Fail.

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Last week the garbage collection driver forgot to swing back around and do the pickup on my side of the street. So everyone’s bins were still at the curb when I got home at around 8pm. 3-1-1 exists for these sorts of non-emergency situations. We use that number to report dead animals, fallen limbs, and so forth. That night the system was trying to route calls to emergency services from AT&T’s mobile 9-1-1 customers as that portion of their network was down for several hours. The network has been repaired but during that time customers were unable to reach 9-1-1- operators from their mobile phones. The outage covered at least 14 states, so it’ll probably be difficult to determine how many people were attempting to call during that time.

Back in 2010 the ATM network went down, city-wide, for a couple of hours. Upon hearing that many people realized they didn’t have, and needed cash. Supposedly the Point of Sale terminals at grocery check-out lines were working. But eventually the grocer is going to get tired of $20 bills leaving the store with packs of gum being the only thing purchased. Yes they have a duty to the public but they’re in business to sell groceries, not so much as money changers.

We rely on these systems heavily and we get anxious when we’re not able to get cash, or when the card reader is acting wonky at the gas pump. This is going to happen from time to time. You can only store so much cash, so many batteries and candles. Sometimes the crises have to pass. We have to endure the outages. Failures happen and we do what we can to survive them.

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First Aid Kits

My ex used to ask, whenever I took gloves or a flashlight, or some other tool out of my car, why I’m “so prepared.” My answer was always, “I have this stuff in case I need it.” I’ve also been teased by coworkers for having things in my possession for dealing with minor inconveniences like hangnails. The scanner went down needing the rollers cleaned. The manufacturer sells something to clean the rollers but the employer didn’t bother to purchase it. What they did have was a can of denatured alcohol, but no swabs. I keep a few swabs in my bag. I took them out and started cleaning the rollers so we could keep working. I travel fairly light. So I have what I consider a minimum of preps, and one of those things is a first aid kit.

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I look at things like pocked knives, pens, watches, and first aid kits as little insurance policies. They’re there when I need them, but many times I don’t. All of my workplaces have been in offices and rarely do the first aid kits stay stocked. They start out new and within a few months you’re down to one alcohol wipe and a single glove. Now some businesses stay on top of this. But usually, when I need something, it’s not there.

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I take this kit with me on the trail for my hikes. I don’t get headaches or upset stomachs very often, but there’s aspirin, ibuprofen, antacids, a couple different kinds of antibiotic/antimicrobial ointments, some gauze, bandages, alcohol wipes, scissors, tape, and tweezers. If I can’t patch up my problem with what’s in here, then I need help.

Some things expire and have to be replaced before I use them the first time. That’s the idea…the having, not the use.

An impulse buy for your fire-starting kit

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I found this near the checkout at a local grocery store last night. I had been thinking about a small/travel-size container for petroleum jelly for the fire kit. This is the size I have been looking for. It was 97 cents. It seems to be a good quick buy item if you’re getting last minute provisions before going out to the field. In a disaster situation, these should go fairly quickly after the milk, bread, and D-cell batteries.

Zombies: Who are they?

I’ve been paying attention to alternative media for about 7 years now and I’ve been part of the prepper/survivalist community for over 4 years. In that time, the word “zombie” has come up a lot. I’ve said this to people before, but not very many folks seem to be listening.


It would be difficult to count the number of different ways people view and believe in the apocalypse. Hollywood has had a huge sway on the minds of the public and many people think about reanimated corpses staggering around attacking and eating the living. Movies present a variety of reasons for this, and unless you have your own island stocked with supplies, at some point you’re doomed.

Setting side all that, and looking at something that is more likely to happen, namely an economic collapse, what is a zombie? It’s us. Anyone who can be affected by the money and systems of support no longer being viable is a zombie. These are people who are moving from region to region. They’re going to be scared, broke, hungry, thirsty, tired. and desperate. You may have thousands of rounds of ammunition stocked up along with food, water, and other supplies, but how much compassion do you have on hand? Huh? How much understanding?

