Summer Solstice 2017 in my Crippled Life at the End of Industrial Civilization

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Published on The Doomstead Diner June 21, 2017

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Back home in the digs after a hellishly long, exhausting and frustrating day.  I'm was going to just write a couple of posts Inside the Diner on this, one in the Stealth Van thread on the Trailer Purchase issues and then another one for the RE is Dying thread (Diners Only!), but after writing the first couple of paragraphs I realized this was Blog Length material and should be up for the Blog Lurkers to read as well.  So, ater a nap on the return home, I knocked this one out in one night.  It covers one horrific day in the life of a cripple at the end of the Age of Oil and Industrial Civilization

The issues began early with the trip in.  I woke up around 5AM with the itches, even though I set my alarm for 6:30.  I killed some time on the net and scratched and rubbed, then changed into more respectable clothing for meeting doctors and trailer sellers.  Then around 6:30 I felt drowsy again and went to take a Power Nap with the intention of getting on the road at 7:30 which would give me comfortable time to make the 8:45 appointment.  I overslept and woke up at 7:45, and it takes me 5 minutes to get out the door and get rolling even if everything is all packed in SaVannah.  So to be on time I had to put the pedal to the metal, exceed the speed limit and hope for no traffic.  The weather was not cooperating either, it was pouring rain.  However, I did pull in to the parking lot at precisely 8:45, but making it from the parking lot to the Pro from Dover's Suite was a real trial in the pouring rain.  I had the Ewz with me in SaVannah which I had intended to use for this part of the Journey.  However, with the rain pouring down, I would have been soaked to the bone before I even finished getting her out of the van, and besides that takes more time and would have made me later.  I had the forethought to bring an umbrella with me, so I hoofed it with the Brolly over my head.  It took me 10 minutes to cover the maybe 200 yards total and my calf muscles were SCREAMING in pain.  On the upside, they took me right in.  Unsurprisingly when they took my vitals for this one, BP was high at 140/90.

After the intake nurse left, another very short wait and a NEW Physician's Assistant comes in to discuss the case.  Once again, I am not talking directly to the Great Man himself.  So I go through a brief recap of my itching etiology and history, and then ask her if she knows what Notalgia Paresthetica is.  Nope.  This is a PA who is specialized in neurosurgery.  Not very encouraging.  So then I explain it to her and hand her the 10 page Research Booklet I have put together to educate dim-witted and overpaid medical professionals on Notalgia Paresthetica.  Then she asks ME what I would like to do about the problem!  Roll Eyes This is what Medicaid is paying $600 for.  True Professionals assisting you with you Health Care needs. So I list what I would like done here:

1- Referral to the Brain Center in the Valley (maybe somebody there has heard of Notalgia Parasthetica?)

2- Referral to an Accupuncture Clinic so maybe Medicaid will pay for it.

3- Possible scrip for cortico-steroids.

4- New imaging to look at not only my neck but also the rest of the spine.

Notalgia paresthetica is a chronic sensory neuropathy characterized by pruritus of the upper to middle back, typically below the left shoulder blade. Symptoms may include pain, hyperesthesia, paresthesia, and hyperpigmentation of the affected area.

Note: Credit to Diner JDW on researching and locating the condition of Notalgia Paresthetica PA says this all seems reasonable, and disappears for around 30 minutes.  Finally returning, guess who is with her?  THE GREAT MAN HIMSELF!  It was like being in the presence of God, he has a big white beard and he's an older white guy.  He even had the White Flowing Robes!  OK, it was a Lab Coat. lol.  Now, surely a well experienced M.D. who has been practing Neurosurgery for 30 years and is Board Certified would know what Notalgia Paresthetica is, right?  WRONG!  He's never heard of it either. Isn't God supposed to be Omnicient?  icon_scratch This is a condition described in the medical literature since at least 2011, that's the oldest date I have on it anyhow.  According to the literature, about 10% of people with spinal problems end up with this at some point.  He's never had a single case of it in 30 years?

In any case, after chatting with him for a full 10 minutes of his valuable time, he does agree to all four of the suggestions I made for a further treatment plan. I should have been a Doctor.   Roll Eyes   It remains to be seen if Medicaid will approve either the Accupunture or the 2 new expensive MRIs.  The cortico-steroids I expect they will approve.  It also remains to be seen if his referral gets me in to consult with the Neurologist at the Brain Center who rejected the first referral from the NP Bimbo as not being a neurological diagnosis.  Any bets on whether this medical professional has ever heard of Notalgia Parasthetica?

Apointment #1 for the day now finished at around 10AM and my next appointment with the Vascular Pro from Dover is not until noon.  My plan was to go look at the Anchorage trailer, the huge practically new one to fill in the gap in time.  So I shuffle my way back to the van a lot slower than earlier so it is not as pain inducing.  The rain has also calmed down to an intermittent drizzle.  Once in the driver's seat, I drop in the address for the Anchorage trailer and listen to the directions from the smart phone.  I am about halfway into this drive when I realize it's not taking me to another location in Anchorage, it's taking me to the Eagle River trailer location!  Somehow, I managed to transpose the addresses and phone numbers of thes two trailers when I wrote them down.  RE's screw up there.  It was too late to turn around so I finished the drive there even though I knew the seller wouldn't be there.  The trailer was though and out in the front yard too so EZ to take a look at.  Not going to buy that one.  It's a little too small, mainly because of its configuration not its length.  Also, even with a new pro paint job and new wheels and tires, it just isn't up to SaVannah's standards, it would make her look cheap.  So, hopefully, the Anchorage trailer will be better, and I will go look at that after the consult with the Vascular Pro from Dover.

I arrive at his office suite, which is actually in a separate building and is a consortium of docs called Imaging Associates.  Radiologists and Heart docs.  It's around 11:15 now and the appointment isn't until Noon.  I stay in the van to snooze in the driver's seat, I didn't go in the bunk for this.  At 11:45 I shuffle into the offices, fortunately a much shorter shuffle than from the hospital parking lot to the neurosurgeon's offices.  Walking up to the receptionist, I tell her my name and I have an appointment with Dr. Arteries & Veins.  She looks in the computer and finds no such appointment, which I had just made on the phone the prior day.  Then she goes in the back to find out what's up?  Turns out, the appointment they made for me was at their offices in the Valley, where I live!  They neglected to tell me this when I made the appointment.  Then she tells me they will squeeze me in, don't worry.  OK.  So I sit down and wait, not too long maybe 15 minutes so we are still more or less on time.  Intake nurse comes in to take my vitals, and then getting ready to leave tells me, "TJ will be in to see you in a couple of minutes".  TJ is the PA for Dr. A&V.  I don't WANT to see the PA!  I came in to see the Great Man himself!  I am not impressed with the knowledge base of all the PAs I have seen in my medical adventures, and Medicaid is not paying good taxpayer money for me to see PAs!  This is when she tells me that Dr. A&V is out in the Valley today! Now I am getting just a little HOT under the collar along with being itchy.  Nurse goes out of the exam room to discuss problem with the Office Manager, and comes back to tell me I can see Dr. A&V back up in the Valley at 3PM.  I tell her I can't make it by 3 because of other appointments (although as it turns out I could have).  We negotiate for a 4PM time.  For my trouble and aggravation, she gets me a $15 Visa Gift Card to make me feel better.

Now done with this appointment but with another new one for the day scheduled for 4PM, it's time to head over to the Anchorage address and once again I program the smart phone to get me there.  This time the right address.  Strangely however, it gives me a transit time of around 30 minutes?  Anchorage is not that big and generally you can get from one end of the town to the other in 20 minutes, tops as long as there is no traffic, and around 1PM is low traffic.  I begin the drive, and around 3/4 in I realize why the transit time is so long.

There is only a relatively small patch of flat land at the mouth of the Knik River that is geographically good for setting up the kind of Towns/Cities that we are used to.  All surrounding that to the South, East and North are Mountains, big, steep and rugged ones, no gentle slopes there.  Where this guy's digs are is RIGHT on the edge of Chugach State Park.  The only road that gets out of Anchorage to the North and South is Alaska 1, the Glenn Highway.  To the south it runs along the arm of the Turnagin Glacier, to the north along the arm of the Knik Glacier.  You don't find any other real good flat land building locations until you get to Soldotna in the south and Palmer-Wasilla in the north.  Eagle River has some good spots, but its still pretty mountainous terrain. Where this guy has his digs is RIGHT at the border at the edge of the municipality of Anchorage with Chugach State Park, and it is the foothills of those mountains.  As foothills go though, these are pretty serious ones with some VERY steep grades, some that I hit on the way there exceeded 10% even on the paved portions.  Even in the Rockies and Appalachia I never hit grades in the double digits, except on some off ramps for short stretches.  Yet people built their McMansions in this location, some quite magnificent ones since rich fucks love the beautiful views from their glass enclosed living rooms.  Honestly though, I can't imagine driving back and forth to work in downtown Anchorage every day on these roads in winter, even with 4WD.  EZ enough to get stuck on flat land in icy conditions, I can't see how these folks get in and out of some of their driveways, which some of them look to me like a 20% grade.  Maybe they winch themselves up in the morning?

Anyhow, I stuck with it determined to see this other trailer.  At least I did until the road I was on turned into a dirt road and had a warning sign of 15% Grades!  Still, I soldiered on and went off the road with Savannah to see, even though she is NOT a 4WD vehicle, not to mention fairly large as 4 wheelers go.  I went about 1/4 mile down the dirt road, wondering if I would be able to:

1- Turn around, or would I have to back up to GTFO of there?

2- Would SaVannah be able to hold traction to make the climb back out on only 2WD?  Engine power was enough, but traction was an issue since the road was still wet from the morning rain. As I came around the first bend in the dirt road about 200 yards ahead of me I saw a big increase in the downslope AND a tight switchback at the end of it.  My Trucker Safety ALARM SIREN went off. "DANGER! WARNING WILL ROBINSON!"   NO!  I will not do this road!  "There's a Signpost Up Ahead.  You have reached…The Death Zone".  At least this time I wasn't driving 75' of Tractor-Trailer. There was a McMansion to my left with a big 2 car garage and leveled land for the driveway. I pulled into that driveway, turned Savannah around and GTFO of Dodge and back to the paved roads, and worked my way back down to the Flatland of downtown Anchorage.  So I never even looked at the big ass nearly brand new trailer.

What boggles my mind is that the idiot who is selling this trailer actually drove it down this stretch of dirt road fully loaded.  This guy definitely has more courage than brains.  If he wants to sell it, he needs to drag it back out of there and put it on consignment at a used car dealer in Anchorage.  He must be driving one fucking monster of a tow vehicle too, a Ford 350 or something like that.  Even with that, I can't imagine taking the hairpin turn I was looking at with that trailer.

Anyhow, working my way back out, I still had time on my hands to make a stop for lunch in downtown Anchorage before driving back to the Valley for the last appointment of the day with Dr. A&V.  I had planned to hit a Top 10 restaurant in Anchorage Simon & Seafort's Saloon for dinner and then spend the night in SaVannah in a Stealth Van Living experiment, but since I had to head back to the Valley for the last appointment that plan had to be cancelled.  I opted instead for lunch at S&S.  I programmed the smart phone once again to guide me there, where it is right across the street from Cap'n Cook and the Crow's Nest Restaurant, which I was avoiding because I wasn't happy with my last meal there last year.  This is the pricy area of downtown Anchorage where the Oil Tycoons meet & eat, so the hotels are expensive and so are the restaurants. Upon arrival at the location, I pulled into the public parking lot and bought my ticket for 2 hours or less for a cool $10.  Then as I dropped it on the windshield I got another one of those untimely Calls of Nature, this time just to piss.  The walk over to S&S is just too far, I know I won't make it without pissing my pants.  So I go into Savannah to use my piss jar, but it has slid under the back seat and I can't get to it.  In the end, I got back out of Savannah and pissed in between her and the car parked next to her, a brand new Hummer.  I pissed all over the driver's side tire.

Now relieved and SaVannah legally paid and parked, I took the long shuffle over to S&S and got seated promptly at a nice table for 1 or 2 with a view of the ocean, although it's not really much to see, just water.  I ordered the Halibut lunch special, which featured two cuts of Halibut, filet stuffed with Alaska Crab and Halibut Medallions encrusted with an Asiago Cheese breading.  Supposedly according to the waiter the medallions have a consistency closer to Scallops which I still like (as much as I like any food eating these days anyhow), but I don't agree with that after sampling them.  The meal was accompanied also by Mashed Yukon Gold Alaska Potatoes and briefly steamed heirloom broccoli.  I also ordered a glass of Pinot Grigio to wash it down with.  No Red Wines on the Wine List, and I am not a big fan of White Wine.  It's a Fish place of course, and you're not supposed to have Red Wine with Fish if you are an epicure.

My hope was that eating an expensive and well prepared meal it would encourage me to eat more of it, but this didn't work on this occasion.  The Crab Stuffed Fillet was the best, I had 3 bites of that.  2 Bites of the Asiago encrusted Halibut medallions. 2 forkfulls of the Alaska Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes.  One forkful of the al dente broccoli which I couldn't chew, if I finish it I will need to steam it some more.  All the rest went in a Doggie Bag, about 2/3rd of the meal now in my fridge as leftovers.  I'll see what I can work through of that tomorrow.  This meal cost $50, but $15 of it was paid for by the Gift Card I got at Dr. A&V's office. icon_sunny

Now it is back on the road for the final leg of this journey, the trip back home to the Valley which was uneventful except for the fact I found myself nodding off from exhaustion and became worried I would fall asleep at the wheel.  I kept jarring myself back to wakefulness each time I drifted off looking around the road though, and made it to the offices in one piece.  After checking in at the desk, I sat down in one of the chairs and immediately fell asleep, but not sure how long, maybe 20 minutes.

On shuffling my way to the back to the exam room, the intake nurse wanted to do ANOTHER set of vitals on me.  That would have been my 3rd for the day.  I recused myself from this and told her to call the Anchorage office, they had done them 3 hours earlier. She was amenable to that. Finally the Great Man arrived to discuss the problems and what to do about them.  Unlike the Notalgia Paresthetica, I have no firm idea of the cause of the edema in my legs and neither does the Pro from Dover.  With no idea what is causing it, all that he can suggest is to treat the symptom, but none of the treatments thus far have done jack shit.  The cardiac workup came out OK, the Blood workup OK and the latest imaging on my leg veins also OK, in that it doesn't look likely to be a cause of the edema.  So in this consult he is referring me to a physical therapy center here in the valley that does massages and the like to push the fluid around and hopefully remove some of the discomfort from having legs that look like watermelons.  Another one I do not know if Medicaid will pay for.  Medicaid don't pay, I don't go.

In terms of possible causes, the most likely one that came up in the discussion was POOR NUTRITION, specifically lack of protein in the diet which sometimes cause edema.  This is a good possibility since my nutrition is positively atrocious, but in terms of eating real food I don't see a lot I can do about it.  I simply can't stomach much food.  I will go out tomorrow and buy some Protein Shakes and see if I can stomach that stuff better.

In terms of solutions, I brought up the possibility of amputation of the lower portion of my legs below the knee.  He was very against this, saying it would put me in a wheel chair.  I am going to be in a wheel chair soon enough anyhow.  At least this way it gets rid of some of the pain and discomfort.  We won't be going down this route anytime too soon though.  When I start showing up for consults in a wheel chair anyhow though, he will have less of a convincing argument.

Final stop of the day before returning to the digs was at the gas pump, to refill SaVannah and get the first accurate assessment of her gas mileage.  After the trip to Talkeetna, local driving there then local driving back here in the Valley, then the drive to Anchorage and local driving there, the tank was down to just over the 1/4 full mark and the odometer at 323 miles.  The odometer is NOT linear, it goes down faster once below the halfway mark.  After doing the fillup in came out to a little less than 23 gallons, working out to an average around 15mpg, what I expected.  A BIG IMPROVEMENT over the Tioga though!

Once back home, I sat down at the keyboard to write a couple of posts, but found I was too fatigued to do it and so went to take a nap.  Instead of the posts, you got a nice long winded RE style blog, 3500 words worth in about 3.5 hours.  That is averaging 1000 words/hour.  icon_sunny All written in 1 draft, stream of consciousness. No outline.  No edits except for typos.  How many writers can pull off that stunt?  Hope you enjoyed it as much as I didn't enjoy the day that inspired it.

Seeking a SUN☼stead

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Published on The Doomstead Diner June 18, 2017


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This is Part 2 of a 4 Part series on the sustainability of Alaska in a post-Collapse World, and how to make it happen.

Read Part 1 HERE.


I'm taking off for a shakedown cruise of the new Stealth Van tomorrow, and will be keeping a diary of the trip, and will publish the whole thing after I get back.  Meanwhile, I've given the trip a whole additional purpose besides just checking the gas mileage and reliability of the SV, I am going to do some Land Shopping for the first SUN☼stead!  :icon_sunny:

Our project in South Carolina has stalled, it's generally speaking out of budget for where we are right now financially. Without some investors from Inman, it's just not going to happen there.  So far, although SUN☼ got a very positive response from the Movers & Shakers in Inman, to date nobody has ponied up one thin dime to make the project happen there.  So it's time to move to Plan B.

If we can't get the money together for a demonstration property in SC, I'm going to look in other states for more affordable land that is also more remote with a lower population density than the Inman area of SC, which is basically Suburbia as it is laid out now.  That is not congruent with the SUN☼ mission unless you can get the whole town to reorient around Sustainability, and right now that doesn't seem in the cards either.

The first and easiest place to look is of course right where I AM, here on the Last Great Frontier.  I'll also be traveling down to WA to visit with my friend Big Sam from Seattle, and we'll scope out land in WA, OR, ID & MT.  Overall these are the two best survivability locations in the FSoA IMHO, I never was particularly enthused about SC due to its location on the East Coast and high population along with the close proximity of several Nuke Puke reactors.  SC is Nuke Central, they don't just have one Fukushima waiting to happen, they have three!

SC is where the other SUN☼ principals currently live, so I was willing to move there if we could get a viable SUN☼ Project going in that neighborhood, but that doesn't look like it is in the cards anytime too soon due to lack of sufficient MONEY.  On the other hand, it's unlikely the SC branch of SUN☼ will move to Alaska or even Idaho anytime too soon, but I think they will have a change of heart when the Oconee Nuclear Station goes full on Chernobyl.  The problem of course at that point would be the ability to GTFO of Dodge and make it across the country with your truck and trailer rig.  Will you be able to get gas for it at that time?  You might make it to Idaho perhaps, but I don't expect much in gas to be available along the Al-Can by this time. So I went Googling for available land around Talkeetna, which is where I was planning on heading in the Stealth Van anyhow, and I found what looks like to be a PERFECT property at the right price.  I have 3 screen shots of the satellite view of the patch of land (about 5 Acres, but with many more parcels around it completely devoid of human habitation at the moment), and it comes in at a real bargain price I can afford, cash on the barrel head, no mortgage, owned Free & Clear for SUN☼.  :icon_sunny:   It is within budget!  Particularly since there are no building codes or requirements whatsoever for this land, you can camp on it if you wish, you don't need to drill a well or put in septic, you can just shit in the woods if you like. However, I will experiment with Humanure composting techniques. 🙂 It's has frontage right on a year round glacier fed running creek coming down from Denali, which actually is really a river, not a "creek".  At right you see a pic of Trapper "Creek" in this neighborhood.

First the zoomed out map of the entire neighborhood. you can see, it is just south of Denali National Park and you can see where the Glacier ends and the runoff begins.  The town of Petersville which is the closest without having to cross the creek (no bridge there to Talkeetna) has a population of…get this… 4 people as of the 2010 census! lol. We would be a suburb of this town. lol. Talkeetna does better with a population of 876, although that expands quite a bit during the summer Tourista season.  It's got a nice Main Street with bars and restaurants, although they are only open from around May-September.  It's got a couple of General Stores where you can buy a few items, but generally people who live around there drive down to Wasilla every couple of months to stock up at Wally World and Fred Meyer, the Kroger affiliate here.  Definitely stock up for deep winter from Dec through Feb, you never know when you might get snowed in.  The distance is only around 70 miles though and it's right on the Parks Highway, so even in mid-winter the road is usually clear.  It's also a stop on the Alaska Railroad.

Zooming in a little closer, you can see the general terrain features of the neighborhood.  Lots of ponds and small lakes, along with Trapper Creek.

Because of all this ground level water available year-round as glacial runoff, there is no need to drill a well.  That saves you a shit load of money right there.  It might even be potable straight out of the creek, but I have a water distiller anyhow and besides that, I'm sure just boiling it would be sufficient.  Plenty of wood around for fuel to boil the water with too.  No neighbors around for miles to complain about the way you are living, and certainly no Home Owners Association.  YOU are the whole HOA!  There's obviously no grid electric flowing in there, but the SUN☼stead will be off-grid with solar and wind anyhow, and micro-hydro possible on Trapper Creek.  Also of course you can use a generator as long as the fuel remains available.  I have no hypocrisy problems with doing this.

For Internet access, it should be close enough to Talkeetna to get 4G, if not I will go for a satellite link.  Talkeetna is also within range of an Ewz, although probably not my current unit, I will need an e-trike from ZEV for that commute. Also will invest in a gas powered 4-wheeler to go cross country, which is a lot shorter than going by the roads, if there is a spot shallow enough to cross Trapper Creek anyhow.

Finally, up close and personal on the property itself, bordered in Yellow.

Nice wooded lot right on Trapper Creek, and the spot actually looks like a good fishing hole.  Here's the ad description of the property:

Almost 5 acres under 2 miles off MP 121 Parks Hwy, on the trail system. Crystal clear Trapper Ck frontage, and a short ride to September Lk. Selling under the assessed value. This wonderful getaway is being offered with terms of 20% down, 6% interest, 5-7yr amortization. Nicely treed with birch and spruce. Trapper Ck is reported to have rainbows, grayling, moose, and bear hunting. Moose and Bear hunting right on your own property!  Who could ask for more!  Not that I will be doing any of that, but once a few younger Heliopaths show up they can do that.  I'll stick to trapping some small game.  Fishing is even probably out because I can't cast or reel in too good anymore, but I might try doing some Spear Fishing with my Pistol Crossbow.  The trees are also Birch and Spruce, so you could tap the birch trees to make birch syrup in the spring.  That is done a lot around here. What about a domicile?  For that, to begin with I will put up an F-dome.  Again, I'm not capable of doing the construction of the deck and assembly of the dome myself, but I will hire a couple of the unemployed native carpenters in my complex for this task.  I'll also have them build a greenhouse for growing tomatoes, zucchini, green beens etc.  I'll grow Alaska Carrots & Alaska Potatoes outdoors in raised beds, since the soil around there isn't too good, nowhere near the quality of Palmer soil.  I'll set up a small Hydroponics setup to do herbs and spices.

Now, will I actually LIVE on this property year-round through the winter to begin with?  Hell no, not in mid winter for sure, not until there are other Heliopaths living on the property with me. I'll use it from spring after the melt to fall at the end of harvest time, around mid-April to early September around here with the current climate. SUN☼ can hold Workshops and Convocations during the summer as long as the Jets are still flying and BAU continues.  I'll keep my digs in Palmer for the Winter.  There will be no additional cost to me besides some very low taxes since I will buy the property for CASH.  In winter, besides holing up in the digs I will do some Sunbirding, and fly down to the lower 48 to visit friends, burning the jet fuel while the planes are still flying. What about making it survivable for a SHTF scenario where I have to move there full time?  Can't feed myself off the land probably, not by myself anyhow.  So I will double up my stock of food preps, now good for over 2 years.  Say a 5 year supply, I'm not going to live that long anyhow. If I make the next year, that will be fairly miraculous. Got water from the creek, fuel to cook and heat with from the forest, food.  No worries about Zombies coming for my food and killing me, if anybody is hurting and shows up, I'll give it away.  When it's all gone, I die.  Going to the Great Beyond here soon enough anyhow.

Overall, this Plan fits into what it is currently feasible for me to do on my own without additional investors in SUN☼.  I can spend whatever time left that I have walking the earth a little closer to nature.  I can straddle both worlds and do some demonstration projects for SUN☼ on the property. Diners will always be welcome when TSHTF, if they can get there of course.  Until TSTF, we can hold Diner/SUN☼ Convocations on the land, and do Workshops.  Until we get investors, SUN☼ will focus on its Mission of Education about Collapse, which we can do on a limited budget utilizing the web.  I'll even pay Albert's plane ticket up here for a kickoff workshop on Biochar. lol.

I'll take pictures of the neighborhood and hopefully the property itself, although unless my Ewz can negotiate the terrain off the road there (about 2 miles worth) I won't be able to get to the site itself. I have been to the neighborhood before, and it just depends on the given terrain and tree density whether I can negotiate the Ewz around.  Just have to see when I get there.

Will this particular patch of land be the one I buy for SUN☼?  Probably not, since first I want to go look at properties in WA, OR, ID & MT with Big Sam from Seattle.  However, as you can see from the Google Earth screen captures, by no means is this the only property of this type out in that neighborhood.  So I will be patient on this, unless it just looks so juicy when I get there and my Ewz can give me a full property tour that I can't resist the Buying Opportunity. LOL.

Road Trip Diary and photos coming next week in the Plan B of an Alaska SUN☼stead. :icon_sunny:

Greenie Techno-Cornucopianism

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Published on The Doomstead Diner June 14, 2017

Discuss this article at the Seasteading Table inside the Diner I regularly cross-post the work of Albert Bates here on the Diner.  He's a true Hero of the Revolution, going back to the 1970s when The Farm was founded as part of the Back to the Land Movement of the era.  The Farm has gone through its ups and downs over the intervening decades, but unlike many other experiments from the era it does still exist, and AB is still there.  Well, at least he is when he's not Jet Setting around the world to attend Climate Conferences or give Permaculture courses.  Albert takes a decent amount of criticism for this, since flying around in Jet Planes is one of the most unsustainable aspects of our industrial civilization, and on a per capita basis is arguably the MOST unsustainable.

AB defends his Global Jet Setting by planting trees, with the assumption that over the lifetime of the tree, it will soak up more carbon than he is burning in a trip to London on British Airways.  Of course, this calculation doesn't work if the tree burns down or dies from some sort of infestation or plain old drought.  However, I don't find travelling around by jet to be hypocritical at all in the context of trying to bring the message of climate change and sustainable living to more people.  For the time being, these planes will fly whether AB is on board or not, or being dragged off said planes kicking and screaming due to overbooking.  Boycotting flying wouldn't do a damn thing to Save the Planet, but going out there with missionary zeal to wake up more people might have some effect.  So on balance this is a positive thing to be doing in his declining years using the reputation he developed as an international expert on many of these topics.

However, as I continue to read and cross post ABs work, I have become increasingly dissatisfied with the form of techno-cornucopianism he has been pitching lately, similar in many ways to what another cross poster I feature regularly, Ugo Bardi of the University of Florence, The Club of Rome and Cassandra's Legacy pitches.  In the case of UB, he pitches Renewable Energy, specifically Photovoltaics as a means to salvage at least part of our high tech lifestyle.  In AB's case, he pitches Permaculture and Carbon Sequestration through Bio-Char as means to sustainably feed ourselves and to if not stop, at least slow down climate change.

