Today’s card: V of Cups

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A lone figure stares regretfully at three overturned cups before him, with two behind him still standing. The sky blue, and in the distance a river flows quickly by and there is a bridge across it farther away leading to a castle.

Hindsight is always 20/20, as the saying goes, but it’s easy to get stuck back there. Your better days are always now. You cannot go back to a fervently cherished moment. Nor can you catapult forward to an equally coveted future. The way across the impassable stream will present itself. The blue sky indicates a peaceful journey. The water in the cups will sustain you. It’s time for a walk.

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.

Prepping: Get a plan first

Back in 2010 I started listening to podcasts and following blogs related to the preparedness/survivalist movement. Anyone who’s had to deal with a power outage that lasted more than a few hours knows that you might need a few candles and extra flashlights and batteries in addition to the one in the next to the last drawer in the kitchen that you can never seem to find when you need it. The writers and voices talk about the need for redundancy in preparation for personal as well as community disasters. That’s all well and good. I have a few extra batteries for the flashlights and a few candles.

The problem is that I approached prepping the same way I approached the rest of my consumer behavior…unconsciously. I didn’t look at the amount of space I have in the house to determine where and how to store things. I didn’t think about exactly what I needed and how I was going to use it. The place was still a huge mess back then. So anything put aside as a preparedness item ended up on the pile. I started working on a 72-hr kit and buying two or three of something when I had a few extra dollars. I even took a couple of classes in survival at a school down the road. Then I had a couple of reversals happen and all the “disposable” income I was using to pay for preps ended up going to a car payment and we had a major illness in the family which put my training schedule on the back burner.

As I’ve been removing things from the house, the twos and threes of things have become ones and in some cases I’ve taken all of certain things to Goodwill. I still believe in the philosophy. G-d knows that the ATM network in town goes down on occasion and having a couple extra bucks in the pocket is a good thing. I am really liking the openness now and being able to walk over and touch a wall without stepping on something. So I don’t want to stockpile or warehouse preps. I might put up an extra shed in the backyard next year. I don’t know yet. I just don’t want to keep racks or stacks of stuff around that I’m going to have to dust.

TEOTWAWKI is largely theoretical. A collapse could happen. Hell in some circles the world has ended several times in the past five years with the financial shenanigans and bailouts. I am starting to view my cluttered, but less so, home as a very real disaster that I need to keep recovering from. The priority is clearing my living space and seeing that it stays that way. If zombies come I have a claw hammer right where I can get at it.

Towards a Hardened People

What if our sun became a pulsar overnight?

Well not a pulsar in the strict sense. But what if there were an area dead center of the plane of Earth’s orbit that fired off enough material to cause a geomagnetic storm similar to the Carrington Event every “day” on the sun or once per its rotation. So every 25 to 36 days we got a blast of solar matter which means a constant EMP condition somewhere on the planet. Anyone who’s studied this, after telling me that what I’m proposing could never happen would say that our energy grids can’t handle even one without going out for weeks, let alone having it happen once every five weeks.

Have you ever asked yourself what you’d do if electricity were no longer available? That’s not something most people care to think about. Most of the talk concerns hardening the infrastructure, hardening buildings and even building Faraday cages out of metal trashcans and ammunition cans…Shielding everything from the pulse.

That may not be possible given the current economic and political philosophies in Washington.

This blog and others on preparedness talk about advanced training and learning to build a fire with a hand drill and using a knife to cut the stick and board to do the drilling. What we’re all talking about is hardening the people. A pulse can take many forms. It’s anything that encourages complacency…the belief that we have time or that we’re safe because nothing really bad has ever happened to us. That’s the EMP on our minds. It gets us to shut down, to think that we have no choices. The beginning of reversing that process is acquiring knowledge.

To harden as a people we have to live like our ancestors. They didn’t have power so they survived without power. So they’d be much better able to deal with something that would devastate most of us.

We all need to acquire the skills for the time when we’ll need them. And if that time never comes we’ll have fun lighting the barbeque with a hand drill.

Terra Nova – Episode 2 Instinct

Terra-Nova-TV-Series-2 300The colonists have started survival training but they’re not going far enough with it. These are sheeple from our future who’ve been transported to the dinosaurs. They’re still relying on stuff…gadgets…tech. In survival training we need to understand fire, not just the fact that we need fire or that it can save our lives but that it’s sacred and alive. We need to know that it can both sustain life and end it.

I’d have felt better had I seen the characters using a bow or hand drill. The fact that their training begins with some sort of electronic lighters tells me that they’re still counting on having their stuff with them to get them through whatever. We have to understand that we may find ourselves having to survive with nothing but whatever we can find around us. We might not have a knife or rope and may have to make both of those. Survival might require breaking off branches and being lucky enough to find one straight enough to create a hand drill. Thoughts like “I wish I had this or that” are not going to be helpful. Stone-age thinking is what needs to be at the forefront. All our modern culture is little more than layers piled atop that of our lithic ancestors. What if something causes those layers to dissolve?

To consider the layering, for fire we have to have friction, something to ignite and something to burn. Then we start fashioning the tools to give us the heat and finding stuff to ignite and burn. As we evolve this process we start to pre-cut things to keep on hand. Later we come up with fancy things like butane lighters and bricks made of sawdust and wax which again we have to keep on hand. So at the end we’re relying on stuff and systems of support to provide for our lives and the survivalist gets ridiculed for always asking, what if those things suddenly aren’t there?

I hope the show includes more scenes of survival training. We’ll have to see.

Overnight Camping – A prep assessment

I spent last night, 12/18, in the THP Quarry which is the training/school site for The Human Path school. I slept in my car and the temperature got down to around 33° F. It was a rough night. I had a blanket but that wasn’t nearly enough. I had a really hard time sleeping because of the cold. Some of the stuff I had on hand was sufficient for spending one night but there were other things I forgot to bring.

Tools/Supplies on hand:
Flashlights(2)
Batteries: AA(2), CR123A(2) [Note: I have a Cree LED flashlight that takes either AA or CR123A and a Maglite 2D].
Water (3L)
Food (Beef Jerky, Oranges, Bananas, Protein Bars, Sandwich)
Clothing: Pants, Shirt, Two changes of socks and underwear
Writing: Pen, Notebook
Tools: 2 Hunting Knives, Pocket knife, Multi-tools
Toiletries: Toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.
Meds
Paper Towels (partial roll)
Blanket

Tools/Supplies used:
Cree LED flashlight
Water
Sandwich, Beef Jerky, Protein Bar
Pen, Notebook
Multi-tool
Meds

Insufficent/Missing
Paper (forgot to bring facial tissue, toilet paper)
Chair (had to borrow)
Blanket (Protected me from some of the cold above but not the cold coming from below)

Things I need to fix/change:
Build out the camp kit (BOB in progress)
Add a supply of paper.
Load the chair in the car. (needed for more than just sitting around a fire.)
Get a sleeping bag and another blanket.

At least I proved to myself that I can get through one night in the car if I have to. Now to extend that to three days.