How I Survived Collapse: Chapter 25

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Published on The Doomstead Diner October 22, 2017

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I have complaints from quite a few Diners about "abandoning" the "How I Survived Collapse" novel, which I didn't really do.  It's just that there has been so much else going on in the Global World of Doom along with my own personal life that squeezing in time to write more chapters has been difficult and put on the back burner.  However, this week we have a BREAK from the non-stop Hurricane Train and Strafing Run of Mother Nature (at least until Super Typhoon Lan makes landfall in Tokyo on Monday morning), and Spain hasn't yet broken out into complete Civil War.  So this is a pretty good slow week in collapse to get up a new chapter of HISC.  In this one, Kenny & Karen go for a picnic. 🙂


It was a beautiful spring morning as Kenny and Karen began their ride on the two powerful American Quarterhorses Quickdraw and Mr. Ed, with the big Siberian Husky Huckleberry leading the way.  Damp branches squished under the hooves of the horses, and there was the fresh smell of new Pine Needles growing in the air.

The trail along the creek bed was fairly wide, with enough room for the horses to travel side by side, so Kenny and Karen had a nice chance to share their lives and experiences, and gain a deeper sense of bonding.  Occassionally at locations where the river bank became steep the horses would have to go single file with Mr. Ed and Karen leading the way as they negotiated wading through the more shallow parts of the stream bed, which occassionally was fairly rapidly moving in some narrow sections.  Overall though, it was not a major river even during this high water period and the horses had no problem negotiating the stream, moving gingerly along the edge of the creek an gaining good footing with each step.  It was pretty slow going all the way though, so it took well over an hour for them to make it to the spot Karen had picked out for the Picnic.

The conversation along the trail quickly centered around prepping and the future of Industrial Civilization.

"I have to say Kenny, you have made some choices and decisions I really could not have imagined making before I went to college.  I really had no idea about any of this stuff at the time, although mom did always say Karl was a kind of eccentric Doomer.  I didn't know he was my dad then though, and I didn't pay much attention to it.", Karen recalled.

"It was sort of accidental, my Karma I guess." Kenny mused.  "I just got hooked on surfing the internet, and then I ran into the Doomstead Diner.  Then I kept linking to more and more sites and I realized there was no way that this civilization could continue onward the way it was going.  So instead of focusing on going to college, I decided to focus on preparing for the world to come."

"Well, you certainly saved a lot of money that way!" Karen joked.  "I'll be paying my college loans out of my Tips at Quinn's until the Sun Goes Red Giant!"

Kenny laughed.  "Probably not that long.  The monetary system will crash and nobody will be paying off any of those loans at all.  No working money to do it with.  Of course, that will be a major clusterfuck all around, so you can't really look forward to this outcome that much, even if it does get you out from under the debt."

"How did you decide to do the Stealth Van living thing as an option?  You seem to have enough money from your landscaping business to afford a regular apartment?"

"It made CFS, or 'Common Fucking Sense' as RE likes to call it.  I really don't need an apartment, it's a waste of what money I do earn.  Why should I pay money to some Rentier who profits off me just because he has a title to a property?  I should pay some scumbag landlord part of my daily wages just because he "owns" a piece of land and a building on it?  It's also flexible and let's me set up shop just about anywhere, at least as long as I can get gas for it anyhow.  I considered the idea of fixing up an old sailboat and doing the Seasteading thing instead, but of course here in Montana there's not a big shoreline around. lol.  Besides, I already had my Landscaping business going, so I didn't think making a move closer to the ocean was a great choice.  You have to play the cards you are dealt, and this seemed like the best choice for me at the end of High School."

Karen nodded her head.  "Yea, I guess it does make 'CFS'.  Still, don't you find living in a Van rather cramped?"

"Not at all.  I only do 3 things inside the van.  Drive it, sleep in it and work at the computer on my desk.  I would have to drive anyway for work, when I'm asleep I am unaware of how big it is and when I am on the computer it's just me, the keyboard and the screen.  All the rest of the time I am outside doing something, or maybe in a public space like the library or the gym or the mall.  The only minor hassle is toilet and shower facilities, but there are plenty of public ones available.  For what I need for living space, I just can't see spending $1000/mo on rent.", Kenny replied.

"Doesn't it get cold in the winter?", Karen asked.

"Hell no! It's a small space, easy to heat.  A couple of kerosene lanterns burning is usually quite enough as long as temperatures are above freezing, if it gets really cold I have a 23,500 BTU Kero Heat Indoor Safe heater that will cook you even if the outside temps are 30 below.  I only had to use it a couple of times last winter, and only for short periods of time.  It has its own carbon monoxide detector and auto-shutoff, and I have a separate one besides to monitor while working at the computer.  I never have it on while I am sleeping.  If it is really cold, besides my Western Tamarak Mountain Sleeping Bag good to 30 below, I have a 12V DC electric heating pad to stuff inside the bag.  This also will cook you if you set it too high.  It doesn't burn that much juice, my two 120 Amp Hour VMax Deep Cycle Marine batteries easily can handle to load for several nights without a recharge.  I only had to use that system once last winter too."

"What about all the rules and laws against living in a vehicle around here?  Don't the police give you hassles?", Karen inquired.

Kenny laughed.  "Yea, that part can be tricky, especially in town.  Outside of town around here, not a real problem at least as long as you don't stay in a location more than a couple of nights.  In town, you definitely need to change locations every night, but that isn't hard to do.  I scope out new locations all the time, and I have a dozen really good ones, and another dozen for variety which are not so good because they lack amenities like a 24/7 bathroom.  I can always use the truckstops though, both the TA and the Flying J love getting your bizness for the night.  Of course, the showers in those places cost you $6 and the Buffets aren't that great, but they don't give you any grief for parking overnight.  That's how Truckers live.  Anyhow, I'm just about never at the same location twice in a month, and so far I stayed under the Gestapo Radar for over a year."

The two horses plodded along the trail a bit further, and then the creek opened up with a large pool of water held back by a beaver dam.

"OK!  We're here!" Karen declared.

"Wow, this is a really nice spot Karen!  I bet we could improve on the beaver dam also and set up a water wheel for doing mechanical tasks too!", Kenny said enthusiatically, his Prepper brain always at work.

Karen laughed. "I figured you would say something like that.  I thought of it myself actually.  Dam engineering was my main interest in my Civil Engineering studies.  I actually have design already for one to drop in here at this location, I have it in 3D done in Sketchup on my Lenovo 8" tablet if you would like to see it.  I pulled the terrain features off of Google Earth, so it's pretty realistic looking.  Maybe you have some suggestions for improvement?  I never considered doing mechanical power transmission, just electric.", Karen offered as they unpacked the lunch from the saddlebags on Mr. Ed and Quick Draw, along with a big red & white checked tablecloth to set the feast out onto and hopefully keep the ants at bay for the duration of the meal.

"Sure, I'd love to have a look at it!" Kenny enthused, as he got the Southwest Black Bean Progresso Soup for a starter course on the Jet Boil butane camping stove.  Karen pulled out her tablet from the saddlebag and the two Kollapsniks spread out the big 10' X16' Camo Tarp Karen had packed as a picnic blanket, along with a couple of aluminum mess kits and Hobo Knives to eat with.  Cutting up a head of Romaine Lettuce and another of Raddichio and several Roma Tomatoes, she added some crumbled Feta Cheese and Kalamatta Olives imported from Greece, then sprinkling with a Greek Salad dressing picked up off the shelves at Whole Foods for a delicious and crisp Greek Salad.  She had already prepared the sandwiches the night before, smoked chicken and bacon from Karl's smoker and hen house and Swiss Cheese imported from France, along with a thin slice of Red Onion and fresh slices of Avocado along with a light slathering of homemade Mayonaisse on the crusty loaf of French Bread, split into two halves.

As they dipped their spoons into the Black Bean Soup, Kenny looked closely at Karen's schematics for a more substantial dam on the river to support a nicro-hydro electric generating system.  It was quite robust, but they would have to haul in quite a bit of Portland Cement, Sand and Rebar, along with diverting the river to get the foundation in.  It was a MAJOR project, and if they were to do it before SHTF Day, they would need a lot of permits, and also Kenny wasn't sure Karl owned the land this far from his Doomstead.

"This is a HUGE project Karen!", Kenny exclaimed.  "Does Karl own this land on both sides of the creek?  No way we could do this unless he owns all of it, and we would still need to get permits for it I am pretty sure.  It also would draw attention to us as Doomsteaders.  Everybody in the planning office for the county would know about it, not to mention the equipment rental people and additional help we would need for building it.  You're going to need a pretty serious size work crew to construct this thing, 4 or 5 people will not be able to get it done."

"I think Dad owns the whole valley, except for the cabins he sold off nearby.  I didn't consider the problem of all the people who would find out about the Doomstead if we did it though…", Karen replied as she forked up a Kalamatta Olive, Roma tomato slice and some Feta Cheese.  "I also didn't really think about all the Heavy Equipment and additional manpower we would need for building it here.  These are problems we didn't consider in Civil Engineering school!" she said with a laugh.

"That's one of the problems with being immersed in techno-industrial civilization, you take for granted everything you need for building something will be available, the only constraint is how much money you have available.  In our circumstances, we don't have much money constraint because Karl has so much of the toilet paper, but we have other constraints we have to consider with any project we undertake.  I think we will need to redesign this one from scratch on a smaller scale, and move the location a little upstream where I think we can get a better drop on the water, although there will be less of it and not so much pressure.  That spot up there looks like it might work." Kenny said, pointing to a spot about 100 yards upstream from the bank of the creek they were picnicing on.