Besides that, AB has now latched onto another Greeny Dreamy idea, going back to Sailboats to replace all the airplanes burning tons of jet fuel every day to ship around Homo Sap Meat Packages.  Here is the recent high tech sail dream from AB to replace our current fleet of planes and container ships with more Earth-Friendly sailboats:

Atlantic Dreams

Will Nodvik, who studied Computer Engineering at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, writes on Quora:
The foiling AC-72s sailed [in 2013] during the America’s Cup top out at around 40 knots in super heavy conditions. Average container ships move at around 20 knots. The mast on an AC-72 is 40m high. Keep in mind that this mast is a rigid wing. The AC-72 is the lightest, fastest, most highly advanced boat. These masts are the strongest material possible since no expense was spared in their construction.
Forty knots (46 mph) is still only 8 percent of the cruising speed of a Boeing 747. Figure three and one half days, if top speed could be held the whole way.


The America’s Cup Challenge resumes this June in Bermuda’s Great Sound. The AC-72 (72-foot) yacht that Oracle Team USA sailed to a historic come-from-behind 9-8 victory over Emirates Team New Zealand on San Francisco Bay in September 2013 is gone. Obsolete.


Replacing it is a smaller, lighter AC-50 (50-foot) catamaran with 79-foot carbon fiber wing sail and new alloy hydrofoils to give it near zero drag. All the competitors in this year’s trials are expected to fly above water for 100% of the race time.


The sail’s drag is one-third to one-half that of four years ago, while producing about twice as much power. The control system comes from the Airbus A350 XWB airliner, compiling a terabyte per race collected from as many as 1,000 sensors fed into the Oracle Exadata supercomputer for instant analysis. Oracle will predict wind patterns (within half a knot accuracy) all the way down to 100-meter or even 50-meter grids on the racecourse. The sailors — a six man crew (down from 11 in 2013), need only glance at smart watches connected to a small onboard Linux server, to know what they need to do.


Speeds approaching 60 mph are possible in the Bermuda races—about 20% faster than in 2013. That would get us down to a two day Atlantic crossing.
More importantly, the days spent on crossing by sail put nothing into the atmosphere except the breath of the sailors. Today’s commercial passenger fleet is responsible for 3 to 5 percent of climate forcing, on its way to 15 percent according to some IPCC projections. Clearly it is going in the wrong direction.

While it is really cool to think about all this high tech stuff, it's also thoroughly unrealistic for many reasons, on the physics and mechanics end as well as on the economic end.  I wrote this response to his article in his commentariat:

Another artifact of climate change is bigger seas and more rogue waves.  In even mildly rough seas, you can't hydroplane a sailboat.  You need pretty flat water for this.  So it's pretty unlikely you could maintain a constant hydroplane speed all the way across the Atlantic or Pacific oceans.

Then you have the fact these high tech boats are built from the lightest weight polymers and carbon fiber material, which all have tons of embedded energy in their manufacture.  The computer systems and servos controlling sail trim are extremely complex, requiring the usual kit bag of rare earth minerals and complex manufacturing facilities.

Even if you do build them, they can't carry much payload.  The whole reason they will hydroplane is because there is so little weight being carried aboard.  You absolutely could not build any facsimile of a modern container ship and have it hydroplane.

Not to say of course sail will not make a comeback, it probably will but not the sort of high tech sail you are featuring in this post.  Much smaller boats, and floating in the water not skimming along the surface.  Such boats will not be able to move around the vast amount of cargo container ships do, and thus will not be able to support such a large population moving food around the globe.

There is no techno-cornucopian solution to this problem, the only thing that can bring Homo Sap back into balance with nature and maintain the habitability of the planet is a massive die off of the current population.  If you knock off 90-99% of the human population, some of the solutions you write about could work.  They do NOT scale to a population of 7.5B meat packages.

RE AB is not the only Doomer out there with the Sailboat Dream, you also have Dmitry Orlov of Club Orlov living on his sailboat and Ray Jason of The Sea Gypsy Philosopher living on his, plus innumerable other Yachties cruising the Bahamas, the Greek Islands and the South Pacific and enjoying their sense of "independence".  The lifestyle gives the illusion of being FREE, able to move where you want as necessary to avoid the worst aspects of collapse if they happen to arrive in your neighborhood. By NO MEANS however is such a life either sustainable or self-sufficient.  Everybody who lives this way has some form of external income, generally retirees with a pension although a smattering of others such as writers and IT programmers who have portable professions.  Dmitry for example makes his living these days bloviating his opinions about Collapse, promoting Mother Russia and insulting various feminist groups. This job can be done anywhere on earth, and Dmitry does these things well enough to make a living at it. lol.  A few of the younger mostly male ones will also take gig jobs on making port somewhere and use the money to resupply with another couple of months of food and then sail to some remote cove and pretend to be Robinson Crusoe or the Swiss Family Robinson.

I sincerely doubt there is ANYONE out there who lives aboard a 30-40' sailboat who gains all his sustenance from fishing and harvesting coconuts on South Pacific beaches.  On board a sailboat of this size, if you are a solo sailor and stick to compact dried foods, you might be able to stuff it with 6 months of supplies.  If there are 2 of you, reduce by half.  In a good fishing and gathering neighborhood, you might be able to double the amount of time you could spend doing the Swiss Family Robinson before needing to head back to civilization for a resupply.

Beyond the Food Problem of course is the Security Problem.  Most of the places the Yachties currently frequent are Tourist Traps which use the tourist economy as their driver.  Most of the nicer ones sporting Marinas in the Bahamas or Panama are pretty safe at the moment, the customs officials are fairly polite (although always looking for a bribe) and the Marina Convenience Store has bags of rice you can buy if you have Dollars or Euros to spend.  Free Wi-Fi too in many cases. This pleasant safety and convenience begins to disappear rapidly though if you sail outside of these enclaves of retired yachties and are cruising off the coast of say Somalia.  There are already locals in this neighborhood who smell a good possibility for a Ransom Demand if they spy your sails on the horizon, and send out a fishing boat to greet you, complete with automatic weapons.  Say bye bye to your sea mobile home and hope there is somebody back home who will cough up the ransom demand.  This situation is not going to improve as the general economics further spin down.  Finding a place to safely moor your vessel with any kind of local population size will be extremely difficult, so now you are back to trying to do Robinson Crusoe, which just about nobody from industrial culture can really do.

Beyond the Food & Safety issues is the maintenance issue.  Anyone who has ever owned a boat of even moderate size knows they are a total money sink and stuff breaks all the time.  Standing & Running rigging wears out, Winches break, the auxiliary engine quits, sails get ripped in a storm…etc etc etc.  You have to have ports around to get parts and do some repairs you can't do yourself, even if you are a mechanical genius.  You need a haul out and bottom job every so often with anti-fouling paint (an oil product).  If you could keep your sailboat in good working order for 3 years without access to replacement equipment and a well stocked marine supply store I would be shocked. The paradigm for shifting back to sail on the commercial shipping level is in many respects even worse than trying to make the small sailboat Seasteading paradigm work. Modern container ships move enormous amounts of cargo, which in order to load and unload requires enormous ports with oil powered cranes to move the containers on and off the ships.  The days of longshoremen unloading ships by hand are long gone.  This is how we are able to move the massive amount of goods we do around the world to keep 7.5B people fed and clothed.  The last time we were regularly transporting around goods by sail the global population was around 1.5B people, and most of them were not even on this network.  The world was largely populated by subsistence farmers.

Today, many areas of the world can't grow enough food to feed their own populations (see Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen etc, etc,etc), so unless you have the means to ship around enormous quantities of food sufficient to feed entire countries, you're going to have a lot of starving people.  Sailboats aren't going to do the trick here even if you could build enough of them fast enough and train a whole new generation of people to be able to sail them.  This is just not going to happen, not on the scale necessary for keeping 7.5B Homo Saps walking the earth.  So once again you need to reconcile yourself to the fact a large culling of the human population is coming down the pipe, and sailboats and permaculture aren't going to stop it.  This is just techno-cornucopian hopium, dressed up in Green outfit. The Solar PV solutions Ugo Bardi promotes are very similar.  They simply don't scale up to apply to such a large population.  Forgetting all the embedded energy and mining necessary to produce enough Solar Panels is the huge scale up of the current decaying electrical grids to handle the loads necessary for running all the carz, trucks and trains on electricity.  Current wiring isn't near thick enough to handle the load even if you cut the fleet of vehicles by half.  Where is all the copper going to come from to run wiring from your Solar or Windfarm to electric charging stations all over the country?  The best you might do here is have intermittently available electricity at the local level, but this again does not maintain current population levels or anywhere near the current standard of living in 1st World nations.  I highly doubt also any 3rd World nations are going to get wired up with massive Wind & Solar farms either.  If they didn't get electricity yet, they're not going to get it.  Which of course might be good for them, since they won't miss it too much when it's gone. Finally on the scale of techno-cornucopian solutions for today of stuff that just ain't gonna happen is ABs ongoing mission for Bio-Char as a solution to sequestering carbon and keeping Planet Earth from turning into a facsimile of Venus.  What this generally amounts to as I understand it to is planting a shit load of trees, turning them into charcoal briquets and then burying the briquets for soil ammendation.  The amount of area that needs to be reforested this way is enormous, and then how with the remaining arable land mass you will feed 7.5B people without the use of fertilizers, pesticides, tractors & combines is somewhat unclear.  Also unclear is whether the climate in many areas will even support reforesting at all?  I think you would have a pretty tough time these days reforesting Syria and turning it into the lush Garden of Eden it once was 5000 years ago.

All of this speaks to the problem of Irreversibility, which theoretical physicist David Korowicz covered quite extensively in his seminal paper Trade Off: Financial System Supply-chain Cross Contagion – a study in global systemic collapse.  In particular many of the earlier systems we used are simply no longer practical or even available to shift back to now.  New "high tech" solutions don't scale up as necessary, and certainly not inside the time frame we have to work with, which most certainly is less than 30 years before we see extreme dislocations to the current system.  Many are occurring now as we speak, but are for the most part at the moment confined to 3rd World nations and not too much of a bother to the 1st World ones.  Any unbiased and clear headed analysis of all these variables and the difficulties that exist in implementing any of the solutions should inform you that we are in the midst of a clusterfuck of Biblical proportions, and Greeny Cornucopianism isn't going to solve the problems any more than Cold Fusion will.

Given this information then, WHY do clearly very intelligent and wel educated people like Ugo Bardi and Albert Bates continue to promote ideas which just aren't very likely to work, and in fact are counter productive because they are a waste of time, money and energy?  That is pretty simple to understand, it's the "Reverse Guy McPherson" effect.  Whereas in Dr. McStinksion's case he has given up ALL HOPE and considers Homo Saps and the Planet all DOOMED to Near Term Human Extinction by his latest prognostication of 2026, AB and UB maintain a tenacious grasp on SOME hope that we can yank ourselves out of this mess.  I hold out that hope myself, but I do so in what I consider a more realistic manner, which is to acknowledge the inevitability of a MASSIVE DIEOFF of the human population, probably greater than 99%.  This is something neither UB or AB wishes to acknowledge.  In fact, I would agree with them on some of their solutions if they would acknowledge a massive dieoff is inevitable now, I think they could work with a vastly reduced population size.  I definitely think the Reverse Guy McPherson POV they pitch is the superior mindset to the Guy McPherson one, even if it is utterly unrealistic.  Professor McStinksion's philosophy is just utterly defeatist.

So, if we can't reforest the earth, we can't replace the fleet of container ships with green and friendly sailboats, we can't wire the world with Solar PV Panels, we can't stop the climate from warming up and we can't keep most the Homo Sap meat packages currently walking the Earth alive, just WTF CAN we do here beside join Guy McPherson in his nihilistic & misanthropic Death Cult?  What we can do is to start building Lifeboats to SAVE AS MANY AS WE CAN. What building lifeboats in this context means is to consider locations on the earth that will likely IMPROVE in their ability to support human life as the overall temperature regime increase.  Alaska where I live is one such location.  A 10C average increase in temperatures around here on the Last Great Frontier would make the place positively balmy and pleasant.  As the Permafrost melts, that could provide thousands of hectares of fertile land upon which to grow crops.  We can also begin to breed new crops resistant to extreme weather, and we can build grow domes to do food production in a controlled environment.  We can change our building techniques and excavate to live partially underground, where the average temperature of the land mass runs around 66F.  Building such survival communities at high latitudes and high elevations, we can save a portion of the human population.  It might only be .1%, but that is still 7.5M people, which is a lot more than the ZERO that Dr. McStinksion Guy McPherson predicts for 2026!

Over time, with far fewer people infesting the earth and no more burning of fossil fuels, the global climate will begin its long road to recovery, which might take thousands or even millions of years.  In the interim, the great experiment with Sapience will continue, and those who make it through the Zero Point will have the opportunity to evolve into a new and better species, one with more true wisdom.

We have to own up to what is REALISTIC here, not pie in the sky, rainbow shitting unicorn, greenie dreamie fantasies of a world of 7.5B people running in peace and harmony on permaculture and renewable energy.  This is just NOT in the cards at this point.  We can't save everybody.  We can only SAVE AS MANY AS WE CAN.  That's where the efforts of our best and brightest need to go, not into wasting time, energy, money and brain power on faulty solutions that will not succeed.  No more Skittle Shitting Unicorns!

Alaska: Is it Sustainable after TSHTF?

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Published on The Doomstead Diner June 11, 2017

Discuss this article at the SUN☼ Table inside the Diner

This is Part 1 of a 4 Part Series which will air on the Diner for the next 3 weeks of Sunday Brunches

Last week, a friend of mine now living down in the Lower 48 in WA came up for one of his more or less bi-annual visits.  We used to work together up here.  He has a rental Real Estate property here still, plus a part time job gig as well doing the books for a small biz up here.

It was fortuitous timing for me, I've been in the market for a Stealth Van to go traveling with and bringing the message of Collapse to the masses, but without a 2nd driver along it's hard to make the kind of on-the-spot CASH deals you want to make for Used Cars.  If you flash the Greenbacks at a Seller and say you will buy it right here, right now, you instantly shave at least 10% off the asking price.

So, after he attended a weekend wedding of the guy he does the books for, he dropped by and we went Stealth Van shopping! 🙂  I had done research the prior few days and found one which looked good down in Anchorage.  It turned out to be as good a buy as I had hoped for, and I made the deal on the spot and he drove my Ford Explorer back home to the Mat-Su Valley while I drove the new Stealth Van home.  Well, not really NEW (it's a 1999), but new for me.  It also performed pretty much like a new vehicle in my test drive and then on the drive home, so I was (and still am) very happy with this find and purchase. EVERYTHING on this vehicle works, including the overhead console Cathode Ray Tube TV circa 1999 in the passenger area for the kiddies to watch cartoons on during long trips. CD players front and rear also work.  I got it for what I figured to pay for this type of vehicle ($5000), and it fulfills the requirements I was looking for in a Stealth Van.  Together with an enclosed trailer to hold a good supply of preps, it's the ultimate land-based bugout machine, and you can put together the whole rig for under $10,000, including the preps.  You can even live in such an arrangement right now,, and there's a whole community of people who do this.  You might have listened to the Podcasts I did with Van Dweller who has been living this way for 50 years, or read my article on Storage Unit-Van living so you don't have to be pulling a trailer around all the time.

My hope here is assuming my health holds up in the remaining pre-Collapse period would be to go on the road with my rig, take pictures and vids, do interviews and write stories about the Homeless People I run into and the abandoned Malls and decaying cities.  I hope to speak at places of Worship of all denominations and PTA meetings and Town Council meetings, wherever they'll let me speak.  I'll drop in and visit with as many of the Diners as I can.  However, I have quite a few obstacles ahead of me to be able to fulfill this Bucket List dream, so I give it only a 50-50 chance I will actually pull it off.  I call this Bucket List Dream "Brother RE's Travelling Salvation Show". lol

Plenty of climate ideologues will chastise me for hypocrisy in burning all that gas, but it's not really going to make a difference in the grand scheme of things far as the climate is concerned.  I'll only be able to do it for as long as BAU continues, and during that time between all the container ships burning bunker fuel, all the jets burning kerosene, all the JIT Big Rigs burning diesel, all the SUVs on the daily commute burning gasoline and all the Power Plants burning coal or natural gas, it's not even a drop in a drop in the bucket.  What it accomplishes though could make a difference, to wake some people up to the kind of world they will face in the future and how to get ready for it, both in physical and psychological terms.

After we did this deal for the van, the guy who got married invited him on a fishing trip with the Bridal Party and family members, about 13 people.  As their trusted Biz Accountant he's worthy of such an invitation (there were about 80 people at the wedding, a 50s age guy getting married!).  So he drove down to Kenai for this fishing expedition in a Charter boat, owned by another friend of the guy who got married so they got a good deal.  Breaking down the cost of the charter between all the adults who went out, it cost my friend $150.

They really lucked out into a picture perfect day up here on the Last Great Frontier, it was in the 70sF and nice and Sunny.  The fishing was also good and they Maxed Out on their limit on Halibut, having to throw some of the smaller ones back. My friend caught 6 himself.  On returning to shore, they didn't even have to do the processing themselves, there are professionals at the dock who do this for you, amazingly fast.  In the end, after the whole catch was divied up between the principal adults on the charter, my friend got around 20 lbs of fillets out of this.  So what was the total cost and how does that compare to what you would normally pay for Halibut at the supermarket? Well, he spent $150 for the charter, $70 for the gas for the round trip to Kenai, and then another $25 to take the frozen fillets vacuum sealed back down to WA packed tight in a cooler in checked baggage on the plane.  So that is $245, call it $12/lb as opposed to the $19/lb for Halibut you usually pay in the grocery store up here.  Not sure what it goes for down in the lower 48.  So good savings there, as long as you don't count in the cost of the round trip airfare itself, which from WA is usually in the neighborhood of $500 or so.  If you count that in, then the cost of your 20lbs of halibut skyrockets from $12/lb to about $38/lb!  Not a very economical way to feed yourself that way! lol.  But if you are traveling up here for other reasons and are spending the money for plane fare anyhow, you get a nice vacation and some cheaper fish too.  Doing subsistence fishing though is really only practical as a means to feed yourself if you actually LIVE close to the fish.

Then you have the next question for people who actually DO live here in Alaska and don't have to fly on a plane to go fishing?  How far is it practical for them to travel to get to the nearest good fishing ground?

Well, in this case it took traveling from the Mat-Su Valley to the Kenai Peninsula in a car, which as long as you got gas you can afford does not take all that much time. From the Mat-Su Valley to Kenai is around 200 miles, and takes about 4 hours, depending how fast you drive of course.  You can go down there, fish & fillet, drop the fillets on ice then be back home to vacuum seal them and freeze them in your Frigidaire Freezer inside a day.  Now good for easily a full year of scrumptious eating, and probably quite a bit longer than that as long as your freezer keeps working.  I have vacuum sealed 5 year old steaks I have pulled out of the freezer for a BBQ and they are pretty much as good as the ones I ate fresh out of the refrigerated rack at 3 Bears the day I bought them. BUT…if you do NOT have a car and gas to make the round trip to Kenai, these fish are mostly out of reach for you.  In a Kayak, if you left from say the Knik River and paddled your way down there along the coast, this would take you several days/weeks, same for the return trip.  With no refrigeration either way, you would have to salt/dry the fish you caught for the return trip.  Not very practical or even possible really, which is why almost all the Native settlements from the days before the European Invasion here are right on the coast.  You go out and fish every day, you eat fish every night, you dry and preserve some fish for the winter, rinse and repeat every year.  Natives up here did no farming whatsoever.  They lived on fishing, hunting the moose and some gathering of tubers and nuts that grow up here pretty well.

So as it is laid out and organized now, in the absence of the gas to make it to and fro the fishing and hunting grounds that are still quite good around here at the moment, you just couldn't do it.  The population would need to migrate out to the spots that are good for this, which generally speaking are where any of the old native villages are located.  They're there for a REASON.  That's where the FOOD is!  Said villages however are in some of the most inaccessible (by land) places in Alaska, even today there are no roads in or out of them.  They are lonesome and desolate places these days for the most part also.   The old culture is gone, alcoholism rates are through the roof and now they live in manufactured housing shipped in by barge and dropped on the permafrost, which is now not so perma anymore.  It's sure not very likely you will get the vast preponderance of White people who currently live in Anchorage, the Mat Valley and Fairbanks to move to these places when TSHTF.  Rather, most of them will try to GTFO of Alaska if they can, if it's not too late and they missed the last plane ride back to the Lower 48.

Given all of that, can the people who remain here create an economy not quite so far down the evolutionary ladder as mere subsistence Fishing & Hunting?  IMHO, yes it is possible. In the first place, there is a lot of infrastructure in place already which can take up some slack.  The Alaska Railroad which starts down in Seward and goes up through Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley past Denali (Mt. McKinley) and ends in Fairanks is still an actively functioning railroad for both passengers and freight.  It brings down coal from Healy which currently mostly gets shipped to China.  It brings Touristas who don't want to drive and/or want to experience the railroad adventure up past many scenic vistas on the way to Fairbanks.  For an Alaska Vacation, many people do this in conjunction with a Cruise to do some Whale Watching and/or a Fishing Charter to go catch some Halibut.

So, fish caught down at the mouth of the Kenai river could still be moved quickly up into the interior of Alaska, as long as you have a source of energy to power the trains.  Switching back over to steam locomotives powered by coal, Alaska has plenty of that and it's right along the right of way of the Alaska Railroad too.  No difficult transportation to get the coal to the trains. Similar to fishing, produce grown here in Alaska on the farms in Palmer can be shipped up and down the line on the Alaska Railroad.  People don't tend to think of Alaska as a great place for farming, but for certain crops they grow very well up here.  Root vegetables and tubers such as carrots and potatoes grow very well. Although the outdoor growing season is short, the days are very long and those vegetables that do grow well up here grow very big.  Alaska holds World Records for vegetables like Carrots and Cabbage.  Other vegetables grown locally that show up in my local supermarket are various forms of squash like Zuchinni along with Pumpkins.

Beyond those vegetables grown outdoors, Alaska sports a lot of Greenhouses, both small private ones along with large commercial ones.  The local hothouse Tomatoes on the vine we get up here are very good (for modern tomatoes), although about twice the current price for the tomatoes shipped up from Mexico.  That network of Greenhouses could be expanded easily by using glass from the buildings in Anchorage and from abandoned Carz and McMansions.

For meat, we have both the hunting available from the large population of Moose along with ranchers in Palmer who raise Cattle, Bison, Big Horn Sheep, Pigs and Chickens.  Many people also raise their own chickens as well, the local ordinances in most communities allow this.  People also have Worm Farms, although currently used for bait or chicken feed, not direct eating by local Homo Saps.

About the only thing we don't currently have is a local Dairy, the one operational one shut down a couple of years ago.  However, the equipment still exists and this would not be that difficult a thing to start up again. So on the food end of things, I think we could be pretty self-sufficient, especially if many people start leaving the state which I suspect will happen when the North Slope stops pumping oil down the Alaska pipeline and the Big Oil Companies make their exit.  They employ many people and the money those employees make is the main driver for the secondary economy of goods and services up here.  Similarly, Mining of other minerals currently brings in revenue to Alaska, but after TSHTF there won't be much of a market for those anymore outside of Alaska.  The Tourist/Vacation industry is a third driver which brings in decent revenue over the summer as people come up here to experience the Wonders of Nature now mostly gone from the Lower 48.  They are mostly retirees with Pensions, 401Ks and Social Security though, and that sort of vacationing will become a thing of the past.  Besides, the planes they fly up here on to experience Nature's Beauty won't be flying anymore to get here.

Finally, the main source of external revenue for the State of Alaska is the FSoA Military, which runs 3 large military bases here, Elmendorf/JR Richarson Air Force Base, Fort Wainwright Military Base and Clear Air Force Station.  There's probably additional Secret ones as well.  This also brings in substantial revenue to run the secondary economy, you pretty much cannot walk around Walmart without seeing somebody in Fatigues, and most of the people working for the Military permanently stationed here wear civies all the time anyhow.  After TSHTF though, major features of this will be both the dissolution of the entire federation of the FSoA into more local Regional entities, along with the collapse of the FSoA Military. So while the soldiers left here may take over the local Goobermint and run the show with their leftover weapos and ammo, the military won't be a source of revenue after this point in time.

In addition, it's not certain we have to immediately give up the Internal Combustion engine here after TSHTF in general around the rest of the world.  While the North Slope is quite depeleted these days in terms of producing enough Oil to economically push down the Alaska Pipeline, it can still produce a good deal of oil to refine for local use as distillates, and we do have our own Refinery in Fairbanks, although it is currently Mothballed.  It could be restarted though, and refined products of gasoline and diesel transported down by train to Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley, where most of the current population of Alaska currently lives, along with Fairbanks itself.

Besides the remaining oil on the Slope, there is a ton of Natural Gas sprinkled around here locally, and internal combustion gasoline engines can be fairly easily modified to run on NG.  It's not quite so easy to do fillups as you need to work with compressed gas and in an accident you could end up with an explosion that might take out half a city block, but it could be done. Besides that, there is talk and ongoing debate about building a big Hydro Plant by damming up the Susitna River.  In current dollars, estimated to cost around $5B.  Such a Hydro Plant would provide enough "clean" electric power to run many of Elon Musk's EVs.  I'm not personally in favor of this dam due to ecological damage to the fisherie, and I doubt it will get built due to economic reasons, but it remains a possibility if it can be financed & built prior to SHTF Day.  The environmental lobby here is also pretty strong, and remains vehemently opposed to this dam.  The Tourist industry also not in favor of it.

We are also fortunate there are no Nuke Puke plants up here, it was never even remotely economically feasible to build one due to the low population so spread out over a large territory.  So no decommisioning costs or danger of a melt down or worse, a critical mass explosion of the core when cooling and containment is lost.  Most areas of the country that are densely populated have one or more Nuke Puke plants in reasonable proximity, like Fukushima is to Tokyo.  That includes most of the East and West Coasts of the FSoA, and many spots along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers bisecting the center of the land mass.  Alaska only has to worry about what gets blown up in our direction when these plants inevitably fail, but by then it should be farily well diluted.  Not so for someone who is 100 miles straight downwind of such a plant, of course.

So the food problem seems soluble, and so does the energy problem here for a small population.  In terms of the climate problem, even a 10C rise in average Global Tems would just make the neighborhood somewhat more comfortable and balmy.  It is unlikely to exceed Wet Bulb temperatures up here for quite some time to come, certainly not in the next decade which Dr. McStinksion Guy McPherson predicts as the Termination Date for all Humanity, and Global All Dead People, aka Near Term Human Extinction..

