Skin In The Game

Common sense says I shouldn’t do this, but as a registered contrarian I can’t help myself. The school shooting the other day has sparked plenty of emotion, and for good reason. It’s hard to fathom such evil striking with such randomness. I can’t picture what I would feel finding out a loved one or friend was taken for no reason.

In the heat of such emotion it’s understandable to lash out and want to take action. And it’s always easy to take action against something when you have no skin in the game. As Jules says in Pulp Fiction, “well, allow me to retort”.

Starting at age 16 (or younger) we operate motor vehicles that weigh more than 3,000 pounds, often driving them 30-40 miles an hour in town mere feet away from  accidentpedestrians. We hurtle 70-80 miles an hour on the freeways. These monstrosities kill 37,000+ people a year. That’s 100 PEOPLE A DAY being killed. An average of 2000 of those are children. There are about 5.4 million vehicle accidents per year. Records estimate that there have been 3.6 million vehicle fatalities in the US since the advent of the automobile. Motor vehicle accidents are estimated to cost the US $100 billion a year.

Despite training, licensing, and testing, we continue to murder our fellow citizens. We drive drunk. We text and talk on the phone while driving. We drive too fast for conditions. Common sense says that if we have something that’s killing 100 people a day, shouldn’t we be marching on our state capitals and demanding our legislators take action? What sort of monster doesn’t care about 2,000 children a year being needlessly killed? Where are all the Facebook memes?

It would be appropriate to lower the speed limits to 15-20 mph on any city road. No more than 40 mph on freeways. Require annual requalification and background checks. Massively increase registration fees to pay for statewide safety measures. Caught with a phone that’s turned on should require jail time. A DUI means permanent loss of driving privileges. All vehicles must be retrofitted with breathalyzer devices in order to start. Increase the driving age to 21.

There would be a massive uproar across this nation if any of that were proposed. Why? Because it would personally impact your life. It’s easy to be judgmental when the actions you want won’t effect you. *

There are 300+ million guns in this country. As much as you may like to, you cannot put that genie back in the bottle. Virtually every criminal shooting is done with guns acquired outside the system. As in, they didn’t follow the laws and regulations. Shocking, I know. All the laws and regulations that get proposed after each mass shooting would not have prevented any of them from happening. Why? They either got their guns illegally, the system failed massively (as was with this latest one), or there were huge mental health red flags that were either missed or resources weren’t available.

I don’t know what the answer is. You could send the military to every home in the country to search and seize all guns, but I have a sneaking suspicion that wouldn’t go so well. We could choose to stop spending trillions overseas on silly wars and devote some of that money to mental health services in this country. And to ensure that the existing laws and systems and agencies we already have actually do their job. Or we can choose to let the Tide Pod eating generation drive legislation that only impacts normal law abiding folks.

It’s not an easy issue. Guns aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and I get that. But don’t get caught up in the sensationalism that is modern media. Because if you’re not fired up about 100 PEOPLE A DAY being killed by vehicles… aren’t you being just a tad hypocritical? (and I know you wouldn’t knowingly watch a movie or TV show that sensationalized guns, right?) You have every right to do what’s right for you and yours, and if guns aren’t for you I respect that. I choose to have the option to protect my family when the flesh eating zombie apocalypse comes.


* I spent at least twenty minutes trying to figure affect vs. effect. I’m still not sure in this context. Grammar is not my strong suite. I’m comma-happy and I know it.

 

On Camping. And Totes.

Last weekend I went car camping. It’s been awhile. The last number of years have been more focused on river trips, backpacking, and a mega land-yacht RV. All of which arguably have components of camping, but are not exactly the same. To me, “campintrucksterg” is loading up the family truckster, driving to a designated forest service campground and unloading a mountain of gear at a designated “site”. Said site shall contain one rickety picnic bench, one fire ring, tent sites that are on a mandatory slope of at least 30 degrees, and easy access to a standard forest service toilet that contains horrors that shall not be mentioned.