"That's not going to put out much power Kenny", Karen mused.

"I't doesn't need to put out all that much Karen.", Kenny replied.  I just wanna see if I can gear it up to do some simple tasks like trun a saw blade to do some rip cutting or a lathe or turn a sewing machine.or small loom for weaving.  I figure to use some scrap Marine Propellers for the turbines."

"Well, that could work…", Karen replied quickly.  "Power transmission would be pretty difficult to the shore though where you would run the machines. It's a pretty long stretch to the shore where you could set up your machines.", she said, her engineer brain beginning to hum.

Kenny pondered on that, it would be a long way to run a drive shaft to the shore.  "Well, maybe we could build out a platform to closer to where the turbines are."  Kenny suggested.

"Yea, that's possible." Karen agreed.  "However, damn good chance the platform gets washed downstream during the spring runoff and flooding, she advised.

Kenny refused to be defeated in the idea.  "We'll just have to make it temporary then, like with the funicular railway and cable car system.  Set it up when we need it, take it down when we're not using it.", Kenny said firmly.

Karen laughed. "You don't quit easily Kenny!" she exclaimed.  "This would be a lot bigger set-up/take-down job though.  That would take a LOT of wood to build that platform."

Kenny and Karen continued batting ideas back and forth as they finished the bottle of Château Rayas 1995 she had pulled from Karl's Wine Cellar, getting a nice buzz on.  Kenny pulled out a spliff from the stash he had picked up from Kareem for a little taste of weed before heading back to Karl's place on Quick Draw and Mr. Ed.

"We're not going to have time to go on a float down the Clark's Fork River now Kenny, we spent way too much time going over plans for the dam.", Karen remarked as the horses and Huckleberry negotiated a slow walk back to Karl's Doomstead.  "We could drive out to the launch site though and camp overnight, and take off early in the morning for a real nice run.  The water isn't running that fast right now, but it still should be pretty good.", she offered.

Kenny had no plans made for Sunday, and there was no fast excuse he could come up with to beg off on overnighting with Karen at a camping spot by the Clark's Fork River.  Besides, he didn't WANT to beg off!  Even though he currently had a new relationship going with Kirsten and was still having the occasional tryst with the housewives he cut lawns for, at the ripe old age of 20 years old his mind was RULED by the sausage hiding behind his zipper.  Karen was a HOT TICKET!

"Sure!  That sounds great Karen!", Kenny replied.



Ranting Collapse 2017

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Published on The Doomstead Diner October 15, 2017

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The Frostbite Falls Daily Rant is BACK!  At least for today, anyhow.

A few weeks ago we received a very large DONATION to the SUN Foundation for developing Sustainable Communities, which is the 501c3 Non-Profit arm of the Doomstead Diner.  Said donor is a fan of my audio rants, so in gratitude for his generosity I promised him I would do a new Rant.   I haven't done any audio rants in over a year, mainly because they are a SHIT LOAD of work! LOL.  OK, other reasons too, I got going on other projects and venues like Utoob and writing the How I Survived Collapse novel, but the main deal was the workload for the rants.  Still, Diners do like them, so I will try to do them again periodically.

In case I don't get a whole lot of new ones up, in conjunction with another project I am currently undertaking I am Archiving many of the Diner files on the FREE cloud on Google Drive.  This week I got 66 Audio mp3s up in a new Doomstead Diner folder which is open to the Public for FREE downloads of numerous interviews and rants.  You can also access many of these and more on Diner Soundcloud, but Google Drive is better because you can download the entire folder, plus it will stay up even after I croak and stop paying for the Soundcloud Channel.

Since it has been so long between Rants, I made this one a Catch-Up Rant, covering Collapse Bullshit that has been occuring over the last couple of years, although of course with a focus toward the recent Doom we have been experiencing by the Truckload.  This of course made it fairly long at around 17 minutes, so it might take you through half the time it takes to weed your garden or feed the pigs to listen to it.  Here's are a couple of Snippets from the Rant:

It's pretty tough to determine what or where the greatest havoc is in the world right now with the Hurricane Train having decimated pretty much the whole Carribean, Florida and Houston and 120K people evacuating Bali as Mt Agung threatens to Go Ballistic on the other side of the planet.  10,000 Cows are still stuck there though, so assuming it does erupt there will be a lot of Well Done steaks on Bali, if you can dig them out from under the lava after it cools down.  This is stuff happening right now, which tends to pull your attention in that direction, but this is supposed to be a Recap Rant, so I have to get in Mr. Peabody's WAYBAC Machine and travel back in time to about when I took the extended Vacation from Ranting, which I estimate was around the time the POTUS primaries were getting underway.  I estimate that was when I switched off the microphone because I can't find any rants I did during the period, and I surely was doing plenty of ranting in text blogs.  So we'll start there in catchup.

The campaign for POTUS was so full of Tragedy & Comedy I don't think even Shakespeare would know where to begin with it.  I'll randomly select the THEFT of the Demodope Nomination by The Clinton Gang in the Showdown at the DNC Corral.  Dirty Tricks to Voter Fraud, it all was evident but of course as usual nobody gets even indicted, much less prosecuted or convicted.

Meanwhile, Donalditry Trumpovetsky over on the Repugnant side confounded all the Pundits and rounded up enough votes from "Deplorables" to win the nomination over there.  The Repugnant establishment was fit to be tied, and a mad scramble ensued to find SOME kind of coalition they could work with and Goobern the FSoA if they happened to get elected.  Which they did after even more egregious hanky panky than during the Primaries, trying to manipulate the election than went on regardless of the bullshit.  Emails were leaked, collusion with the Ruskies to hack the election was alleged, but again of course no indictments to be seen anywhere.  Various agencies are still "investigating" the bullshit, and will come back eventually with more bullshit but no indictments.

…and to FINISH

What you have here is a catastrophe that exceeds even the vast capabilities of the FSoA Military to cope with.  It's the result of decades if not centuries of poor planning, colonialism, capitalist rape, racism and environmental destruction.  It was an accident waiting to happen, and now it has.  The Puerto Ricans are the victims of this.

As bad as that is, it's still NOTHING compared to the kind of dislocation we will face when SHTF Day makes it into the core countries.  Now you are not talking a few paltry MILLION people left twisting in the wind, the FSoA by itself has 350M.  Then of course there are all those Billions oc Chinese and Indians, and when the FSoA and it's monetary system go down, they go down too.  They most certainly won't be stepping in with helicopters and hospital ships when SHTF Day comes to the continental FSoA.  Everybody will have their own problems, and there will be nobody out there to ride to the rescue.

What Puerto Rico hopefully does is WAKE PEOPLE UP to the fact the FAST COLLAPSE scenario is very real, and in general more likely than the Long Emergency of James Howard Kunstler or the Slow Catabolic Collapse of John Michael Greer.  Industrial Civilization has a very few lynchpin systems that it depends on to function, and when they go away for whatever the reasons, climate, war, economics or politics, the essence of the way we live is stripped away virtually instantaneously.  It's not likely to happen at the same time everywhere unless we get Global Thermonuclear War, but town by town and region by region more places will fall off the cliff the way Venezuela and Ukraine and now Puerto Rico have.  For these people, Collapse is not some theory about something that might happen sometime in the distant future.  It is THERE. NOW.

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You.

I'll have a full transcript of the Rant available for Diners who request it, just contact me Inside the Diner.  The full transcript will likely also be published on Global Economic Intersection later this week.  It's just not the same without the Audio inflections though, you really miss out if you just read these things.  My Pirate Radio friends know what I am talking about here.

Anyhoooo…without further ado, here's the last 1+ Years in Doom, Rant Style from RE.  Hope you enjoy.

Requiem for an Automobile

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Published on The Doomstead Diner October 14, 2017

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So I am working as my friend Brian's "Property Manager" for the apartments he rents up here, which basically amounts to showing the place to prospective tenants.  Only two of them fortunately in a McHovel he converted to a an upstais/downstairs set of apartments.  Rented out the top one a few months ago, the bottom one has been vacant a few months.  I have shown it to half a dozen prospective tenants, so far no takers.  Brian hasn't kept up on the maintenance and it needs a fair amount of work.

Anyhow, I had an appointment to show it today at 1PM, and I head out to my cars around 12:45.  The place is only around 2 miles away.  I decide I will give the Mazda a little workout to freshen up the battery since I hardly ever drive it.  As usual, she fires up just fine, an amazingly dependable vehicle the entire decade I have owned her.  I am not halfway out of the parking spot when I hear POW! and the car lists to the right.  I figure SHIT, I got a blowout!  So I back the car back into the spot and get out to have a look.  No, it's not a blowout, the tire is fine.  THE FUCKING STRUT GAVE OUT!

It's the Finger of God this happened when & where it did.  If this happened while I was driving at any speed at all, if I could keep control of the vehicle to avoid an accident that also would be Finger of God material.  As it was, it was only a minor inconvenience, after re-parking the car I went over to my Ford Explorer and took that over to the rental apartments to show them.  I wasn't even late for the appointment.  Havng spare carz around comes in handy at times like these.  Usually though, 3 carz is a bit of overkill, 2 is enough.

