Can I get a Ramen? (or) Stocking up for the Apocalypse

My grandmother died on Tuesday. A morbid or uncomfortably personal announcement to start out with, but one to set the mood for the rest of this post. She was 79 years old and i was only able to meet her four times during my life. I found out her health had declined and that she might leave us soon just before the weekend. the next day i came down with the flu that had me out of commission for four days. On day number four, the one that i was finally starting to recover I received the call that she had passed. Times like this come as a reminder of how quickly our life can change. One moment we think about retirement and the years ahead for a goal that we may never reach. the next moment someone we know is hit by a bus and we say “fuck it, I’m eating this bacon and enjoying that beer because YOLO.” I don’t know where the balance is and this is something I have always struggled with. At the same time all of this crazy business is happening my girlfriend’s dad is in the final stages of colon cancer. The world is changing all around me. The polar vortex that keeps all the cold air at the north pole can no longer stay where it belongs because all the ice is gone. Russia is using chemical weapons in foreign lands. Trump is meeting with Kim Jong Un to discuss which country has the best porn stars. Congress is willing to vote on saving puppies in planes but not on gun control to save the lives of children. the list of crazy goes on and on.

I’m stocking up. I have my list ready. Canned goods and non perishables are on there of course. Ramen supplies to keep my hobby going during the apocalypse is on there as well. .45 APC ammo since my supply has dwindled from practicing. And baby food, lots and lots of baby food. I don’t know what the future is going to bring. I watched a documentary called LA 92 on netflix and the damn thing freaked me out. I kept thinking “well if that thing with trump…” “If a cop shoots a black kid here…” “If this global warming thing kills the crops this year…” Ya, I’m not too positive about the future. Having a child changed a few things. Now I worry about her having food. I think about the world that she will be growing up in. I live in a small city that thinks it’s a big city. We had the Uber shooter and the Cyclists that were run over by a drugged out douche bag. We had a giant oil spill in our river and the city’s response “let’s brew beer.” I know we are not immune here from the problems of the world. I know that whatever the future brings my daughter will have to face it. In the meantime I will keep the basement stocked, just in case, and when i’m not thinking about the end of the world you can find me in the kitchen making ramen. Maybe that is what the world needs. Momofuku Ando, the creator of instant ramen said “feeding the world will bring it peace.” So maybe, if we all try a little harder, and clean off our pots and pans, we could bring some peace to world by making some ramen and slurping away our problems.

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Almost a week has passed and for a few days I was doing well with my goals for the year. Then, the weekend came. In my defense the weekend is the time that i get to spend quality time with my lady and our daughter. So when we went out to breakfast this morning I didn’t feel bad paying for it. Most of the things i bought this weekend, or at least paid for, were necessities of one sort or another. Did i need the leather work shoes that were $15 at Goodwill? No, But at that price my personal shoes will last longer and in the end save me more money. Should i feel bad for spending daddy daughter time at the local burger joint Nonla Burger when a double burger is $3? No probably not.

The other dilemma i came across is a business that I have been running for almost a year now. It’s a small antique booth in a mall where people have come to depend on typewriter ribbon and other related products. I had several typewriters when sarah and i started this adventure. now neither of us have the time or the money to invest in keeping it going. yesterday on a trip to see how low our supplies in the booth are running i learned that people have been asking if i also repair typewriters. i was interested in this as a side job a year ago but didn’t know how to get the word out. now i find myself with a possible answer to my antique booth issue and yet my time is limited these days.

As for my other goals, i did Kayak the new lake that has formed down town from the flooding this year. I went not once but twice this weekend and dodged a sherrif deputy who was standing on the shore watching me. How many times in my life will one be able to kayak through a large portion of downtown? News 13 was filming me paddling across the water and somebody with a drone flew it overhead as i was about to land on the shore. In my opinion the hiking goal was met. plus i carried the kayak the two blocks to the former pond.

So maybe I didn’t meet my savings goal this week. new opprotunities have arisen and I have been debating taking advantage of that. After i finish this blog I am off to finish the Self authoring Program. There isn’t much left. My only fear is that I still don’t know what i want out of life. Well i guess some things need to change.