While all of those items are worthy of discussion, it’s the mountain of gear that befuddled me. With backpacking and river trips you have clear space limitations, so you’d think that I would be good at packing efficiently. Apparently those rules don’t apply when car camping. I looked at the volume of space I had in the pickup truck and lost my mind. I packed gear for every possible contingency. Enough clothing to cover temperature ranges from  Death Valley to the top of Everest. I brought enough lighting products to perform neurosurgery at midnight. Small, medium, and large flashlights. A 5 pound lantern powered by 6 D-cell batteries. A headlamp. And a backup headlamp just in case. What did I actually use? The 2 inch mini flashlight one time, while digging around in the cooler for another beer. I had approximately 2,000 feet of utility cord, mosquito nets, shaving mirrors (but no shaving kit), tools, zip ties, plastic zip lock bags, a compass (we never left the campground), a broom, and at least four different drinking cups. All told I think I had three full duffle bags, a backpack, a cardboard box, a cooler, a half cord of firewood, an air mattress that was too big to fit in the tent, and a ten pound folding chair. I briefly considered renting a trailer but that would have been… excessive.

Within the first half hour at camp all this gear somehow exploded, covering the camp site. And when it rained – it all came into my little tent. I slept surrounded by mountains of stuff. The contents of every duffle bag had been pulled out and strewn everywhere, looking for the extra pair of socks I was sure I had. When it came time to leave there was no careful packing and organizing. Everything got stuffed into one giant pile into the back seat of the truck, which is now spread across the garage, the basement, and the kitchen. I plan on cleaning and putting it all away any day now. Promise.

I vowed never again. I will become the Martha Stewart of camping organization. I’ve spent approximately 45 hours researching camping organization web sites. I have visions of campkitchencolor coded plastic totes, camp kitchen boxes, and gear organizers. In my mind I’ve been crafting plans for adding a camper shell to the truck and building fantastic storage options so I’m ready to camp at a moments notice. I will craft laminated efficiency checklists and pare all equipment down to the bare minimum.

And then I stumbled across the Sprinter van. I am now officially obsessed. This is the ultimate car camping vehicle. Small enough you can drive it sprinteranywhere. Big enough you can comfortably sleep and have all your gear available. There’s whole community dedicated to van life. I could be ready to go fishing, to faraway hikes, climbing, escape the zombie apocalypse, a horrific nuclear accident, or just plain old camping at a moments notice. It works for campsites, boondocking, sleeping at truck stops, or Walmart parking lots. Never mind that I average about two camp trips a year. The point is that I could if I wanted to.

Now I just have to convince Mrs. troutdog. Or I could just buy more totes.

—————————–
Clark: I think you’re all fucked in the head. We’re ten hours from the fucking fun park and you want to bail out. Well I’ll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. You’re gonna have fun, and I’m gonna have fun… We’re all gonna have so much fucking fun we’re gonna need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles! You’ll be whistling ‘Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah’ out of your assholes! I must be crazy! I’m on a pilgrimage to see a moose. Praise Marty Moose! Holy Shit!

On Moments Of Truth

The moment of truth. A turning point. That defining moment. The red pill or the blue? Beer or bourbon? A salad or fries? Jimi Hendrix or… wait, never mind. Hendrix is always the answer. For many people there comes a point in time where you reach a place that inspires you to decide that you don’t want to continue down the same pzig-Ziglar-motivation-quotes-2ath you’ve been on. If I was a motivated guy, this is where I’d insert the inspirational quote from Zig Ziglar and declare that things will be different from now on.

Uh, that’s not really my style. Although, I did have one of those moments yesterday. I’d foolishly signed up for a running race that I’d done before. Except I was lazy and I didn’t train for it. I probably gained did gain weight between sign-up and race day. I assumed that, like when I was 20, I could just show up and get ‘er done. Uh, nope. It was pretty ugly. As I lumbered uphill like a pregnant walrus, it became clear that I can no longer deny reality. I’ve gotten old, fat, and frighteningly out of shape. I was passed by people who, if I saw them on the street, I’d think to myself “there’s a walking heart attack”. I was passed by people in their 70’s who looked like they were going to keel over at any moment. I survived and finished, but it was a humbling day.

I woke up this morning determined to change and to seize this opportunity to improve myself. I vowed to be the like ‘theRock and post my 4am daily workout on the Instagrams. I will be a paleo god and laugh at those fools eating gluten and sugar. I will be pure! I will fuel the engine with nothing but locally sourced fresh food kissed with mermaid tears and love. I will embrace Grok and become a crossfit machine. Then I thought about pancakes and wondered when the new pizza place down the street will open.

I’m not sure if I have it in me to change my habits. I like the idea of it. It’s the doing part that’s a challenge. It’s hard to say what path I’m going to take. I did win the weight loss challenge of ’14. I’ve also managed to put all that weight back on, plus some, by sitting in a chair fairly continuously for a year and a half. Which me is going to emerge come Monday morning? Will it be the motivated and disciplined troutdog or the fat lazy trout taking the path of least resistance?