Now, I can't say I wasn't warned about this.  The last time I brought her in for an oil change (over a year ago), the Mechanic Jockey told me the struts were about rusted through and driving on them was dicey and I should replace them.  However, price tag on that was over $1000 and I only paid $900 for the car to begin with 10 years ago!  So I took a pass on getting the job done, kind of thinking maybe the Mechanic Jockey was just trying to get me to fork over for a big repair job.  Turns out of course here he was telling the truth.

So I get back home after the McHovel showing, and have another look and take the above pics.  It's DECISION time on the Mazda.  Do I have her towed to the Repair Shop or to the Junkyard?

I know it makes CFS to send the Mazda to the Land of Away for many reasons.  First off, the car is a 1989 with plenty of rust on it, I bought it for $900 10 years ago and even fully working I probably could not get more than $500 for it today.  Second, I currently have 3 vehicles in the parking lot, and according to community rules the max you are supposed to have is 2 per unit.  Third, keeping 3 vehicles all battery charged and working through the winter if you don't drive them every day is almost a daily maintenance task once it gets really cold.  Fourth, I only have one spot with a carport, which means when it snows I have to clear the snow off 2 carz to drive them.  This is a pain in the ass even if you are not crippled.

Unfortunately though, I am Emo about the Mazda.  I think of her kind of like the Racehorse John Henry.  He didn't win the Kentucky Derby, but he raced a LONG time and he won a LOT.

His final race record stood at 83 starts, 39 wins, 15 seconds, and 9 thirds with $6,591,860 in earnings. He was twice voted the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year in 1981 and 1984, of which his 1981 election is notable in that it was the first in which the victor received all votes cast for that award. That feat has since been matched only by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in 2015.[4]

The Mazda also raced along the roads of the Eisenhower Interstate a long time, almost 30 years through the Age of Oil, 10 of them with me as the Car Jockey.  She was amazingly dependable through all the Alaskan Winters, the 4WD was necessary on many occasions.  No repairs necessary EVAH except to get new battery and tires.  Still runs great to this day, except of course now she has a Broken Leg. When a horse has a broken leg, the best and most humane thing to do is to put her down, aka KILL her.  But Putting Down the Mazda is hard.  The car gave me 10 excellent years of service up here on the Last Great Frontier. I know how the owners of John Henry must have felt when they had to put him down.

John Henry was euthanized at 7:05 pm EDT (2305 UTC) on October 8, 2007, at the age of 32. He had developed serious kidney problems in August 2007, while Central Kentucky was experiencing a heat wave. On October 6, he stopped responding to veterinary treatment, and the decision was made to put him down. Many who worked with him had the chance to say their goodbyes, including McCarron, who was notified of the decision to euthanize at 4:30 pm, arrived at the park at 5:30, and stayed with him until shortly before the veterinarian arrived.[5]

For now, the Mazda sits in her spot in the parking lot while I empty out more of the flotsam and jetsam of my own life that resides inside her.  I will get the shit out of her the rest of today and tomorrow, assuming we have a break from the constant rain we have been getting up here for the last few weeks.  Monday I will go over to my Mechanic Jockey and see what he will give me for the hulk.  The tires are practically brand new, I bought them 2 years ago but hardly drive the car at all.  The Battery also quite new.  Engine and tranny, both good.  Also has a full tank of gas, I recently filled it.  I at least hope to recoup the towing costs in selling it for junk.

Dust in the Wind.  All we are is Dust in the Wind.  Carz too.

Requiem for a Pirate

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Published on The Doomstead Diner October 8, 2017

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I got the news this week that an old friend, Randy Ripley had died last month, at the age of 63.  Pretty much the oldest friend I had, since we knew each other from childhood in Brasil.  I wrote about Randi a few years ago in my article Pump Up the Volume.  It was an article about the Pirate Radio years of the 1970s when I was a small part of that scene.  Randy ran a small Pirate out of his parent's basement in Flushing, Queens where we both ended up living after spending the 1960s in Brasil.  We were friends from about the time I was 6 years old and Randy was 9 and stayed friends until about the time I left NY Shity to go out OTR as a Trucker.  At that time, I lost contact with just about everyone I had been friends with. I was in my middle 30s at the time.

Even before that though, Randy and I drifted apart, as our lives took different paths quite early on.  I was a top student through Junior High when we spent the most time together and I went on to one of the NY Shity specialized high schools for Science & Math, Stuyvesant.  Randy couldn't manage HS for any number of reasons, and he dropped out in his Junior year.  When he did, he went full on into Pirate Radio, and built his WQLB Radio Station basically from scratch from Radio Shack parts and Army surplus equipment.  It was housed in the basement of his parent's house in Flushing.  During this time, I would usually only see Randy once a week or so, when I would come over to play some chess, watch some TV and then we would go On the Air late at night on WQLB, reaching out a few miles in northern Queens and into a bit of Long Island. My On Air handle in those years was Stony Stevenson (taken from the Kurt Vonnegut novel Between Time & Timbuktu). He didn't have much of an antenna then, later though he got a tower and the reach was further.  We could make Manhattan if it was pointed the right way.

The reasons Randy couldn't hack high school were many.  First off, he was Legally Blind.  He could read, just he had to have a book right up on his nose to be able to do it.  Same when we watched TV together, he would sit up very close to the TV screen to be able to make out what was going on.  What was truly amazing about him though on this level was his ability to do fine work with electronics and audio tape of the era.  He was very meticulous and would work up close to do all the soldering and splicing of tape to make his audio productions, which is what kept him bizzy after dropping out of HS.  If it was just his blindness, Randy could have made it through HS, and probably gone on to an engineering degree with no problem.  But that wasn't his only issue.

Besides being legally blind, Randy was also a homosexual and a hippie and he had no friends in the Queens HS where he ended up, Bayside HS.  He was very anti-establishment and wasn't interested at all in the material they were dishing out there for him to learn.  So he dropped out and retreated to his parent's basement, much to their consternation.  In those years, before Pirate Radio really became his thing and he got WQLB running, I was pretty much his only friend AFAIK.

Battles with his parents were endless, besides being unhappy with him dropping out of skule, they were Christian Fundys and he was totally anti-religion.  He also was running an illegal Radio Station, which certainly would have got them in trouble if he was ever caught (which he never was in those years, the FCC was quite incompetent).  His sexual orientation which at the time he identified as Gay also gave them fits.  After a few years he decided he wasn't actually Gay, but in fact Transgender.  This is well before all this stuff became fashionable, it was not Mainstream at all.  He wanted THE OPERATION to become a She.  In the end, Randi won this battle with them, and I believe they ended up footing the bill for the surgery.

When I went on to college, my visits with Randy became much more sporadic, maybe once a month I would drop in to visit with him at the new place his parents moved to, also in Flushing.  Main reason for the move was he & they couldn't get along in the same living space but they couldn't make a complete break at that time, he wasn't self-sufficient enough.  So they moved into a townhouse type home with 3 apartments, and he had the top floor.  A short time after they moved in there he got the operation and He became a She, now spelled Randi instead of Randy.  She had upscaled her Pirate Station quite a bit, and the apartment also sported a nice living room with a big couch and big color TV (for the era).  It had a kick ass stereo system in the living room with the speakers wired into his Studio, which was one of the two bedrooms of the apartment.  He also generally had on hand a good size stash of Ganja to smoke, and at the time I was a Weed Smoker.  So when I visited with my mom in our Flushing house every so often, riding the #7 Flushing train from Times Square at one end of the line to Main Street at the other end after taking the #1 train down from Columbia, I would buy a 6-Pack of Heineken (my Beer of choice in those years) and walk on over to his house, about 4 blocks away.  Sometimes we would do a Radio Show, other times just watch TV and smoke dope.  On my shows, Randi would do all the engineering and I would just talk.  I never really learned to do all the engineering tasks for running a good radio show by myself.  That's where my Ranting in Audio here on the Diner was born though.  I was in my early teens when I started doing that.

Randi is in the Center, 3rd from the right

After college, our lives drifted further apart and Randi got ever deeper into the world of Pirate Radio as he hooked up with the Yonkers crowd and Allan Weiner, another self-taught genius.  Allan bought a bought a big rusting hulk of a vessel moored in Boston Harbor he named the Sarah, fixed up the diesel engines to make it seaworthy again and fitted it out with a transmitter and studio to broadcast from offshore.  The crew of Pirates all went out on that boat and broadcast as RNI, Radio New York International toward the coast of Long Island.  They lasted about a week as I recall before they were shut down and arrested by the FCC.  I had the opportunity to go on that adventure, but I didn't take it.  I am sorry for that to this day.

I completely lost touch with Randi over 20 years ago, although I got periodic reports from my mother who was friends with his mother, so I knew she kept on with the Pirate Radio and moved from Flushing to Woodstock.  What I only learned in the last week with the news of her death is that many of this crew of Pirates remained in touch with each other for all these years in between, and continued with careers in radio of one sort or another, both legal and illegal.  I find that amazing because I have no friends going back that far in my life.

Randi's life was an odd one, and she certainly did not fit into the society she was born into.  She did have one legit job that I know of, she worked as a producer on the Alex Bennett show on WPLJ early on when I was still in my teens.  I went into Manhattan a few times with her to sit in the control room, and met Phil Ochs not long before he commited suicide.  There was another person who didn't fit well into our society.

Otherwise though, Randi mostly lived off SSI Benefits she got as a result of being Legally Blind, and then after her parents died I am sure she inherited a tidy sum of money from her father, who had a successful career as a drector in the fisheries department of the UN, but was almost certainly really CIA.  So if she did hold any paying Radio gigs later on it wasn't because she had to work, just because she wanted to do Radio.