The biggest problem here in making a transition though is not the energy or the food or even the climate, since warming up 4C would lengthen the growing season and reduce the heating requirements for living. The most difficult thing in the near term is replacing the current Monetary System with something that will actually work.  Alaska would have to issue out its own money of course, and what is that money going to be based on and how will it be distributed to the population to equitably distribute the resources?  How will jobs be assigned to the population, and what job categories will there be?  Who or what organization will be responsible for organizing this all up, under what type of political system?  How will reproduction be controlled so as not to repeat the same mistake of population overshoot that went down before?  These are very difficult questions to answer in a post-SHTF scenario. Despite all those problems, I believe Alaska still represents one of the best Survival Holes on Earth in the face of both Global Economic Collapse and Global Climate Collapse.  It has all the essentials locally, and it starts out here with one of the lowest population densities on the planet, and there will certainly be die off and outward migration from the current numbers.

Prior to the European Invasion, the estimated population of First Nations people that lived up here was around 60,000.  With the knowledge and technology that we have acquired since then, I believe the population that could be supported in a sustainable manner is probably double, and perhaps triple that.  Call that around 150,000 people.  That is about 20% of the current population, so to get down that low you only need 80% to leave or die off.  I believe the vast majority of people currently here will leave when the economy collapses.  For the people who remain, mostly only the very hardy will survive, and I will not be one of them.  I will in all likelihood live longer up here than I will just about anywhere else on earth though, certainly much longer than if I was currently living in Syria or Yemen.  It's also currently fairly peaceful, and the shelves are filled with food goodies from around the world to sample at my leisure (at least if I actually still had an appetite for eating them anyhow).  If you are an observer of Collapse, you couldn't ask for a better Perch.

60: Life & Times of a Boomer Doomer 3

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Published on The Doomstead Diner June 8, 2017

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The Public School Teaching Years

This was the shortest era of my life, around 3 years.  Teaching science and math seemed like a good choice in changing careers, teachers of these subjects were in notoriously short supply since anyone really knowledgeable went into private industry where the salaries were higher.  It also matched up well with my Hobby-Job of coaching gymnastics, since Skule finished the day in theory at 3PM, and coaching usually got underway around 4PM.  Except I often had detentions to do after school, so I was often late for practice. The problems I faced during this period were endless.  First off, because I was being sent to two different schools (a Junior High and a High School), I didn't have my own clasroom.  Instead, what I got were two rolling lecterns (one in each school) in which I was supposed to keep all my student records, my lesson plans and graded tests and homework assignements, and roll the lectern around from classroom to classroom that happenned to be empty while the main teacher assigned to that classroom had a prep period.  Needless to say, these lecterns were stuffed full of papers I couldn't find all the time.  I stopped giving homework assignments as a starter to get this under control. lol.

Worse than this were the kids I was trying to teach though.  90% of them in any given class first of all had little interest in learning Physical Science or Math, and their preparation coming out of elementary school was horrendous.  Students in 9th Grade could not solve the Density equation Density=Mass/Volume except if you gave them Mass and Volume and a calculator to do the division.  They couldn't rearrange the equation if you gave them Density and Volume for instance.  So I couldn't really teach the curriculum, I spent much more time doing remedial work that should have been finished 7th Grade the latest. The problem here now becomes one of Behavior and acting out in the classroom.  If you are going over the heads of the unprepared kids who are also disinterested, they become behavior problems and disrupt the lesson.  They are lost and bored.  If you start teaching down to them and trying to remediate, you lose the few kids who are interested and decently prepared.  There are fewer of them, so you mostly teach down, and then to keep everyone somewhat entertained you do demos like a Thermite reaction, or you make rockets out of plastic soda bottles and rubbing alcohol.  Everybody likes that stuff! lol.  You can't do that every day and actually learn anything though.

Then there were the battles with the Administration, and if your kids were bigger behavior problems than the next teacher, YOU got called on the carpet for this!  It was YOUR fault they weren't interested enough to pay attention!  When a parent came in to complain, the Parent Was Always Right, like customers in a retail store.  It was a total No-Win situation, and the hours turned out to be endless.  Because I taught science, I had labs to prepare and clean up.  I had to get to the skule a full 2 hours at least before class actually began to get labs ready.  Then there were the after skule detentions as mentioned, then after getting home from coaching around 9PM, I usually had a good 2 hours of grading papers and preparing lesson plans.  This went on day in and day out for 3 years, and if I got 6 hours of sleep with no recreation time at all I was doing good.  I turned in my resignation after the 3rd year of this insanity. After resting up for a month, I forwarded out some resumes to gyms around the country for a full time coaching position, but also a couple to Elite Private Skules for the Rich, specifically, Choate, Phillips Exeter, Phillips Andover and the Horace Mann School.  I got interviews at Choate and Horace Mann, and was offered a job at Horace Mann.  I was shown my Physics Classroom and Lab, which would have been all mine.  Every toy in the catalog was in the cabinets.  Class sizes all 20 or less, averaging around 15. Upper Class kids who were expected to do well in School by their successful parents.  A $35K/year salary, which was competitive at the time with Public Schools as a starting salary.  I turned the job down.  Why?

Mainly because the 3 prior years had thoroughly burned me out, and I supected there would be similar if not worse administrative issues.  Rich parents have tons of clout in a Private Skule, and if their prized little brat complains to them that you're not grading them fairly or teaching them right, they can do more than a Public Skule parent can, they can threaten to take the kid out of your expensive skule and send them to a different one.  You gotta make the customers happy, and these are BIG PAYING customers!  Tuition at Horace Mann for elementary through High School even in those years was comparable to Ivy League tuitions for college.

So came another major crisis in my life, and now I was nearing 40 years old.  Too late now to really go back to grad skule once again for yet another degree and training for some other field.  So I elected to try going out as a Full Time Competive Gymnastics Coach in the growing industry of Private Gyms.  I had the experience and knew many people in the field after years of doing this part time.  I got my first job full time where my sister had moved to and my mom retired to, in Springfield, MO.

The Full Time Gymnastics Years, Round 1

Coaching Gymnastics is tons of fun and very rewarding in a non-monetary way.  You have a very significant impact on the kids you work with, often for several years, much more time than a school teacher does.  It's also very challenging, particularly to teach higher level skills, and it's FUN!  It's not like having to work in a Coal Mine or garb up in a Monkey Suit to cheat pensioners out of their life savings on Wall Street.  Unfortunately, it's also a very low paying profession in general, unless you manage to open your own gym, in which case you can become quite successful.  Unfortunately, I never got together enough money to do that after my early bankstering years.  I was fortunate through most of the time to just keep a roof over my head. However, I did move my way up pretty quickly to the higher end of a low paid profession as a Head Coach and Program Director at a pretty large gym outside of Chicago, after 2 years coaching as an Assistant Director to the gym owner in Springfield.  It was a decent middle class salary and included medical bennies, which mostly you do not get in these type of jobs.  However, I had disputes with the owner and the owner's daughter who was my assistant coach, and you never win when it's family you are dealing with and they write the paychecks. I quit that job and moved onto another one.

Similar result the next time out, although this time I was fired rather than quit.  I bounced through about 2 more of these jobs in different places before I finally became fed up with both not making much money nor being able to sufficiently control the direction of the program to achieve my goal, which of course was to coach an Olympic level gymnast.  For the second time in my life, unemployed and with little money in the bank and still a good deal of credit card debt overhang I returned to livng with my mom, now retired with a rented 2 bedroom apartment in Springfield MO.

Approaching the age of 40, with an Ivy League education and a Master's Degree, I started sending out the resumes.  Over about 4 months of time, I got exactly one interview for writing technical journals and advertizing for a pharmaceutical company and did not get the job.  I was starting to feel quite hopeless for my future. Then, perusing through the Help Wanted pages of the Springfield News-Leader (this was before the internet job seeking system with and other sites got rolling), I spied an Ad for Schneider National Trucking company, recruiting Over the Road Truck Drivers.  I went to the recruitment meeting, held at a Bates Motel in Springfield.  I met the requirements, I had a clean driving record with no DUIs, I had no criminal record, I was a HS graduate and Amerikan Citizen and I could drive a standard transmission car.  All I had to do was get my ass up to Green Bay, WI for FREE training and promise to work for them for a year to pay off that training for the low, low slave driving wage of the era of 21 cents/mile.  So I packed up my 10 year old Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon (a kind of early mini-SUV) and drove from Springfield to Green Bay the following week.  Thus began the next 7 year era of my life as an OTR Big Rig Driver cruising the Eisenhower Interstate Highways, along with occasional dispatches into Mejico and the Great White North of Canada.

Dimming Bulb 3: Collapse has ARRIVED!

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Published on The Doomstead Diner June 4, 2017

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Read also: The Dimming Bulb, The Dimming Bulb 2

Due to my High & Mighty position as a Global Collapse Pundit, I am often asked the question of when precisely will Collapse arrive?  The people who ask me this question all come from 1st World countries.  They are also all reasonably well off with a computer, an internet connection, running water and enough food to eat.  While a few of us are relatively poor retirees, even none of us wants for the basics as of yet.  The Diner doesn't get many readers from the underclass even here in Amerika, much less from the Global Underclass in places like Nigeria, Somalia,Sudan and Yemen.

The fact is, that for more than half the world population, Collapse is in full swing and well underway.  Two key bellweathers of where collapse is now are the areas of Electricity and Food. In his seminal 1996 paper The Olduvai Theory: Sliding Towards a Post-Industrial Stone Age, Richard Duncan mapped out the trajectory of where we would be as the years passed and fossil fuels became more difficult and expensive to mine up.  Besides powering all our cars and trucks for Happy Motoring and Just-in-Time delivery, the main thing our 1st World lifestyle requires is Electricity, and lots of it on demand, 24/7.  Although electricity can be produced in some "renewable" ways that don't depend on a lot of fossil fuel energy at least directly, most of the global supply of electric power comes from Coal and Natural Gas.  Of the two, NG is slightly cleaner, but either way when you burn them, CO2 goes up in the atmosphere.  This of course is a problem climatically, but you have an even bigger problem socially and politically if you aren't burning them.  Everything in the society as it has been constructed since Edison invented the Light Bulb in 1879 has depended on electricity to function.

Now, if all the toys like lights, refrigerators big screen TVs etc had been kept to just a few small countries and the rest of the world lived a simple subsistence farming lifestyle, the lucky few with the toys probably could have kept the juice flowing a lot longer.  Unfortunately however, once exposed to all the great toys, EVERYBODY wanted them.  The industrialists also salivated over all the profit to be made selling the toys to everyone.  So, everybody everywhere needed a grid, which the industrialists and their associated banksters extended Credit for "backward" Nation-States all over the globe to build their own power plants and string their own wires.  Now everybody in the country could have a lightbulb to see by and a fridge to keep the food cold.  More than that, the electricity also went to power water pumping stations and sewage treatment plants, so you could pack the Big Shities with even more people who use still more electricity.

This went on all over the globe, until today there isn't a major city or even a medium size town anywhere on the globe that isn't wired for electricity, although many places that are now no longer have enough money to keep the juice flowing.

Where is the electricity going off first?  Obviously, in the poorest and most war torn countries across the Middle East and Africa.  These days, from Egypt to Tunisia, if they get 2 hours of electricity a day they are doing good.

The Lights Are Going Out in the Middle East

The world’s most volatile region faces a challenge that doesn’t involve guns, militias, or bloodshed, yet is also destroying societies. Public fury over rampant outages has sparked protests. In January, in one of the largest demonstrations since Hamas took control in Gaza a decade ago, ten thousand Palestinians, angered by the lack of power during a frigid winter, hurled stones and set tires ablaze outside the electricity company. Iraq has the world’s fifth-largest oil reserves, but, during the past two years, repeated anti-government demonstrations have erupted over blackouts that are rarely announced in advance and are of indefinite duration. It’s one issue that unites fractious Sunnis in the west, Shiites in the arid south, and Kurds in the mountainous north. In the midst of Yemen’s complex war, hundreds dared to take to the streets of Aden in February to protest prolonged outages. In Syria, supporters of President Bashar al-Assad in Latakia, the dynasty’s main stronghold, who had remained loyal for six years of civil war, drew the line over electricity. They staged a protest in January over a cutback to only one hour of power a day.

Over the past eight months, I’ve been struck by people talking less about the prospects of peace, the dangers of ISIS, or President Trump’s intentions in the Middle East than their own exhaustion from the trials of daily life. Families recounted groggily getting up in the middle of the night when power abruptly comes on in order to do laundry, carry out business transactions on computers, charge phones, or just bathe and flush toilets, until electricity, just as unpredictably, goes off again. Some families have stopped taking elevators; their terrified children have been stuck too often between floors. Students complained of freezing classrooms in winter, trying to study or write papers without computers, and reading at night by candlelight. The challenges will soon increase with the demands for power—and air-conditioning—surge, as summer temperatures reach a hundred and twenty-five degrees.

The reasons for these outages vary. With the exception of the Gulf states, infrastructure is old or inadequate in many of the twenty-three Arab countries. The region’s disparate wars, past and present, have damaged or destroyed electrical grids. Some governments, even in Iraq, can’t afford the cost of fuelling plants around the clock. Epic corruption has compounded physical challenges. Politicians have delayed or prevented solutions if their cronies don’t get contracts to fuel, maintain, or build power plants.

Now you'll note that at the end of the third paragraph there, the journalist implies that a big part of the problem is "political corruption", but it's really not.  It's simply a lack of money.  These countries at one time were all Oil Exporters, although not on the scale of Saudi Arabia or Kuwait.  As their own supplies of oil have depleted they have become oil importers, except they neither have a sufficient mercantilist model running to bring in enough FOREX to buy oil, and they can't get credit from the international banking cartel to keep buying.  3rd World countries are being cut off from the Credit Lifeline, unlike the core countries at the center of credit creation like Britain, Germany and the FSoA.  All these 1st World countries are in just as bad fiscal deficit as the MENA countries, the only difference is they still can get credit and run the deficits even higher.  This works until it doesn't anymore.

Beyond the credit issue is the War problem.  As the countries run out of money, more people become unemployed, biznesses go bankrupt, tax collection drops off the map and goobermint employees are laid off too.  It's the classic deflationary spiral which printing more money doesn't solve, since the notes become increasingly worthless.  For them to be worth anything in FOREX, somebody has to buy their Goobermint Bonds, and that is precisely what is not happening.  So as the society becomes increasingly impoverished, it descends into internecine warfare between factions trying to hold on to or increase their share of the ever shrinking pie.

The warfare ongoing in these nations has knock on effects for the 1st World Nations still trying to extract energy from some of these places.  To keep the oil flowing outward, they have to run very expensive military operations to at least maintain enough order that oil pipelines aren't sabotaged on a daily basis.  The cost of the operations keeps going up, but the amount of money they can charge the customers for the oil inside their own countries does not keep going up.  Right now they have hit a ceiling around $50/bbl for what they can charge for the oil, and for the most part this is not a profit making price.  So all the corporations involved in Exploration & Production these days are surviving on further extensions of credit from the TBTF banks while at the same time cutting back on their capital expenditures.  This also is a paradigm that can't last.

The other major problem now surfacing is the Food Distribution problem, and again this is hitting the African countries first and hardest.  It's a combination problem of climate change, population overshoot and the warfare which results from those issues.

Currently, the UN lists 4 countries in extreme danger of famine in the coming year, Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.  They estimate currently there are 20M people at extreme risk, and I would bet the numbers are a good deal higher than that.


somalia-famine.jpg World faces four famines as Trump administration plans to slash foreign aid budget

'Biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II' about to engulf 20 million people, UN says, as governments only donate 10 per cent of funds needed for essential aid





The world is facing a humanitarian crisis bigger than any in living memory, the UN has said, as four countries teeter on the brink of famine.

Twenty million people are at risk of starvation and facing water shortages in Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen, while parts of South Sudan are already officially suffering from famine.  

While the UN said in February that at least $4.4 billion (£3.5 bn) was needed by the end of March to avert a hunger catastrophe across the four nations, the end of the month is fast approaching, and only 10 per cent of the necessary funds have been received from donor governments so far.

It doesn't look too promising that the UN will be able to raise the $4B they say is necessary to feed all those hungry mouths, and none of the 1st World countries is too predisposed to handing out food aid when they all currently have problems with their own social welfare programs for food distribution.  Here in the FSoA, there are currently around 45M people on SNAP Cards at a current cost around $71B.  The Repugnants in charge of CONgress will no doubt try to cut this number in order to better fund the Pentagon, but they are not likely to send more money to Somalia.

Far as compassion for all the starving people globally goes in the general population, this also appears to be decreasing, although I don't have statistics to back that up. It is just a general sense I get as I read the collapse blogosphere, in the commentariats generally.  The general attitude is, "It's their own fault for being so stupid and not using Birth Control.  If they were never born, they wouldn't have to die of starvation."  Since they are mostly Black Africans currently starving, this is another reason a large swath of the white population here doesn't care much about the problem.

There are all sorts of social and economic reasons why this problem spiralled out of control, having mainly to do with the production of cheap food through Industrial Agriculture and Endless Greed centered on the idea of Endless Growth, which is not possible on a Finite Planet.

More places on Earth were wired up with each passing year, and more people were bred up with each passing year.  The dependency on fossil fuels to keep this supposedly endless cycle of growth going became ever greater each year, all while this resource was being depleted more each year.  Eventually, an inflexion point had to be hit, and we have hit it. thing is, for the relatively comfortable readers of the Doomstead Diner in the 1st World BAU seems to be continuing onward, even if you are a bit poorer than you were last year. 24/7 electricity is still available from the grid with only occassional interruptions.  Gas is still available at the pump, and if you are employed you probably can afford to buy it, although you need to be more careful about how much you drive around unless you are a 1%er.  The Rich are still lining up to buy EVs from Elon Musk, even though having a grid to support all electric transportation is out of the question.  The current grid can't be maintained, and upgrading to handle that much throughput would take much thicker cables all across the network.  People carry on though as though this will all go on forever and Scientists & Engineers will solve all the problems with some magical new device.  IOW, they believe in Skittle Shitting Unicorns.

That's not going to happen though, so you're back to the question of how long will it take your neighborhood in the UK or Germany or the FSoA to look like say Egypt does today?  Well, if you go back in time a decade to Egypt in 2007, things were still looking pretty Peachy over there, especially in Tourist Traps like Cairo.  Terrorism wasn't too huge a problem and Da Goobermint of Hoser Mubarak appeared stable.  A decade later today, Egypt is basically a failed state only doing marginally better than places like Somalia and Sudan.  The only reason they're doing as well as they are is because they are in an important strategic location on the Suez Canal and as such get support from the FSoA military.

So a good WAG here for how long it will take for the Collapse Level in 1st World countries to reach the level Egypt is at today is about a decade.  It could be a little shorter, it could be longer.  By then of course, Egypt will be in even WORSE shape, and who might still be left alive in Somalia is an open question.  Highly unlikely to be very many people though.  Over the next decade, the famines will spread and people will die, in numbers far exceeding the 20M to occur over the next year.  After a while, it's unlikely we will get much newz about this, and people here won't care much about what they do hear.  They will have their own problems.

How I Survived Collapse: Chapter 24

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Published on The Doomstead Diner May 31, 2017

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Kenny drove carefully through his narrow private driveway as he always did to avoid scratching up the paint job on the van or putting any dents in it.  Keeping it in good shape and respectable looking was helpful in getting the more well to do clients for his landscaping bizness.  Similarly, once out on the logging road he travelled slowly so as not to put too much stress on the shock absorbers from all the ruts in the road, which wasn't being maintained much if at all anymore by Weyerhauser.  Only once reaching paved road did he crank up the accelerator and do the speed limit for the road of 50 mph.  Then back on another logging road to get to Karl's place at around 25 mph or so, since although it was a dirt road was still being graded every year and was fairly smooth.

He pulled into Karl's place and parked the Van next to Karen's Ford Escort in one of the empty spots in the carport, and getting out he could see Karen in the distance saddling up Mr. Ed.  Quick Draw was already saddled up and peacefully munching on some new grass, a nice change from the hay she had been eating all winter.  Huckleberry was out in the pasture apparently stalking and chasing down a field mouse or some other small creature, or maybe just imagining she was, it was hard to tell from a distance.

Kenny gave a wave to Karen and got his daypack out of the van, which carried a few basic Bugout Bag tools he always carried when away from his main supplies of preps.  Contained in it were basic survival tools, things like monoline fishing filament, hooks, a polymer survival blanket, a folding campsaw, fast hatchet, fire piston and basic mess kit for cooking, among other items.  It was the lowest down on his hierarchy of prep items to put in one bag for the Final Bugout, if it ever became necessary, which he definitely hoped it never would.  For practice, he had spent a few nights away from his doomstead with just the bag, and it wasn't too pleasant an experience.  He did manage to fish up enough trout and dig out enough grubs from rotting wood to stay nourished, and managed to stay warm enough not to freeze to death by collecting wood and getting a fire going with his fire piston, building a quick shelter which was really more of a nest of leaves and pine needles, but it was far fom comfortable.  Given time though, he was confident he could have build a better shelter.

Slinging the pack over his shoulder,  Kenny jogged over to where Karen was just finishing pulling the straps tight, and gave him a big and affectionate hug when got within range.  A hug from Karen was an entirely different experience from getting a hug from Kirsten.  Kenny felt as though he had drpped out of the world of Lilliputians and into the world of Brobdingnagians.  Besides being significantly taller than Kenny at around 6'1" with powerful biceps from years of kayaking, there were also a couple of large pillows on her chest that Kirsten did not sport.  Kenny worried for a moment she might squeeze the life out of him like an over-enthusiastic Python,  but fortunately she released her grip before he ran out of oxygen.

"Great to see you again Kenny.", she said with a big smile.  "Ready for your first riding lesson?"

"Ready as I'll ever be I suppose.", Kenny replied.

"OK, why don't you hang your knapsack on the fence and we'll get started."

Kenny had of course seen numerous westerns on TV growing up, and in addition had spent some time Googling up You Tube vids on basic riding skills and technique, so he wan't clueless.  Still, mounting a good size American Quarter Horse for the first time was a bit daunting.  Placing his foot inside the stirrup, he grapped the pommel on the Western Saddle and hoisted himself aboard, straddling the equine and enjoing the nice view from up on high.  It was a big advantage over a motorcycle to be seated up so high, although not quite as comfortable as Karl's ZEV EV motorcycles.  It also breathed in and out, the ribs expanding and contracting between his legs.  Motorcycles didn't do that.

Quick Draw was quite relaxed about having Kenny climb aboard her back having met him and smelled him on several occassions before, and he was obviously friends with Karl so she wasn't too nervous.  She could tell though he wasn't a very experienced rider and could sense his nervousness.  Karen was around and patting her though, so overall she was quite calm and just periodically dropped her head to munch on some grass while she waited to get going.

"Do you want me to walk you around the pasture, or do you want to try leading her yourself?  I'll lead with Mr. Ed for a bit, Quick Draw will follow him.  If it's going good, I'll go behind you and you lead.", Karen suggested.

"I think I can drive slow", Kenny said with a grin.

"OK, sounds good!" Karen replied, quickly mounting Mr. Ed.  She took off on a slow walk and Kenny gave Quick Draw a light nudge with his heels, and she fell in behind Mr. Ed and followed.  He didn't even really have to steer with the reins at all, Quick Draw was on auto-pilot in follow mode and he just held the reins lightly as they walked around the pasture.

After a couple of slow trips around the pasture, Karen turned and called back to Kenny.  "Feel up to leading yet?", she asked.

"Uhh, yea sure.", Kenny responded, giving Quick Draw another nudge with his heels and pulling up alongside Karen. "This is really FUN!" he effused, genuinely enjoying the ride.

Pulling out in front of Karen, Kenny took another slow trip around the pasture and then Karen yelled out to him, "Why don't you try to speed it up a bit?  Nudge Quickdraw up to a Trot." she suggested.

Kenny was about ready to do that anyhow, so he gave Quickdraw another couple of taps, and a little slap with the reins as he had seen the Cowboys do in all the Westerns he watched as a kid on TV.  Quick Draw picked up the pace nicely, and Kenny experimented with doing a little more steering by pulling on the reins, and running a Figure 8 around the pasture.

A few more trips this way, and Karen galloped up next to him.  "You're doing great Kenny! I think we can get out of the pasture and do a trail ride, and have a picnic for lunch, before we go Kayaking."

"That sounds super Karen!", Kenny responded.

They walked both horses back to the stable area and dismounted, then headed inside to collect some food goodies for the Picnic.  Karl was busy with "Kitchen Day", canning some veggies from his raised beds and making Chevre Goat cheese from a few gallons of his goat's milk collected over the last few days.

"How did the riding lesson go?", Karl inquired as he stirred some lemon juice into the goat's milk warming on his 48" Thermidor Professional Gas Range, fired by his supply of Amerigas propane stored in a 1000 gallon propane tank buried a few hundred yards away from the Earthship.

"Great Dad!", Karen effused.  "Kenny's a natural, and Quick Draw seems to like him too.  We're going to go on a trail ride and have a picnic."

"Sounds like fun!  Grab whatever looks good out of the fridge.  I made a batch of Chicken Salad yesterday after sending a couple of the hens to the Great Beyond.  There's a loaf of fresh baked French Bread to make some sandwiches too.  Go grab a bottle of Vino from the Wine Cellar to wash it down with." Karl suggested.  Not being completely clueless, he could tell Karen was on the prowl, and a nice bottle of wine was always a good lubricant for socialization.  How Kenny would deal with his problems of trying to juggle two women was his own problem.

"OK!  Kenny, you pick out the food from the fridge, I'll go down to the wine cellar and pick out a nice bottle of Pinot Noir.  Dad has some real nice vintages down there, I checked them out!  Puts the Wine Cellar at Quinn's to shame!", Karen said mischievously, winking at Karl.

Karl laughed.  "Yea, well stay away from that case of Romanee-Conti DRC 1990, that cost me a fortune at auction at Sotheby's!  It's strictly post-SHTF stuff for a last goodbye to Industrial Civilization along with the case of 50 year old Glenlivet single malt scotch!"

Karen smiled.  "Yea, OK dad, no Romanee-Conti DRC 1990." , Karen agreed, heading down the stairs into the Wine Cellar.

Kenny pulled out the chicken salad and put about half in an oil polymer produced plastic Tupperware container, then plucked a couple of Roma Tomatoes off the vine in Karl's Hothouse area of the Earthship, as well as some Romaine lettuce and a small head of Raddichio and some Green Onions.  Karen arrived back upstairs and helped make the sandwiches, and then they added some of an old batch of Goat Cheese not yet finished in the fridge and store bought items including a can of Progresso Southwest Black Bean Soup to heat up over the Jetboil butane campstove, some NY Style Half Sour Jewish Batampte Pickles Karl ordered online from Brooklyn. NY and some Brazilian Bananas shipped up from former Rainforest now transformed into a Banana and Palm Oil plantation.  A nice solid lunch for a couple of hugnry millenials!

Kenny and Karen stowed the food in two sets of hand-tooled leather saddlebags from Cheaney's Custom Saddles down in Gainesville, Texas, and Kenny bungied his Bugout Knapsack to the back of Quick Draw's saddle.  Huckleberry was ready for the adventure too, she had watched Karen saddling up the horses, which always meant a nice trip out into the woods to chase squirrels and rabbits.

"So where are we going?" Kenny asked. "Up to the Lean-To?"

