The Second Coming Civil War?

On January 1 of 2019, James Weasley Rawles wrote a post for his Survivalblog.com about a coming Civil War. Unfortunately, people are taking this poorly argumented post to heart. Prepper channels all over YouTube shared the message with their own interpretations and crappy excuses for why their personal wet dreams will come true. One channel, Praxis Homesteading and Survival Skills, created a video called “USA Food Riots Within 60 Days” using the current government shut down as an excuse to blame poor people for the coming riots they predict. Of course, the logic behind this is the lack of funding for programs like WIC and food stamps, which I would like to point out are NOT affected by the partial government shutdown. While Rawles doesn’t discuss this argument in his essay he instead takes a religious tone instead.
The history book was thrown out for this essay, making claims that the FBI was once nonpartisan and could uphold the law without discrimination. J Edgar Hoover would be wetting himself with this praise if he was here today. Rawles comes across like a Muslim Cleric in post invasion Iraq talking about a war between the godly and ungodly, whatever the hell that means? Then he caters to the Trumpets pointing out the landmass map of red and blue states while complaining about the colors used for the demographics. I can’t figure out what kind of religious purge he is envisioning, or why he thinks 87% of the population that label themselves at Christian are being oppressed and unrepresented. I guess when you live in your own world, isolating yourself from the rest of the country you start to think that people who are different are a danger and need to be “taken care of.”
I have seen this before in my own life. People who are not satisfied with how their lives turned out trying to find someone to blame for their own mistakes in life. If you work in a factory and your job is shipped overseas, well you blame the poor or immigrants. Another school shooting it must be those gun hating liberals trying to take our weapons. Doesn’t matter the shooter came from a conservative home where guns were readily available. Rawles has become the front man of the conservative blame game. Why shouldn’t he? If works great for other outlets like Blaze and FOX news. Give your viewers someone to hate and sent them on their way, hell they will even throw money your way to keep hearing the message. It’s like their own person self help guru feeding the flames of their discontent and pointing them in the direction of their own self destruction. For a group who talks about fiscal responsibility and moral leadership both are lost somewhere on the horizon of their past.
Post that have followed the new years essay have been about funding for the website and asking for money. Rawles won’t use Patreon and instead ask for cheques to be sent to help keep things up and running. Survivalblog.com has become the southern welfare states of America, hating gays, the poor, and minorities while not seeing they are what they attack. In the words of Ron Swanson “people are idiots” and the last day has shown me how right he was.

Standard

New Year, New Shhhh…stuff

Today is the first of the year and while many people are nursing a hangover, trying to figure out where they parked their car last night, or wondering where the hell they just woke up, I am at home figuring out what direction I want to go in for this year. I’m 39 years old, still work for someone other then myself, and have a daughter who is 1.5 years old. While I’m not hurting for anything and my bills are always paid there is this nagging feeling that I should, if not need, to be doing something else. My job isn’t anything to bitch about, I am paid handsomely for what I do and finally after years of doing the same thing for other people, nearly doubled my income by finding a new employer. The downside to this? Spending the majority of my awake hours doing something I don’t really enjoy.
So where do I go from here? The following is a list of goals/ resolutions I have come up with for the new year. Hopefully they will help me be in a different place in a year from now. The following is in no particular order.
-Buy nothing big and/or expensive
-Save $100 per paycheck
-Pay over the asked for amount on the mortgage payment
-Don’t eat out
-Exercise more/ be more active
-Take Zoey to the park
-publish 3 books with audiobooks included
The list isn’t big or impressive. To me this is the usual stuff that people say they are going to do but never follow through with. I will go through this list one at a time to further explain.
Buy nothing big and/or expensive. While this could be self-explanatory this boils down to not buying a new car, television, house, or even typewriter. For the last week or so I have been seriously considering purchasing a cabin in northern Michigan. Alas I must tell myself that I have to earn it first. As for the typewriter portion of the list, I have been collecting, repairing, and selling typewriters for the past three years. It is finally time to hang up the hobby and move on. I still have 30+ machines to part with and I will be participating in the local antique markets to help find them new homes. I still have a handful that I will keep for myself.
Save $100 per paycheck. If I am going to be smart about this, I would simply change my direct deposit and leave myself with my leftover paycheck to pay my bills. In fact, I will likely do that this week.
Pay over the asked amount on the mortgage payment. I already do this and it is a habit.
Don’t eat out. I don’t want to find out how much I spent buying my lunch at work for the last year. All I have to do is either eat a big meal before work at home or bring my lunch with me. Why is this so difficult?
Exercise more/ be more active. Earlier this year I did Tae Bo every morning for a week. That was the extent of my workout routine for the year. In the spring and summer I would take my daughter on long walks up a local hill to a park. Then the construction started and the entire place was torn up. I am hoping that project will be completed this year. Also, I would like to start riding a bike to work, not a big feet since my place of employment is only a mile away. Oh well, at least I would save on gas for the trip.
Publish 3 books with audiobooks included. That is why I bought the laptop that I am currently writing on. The last time I bought a laptop I made $20,000 I three years. I made some mistakes along the way. I never released audiobooks for one. Editing was lacking. While I can look back and see how bad I did I also know I have learned a lot from those mistakes. Scrivener has been downloaded, Audacity is waiting for me, and Amazon is likely wondering where the hell I went. Life is too short to not do the things you always wanted to do.