Realistically, any clear thinking person knows that our actions should be based upon preparations for the zombie apocalypse. And what is Columbus’s rule # 1? Cardio. So there you have it. It’s the 4am wake-up and go time for me. Then again, there’s the merits of being well-armed, don’t be afraid to use your ammunition and rule #2 – the double tap. Go ahead and hand me those pancakes.

Tallahassee: Are you fucking with me?

Columbus: Uh, no. You should actually limber up as well. Especially if we’re going down that hill. It is very important.

Tallahassee: I don’t believe in it. You ever see a lion limber up before it takes down a gazelle?

Winning Hearts And Minds

This morning I was procrastinating. This isn’t a surprise to anyone who knows me – I could win awards with my ability to procrastinate. Anyway, in my effort to avoid doing something actually useful I was catching up on Tay and Microsoft’s PR disaster. You have to marvel at the blind naivety of the folks who didn’t put any sort of filters in place. Anyone who’s been on the internet for more than about fifteen minutes could have predicted what was going to happen. The interwebs are full of trolls.

Moving on I found a post of pictures of office workers who had their food stolen out of the fridge. That’s some funny stuff right there. Then I started thinking about it. It’s happened to most of us. Your lunch goes missing from the break room fridge. Someone microwaves some nasty smelling three day old fish or fermenting eel, turning the entire third floor into a hazmat zone. What the hell is wrong with these people? What’s worse is that these are your coworkers, people you know, not some random stranger on the street.

The interesting part is that every single one of us would claim that our circle of friends and acquaintances would never do such a thing. It seems like every other posting on theFacebook is some inspirational quote about peace, love, rising above the negativity, and really good fried tofu recipes. Meanwhile it took less than 24 hours to shut down Tay with a barrage of some of the most vile stuff you can imagine – for no reason other than the amusement of trolls. Someone is out there committing this asshatery and it’s not just evil-doers.

I suspect there’s a whole lot of people out there leading a double life. They post the cute Easter meme on Pinterest, then leave their dog poop in the middle of the trail for someone else to deal with (or sidewalk if you’re a civilized New Yorker or Parisian). Someone is throwing all that garbage out the car window to collect on the side of the freeway. Enough of us are watching the Kardashians and Maury Povich that their ratings keep them going strong. Drive on any California freeway and the sheer number of asshole motorists will turn any Bernie Sanders voter into a seething road rage maniac… who will then go into the office and donate money because Sally’s niece is in the hospital and post a few adorable puppy pictures to their Instagram.

I’d like to believe that because of our opposable thumbs and ability to appreciate Ansel Adams, we can rise above negativity and mean people. I think the reality is that we’re one zombie apocalypse, water, food, or bourbon shortage away from survival of the fittest. When Amazon goes dark and you can’t get your selfie stick v.7 shipped the next day, I suspect our societal cohesion will disappear in a hurry.in-case-of-zombies-attack-break-glass-shotgun-apocalypse-now-meme

What does all this mean? I’m not sure. I don’t think it has to be depressing. Go appreciate some art. Get outside and see some nature. Try not to be a complete jerk to your fellow man. Pay it forward. Oh, and stock up on bourbon, toilet paper, and 12 gage double-ought buckshot.

Paparazzi Failure

There’s a long list of things I’m not good at – gardening, polite chit-chat at parties, picking the shortest line at the supermarket, coordinating shirts and socks (Garanimals for men, please!), to name just a few.  Let’s add paparazzi to that list.  Ok, not paparazzi exactly.  If someone uber-famous wandered by… like maybe Michael Bolton or Flo from that Progressive Insurance commercial, I’m pretty sure I’d be able to take a picture.  But taking a picture of a complete stranger frightens the bejesus out of me.

You may be asking yourself, wait I don’t think this guy is a private eye so why is he stalking strangers and taking their picture?  Yes there is a bit of a creep factor here, and as long as no one mentions it to my parole officer we’re all good.  The real reason is that I’ve long admired the raw, unexpected, sometimes gritty images, that the truly talented street photographers capture.  There’s something about real people going about their lives that’s just captivating.

I wanted to challenge myself to learn something new, something I was uncomfortable with.  Poodle grooming is out so street photography seemed like a logical next choice.  The problem is that I didn’t anticipate how hard it is to take a picture of a complete stranger – being relatively close and obvious.  It just feels… invasive and a bit weird.  Of course I could resort to one of those gazillion dollar lenses you see at sporting events and stand two blocks away, but that defeats the purpose.  You can’t really capture emotion or the feel of something that way.