Pirate Radio holds a lot of meaning in terms of freedom, and the efforts made back in the 70s by the hippies and the malcontents around at the time were worthy efforts, but of course in the end doomed to failure.  Like folks in the Environmental Movement, they got to open the door a crack, but then it got shut in their faces and for the next 40 years since they have been just spinning their wheels in the frustrating attempt to get something besides Corporate Propaganda up On the Air.  For the last few years we have seen the door open a crack again with the advent of the Internet, Blogs, Podcasts and YouTube channels.  That also will shut soon enough, either through Goobermint repression or through economic collapse, it's a race to see which one kills it first.  In the longer term, it's also too energy intensive and complex a medium to continue onward in the post-collapse world.  For a while once the Internet Goes Dark after SHTF Day, Radio may make a Comeback as a communication medium, over the Shortwave transmitters of HAM operators.  Just have to see how that one goes.

Randi never participated much on the Internet, her eyesight precluded that in the early years of mainly text and I suspect she never became comfortable with the medium to switch into Podcasting.  So at 63 years old, she finished her life the way she lived it, as a Pirate Radio freak.  63 is not that old, but not that young either, so she had more or less an average lifespan, a little on the low side these days if you go in to the medical industry grind, which she chose not to do.  Nothing wrong at all with that choice.  I myself am immersed in it, and it positively sucks.

Did Randi have much Happiness through her life?  Not really I don't think but she did find something she had a passion for and pursued it for her life walking the earth, and there is a lot to be said for that also.  I am sure now that she has crossed the Eternal Divide into the Great Beyond, she is setting up a new Pirate Station to broadcast from there.  Tune in at 91.9 on your FM Dial after midnite and perhaps you will catch her show.

You can listen more about the life of Randall Ripley in this Podcast from another old friend of his/hers:

You can read more memories HERE from another friend.



Puerto Rico: Canary in the Coal Mine of Collapse

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Published on The Doomstead Diner October 1, 2017

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Maria is another one of those Collapse Gifts that keeps on giving.  Although the impact of the storm itself was quite horrific, the aftermath has been far worse.  Puerto Rico has now become the Poster Child for what FAST COLLAPSE looks like.  For those of us who observe and chronicle collapse as it progresses around the world, Puerto Rico is the Canary in the Coal Mine.  It's a window into what life will look like for many as our energy supplies dwindle.

Although it took a Hurricane like Maria to wipe out the infrastructure of Puerto Rico in one fell swoop, the island was already well on its way toward this before Maria came a-calling.  They are officially bankrupt, the power company also bankrupt, the infrastructure aging and in disrepair, and on top of all of that over the last decade there has been mass migration out of Puerto Rico by anyone young with skills who could get out.  So not only does the power company have a money shortage, they have a manpower shortage too.  They don't just have to re-string wires in this one, first they gotta GET to the wires rebuilding and clearing roads, then they gotta put in a whole lot of new poles, which have to be shipped in because they don't have any trees left there to make them out of.  Quotes of a "few months" to get a full grid operational there again are laughable.  They might get San Juan lit up again in that time period, but not the whole island.

The instantaneous removal of all grid power in Puerto Rico demonstrates clearly how dependent all industrialized countries are on a functioning electrical grid.  Particularly true in hot climates, where without A/C now many buildings are simply uninhabitable.  Office buildings are often build without windows that open, turning them  into ovens when the A/C goes out.  Similarly, many modern McMansions are not built with the kind of shaded porches, ceiling fans and ventilation that older southern climate homes were built with.  No A/C in these dwelling, and you will sweat to death in no time.  It's no help on that front either that there is little Potable Water circulating anywhere to keep yourself well hydrated. after the A/C on the high power consumption items we all rely on is the Food Refrigeration issue.  By now, all the food stored in everyone's home refrigerator and freezer has gone bad if it wasn't eaten already.  Some larger stores and warehouses might have generator backup, but most of the Bodegas the typical Puerto Rican buys food at do not.  Even if they do have generators, gas is running scarce and driving to get it or have it delivered is blocked by debris and still flooded roads in some places.  For all intents and purposes, any perishable foods on the island are no longer consumable.

Is a massive relief effort underway to get new food to the people of Puerto Rico?  If you call 7 air cargo C-130 transports and a couple of Navy ships a massive relief effort and give this "high marks" in the words of Donalditry Tumpovetsky, you are a few cans short of a six-pack.  Again, this might bring enough food in to keep the folks in and around San Juan from starving, but it's not enough capacity to feed an island with 3.4M Human Souls living on it.

In fact what needs to be done here is a FULL MOBILIZATION of the FSoA Coast Guard, and FSoA flagged Container Ships need to be commandeered to bring in massive food aid and building materials to various ports all around the island.  It's also just nonsense that they haven't been able to reach remote villages because of impassable roads.  They have HELICOPTERS!  They might not have enough choppers to get aid out to all these remote places, but they can certainly go there, survey damage, talk to the Mayor and give him a Sat Phone, etc.

Besides the nonsense on not knowing the status of these places is the nonsense in terms of the Death Count.  Do you really believe on an island with 3.4M people, most of whom live in poverty in ramshackle "non-traditional" housing, only 12 people died?  With raging floods all over the island and wind speeds topping 145 MPH?  Debris flying everywhere and power lines down all over the place?  Besides that, quite obviously with no power in many hospitals and nursing homes and no A/C old folks and sick folks are going to be dropping like flies here, starting about now.  They have medicines that need refrigeration that go bad just like food does.  We'll never get an accurate number on how many people die as a result of this catastrophe, Da Goobermint would never admit to it.  Big Death numbers only happen to 3rd World Nations like Bangladesh, not to FSoA Citizens!

A/C and Refrigeration are proximal problems immediately hitting individuals, but there are of course many other dependencies on electricity any industrialized neighborhood has to deal with.  Anywhere there are high-rise apartments, you need elevators (Lifts for the Brits) to be transporting you up and down from the upper stories.  While it is possible if you are in good shape to walk 12 flights of stairs in the morning to go to work and when you get home at night, it's pretty darn hard to do this 2 or 3 times a day when you send the kids out to play or you need to go grocery shopping, etc.  Besides that, in most locations there simply is not enough gravity fed water pressure to push water up more than about 6 stories.  So in order to have flushing toilets and running water on the upper stories, you need pumps which are of course electric powered. don't only need the pumps in the tall buildings though, they are all over the place through the water delivery system, both on the way in and the way out.  On the individual level in more rural locations, people use individual electric driven pumps to bring well water up from below ground, in some places where the aquifer has been depeleted from quite deep underground.  You can't jack that deep water up with a hand operated pump.  On the grander scale, towns and cities use big ass pumps to move water all through their systems on the way in, and on the way out it has to be pumped to sewage treatment plants, themselves also dependent on electricity to operate.

Somewhat less threatening in the Basic Needs department but in many respects also quite threatening to life in Industrial Culture is the failure of the Communications Infrastructure.  Pretty much all the Cell Phone Towers are down in Puerto Rico, so they are CUT OFF from communications not just within the island, but across the pond to their relatives living here in the continental FSoA.  One has to remember that more Puerto Ricans live on the continent than live on the island.  they had a Diaspora in the 1950s & 1960s that sent many impoverished Puerto Ricans to live in the Slums of NY Shity, where I lived though not in the slums.  I lived in the lower middle class neighborhood at that time.  This is known as the "Great Migration", and occured in the aftermath of the Great Depression and WWII.  A Hollywood dramatization and Musical of this period became an Academy Award Winner for Best Picture, "West Side Story".

Like the Blacks in NY Shity, the Puerto Ricans lived in Ghettos and were the Underclass, and were referred to as "Spics".  As in, "I don't Spic English".  Puerto Rico itself was mostly left to languish as a colonial protectorate, they never got Statehood like Hawaii did.  Much of that due to prejudice against the Spanish speaking population.  Hawaii was largely White, and became an important Military base during WWII in the Battle of the Pacific against the Japanese.  It remains an important military base to this day, now in the battle for hegemony over the Pacific with the Chinese.  Of course, in a full on War with the Chinese, Hawaii would be OBLITERATED by a man-made Hurrican courtesy of Chinese cruise missiles.  They wouldn't even need to use Nukes to do it, the current generation of conventional Blockbuster warheads would do the trick just fine.  Hawaii is not a big place. to the current problem of Puerto Rico though, I think we have established what the SCALE of this problem is, it is truly HUGE.  So what is the response of Trumpsky to this.  He is sending ONE Hospital ship and maybe about another dozen naval vessels of various kinds.  This for an island of 3500 square miles with 3.4M FSoA Citizens living on it!  It's just Window Dressing for Photo Ops of the Coast Guard and National Guard making Heroic Rescues.  90% of them will come in and around San Juan, so the TV camera crews can get there.

Beyond the inadequacy of the rescue mission is the complete lack of a PLAN to get that infrastructure back up and running, in some fashion.  PREPA, the Puerto Rican national power company like Puerto Rico itself is DEAD BROKE, $9B in their own debt aside from the $70B in debt the Puerto Rican Goobermint has.  Even before Maria, the scuttlebutt was that PR would "Privatize" the electric grid and sell off what assets they had for pennies on the dollar.  However, let me ask you, what IDIOT would buy the electric grid of Puerto Rico and try to fix it up to make a PROFIT off of it?  The capital investment here is enormous, the entire grid has to be essentially replaced.  Then you are going to sell electricity to an impoverished population with no money to buy it?  Does this sound like a good bizness plan to you?  Not to mention anyone currently on that island with the means to get off will do so long before you finish constructing a new electric grid.  The only people who will be hanging out and sweating while you do the repairs are the poor people.