"Nah, you've already been there tons of times.  I've been exploring and found some really neat places since getting back together with dad." Over the course of the last few weeks Karen had finally become comfortable and used to calling Karl, 'Dad'.  "There's a really cool spot upstream a few miles from Dad's creek.  It's a nice EZ trail to follow along the creek."

"That sounds great!" Kenny replied, looking forward to seeing some new territory around the neighborhood.  He pulled out his Magellan GPS and set it to record the trail ride and to make notes on significant landmarks along the way, in case he would have to reproduce the route later without the use of a GPS.

Karen laughed.  "Geez Kenny, don't you ever stop with this stuff?  You're worse than dad!  We can't get lost on this trail, you never even lose sight of the creek!"

Kenny made a fake petulant look at Karen and retorted half seriously.  "Well you never know.  The stream could get rerouted by an earthquake while we are eating the chicken salad sandwiches!"  Then he stuck his tongue out at her and they both got a good belly laugh out of it.

Donalditry Trumpovetsky

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Published on The Doomstead Diner May 28, 2017

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Well, we are about halfway through the first year of the Presidency of His Trumpness over the ever decaying corpse of Amerika.  Global citizens can count themselves lucky that at least so far he hasn't pushed the button to glaze over Beijing or Pyongyang, or whoever else is pissing him off over breakfast while he fires off the tweets. This week as I begin this recap, he took a break from the weekly Golf rounds at Mar de Lago flying in on Air Force 1 surrounded by an Army of Secret Service Agents to go Jet Setting around the world to meet with a variety of Foreign Leaders.  This of course costs the Taxpayer just slightly more than your average First Class Ticket on United for a Hawaiian Vacation.  In fact I could LIVE in Hawaii for the rest of my life for the cost of one of these trips!  It's in the $MILLIONS$ for every weekend round of Golf he needs to play down in Florida to relieve the high stress during the week of getting out his Morning Tweet.

However, Deal-maker extraordinaire that he is, the money should be recouped by all the financial deals he will make for the FSoA during the trip!  According to Newz Reports in the MSM, in just the first day he sold $110B worth of military hardware to the Wahabist Killers running Saudi Arabia!  By itself, this easily pays for the trip!  Although of course, they could have done the same deal over the internet and saved a lot of money on what is basically just a Photo Op.  All the deals are already worked out long before El Trumpsky walks down the stairs from Air Force 1.

BTW, don't you find it a bit curious that all shots of the POTUS coming off one of these airplanes (there are actually a fleet of them, not just one) have a portable stairway on open tarmac, no terminal in sight?  On my first flights in the 1960s down to Brazil, this was very common.  Even international airports of the time did not sport the big hydraulically powered jetway ramps that today attach themselves to just about every aircraft, unless you either are flying in an incredibly small and uncomfortable Regional Jet, or are flying to some complete Buttfuck location in the middle of 3rd World Nowhere.

Today however, you can't fly from Milwaulkee to Cleveland and disembark the plane without walking through a hydraulically powered Jetway tube.  When Air Force 1 lands in Riyahd though, there are apparently no available Gates at the terminal for the plane to dock at, so the POTUS is forced to walk down stairs to a waiting Limousine on the Tarmac.  You would think by now they would have at least devised a Mobile Escalator for the purpose of shipping the High & Mighty Meat Package of the POTUS off the fucking 747!

Update!  They DO have Portable Tarmac Escalators for the High & Mighty!

How come Donaldovitch didn't get one of these when he landed in Saudi Arabia? So anyhow, what the expensive trip amounts to is an opportunity for numerous Photo Ops with Trumpovsky looking "Presidential" as he shakes hands with various Foreign Leaders. Also in theory for him a Welcome Relief from the last couple of weeks of Domestic Attacks on his credibilty and the way he is running the Executive Branch of Goobermint here on Home Soil.  Whether he can resist the temptation to Tweet while he is Jet Setting though remains an open question as of today when I begin writing this essay.

Back here in the FSoA though, the non-stop chatter about parallels with Watergate and the possibilities for the Big "I" of Impeachment continue, and not strictly from the so-called "left" of the Demodopes or Wing Nut bloggers.  It's being bandied about by WaPo on a daily basis, with heavyweight Law Professors from Harvard like Alan Dershowitz weighing in.  Regardless of who is interviewed though, they all pretty much say the same thing, that even if Donaldovitch is guilty of Impeachable crimes, it's unlikely the Repugnant controlled CONgress will pull the plug on him.  This takes a 2/3rds majority in the Senate,  so even if all the Demodopes vote to Impeach, you still need around 17 Repugnants to join them.  This does appear highly unlikely, except for a couple of things.

First is that currently the entire Goobermint is in complete dissarray and nothing on the Repugnant agenda is getting accomplished.  Well, at least none of the major stuff, some small stuff like eviscerating the EPA is happening.  Still haven't got rid of that pesky Obamacare yet though.  Also women can still get birth control and abortions, evolution is still being taught in the schools, teachers are still Unionized and there aren't any fucking Oil Drilling Platforms off Malibu or Virginia Beach yet!  Also they have not yet raided all the public pension funds or privatized Social Security.  So things are not going as smoothly as the Repugnants would like here under the Trumpoyetsty Regime, mainly because the constant turmoil he creates with the Daily Lie on Twitter keeps them too bizzy doing Spin Control and trying to save their own sorry asses. The second major issue is that the CONgressional elections are coming up in 2018, and Repugnant candidates are currently getting pelted with Rotten Eggs & Rotten Tomatoes at Town Hall meetings all across the FSoA.  It's gotten so bad that they need to arrest reporters for the serious crime of asking questions and give their speeches from inside a Shark Cage protected by Secret Service carrying Bazookas.  Gerrymandering and voiding voter ballots may not be enough to get these clowns re-elected, and they know it.  At a certain point you gotta cut your losses and throw somebody under the bus, and with every Tweet Donaldovitch looks more and more like good Bus Meat.

Lopping off Donaldefsky's head isn't likely to make things better, it may in fact make them worse since we will get Pensky as replacement POTUS.  Pensky is likely to be worse since he is an experienced career beltway politician who knows where the money goes and how to buy favors and not just try to bully everybody in town.  He's already got a Super-PAC formed to collect money from Billionaires to help fellow Retardican pols get re-elected, and then himself too once he takes over the Oval Office from Trumpovitch and becomes the unelected POTUS, Gerald Ford style.  He can then grant a Pardon to Trumpov for Money Laundering for the Ruskie Mafia, after of course he deposits a nice chunk of change to Pensky's account in the Cayman Islands. The whole Ruskie connection deal with the Donaldov is so blatantly obvious it's not even funny.  First is the fact he refuses to disclose his Tax Returns, which no doubt are loaded with Fake Numbers.  Next is the fact it's KNOWN information already that he sold numerous properties in his buildings to Ruskie Oligarchs, who all also are trying to find some mattress to stuff the money they rip off from the Ruskie people into, somewhere outside Mother Russia.  Then there are all the meetings by various members of his staff and family with high level Ruskies and/or high bank account Ruskies.  Then of course is the Praise being dished out at him by Vlad the Impaler, who definitely would not be doing that if there was not something in it for him.  One has to suspect that Trumpovitch is PWNed by the Ruskies and Vlad is counting on him to deliver some good pipeline deals through Rex Tillerson.  If it looks like Donaldov cannot deliver, Vlad the Impaler will cut him loose and leave him twisting in the wind.  Instead of sleeping next to Melania, he will find the head of Cloud Computing in his King Size bed.  Then after that he will be Sleeping with the Fishes.  Compared to a takedown by the KGB, Impeachment is a very positive outcome for Trumpotsky. Despite all of this ongoing bullshit, a significant number of Deplorables still support Trumpsky, he amazingly has still a 36% approval rating!  The lowest in all of Recorded History at this point in a POTUS administration, but still at least 36% above where it should be.  In reality, it should be measured in the Negative Imaginary Numbers!  It's still unclear though whether a POTUS Popularity Index matters at all, sort of like it doesn't matter what the latest bullshit number is coming out of the BLS or the CBO.  Unemployment is down to 5%, but 50% of the population has dropped out fo the workforce!  The Economy is Growing at 2%/year, but the debt is growing at $2T/year!  Probably more, but you get the picture, none of these stats matter worth a damn anymore, even if they're correct.  Nobody actually in charge of Da Goobermint gives a flying fuck, and no matter who you vote for the debt will keep going up and the number of employed people will keep going down.  Whether your POTUS is LOVED or HATED doesn't matter either, in both cases said POTUS won't be able to do a damn thing to change the downhill trajectory here.  Of course, a complete JERK like Donaldov can speed things up a bit, and is doing a good job with that in his first year shitting in the White House toilet. After his jaunt through Saudi Arabia picking up Beheading techniques from the Saudi Princes, Trumpovitch is due to hit Israel to talk to NetanYAHOO, then over to the Vatican where he will have an audience with His Popeness Francis, Vicar of Christ on Earth.  In one 10 day vacation, Donolovov is covering the Muslims, the Jews and the Christians!  Very broad minded of him.  Buddhists and Hindus may feel slighted here.

After making the Religious pilgrimmage, his next stop is in Brussels and then back to Italy for the G-7 meeting where the Economistas will further fuck up the Global Economy while dining on Canapes, Oysters Rockefeller and $23,000 bottles of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1945.  Followed for desert by the BEST Chocolate Cake ever to go through the pie hole of his Putin Puppet head, even better than that last chocolate cake he ate in Syria.  Following his Impeachment, you can count on Donalditry Trumpovetsky to sign up as chief Spokesmodel for Betty Crocker.

When I’m Gone

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Published on The Doomstead Diner May 26, 2017


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Yes indeed, this is truly looking like a Message From God now that the time has come to make some serious changes in my life, or what little is left of it.

The Diner has had some technical problems in the last week, which our Wizard Genius Code Jockey Palloy has been trying to get fixed up.  It has something to do with compatibility between the various software packages and plugins and PHP versions, most likely.  Whatever the problem is though, without somebody like Palloy to keep everything ship shape after a couple of years at the most something is going to go wrong, and down goes the website.  Besides that, somebody has to be around to pay the server bills.

A while back I created a FREE WordPress Blog to handle this situation,  It has most of my articles up to about 2 years ago on it.  I haven't been good about maintaining it since though.  However, for as long as the Forum database holds up, all the articles I wrote in the interim are preserved there as well as on this WordPress blog.  You can still dig them up if you like for the moment, but probably not for too long once I buy my ticket to the Great Beyond.

The Internet is a Temporal medium in one sense, and an Eternal one in another.  It's temporal in the sense that after about a month, anything you wrote is OLD NEWZ, and nobody ever goes back to read it, even if you are a famous Superstar of Doom like John Michael Greer.  Who goes back to read 10 year old posts from Mr. Wizard on the Archdruid Report to try and catch up on his evolving philosophy and ideas?  If you followed him for that period of time and could tolerate it, you know what he is saying.  Who will buy this full 10 Volume Collection of all his posts he intends to publish, and WHY?  Nobody statistically speaking ever goes very far back in time reading old articles.

In another sense though, eliminating the reader from the the equation, the digibits stored on silicon memory chips are very long lasting unless hit by an EMP, so whether it is read or not, the organization of letters into words and words into a story remains around for quite a while, even after the computers are all shut down from lack of electricity.

In a more metaphysical sense, your thoughts and ideas are never destroyed, they exist for all eternity whether you wrote them down or not. Do they need to be read by someone to have meaning?  No, the meaning is still there whether anyone is around to read them or not, or can decipher what is written.  We have a few old books like the Bible around that can still be read by people, but this is of course only a tiny drop in the bucket of all the thoughts of all the people who ever lived since we developed sapience somewhere back in the mists of time.

So what I realized here with this latest software problem (which doesn't appear yet quite as serious as the Big Crash of the Diner we had a few years back which took it offline for a full week) is that it's not really that important to me that the Diner stays up after I cross the Great Divide.  I'm not writing for posterity for some readers in the far future, I'm writing to communicate with people who live in the here and now and who are experiencing collapse with me.  It's not a huge following of people, but it's enough for me and I have made good friends during the time I have been running this blog and forum.  As I said in my recent Death Chronicle Grim Reaper post, without those friends I wouldn't have anyone at all around as I edge my way out of this world and into the Great Beyond.

Making Changes

I also have a better clue now as to what is wrong with me, my Liver is pretty well shot.  All the years of drinking finally caught up with me.  It's amazing it lasted as long as it did.  If I want to live any longer at all I have change this behavior and stop, and so I did 2 days ago after returning home from the clinic.  I don't know whether it's in time to reverse the problems and live a while longer, but I'll give it a shot.  Livers do regenrate if there are still enough good liver cells left.  My mom had Liver Cancer and had a third of hers cut out and lived another 10 years.  I at least want to live long enough to get the SUN☼ Project off the ground, which entails getting out of Alaska and down to South Carolina where the non-profit is chartered and where the other principal officers of the corporation live.  I have to try and stay alive at least for a couple of more months to get this done properly.  If you have enjoyed my writings on Collapse over the years or my Rants or Interviews, drop by the SUN☼ Project Website and make a Donation to help us along.  It's TAX DEDUCTIBLE.

I have quit drinking a few times in my life, most notably when I was out on the road trucking and it was against company rules to drink even while you were off duty.  If you got caught, instant dismissal so it was a very good motivator to quit.  However, I always went back to drinking if I didn't have some threat like that hanging over my head.  Why?  Because I enjoyed drinking, it gave me pleasure.  Same thing with smoking.  I was of course well aware of the negative health consequences of both, but they generally take years to show up, and in some cases never do.  I had an uncle who smoked 2 packs of Camel Straights a day and drank a bottle of whisky a day into his 90s. He did have emphysema at the end, but by 90 just about everyone has something wrong with them even if they  have perfect habits.  So I just kept my fingers crossed I would be one of the lucky ones.  I was, until now.

Do I regret my choices now that it caught up with me?  No, I really don't, at least as long as I can get SUN☼ off the ground and I think I should live long enough to manage that. To not have drank and smoked for these last 40 years or so would have taken some of the pleasure out of my life.  I sacrificed an unknown number of years I might have lived longer to do as I pleased in the here and now.  Not having any kids to worry about or look forward to seeing grandkids, it really didn't matter to me how long I lived.  Also, after getting out of the truck nearing age 50, I realized I wasn't going to make any earth shattering accomplishments, and I was just going through the motions of daily living inside industrial society.  Get up, shower, go to work to keep a roof over my head, go home, eat, go to sleep.  Rinse and repeat.  If I lived longer, I would be doing just the same thing.  Well, except for the working part. lol.

I did get a hobby though just around the time I hit 50, which was following Collapse on the internet.  This has kept my mind occupied for the last decade, the last 5 years of which have been spent writing for the Doomstead Diner.  That gave me some meaning and purpose to my life, but it didn't stop me from drinking.  Then after my injury 3 years ago and leaving work, I started drinking even more.  Living life as a cripple is no fun, so there was even less reason for me to want to extend my life out further.  Beyond that, my knowledge of collapse and my own condition informs me I stand no chance of survival in even just a mild collapse scenario.  I'm too dependent on modern medicine to stay alive without it.

Understanding collapse did give me a Goal to shoot for though, which was to get SUN☼ off the ground, and that really only became possible once I won my Workman's Compensation case and got my lump sum award.  The big hangup for SUN☼ has always been not having enough money to get some land and demonstrate sustainable living techniques while trying to build a bigger and more resilient community around it.  In this world, if you don't have money you can't get anything done.

So I was already planning to leave Alaska for South Carolina this spring, but then another monkey wrench got thrown into the works when Social Security went and cut 1/3rd of my bennies in a misapplication of the reverse offset law.  I had to appeal that and get a hearing scheduled, which isn't until August 16th.  The new plan then was to make the move right after the hearing, but then this new problem cropped up with the Liver, and now I'm not sure I can make it to August 16th.  So we have now upped the timetable to moveout to as soon as Lucid Dreams can get his passport and fly up here to help me.  He needs the passport because we plan to drive back and to do that you have to go through Canada.  If it doesn't appear I can make it for another month, he'll fly up with a round trip ticket.

If I do make it as far as August 16th, then I'll fly back up here to make it to the hearing, which I'm not expecting to win, but will follow through with on principle.  Then if I stay alive even longer, I'll appeal that judgement to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.  I think my chances of surviving that long are quite slim though.

This decision and the Changes I am making also made an important goal of mine with the Doomstead Diner accomplished.  My Tag Line for the Diner has always been "Save As Many As You Can".  Not having $Billions$ in my Credit Union account and not having any Political Power limited me in my selection of means & methods to do that Saving to Blogging Collapse, to inform as many people as I could about what was coming down the pipe.  Not everyone agrees with all my analysis of course, but for the most part I have been proved correct about the event sequences if not the precise timeline for them.  I also am aware of at least 2 people who made life changes and took themselves off grid as the result of what they read on the Doomstead Diner.  However, to actually be able to physically and IRL Save anybody with the SUN☼ Project has remained just a dream until now because of…you guessed it…lack of money.  Winning my Workman's Compensation case gave me the money I need to get SUN☼ going, and to Save at least 4 people before I buy my Ticket to the Great Beyond, LD, GM & their two young boys.  I am giving LD the opportunity to follow his Bliss and get his Bamboo grove growing.  That's a Lifetime Accomplishment I can be proud of as I exit this meat package to cross the Great Divide.

It's quite weird to know you are going to die very soon.  After I got injured I started a thread inside the Diner on a members-only board called "RE is dying".  It became a running diary of all the trials and tribulations I have faced over the last 3 years.  It was said kind of tongue in cheek originally, because with the exception of right after leaving work I haven't felt in danger of imminent death.  That was mostly psychologically driven though.  Now it's very real and very physical.  I will be no more in this world, at least not in this meat package.  I look around my digs at all my STUFF, which besides my writing is my history of living on Earth.  I imagine dying with nobody here to collect it all and it just getting scattered to the wind.  Then the maintenance man will come in and clean the place out, they'll give it a new paint job and somebody else will move in.  For a while letters addressed to me will drop in the mailbox, but they'll peter out as well and there will be no memory that at one time I was shuffling around this place as an old cripple in his last days on earth.

The Diner may stay up a bit longer after I am gone, but not by very much I imagine.  My few close friends from the Diner will remember me longer which is the best legacy I leave, and with luck the SUN☼ Project will get off the ground and get a building up called the Doomstead Diner that will be there for some period of time.  Then that too will crumble to dust.

Even though it will all vanish though, written in eternity it will always be true that once there was an RE, once upon a time he walked the Earth and he was a Good Man.

60: The Life & Times of a Boomer Doomer 2

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Published on The Doomstead Diner May 24, 2017

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Stage 4 – The High School Years

In the middle of my 9th Grade year in JHS, they gave us another standardized test to see if we qualified for any of the Magnet schools that the NY Shity public schools were running at the time, Sutyvesant, Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Technical High School, the High School for Art & Design and the Highs School of the Performing Arts (The FAME School).  As usual I aced this test and had my choice of schools and picked Stuyvesant, because it was a Science & Math skule and I was a nerd.I picked it over Bronx HS of Science and Brooklyn Tech because from where I lived it was much easier to get there by Subway, although still a pretty long trip of around 1.5 hours every day.  For the other two schools, the only way to get there was by buses which weren't all that dependable or EXTREMELY long subway commutes.

Stuyvesant turned out to be a great choice on the academic level. The best teachers vied for positions at Stuy High, and I got some really good ones.  Frank McCourt who went on to write Angela's Ashes was my Journalism teacher and main mentor as in a teacher I went to for advice and just to talk.  Later when I went to college I would meet up with Frank at McSorley' Old Ale House, an Irish bar in downtown Manhattan not far from where Stuy was located.  I had a great Organic Chemistry teacher in Mr. Price (don't remember his first name), and because I had done Orgo already once in HS, it was easy for me to Ace in college while it gives a lot of people fits.  They weren't all stars though, my History teacher Mr. Lowenthal was ANCIENT, probably in his 70s and boring as all hell.

I also had some great classmates.  Eric Lander who sat right in front of me in many classes because of the spelling order of our last names and in gym class was a real genius who won the Westinghouse and eventually went on to founded the Whitehead Institute at MIT and did major work on the Human Genome Project.  In sophomore year, we were partners in biology lab.

Gym and athletics though took a real hit during the HS years, Stuy had a really crappy gym space in the downtown NY Shity building it was housed in, and a school packed with nerds doesn't field very good sports teams. lol.  So I didn't do any organized sports during my HS years.  My main after school clubs were the Chess Club and the Debating Team.  There we were VERY competitive, and the finals for the NYC Public School System nearly always came down to a battle between Stuy, Brooklyn Tech and Bronx HS of Science.

Stuy also was not very good for my incipient love life, as it had only gone co-ed 3 years before I got there, and only with a sprinkling of girls, not 50-50. More like 80-20.  All the new girls were snapped up by the Seniors, leaving not much for Sophomore and Junior boys.  I did manage to get a date for the Prom though at least.

However, I made up for this lack of Amour during the HS years from school in a few ways.  First off, there was summer camp where I met girls who lived in the general NYC broad metro area, and I would take the train to see them for dates once in a while.  Then I also got flown down to Oz twice a year to be with my Dad the Pigman for his court ordered visitation rights, and being an Exotic Amerikan, Aussie girls found me interesting.  Finally, in my local neighborhood of Flushing, there were still girls I knew from Junior High around, so I wasn't totally bereft of female companionship for those years.

The other main aspect of this period of my life was it was the Pirate Radio years with my friend Randy which I wrote about in Pump Up the Volume, so I won't rehash the story again here.  Just to encapsulate though, that period represented my main political awakening period.

The Bacchanalian Years

This was about a 6-7 year Era in my life, which included the College Years at Columbia and the first 3 years after college working on Wall Street. While studying in school was the ostensible reason for being there, the REAL reason that consumed most of my time was PARTYING!  I got to college at the ripe old age of 16, and even then you weren't supposed to be able to legally drink alcohol until you were 18, but nobody at bars or liquors stores ever checked your ID, and if they did any old ID you whipped up with a fake birthdate would work.  We ran "Happy Hours" in the social room of the Dorm on the ground floor every week, and about every night one floor or another in the dorm would run a "Floor Party".  I remember one floor party where I got the job of rolling joints from a quarter pound of Ganja, which took me quite a few hours during the week to get done.  I got real good at rolling joints though as a result of this.  By the time I was done, they were almost as uniform looking as smokes out of a pack of Camels! lol.

Just as important as Partying though was GETTING LAID, and I bounced through a few one night or one week stands before I finally met my first true love in Sophomore year, who I refer to nowadays as the Illuminati Spawn.  She was a transfer student in Sophomore Year from Bennington College in Vermont to Barnard College, the women's school associated with Columbia before they went Co-Ed, but I think both schools still exist as separate entities to this day even so.  She was a brilliant polyglot, could speak fluently in a good dozen languages and could read Ancient Greek, Latin and Sanskrit.  Her dad was a math professor at MIT, and actually he and I got on better most of the time than I did with his spawn, except when we were fucking.  She was pretty unstable overall, and dishes would fly if she got mad.  lol.  Still we mostly stayed together through Senior year, though with a number of episodes of cheating by both of us.  We broke up on graduation though, when she went to Washington to pursue a career in the State Department and I took my first job on Wall Street at Merrill Lynch, courtesy of connections from Dad the Pigman (a pal of his from the Executive Training Program at Chase in the 1950's had ended up as CEO of Merrill).

In terms of getting laid, this was even better than college!  I was making gobs of money, hitting clubs like CBGBs and Max's Kansas City and fucking half the dancers in the Joffrey Ballet Company!  There were mile long lines of Coke laid out on mirrors at every party and the food wasn't potato chips and dip like in college.  It was caviar, canapes, smoked salmon and fresh sushi and sashimi.  Afternoon lunches were picked up by Merrill Lynch as long as I got myself invited to sit at the table with the big wigs, which I usually was able to do because my dad's buddy who got me the job was the CEO! What's not to like about this life?

The JOB and the people I worked with, that's what was not to like.  A bigger bunch of assholes gathered together in one skyscraper could not be imagined.  Everybody was out to fuck everybody else, especially "low hanging fruit" investors, but also each other as they tried to climb the corporate ladder.  I also couldn't stand dressing up in the Monkey Suit every day, getting my shoes shined and bringing my costume to the Dry Cleaners every week.  So one fine clear September morning I just couldn't walk through the door and into the lobby, and took the subway back home.  Thus ended my short years as a rich and privileged scion destined to someday become a Master of the Universe.

The Medical Technologist, Chef, Part-time Gymnastics Coach & Marriage Years

I did have some savings after the Bachannalian Years, but not much since I spent most of the income on blow and booze at the clubs.  Expenses were pretty high too, it's not cheap to get all your suits dry cleaned and your shirts washed & pressed at the Chinese Laundry every week you know.  I also still had a good 8 years left to go on my college loans. However, I quickly hooked on as a Medical Techologist in a lab at a Hospital I had done some Research Assistant work in the Cardiology Department as a Work-Study job during the college years, and this met most of the basic bills fairly well.  I had a very interesting schedule of 2 16 hour shifts over the weekend, starting at 4PM on Saturday and 4PM on Sunday, separated out by 8 hours where I caught some sleep.

I also caught a good deal of sleep on the job as well, since my lab was independent and isolated from the rest of the Chemistry Labs in the hospital, it was in the Cardiology Department, closed and locked down for the night other than the Blood Gas lab.During the Midnight-8 shift, few samples came in usually, maybe 5-10 a night on average, and they would take about 5 minutes to run, record in a log and report the results to whoever it was that sent you the sample.  Samples came from the ER, SICU, MICU and NICU.  If you don't know what these medical acronyms mean, look them up on Google. lol.  There were even nights I got no samples at all and could sleep straight through the whole shift and get paid for it!

Although it was paying around enough to cover all my bills, first off I was bored the other 5 days a week and second did not have enough spare income to go out doing too much else.  So I looked around for a 2nd job to take and found a job as a Sous Chef at Capsuto Freres, a very classy restaurant in Chelsea which I had frequented during the Bacchanalian years and knew the Head Chef.

I also used my free time to work out at a Y in Westchester where they had a Trampoline and an incipient Gymnastics Program starting up run by my eventually to become wife and then ex-wife.  I met her initially working out in the weight room pumping iron, getting myself back into shape after years of neglect since High School Daze, and found out she was Head of the Gymnastics Program they were starting up.  She was an ex-Elite gymnast whose dad had been on the Hungarian gymnastics team in the 1940s or 1950s not sure and had trained here under Muriel Grossfeld for a while.  So I asked her if I could use the Tramp while it was set up for practice. The gym at this time was similar to many, a "set-up & take-down" gym that was in the normal Basketball gym space in this Y. This was before there were many dedicated Private Gymnastics Clubs with permanent setups around.  That didn't start exploding until after Mary Lou Retton won the All-Around Gold Medal in 1984 (an Olympics boycotted by the Ruskies).