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Clean your room

To those of you that have been following the adventures of Jordan Peterson this phrase will sound familiar. For a man pushing forty, this was something i needed to hear. I originally started this blog a few years ago with the intent of learning and sharing various skills in the event of a world ending disaster. At some point before now it should have occurred to me that maybe the disaster is my life.
In May of last year I became a father. It happened later in life and circumstances lined up so that things would work out the best they could under the circumstances. My daughter was born premature and spent all summer in the NICU. For more on that story check out my other blog on The Good Men Project website under The Proud Preemie Poppa or buy the collected Ebook version (Hobbit Baby) for .99 cents on Amazon. Once you become a father and are responsible for someone other than yourself you realize how careless and irresponsible you can be. Granted I’m doing better than most but i still have my issues. My savings are almost non-existent, I can’t remember the last time i exercised, my writing career is a sad image of its former self, and I can’t remember the last time i sat down and read a book. It maybe a little late for a new year’s resolution but a change needs to happen.
A few weeks ago i purchased Peterson’s Self Authoring program, a three step guide to learning about oneself and planning a better future. two weekends in a row i worked on it and found myself half way through it and stuck. I completed the Present course then went onto the Past course. this was where i found myself in trouble. I had gone to a counselor for over a year and thought i had faced my demons, instead i found myself not wanting to write about the same things i had always dealt with since i was a teenager. Memories flooded back and i found myself saying “fuck it” just to get away from the computer. The last time i logged into the self authoring site was two weeks ago and i haven’t made plans to return to it. the last portion of the site is the future course, where you sit down and figure out the future you want and how to get there. This was the selling point for me, where am I going? How do I get there? what are my goals for myself? I have no answers for these questions and that was what had been bugging me for so long.
So why am I writing on this blog instead of finishing the damn program? While i was at work tonight i had a vision of what i wanted my future to be, at least for the next year. I need to save money, a nest egg in case something happens in the future. i need to get into shape so that i can enjoy watching my daughter grow up. I need to pay off my house and figure out what my goals in life are. there is a balance missing from my life and i need to find it. So Jordan Peterson says to start by cleaning your room. That is what this blog is going to be about. My efforts in cleaning up myself and my life to live the way i want to live. first lets set some goals.
1. Save $5000 in the bank for emergencies
2. Go hiking at least once a week with Zoey
3. Do not buy any big ticket items unless it is necessary.
4. do not eat out
5. cook at home as much as possible.
6. try to obtain as much food from gardening, hunting, and fishing as possible.
7. always pay over on the house payment.
8. white this blog once a week
9. work in the garden every weekend while in season
10. go camping at least once this year.

So those are my 10 goals for the year. i will have other things during the year to keep me occupied but this is a start. as for the self authoring program i am giving myself two weeks to finish it. other small goals will be added throughout the year when needed. this is the new collapse experiment, getting myself in order just in case the end of the world happens.

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Creating the Man of Tomorrow

The future doesn’t consist of a world where one can become anything they want just by pursuing it through hard work and really wanting it, although that was a myth. Instead we have a future where we have a very good idea of what is going to happen, the only catch is that we don’t know how soon it will happen. Currently the predictions of climate change are speeding up and what climate scientist originally thought was going to take decades to happen is now occurring at this present moment. The year (2017) has seen the second year that the arctic hasn’t frozen over and the current temperature (Feb 9, 2017) is fifty degrees higher than normal. Oklahoma reached 100 degrees today as well. The arctic hasn’t been free of ice since human kind started civilization 40,000 years ago.

I bring this up for several reasons. Our current administration denies that climate change exist. A witch hunt is underway for scientist and government employees who study the weather and its effects. As if silencing the scientific consensus will somehow change the fact that the human race as a whole is under the threat of extinction. The rate at which our climate is changing is happening faster than anybody anticipated. The release of methane from the arctic is expected to speed things up even faster. Methane is a more toxic greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and there are large amounts of it trapped under the frozen surface of the Siberian tundra and the waters of the arctic. When that methane is released temperatures will rise regardless of the carbon dioxide levels measured by our governments.

The earth is changing, and if mankind is going to survive he has to adapt to it or risk going extinct like so many species that came before. So, what do we do?