Now, while Puerto Rico is certainly in the worst shape here of those islands that are getting some media attention (Cuba and the Dominican Republic are barely mentioned in the MSM, and both took quite large hits, Cuba from Irma and the DR from Maria), it's not the only place that has had its lifestyle and economy decimated by the STRAFING RUN OF MOTHER NATURE.  The Tourista Traps of the FSoA and Brit Virgin Islands were also smacked down hard.  As a Recovery issue, these islands present a *somewhat* more tractable problem than Puerto Rico does, because they are physically smaller and the populations are much less.  However, even in these places it is hard to see how they will get their Tourista based economies running again given the level of destruction of the infrastructure. off, they need to dispose of all the TRASH left behind by Maria and Irma, and that is easier said than done on tiny islands that don''t have a lot of space for Landfill. There's a lotta fiberglass that needs to go to the Great Beyond.   In this case, they have full island's worth of garbage to dispose of.  Somehow, if they are to recover, it will have to be shipped off island to…somewhere in the Land of Away where all the flotsam and jetsam of Industrial Civilization eventually ends up.  But who will pay for the shipping and who will take all the garbage?

Then they also have to source the people and the equipment to do the cleanup.  You can be sure the rich fucks with retirement homes and mansions on these islands won't be doing the cleanup themselves of course.  They will pay for locals to fix up their own properties, which provides an interim substitute for the Tourista Economy they mostly lived on during the Good Old Days before the STRAFING RUN.  However, this isn't a job that can be done with a few chainsaws and some human labor.  You're going to need heavy equipment, lots of it.  Caterpillar Front End Loaders, Daiwoo Back Hoes, Hitachi Dump Trucks, the WORKS!  You need operators for those things who are trained, not your average local who was a bartender before Maria arrived.  Who pays to import all the equipment and trained personnel?

Before any Tourista bizness can get rolling, the airport needs to be fixed up and the ports and marinas repaired.  No self respecting Amerikan Tourista is going to fly into an airport with no Air Conditioning!  The Cruise Ships need ports they can dock at, and the Yachties need Marinas they can moor at.  Only once all these things are in place can you BEGIN to hope to reopen restaraunts and bars, but of course you have to rebuild those too, and who pays for that?  Owner Operators of most of the smaller places didn't make a whole lot of money in the good times.  You expect many of them have spare cash around now to rebuild?  Not likely, so they will have to take out loans from…somebody.  It is like the Puerto Rican Electric Grid though, what IDIOT would loan money into this disaster?  It's never going to get paid back.  Without the loans though, this economy can't get restarted.  There's just no money circulating at the moment. of the photos from Ground Zero of the few biznesses now open show signs for "CASH ONLY".  This because since communications are down they can't process any credit or debit card transactions.  The thing is, few people use cash anymore, so there isn't enough of it circulating around the economy to do all cash transactions.  Not that there is a whole lot left to buy at this point.  One thing I definitely did not see were signs saying "Gold or Silver" only.  not a good sign for the Gold Bugs.

Besides the credit cards being down, so is the airline reservations system, so they are having to do all their booking (and rebooking, and re-rebooking…) by hand with pen and paper.  They're also down to about 1/10th their normal flight schedule, so there are people there who have been sleeping in the airport for a week now.  With NO air conditioning!

As bad as the situation is in Puerto Rico, this is still better than it will be after SHTF day moves into the core countries, because at least PR can look to the FSoA for SOME help, even if Donalditry isn't doing a very good job with it.  When the FSoA goes into crash mode, there's no Big Brother or Cavalry to come running to the rescue.  What could cause a collapse on such a massive scale across the whole continent?

Far as weather, probably nothing could do the whole continent at once.  However, more storms more often could provide the "Death by a Thousand Cuts".  They don't have to all be Cat 5 hurricanes either.  More tornadoes, more snowstorms and ice stormms in the winter.  They all perpetually damage infrastructure that has to be rebuilt if the neighborhood is going to continue living the Industrial lifestyle.  More and more meighborhoods wil drop off this map, and the lifestyle will inexorably shrink down.  How long this will take is anybody's guess since it depends on so many factors, not the least of which is the weather which is pretty unpredictable.  Simultaneously you have the economic  consequences of each one, and the political ones as demonstrated with Puerto Rico.  Notice nobody is talking about the Fedral Budget these days or how any of this rebuilding work is going to get paid for?  The numbers they are pitching out are laughers too, $40B won't even TOUCH a rebuild of Puerto Rico, not to mention St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John.

In terms of an instantaneous, Global Wide SHTF day, there are really only a few possibilities for that, I can only think of 4 that might pull it off all at once.  On the Geological level, a Supervolcano blowing off and covering the globe in ashfall would do it pretty well.  A collision witha Planet Killer Asteroid would bring the End of Times down to less than a day, you wouldn't have to worry about living in a post-collapse world in that scenario.  On the man-made level, Global Thermonuclear war could destroy industrial civilization globally inside a few days.  The only other one that could bring about a full Global Collapse on such a short timeline would be a complete collase of the Monetary System with all trade coming to a halt, including Oil and Food.  That would still probably take a few months to play out, and I am sure Emergency Measures would be put in place.  However, much like the emergency measures for Puerto Rico, they won't be able to meet the needs of Billions of people all at the same time., this doesn't need to be Global in scope and all-at-once to qualify as "Fast Collapse".  It's ALREADY fast collapse measured against how long it took to climb up the Industrial Ladder, which you can peg as starting in around 1750 or so with the invention of the Steam Engine.  It's kind of arbitrary when you peg Collapse as beginning here, there were signs of it as early as the 1960's & 70s, but it really hit an acceleration phase in 2008 with the Financial Crisis, so I will use that as the "Start Date" for Collapse.  So it took from 1750 to 2008 to climb UP the ladder for 258 years, and to slide DOWN to where we are now, only about 9 years so far.  In that 9 years, NUMEROUS countries have gone off the cliff one way or the other, including but not limited to Greece, Venezuela, Ukraine, Syria and Myanmar.  Halfway off the cliff are places like Brazil, Argentina & Mexico.  Now they are joined by Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and probably the Dominican Republic & Cuba too, but not much Newz is coming out from those places.

Here in the FSoA, both Florida and Houston got hit hard but it is being spun as though they are both back up to BAU here already in a month, which simply can't be true.  Definitely not true in the Florida Keys and I suspect not much of Western Florida either where Irma made landfall again after the Keys.  There is no follow-up on how many of the Oil rigs and Refineries are back up and running down in that neighborhood either.  ALL of these places lost a HUGE portion of their rolling stock of Carz, estimates in Houston are that 500,000 Carz were TOTALLED.  You HAVE to have a Car to get around anywhere in TX, Public Transportation simply doesn't EXIST for the most part.  It's not like most of these folks can just go to the bank and yank out even just a downpayment on a car, most of the population has less than amonth in savings, they live paycheck-to-paycheck.  So BAU is highly unlikely to be operating as usual in Houston as of right now.  Collapse has arrived there for many.

For Collapse-Deniers, no disaster in any given location will convince them that Collapse is in progress as we speak.  They will always come back with the retort "there have always been Hurricanes, there have always been Tornadoes, there have always been Snowstorms, there have always been Wildfires", and so forth.  That's all true, but the issue is how hard and how often they are hitting along with the steadily decreasing ability to rebuild after they move through the neighborhood.  It's almost impossible to quantify this in any real fashion, but it's pretty obvious to me at least that we are reaching the point where things are breaking down faster than they are getting fixed up.'s not likely to get much better as we move forward through Collapse, and where you are located makes a BIG difference as to whether your neighborhood gets impacted sooner or later in this ongoing calamity.  Living on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico is NOT a particularly good choice of locations.  Neither is living in the numerous Flood Zones sprinkled around the continent near rivers and tributaries.  Forested areas in the Mountains might not be a good choice if they are suffering Drought and Wildfires may be imminent.  Earthquake prone regions might not be such a good choice either these days either.  Certainly the Mexicans aren't to happy with their location at the moment.

Which of course means the "Safe" areas to ride out collapse are pretty few and far between, in fact such a place may not exist at all, as in truly 100% Safe.  So if you do have the ability and means to make a move, you have to weigh the risks in any given neighborhood.  Based on what occured with Harvey, Irma & Maria, Island paradises and lviing on a small Yacht as a Sea Gypsy don't seem like great choices on the risk scale.  Large cities don't seem too good either.

Personally, I think the best methodology is to stick with a good Bugout Plan, and Options of places to go when TSHTF.  As demonstrated in Puerto Rico, there ARE no good Bugout Plans for most people, only a few who have boats and GTFO of Dodge before the Behemoth arrives.  You don't want to be stuck on a baking island in an airport oven sweating your nuts off for a week waiting for a flight out.  Assuming you have the MONEY to buy one.

By NO MEANS is the Puerto Rico story over.  Little Newz has come out from outside of San Juan.  With the heat there, there is no way more people have not succumbed to heat stress as the days pass.  Of course, finding the stories in the MSM will likely be difficult.  That is why we run the Doomstead Diner.  Look for contiuing coverage here as it drifts off the pages of the MSM and the people of Puerto Rico are left to Twist in the Wind.