Like riding a bicycle, once learned gymnastics tricks are not forgotten by your Reptilian Brain.  You may lose the physical ability to do them, but the motor control is with you for most of your life, until the brain itself starts to decay.  So after getting myself back in shape (I was still in my 20s at the time), I was able to throw fulls and double backs on the tramp, and she was impressed!  We became an "item", and she asked me to help her coach tumbling, vault and bars skills, all of which I understood perfectly well even though I had no formal training as a gymnastics coach.  There was in fact no such formal training available in those years, and there still is very little.  It's something you learn as you grow up, from others who tried these things before you.  I had additional background in Physics, Mechanics, Biology and Child Psychology which helped as well on the theoretical end for developing drills for learning the skills, and for training the mind to be fearless enough to try them.

RE with a future National Team member, Age 5

So I left the world of Haute Cuisine and took on as my part-time job coaching gymnastics.  After 3 years of dating and living together, we married. After another 3 years, we divorced.  Why?

Not long after getting married, things started to go south economically.  My Union went on strike for 6 months, and I couldn't meet all the bills we had accumulated.  We took a great and memorable Honeymoon in Europe for 6 weeks, we bought a Condo and the only new car I ever bought in my life, a Chevy Astro Van so we could ship our gymmies around in bulk periodically, sort of like a Soccer Mom & Dad on Steroids.  I also still had college loans to pay off. To cover this shortfall, I ran up my credit card bills, paying my Student Loan by taking cash advances on the CCs.  The lack of money put a crimp in the lifestyle both of us liked, which was still a lot of partying.  Arguments over money ensued, wife started cheating on me and I started cheating on her.  We got to where we couldn't stand each other, so finally I left her a note on the Kitchen Table, a Music Mix on a Cassete Tape I recorded of breakup songs, and left her with the condo and took off in the Astro Van, which I lived in for about 6 months before quitting on that lifestyle and moving back in with my mom in the McMansion in Flushing, Queens in NY Shitty.

I got out of the marriage pretty cheap as those things go, we mutually agreed to end it and no lawyers involved.  I filed all the paperwork myself and it was over for about $250 in filing fees.  I agreed to pay my half of the mortgage payment on the condo until we could get it sold, which took about another 6 months.

Once the marriage was over, I found another part-time gym coaching job at a new private gym not far from my mom's house in Flushing, and then my Union finally settled the strike and I was back to full income and able to pay all my regular bills, although the credit card balance I had worked up did not come down very much.  I plodded through another couple of years this way.

Then there was a re-organization in the Hospital, and my lab was moved in to be part of the regular Chemistry Lab.  No more sleeping on the job and getting paid for it!  I determined at this point this was not the way I wanted to spend the rest of my life, and determined to go back to school to get a Teaching degree.  It was the Reagan Era and they were crying for Science and Math teachers to keep the FSoA "competitive" with the Chinese and other nations who were starting to surpass the education system here even back then.  While I had all the undergrad credit hours in four different HS specialization areas necessary for certification (Math, Chemistry, Biology & Physica), I did not have the Education courses you are required to take for a teaching license.  I also didn't really want to be a HS teacher, I wanted to teach Elementary School.  However, my advisor in the Ed Dept in the Master's program at Queens College advised me that I was way over-qualified to be an Elementary School teacher and should go for a Secondary School license.  Sadly, I followed that advice.  I might have lasted a bit longer teaching elementary school.

The two years it took to get all my coursework and certifications in place were thoroughly exhausting.  I was coaching from 4PM to 9PM at the gym, I was in the Lab from Midnight to 8AM, and then I was in class from around 10AM to 3PM, although not continuously every day.  I got what little sleep I got during this time in the back of the Astro Van, between jobs and between classes.

Once finally fully Certified as a Public Skule Teacher, I made my applications and got a job in the Valley Stream Long Island school system, teaching Junior High through High School Science and Math, in two different schools. Thus ended this period of my life, which was the longest in one general paradigm, about 15 years.

The Grim Reaper Comes Knocking

It's looking more and more likely that my metabolic functions will Collapse before we get "The Big One" of Civilization Collapse, like the ATMs going dark or a Nuclear weapon detonation or Martial Law being declared in the FSoA.  My generally bad health has taken a turn for the worse with many new problems cropping up, although no diagnosis yet.  I definitely am suffering some kind of biochemical imbalance which may be an across the board systems failure.  I am supposed to get a full round of blood tests but so far have not been called by the laboratory to schedule an appointment.

Tomorrow I will call the clinic to get an appointment with the Primary Care NP who replaced my old MD who retired last New Year's to have a look at the latest in symptoms and also to get a referral to a neurologist & an internist.  I've developed a severe itching problem which I think is related to the peripheral nervous system rather than some skin irritation.  The skin irritation I do have I think results from the constant rubbing and scratching I do to relieve the itch. In the cause and effect sequence here, it's the Itch causing the Rash, not the Rash causing the Itch. In any event, none of the creams prescribed to me by the dermatologist has done anything to fix this extremely annoying symptom.

The issue with calling the clinic for an appointment tomorrow is that usually it takes at least 2 weeks to get the appointment.  I don't think I will die in the next 2 weeks, but then after that for her to refer me to more specialists takes another 2-3 weeks.  I don't think going over to the ER is a solution because I am not conspicuously dieing fast.  The ER doc would not be able to figure out what is wrong any better than the other docs I have seen recently.  So I just have to Hurry Up and Wait, or Hurry Up and Die, all while dealing with an incredibly irritating itch that makes the days interminably long and makes it almost impossible to sleep.

Whenever it comes here, dying doesn't bother me and I don't fear death.  I have always known I wouldn't get the full 80 years my parents got, in fact making it to almost 60 was quite miraculous.  Also, as I wrote in my Bucket List article a little while back, there really isn't anything left I haven't done that I still am capable of doing.  I don't have kids or grandkids of my own to worry about in taking my trip across the Great Divide.  I have only a few friends who will mourn my passing for a while, throw a Wake for me, and maybe remember me a while longer than that.  I am Dust in the Wind on planet Earth, as we all are.  What legacy I do leave is all written on the Internet, here on the pages of the Doomstead Diner and on many of the other groups and forums I ran over the years.  Not to mention all the commentariats I trolled. lol.

I did worry about one thing directly in the aftermath of leaving work as my bodily functions began their downhill slide, which was that I wouldn't have time to tie up my work on the Diner and that I wouldn't have my financial affairs tied up.  I was concerned all my personal possessions would be scattered to the wind along with my bank account.  However, that was over 2 years ago, and in the month following I got my Last Will & Testament written and I wrote a self obituary here on the Diner, which still sits in the drafts waiting until I croak for one of the other Admins here to publish it.  So after that, I was up to date any day the Grim Reaper came a-calling.

The intervening time has given me opportunity to write a lot more, with a few real gems in there I am glad I got down on the disc.  I also still have plenty more to write about, by no means am I burned out or do I think I have exhaustively covered every Collapse related topic there is to cover.  Collapse is ever evolving and ever changing, and there are always new observations to be made on how it manifests itself.  However, I hit most of the major points along the way here, and at some point this chronicle has to end, whether it be by my dying first or the Internet Going Dark.  If by some miracle I did last long enough to reach the latter alternative, I wouldn't have any meaning & purpose left for my life, and honestly I really don't want to live in a society engulfed in chaos, which is certain to occur once the internet goes bye-bye for good.  As a society here in the 1st World, we're simply too dependent on it for too many things.  The electrical grid, banking, water and sewage treatment, street lights and of course Elon Musk's self-driving carz.

I am glad I came to understand the nature of Civilization Collapse over the last decade, and had the opportunity ro write about it on the pages of the Doomstead Diner.  It made me a lot more philosophical about Existence, about Consciousness, and about the Nature of God.  I shifted from being an Atheist to a Panentheist a full decade before I became collapse aware, but through the lens of collapse I was able to understand these questions much better and focus my mind on how to express the ideas and my beliefs.  Much of that credit goes to my friends and fellow philosophers Inside the Diner, with whom I hashed out these ideas on many occassions on our Spirituality & Mysticism forum.

I am most grateful for the friends I have made on the Diner over these years, without them I would have no friends at all to discuss these concepts with, or who might remember me for at least a short while after I pass into the Great Beyond.  I pretty much left behind all my IRL friends by the end of my trucking years, and though I knew and saw regularly at work many people, I was never really friends with them.  They were just work acquaintances, and I spent my off work hours by myself, keyboarding out my analysis of Doom here on the internet.  I'm still doing that for the time being, but I also have had the opportunity during our Diner Convocations to meet and spend time with several of the Diner principals, and I consider them all my closest friends, my only friends.  Maybe if I make it through this latest of trials, I'll be able to join them IRL in the Lower 48.  Time will tell.

As much as I philosophically, environmentally and socially would have preferred if 10,000 years ago Homo Saps had not crossed over from Hunter-Gatherer into Agriculture and discovered Metalurgy which enabled all the cool War Toys we sport today, that just was not the path we took and nobody back then could have forseen where it would lead.  It just seemed like CFS to have as many kids as you could and make your society the biggest and strongest one, wiping out anyone who got in your way.  So inexorably over the millenia we arrived at the point we are at today, discovering in the last 250 years how to harness the thermodynamic energy of fossil fuels and build a marvelous array of toys to make our lives easier and more pleasant.  Meanwhile of course, also completely destroying the environment we depend on to live.

I don't regret being born in this era, nor do I feel guilty for all the fossil fuels I burned either directly or indirectly to make my life possible in this civilization.  I was one of the luckiest ones, born in the right place at the right time to the right people.  I got to fly on Jets to see many places, I got motorcycles and carz, I got spiffy computers, the lights nearly always came on when I flicked the switch, the toilet nearly always flushed and I never went hungry a day in my life.  I didn't get the Private Jet and Yacht of course, but I still got most of the perks of Industrial Civilization and that was done mostly on a middle class FSoA paycheck.  Now also as my time on earth in this iteration of my corporeal self comes to a close, I ALSO got some time in Retirement, over 2 years now and still running.  This is a luxury most people through human history have not had, and now fewer all the time are getting as pensions and social security programs are eviscerated globally.  If there is one thing I will regret in dying soon, it will be that I couldn't collect on my SS for a longer period of time. lol.  At least I will not go out of this world in this incarnation as a Homeless Cripple Freezing to Death on the Streets of Palmer, Alaska.

What I do try to reinforce in my writings on collapse is that while the situation is bad and now bordering on awful and likely to become positively horrific, it's still not the utterly HOPELESS situation some other Collapse Pundits make it out to be.  Sea Level is not going to rise 300' in the next decade, this is going to take quite some time.  The entire globe won't become unsutiable for habitation on such a timescale either.  Even on the more mundane level of monetary system collapse and the ATMs going dark, we won't instantly descend to Mad Max.  Even Syria is not at Mad Max level, there are still organized factions fighting it out with each other and the lights are still on in Damascus at least part of the time.  What the person who wants to try to survive the Zero Point has to do is figure out what the best strategies are for surviving these types of dislocation, because they are bound to be coming down the pike at some point.  We have a shrinking resource pie, and Homo Saps will fight over the pie as it shrinks, that's the way we are built, it's survival instinct.  1st Worlders aren't immune to this, there is no Exceptionalism to the Survival Instinct.  Currently there is still enough to go round in the 1st World, though more poorly distributed by the day.  When (not if) that is no longer the case, the FSoA and everywhere else in the 1st World becomes a facsimile of Syria today.  About the best one can hope for on the War front is that the clowns in charge don't push the button on the Nukes.

I won't regret not being around for "The Big One", I know it will come eventually and as I mentioned I don't relish the idea of trying to survive inside a failed state, which I would not be able to do in any event.  I'm barely able to keep going even WITH all the bells and whistles of Industrial Civilization still available to me!  Just in the last couple of months I have had an EKG, and Echo Cardiogram, a Nuclear Stress Test and and Ultrasound on the veins in my legs.  Not that any of these expensive tests have yet provided a clue as to what is actually wrong with me of course.  Fortunately, I am not paying for them, Medicaid is still doing that for me.  If I had to pay for this shit, I would just skip it and wait to die.  Paying still good money to stay alive at this point for me is a total waste of money.  That money can do more good helping to get the SUN Foundation off the ground after I am dead.  I am like a $1000 used car totaled in a wreck and the Body Shop tells you it will cost $5000 to fix me up.  What idiot would waste their money this way?

To tie up the latest in the Death Chronicles from RE, the main change here resultant from the latest problems is that I am going to accelerate up publishing my autobiography, to try and get all the parts out before I take the Final Ride to the Great Beyond.  I'm also writing a lot more as I race to the finish line to get as much off my keyboard as I can before rigor mortis sets in and my keyboard fingers are cold and stiff, so I will probably drop more like 3 new artiles of my own on the blog for a while to work through some of the backlog.  So check back in regularly to catch the latest in DOOM here on the Doomstead Diner.

Technological Obsolescence & Copyright Law

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Published on The Doomstead Diner May 21, 2017

Discuss this article at the Science & Technology Table inside the Diner

As regular readers of the Frostbite Falls Daily Rant inside the Diner know, I recently went on a major BINGE of buying new computer equipment to enhance my overall computing experience, which is one of the few pleasures and hobbies I have left to enjoy as we spin down to the close of the Age of Oil and the Age of Technological Gimmickry.

I haven't done any upgrades in around 3 years since I bought my last laptop, which was a relatively inexpensive model around $600 at the time as I recall.  So that amortizes out to around $200/year, far less than my other main pursuits of drinking beer and smoking cancerettes. lol.  Because of constant changes in hardware and in software, older computers tend to become obsolete no matter what, plus of course you have the issue they tend to get clogged with malware and bloat from programs you upload over the time period you own them.  At a certain point, it's jst more efficient to replace the unit then to try and clean it out.  Over the roughly quarter century of time I have owned my OWN computer, the longest any one of them lasted was around 5 years, and 3 years has been about the average for the laptops.  Towers were easier to upgrade with parts, and also early ones didn't have to communicate over the internet either.  So my first ACER tower was the longest lasting of all of them.  One real gem of a laptop also lasted about 5 years, it was a Gateway Windows XP.

In this latest upgrade, I decided since I am not moving around so much anymore, going to work every day and toting my laptop along and so forth, I would buy more of a desktop unit with a bigger screen.  Instead of a tower unit, I bought a new kind of hybrid, an All-in-One computer, which has all the computational guts of the device housed in the screen casing.  This is simlar to laptop construction, and changing out parts on such a device similarly difficult to do, but I haven't done that since the early towers anyhow.  Like a tower unit though, it comes with the bigger screen which is very friendly to an old guy's eyes.  It's also nice and Clean on the desk, not taking up much real estate there, and no tower on the floor to run wires from.  It came in at a price only slightly higher than the last laptop, at $750 or so.;maxHeight=550;maxWidth=642

I accessorized it with a cool backlit gaming keyboard from Razer, and the top of the line Logitech "Mighty Mouse", the MX Master.  Then I bought a new El Cheapo Lenovo Tablet for $70 to enhance my mobile computing experience as well.  All in all, I spent a little over $1000 on this buying binge.  It's great, I am real happy with all my new toys.

While shopping however, I noticed something new with the laptops.  I wasn't in the market for buying one since I had decided on the desktop unit, but I wanted to see what was available.  The interesting development is many if not most of the new ones do not come with an optical drive anymore.  AKA CD/DVD reader/writer.  They're still coming standard equipment with the desktop units, but in fewer laptops all the time.  Why? Simple.  Because CD/DVDs are going obsolete as media for Music, Video and Software.  Music and Video have gone to streaming, and for people who keep their own music it's done in digital .mp3 format on small solid state memory chips or in the memory contained in a smartphone.  The chips themselves have become incresingly tiny, micro-SD cards are smaller than your fingernail.  They are also getting ever cheaper and able to hold far more data than an optical disc.  So now, not only can you store music, you can store an entire library of films as well on these things.

Taking the optical drive out of the laptop does a few things.  It makes it cheaper for the manufacturer and the laptop can be made thinner, a feature most people like.  It doesn't take up so much room in the briefcase.  It also makes the unit more reliable with fewer moving parts.

This is all good, but there are downsides to it. The first main one is they're not backward compatible with all the media you already own on optical discs, so you need to start going through your collections of music and video and converting them all to mp3 or mp4 format.  With older ones this isn't too hard, but newer ones ofen have digital copyright protection embeded in them and are difficult to copy.  It also can make moving the material from one device to another difficult, Apple tries to control that by making you use their Itunes software.  One of the main reasons I do not use any Apple products.

For music, over the years of my lifetime we saw 6 major changes to the way music was recorded and sold. 1-The Vinyl Era

This was the longest lasting, going back to well before I was born, but even into the 70s still the only commercially available media.  For the sellers of music, this medium was very good, you needed a big manufacturing plant to make the vinyl and press the records, individuals could not record music themselves.  There was little to no bootlegging of music during this period. 2- The 8-Track Tape Era

Magnetic Tape for storing music was around for quite a while, but on the early reel-to-reel recorders generally only used by professionls and fanatical amatures.  8-track was much easier to use, you just shoved the book-sized cartidge into the player and out came the music, no muss, no fuss.  8 track had the significant sales advantage that you could play it in a car, which was impossible with vinyl due to the needle bouncing around.  8 track also came mainly as Players-Only, they did not record.  So this still kept the distribution of music pretty much one way, although there were recorders around and you could do some bootlegging. 3- The Cassette Era

Cassettes revolutionized bootlegging.  Much smaller than 8-track, around the size of a pack of cigarettes or deck of cards.  Although the car versions were usually only players, recorders were commonly available for home use.  You could record directly off the radio, or on units with two slots, record from one tape to another blank one.  You could hook your turntable to the recorder and make a tape of the record you owned, and then have the tape to play in the car.  Or sell the tape to a friend for 1/4 the price of the vinyl album you bought.  Sell bootlegs to 4 friends, you made back the cost of the album.

The main downside of cassettes was the quality was never as good as a well maintained vinyl album, and in each succession of recording from one tape to another would lose still more quality.  Even the advent of the Dolby noise supression system did not make cassette as good sounding as vinyl. So although there was some bootlegging going on mostly between friends, it wasn't really pursued that much as a big time operation.  Cassettes did put out of bizness 8-track though, cassette players replaced 8 track in the cars. 4- The CD-ROM Era

As the ROM acronym indicates, at the begining CDs were "read only memory".  For music sellers, this brought back the heady days of vinyl when to record the music you needed a very expensive device not commonly available as a consumer electronics item.  Your CD was a Player Only device.  CDs also vastly improved sound quality and durability, because they are digital the sound virtually never degrades no matter how many times you play it.  You also have to try pretty hard to break a CD, or even scratch it so bad it won't play.  Vinyl was pretty fragile, particularly the early stuff.  My dad had records that went back as far as the 1940s, they were thick and more like stiff plates of ceramic than later forms of vinyl.  Drop one of these and it would shatter just like a plate.  Later versions were thinner and more flexible and didn't break quite so easily, but they did tend to get scratched up and make pops and skips, and they would develop hiss over time with many plays.

With the switch over to CDs, everybody who had old music on vinyl or cassette they wanted to listen to on the new high quality CDs had to buy it all over again.  What a BOON to the music industry that was!  Those were likely their most profitable years ever, up until recently.  Not only were people buying new music, they were replacing entire collections of old music.

The non-recordability for the individual changed just a few years later, when optical drives for computers became read-write.  I had one of the first and they were rather clunky and difficult to use, but they improved quickly.  Now you could bootleg a copy of music you bought that was just as good as the original.  The real era of bootlegging began in this period.  High School students would form clubs, one person would buy a CD and then make copies for everyone else in his class.  So a CD costing $10 ended up costing each person $1 or even less, depending on the size of the club.  This was of course illegal under copyright law, but extremely hard to prosecute and very small time.  In aggregate though, it definitely cut into music industry profits. 5- The Digital Age- The Napster Era

The advent of the internet and development of music files that could be passed back and forth over the net completely changed the music business, and caused the industry fits for several years.  What were small local music trading groups in schools exploded over the internet to thousands of people doing it every day, and this SERIOUSLY cut into the music biz profits.  They had to go after this vigorously, and they did.  First there were high profile cases against individuals who had downloaded music from one of the file sharing services, frightening people from trying this because large fines were levied against them.  Then they went after the services themselves, getting them shut down.  Bootlegging this way still persists of course, but not nearly to the level it did during the Napster era.  The main reason for this is Digital Copyright Protection.

6- The Digital Age- Digital Copyright Protection

Besides the music industry, another important industry was having bootlegging problems at the same time, the Software industry.  Like music, software to run your computer in that era came packaged on CDs, and if you went into Best Buy in those years there was a HUGE library of titles on the shelf you could buy.  Those libraries have shrunk to practically nothing now, since all software is installed to your computer over the net.  I will discuss that issue further down the line here.

Being geeks, the folks having their sofware copied had better ability to prevent this, and developed Digital Copyright Protection (DCP) for their discs which made copying if not impossible, quite difficult.  At first it was just passwords (yes, I remember when a program came on a disc and you just plugged it into the computer and loaded it), then registration became necessary and the number of computers you were "licensed" to run the software on was limited, as well as the length of the license.  So after a year, the program could shut itself down if you didn't pay another year of licensing fees.

Other forms of DCP have been developed now embedded into the code of music CDs, making them difficult (although again not impossible) to copy.  Websites that have a lot of music on them such as YouTube will actually check the code and music signature against their database of copyrighted music, and prevent you from uploading it unless you make some tweaks to it like slightly speeding it up or slowing it down.

As mentioned earlier, Apple makes it more difficult to copy music by forcing you to use their Itunes program for these transfers.  They are also a major content provider of music now through their Itunes stores.  If you are using an Apple computer or phone, you pretty much have to buy the music from Apple.  That's called Vertical Integration of a market.

All of this DCP pretty much killed the overall bootlegging industry, and the big Music companies began to show a profit again. 7- The Streaming Era

This is where we are at now.  The internet has become so ubiquitous and so fast that many people don't bother trying to collect their own music library at all.  They pay a monthly fee to a provider that has copyright ownership of many titles, and when they feel like listening to some tune they just surf to the website and play the tune straight off the cloud. Between 4G and free Wi-Fi, in most of the industrialized Western countries, there is nowhere you can't get signed on to the internet.  Here in Alaska if you drive from the Mat-Su Valley to Fairbanks you'll get some dropouts, and off the main Parks Highway you'll lose coverage pretty quick, but in populated areas this is almost never the case.  So for their daily Music Fix, many Junkies now simply fork over the cost for a monthly service, and get music that way.  In aggregate, this replaces the revenue the Music Industry once made by selling it on physical media.

The weakness of course for the Music Lover is that if/when the Internet Goes Dark, they won't have any music to listen to at all, even while their computer or smart phone is still working and they still have electricity to charge it up.  So if you wanna have some music to enjoy collapse by after TSHTF, it would be a wise idea to store at least a few favorites as your own mp3s on a couple of devices and SD cards.


Video is more or less a mirror of the Music era, with the earliest personal video possible being 8mm cameras.  Then you had some clunky B&W Video Recorders, big ass shoulder held Camcorders which reduced in size over time, to today where you have pocket size cams and smart phones that do video.  None of those were ever very good for bootlegging Hollywood films though, that only came about with DVD recordability in the last decade or so.  In the current digital age, all the same parameters that apply to music apply to video as well, so I won't go over this history in detail

The Software bizness deserves some more depth though, so let's look at how that developed.  Much of it was in terms of the progress of storage media for the software that was available, as well as actual computing power and the sheer size of the programs that developed over the years.

1- The Floppy Disk Era

The first "floppies" were truly floppy.  They were around 12" in diameter and soft, you could bend them although not a good idea to do that.  The magnetic recording disk inside the cardboard enclosure was similar to that used for audio tape recording.  A simple program could be stored on such a disc, and if you wanted to use it you would pull it off the shelf, load it to the computer memory and then use the program.  You didn't store your programs on the computer itself, because they didn't come with much internal memory.  There was also no need to have it "installed" on the computer, it just ran once you loaded it.  No passwords, nada.  Very EZ to copy.

A few short years later "Floppy" discs got a stiffy. lol.  They shrunk in size to a little under 4" as I recall, encased now in hard plastic rather than cardboard.  Definitely more durable, but not much increase in memory storage capacity.  I got my first Windows OP system, Win 3.1 on Floppies of this type.  Around a dozen or so of them packaged with the computer as I recall.  So if I needed to do a system restore at some point, I could do it with those floppies.  I kept them for several years, I think I restored twice with them.

By the time I got my next computer, CD-ROMs had come out, and the OP systems and programs were packaged with your new computer on them. I got an"OEM" (original equipment manufacture) copy of Win XP this way.  I remember reading somewhere that if they had had to package that OP system on floppies, they would have needed 100s of them in your box to load to the computer.  CDs were an enormous advance in total storage capacity over Floppies.  In the early days though, they weren't recordable, and some files were getting too big to hold on floppies.  So we got Zip Drives for a while. 2- The Zip Drive Era

Zip drives were essentially Floppies on Steroids, similar size plastic casing but a bit thicker.  They had a capacity around 10-20X the amount of data as a regular floppy as I recall.  They were good for storing the early digital pictures on mainly, and for condensing the rack of regular size floppies onto one disc.  So if you had 100 normal floppies to find something on, now you could reduce that to 5 or 10.  They weren't cheap though, and as a storage medium did not last very long since recordable optical drives came out and rendered them obsolete.  Internal hard drive memory on the computers was also increasing rapidly at this time, rendering it unnecessary to have a shelf full of floppies or zips with all your programs and data on them.  You could store it all on the computer itself.  My first Tower Unit had the magnificent capacity of 500MB of disc storage space. For those of you unaware of what those prefixes mean, there are 1000 Megabytes in a  Gigabyte, and 1000 Gigabytes in a Terabyte. You get more storage today than my ACER had on a cheap microSD card costing less than $5, and on your hard drive if you don't have a terabyte of storage it's a loser. lol. The Optical Drive Era

To my mind, this was the heyday of the personal computer, in the 1990s.  Great programs were available on CD which you could shop for and buy off the shelf at your local Computer Superstore, as well as in discount stores in the Mall where people would sell old discs for $2 and then you could buy them for $5.  A program that might have cost $40 just a year or two earlier, and just as good as new!  I had (and actually still have many of them) a huge library of these CDs, and up through about WinXP was able to install them on each new computer I bought, for maybe a decade of time.  By the time Win7 came out though, many of them simply would not install on the OP system, and nowadays I would be surprised if ANY of them did on Win10.  I don't even try this anymore because it would probably fuck up the whole OP system and crash the computer.  So they all just sit in a case waiting for the day some Code Jockey resurrects a WinXP or earlier computer to load them to. 4- The Cloud Era

CD based libraries of software available to buy in stores off the shelf have become almost non-existent, they have gone the way of the Dinosaur.  You can still order a CD of a program online rather than downloading it directly from the Cloud, but it's generally not the preferred method, and it doesn't do you much good in terms of trying to load it to multiple computers anyhow.  All the DCPs are embedded on the disc, and you're still going to need to pay yearly licensing fees for them whether you download or order the disc.