As I write this my girlfriend is 9 weeks along with our first child. If things go as planned it will be our only child. At 37 years of age there isn’t much room for anymore and I don’t want to run the risk of being mistaken as grandpa when they are in their 20s. Boy or girl there is a long list of things I will be teaching them along the way. Much of it should come as a normal part of life. A healthy curiosity for learning is key. Self confidence in themselves will hopefully be instilled. But beyond that there are simple skills that most people don’t have anymore. Fishing, hunting, gardening, respect for the earth and everything it provides. Enjoying your life. The part of the collapse I look forward to is the disappearance of the banks and the 40 hour a week bullshit of a thing called a job. Seriously, homesteading would be a permanent vacation for me. There are more skills that will be taught and with the way things are nose diving into the ocean I don’t know if there is enough time to get everything in. The reality of being a parent is knowing you won’t be around forever to take care of them. The natural way of things is that eventually the child replaces the parent.

It’s no secret I don’t like how things are going right now. Between climate change, the banks, a fascist president, internet surveillance, and war on the horizon how is one supposed to have confidence in anything other than their own ability? When the people you are supposed to trust let you down repeatedly at what point do you walk away from the mess and go about it on your own?

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The Times They Are A Changin’

For the second day in a row I was outside cleaning my yard. Racking leaves, cleaning out the garden, this was February 14 and it was almost 50 degrees in Michigan. This kind of thing has been a re-occurring trend in my state. Granted, the state is known for having all four seasons in a week, or sometimes a single day depending on its mood. For most of my adult life I cannot recall the last time we had a real winter, the type of season where kids could build snow forts and have snow ball fights while hiding behind snowmen. The last time we had an accumulation of snow and it stuck around all winter was 1999/ 2000. That was 17 years ago, in the early 2000s we had a snowless Christmas with 70-degree weather and I was outside wearing a t-shirt and shorts.

Again this year, the weather bureau stated this was the hottest summer on record and the warmest winter ever recorded. Last week the arctic was 50 degrees warmer than normal and was the highest temperature ever while humans have been on the planet. The arctic, for another year, never froze over.

I know that things change, the childhood that I had was not the world my parents had, and the world I grew up in was my version of normal. Every generation goes through that transition. When I was growing up war was a televised spectator sport, celebrities had live trials, and the president’s sex life was broadcast on television. That wasn’t my parent’s world. The one that we are moving into isn’t the world I grew up in either. Normal for my kid could look like snowless winters in Michigan. Animals I saw alive at zoos will no longer exist. If some people have their way, the National Parks might not be around either for them to enjoy. A think called privacy will become an odd habit for prudes. The world I grew up in, the one that currently exist will be gone and what comes next will be the new normal, the only one my child will ever know. The fast-changing world is a challenge for parents, seeing their kids with things they themselves do not understand and are too busy working several jobs to have the time to keep up with the times. It’s no wonder there is a disconnect between the generations.

The times they are a changin, and what the world will look like I can only guess. Winter has become a short one month event with bits of fall and spring dotting the calendar here and there. The bits of warm weather at the beginning of the year has caused havoc with the fruit trees, causing blooms too early for bees to pollinate and catching the flowers in early season frost to dry off, killing the chances of growing fruit. Hunting season has been thrown off as well with the rut taking place earlier in the fall so that it is done before gun season opens. The earth is changing and the rest of the planet is trying to catch up in its own way, but nobody knows how to do that. In a world that we depend on to remain normal I find myself questioning what exactly is normal?

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A Vision of the Future

When I imagine what the world will look like, specifically my area of Michigan, I see a drastic change from the world we have today. Some of the things we no longer have include supermarkets, a large number of cars, and less people. There will be some resemblance of our current normality. Local governments will have more power compared to state of federal. Roads will still be around. Electricity will be available to those that can figure out a power source. Libraries will be the main source of knowledge and entertainment.

Economically, the main stores will include reuse merchandise. Items that can stand the test of time and be fixed by a steady hand. This won’t be the electronics that we have today. Cell phones won’t be around. Home phones will return as the norm, for a while. The post office will send correspondence if it is still around after a republican administration. With a return of a reliance on the post office will come a return of earlier technology like the typewriter. Some people as about ribbon and how to get more? The bright side is that ribbon is a fairly easy product to make, also if the ribbon is still in good condition it can be reinked and used several times over. I can’t think of any modern technology that has that ability.

