ways d o w hat yo u a re af ra i d to d o

q u ot e s

G e o r g e B e r n a rd S h a w

L i fe i s n’ t a b o ut f i n d i n g yo ur s el f. L i fe i s a b o ut c reat i n g yo ur s el f.

We ven e er c i v il iz at i o n by d o i n g un k i n d t h i n g s i n a k i n d way


1 8 So there you have it, my story to this point. I’m a survivor of the worst tragedy to strike the human race since we started walking upright. I don’t know why I’m writing this. I think I’m doing it to hold on to the little sanity I have left. There are few people left I d o n’ t l i ke to at all and I don’t know if anyone will ever t h i n k t hat we read this, but maybe some day humanity d o, b e c aus e i f will actually bounce back and civilization we d i d i t m i ght will return. The funny thing about people is b e res p o n s i b l e that they are quick to forget their pasts. I for o ur h i s tor y remember when I was in college that some c o n s t a nt l y scientist thought that humanity shared some re p eat i n g i t s el f sort of “race memory” and that it was locked a n d t hat ma kes away somewhere in our brains just waiting to us a s p e c i es be brought out. t hat i s h el l 37°20'7'' N 121°53'31'' W

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b ent o n s el f ex ter m inat i o n. L i ke I wa s s ay i n g, p e o p l e have a way of for g et t i n g a b o ut t h e pa s s , es p e c ia ll y t h e t h i n g s t h ey wo ul d l i ke to for g et . A c o up l e hun dre d yea r s f r o m n ow and people may n ot even rem em b er w hy t h ere were s o few of us l ef t w h en c i v il iz at i o n g ot k i c k s t a r te d. H ell, w h e n c i v il iz at i o n g et s s t ar te d aga i n i t may n ot l o o k a ny t h i n g l i ke i t d i d b efore t h e c o lla p s e. T h ere are s o few of us t hat i t may retur n l o o k i n g m ore l i ke a n c i e nt B a by l o n for t hat mat ter.

T h e w o rl d w i l l n e v e r b e th e s a m e, I m i g ht w i s h it so.

ope ration ma nu a l

the plague. It wasn’ t unco m mon for people to get quarantined, but the sheer nu mber of people was astounding.

n o m at te r h o w m uc h

I suppose civilization’s future appearance will entirely depend on how long it takes to recover, how many people are around and what skills sur vive. I was a computer technician back before the riots. There wouldn’t be much call for those sort of skills for some time, or at least during my lifetime. I have other skills and I am well read enough to figure out a lot of things, but I wouldn’t know how to make steel. I have a vague understanding of the process and even some of the chemistry involved, but I wouldn’t be able to make it even if I stumbled into steel plant that actually had power and all of the materials necessary. I suppose i f I fou n d a n operation ma nual and took the time to read and figure it all out I might be able to make some, but the odds of any of that happening was pretty slim. I often wonder how many skills have been lost to the world and how many more will be gone in the next ten or twenty years. The world will never be the same, no matter how much I might wish it so.

There was a time when the site of what was inside would have lef t me on all fours vo miting up whatever fo od I had eaten that morning and the night before, but yesterday it just lef t me feeling sick and ashamed. The ro o m was filled with the skeletal re mains of about thir t y men, wo men and children. The flo or and walls were black with the rot fro m their bodies and despite the years the ro o m still reeked of death. It doesn’ t take much imagination to realize what had happened. The po or people in the house had been herded in there to die fro m


“Everything that I’ve known has left me on my own. Never have I felt the rain fall down like the burning flames. All I see is the face of eternal wait I have carried this burden so long that nothing but sorrow I feel. I have let myself believe that nothing would hurt deeper than the truth� l oc . S a n Jo s e

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DAY 2 1 9 The tunnel extended down into the dark much further than I would have expected. I found myself constantly looking upward watching as the sunlight slowly dwindled and the entrance shrunk to the size of a pinhead.  I wondered why the tunnel ran so deep and I  began to suspect that it was not a simple bomb shelter that I was heading towards.  When I got to the bottom I stood in complete darkness.  Every movement I made seemed to echo about the chamber I sensed beyond me.  I tried to hold still so that I could listen for anything moving about, but there was nothing beyond the sound of my own breath. The air was dry and a little stale smelling, but there was a hint of something else, decay tempered by time.  I pulled out one of the torches and used one of my few remaining matches to light it.  Slowly the cloth took light and a circle of light extended out from me, illuminating a room that extended well beyond the reach of my meager light. The area arou nd me was plain and unadorned , concrete block left unpainted, a dreary indication of either the haste with which it was built or of some purely utilitarian design created for something other than human habitation.  As lonely and hard as the world had become, the colors of nature still provided some pleasure to draw from if you allowed it.  This space reminded me of a warehouse more than anything, even prisons had more color.  The floor was gray concrete, unmarked and untreated, covered with a layer of dust that suggested I was the first to come here in quite some time.   As I walked further into the room I began to worry that I had found nothing more than an unfinished project locked away and forgotten as the world around it was embroiled in the tragedy of death and disease that consumed it eventually.