In many cases now as well, the actual program isn't housed on your computer at all, you're working with client-server architecture and in order to use the program, you MUST be connected to the net.  Not only that, the files you create get stored on the cloud, not on your own computer, and again in order to access those files you must be net connected.  You are no longer the owner of your own files, whoever you bought a license from to use their software is.  The moment you stop paying licensing fees is the moment they can cut you off from all your files, and that could be anything from digital pictures you edited with their software to software you yourself wrote, helped along by cool bells and whistles and shortcuts provided to make such development quicker.


In conclusion here, once again the Conduit Scheme of holding ownership and Property rights by a few large corporations has taken over from the early freedoms we had as computers and the internet developed.  As a writer, I am still pretty fortunate in this because all you need to write is a text editor, and that can be as simple as Notepad and is still installed on on computers natively.  It would be pretty difficult to have a functional computer you couldn't at least type text into without being connected to the net.  However, for Musicians, Artists, Photographers and Software Developers, the control you have over your own material becomes less by the day.

From my POV, in the long run this won't matter all that much since I expect computers and the internet to disappear from our civilization as collapse progresses onward.  Not sure of the timeline on this, but not too far down the pike from now.  In the meantime, I suggest using all strategies you can think of to avoid using cloud based programs, and to avoid and circumvent Digital Copyright Protection.  It's destructive to the advancement and dissemination of Human Knowledge.

Sexual Appeal 2

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Published on The Doomstead Diner May 14, 2017


Diiscuss this article at the Psychology Table inside the Diner A few weeks ago I wrote an article on Sexual Appeal, taking a look at what Homo Saps find appealing, colored of course by my own personal lens and experience.  A generally male-centric and heterosexual centric view of this overall, I'm sure LGBTQ people have a completely different take on it.  As a former Satyr, one time serial monogamist and current celibate monk I have a reasonably large swath of experience to draw on for making such analysis.  Not everyone agrees with all of it, there was particularly some dispute over  sexual appeal for older married people.  That's not in my experience bag to draw from, so there I am just speculating.

This week, an off topic thread, the Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS thread accidentally brought the sex  appeal issue back into the forefront of my consciousness.  I likened El Trumpo's behavior as POTUS to some lyrics from an REO Speedwagon Pop Tune, "Take it on the Run".

But I know the neighborhood
And talk is cheap when the story is good
And the tales grow taller on down the line
So I'm telling you, babe
That I don't think it's true, babe
Or even if it is keep this in mind
You take it on the run baby
If that's the way you want it baby
Then I don't want you around
I don't believe it, not for a minute
You're under the gun so you take it on the run

Just like someone who has been cheating on their significant other, The Donald is perpetually making up lies and stories to try and cover up his indiscretions.  He probably has had a lot of practice with that in the world of sexual relationships as well as in his bizness dealings and now in politics too.  That doesn't necessarily mean he is very good at it, just that he has had a lot of practice and is now a habitual liar. The thing about such people is that they always get tripped up by their own lies, because they tell so many of them they can no longer keep track and keep them self-consistent.  Even worse of course if you have a large staff and press spokespeople who are unaware of the latest lie you concocted on Twitter over breakfast.  So the longer this clown show goes on, the deeper the hole gets for His Trumpness.

Anyhow, back to the topic of sexual appeal, which is the focus of this post, not the pathological lying of the Clown-in-Chief.,w_680/fl_lossy,pg_1,q_auto/wmdljltgayn9bru1e3zn.jpg Having decided to use the "Take it on the Run" metaphor in one of my Inside the Diner posts, I headed over to Utoob to find a vid to embed, and the first one I encountered is the one you see at the top of page here in the Header.  It features a bunch of Models with the kind of look popular in Fashion Magazines of the era, shot mostly in arty Black & White with the models making a lot of pouty come-hither looks for the camera.  The models are all quite young, I'd estimate between 16-22 the oldest.

Now of course in modern Amerika the 16-17 year olds are not fair game for anyone over 18, but that doesn't stop the fashion photographers from dressing them up to look HOT, and as long as the clothing nominally covers all the important body parts, it's perfectly legal to sex doll them up for a fashion shoot.  The girls/women doing this stuff are definitely coached by the photographers (usually male, but not always) on how to make sexy "bedroom eyes" looks at the camera, but in truth they don't usually need much coaching for this, because somewhere around when they hit puberty, they realized they were HOT and began practicing on their own in front of the mirror to tease the boys in their school.

This selection of models reminds me of all the HOTTEST girls at Summer Camp, in High School and in College from when I was around 10-25.  Well, we didn't have too many of them in my HS, since it was a Science & Math HS for nerds which only 3 years earlier had gone Co-Ed, but there were even there at least a couple of pretty hot ones around.  In college, there were quite a few, not just girls from Barnard, Columbia's sister-school from when they were gender segregated (where my Illuminati Spawn girlfriend was enrolled), but also from FIT, Fashion Institute of Technology where more than half the women students were hot tickets.

So these were the girls/women you chased after, starting in mainly your teen years after you yourself also passed puberty ( I got an early start, I didn't wait for puberty. lol.  My first real girlfriend was in the 4th Grade, her name was Lynn.  I had a crush on an older teenage girl Monica when I was in 2nd Grade in Brasil and also on my 2nd grade teacher Miss Ellen who was probably in her mid-20s, but I never got to hold hands with either of them. 🙁  I did get to sit on Miss Ellen's lap a few times though. 🙂 ).  Generally speaking also in the early teen years you would get rebuffed after being given the Bedroom Eyes look, and then all the girls would gather together in a Gaggle and Giggle over your impetuousity to think that you were good enough to go out with them!  One has to have a strong constitution as a male to get a lot of these rejections and maintain your sense of self-esteem.  Persistence does pay off though, and if you keep knocking on the door, eventually you get one to open up and invite you in. 🙂 (sorta like the Jehovah's Witnesses. hahahahahaha.)

Unfortunately, as often as not and perhaps more often, you find that what is behind the pretty face and hot bod is not what you thought it would be in your fantasies.  The girl had spent so much of her early teen years on developing her "look" and flaunting her fabulous bod at anyone who would look at it and pay attention to her that she never got round to developing anything else in her personality.  Or the personality that did develop was so wickedly narcissistic that after a couple of weeks you were sick to death of her.  Besides both of those downsides, said hot tickets were almost always very high maintenance, as in you had to sport a nice fat wallet to afford to take them out to the best restaurants, drive them around in the latest model carz and bring them home to a nice spacious renovated loft in SoHo, not to a closet sized studio on the Lower East Side (before it was gentrified), or worse yet, your moms' house in the upstairs apartment.  Scoring Hot Tickets for me went downhill fast in this period.  Once you pass a certain age and your wallet waistline shrinks past a certain point, this class of women becomes unavailable to you.  You're not even circulating in the same environment as them either, as you did at camp, in HS and in College.  The only time you might run into one of them is at some trendy club if you could get in, and then you better have a spoon to stuff up their noses if you want to get some attention.  You do NOT run into them at Walmart! lol. So for myself, once off the Wall Street Gravy Train, I stopped chasing after the REALLY hot tickets and stepped it down a notch to more conventionally "pretty girls" who weren't quite so obsessed with how they looked, although if you dropped the makeup and hot clothing on them in some cases would have been as visually appealing as the model girls.  That was the serial monogamy phase and carried me through the rest of my sexually motivated relationships until I went the celibate monastic route about a decade ago.

What you find sexually appealing has tons to do with very early childhood visual impressions, which include both the people who surround you (your parents and relatives the most early), and then later what you are exposed to in the media, TV, Film, Fashion Magazines, Rock Stars and so forth.  Music in fact provides a very good analogy, because you also tend to remain attracted to the music you were exposed to in your early teens and twenties as the music you listen to for the rest of your lifetime. My mom for example was a big Frank Sinatra fan, going well into the 1970s when the "Chairman of the Board" still had a fairly solid fan club of former 1940s era Teeny Boppers, of which my mom was one.  Even though Rock & Roll from the Boomer generation had mostly taken over the airwaves by the 1970s, there still were a few AM stations featuring the tunes of Frank, Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby,  Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis and others.  Those were the tunes she liked to listen to, while I suspect wistfully remembering her teenage years.

Thing is here, you can most certainly listen to your favorite tunes from your youth, for me that includes bands like the Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, the Moody Blues as well as all the Folk Singers of the era, but you can't really go back and chase down the Hot Tickets anymore.  To paraphrase Bruce Springsteen in My Hometown, "Those Girls are Gone for you now RE, and they ain't never comin' back".  lol.

In looking back on it all now, the sex drive aspect of life was a major time and energy waster for me.  I'm not saying that is true for everyone, but it was true for me.  I'm also not saying that it's a waste of time to look for companionship and love in your life, people are social animals and tend to need that, especially early on in life.  You seek and need approval from your parents and mentors and your peers.  You want somebody you can trust to tell your deepest darkest thoughts to and unload on when you feel overwhelmed.  For me, sexual appeal actually got in the way of that, because the type of physically appealing female I was attracted to was often quite unsuited for any of that.

I also am DEFINITELY not saying that if I had it to do all over again I would have given it all up as soon as I hit puberty and become a celibate monk back then!  It was a lot of fun doing all that skirt chasing!  Of course, I paid the price for it too with a lot of angst and suffering.  For every Honeymoon, there was a Divorce too to work through.  What I AM saying is I'm glad it's all over and done with! lol.  In the selective memory disc of my mind, I can save all the good times and delete all the bad ones.  I remember enough of the bad ones though that whenever I wake up alone in my digs in the middle of the night, I am grateful for the fact that there is nobody else here in the bed next to me.

The Endless Salad

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Published on The Doomstead Diner May 14, 2017

Tortellini-Kalamata Olive-Hearts of Palm Salad

Discuss this article at the Pantry inside the Diner


Today we had our first Community Potlatch (Potluck) Dinner here in the RE Community. 🙂

Our new Property Managers, a Husband & Wife team organized this meal as a way to introduce themselves and to discuss some important issues we have here, including our water quality ( we have our own micro water treatment plant now), maintenance and safety not to mention of course the Dog Poop, the Cigarette butts, and the Domestic Arguments and other yelling which penetrates the walls.  I personally have a schizophrenic upstairs from me who is decompensating all the time.  She's not dangerous, but she is very loud and very vulgar, usually in the wee hours of the morning.  She can go super fast, like Tourette's on Steroids, and pitch out 100 Fucks and 100 Shits and 100 Cocksuckers & Mother Fuckers  in no more than 5 minutes of one of these episodes, which sometimes go up to an hour in length before I suppose her vocal chords are exhausted or maybe the voices in her head get tired of her yelling at them.  Next door to her upstairs, there is a couple with young kids, and they don't understand biological psych problems like this, they just hear all the cursing and so do their kids.  They are not happy about this problem.

Anyhow, I will go into more about the meeting that followed the Potlatch Meal in a future article, for today I will just talk about the FOOD end of it! 🙂  It dovetails nicely with an article I wrote a couple of months ago but haven't had opportunity to publish, with a lot of other shit going down in the world of Doom these days.  The article is about feeding yourself a healthy diet with Salads, focusing on homeless people who get their nutritional allowance from the SNAP Card program administered by JP Morgan Chase here in the FSoA, at a tidy profit for JPMC.  By sheer chance (or the Finger of God), our building of the 10 or so in the complex was assigned Salads.  Since I have been experimenting with Salad recipes for the last couple of months, I was able to whip up my current favorite, a Tortelloni-Pomodore salad with a variety of veggies cooked Al Dente.  The Salad at the top of the page here is similar, just without the pasta.  I forgot to shoot a picture of it before it got devoured.  It was about 3X the size, came in around $12 and served about 15 people at the meal. Quite a few got left out if they were too late lining up at the buffet.  However, there was plenty standard Potato Salad and of course the Burgers and Hot Dogs so nobody went hungry.

Anyhow, lets now go into the principles of the Endless Salad in a little more detail.


The task of feeding oneself on a limited budget and with limited cooking ability that is typical for the Homeless Person is the main focus of the SNAP Card Gourmet Series. In the early stages of Homelessness, the victim of this aspect of the Collapse of Industrial Civilization these days probably resorts to eating mostly from fast food outlets, where you can get convenient and calorie laden foods with no cooking ability at all. The price these days for a fast food meal isn't all that cheap though, even a 1/4 Pounder, Fries and a Coke meal from Mickey D's comes in at over $5, which is the daily limit for the SNAP Card Gourmet budget. Obviously, nutritional value of this meal is quite low as well, and it doesn't even taste all that good either!  So it's a pretty big waste of your limited budget for nourishing yourself.

RE Preps his Chicken Soup

Once the budget drops down sufficiently far, the next step for the Homeless Person is to go to Canned goods like Chili and Soups, which can be purchased at the grocery store for between $1-2 a can and then heated up either over an open flame in a homeless encampment, over  single burner propane camping stove or in a Microwave at the nearest Convenience Store.  This reduces cost, but it's not much tastier and not very nutritious either.  The whole commercial canning process removes or destroys most of the nutritional value in any of the veggies or meat items dropped into a commercial soup or can of chili. It will keep you alive though, it is within budget and if you supplement with some also commercially produced vitamin tablets, you probably won't get scurvy or some other vitamin deficiency relted disease.

Can the Homeless person do better than this and have a really nutritious diet at a price affordable on the SNAP Card Budget of $5/Day in the FSoA?  Yes he/she CAN!

One of my current solutions to this problem is what I now call the "Endless Salad".  I started with the endless salad a few months ago after dropping into one of the local Food Superstores (Carr's, the Safeway affiliate up here on the Last Great Frontier) and passing by their deli section, which had one of those "make it yourself" salad bars.  Lots of nice choices of fresh veggies to include in your sald at this bar, although coming in pretty pricy at around $9/lb.  Depending what stuff you drop in the salad, 1 lb is probably enough nutrition for the day, but $9 is almost double the SNAP Card Gourmet Budget.

The Food Goodies at the Salad Bar at Safeway that day were quite a nice selection, they had a Greek Style Tomato Salad with Olives and Feta Cheese, a Pasta salad with Cheese Torteloni and chunks of Ham, fresh Green Peas, Cottage Cheese and numerous other possible selections for your fully loaded plastic container of your finished Salad mix.  For the Homeless person, this is a great and healthy way to eat, as it requires no cooking whatsoever and is coming in slightly cheaper than Fast Food meals, although still above the Snap Card budget of $5/day. The thing is, all the INGREDIENTS in that salad are much cheaper than $9/lb, for the most part.  Tomatoes for example which formed the bulk of the weight in this particular salad I composed can be purchased as cheap as $2/lb for Roma tomatoes from Mexico, and I can often get hothouse organic Tomatoes-on-the-Vine for around $3/lb. So as I ate through about half the salad that day, I went out and bought some tomatoes and refilled the container with them,and also some Hearts of Palm from a can which I really like for nostalgic reasons, they were a favorite of mine when I was a kid in Brasil.  Then as this started to run out, I bought a small avocado for $1, and this now refilled the container.  I had to add now a bit more salad dressing to the mix, as the original salad dressing was mostly being digested in my alimentary canal, somewhere along the path out the door anyhow. lol.

Now, many of the contents of your salad can be consumed raw, but some cannot be at least if you want to make a salad that will really provide you with all the nutrition you need in a day.  The pasta is the main one here, that requires boiling some water in a small pot and throwing some frozen cheese tortellini into it for 5-10 minutes, depending how al dente you like it.  You want this pasta in there for carb energy and protein and fat from the cheese.  This is EZ Homeless cooking, no harder than heating up a can of Campbell's Chunky Soup.  You can pick up a 1 lb package of frozen cheese tortellini around here for around $3.50, and actually when cooked it close to doubles its weight because of the water it absorbs.  So the original tortellinis I paid $9/lb for get replaced by the same tortellinis that cost me only $1.75/lb when cooked up.

The problem here for the Homeless person now is the storage of the forzen tortellini prior to cooking it and throwing it in your new salad.  Not a problem for me because I am not homeless and do have a refrigerator, so I think about these issues when composing up my meals and feeding myself.  For quite a few months after my injury, there was a decent chance I would end up as a Homeless Cripple Freezing to Death on the Streets of Palmer, Alaska, so my mind became preoccupied with solving this problem in advance just in case it came to pass, which thankfully it did not.,1&wid=296&hei=296 Far as the tortellini goes, you don't actually need to keep it FROZEN until you use it, at least if that is within a couple of weeks.  Refrigeration is enough, I experimented with this to make sure.  So you could keep your 1lb bag of formerly frozen but now just cold tortellini in your cooler with a block of ice in your Stealth Van.  Similarly, you do need to keep your leftover salad cold from day to day in some sort of refrigeration, so a Cooler is pretty much an indespensible item for the Homeless Person.  If you are so far off the cliff you are pushing around a shopping cart, this is pretty much impossible, so you need to be up at the next level of homelessnes minimum, where you at least have a car with a trunk you can store your cooler in or a Storage Unit runs around $40/month for the smallest ones which are more than sufficient for keeping your cooler and and all your gear like tents and sleeping bags and food safe while you hang out all day at the library or an internet cafe and run your Homeless Cripple Guy Blog & Forum over the free WiFi. lol.

Now, in terms of "recipes" and what you actually will drop in your salad, this is in large part up to you and what stuff you like, but there are some limitations here, at least if you are not consuming the whole salad same day and storing it in your cooler overnight as leftovers to eat the next day.

Traditional Amerikan Salad Food like Lettuce is really bad.  It gets wilty and brown overnight, even if refrigerated.  It also doesn't have all that much nutritional value for the price, its main value is in fiber and roughage to scrub out your colon. lol.  I don't include Lettuce in my salads, for Green Leafy Veggies I use Baby Spinach leaves usually, which are quite good and tasty even when soggy and a great source of vitamins and minerals, particularly high in iron which is good for your blood cells.  Although usually I dispense with the leafies altogether and use other green veggies like asparagus or zucchini. Baby Spinach doesn't brown very quickly though, particularly when coated with a dressing that has some vinegar in it, which tends to keep everything in the salad better looking and does some preservation as well. So if you like some leafy in there, it's a good choice.The whole salad is often better the second or thrid day after composition after marinating in the dressing, as opposed to most leftovers which deteriorate in quality over a few days. Also bad if you are keeping the salad around for a few days are Avocados.  They also quickly get brown and ugly even if coated with a dressing that is acidic.  However, they do have good nutritional value unlike lettuce, particularly in the area of adding vegetable fat to your diet, and I like them for their texture whether a little stiff in chunks or smushed up to make Gaucamole.  So if I do feel Avocado inclined on a given day for my salad, I buy a small one for around $1 and add that to the salad mix for the day.

As with most Food preparation and consumption, you do a lot better if you work in small groups rather than as an individual.  In this case, you can usually consume everything in one sitting with no leftovers, so no storage problems.  Food packaging also tends to come in sizes good for 4-6 people to eat at one sitting.  For a single person, given the food storage of leftover problem, you often will do better with individual portion microwavebales, although nutrititon & taste quality is low.  However, you can buy Michelina's Frozen Dinners at around $1 each, and 3 of those plus a vitamin is enough for me in a day.

To finish up this SNAP Card Gourmet installment, I will list some ingredients which work very well and last several days nicely as you keep adding new ingrediends to make your Salad and Endless one. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are my #1 Ingredient in a Salad.  High in Vitamin C and Vitamin A, good roughage, nice texture and very tasty!  They also keep well for several days when marinated in the salad dressing of your choice.  They are the base component of all my salads.  The best are the hothouse organics and now recently available are Heirloom Tomatoes as well.  The small grape tomatoes and cherry tomatoes are nice, but overpriced coming in double the cost of Roma Tomatoes, which are my choice if I am going cheapy. Olives

Along with the Tomatoes, Olives are an essential for my salads.  They provide a nice counterpoint to the Tomatoes.  Here it depends on your own taste as to which olives to use.  To me, the typical Green Olives are a little too salty.  Black Olives a little too bland.  My favorites to use are Kalamata Olives, which are a bit more expensive but JUST RIGHT!  Sometimes I do mix in some Green and Black Olives though to fill it out and keep the overall cost down. Cheese

You want some cheese in there for taste, texture and fat and protein nutrition.  I generally use crumbled Feta Cheese and crumbled Blue Cheese or Gorgonzola.  Sometimes shredded Parmesan, and occassionally I will chunk up a block of Sharp Cheddar or Swiss Cheese.  If you are using either Feta or Gorgonzola, buy it in block form and crumble it yourself.  It's a better value that way and it keeps better in the fridge too. Asparagus, Green Beans, Eggplant etc

I like to add these veggies, but you do have to do some preparation before adding to the salad.  I do a fast steam or sautee with them to soften them up just a bit, when raw they are too crunchy for me with my limited set of teeth. lol.  If you sautee also, you can add some chopped up garlic to the mix which adds flavor and nutrients. This is especially good with the Zucchini and Eggplant, which absorb the garlic flavor during the sautee.  Not so good with asparagus or green beens, here steaming is better. Hearts of Palm, Artichoke Hearts, Baby Corn, Bamboo Shoots

These are "Premium Items" which come canned.  A can of Hearts of Palm around here usually comes in around $5 by itself, but you don't use the whole can in one salad. I recently found them on sale for $3 though, and stocked up with several cans. I usually get 5 salads out of one can, for $1 cost per salad.  You can pick the exotic ingredient of your choice for any given salad.  You will need refrigeration and tupperware though to keep the ingredient good for more salads after cracking the can.  By themselves, Hearts of Palm are really good with just a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil sprinled over them.  Fabulous texture. Beans

I don't usually include these, since if I am in the mood for beans I usually have them in a Black Bean soup or ladled over a pile of rice as tradition Brazilian style Feijon, sprinkled with "Pimiento", aka HOT Sauce!  I'll meat that up with an Italian Hot Sausage or a Brat that I usually can pick up for around 70 cents each in a 1 lb pack of 5 for $3.50.  Sliced into discs, I usually get 16-20 of them, enough for almost a meat bite in every scoop of soup!  One sausage is plenty of meat protein and fat for the day, the only issue is with refrigeration, you have to finish the whole package within a week or so, and I can't always do this so ending up throwing out some of this food.  Kills me when I have to do this.  If you work in larger groups though, this should not be a problem.  4 people is about right for meals for a day for typically sized food packaging with no leftovers.  For single person meals, sadly if you do not want the leftovers problem generally you need to go with the Frozen Michelinas dishes and Canned Soups as your main sustenance. In my last few years in the working world, that is what I lived on, along with vitamins.

Including the beans in the salad though they keep as well as everything else, and pretty much any canned beans are good for this and they are CHEAP!  A can of beans goes for $1, and you use no more than 1/2 can for any salad of 1 lb size.  Kidney Beans, Black Beans, Garbanzo Beans or Black Eyed Peas all work well here and provide protein and carbs to your salad.  "3 Bean" salads are pretty popular because of this, but I still prefer beans hot in soups or gumbos. Tofu

Tofu is an ingredient not to everyone's taste, it's pretty bland on its own.  It is however a great ABSORBER of flavors (mainly the dressing you use in this case), as well as a great source of protein.  Like with some of the veggies above though, you need refrigeration of some sort to store it for a week or so.  Cubed up for your salad, you use no more than 1/4 of a block of Tofu for a given salad, and to keep the remaining Tofu good, it needs to be refrigerated for the next salad construction.

Meat & Animal Protein

All in all, this gives you a pretty comprehensive and nutritious meal, but for me something is missing, which is ANIMAL PROTEIN! I'm not a Vegan Vegietarian type.  There is some animal protein in there coming from the Cheeses and Tofu, but I like some MEAT in my meals!

There are a few ways to do this.  You can buy a cheap canned ham and cube it up as one choice, or do similar with a hard salami. You can fry up some Bacon and crumble it into the salad.  You can dice/cube up a chicken to add to the salad.  The choices here are endless, but I don't usually add the meat directly into the salad, what I do is have a Meat Side Dish that goes with the salad instead.  Below are a few of my favorite El Cheapos. 1- Deviled Eggs – I make these with my own special Deviling recipe, and two deviled eggs plus half a pound of the super salad is about as much as I can consume in a day.  There are endless ingredients you can drop into a deviled eggs recipe, traditional is to drop in pickle relish but I am not a big fan of that.  I like to spiice mine up with some Wasabi or Hoseradish. I don't decorate them when just making for myself, but if you are contributing to a Potlatch, doing decoration is a nice touch. 2- Canned Tuna or Salmon–  A can of Fancy White Albacore goes around $2 up here usually these days, but this is enough animal protein for me for 2 days, so adding this to the salad meal is only about $1 extra. If you buy the large size cans you save a lot of money, but you need sdeveral people to finish it quickly. I also jazz it up with Mayo, chopped onion, lemon juice and whatever else I have hanging around in the cubbards, although of course the Homeless Person does not have the extensive cubbard I do to get real creative with this.  However, Canned Tuna + Mayo is enough to add all the animal protein you need or want in a day plus fat from the Mayo.  Canned Salmon is better mixed up as a dip with cream cheese & sour cream, then add some fresh dill and green onions to that.  Whether it is Tuna or Salmon, you place an ice cream scoop size lump in the middle of your salad for a nice presentation for yourself.   Or you can just put it in a separate tupperware container and eat together with your salad. 3- Anchovies

Not usually too popular with most people, because they are so salty.  However, once dropped into the salad with all the dressing and tomato liquid, the salt disperses and they are a nice counterpoint to the tomatoes along with the olives.  Anchovies also come in small cans and one is just right for your 1 lb salad mixture, plus you get the olive oil they were packed with for more good vegetable fat.  The main issue is one of price here, at $1.75 a can for only one salad, this is expensive. 4- Smoked Oysters

This is on the pricy end of canned fish products, although if you spread it out over 2 salads not too bad.  It might be a nice variation to throw in for your animal protein once in a while.  I haven't actually dropped these in a salad though.  If I buy a can of smoked oysters, I just usually have them plain or on a piece of french bread.  Used to be on a cracker, but with my limited dentition, crackers are mostly out these days. lol 5- Rotisserie Chicken

Rotisserie Chickens cooked for you in the supermarket are a great value even if you have an oven and home to cook a raw chicken which comes in around half the price of a cooked one.  It's great convenience, they are marinated and spiced nicely usually in a few varieties, and around here they still come in at only around $7 each.  Right out of the rotisserie they are great to eat just by themselves with no prep at all and the second day pretty good just microwaved.  I'll usually eat about half the chicken this way, The Breast and a Leg on day 1 and the Thigh and both Wings on Day 2.  The other half of the chicken then gets chopped up into small cubes to make a chicken salad, good for at least 3 days added to the rest of your salad.  Preparation is basically the same as with canned tuna, although with the chicken I prefer to add Tarragon and/or Paprika for spicing it up.  Major bonus here also is that once you have got most of the good meat off the bones, you throw the stripped carcass into a slow cooker to make chicken broth for use in Matzoh Ball or Wonton Soup which will feed you for still another 2 days.  There is plenty of meat still left on the bones and after stewing a few hours it all falls off the bones into the broth, and then you just sieve it and pick out the bones.  You easily get all the animal protein you need for a full week out of 1 Rotisserie Chicken, so that comes out to $1 day, well inside the SNAP Card Gourmet Budget of $5/day.  The only downside of these chickens is they are all industrially raised and fed on GMO crap and injected full of hormones and antibiotics too, and sometimes the meat can be stringy.  You have to shop around at your local stores to find the best of the lot here, I have 4 different places to go, Carr's (Safeway), Fred Meyer (Kroger), Walmart and 3 Bears.  Although the cheapest, Walmart's are the worst. Carr's has the best ones and most expensive, and Freddie and 3 Bears about the same.  Because 3 Bears is right next to me, those are the ones I usually buy when in a chicken kind of mood. lol.