We will see a line in human history marking when humans stopped building tools that were reliable and sturdy. The quality of tools will mean more than how pretty they are.

Slate records and the hand crank Victrola will be items of luxury. The mechanically inclined will be the most valuable people to the general public. They will be the gateway to an easier life and a reminder of the world we once had. Communities will have to return for the sake of the population at large. Neighborhoods will no longer be boxes to hold your stuff, instead everyone will rely on sharing of goods and supplies to get by. Festivals will no longer be a place to sell and buy goods, instead a place to share and enjoy one another’s company.

Acoustic music will be the norm and making those instruments will become a new craft, revived from the local need. Old hand crank or foot pedal sewing machines will be a sign of luxury again. I don’t know if money will survive. People might think it was a nice idea and some will hold onto it thinking it is special while it is not edible and doesn’t serve any purpose besides existing. Festivals and local customs will be dictated by the seasons. Blueberries and other crops will become a focus point and become more than just a garnish in a salad. The first two R’s in reduce, reuse, recycle, will finally be used. While these items are saved and restored for future generations, life will be easier than if they had disappeared along with the rest of civilization. Mechanics will be the wizards of the future, speaking words like Metric and Inches as if it was a foreign language only they can understand. Life will become more simple while becoming more dangerous with people dying from diseases we consider a hindrance these days. In the end, everywhere will become a small town. Jobs will no longer be the concern on people’s minds. With the fall of banks and corporations the only job people will have is to survive. In order to survive people must work together, and hopefully remember the mistakes of the past and not repeat it in the distant future.

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Gardening in Modern Times

As I mark the borders for the garden I will be planting in the spring I take a few things into consideration. At the moment, my garden is directly in the ground with top soil and years of compost added over the years. A lack of ambition last year created a thick layer of weeds I will have to clean out as I clean out the compost piles as well. There will be a week or two of work before I can plant anything, the payoff afterwards will hopefully be a low maintenance garden that I can maintain.

On the side of my house I have three raised boxes for square foot gardening. The end goal for those boxes is to do herb gardening only a few feet outside of the kitchen. 8×4 ft per box gives me a lot of room for herbs I use and can store over the winter once they are dried out.

The back yard has two large plots that are being converted into square foot gardening beds. In previous years, I used intensive gardening technics, this involves turning the soil once, never stepping on the soil and adding compost at the beginning and end of each planting year. The upside is that the plots being converted are already fertile with dark soil that drains well while retaining water. With the square foot gardening, I will be able to use more of the available space for higher crop yield and preventing weeds throughout the season. The down side is that for any vines I grow I need a trellis to have them grow up. In square foot gardening plants grow up, not out. This can be a major benefit but it adds to the cost of the project.

Planning the garden is fairly basic. The higher plants per box need to be planted in the northern rows to prevent shading the smaller plants. If you plant corn they are in the northern squares. Plants like radishes, carrots, or beets would be in the southern squares. In the middle squares, you can plant medium sized plants like peppers and tomatoes. All of these plants can share the sun and soil if you let them. In the past I learned that using organic gardening technics can have far better results than those that use artificial fertilizers and pesticides. Every year I have a group of praying mantis that return to my yard and eat everything I don’t want to have there. Pest have never been a problem with my personal army of alien looking killers.

I don’t know what the spring will bring, or how hot the summer will become. What I do know is that with the rain barrel and compost system my crops in the past have never been effected by drought or intense heat. Some crops like heat including tomatoes and peppers. Beans and broccoli on the other hand you can forget it. grow those in the spring and enjoy them while you can. I tried to grow these in autumn and it never works out. By the time the temperature drops for them to thrive it is almost winter and I never get to harvest before the first frost.

My tomato seedlings are an inch tall now. Peppers haven’t sprouted yet and I don’t know if they will. The house is at a steady 62 degrees and I’m guessing they need more heat than that. I hope they start to show themselves, we will have to wait and see.

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