I’m not sure yet how I’m going to get over this irrational fear.  And it is irrational.  It’s not like someone is going to yell at me or chase after me.  Even if they do, I can be pretty fast when I need to.  I’m sure all that zombie apocalypse fitness training will pay off when that irate old lady gets all up in my face and wants to throw down.

So why can’t I bring myself to point the camera at a stranger and press the shutter?  I don’t know.  Maybe I need to print out a fake press pass?  Dress like a tourist?  Enroll in an expensive on-line course?  One way or another, I resolve to overcome this fear.  Sigh… maybe I’ll just go practice with more pictures of cows.  They’re not too scary.

 

12 Things Learned In 2012

Year end and beginning is for lists. I think it’s a rule of some sort. And if nothing else, I am a rule follower. Thusly, my list of twelve things learned in 2012 (Please note the cleverness there – 12 for 12. Genius) :

  1.  I love Cheez-Its. They are pure brain food. 3 grams of protein and 140 calories per 30 crackers. That’s better than your average “healthy” yogurt. And it’s a genuine, simulated, baked cheese product. It doesn’t get much better than that. The downside is a certain, uhm, cheese-breath after effect. There’s also the fact that it’s virtually impossible to limit oneself to just the suggested serving size of thirty. Perhaps I should invent a Pez-like dispenser that holds exactly 30. Perfect for travel!
  2. You need to get rid of your clutter. We put all our stuff in storage and lived in a motorhome for half the year. I didn’t think it would be possible to survive without eighteen dress shirts, toolboxes of “leftover” nuts and bolts, fifteen year old Rollerblades, twenty-three baseball hats, and ten pairs of jeans that I “might” fit into again some day. But I did. And I was perfectly happy.
  3. Politicians are evil. Not just some, all. Our elected representatives have quickly replaced lawyers as the most hated people on the planet. To quote myself, “If you think your representative is looking out for your best interest, you’re a tool. Don’t be a tool.” Boy I’m impressed with myself. That needs to be on a t-shirt.
  4. Academically, I can hang with the big dogs. Well, at least with the twenty-somethings. Also, I don’t like art history. Also, I’m really, really good at art history. It’s an internal conflict that will most likely require therapy sometime in my future.
  5. It’s possible for me to get in really good shape. The inverse of this fitness rule is that I can return to a fairly squishy state in a frighteningly rapid amount of time. Clearly the year for me is split into squishy and non-squishy periods. For the love of humanity and my fellow beach goers, let’s hope that next year the non-squishy state coincides with bikini season.
  6. Gravity + bikes + a complete lack of coordination = broken ribs. That hurts. A lot. Let’s not do that again.
  7. This year taught me that I enjoy photography. I also learned that I have no idea whatsoever what I’m doing. All those darn f numbers, shutter speeds, uncooperative swimsuit models, and tricky apertures… being a photography professional is hard work. I may have to fall back on my art history career prospects.
  8. I seem to have an uncomfortable obsession with cows. Looking back at the year I realize I’ve taken multiple pictures of cows, written an ode to cows, and bought a cow. I’m slightly concerned.
  9. I can’t do drama. Not the theatrical, off-broadway kind of drama. I mean Real Housewives, Jerry Springer, Tom Cruise break-up kind of drama. Life is too short to waste effort thinking about or dealing with drama. Unless, of course, we’re talking about Lindsay Lohan’s pending implosion. That train wreck is too entertaining to miss.
  10. I didn’t die when I got a flu shot. I broke down and got my first flu shot this year. When I informed the tech that I’d never had a flu shot in my life she looked shocked and said “Not ever? Seriously?”  She actually had me wait for thirty minutes afterwards to monitor me “just in case”. Made me slightly concerned about what’s really in it if I had to be monitored. Fears of government tracking devices and UN conspiracies are now filling my dreams at night. Sigh… more therapy needed clearly.
  11. People are idiots. The world is filled with a frightening amount of lemmings and sheep. Other than for entertainment value, I have no more tolerance for stupidity (other than my own). And when things go south, those idiots are going to come looking for your stuff. And when you call 911 and there’s nobody available… well good luck with that. If you know me, then you know I’m talking zombie apocalypse. Be prepared.
  12. The big lesson for 2012 – stop waiting and wishing for what you want. Life is short and we’re only here once (sorry Druids and Hindus – it just isn’t going to happen). As the old saying goes – if you get hit by a cement truck tomorrow, have you done, seen, and accomplished what you wanted?

