Archive for the ‘thoughts’ Category

So I haven’t been working on my skills too much in the last couple of weeks.   The CERT class being cancelled got me off-track a little because I had planned to get a lot of skills to practice from that class.  I still got skills I can practice that I learned at the Ancient Pathways school but every time I go outside to practice I about die from the heat.  I did manage to make it to the summer solstice before I turned on the air.  But lordy it is getting hot in AZ, maybe not as hot as the end of the world, but definitely too warm.  I also got off track because I got distracted by all the post-apocalypse television and books.

In the last couple of weeks I have read “The Day of the Triffids” by Edmund Morris, the short story collection “Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse” a bunch of “Walking Dead” graphic novels, and “Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the coming collapse” by James Wesley Rawles.    While this has been fun, it was not that practical for learning real skills.

Anybody got a suggestion what I should work on next?  Preferably something inside.

For years I have day-dreamed about getting my doctorate in Future Studies.  There are several reasons I would find this interesting and I think my past history of teaching High School Social Studies in Mexico City and Damascus Syria, combined with the MBA and eight years working in financial Services helps make me a good candidate.  But the coolest reason to do this would be I could tell people I am a Doctor, and when they asked “What kind of Doctor are you?” I could say “I am a doctor of THE FUTURE!”

There are only two Universities that offer a Doctorate in Future Studies, one in Texas and one in Hawaii.  Guess which one I would go to?  I will give you a hint, I only linked to that one.

As future studies is about the future, I wonder what it has to say about the end of the world.  So I been goggling around to see what I find.

If nothing else, the Wikipedia article on Future studies and clicking on the words one is not familiar with makes for an interesting read.  For example, eschatology is the study of the end of the world and how various religions deal with it.  Another idea, that is rife with material for Science Fiction short stories is technological singularity, a “hypothetical event occurring when technological progress becomes so rapid and the growth of artificial intelligence is so great that the future after the singularity becomes qualitatively different and harder to predict.”

Below:   A Mural from Romania on the subject of eschatology.

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I have completed the Phoenix branch of CERT (Community Emergency Response team) application form and mailed it in.    If I don’t hear back from them then I am going to contact the Tempe branch.

CERT is all about preparing people in their community to be ready when disaster strikes.   To volunteer with them you have to take a class.  I would imagine a whole ton of the stuff in the class would be useful when the SHF.

Below is a paraphrase how CERT’s website describes the normal training.

The CERT training for community groups is usually delivered in 2 1/2 hour sessions, one evening a week over a 7 week period. The training consists of the following:

  • Session I, DISASTER PREPAREDNESS:  hazards one can enounter and how familys should react before, during and after.
  • Session II, DISASTER FIRE SUPPRESSION:  Fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards, and fire suppression strategies.
  • Session III, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS PART I: Diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding, and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.
  • Session IV, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS, PART II: Evaluating patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area, performing basic first aid, and practicing in a safe and sanitary manner.
  • Session V, LIGHT SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS: Planning a rescue, including size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques, and most important, rescuer safety.
  • Session VI, DISASTER PSYCHOLOGY AND TEAM ORGANIZATION: Signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and worker.
  • Session VII, COURSE REVIEW AND DISASTER SIMULATION

So that seems quite useful, no?

WHile I wait to hear back from them I am going to check out the videos they have uploaded to their website.

I do find it ironic that my inital communication with the Emergency First Response to Disaster people has to be sent by snail mail.

Once our bomb shelter’s food supplies run out and we crawl out to make tribes will it be better to be a jack of all trades or master of one?

After the weak are gone I would expect those that are left roaming will have certain basic skills; how to start a fire, how to build a shelter, how to trap, skin, prep and cook animals in the wild, and how to fish to name a few.
However, those with more specific skills will be in greater demand and will be able to pick the tribe they want to belong to.

Based on hours of movie watching, along with reading one of the Godfathers of the survivialist movement, Mel Tappan, the most obvious answer for the most useful skill needed is someone who knows how to use a gun. However, is it really that hard to use a gun and know how to clean it? I suspect any military trainer would tell you that using a gun on the firing range and using it in an actual combat situation is a far different thing. After all, that is why all that time is spent on military training. 