Standard

A Century of Loss (or All the Dogs will Die!)

With Earth Day come and gone I am reminded at the path our species is taking. I went to the celebration downtown and left disappointed, more so than when I arrived, at what was really a party for middle-aged baby boomers to brag about their high mileage cars and the protest they have been attending over the decades. One doesn’t have to look hard to find that what they accomplished was little, if anything. There was a sense of nostalgia for the 60s as I looked at people with rainbow-colored shirts who had not bathed in days telling people how they were working to save the planet, while driving god knows how many miles to attend a mostly dead event. After a quick round through the park I was done.

Earlier in the week I read a story online about the end of Syrian tobacco and how it would no longer exist once the last of the blends were sold from the online retailers and brick and mortar stores. This may sound like whining to some and in one case i was called a white capitalist pig for bringing it up. “With all the death and destruction that happens over there you are complaining about tobacco?” Sure he had a point but what I was trying to point out is the loss of a species that may never be seen again. Sure, it is tobacco, not food, not a medicine, but still it represents something that is lost from our world. Over the coming years we will start to hear about crops being lost, species of insects and birds that will never been seen again, and lakes that disappear from the landscape. In the coming generations there will be animals and food that our descendents will only be able to read about.

I watched a documentary about a chef who was trying to reconstruct a recipe from a hundred year old cook book. many of the technics had been lost over the years but slowly they were able to piece together the ingredients and make what was close to the original meal. There is one difference between this story and what is happening in the world, the ingredients will be lost forever. I learned on earth day that the sugar maples that i grew up with in my yard and the syrup i savored on my pancakes will no longer grow in my home state of Michigan. Many of the birds I listened to outside my bedroom window will be gone. The insects I watched crawling on the plants in the garden will no longer exist. My daughter might be the last member of my family to experience these things that have been a staple of our life here, the end of an era with unknown repercussions in the future.

Many people were bragging about their electric cars at the Earth Day event, talking about the need to convert our power sources to renewable, their point was to boast about being ahead of the curve on climate change while they charged their cars on electricity produced by coal and natural gas. They didn’t consider the power it took to manufacture the car, the oil that went into the tires, the fuel to transport the materials for the batteries over the oceans so that they could enjoy a vehicle with less guilt associated with it.

While my city discusses how to waste a 30 million dollar gift given to it by donors the only things I have seen done with the money was provide free WIFI in the park and the planned removal of a racist fountain that is crumbling to pieces and should be destroyed since it provides no social or historical merit. There was one obvious use for the money that they could have done, one that would provide financial security for the city and helped the planet a little bit. The city has several large plots of land that were once the factories for paper and automotive manufacturing, contaminated land that they are constantly talking about “cleaning up” but instead sits there unused. Why they didn’t consider putting a solar farm on these lands is beyond me. providing the majority of the city’s power, reducing the tax burden on its citizens and providing jobs for locals, it is a win win all around and yet they are more concerned about a fountain crumbling in the park. Priorities are, needless to say, fucked up when it comes to our political appointees and I have to wonder why these people stay in these positions as long as they have.