There you go.  An award-winning, incredibly insightful look back at lessons of 2012. Next up, resolutions for 2013. Or not. I may go out and just enjoy the day instead.

On Giving Thanks. And Zombies.

Thanksgiving is an odd holiday.  It’s fake.  At least in its current form in the U.S., it’s a manufactured holiday.  Roosevelt went so far as to move the date in an attempt to help the economy by increasing the number of shopping days before Christmas.  It has nothing in common with the original harvest festivals of our forefathers… otherwise we’d be having a yummy dinner of fresh water eel and corn.  Even with all that, it’s still my favorite holiday.

If you can strip out all the commercialism, there’s just something about sitting down with family and friends for no purpose other than enjoying good food and giving thanks.  The Christmas/Holiday season? Hate it. Always have. It’s phony, fake, driven by marketing and the 2,735 holiday commercials per minute we’re bombarded with.  I lay in bed at night, stressed that I haven’t purchased the iNog EggNog maker for someone and for yet another year failed to get holiday newsletters out.  What in the hell am I going to get Aunt Sophie for a grab-bag gift?  The woman does nothing but watch approximately 22 hours a day of Judge Judy re-runs.  The fifty-four pound box of Pepperidge Farm sausage seemed reasonable to me, but my wife thinks otherwise.  Sigh…  The pressure is unbearable.

Ah, but Thanksgiving.  The only requirement is to relax, cook, and sit down with the people most important to you and eat.  And talk.  Share stories.  Drink too many adult beverages and thank the deity of your choice that you’re at an age where you’re longer stuck at that rickety card table with the kids.  And wallow in the knowledge that you have a free pass to eat an obscene amount of food.  The calories don’t count on Thanksgiving.  Extra gravy.  That ridiculous yam dish with the marshmallows – on what other day of the year could you serve something covered in marshmallows and get away with it?

But most importantly, to give thanks.  At some point during the dinner, sit back and just watch.  Watch your family and friends eating, enjoying, talking, arguing over politics and sports.  Simply being together.  And give thanks that through an accident of birth you happen to be in a position to live where you do.  That you don’t live in Sudan, or Somalia, or Afghanistan, or the poorest parts of India or China.  That you do have food on your table, clothes on your back, and that Uncle Bob is free to slur his words and lament that those damn commie democrats won the election.

Because not everyone has this gift.  But we do.  So ignore for at least one day the looming commercialism of the “holiday” season, politics, the media, and all those cute cat videos on Facebook.  Enjoy and be thankful for what you have – because as down and out as you might be, you’re not living in a mud hut in Ethiopia wondering where your next meal will come from.

And besides… we’re only a month away from the Mayan doomsday.  And you know what that means, right?  The coming zombie apocalypse.  There’ll be no enjoying canned cranberries or Frenches green been casserole when fighting off the zombie hoards.  I watch the Walking Dead, I know what’s coming.  I don’t know about you, but I’m stockpiling fancy Jell-O molds in my bunker.  And guns.  Lots and lots of guns.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Bluetooth, Autos, And Sunspots

You’ve all seen them. Walking downtown. In the restroom. On the ski chairlift. Talking to themselves, usually loudly. Well, not exactly talking to themselves but to someone else on the phone via their fancy bluetooth earpiece. It’s not until you spot the electronic protuberance stuck in their ear that you realize they’re not talking to you or anyone around them. Word up people – if you use one of these things in public it makes you a bit of a duche (or douche if you’re Canadian). Sorry, that’s just the way it is.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, is so important they can’t stop what they’re doing for a moment and hold a phone up to their ear like a normal person. Unless of course you’re a T-Rex. With those little arms you don’t have many choices. Or Captain B. McCrea from the movie WALL-E. He was a bit arm challenged as well. The rest of us however have no excuse. Unless you live in California which has banned holding a phone while you drive. You can still talk and you still have to look down at it to dial, but you can’t hold it. Important because driving at 70+ mph on the freeway, scrolling through your smartphone’s contact list looking for aunt Winifred’s phone number (who you haven’t spoken to in 3 years) is clearly not dangerous. Actually holding the phone while you explain why you never thanked her for the holiday fruitcake in ’98 is death-defying. I feel so much safer now.