DAY 3 I poked around a couple of the piles of broken houses, but found

nothing worth carrying off. There may have been more deeper in the

piles, but I wasn’t so desperate as to put myself in danger by climbing

into those messes. Living by yourself in a land where no one is around to help you teaches you a bit about taking chances. Every building

has to be treated with caution because they might look great from the outside, but the inside could be rotting or on the verge of collapse.

I used to be a lot more worried about animals taking up residence in old

buildings, but strangely enough they rarely did. Oh sure some small

animals and vermin would still take up residence in or under a house on occasion, but for whatever reason the bigger animals, even the

predators, stayed away from them. I wonder if it is some sort of species memory that they feel instinctively that tells them these places are

bad for them, or if they sense something more, some dark tragedy or

cautionary tail played upon the world’s stage to be witnessed by nature and the few actors who survived.

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37°20'7'' N 121°53'31'' W

37°20'7'' N

121°53'31'' W

I had all but given up on finding anything of value when I saw something that caught my eye. There was a concrete slab partially exposed by a shallow place in the mud, which by itself would have been unremarkable, but there was a large metal wheel attached to it and also partially covered. It looked like something I had seen once as a kid, the door of a stor m shelter. While this part of California is not particularly well know for tornadoes I didn’t question the possibility and I immediately set about clearing away the mud and hoping against hope that I had stumbled onto treasure. The more mud I removed the more I was convinced that I had found a shelter, but I changed m y assessment from storm shelter to bomb shelter once I had cleared away everything. If it were a storm shelter it was the most overengineered storm shelter in America, much more so in Florida. The hinges were enormous an thick, barely touched by rust, and the wheel latch was still solid and unbent despite being hammered by floods, mud and whatever building had once been on top of it. I stared at the door for a while, trying to imagine what I might find inside. I hoped for food or books even, but I feared I would find nothing but mud and water.

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“No reason to live for One reason to die for”

I'm so tired but I can't sleep standing on the edge of something much too deep funny how

you feel so much but can not say a word, We are screaming inside but can't be heard.

And you can't fight the tears that ain't coming, Or the moment of truth in your lies,

I started looking through the papers, but most of them were little more than manifests for construction materials and electronic components. I found a steel garbage can and burned some papers in it after I checked them, creating a soft light that allowed me to conserve my torch.  I searched the room from end to end, tearing through the broken boxes, finding nothing more than the paper manifests.  Finally, I turned to the desk and tore what was left of it apart.  Tucked underneath the desk I found the first bit of real treasure from the expedition, a 9mm handgun tucked into a leather holster.  I held my breath as I pulled it out and checked it over. Everything seemed to be in working order and the clip within was full.  For a moment I forgot where I was and let out a cheer.  The echo boomed through the room and the hall beyond, quickly reminding me of where I was and that something had come through here, ripped two doors off their hinges and killed an unknown number of men.  I held still as the echoes faded down the hall.  I finished rifling through the desk, hoping to find something more, but the gun was singular in its value, so I gathered up a bunch of the paper to use as back up fuel for my torch and opened the door out of the room.

DAY 3 I grabbed the wheel and tried turning it. My first couple of attempts

met with no success, I couldn’t even feel it moving as I strained with

all of my strength. On my third attempt I felt it budge. The movement was so small as to be a figment of my imagination, but I felt it and it

made me renew my efforts. The next half dozen attempts gained me more and more ground until finally whatever rust or debris had been binding the mechanism broke free and I was able to turn the wheel with almost no effort. 37°33'15'' N 122°18'47'' W

I turned the wheel faster and faster

until finally it came to a dead stop and I heard a metallic, mechanical sound from within that culminated with a solid clanging s o u n d like the clapper of a bell striking it and holding fast. I moved to a

position behind the hinges, grabbed the wheel and pulled with

all of my strength. The door shif ted no more than a half inch, but it had moved. I didn’t know how thick it was, but the door was extremely heav y.