Equifax: Eye of the Financial Hurricane

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Published on The Doomstead Diner September 24, 2017

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I'm taking a break from the Hurricane articles at last, despite the fact over the course of the week Maria did a Strafing Run through the SAME islands that Irma took out a couple of weeks ago, and in addition made a direct hit on Puerto Rico this time as a Cat 4, basically wiping out San Juan.  Not that it was ever possible, but there is NO WAY PR will ever be able to pay off the debt they have now.  To rebuild, they'll need NEW debt!  Meanwhile, Puerto Ricans are going to be heading for the shores of the continental FSoA by the boatload.  The population there was already shrinking precipitously.  There's not going to be anyone left there to Tax!

Anyhow, for This Week in Doom Sunday Brunch article I'm going to talk about another type of Storm, the Financial Storm that has emerged from the Equifax Data Breach.

For those of you who don't know, Equifax is one of 3 Credit firms which collect data to pass on to banks, insurance companies, landlords, jobs etc with your Credit Score, which determines whether you will get that Car Loan, or Mortgage, Apartment or Job, etc.  Essentially, they control your life under our current monetary system.  If you don't get the Thumbs Up from the Credit Bureaus, you can't buy in to the industrial economy in any real way.  Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but for most people who aspire to a McMansion, a Car and a good paying job, if your credit is rat-fucked it's a very distressing problem.

It's bad enough when you rat-fuck your credit yourself by going in too deep on the Credit Cards, or buying Carz and Trux and McMansions on loans you can't afford, but it's orders of magnitude WORSE if you didn't even make the charges yourself, which is what can happen when some Hacker gets hold of all the information that Equifax stores in their database.  This includes not just your SS#, bank account numers, credit card numbers and payment histories on everything.  It's your financial life history, in a digital nutshell.

The data breach of Equifax took out 143M Amerikan Konsumers Financial Information and put it in the hands of whoever it was that pulled off this hack.  When you consider the fact that there are only around 350M Amerikans all totalled up and lots of them are kids or illegal aliens without SS#s, that's basically everyone in the FSoA who has a Bank Account of some type.  The breach isn't just a transient thing either, it is for LIFE.  Unless you are on top of it all the time watching for unauthorized Credit applications under your Identity, any time for the rest of your life somebody could use this information to set up an account which YOU would be held responsible for.  Defending yourself against such attacks is quite difficult, expensive and time consuming.  Not to mention how it can fuck up your life, preventing you from getting that covetted high-paying, hi-tech job you paid big bucks training for in some Kollege somewhere.

Various "solutions" to this problem have been put forward on the net by various financial websites, the main one being to FREEZE your credit reports, thus not allowing anyone to check the credit, which of course means you can't get any more credit, even yourself!  It wouldn't be a bad thing if EVERYONE froze their credit in the grand scheme of things, that would surely bring the Monetary System to its knees in short order.  This however is unlikely to happen, particularly since Equifax, Experian & Transunion (the other two corporations in this bizness) make it as hard as they can for you to do this.

The lawsuits are already beginning to roll in.  This was pretty clearly a case of negligence and incompetence in the upper management of Equifax.  From Wolf Richter:

Carson Block, the infamous short-seller who among other things peeled back some of the layers covering up Valeant’s murky business schemes and crushed its shares and made a ton of money in the process, missed out on the Equifax disaster. Not having divined what would happen, his firm Muddy Waters failed short Equifax shares before they collapsed 35% in six trading days.

But he didn’t miss out on the hack: He was one of the 143 million Americans whose data, including Social Security numbers, got stolen in the Equifax hack. And on Friday, he sued Equifax.

The lawsuit, reported by the Financial Times on Sunday, accuses Equifax of negligence in its failure to protect his personal identifying information from criminals, and of not disclosing the hack in a timely manner. He is seeking damages of at least $500,000 for the “stress, nuisance and annoyance” of having to deal with the consequences of the hack.

The suit notes that Equifax’s business revolves around being a “secure storehouse” for data and providing a clear financial profile of consumers that lenders and other businesses can rely on.

At a minimum, Equifax should have but didn’t patch a vulnerability in Apache Struts, an open-source framework for developing web applications in Java. The Apache Foundation disseminated a patch on March 6 but Equifax didn’t implement the update. ArsTechnica explains the omission:

Three days later, the bug was already under mass attack by hackers who were exploiting the flaw to install rogue applications on Web servers. Five days after that, the exploits showed few signs of letting up.

The hack occurred after mid-May. On Friday, Equifax said that it had finally patched the vulnerability on July 30, nearly five months after the update had become available, and a day after it had figured out that it had been hacked. This must have been one of the most glorious oh-shit moments in corporate history.

Block’s lawsuit names 11 senior executives at Equifax, including CEO Richard Smith. Two of the named people, chief information security officer Susan Mauldin and chief information officer David Webb, were sacked on Friday “effective immediately.”

Particularly imcompetent here seems to be the CIS, aka "Chief Security Officer" Susan Mauldin.  Her degree is in Music.  WTF does Music have to do with Security for a Financial firm with a huge computer database?  I would think you would want to hire an experienced Hacker for this spot.  Somebody with a track record of being able to find flaws in a system and exploit them.  But no, they hire a fucking flute player for this position!

Where the Negligence comes in here is they actually KNEW about this flaw months before the hack, and did nothing to patch the hole.  I confess to being somewhat negligent on my own computers with not patching holes and not keeping my anti-virus software updated, but all I have on my computer is my own shit.  I am not storing the personal financial records of 143M people!

So anyhow, the fact of the matter is that at this point you have to figure your credit information has been compromised and dispersed to various nefarious people who will attempt to use this information to get some FREE MONEY from the banks.  Free for them, you get the bills later.  But with 143M people to choose from, who will these crooks pick as victims?  They're going to pick the people with High Credit Scores and High Assets they could use as collateral for big loans.  They're NOT going to pick people with Low Credit Scores and Low Assets.  If you are a stickup artist and there are 2 potential Marks on the street at 2AM, one a homeless person sleeping in a refrigerator box and the other a wasted Wall Street trader in an Armani suit and Italian Leather shoes leaving one of the Watering Holes in SoHo, which one are you gonna hit?  You're not gonna get much from the Homeless Guy, but you could strike the JACKPOT with the shit-faced Wall Street Trader!  Maybe he has a few Ben Franklins left in the wallet after the night of debauchery!  Maybe he has a Diamond Ring and a Rolex!  The Italian Leather Shoes might even fit you!

No different for the Digital Rip-Off Artists here, and even easier to pick out the best people to steal from, since you have ALL their financial information!

Which is why I am not in the least bit worried about Identity Theft here or my Credit Info being hacked from Equifax.  WTF is going to want to steal my identity?  My Credit Score is so low it is measured in the Negative Imaginary Numbers.  The reason it is so low is not because I don't pay my bills, it's because I buy nothing on Credit.  I haven't used a Credit Card in 25 years.  I buy only Used Carz for CASH.  I don't buy places to live, I rent them as I need them, where I need them.  Forget opening up a credit account you could steal from if you have my information, *I* can't open up a credit account with my own information! lol.  I don't think they would even give me a LIAR loan for a McMansion!  So for the most part, this whole Equifax scandal simply amuses me.  Other than assisting in collapsing the monetary system, there is little it will do to affect me personally.

All of which should teach you a lesson.  Your best protection from Theft is to not have anything worth stealing.  You know who complains the most about Taxation as Stealing?  RICH PEOPLE!  People who make $250K and more, who ALSO will be the priumary victims of Identity Theft.  I pay just about NOTHING in taxes, and even if they raised my tax rate and that of others like me with my Poverty Level Income to 100%, it wouldn't raise Jack Shit in money to pay off the National Debt.  To get that kind of scratch, you need to take it from the people who actually HAVE it. As Willie Sutton said when asked why he Robbed Banks, his response was:

So I am 100% IN FAVOR of Taxing the Living Shit out of the Rich in this spin down.  95% Tax rate on all income $200K and up.  No personal Assets worth over $10M, confiscation of all Private Jets and Big Ass Yachts. No ownership of multiple homes. Since there won't be a market for these items anymore, you won't be able to sell them off for CASH, but you could use the Yachts for Homeless Shelters.  You might think that Personal Asset number of $10M is pretty high (I do), but I figured it on a 1% ROI which would give an annual return in Retirement of $100K.  I figure with the max income of $200K, this should be plenty to live on in retirement.  I don't want rich fucks making $200K and up to have to suffer too much.  I am a compassionate guy. lol.

No matter how you look at it though or how you try to do the wealth redistribution, the whole deal is highly deflationary, it has to be because there is just going to be much less STUFF left to buy, for any kind of money at all.  The issue for the society at hand is to figure out how to most equitably distribute the resources that are left, and capitalism sure as hell won't do it.  It didn't do a good job of distributing resources when they were plentiful, WTF would you think it would do a better job when they are in deficit?

Unless you find a more equitable solution to the problem of diminishing resources and continue to see "reverse wealth redistribution" where money is stolen from the Poor and given to the Rich, you will eventually see full on Class Warfare here, and I'm not talking about the kind of warfare where money is simply pilfered from bank accounts, I'm talking about the kind that occurred during the French  & Bolshevik Revolutions, the kind where the Poor People finally get thoroughly pissed of enugh to bring on the Torches, Pitchforks and Nooses.