Speaking of safety, there’s the issue of sunspots. Sunspot AR1476 erupted a few days ago. While it didn’t turn into an x-class flare, due to its orientation things could have been bad if it had. Why is this an issue? Next to the zombie apocalypse I think a large-scale, x-class eruption to be our greatest danger. What would such a flare-up do? Nothing much. Just interrupt and/or destroy our power grid and some electronics with massive amounts of electromagnetic energy and radiation. Its happened before. The Carrington Event in 1859. Again during WWII – knocked out all radars for several days.

Can you imagine the chaos if our power grid was down for weeks? Or months? Assuming their brains weren’t fried in the initial radiation waves, all those folks walking aimlessly around with bluetooth headsets with nobody answering…  “Hello? Hello? I’m getting some static here, can you hear me? Can you hear me now?”

Thinking About Zombies

So, lately I’ve been thinking about zombies. No, not the political meat puppet types in congress but rather the walking-undead-face-eating type. I’m a big fan of the AMC series “The Walking Dead“. It’s evolved to the point that it’s now less about zombies and more about human survival and group dynamics. Seriously – will Rick really be able to forgive his wife? Is the baby really his? Will there be a showdown between Rick and Shane? Riveting stuff.

Which leads me to another show – Doomsday Preppers by the National Geographic channel. Truly awful TV. Unwatchable. Nat Geo needs to exit the reality show genre and go back to lions eating zebras. Finding a few serious nut jobs who are convinced the world is ending and rating their survival preparations is dumb. In the last episode they featured a guy who’s convinced the magnetic poles will flip and cause world-wide chaos and continents to move. I’m not a scientist, but I’ll hazard a guess that we’ll have adequate time to prepare for the North and South American continent breaking free and slamming into Africa.

If there’s going to be an apocalypse to prepare for, zombies are just as good a reason as any other. Pandemic, world economic collapse, the big earthquake, Yellowstone super volcano, Al Franken running for president, nuclear armageddon, they all share a few common preparedness steps you should be making:

Food and Water

Roughly speaking, your local grocery store is only stocked for three days to a week. Looking at what happens to store supplies every time there’s a hurricane warning in the gulf… it’s not hard to imagine that when something really bad happens you’ll be out of luck if your preparedness plan relies on running to Safeway for a few things. You need a one month supply for your family. Period. Don’t forget your pets! It’s not as much storage as you’d think. Remember we’re talking about sustenance, not gourmet meal preparation.

Word goes out that the local water supply is contaminated. Whatcha gonna do? One gallon, per person, per day. It may be weeks before a reliable source of fresh water is available. Remember the mob scenes during Katrina and attempts to provide water to people stuck on the overpasses? That was only a few days. Figure out where/how you’ll supply your family with water and do it now. No, you can’t substitute 100% with Red Bull’s.

Protection

During extreme events (tornado, small earthquakes, etc…) we often see the best of humanity. Communities and neighborhoods pulling together for the common good. I’d like to think the best of people, but history shows that’s not always the case. Eventually when people get hungry, thirsty, or desperate enough they are going to come take your shit and they will do it by force. Accept it and be prepared to defend yourself and your family. Up to you how you choose to do it, but realize that a stern talking to won’t stop someone who doesn’t share your morals and wants your stuff. In my opinion there’s not many problems that double ought buckshot won’t solve. You’re welcome to use eco-friendly pepper spray if you’d like – let me know how that works out for you.

Everything Else

What else would you want/need if you had to hunker down at the ‘ole homestead for a month waiting for the government to figure out what to do? Toilet paper? Medications? Do you have a way to boil water if the power is out? No electricity = no ATM’s. Do you have enough cash in the house? Can you take care of medical issues like cuts, fevers, a sprained ankle? Something worse? What if a family member fell and broke an arm? How about light at night? Heat if you live in a cold weather area could be an issue. Scotch. And red wine. May as well enjoy your time waiting for FEMA to spring into action.

Beyond a month? Hmmm… things have gone terribly wrong. I’m afraid that in the “civilized” world we’d be in trouble. I can deal with a few weeks without American Idol, but beyond that we’re stretching the limits of human endurance. Read “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy and decide if survival is worth it (spoiler: be prepared to be depressed for a week).

Have I taken any of these survival preparation steps? Of course not! My plan is to loot the nearest Starbucks and drink as many peppermint white hot chocolates with whole milk and whipped cream, at 750 calories per, as I can force down. Then I’ll come knock on your door and beg for food. And to use the restroom.