I jogged back to the closest debris pile

and searched through it until I found a long metal pipe (a chain link fence post by the look of it), which I grabbed and dragged back to

the door. I had to tr y a couple of dif ferent positions, but eventually I found one that would allow me enough levera ge with the pipe to get the door to open.

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Studying and understanding the worst that nature can throw at us is one of the most interesting parts of being an Earth scientist. Defining 'worst' is, of course, subjective, and leads to a choice over whether the number of deaths, or $$ property damage, is the statistic to use. Here is a representative collection of some of the 'big ones', organized in more or less inverse chronological order.  1/ Hurricane Katrina, however, was a major international story. It struck the vulnerable US Gulf Coast in August 2005 and brings the still-rising death count to over 1,000, which is serious but not remarkable for a major disaster. But together with extensive urban flooding that was a secondary effect, damage estimates from insurance costs alone are at $30 billion, with total rebuilding likely to exceed Kobe. This is easily the most expensive disaster ever to hit the US, eclipsing Andrew in 1992. Interestingly both hurricanes landed twice, first in Florida, then in Louisiana. From Andrew the death toll was 'only' 26, but the property damage added up to (what was then) a staggering $25 billion. 2/ The list contains several volcanoes. That of the Nevado del Ruiz (Columbia) in 1985 ended the lives of 25,000 people, most of them caught in a massive mudflow that poured down the stricken mountain. By comparison the Mount St. Helens eruption (1980) shattered the peak but had few victims. 3/ The most devastating earthquake in modern times was the famous 1976 Tangshan magnitude 8 event in China, whose toll varies between the official 255,000, and a possible 655,000. This event truly began the modern era of intense seismic hazard monitoring in China and the West. Little is known of an earlier lethal earthquake that struck the Chinese city of Shaanzi in 1556. No magnitudes are quoted, and of course no recordings exist, but it is said to have taken the lives of 830,000 people. 4/ This choice again highlights volcano-related disasters. Should I choose the Tambora, Indonesia volcano of 1815, in which 80,000 people died of the subsequent famine, or the famous Krakatoa explosion, again in Indonesia, in 1883 in which more than 50,000 people perished, many of them like Sumatra engulfed in a tsunami? Well, you see I did both! 5/ Very close to home here, the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12 in southern Missouri remain the largest (3) earthquakes ever to hit the contiguous U.S. The main event is now estimated at a magnitude 7.8, although some earlier reports placed it higher (>8). Damage was relatively light due to the sparse population at that time in the Mid-West. Not so if it would happen today!

As I pulled the door back I held my breath, afraid to look down into

the hole. Would it be empty? Would it be full of mud? Or would it be a treasure trove of supplies? I looked down into the dark and was

pleased to see that it s not full of water. The door had covered a long tunnel down into the dark, metal rungs built into the wall acting as a ladder. I called down and my voice echoed about, but there was no

response. I picked up a nearby rock and dropped it down the hole and was pleased to hear it hit something solid at the bottom and bounce a couple of times before the silence returned. I went back to the debris pile and built a couple of torches from broken wood and some rags

from my pack before I returned to the whole and slowly climbed down.

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Such was the new human reality. Gone was the dignity and respect we showed our fellow man in death. Gone was the humanity one showed one’s fellow man at all. We had become a race of savages, far worse than we had ever been before. We had known the time when man was a social creature, but it seemed to me that time had gone. We were devolving into a race of hermits and partners of convenience. Somewhere inside I still weep at the thought. San Mateo is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States, in the San Francisco Bay Area. With a population of approximately 100,000, it is one of the larger suburbs on the San Francisco Peninsula, located between Burlingame to the north, Foster City to the east, Belmont to the south, and HighlandsBaywood Park and Hillsborough to the west.

Civilization is a method of living, an attitude of equal respect for all men

37°33'15'' N

122°18'47'' W

It is better for civilization to be going down the drain than to be coming up it.

toxic survive subconscious

As soon as the door was open I looked down to see

what had been blocking the door and found myself looking into the empty eye sockets of a human skull.