I’m not saying don’t prepare, or return to the slumbering mass of sheeple out there. I’m not saying throw open your pantries to the wandering horde. I am saying that compassion and understanding are part of your humanity and if you lose that, what in Hell is the reason for preparing? They’re not signs of weakness. You might think that you can set aside those things until the crisis is over and then return to them. You might, short term. But humans aren’t very good managers of unplugging from consciousness and it doesn’t take much for a crisis to go from short term to long. So add these things to your preps. You’re going to need them.

How serious are you about that resolution?

Most people who make resolutions do nothing of the kind. What they have are one or more wishes that they make around the end of the year. Then some of them make half-hearted efforts for a little while, and after that everything gets set aside. The period of time varies but probably by April, the resolutions are abandoned.

I don’t make resolutions and I never have. I’m generally known for running contrary to expectations. The things everyone is supposed to do for no reason other than they’re “what everyone does” teimagend to not get done in my life. Because I don’t care to participate in these superstitious acts I get called a party pooper, Scrooge, raining on parades, and so forth. I fail to see why my choosing to participate has to affect anyone but it does a few.

A few years ago I posted a list of ten goals for that year. I think I made it through two, maybe two and a half before I let some rigmarole get in my way. I didn’t manage it. I didn’t work out steps to achieve each one. They dissolved into wishes and I did nothing to make them a reality. What I want to do this year is return to the idea of goals but manage them and see them through. I will post updates for each one.

Monthly goals. (12)

  • Develop a list to pick from.
  • Determine the steps to complete each one.
  • Recap at the end of the month.

Quarterly goals. (4)

  • Choose from list.
  • Determine the steps to complete each one.
  • Recap at the end of the quarter.

Half-year goal.

  • Employment – I am working a 6-month temp gig. I want to eliminate searching and down-time by having a job to start in mid-June.

Goal for the year.

  • Lose 50 pounds.

Planning works better for me than waiting for some NY Resolution Faery to work magic on my behalf.  Last year someone on Twitter posted, “My To-Do list is just a bunch of s I’m not doing.” Well most resolutions are wishes that never become more than that. Chopping the resolution up into doable bits is the way to make it happen.

Preparedness Ed

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As people who practice the preparedness way of life we understand the need to be aware of our surroundings, what’s going on with the media, systems of support, money and those pesky political clowns out there. There are books, magazines and websites dedicated to helping us educate ourselves, find advance training and so forth. I find it a bit aggravating at times when I’m dealing with someone who always sends out more sales offers. They never ask how you’re doing. It’s just more correspondence designed to create a “sense of urgency” and sell.

I understand people are in business to make money. I just can’t always part with mine regardless how urgent you want me to feel. Some battles I’m not in a position to fight right now. I am aware of things going on around the country but I can’t put as much as I’d like towards preparing for every eventuality.

So a certain prominent figure is a jerk about X. Well, thank you. I’ll take that under advisement. This isn’t anything anyone didn’t already know. They’re like that all the time. No. I can’t send you another $25 to fight him right now. Two months ago I had a raccoon tear a hole in the front of my house. The beast left before the trapper came by to set up. I still have to get the repair done on that. Having the wildlife removal service do work at my house cost money I had plans to spend elsewhere.

The ads and offers are just going to have to go to recycling for the time being. I’ll have to learn what I need to learn through some other means for the time being.

Return to Prepping…Someday

I got way off track a few years ago and because of the layoff and its aftermath I have not been prepping. My goal is to return to it one of these days. I hope the worst case scenario hasn’t happened by then. But, who knows. I am going to start putting aside silver again. I think my budget will allow for one or two ounces a month. So my goal for 1 June, 2015 is to have 25 ounces on hand. We’ll see how that goes.

Issues that I’ve written about on my blog at clutterstruck.com have gotten in the way of my being able to do anything else towards preparedness. Right now, things are a bit tight at the alien hideout.