Steak is a great animal protein addition to your salad, and what I like best of all here is to buy fresh Fillet Mignon and slice it thin raw and add it to the salad as Steak Tartare.  This is however very expensive by the pound, about the best I can get on sale for Fillet Mignon is $15/lb. I only will use maybe 1/4 pound most for a given salad, but that is closing in on $4 for that ingredient alone, which is getting way over normal SNAP Card Gourmet pricing.  More commonly if I want to add Steak as the animal protein component to the salad, I will buy Ribeye or New York Strip cut, Barbecue them Pittsburgh Rare (black on the outside, still mooing on the inside) then slice thin like the Fillet.  These cuts I can often find on sale for $6/lb, and recently 3 Bears had Ribeyes on sale for $4.59/lb, and astonishingly low price since usually that is the price for ground beef around here.  Even at $6/lb though, 1/4 lb of this thinly sliced into your salad is only a $1.50 addition, so still well within budget.

Note: Photo at left is my Valentines Day Ribeyes from 2015 charing over the BBQ. 🙂


The easiest thing to do with eggs is simply to hard boil them, then chop up and add to the salad.  2 eggs is plenty for the 1 lb salad mixture and they come in super cheap, around $2.50 a dozen around here, so call it 20 cents an egg for 40 cents to add your animal protein to the salad.  You may however prefer to make an Egg Salad, mixing up with Mayo and other ingredients of your choice and have on the side like you would a Tuna or Chicken salad. A particular favorite of mine these days is to make Deviled Eggs out of them (as detailed above), and then have 2-3 Half-Eggs along with the salad.  I add Horseradish Sauce, Stone Ground Mustard and Wasabi alog with the Mayo to make the Deviled mixture out of the yolks to refill the White half egg container, but you can choose whatever Deviling ingredients you like for this.  Many people like various types of Pickle Relish for this.  Besides adding flavor and variety, this also adds calories from the mayo as well so gives you a bit more nutrition for each egg.

The possibilities for stuff you can add to your Endless Salad are of course themselves endless, at least right now while the cornucopia of food is present on the shelves of your local food superstore and you have a working debit card or SNAP card to buy the stuff with.  You can also make it cheaper if you grow your own tomatoes, green beans, asparagus, bean sprouts etc to add to the salad.  Raise your own chickens, you can now add your own chicken meat and eggs to this too!  You probably could cut your costs down to $1/lb this way and be more self-sufficient, but of course not if you are homeless, you need a Doomstead to do all that.

Eat smart, eat tasty, eat cheap & eat healthy with the SNAP Card Gourmet! 🙂


How I Survived Collapse: Chapter 23

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Published on The Doomstead Diner May 10, 2017

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Kenny and Kirsten finished the meal off with the Molten Chocolate Cake, a warm chocolate fudge cake with coconut sorbet, chocolate sauce and toasted coconut, along with Coffee spiked up with Bailey's Irish Cream and Kalua.  As they walked back out to the van, Kenny asked the inevitable question of the night.

"So, ummm, do you want to sleep in the van tonight or go back to your dorm?"

Kirsten already had this planned out.

"Let's sleep in the van!" she said enthusiastically.  "It would be really cool to do it in a van!" she remarked with a giggle. "Let's park in the dorm parking lot though.  Then if we need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night we can go in the dorm for that.  I'm not really up for pooping in a bucket unless I have to.  I'll try to put that off until after TSHTF."

Kenny got a laugh out of the doomer reference. "Eh, you get used to it.", he remarked. "Athough, I do generally try to avoid using the bucket because of the disposal issue and use public bathrooms as much as possible.  It just makes things easier overall, like most of the conveniences of industrial culture.  I like your plan though!" he said with a smile.  "I've never done it in the van with anybody, it's a Virgin."

"Well, we'll make it a great First Time for the van then!" Kirsten remarked."Is it a Boy Van or a Girl Van?  Does it have a name?", she asked.

"Gee, I don't know." Kenny responded as they drove toward the dorm parking lot.  "I haven't given it a name."  Kenny wasn't much into symbolism and had never thought about giving his Stealth Van an anthropomorphic name or gender identity.  How could you determine if maybe your Van was Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Queer instead of being a conventionally Heterosexual Van?  There were no genital organs on a Van he could examine to try and nail this down.  Was his Chevy Van attracted to Fords or Toyotas or other Chevys?  Maybe it even liked Pickup Trucks or Sports Cars instead of other Vans? He didn't know.

"Well, we can figure it out together then!" Kirsten remarked enthusiatically as she removed her vest, blouse and bra, with the Toilet Paper Stuffing spilling out onto the van floor as the bra came off.

"You STUFF YOUR BRA?", Kenny remarked as he pulled the pre-tied Target purchased Necktie with the perfect Windsor Knot over his head and removed his shirt.  He knew there was something a bit different about her physical appearance than the first time they had been together, but it didn't hit him until he saw the crumpled bundles of Charmin TP dancing across the floor of the van.

Kirsten let out a huge laugh.  "Good Grief Kenny, did you think I grew B size Boobs over the last week?  When you are built like a Carpenter's Dream, you have to make some adaptations." she retorted as she yanked off the 3" Spike Heels that brought her slightly over 5' in personal altitude..

"Carpenter's Dream?", Kenny asked, never having heard this term.

"Flat as a Board and Easy to Nail", Kirsten dead panned to fill him in."None of the tops in the women's department are cut right if you're as flat chested as I am, to get anything cut right you have to shop in the kids department.  Except my lats are too big so my overall chest size is too large to fit those right either.  So when I do dress up, I stuff the bra." she said with a smile.  "You could think of it like a sort of prep storage system!  Handy place to keep toilet paper if you need it!"

Kenny nodded.  "Yea, you can probably carry as many preps in there as I stuff in my Cargo Vest!", he responded as he removed the last of his articles of clothing.

"ENOUGH TALK!" Kirsten declared, jumping his bones.  "Let's get down to bizness!"


Kenny managed to survive the night with Kirsten, although the Van shock absorbers had a serious workout. He doubted the suspension system on the Van was that stressed even when negotiating the rutted up logging road into his Doomstead location.  He determined to look into getting some Heavy Duty Bilstein Performance Shocks at Auto Zone, O'Reilly's or NAPA to take care of this problem in the future.

After showering and cleaning up in Kirsten's Dorm suite and meeting some of her roomies briefly, Kirsten and Kenny headed over to the International House of Pancakes, for a massive breakfast to replenish energy and bodily fluids expended over the course of the night while doing the Horizontal Bop.  Kenny selected a traditional Bacon, Eggs and Homefries meal, with sides of English Muffins and Buckwheat Pancakes, with the eggs fried over-EZ.  Kirsten went for a Spanish Omelete with Homefries & Sausage, with sides of wheat toast and Buttermilk pancakes.  On the way to IHOP Kenny stopped off at Safeway to buy a bottle of REAL Wood's Vermont Maple Syrup to drizzle over the pancakes instead of the cheap High Fructose Corn Syrup generic imitation Aunt Jemima maple syrup served up by IHOP.

After breakfast, Kenny dropped Kirsten off back at the dorm.  No name had been agreed on for the van, so Kenny and Kirsten promised each other they would ponder on it, and Kenny promised her that he would call as soon as he got back from Spokane, where he wasn't really going.  After a lingering kiss goodbye, Kenny drove over to the storage unit and exchanged out his landscaping gear for his preps, then hooked his trailer for the drive to his property to spend a night of peaceful recuperation prior to the early morning wake up call for his "riding lesson" with Karen.  Mr. Johnson was pretty pooped and needed a night off.

Arriving at the Doomstead, Kenny unhooked from the trailer so he would be able to easily drive over to Karl's place in the morning, and since it was still light out decided to do some log splitting with his Leveraxe, specifically designed for wood splitting by having a counterweight on the upper right side of the blade designed to pull the head to one side on impact to help ply the wood apart.  He pulled out his Husqvarna chainsaw first to section up one of the trees he had cut down with Karl in preparing the site for the Fire Ring and outdoor picnic table they had built.  He considered waiting until Karl brought over his 34 Ton Swisher electric start log splitter, but needed to get in his daily exercise and kill some time anyhow.

After working up a decent sweat, Kenny took a sponge bath over by the stream and then settled down for dinner, which was pretty light since he had gorged himself the night before at the Red Bird and then again in the morning at IHOP.  In fact, he went over to a spot to dig a latrine hole for a major deposit resultant from those meals and now well digested by his alimetary canal where he intended to try planting a Black Walnut tree, even though the climate wasn't currently suited well for such trees.  With some global warming though, it might thrive, although it would take a few years before producing good nuts to squirrel away for the winter.  The Humanure deposit would provide good fertilizer for the tree once planted.  Until then, the worms and other microbes would work on it.

For dinner he just had enough appetite for a can of Campbells Chunky Beef Barley Soup and a small portion of the Pomodore-Tortellini salad with crumbled Feta Cheese and Kalamata Olives marinated in Greek dressing he had put together from the salad bar at Safeway before leaving Missoula.  Finishing off the night at his computer workstation, he surfed over to the Doomstead Diner to find out the latest breaking newz in Collapse and cleaned up his mailbox deleting the gobs of spam dropping in there each day.  Finally, he finished off the day smoking a spliff from the fine Ganja he picked up from Kareem and put himself to bed early for a good night's sleep before an active day ahead with Karen.


After an early wake-up call at 5AM from his smart phone, Kenny took a sponge bath down by the stream,, then had a quick breakfast of 2 hard boiled eggs, a banana, Teriyaki Beef Jerky and French Guilloteau Soft Goat Cheese spread on a Baguette, washed down with Organic Cranberry Juice from Knudsen.  Tidying up the van and getting all his gear properly stowed for the bouncy ride down the logging road took another 15 minutes, most time consuming of which was to properly stow the Dell All-in-One Computer so that it was insulated from vibration and knocking around while going over rough terrain.

To accomplish this and thoroughly insulate his sensitive electronic equipment from road vibration and bounces, Kenny build a storage box inside one of his cabinets that hung from the roof of the van with bungee cords.  This by itself insulated the equipment from vibration, but then on top of that he had 3 shelves lined with 1" Open Cell Foam with cutouts to fit each of his sensitive electronic devices.  The Dell by itself took up one shelf, then the other shelves had his laptop, his tablet, a spare Smart Phone, modem and wireless router, his GPS units, his FRS walkie-talkies, his digital Shortwave Radio Receiver, his Night Vision Scope and Binoculars and two spare Micro Computers, one running Mac OS and the other Linux.

Setup for any of the computers was EZ upon pulling them off the shelf, everything was hooked together either with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, so there was no clutter of wires to deal with.  It was just a matter of plugging in to the Van power supply which was native 12V DC, and for most of his equipment he had native DC-DC transformers picked up on the cheap from China  for $15 which could convert 12V DC to any voltage 8-80V to power them, along with several DC-AC inverters in various wattages as well to convert to 120V AC when necessary.  For most of his own equipment, this wasn't usually needed, but it was good backup.

Around 7AM, once everything was ready, Kenny fired off a text message over the SMS to Karen to see if she was up and ready to go riding.

"Hey Karen, r u up?"

Less than a minute later his Galaxy Mega tuned with the jingle he had set for Karen.

"Sure am!  When will u get here?"

"Maybe 20 minutes.  I slept at my Doomstead last night."

"OK great!  Did u eat?"

"Yup.  I'm ready 2 ride!"

"Cool!  I'll get the horses saddled up!  C U when you get here!"

Signing off on the chat, Kenny fired up his still unnamed Van and headed on down the road for another day of Kollapsnik Adventuring with Karen.

Bye, Bye Miss R/COLLAPSE Pie

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Published on The Doomstead Diner May 7, 2017


Discuss this article at the Kitchen Sink inside the Diner

Another one bites the dust.

Last week, after 2 years participating on the Reddit sub r/collapse, I threw in the towel and called it quits.  Before I go into the reasons for that, let me review my medium-length history of participation there and the reasons I subscribed in the first place.

Despite the fact I have been floating around the Collapse Blogosphere for a full decade, I was never aware of the r/collapse sub.  In fact, I wasn't even aware of the whole Reddit platform.  I only found out about it after discovering the work of Allen Stromfeldt Christensen on the blog From Filmers to Farmers, and he mentioned to me that he occasionally made links there.  So I went to check it out, and there were indeed quite a few good links to Collapse articles around the net to be found there, and they changed pretty regularly.  There is a complete turnover of links on the Homepage about every 24-48 hours, depending on how many net "upvotes" a given article receives from the subscribers.  The links themselves are dropped on by subscribers, and these two features are the main "hooks" that make the whole Reddit platform pretty unique as a social media platform for people who are interested in any given topic to come together and discuss the topic, with the jumping off point being the article associated with the link.  Beneath each link is a comment stream, which also any subscriber can join in and drop in his or her 2 cents.  In that sense it is not much different from the Diner Forum, where we also drop in links to articles, and then discuss them further in the commentariat.

The main difference here is that because the various threads drop off the home page so rapidly, no thread goes longer than a couple of days before it drops off the map and is never read again, and then you move on to the new hot topic of the day.  This means first off that no topic really gets in depth analysis, and second the same discussions repeat themselves over and over again as a new article with the same general theme goes up a day or two later.  Rinse and repeat.  However, when I first subscribed I wasn't aware of the nuances of the structure of the software and how that affected the overall discussion, I only began to see it as time passed. On first joining, the platform seemed quite cool, it was remarkably EZ to drop on a link for discussion.  It only takes a few extra seconds after you read an article to copy the URL and then paste it into the submission box on Reddit.  This works the same regardless of what sub you are interested in, whether it is r/collapse or r/futurology or r/girlsgonewild. lol.  So I started dropping on links there, and getting into discussions/debates/arguments with the other r/collapse "Redditors" as they refer to themselves, much as we at the Doomstead Diner refer to ourselves as "Diners".

This all began fairly genially, and in the first few months of my participation, the links I dropped on were received quite well by the community, and quite often they would receive many net upvotes and rise into the Top 5 of the day, which generally if you want some discussion of the link is where you want it to land for at least a few hours.  There was some negative blowback to this though, which is that my posting patterns drew the attention of the then team of mods, mainly Stumo, Eleitl & Great Pumpkin at that time.  The mod team there changes and morphs over time as some old timers who are fed up or bored leave, and other new ones are appointed to take over this relatively thankless and unpaid job.  The fellow who originated this sub is long since gone, and I am given to understand the sub had it's ups and downs prior to my arrival on the scene 2 years ago.  That group of mods told me they had greatly improved r/collapse with their excellent moderation policies.  Of course, everybody thinks they do a great job in moderation! lol. I can't verify the claim, since I wasn't around in earlier incarnations of the sub.

Anyhow, the additional attention started getting more and more of the links I made deleted, and so I began to complain about it.  At this time, I made my complaints in private in PM to the mods, and then had some extremely long, tedious and time consuming arguments with them on what was and was not Collapse Worthy material.  This of course did not get fewer of my links deleted, it got more of them deleted! lol.  I also got threats of being banned from the sub if I continued to complain.  So at this time I created an Insurance Policy of my own sub, r/globalcollapse, to drop links on which were being deleted from r/collapse.  I also boycotted r/collapse for a while, not making any links but just dropping in the commentariat periodically.

During this time there was a changeover in the Mod Squad from Link, Peter & Julie Stumo, Eleitl & GreatPumpkin to Moe, Larry & Curly BabblesMcDrinksalot, BrandotheNinjaMaster & Goocy and the flavor of the articles left up versus those deleted changed significantly.  The site became much more highly weighted toward articles which were Climate related, particularly those which had a subtext that Near Term Human Extinction is just around the corner.

This then had the knock-on effect of attracting many more Nihilists & Misanthropes into the commentariat, turning it into a facsimile of the commentariats on Nature Bats Last (Guy McPherson's Cult Website for Fans of Secular Eschatology) and Our Finite World (Gail Tverberg's Actuarial Website for Fans of Leonardo Sticks, Endless Power Point slides and analysis ripped off without attribution from other bloggers, most notably Steve Ludlum of Economic Undertow & myself).  I quit the commentariat of both those websites a while back because it's a complete sewer, and the commentariat of r/collapse has morphed into the same thing, albeit with a somewhat younger demographic.  Not a week goes by where some recent millenial High School graduate/College Freshman drops on a Selfie post about how depressed they are and "what should I major in since the world is going to shit?"  Should I Party like it's 1999, buy a Hunting Knife and go out in Buckskins in the Bush Rewilding, or put my nose to the grindstone and study Eco-Forestry and Geoengineering to Save the Planet?  Followed by the requisite damnation of all Humanity and the Hopium we go Extinct as quick as possible to put Mother Earth out of its misery.

As I observed this metamorphosis occuring on r/collapse, I got more and more fed up with it and started getting in more arguments inside the commentariat, drawing the wrath and attention of a few of the Group Think enforcers who specialize in pitching Napalm to disrupt threads.  Any thread I myself began no longer got many net upvotes and so rarely would make it into the Top 5 links on the Homepage.  I was being seriously Brigaded by the majority of people now attracted to the website who buy the Nihilistic meme that Guy McPherson carries the Torch for as Cult Leader.  Essentially, r/collapse and in fact all Reddit subs are just Popularity Contests, and if you follow the Party Line and Group Think of the sub as the Mod Squad filters it, you will get lots of upvotes and your links will rise to the top of the page.  If you post contrarian links and argue with the Enforcers of the dominant majority that brown-nose the Mod Squad, your links will be Brigaded and downvoted to oblivion, and the Enforcers will forget about any topical argument and simply do character assassination, aka Ad Hom argument.  You will be called an imbecile, clueless, demented, narcissistic, morally corrupt and any other adjective with negative connotations the Enforcer of Group Think has in his vocabulary that is a synonym for STUPID or INSANE.  The Mod Squad allows this to go on as long as the person pitching the Napalm is a Brown Noser on their side.  If you respond in kind, you immediately get a WARNING to stop or your account will be Banned.  This is biased and incompetent moderation, and it results in a very uniform Group Think on a website.  You will find this to be the case on Nature Bats Last and Our Finite World as well as r/collapse.

So once this began to be a feature of nearly every thread I participated on whether the link was one I made or another Redditor did,  I went complaining again, this time publicly though with Meta threads, examining the nature of the moderation.  This nobody liked very much, not the mods or the nihilists either. lol.  So now, I get warnings from the Mods if I continue making meta threads, I will get a 30 day banning.  This is enough for me, no point in continuing participation on this website, it's a waste of my time.  Bye, Bye, Miss R/COLLAPSE Pie.

Bye, Bye, Miss R/COLLAPSE Pie

(sing to the tune of "American Pie" by Don Maclean.  Alternative lyrics by RE)

A long, long time ago
I can still remember how r/collapse used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those doomers dance
And maybe they'd be happy for a while

But February made me shiver
With every new link I'd deliver
Bad news in my PM file
The Mods sent another one to Collapse Wilds

I can't remember if I cried
When I read about the Whales that died
But something touched me deep inside
The day r/collapse was fried

So bye, bye, r/collapse Pie
Surfed my laptop to the website but the website was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey 'n rye
Singin' this'll be the day that r/collapse fries
This'll be the day r/collapse fries

[Verse 1]
Did you write the book of Doom
And do you have faith in endless Gloom?
If Guy McPherson tells you so?
Now do you believe in Near Term Extinction?
Or can you make some critical distinctions?
And can you teach me how to see systemic connections?

Well, I know that you're a climate fan
And think that Retail Bankruptcies should be banned
You all dropped on the downvotes
So now r/collapse just strikes one note

I was an annoying old Alaska cripple
Who tried to make collapse more comprehensible
But I disappeared without a ripple
The day r/collapse was fried

I started singing bye, bye, r/collapse Pie
Surfed my laptop to the website but the website was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey 'n rye
Singin' this'll be the day that r/collapse fries
This'll be the day r/collapse fries

[Verse 2]
Now for ten years I've been covering Doom
From the keyboard on my desk in the living room
But that's not how it used to be
When the world was younger and all seemed great
But then civilization could not pay the freight
And the end became clear for all to see

Oh, and while the king was looking down
r/collapse Mods were all a-frown
The linking was adjourned
A quitting verdict was returned

And while Misanthropes read from the book of Death
The Preppers tried to grab a Breath
And Junkies snorted Crystal Meth
The day that r/collapse was fried

We were singing bye, bye, r/collapse Pie
Surfed my laptop to the website but the website was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey 'n rye
Singin' this'll be the day that r/collapse fries
This'll be the day r/collapse fries

[Verse 3]
Helter skelter in a summer swelter
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast
It landed foul on the grass
The Mods figured they knew better
So RE dissected them with endless Metas

Now the halftime air was sweet perfume
While Doom Pundits played a marching tune
Kunstler and Tverberg got up to dance
and hit us again with the same old rants

Martenson & Orlov came on to do the AMA
So Doomers would visit their sites for pay
Did they have anything new to say?
The day that r/collapse fried?

We started singing bye, bye, Miss r/collapse Pie
Surfed my laptop to the website but the website was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey 'n rye
Singin' this'll be the day that r/collapse fries
This'll be the day r/collapse fries

[Verse 4]
Oh, and there we were all in one place
Millenials and Boomers lost in space
With no time left to start again
So come on, Trump be nimble, Trump be quick
But The Donald sat his asshole on a candlestick
Cause fire is the devil's only friend

Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
The stench from his Cabinet began to smell
No POTUS could send us quicker down the road to Hell

And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day that r/collapse was fried

He was singing bye, bye, Miss r/collapse Pie
Surfed my laptop to the website but the website was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey 'n rye
Singin' this'll be the day that r/collapse fries
This'll be the day r/collapse fries

I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
I went down to the sacred store
Where I'd heard about collapse in years before
But the man there said common fucking sense wouldn't play

And in the streets, the Doomers screamed
The Misanthropes cried and the Nihilists schemed
But not a word was spoken
The r/collapse website was all broken

And the three men I admire most
Thompson, Hicks and Carlin's Ghosts
They caught the last train for the coast
The day that r/collapse was fried

And they were singing bye, bye, Miss r/collapse Pie
Surfed my laptop to the website but the website was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey 'n rye
Singin' this'll be the day that r/collapse fries
This'll be the day r/collapse fries

They were singing bye, bye, Miss r/collapse Pie
Surfed my laptop to the website but the website was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey 'n rye
And singin' this'll be the day that r/collapse fries

60: Life and Times of a Boomer Doomer Chapter 1

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Published on The Doomstead Diner May 3, 2017


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Unbelievably, I made it to the Big 6-OH, my 60th year walking the Earth as a Homo Sap Meat Package in this iteration of incarnations of my immortal soul.  My last Big Birthday Party on the Diner was 5 years ago when I turned 55. That was when we first launched the Diner, and now it is getting close to 6 years old itself, 10% of my total lifespan.  That's a pretty significant chunk of my life!

Actually, my focus on Doom predates the Diner by quite a bit, I got started down this Rabbit Hole after the collapse of the investment bank Bear Stearns in early 2008.  Actually a bit before that since I was observing the lead up to this in 2007.  So call it a solid Decade now as a "Kollapsnik".  Given I am now 60 years old, that is 1/6th of my life or 16.66%, even more significant.

I can break up my life into defined segments, each of which almost is a life unto itself.  When I look back on these segments, it's almost like I am looking at another person entirely, they each are so different in their own ways.  But I do know it was always "me" in that body at that time, it just morphed as time went by. To begin this autobiographical post, I'll start with the beginning and work through the stages of my life, to date.  Then maybe some speculation on the future for me, although I don't think I have much of one of those left anymore in this meat package.

As it turns out here after finishing this tome, it came out a lot longer than I figured it would when starting it.  It's LOOOONG, even by my standards.  So rather than waiting until my actual Birthday of August 31st, I'll start publishing installments in EZ to Bite off chunks of my life over the next few months, rather than all at once.  I will publish the whole thing together though on my 60th Birthday, so if you want to wait until then to read the whole thing all together, feel free to skip over these installments.  Feel free also to skip over the complete story too if you aren't curious about how I got to where I am today.  From my POV though, it's a pretty entertaining story! lol.

This has advantages, for both me the writer and you the reader.  For me, first off it gives me a lot more in the way of weekly material to drop on the Diner, rather than slamming it all down in one post.  On a non-fiction level, it's like my serial novel How I Survived Collapse.  Having a lot of material "in the can" takes the pressure off feeling like you have to write something every day, although I just about always do so it's not a problem for me to have material to drop on the Diner each week.  Besides that though, I always feel like I might be dead tomorrow, so getting this stuff out before I actually croak and having a chance to talk about it with friends is a nice bonus before my trip across the Great Divide. 🙂

For the reader, the advantage is obvious, it comes in small enough chunks you can read it over Morning Breakfast on a workday or Sunday Brunch or while on a coffee break at work on your smart phone.  You don't need to dedicate a whole lotta time to reading my life story in any given week and being bored to tears by it. lol.

By itself, it's not a Book-length autobiography, but if you patch it together with all the other autobiograpical stuff I have dropped on over the years like the Over the Road Trucking series, the Pump Up the Volume Pirate Radio adventures and the Excellent Mexican Dental Adventures, along with all the stuff in my Online Diary (Diners Only) about my Health issues and Legal Battles, you could easily get a full length book out of that.  I'll leave it to some historian of the future to put that one together though.

Meanwhile, here is Part 1 of my autobiography…


Stage 1- Birth in NY Shity – Age 5

My Birth in NY Shity until Age 5 living in attached type town housing.  Bedrooms were on the second floor, there were 3 of them, my parent's bedroom, my sister's bedroom and my bedroom and the bathroom in which I was toilet trained.  I vaguely remember that.  On the ground floor there was a foyer entry, living room, dining area and kitchen.  Below ground was a basement and garage.  We had a small backyard and I remember a clothesline that my mom would hang the laundry out to dry on, we did not have a dryer in those years. We did have a car though, a 1957 Buick Convertible, same year I was born.  It was red, gigantic and had the tailfins on the back.  It was bought used in around 1960 I think by my Dad, who was building his career as a Pigman Vice President at Chase Manhattan Bank, now known as JP Morgan Chase after numerous Mergers & Acquisitions.  Manufacturers Hanover Trust and Chemical Bank were both subsumed into Chase Manhattan, then Chase and JP Morgan merged later on.