With choices like these I hope you come to understand why my vision of the future is bleak at best. Instead of talking about climate change and pushing the agenda that we need to discuss we are preoccupied with where Donald Trump put his dick before the election. The last male white rhino died this year and more species are disappearing from the planet than we can talk about. Maybe if we changed the discussion to a different topic we can make a difference. My suggestion “all the dogs are going to die!” get the dog lovers involved, they tend to care more about their dogs than their own lives or the lives of other humans for that matter. So when talking about climate change start out with “all the dogs are going to die!” If you have a friend who smokes a pipe tell them “all the good blends will go extinct if we don’t solve climate change.” Those guys, myself included are already concerned about some of the big loses we ahve had in our hobby over the past year. Thanks FDA, you don’t know how to regulate opiates but you have become concerned about an ancient hobby that built this country? Again, messed up priorities.

I do my best when it comes to helping with the problem but then policy sometimes contradicts what is best for everyone. My place of employment offers a reimbursement for parking spaces downtown but no incentives for people who walk or ride their bikes. While I live less than a mile away I am told to use my parking money or lose it, weird right? In my garden I grow heirloom plants that may go extinct with the changing climate, saving the seeds each year in the hopes they will keep growing and not die out half way through the season like some of them have.

Today I ordered a can of the Syrian blend that will be no more. Yes, i know that by having it shipped I will have added to my carbon footprint for my own selfish desires. My goal is to sit down, open the can, smell the aroma, taste the flavor, and write the most accurate description i can muster so that those in the future will know what it was like to experience something that no longer exist. Think of it as cataloging a vintage of wine that has come and gone. It’s all I can do, document what this world was like and hope that people care in the future while blaming us for ruining everything.

Standard

Fail now so you won’t later

I have been gardening for several years now. I have played around with urban farming and I have had good years and bad. For those people who think that they can store some seeds away and put them in the ground when they really need to, I have some bad news for you. Gardening, like most things in life worth doing, is something you become better at over time. For a person to try living off of what they grow is almost suicidal that first year. If you don’t trust me look at Walden and see how well Thoreau did that first year.

I have played around with several styles of gardening, Square foot, Bio-intensive, traditional, victory garden, and the list goes on and on. I discovered a mix that worked well for me and the area I live in. This is something that will be different for everyone in their own areas. what works well in one place might not in another. The point I am making is that if a person is planning on gardening later for food then they better start now. It doesn’t take long. start with something small.

With a simple book like Square Foot Gardening a person can play with a four foot by four foot garden bed and learn some basics in a few hours a week. Start small and build up to something bigger.

There isn’t much to starting your first garden and if you are the type of person that doesn’t have the time or comes up with some other excuse this year than maybe you’re not cut out for surviving the apocalypse anyway.

 

Standard

Make what is old new again

While working on a project titled “The Climate Change Manifesto” I wrote a quick sectioned called make what is old new again. I thought I would share what I meant by that and hope that this idea might carry on into the near future. I have a side hobby of fixing up old typewriters and making them as close to new again as I can. Sometimes putting them back into working order means I have to have new parts made and for anything made after the 1950s that means using a 3D printer to make new keys or feet that have rotted out. The idea of using a 3D printer to create new parts for an old machine is nothing new, however there are a few people out there that have come up with ways of making typewriters a 21st century product. The USB typewriter is an open source product that can convert several styles of typewriters into a working keyboard for a computer. When connected to an Ipad or tablet the typewriter can mimic a laptop with a lit up screen sitting on the carriage of the typewriter. more about this product can be found at http://www.usbtypewriter.com