Two comments, I bet bullets will be scarce after the apocalypse, so we won’t be inclined to fire willy-nilly.  Plus, those who survive the first couple of gunfights will have the skills to know how to use a gun in a gunfight. So my thinking is someone who knows how to use a gun, while being extremely useful in the apocalypse, will be one of those skills that everyone, or at least many people have, and it won’t be a skill that sets one apart.

So what will be the skills that makes one more valuable? Obvious choice is doctor. Would it really be that hard to be a doctor in a post-apocalyptic world? I mean we are not going to be able to treat people for cancer, or perform triple heart bypass surgery, or take x-rays or a thousand other things. Would a doctor just be anyone who happened to stockpile a pile of antibiotics. Note to self: stockpile antibiotics. What is the expiration date for antibiotics? What else could a doctor treat after the end of the world?

MacGyver would be also awesome to be. But chops like that would take a lifetime to gain, no? One can’t just go out and become a whiz at figuring out how to make a high dense bomb out of baking soda, ritz crackers, and toothpaste overnight.

Back to my original question, master of all trades of master of one? Master of one will make you more valuable for a tribe, and secure your position among the tribe you like. However, you got to survive long enough first to find the tribes that are out there. Plus master of the skills that will be the most prized are skills that must be gained over many years  So master of many is the way to go for now. Or maybe I should become a quack medicine man.

Below: My neighbor working a pinata, is a great example of a man with both many and specific skills. Primarily, he can fix anything with wheels. Here he is working a pinata.
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The DVD Disaster Preparedness for dummies is not bad for the first level of mulling over natural disasters.  Probably the most valuable reason to watch it is when one is debating (as I am) of what to put in a GTFOOD bag.  Phoenix is not likely need to flee (no hurricanes, tornadoes, minimal earthquake threat, and why in the world would a terrorist care about AZ?)  But a good “Get the F out of dodge” (GTFOOD) bag is the first level of the stockpile kit, or as I like to call it  “How to make a home into a compound.”

What stuck out for me from watching the DVD:

What to start packing: Think the basic needs of life, water, food, clean air.  Good things to add is basic medicines, flashlight, a crank powered radio, gloves, change in clothes and shoes.

Use that flashlight, avoid use of matches or candles when you are not sure about gas leaks.

One of the sacred rules of the preppers is “Store what you eat, eat what you store.”  My fridge is currently empty on purpose.  I am going to see if I can buy exactly what would last me two weeks.  In two weeks I go to New York City (NYC) for four days and two days in Pennsylvania (PA).  I wonder how close I can time exactly two weeks of food.

On a side note, NYC is seen by most of the preppers, survivalists, naturalists, and hollywoodites as the worst place to be during the Apocalypse.  I am visiting my brother and his wife so I hope that the doomsayers are all wrong. Some may argue I have joined the doomsayers by my actions.   I hope my work is in vain (not really, I like having a garden and the forced domestication.)  In short, some might say I hope I am wrong.

I do.   It’s funny.  Spending so much energy on something you hope doesn’t happen.  It hints at unfulfilled frustration and laughing at yourself.  I suppose that is what attracts me to thinking about the end of the world as we know it.  I like dark humor.  Laughing at life while life ends just seems funny.  This is probably why we are attracted to the Joker.  And by “we” I mean me.

Below:  Photo taken during my last visit to NYC to see my brother.   We went to one of only two shooting galleries in the city for his bachelor party.

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I came to the realization while prepping the soil for the tomatillos that all these preparations are just domesticating me. I tool around in the garden and in the kitchen. I spend time inside tidying up to help with the recycling. I have learned how to sow buttons and seeds.

I also realized this forced domestication is probably a good thing. Lord knows, I have not yet found a woman who rein me in.  And at some point someone needs to do the dishes.

Sidenote: Should I get a roommate to see what it is like to live with others? Because that is certainly a skill needed to survive the end. After all, no man can do all the chores on an island.

Here is my list of events one should attend in order to prepare for the apocalypse.

Burning Man – techno-nerds, socialmediaeanglists, pop-culture survivalists, and dancers.  Kind of an obvious first choice.

The NRA Annual Convention If for no other reason, see what you might have to contend with later.

Some sort of organic gardening convention

 

Any other suggestions?

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.

Summary:

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.