The Buick lasted almost to when we left for Brazil, and I remember the numerous trips to Rockaway Beach during the summer we took in it.  There  were no seatbelts in the car, and there was a big bump in the road we would always hit and my dad would speed up the car to hit it so we all went flying up out of our seats, singing "Here we go loop-de-loop, Here we go loop-de-lie".  On one of these trips to Rockaway Beach when I was around 3, my dad took me out for a walk on the jetty and made me throw my Baby Bottle into the ocean.  That was my first major contribution to ocean pollution.  He felt I was clinging on to the baby bottle too long and this was a good symbolic way to get me to mature some.  It didn't work, I am still immature. lol. I have numerous memories from this period, crashing my tricycle into the back wall of our underground garage; locking myself in my parents bedroom while trying to "fix" the latch mechanism; bouncing myself off my bed I was using as a trampoline and smashing my skull open; Bowling with plastic Bowling pins in the upstairs hallway, making popcorn and chocolate cake with vanilla icing with my older sister in the kitchen etc.  I remember watching cartoons on TV and my mom taking me to the filming of the Bozo the Clown show in a NYC Studio, where I was frightened to death by the real life Bozo who looked nothing like the cartoon character, and we never went in to see the show because I was crying.  Waste of money on those tickets.

I remember also the pack up for our move to Brazil, when I was forced to give up my Bunk Beds that I had just got and had coveted for probably a year before I got them.  I cried over that one too, but when we got to Brazil my parents bought me a new Bunk Bed so I was happy again.  Which brings us to Stage 2.

Stage 2 – The Brazil Years

This was an almost idyllic time in my life, because of the difference in Economics between Brazil and the FSoA in the 1960s my dad's salary bought us a much more luxurious life than it did in NY Shity.  We had a full floor luxury apartment, a Maid, a Cook and a Driver.  The apartment was less than a block away from Ipanema Beach, and I spent almost every day after school for a couple of hours at the beach body surfing and building sand castles.

I went to a Private School for brats of the Military, the State Department, the CIA and Bankster Brats, "Escola Americana", chartered by the UN as a "United Nations" school.  My 3 best friends were the kids of the FSoA Ambassador to Brazil, a Military brat and a brat who was son of a man who ostensibly worked for the Fisheries Dept of the UN, but in fact was likely CIA. I was however blissfully unaware of most of this at the time, and enjoyed my days body surfing at the beach, reading a lot of Sci-Fi in Kid Book form mostly, the Adventures of Tom Swift series and also the Hardy Boys Detective series.  My dad bought me subscriptions to Popular Science and Popular Mechanics and Scientific American at this time also as my reading skills and comprehension improved.  He also taught me to play chess around age 6 and we played regularly until I started beating him regularly around age 8. lol.

The first Star Trek episodes came on our Black & White TV in the later years as well, dubbed into Portuguese. I became a big Star Trek fan in those years, in fact what was known after it went off the air as a "Trekkie".  I went to the first Star Trek Convention in NY Shity after I got back to NY, but that is skipping ahead to the next portion of my life.  I identified heavily with the Spock character, and prided myself on being analytical and logical.  I dressed up as Spock for a couple of years for Halloween once returning to the FSoA.

I also got my first witnessing and understanding of class difference as I played futbol (soccer) with the boys from the favelas on the beach and saw the way they lived as opposed to the way I lived.  Mostly we all were friendly, but there was an undercurrent of resentment you could always sense, even at 8 years old.  Similarly, although the servants in our household were always deferential to me, you could sense their resentment as well.

I began to get somewhat politically aware then in my last years in Brazil, as one of my friends (son of the CIA guy) was 3 years older than me and he was very into the music of the era, including a lot of Folk Protest music including the likes of Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, and many others.  Upon my return to the FSoA, this political aspect of my life grew quite a bit.

Stage 3 – The Junior High Years

This period actually includes late Elementary school 4-6 grade as well as Junior High 7-9 grade which I actually did in 2 years not 3, courtesy of the "SP" or Special Progress track the NY Shity Public Skules ran at the time for "gifted" students.  So roughly a 5 year portion of my life in the Age of Oil.

It wasn't quite as idyllic as the Brazil period, my parents got divorced and with my mom we took a big hit in lifestyle and economics.  No more maid, cook or driver of course.  More than that, at least in the first couple of years no car either.  Mom did get a small McMansion in Queens out of the divorce settlement though, and overall we were better off than most of the folks in the lower middle class neighborhood of Flushing, Queens this McMansion was located. It was at this point in my life I got identified as an "IGC", or "Intellectually Gifted Child".  This because on a standardized IOWA test in the 4th grade I scored off the charts with a college level reading ability and math ability. I'm pretty sure I didn't get a single question wrong on that test, as I recall it was fantastically simple and I finished it in about 30 minutes of the 2 hours alloted to the test to fill in the dots with my #2 Pencil.  So began a 4 year episode of meeting with shrinks who were testing me all the time, every Saturday during the school year at a center in Jamaica my mom dutifully brought me to on the subway.  Since the IOWA test wasn't good enough at discrimination, I got my first try at the SAT in the 5th grade.  Then a variety of IQ tests too, and interviews.  I was a fucking lab rat for 4 years.  By year 4 I was sick of it and started puposefully answering questions wrong and being terrifically uncooperative with the Shrinks. I think I was 12 or 13 not sure.  I got let out of the cage at the end of that year. lol.

The other important aspect of my life over those years were the Summers spent at Camps of two varieties.  One was a "Primitive Skills" camp that was all Boys which I attended for 2 of those years, and then a ritzy camp for upper class kids run by a fellow named Werner Rothschild.  Not sure if he was related to the general Rothschild clan, but he probably was.  Camp Merrimac in New Hampshire, near the town of Contocook, pronounced "contokit".  It was mostly populated with Jewish kids, I was I think the only Unitarian at the Camp in those years.  I got my first sexual experiences at this camp, and I also got to watch Neil Armstrong make "One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Mankind" on a TV dragged into the main barn where our Socials and Dances were held every Friday.  Every Friday Night at the end of the Social, I danced with my Amour of the Week to the strains of "Sealed With a Kiss", and then scooted off to behind the Science Cabin for some SEX action, where I normally regularly dissected living frogs knocked out with a little choloroform to attempt Heart Transplants on them.  None of the frogs ever lived through one of those operations. lol.  Me and the girls survived our sex experimentation though, fortunately.

The all Boys primitive skills camp wasn't quite as entertaining on the sexual exploration level since there were no girls around to do this with, although there was a director at the camp who had a fondness for taking photos of me while naked showering and such. LOL.  Other than getting photos of my naked body recorded on film though, I never got molested during this period.

What was real fun about the primitive skills camp though was learning all the techniques for survival in the wilderness, although granted we had nice industrially produced knives and tents and canoes to use in the learning.  The wilderness areas we hit back in the 1970s were still pretty pristine and not over camped, and I remember many occassions filling up my canteen with water straight from a clear running stream, no boiling or water purification tablets.There were frogs everywhere and we often ate frog's legs for breakfast and dinner.

As I moved into my early teens, I became a lot more politically aware and music aware, and my friend Randy from Brasil moved to my neighborhood with his CIA dad when he was transferred to work at the UN Headquarters.  Thus began my Pirate Radio adventures, which I have written about before here in Pump Up the Volume.


Coming in Part 2: The High School, College & Marriage Years

Sexual Appeal

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Published on The Doomstead Diner March 23, 2017

Johnette Napolitano            Janis Joplin

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A few weeks ago I ran across a You Tube Video of an acoustic performance of "Joey" by the band Concrete Blond.  They were a 90s Alternative Rock Band that never got super popular, and this was their biggest hit, but they did last pretty long into the early 2000s.  I wasn't a big fan of this band, but I remember the song Joey very well and in my trucking years it played fairly often on the radio on the alt-rock and college stations I tuned into in those years as I cruised the interstate across the country.

Inside the Diner, we run a continuing thread with favorite Music Videos called the Diner Juke Box, and a while back I put up the Vevo Official Music Video of Joey.  But then in doing my general nightly music scan of old music I like to listen to periodically, I ran into another video with Joey as the tune behind it, put together by a fan with still images of their performances as the visual accompanyment.  What struck me in watching that video was the astonishing resemblance of the lead singer of Concrete Blonde Johnette Napolitano to another favorite singer of mine from the 60s, Janis Joplin.

I thought at first that Johnette was a lot younger than she actually is (she's still alive) and might have been the reincarnation of Janis, but after a bit of Google Research I discovered that Johnette is just about precisely my age, born just 22 days after me in 1957.

Then after doing more searching this time on You Tube directly instead of Google, I turned up yet another video version of Joey, a Live performance on Dennis Miller's show in 1992.  At this time, Johnette was 35 years old like me and garbed out in a mini-skirt and looking HOT!

Now, let's return to reality here.  How many 35 year old women can garb up in a mini-skirt and look this good?  It was a small number in the 1990's, and it's even smaller today.  MOST 35 year old women today look more like this:

OK, maybe not that fat, but I could have Googled truly OBESE women (or men), of which there are many cruising the aisles at Walmart everyday. The percentage of highly attractive 35 year old people of either sex wandering around there is quite small these days, except on TV shows or in the Movies.

Call me SHALLOW if you want to, but I just do not have nor did I ever have any sexual attraction to a really FAT person.  Nor do I have any attraction to really UGLY people, OLD people or to really STUPID people either.  I am (or was) also highly conventional in my sexual attraction to others.  I wasn't "polysexual, "ambi-sexual", "multi-sexual" or any of the other modern New Age definitions of sexuality or gender identity, I was an old fashioned heterosexual.  Nowadays, I am an ASEXUAL, and we asexuals are given the short shrift overall in discussions of sexuality.  Which is kind of remarkable since there appear to be a growing number of asexual people out there.

Today, I find the whole idea of sex to be gross.  Even if I do see a female who is sexually appealing to my old self, then I think about all the rutting around and it grosses me out.  lol.  I can't even look at Movie Star quality females anymore and get sexually aroused by them.  I can't look at Nudie Pics of females in Porn Magazines without thinking about the gross and disgusting acts to be done in the process of having sex. lol. It's even worse if it's a hard core porn magazine depicting sex acts in graphic detail.  I haven't seen one of those in over a decade, but the last time I did I wanted to heave the technicolor yawn.

So anyhow, going back to the old days when I was being led around by the needs of my Johnson to get laid, my conventional sexual attraction to only females plus the fact I eliminated anyone who was FAT, UGLY, OLD, or STUPID, it of course seriously limited my choices in places I could put the Sausage when I got the urge.  Fortunately in my younger days I was sufficiently appealing myself to Quality Females that I managed to find a few who also met my standards.  Maybe about 50 different ones across my rutting lifespan, with most of those occuring between the ages of 18 & 30.  This cross-appeal issue does limit your selection, because not only does the female have to be sexually appealing to you, YOU have to be sexually appealing to HER too!  So if 1 in 20 females appeal to me, and I only appeal to 1 in 20 females, that means there is only a 1 in 400 chance of hooking up with the right female!  Those are actually pretty good odds overall, if you get FAT or get OLD & UGLY, it's more like only 1:1000 females would find you attractive,and only 1:1000 people would find them attractive, meaning it's a 1:1,000,000 chance the two of you would find each other to have blissful moments of rutting.

Today, I can't even IMAGINE any reasonably attractive female that would want to have sex with a decrepit old cripple like myself, even if I was interested in doing the rutting AND would pay her vast sums of money too. lol.  Going the other way, would I be the least bit interested in fucking the 60 year old Johnette Napolitano or Grace Slick or Patti Smyth of today?  Hell no!  They're all OLD BAGS now!  In my memories and in my dreams, they are still the hot young chicks they were in 1987 or even earlier, when we were all around 20-30 or so.  But today?  They're all somewhat better maintained then the average 60+ female, but still are saggy and wrinkly just like me!  Imagine a Porn Movie with 2 old wrinkly people as the Porn Stars. Would you go see this movie as a turn on or download it off the internet on Netflix?  Not a chance. This one dies a quick death at the Box Office.

Not only that, but also the whole driver of procreation is no longer there either to rut with a 60 year old female, menopause is in the rear view mirror (OK, rarely women in their 60s are still fertile and get pregnant, the record on this one is around 70 by some Indian woman).  So, practical guy that I am, this whole bizness seems like a big waste of time & energy to me now.

Of course, some old married people keep their sex lives going long after the chicks have left the nest and long after their good looks are gone.  This I think is done through a combination of Nostalgia and Imagination.  Usually sex is done in the dark in bed, so you don't actually SEE the other person, except in your mind's eye, where you probably visualize them as they looked when you first married them.  So that is OK too for these folks, but on average as time goes by married people have less sex all the time.  When you're first married, you do it every night.  After 10 years of marriage, you probably are down to twice a week.  After 30 years of marriage, if you do it once a month that is probably a lot. lol.

Generally speaking as a biological function, sex is fun and appealing from around the time you reach puberty to maybe 50-60 years old, but after that it loses its appeal overall.  The best sex years are from around age 20-40 I think, although the early experimentation years are fun too.  After you have spent say 30 years doing it though, I don't see much point to it thereafter.  Your mileage may vary on this though.  lol.


Patty Smyth then…

…and Patty Smythe now…

Not bad for a woman in her 50s, but still not the Patty Smyth of 1982, which is the one I keep in my mind's eye.

How I Survived Collapse: Chapter 22

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on April 27, 2017

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Kenny pulled the van into the parking lot of the Red Bird Restaurant & Wine Bar, finding to his delight that it had electrical outlets for block heaters in the parking spaces.  Even though his two Deep Cycle Marine Batteries were usually fully charged just from driving around to do his landscaping, if he found an available outlet with free juice he would always plug in to top off the big batts as well as charge up all his smaller electronic devices with Li-I batts.  A full charge to the whole setup gave him a week at full normal usage for everything, and with reduced usage he could go 2 weeks to a month without any recharge at all, although he did have his solar PV panels and RV Wind Generators that could keep the system charged up most of the time if he was frugal in usage.

Kenny and Kirsten held hands as they walked across the parking lot to the entrance, past numerous Mercedes, Jaguars, Hummers and even a couple of Teslas.  At least half had a sticker price in the 6 figures, while he had only paid $5000 for his 2003 model Chevy Van in pristine condition from a Florist who only used it periodically for local deliveries.  The van was definitely the low rent car in a parking lot!

Walking into the restaurant slightly before the peak hours, it was only about 1/2 full of filthy rich Pigmen and Pigwomen dressed to the nines.  The Maitre d' greeted them warmly and seated them at a prime location table since they were dressed properly and were an attractive young couple.  Kirsten was also well known at the Red Bird since it was a favorite of her mother's while the big alimony checks were still coming in from her pigman dad, the Petroleum Engineer prior to his arrest.  Kirsten and her brother Kirk ate there about once a month with her on a weekend, when they weren't down in Houston for the bi monthly court ordered visits with dad.

Once seated, the Wine Steward came over and didn't even bother asking them for IDs, although as was typical for young college age who had not yet passed the magical 21 age for buying alcohol, they both carried fake IDs.  However, the wine steward had seen Kirsten in with her mother for many years, and he knew even when she was younger her mother would pour her some wine to go with dinner.

Kenny opened the Wine List, but never having frequented establishments like the Red Bird and not being a wine drinker, he was quite clueless, so he decided to let Kirsten make the choice.

"Kirsten, do you have a favorite?" he asked, holding his breath and saying a quick prayer that she wouldn't order the Loyola Howell Mountain 07 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley, priced out at a whopping $448 for a half bottle carafe.

"mmm, I think the L'Ecole Number #41 '11 Merlot from the Columbia Valley is pretty good.  Is that OK with you Kenny?" Kirsten asked.

Looking down the Wine list and finding it listed for the bargain price of $52 for a carafe, Kenny breathed a sigh of relief.  At least he wouldn't have to do 2 days worth of lawns just to pay for the wine!  "Sure, that sounds great Kirsten."

"OK Francois," Kirsten said addressing the wine steward, "we'll have the L'Ecole Number 41."

"Very good choice, Miss Kirsten.  I will bring it while you are looking over the dinner menu." he replied in  a fake french accent.  His real name was Frank and he came from Boise, ID, but he had put on the accent when he first applied for the job 10 years earlier and never dropped using it at work.

"Damn, this place is sure ritzy, Kirsten.  It's no Red Lobster, that's for sure!"

"Yea, this is how the "other half" eats, or actually the other 1%.  I'm not going to be eating in these places much more though,since my dad had his bank accounts frozen.", Kirsten replied, admitting to Kenny that her status as a little rich girl had changed.

"No kidding?" Kenny asked.  "What happened?"

"After the big Hurricane down in Houston his company went bankrupt.  Then during the Chapter 11 filing the government regulators found a lot of anomalies on the books, and he got charged with several securities frauds and violations of environmental regulations.  They locked him up for 20 years and all his assets were confiscated.", Kirsten replied.

"Wow!  I'm sorry to hear that Kirsten!  That must have been rough."

Kirsten shrugged her shoulders. "No not really.  My dad was an asshole.  The roughest part is for my mom, she's not getting the alimony anymore so shes going to have to sell our house here and move into a smaller place.  Fortunately the house is in her name, and so is the stock portfolio she got in the divorce settlement.  So she should be OK, just not living the high life anymore."

Kenny nodded.  "Yea, we went through kind of the same thing when my dad died, my mom also had to sell our house.  Of course it wasn't quite at the same level though.  But the money she gave me was enough to get my landscaping business going, and she's doing OK now in Spokane working for my Uncle the Dentist."

Francois came back to the table with the wine, smoothly pouring it into the fine crystal wine glasses.  "Shall I send your Waiter over to take your order for dinner?"

Kirsten laughed.  "Oh no, Francois!  We haven't even looked at the menu yet.  Give us about 5 minutes, OK?

"Certainly, no problem Miss Kirsten." he replied, walking back off to the Wine bar.

"Well, we better look in the menu and see what to order." Kirsten said opening up the booklet. "If you want to keep it cheaper, we can just order some appetizers off the Wine Bar menu." Kirsten offered in consideration of Kenny's wallet.

Kenny looked at the prices on the main dinner menu and they weren't too bad with entrees in the $30-40 range.  About double what he might pay at a Red Lobster, but at least from reading the menu and smelling the odors wafting in from the kitchen and other tables the food was going to be way more interesting.

"Nah, let's live it up! Like you said, we're probably not going to have too many more opportuities to eat food like this, especially after TSHTF!"

Kirsten giggled.  "Yea, who knows, tomorrow could be Doomsday!"

"So what's good?" Kenny asked.

"Oh, it's all good, just depends what kind of meat or fish you like.  The meal is served complete with the sides so all you need to decide is what kind of main dish you are in the mood for.  Do you want to order some appetizers too?" she asked.

"Definitely!" Kenny replied.  "Let's go the whole 9 yards!"

Taking a couple of minutes more each to make their decisions, they came up with 2 different appetizers and 2 main meals, so they could both share and have a taste of the other dishes.  Almost as if by magic as soon as they had made their decision, their waiter Nathan showed up at the table.  Like most professional wait staff at high end restaraunts, he kept his eye on all the tables in his section, and could quickly recognize the body language of the Diners when they were ready to order.

"Are you ready to order now, Miss Kirsten?" Nathan inquired, even though he knew the answer.  Asking the female at the table first what she would like also was standard protocol.

"Yes.  For an appetizer, I'll have the Charcuterie & Cheese Plate with the Beef Bresaola, Duck~Pear Pate, Manchego Cheese Puff, Aged Asiago, Grilled Bread and Mustardo.  For salad I will have the Mediterranean Grilled Octopus & Shrimp Salad with Chickpeas, Cucumber, Fennel, Baby Kale, fresh Herbs, Kalamata Olives, roasted Red Peppers with the Red Wine Vinaigrette dressing.  For dinner I will have the Montana Raised Grilled Lamb with the Pistachio, Mint, roasted Garlic and Honey crumble.  Also on the side the Roasted Okinawa Sweet Potatoes, Lamb Jus, grilled Vegetables." Kirsten replied, which Nathan punched in quickly to his Samsung 3.0S Tablet, which now substituted for the pad and paper he had used in earlier years.

"And you sir, what will you be for dinner?" Nathan asked, not yet knowing Kenny's name to file in his memory bank of customers, of which there were hundreds of regulars.

"My name's Kenny." Kenny replied before pitching out his order.  More friend and acquaintance making was important for building the SUN☼ Community after TSHTF.

"Pleased to meet you Mr. Kenny", Nathan replied in the formal fashion used by staff to address customers.

"I'll have the Pan Seared Scallops with the Butter seared Brussel Sprouts, Bacon, pickled Mushrooms, Butternut Squash coulis and Almond crumble for an appetizer.  For salad, I'd like the Farro Beef Salad with the Arugula, Orange, Candied Olive, Fennel, Grilled Beef, Walnut, Cucumber, Lemon, Olive Oil & Shaved Parmesan.  I'd like the Pork Three Ways with the Vanilla Bean brined Tenderloin, seared Belly and crisp roast Pork Croquette.  The Rhubarb Glacé, seared Greens, Tomato~Mustard Seed Relish on the side." Kenny replied, reading the list of food goodies off the menu.

"Oh excellent choice on the main dish Mr. Kenny." Nathan replied as he punched this order into the tablet.  We have a new pork supplier from Texas who is supplying us with organically raised Mangalitsa Pig meat, which is the sweetest and juiciest available.  I am sure you will enjoy it."

"That sounds terrific Nathan! Can't wait to have a taste!" Kenny replied, and he was genuinely salivating now at the prospect of the meal.  The only problem would be packing all that food into his stomach at one sitting.He wondered if high end restaurants made doggie bags if you couldn't finish the meal?

"So, what's the latest in the world of Collapse Kenny?", Kirsten asked to get some dinner conversation going while waiting for the appetizers to be brought out by the wait staff.

"Well, first off we have a plan for bringing more people out to our SUN☼ Community once TSHTF." Kenny responded, reaching into his wallet and handing Kirsten the Level 1 Biz Card with all the contact information on it.  "This is the top level of contact information only for very trusted friends.  Keep it safe and don't pass on this information without talking to us first." he added, handing her the card.

"So does this mean I'll actually get to see your place and Karl's next time we go out?" Kirsten asked.

"Yea, probably the weekend after this one if you're not busy. Would have been this weekend except for getting the email from my mom." Kenny replied, keeping his white lie going for his excuse for begging off from the weekend with Kirsten to spend alone time with Karen.

"Oh sure!  That would be terrific Kenny!" Kirsten replied in her typically effusive manner.  "I can't wait to see how real Kollapsniks live!  I really liked Karen too, and Karl is very cool for an old guy!  He sure was amazing with that sling demonstration.  I never saw anything like that."

"Yea, me either actually.  I've watched a lot of YouTube vids on this and practiced a fair amount, but I could never pull off a stunt like that.  Must have taken him years to develop that skill." Kenny agreed.  "Also, I may be hooking up with Kareem and his organization.  Do you remember Kareem from High School?"

Kirsten laughed.  "Remember him?  Who could forget somebody 7' tall?  And 'organization'?" she giggled.  "I think you mean 'Gang'.  Everybody in Missoula knows Kareem and his buddies run Ganja and Prostitutes.  Kind of a tough bunch of folks to hook up with, don't you think?"

Kenny nodded, with a grin.  " 'Organization is the polite word'.  'Gang' has very negative word baggage associated with it.  But yes, it's a gang, but as gangs go I know several of the people besides Kareem who are in it, Hawk is in it and I dated his sister Sparrow in High School.  I think Kim is in it too, and he was in my Computer Programming class.  Fucking genius.  So I don't think they are bad guys, just guys from the wrong side of the tracks who are trying to get by in a world of collapse."

Holy Guacamole! My Excellent Mexican CHEAP Dinner Recipes

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on April 23, 2017

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The general focus of the SNAP Card Gourmet series is to find ways to feed yourself with "relatively" healthy food at a price you can afford on a SNAP Card budget, which generally comes in the neighborhood in the FSoA right now of $140 per person, or somewhere around $5/day.  So whenever I write one of these SNAP Card Gourmet posts, I try to stay inside this parameter of $5/day for your nutrition needs.  This meal goes a bit over the target price, but it's a huge meal and you could shrink it some to stay inside the $5 target.

In this episode of TSCG, we're going to discover how to make a fabulous Mexican style meal for 4 people, coming in around $6/per person.  There's very little in the way of "real cooking" in this recipe, it mostly uses off the shelf frozen or canned foods, along with some fresh veggies, like Avocados for your Guacamole.  You can of course make it somewhat healthier if you make your Burritos and Chimichangas from scratch, but it won't be any cheaper.  In fact it will probably be more expensive that way.  So this falls under the category of cheap and filling calories, but not too high on the Nutrition scale.  It also falls under the category of EZ to prepare, you only need a Microwave and a couple of pots on a double burner electric hotplate.  So if you are wedged into a Section 8 one room Bates Motel with your wife (or husband) and 2 kids, you can probably cook up this meal and save a lot of money off the cost of the same thing at a Taco Bell, Chipotle or Qdoba, where it will cost you around $12-16.

The meal starts with the main entree of either two Burritos, Chimichangas, or Enchiladas your choice there.  They come in packages of 8 from El Monterey for around $5.00 around here, probably somewhat cheaper in the lower 48.

To these frozen delights, prior to microwaving you spruce them up with slices of cheddar cheese, around $4.00 for an 8 oz package which you lay over the top of them so it melts over the Burrito.  You might want to use Pepper Jack cheese instead, your choice. You further add calories to this by serving with a dollop of Sour Cream, a pint of which comes in around $3.00.

The real piece de resistance is your Guacamole, which you make from 2 avocados mashed up and a package of Guacamole mix so you don't have to buy all the separate spices like cilantro and lime, etc.  $4.00 for the Avocados, $1 for the mix, total $5.00 for the guacamole.  You can sometimes get avocados cheaper than this on sale.

A bottle of Salsa, another $3.  You'll probably have left over Salsa to use in another meal, but we'll count the whole cost of the bottle here.

Your final addition to the meal can be either refried beans at $1/can, 2 cans probably enough but if you have big eaters maybe 3 cans.  Other choice would be Black Beans & Rice, which comes in around the same price of $3.

Total cost for the meal per person is $6, which is over the SNAP Card benchmark of $5, but for a once a week Mega Meal, not too far over and you can easily make up for it through the rest of the week with some days of cheaper eating, like making spaghetti or peanut butter sandwiches, etc.  To be honest for myself, this would be 2-3 days of meals for me, not one.  I am perennially eating more leftovers than I do freshly cooked meals these days.

Since the meal is pretty heavy on the Calories but thin on the Vitamins, you're also going to want to be sure to take a multi-vitamin with it, which adds maybe 50 cents to each serving depending on the quality of vitamins you buy and the size of the container.  Vitamins always need to be accounted for in your total SNAP card budget for the month, and one should always try to buy the largest size and have it last a few months than buying smaller sizes every month, it comes in cheaper that way.  Vitamins keep a long time, you don't need to worry about them going bad.

In the next episode of the SNAP Card Gourmet, we'll look at a much HEALTHIER style of eating and which takes no cooking whatsoever.  It's also one of the few meal types you can put together for a single person without ending up with tons of leftovers you need to eat every day for a week so you can work through it all.  I call this the "Endless Salad".

Until then, Bon Apetite Diners!

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