Where the first body I had

The night w as uneventful and been stripped down to the bare bone. I stepped further into the by the time the sun had cleared room and found not one skeleton, but dozens strewn about the the hills the sno w had even large warehouse like space. Everywhere I stopped falling. walked my torch’s light shined down upon more corpses. There I packed up m y was no clothing or belongings with them and it looked like there gear and headed out around the were both men and women based on the size of the bodies. lake a fter a What seemed strangest to me about the whole scene q uick break fast. I sta yed inside was that the skeletons were still intact and the tree line more or less spread out.  There was almost an order to the as I w alked and kept an eye out way they were spread out, no two bodies were overlapping for an y sig n of and there were enough of them in the space that it couldn’t have man that might have been made been a coincidence. I wandered through the maze of corpses, recently.

found in that place had been fairly well preserved, this one had

scanning them for anything of value or any clue as to what h a d happened to all of these people, but there was nothing, It was as

something else at work here? I thought about the gaseous

clouds in the halls leading to the white room and

S a n M at e o

all simply laid down and died, without struggle

or complaint. Had they committed mass suicide or was there

l oc .

if they had

wondered if something like that had caught all of these people in

see even half of them as I never ventured too far to either side, but

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I was more careful walking about after that. It

took a long time to make it past the bodies, and I’m sure I did not

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there must have been hundreds of them. I don’t know how many people had lived in this place, but I suspected there wouldn’t have

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been many left after whatever happened in this room.

Would I have been reflected from the mirror of yours when darkness well kept in my lifeless home? But so much changed since then when days still stretched into sleepless nights. So much changed since then.

How could one care how far does the bird fly when its passing by is so irrelevant?

The things you fear are always for real and you are losing yourself. The past nightmares bow to none. How could one care how fast does the wind blow when he's still trapped inside these four corners?

Too easy to explain what you’ll never talk about, but you’ll never see the light behind an open door

indicated that they were Sergeants Anton Cavelli and Jacob Courtright, both assigned to the security division of Project NOAH. Had these two men been keeping the others in this space?  Were they responsible for all of the deaths or were they passive observers?  Had they been victims as well?

08:15 00.00.07

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I’m generally not afraid of the dead and I don’t believe in the supernatural, but there was something about this place that made me increasingly uneasy. I checked the two dead soldiers and found on them additional ammunition, a couple of knives and their wallets.  The ID cards inside

I choose not to thin k of my life as surviving, but coping

What's the point

in all this screaming, no one's listening anyway

Spinning round and round it goes 
 (I can't let up, I can't let go)
 Can't stop this flame from burning
 Forever more
into the night

And I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad. The dreams in which I' m dying are the best I' ve ever had

life lives life dies life life gives up and life tries

life cries


but life looks different through everyone’s


I just needed someone to talk to

the world we knew won't come back the time we've lost can't get back

the life we had

won't be ours again


ever y thing that I' ve known left me

on my own



root system

primar y root

lateral root

What I’ve learned through the years that I lived in the vault is that you don’t need a plot of land to grow fresh vegetables. Many vegetables lend themselves well to container gardening. With some thought to selecting bush or dwar f varieties, almost any vegetable can be adapted to growing in a pot. Vegetables that take up lit tle space, such as carrots, radishes and let tuce, or crops that bear fruits over a long period of time, such as tomatoes and peppers, are per fect for container vegetable gardens. What you can grow in a container vegetable garden is limited only by the size of the container and your imagination. How about a Summer Salad container? Plant a tomato, a cucumber and some parsley or chives all in a large (24-30”) container. They grow well together and have the same water and sun requirements. By late summer they might not be ver y pret t y, but they’ll keep producing into the fall. This makes a great housewarming present, too.

Plants share other structural qualities as well, most of which stem from their adaptation to terrestrial conditions. All plants have reproductive structures that prevent desiccation (drying out) of the gametes. These sex organs, called antheridia (male) and archegonia (female), are themselves covered by a layer of jacket cells that help to retain moisture.

on and on on and on on and on

the sun has gone


it’s rains no shelter it’s rains

Don' t waste your time planting vegetables that won' t grow in your area. Some plants need a long growing season, some can' t tolerate cold, and others do best when humidit y is low. Nor th America has 11 hardiness zones, with zone 1 being the coldest and zone 11 the warmest. Find out what zone you're in and

choose vegetables that are adapted to it.

. e fi n e t'll b i , y r t c I won’ I'll ta ke m y l a st b r eath

push it out my chest

'til there's nothin g left.

We must embrace pain it as


and burn

for our journey

I think

I see light, light light at the end of the tunnel


desig ned by

Sa Nguyen epson stylus photo r1800

Om ni Sketch paper spring 2011 colophon

This Is Not A Test  

Designed by Sa Nguyen printed on omni sketch paper epson stylus photo r1800 Survival + Preparedness Conference: The 00.00.01 Conference wil...