This isn’t the only piece of old equipment that is finding new life in the 21st century. Old vacuum tube AM radios are finding new life with blue tooth routers and mini-jack being added to century old technology. These old wooden radios are able to broadcast podcast and new music via cell phone without needing to plug anything in. For more about these old but new radios check out at ExceptionalRadios at http://www.etsy.com

With technology becoming more available and at a cheaper price there isn’t much that we couldn’t fix if we just put in the effort. Currently, my ability to fix things on typewriters is limited, however there is new material coming out that expands my ability to fix more typewriters. Rubber material is available now to create new rollers for carriages, new rubber feet for older pre-WWII models, or handles on older models like the Royal #10. New laser printers are available that could possibly replace those glass panels if they are broken.

Maybe I am being too much of an optimist, delaying the inevitable fate for technology that has seen its day come and go. At the local Michael’s store I saw the box for a Memory Keepers typewriter, brand new and produced in China. I don’t know what this says about typewriters in our culture these days, could the demand be so high that a new over priced option is a viable option? The new typewriters cost $175 and most collectors that have bought one to try it out only complain about the cheap parts and being over priced. the overall opinion i have seen is that anyone would do better to buy an older model at an antique booth and oil it up. I haven’t used the new machines even though I have been curious but when the going price could pay for three or four machines at a flea market i would rather save the older ones and let the new model sit on the shelf.

I hope this kind of behavior becomes the new normal, fixing and refurbishing older technology to fit into our new lifestyles. There is something missing from this digital age. Craftsmanship and quality have been sacrificed for the promise of a new and better model next year. There was a time when you could buy one product and it would be with you, loyal and reliable till the end, for have a century or more. What happened to that kind of quality? Why don’t we value our time or money like our grandparents did, instead choosing to stand in line for half a day trying to get a new Iphone? As a society, when do we start to realize that we have become disposable like the shitty products we have been fed to purchase?

Standard

The world is always ending for someone

April 15, 2018 and the world is covered in ice, at least where I live. An ice storm is rolling through and we are stuck in the house for the day after a busy couple of days. My fiance’s father died yesterday and the days leading up to it were busy with a lot of driving, finding babysitters, and losing several hours of sleep. fortunately the last on we are professionals at dealing with. As of today I am two episodes behind on my podcast and this is the first post for a while, I haven’t kept track.

While Sarah was spending her time with her dad, trying to maintain his care, I was busy with several projects. During the day I am the primary care giver for my daughter. While I have her I try to do some productive things while keeping her entertained. On Friday night i returned home from work to hear the news that we, as in the united states, had bombed parts of Syria. This had me worried and a few hours later i received the call that Sarah’s dad had passed away after a long fight with cancer. The next morning, while Sarah stayed in bed catching up on sleep, I took Zoey with me to the store and filled a cart with non-perishables to load into the pantry. This was more for my personal feeling of security than anything. Did i think we were heading for war, hopefully not, but I did worry that things would move into a direction I didn’t want to imagine. For the sake of my family and myself i loaded up the car and carried everything into the basement while Sarah slept. she still has no idea how much i bought or added to our stockpile.

On Friday, I took Zoey with me to my house and dug up a few Iris and Tulip bulbs. Sarah had been looking forward to her yard being cleaned up and I wanted her to have some flowers to look forward to. I planted the Iris and tulips in appropriate spots along with some sunflowers that I hope will fill the space along the fence in the backyard.

While I try to plan for the unexpected Saturday was a rough reminder of how things may not turn out as you expect. Sarah’s dad was a young guy, only 58 when he passed. While I can look at my family’s history and see the long lifespans that preceded me I can’t expect to be that lucky. Religion teaches us to look towards the end times while ignoring the day to day events that are in a sense a personal apocalypse. This will be the second funeral that I will be attending this year. My Grandmother passed away a few weeks ago and she was buried on St. Patrick’s Day, finally giving me a reason to drink on that day. I have been to plenty of funerals during my life. Many were the result of self inflicted ends of one kind or another, some natural causes, either way these should remind us that everyday life is a danger in itself and that the end could always be closer than we expect.

Standard