In Puerto Rico today, as we speak, we see a vivid demonstration of just how fast an industrial based economy can slide off the cliff, sending millions of people into poverty who were formerly at least "lower middle class".  All it really takes is for the electrical grid to go down, and that can occur for numerous reasons besides a Hurricane.  Even without Maria, this was destined to occur, Puerto Rico simply could not afford to maintain that infrastructure or pay for the energy it used.  This did speed up the process of FAST COLLAPSE by quite a bit though in that location.

For your own location, it is difficult to say how long it might be before SHTF Day comes to your Neighborhood.  If you are deep in the Heart of Darkness in New York Shity, if no major storms come on a STRAFING RUN to take out the infrastructure you depend on, BAU might lat another 10 or even 20 years.  But it won't last forever, and when it does collapse, it won't be slow.  It will be like Puerto Rico, and happen in an incredibly short period of time by all measures.  John Michael Greer is very wrong with his hypothesis of "Slow Catabolic Collapse".  That is not how Collapse works at all.  When the lynchpins that underpin the society are pulled out, it all goes down very fast.

If Collapse has not yet arrived at your doorstep, you still have time to PREP UP!  No, you can't make all provisions for all things that might occur to you, but you can at least not be an IDIOT!  Potable Water, Food, Shelter first.  If you don't actually have the preps before the event, you are SOL from the get go.  Don't be one of the IDIOTS trying to buy batteries and bottled water at Walmart the day before the Hurricane is due to arrive.  Equifax, Harvey, Maria… they are all just Canaries in the Coal Mine.  If you do not think this kind of FAST COLLAPSE can happen to you, I suggest you think again.

The Strafing Run of Mother Nature 4: 2017 Autumn of the Apocalypse

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Published on The Doomstead Diner September 21, 2017

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I was going to take a break from Hurrican Reporting and devote my next article to another form of storm, the Financial Storm surrounding the breach of the Equifax security of Credit Data and the sprinkling out of SS#s and all the rest of your personal data for nefarious people to use in Identity Theft, for the rest of your LIFE.  I actually got most of this article done already, but then Maria waltzed into town, with a direct bead on the FSoA Virgin Islands and after that Puerto Rico, with the Eyewall targeting the capital city of San Juan.  As if Puerto Rico didn't have enough problems being totally DEAD BROKE even before Maria came a-knocking.

So now, here I am once again sitting here safely in my digs on the Last Great Frontier of Alaska at 6PM my time while ALL HELL is breaking loose down in the Lower 48, the Carribean and Central America.

Maria has been on a Bee Line for St. Croix in the FSoA Virgin Islands and looks set for the Eyewall to make FIRST CONTACT in the next couple of hours.  It's a BULL'S EYE direct hit like Irma pulled on Barbuda.  St. Croix will be FLATTENED.

Puerto Rico and the Capital City of San Juan are also on the Navigational Chart of Maria on her journey across the High Seas for a STRAFING RUN there as well.  Puerto Rico has NEVER been hit by a Cat 5 in recorded history.  As I write this post, Maria's winds have kicked up to 175 MPH and the Barometric Pressure has fallen to 909 millibars.  This is lower pressure than Irma kicked out at her strongest.  The lower the pressure, the stronger the hurricane gets.  The only saving grace here is that Maria is not as big as Irma was, and the Eye she presents is not as wide covering so much territory.  It's a "pinhole" eye, very small only maybe 10 miles in diameter at this point.  However, for the folks in the path of that eyewall, this is BAD NEWZ.  Like a spinning Figure Skater who pulls her arms in to speed up a spin, the smaller the Eye in one of these behemoths, the faster the wind speeds are.  They may yet still increase further before landfall on Puerto Rico, but they are already at CATASTROPHIC level.

As if this was not enough, today Mexico got hit by a massive Earthquake which demolished buildings and already the official Death Toll there is at 248 and steadily rising.  Multi-story concrete buildings collapsed inside Mexico Shity, and that wasn't even the epicenter.  They just HAD an earthquake 2 weeks ago which killed 90 people.  In a gesture of Humanitarian aid, they offered to assist after Harvey hit Houston but then had to withdraw the offer after that one rolled in.  This latest one comes on PRECISELY the day in 1985 they got hit with a big one which killed in the 1000s..  They actually were staging Earthquake drills right before this one occured.  Whether this saved any lives, I don't know but one hopes it did.  It's still an amazing coincidence though and makes you wonder.

The pics so far coming out from Mexico are horrific in their destruction, although at least the whole city wasn't obliterated like Barbuda was after Irma.  The scenes aren't too much different though.

Barbuda after Irma

Mexico after the Quake

Of course, these are only THIS WEEK'S disaster Feature Stories.  Although the MSM has already left them behind, let's not forget…

Houston after Harvey

Florida after Irma

This is only the shit Mother Nature has been pitching for the last month.  We also have the "Rocket Man" Kim Long Dong over in North Korea pitching out the Missiles:

North Korean Missiles

Less visually arresting but possible more DANGEROUS than all of the above was the Data Breach at Equifax.  The Identity information for 143M "customers" of the Credit system was compromised, which basically is about every adult who has a Social Security Number.  That information is now out there in the ether for any nefarious criminal to use to impersonate your identity and set up credit lines which will be charged to YOUR credit record.

That's not enough DOOM for you this month?  Catalonia in Spain wants to hold a Referendum to Secede from Spain, but Da Goobermint of Spain doesn't want to even ALLOW the people to vote on this!  This is "Democracy" at the End of the Age of Oil and the Collapse of Industrial Civilization.  From Reuters:

September 19, 2017 / 11:57 PM / Updated 2 hours ago

Spanish police raid Catalan government to halt banned referendum

Did I happen to forget that Pennsylvania went BANKRUPT this month?  They can't pay their bills.  That didn't even happen in the Great Depression!  Filling the potholes is becoming a problem.



















Not to mention of course paying a few teacher salaries, sanitation worker salaries and of course those pesky PENSIONS they are on the hook for!

Do I want to review the problems with Da Federal Goobermint Budget and Deficit here at this point?  No, first off because we are already overloaded with DOOM, second because nobody even cares about that shit anymore and knows all they will do is hike the debt ceiling again, and third because there are no good Graphics to go with that story! lol.

I could of course go on and on with the many other facets of Collapse directly confronting us at the moment, but I think this is quite enough.  From Climate to Economics to Geopolitics, there are massive threats on every front, some of them being realized in real time as we speak, but about all on the edge of the precipice of a Tipping Point.  Something's gotta give here.  BAU cannot stand up under this kind of pressure indefinitely.

After each and every disaster of the last month, POTUS Donalditry Trumpovetsky has PROMISED every disaster area under the FSoA Umbrella the FULL help of Da Federal Goobermint in Disaster Relief.  Let us do a short conservative estimate of the damages JUST to territories under the FSoA Umbrella here.

Houston:  Gotta be $100B there at least.  You're not hearing jack shit from Houston these days, because that disaster was overrun in the MSM by the succeeding ones of Irma and Marie that followed it, but to be sure this place is no where near recovered. In the direct aftermath, Da Federal Goobermint "authorities" talked about a "years long" recovery project.  Does this sound like a Katrina "recovery" or what?

Florida:  That one dwarfs Houston, since it was spread out over such a large area.  Again being conservative, that is $200B

FSoA Virgin Islands:  This one is chump change compared to the first two, $20B would probably do an OK job for rebuilding them they are so tiny with such low resident populations.  They might actually get some decent money to rebuild, since they are such important Tourista destinations in the neighborhood.  Billionaires like Richard Branson have Private Islands down there and need services and working Airports for their Private Jets. (OK, I know his island is on the Brit side of the VI divide, but he probably uses the airport in St. Croix)

Puerto Rico:  While I have been writing this article, Maria made her STRAFING RUN directly across the island as a high Cat 4, finishing off the trip by making a BULL'S EYE DIRECT HIT on San Juan.  Not a lot of information has yet come out of Puerto Rico, other than 100% of the power grid is down.  A few deaths have been reported so far, but a real death count will never be tallied up, or at least reported by the MSM.  No matter how bad the devastation is in Puerto Rico, the MSM will move on to the next disaster of the week arriving somewhere else in a World of Collapse.  I'm sure you can tack on another $230B to the $70B they currently owe and can't repay for a nice round figure of $300B there.

So all together here in the last month, the FSoA has racked up over $600B in liabilities on the balance sheet.  A $Billlion$ here, a $Billion$ there, pretty soon you are talking about real money.  WTF is the $MONEY$ to pay for all this shit supposed to come from?  This is PENTAGON territory money!  The FSoA NEEDS this money to fund the War Machine!  They can magically find this money every year to fund the military or pay off disasters in select locations but they CAN'T find $45B in Chump Change to get Pennsylvania out of the hole?  What is wrong with this picture?

The fact is of course, it is NOT Da Goobermint who is issuing out the money here, it is the International Banking Cartel, through the proxy of the Federal Reserve Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of the TBTF Banks.  The money is credit to buy the resources and products of the Age of Oil, and they will only issue it out to those who they can still maybe get some return on for it.  So Houston will get new credit, because without Houston you have no oil industry at all!  Florida will get credit, because you can't let a full state like that with retirees still paing taxes and tons of expensive real estate and golf courses go down the toilet either.  Puerto Rico on the other hand, you can probably let Twist in the Wind, like the Europeans have been letting Greece Twist in the Wind for close to the last decade.

Although most of the current models say that Maria will take a right hand turn after she does her STRAFING RUN along the north shore of the Dominican Republic over the next couple of days, there still remains a decent possibility she will track far enough west to do another STRAFING RUN along the East Coast.  That will cost a lot too, but if it targets lower Manhattan Island and Wall street, you can be sure all the credit necessary to rebuild Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase will flow out copiously to those neighborhoods.

Collapse is becoming positively BIBLICAL in scale these days, so how anyone can still be a denier absolutely boggles my mind.  It's all around you in the Newz, and it's all around you in the stores closing in your neighborhood, from Radio Shack to Sears.  This is FAST COLLAPSE.  It is ongoing as we speak.  "BEHOLD, the Mighty Hand of God!"

Let There be Light!

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Published on The Doomstead Diner September 17, 2017

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The recent two major Hurricane events and the Power Outages which have followed led me to writing this Prep article on being prepared for such eventualities with good lighting gear.  On begining the article on Wednesday, there were still around 6.5M people without power in FL, and still 200K around Houston without power as well.  Hurricane Jose is now threatening to do a Strafing Run up the East Coast of the FSoA, although at the moment a landfall doesn't seem likely.

Until you are without it, you don't think much about the necessity of lighting in industrial civilization, but it is everywhere.  Many buildings have interior rooms with no windows.  After dark, city streets become unsafe without streetlights.  Cooking your dinner if you didn't get it done before Sunset requires lighting.

Fortunately these days, unlike A/C which requires GOBS of electric power to run, lighting only requires a tiny fraction of this and you can have enough power stored in batteries of various types to stay well lit for at least a few weeks without any power generating capacity at all.  If you have only a few portable solar panels to deploy, you can pretty much go indefinitely as far as lighting is concerned in a disaster zone.  Sadly of course, after a week or two, the lack of refrigeration, A/C, potable water and flushable toilets will probably become a bigger problem than a lack of lighting.  Nevertheless, lighting ranks very high up in the list of preps you need to make either for a localized disaster or even TEOTWAWKI.

Portable lighting has always been a passion of mine, since my youngest years living in Brazil in the 1960s, when we experienced Power Blackouts probably at least twice a month in those years.  They weren't even powering all that much really, even though we lived in an upscale Penthouse apartment right off Ipanema Beach we didn't have Air Conditioning, just ceiling fans and big windows that actually opened up.  All that was being powered were the Incandescent light bulbs, the B&W 18" TV and the Refrigerator inside the apartment and then the Elevator that got you up and down from the Penthouse to the Ground Floor where you walked outside and if you had to go somewhere the Driver picked you up to deliver your Rich Fuck Little Kid Ass to your friend's house to play Cowboys & Indians or something.  Which he did with a big smile all the time because he actually had a paying job and his girlfriend was the Cook and she scarfed up all the leftover food so they got fed for free too!  They all went back to the Favelas at night to sleep except for one live in maid we had a room for next to the pantry.  She was a teenage cousin of the cook as I recall. When the lights went out though, it was NASTY!  Not only was the TV off and you had to walk 12 flights of stairs to get in and out of your digs, there wasn't even any LIGHT to find your way from the bedroom to the bathroom to take a shit or to the kitchen to get something to eat out of the fridge before it went bad.  This was very stress inducing shit for a 7 year old boy brought up in industrial culture to have to endure!  It was at this point in my life Flashlights (Torches for you Brits out there) became what turned out to be a life long obsession.

Back in those days, neither the flashlights or the batteries were very good.  The flashlights were cheap plastic or real thin metal casings, the bulbs were incandescent and didn't put out much light and the batts weren't even Alkalines, they were crappy Ray-o-Vacs that gave you maybe 2-3 hours of juice before the light dimmed to imperceptible. Duracell Batts weren't even on the market in those years.  If you kept a spare set of Batts in the Kitchen Junk Drawer, after a couple of months you were lucky if they still worked.  There were no rechargeable batts or flashlights on the market at all in those years.

Returning back to the FSoA in the late 60s, at least at home having a good and working flashlight at the ready all the time became less necessary.  The grid in NY Shity was much more dependable than that in Rio de Janeiro, there were only a few occasions I recall where we experienced blackouts of any extended period.  The only one I remember was the Blackout of July 1977, when the juice went out for 2 days.  We had flashlights and we muddled through, although some food went bad.  We never lost water or sewage though, it wasn't a natural disaster; it was a power grid problem due to lightning (so they said).  Fortunately, I was not stuck in an elevator for that one.  That has to be a fucking nightmare.

Where Flashlights did become very important again was in my adventures at Summer Camp, both the primitive one and the plush one for rich kids.  In both cases, after dark set in if you didn't have a working flashlight you couldn't even walk the trails between the buildings in the plush camp to get from the Rec Hall where the dances were held back to your cabin, and you definitely could not go out on a 2 AM RAID on the Girls side of camp without a flashlight! At the primitive skills camp, a flashlight was also a necessary item.  Sometimes we would not make good time and get caught out on the trail after dark and had to hike the last mile or two to the planned campsite in the dark.  Or we might JUST MAKE IT by dusk, but setting up the tents and cooking dinner all had to be done by flashlight.  Needless to say, every summer I burned through dozens of these disposable one-time use batteries from Ray-o-Vac and Eveready.  This was very distressing to me, since I had to buy the batts from the camp "canteen" out of money my mom deposited to my account for the summer which also had to go to buy Cokes and Almond Joy bars, which were my favorite candy snack of the era.  The more money I spent on Batts, the less I had for Cokes and Almond Joy Bars.  Fortunately when I ran out of money mom would usually replenish the account with another $20, but I usually had 2 or 3 days to wait before said money would appear in the account.

At about this time the first RECHARGEABLE flashlights came out, and I coveted one of these but never got one during the camping years.  They were rather large and clunky things at the time, and the batts were permanently installed, not replaceable.  There was no place to buy such batts in that era even if you could replace them when they wore out from too many cycles.  I think the technology on them was Ni-Cad, but not sure on that.

Flashlights gradually improved over the next 20 years or so and so did the Batts, but it was still Incandescent Light technology for the Torches, and still mainly disposable Alkaline Batts to power them although Ni-Cad rechargeables became more available in the AAA, AA, C & D sizes these lights take.  I started buying rechargeables and a charger for them at this point for my flashlights.

The real REVOLUTION in personal, portable lighting though came just in the last decade or so, combining two relatively new technologies, Diode Lights and Li-I rechargeable batts.  The current crop of lights now available is far more powerful than the old stuff, and they are being manufactured in far higher quality than the old El Cheapo Flashlights as well.  There is a big market for them amongst the Survivalist/Doomer/Prepper crowd, and some of them come in at some fantastically high prices also, you can spend over $200 for a Flashlight!  I recently spent that much for a pair of Sunglasses though, so I can't really be holier-than-thou with anyone who chooses to spend that much for a flashlight. I have managed to keep it down to under $35 for any flashlight so far in self-defense against charges of excessive spending on preps. What you get for your money here are extremely bright lights, measured in "lumens" these days.  In selling their lights, manufacturers used to boast about "candlepower" not "lumens", and you can't really do a direct conversion because they measure different things.  I have both a 1,000,000 Candle Power Spotlight and a 1000 Lumen Flashlight though, and eyeballing it the spotlight appears about twice as bright as the flashlight, although it is more of a focused beam so it is hard to tell.  Both are REALLY bright though! 🙂

The Spotlight was my first super bright light I purchased as I got into Doom and Prepping around a decade ago.  It's rechargeable and I have hardly used it but kept the charge on it by keeping it plugged in all the time, so it still works fine.  Not sure though how long it would work for if it wasn't being charged all the time.  This brings up an issue with all the rechargeable batts, is they really don't last forever and they degrade over time in their ability to hold a charge.

I have had numerous issues with devices other than flashlights as far as rechargeables are concerned, particularly those which are sealed inside devices and can't be replaced, at least by you the Konsumer.  It is another form of Planned Obsolescence.  The batts installed on many of these devices, from wireless headphones to cell phones usually wear out from charge cycles after around 2-4 years, depending on how much you use the device and how assiduous you are about keeping it charged up.  This really pissed me off with some Wireless Headphones/Mics I used for numerous of my Collapse Cafe Doomer Discussion forums you can find on the Diner You Tube Channel, including such Collapse Luminaries as Gail Tverberg, Ugo Bardi, Steve Ludlum, Tom Lewis, Paul Chefurka and others.  6 months after purchasing one of these to get rid of the wire hanging off my head in the videos, it stopped taking a charge.  No way to put a new rechargeable batt in it either!  I gambled and figured maybe I got a Lemon and bought another one.  Same thing happened to that one 6 months later too.  I got soured on devices with rechargeable batts because of this.  I still will buy them because some devices you just can't get in any other configuration, and on the sealed ones the manufacturers now have "licensed contractors" who you can bring your device to who will change the batt for you and "properly dispose" of the old one.  For a fee of course. Current Flashlights however are not this way for the most part, although some older ones like my Black & Decker Spotlight have an embedded rechargeable batt you can't easily change.  Recent models have come out though which will take either 3 Typical AAA, C, or D Alkaline one-time use batts, or a similar Ni-Cad or Li-I Bat of the same dimensions.  The difference between using these different types of batts has blurred now as well, because the Alkalines have improved a LOT since my years in Summer Camp, and boast a shelf life of 10 years!  In use, they tend to last longer than the rechargeables do, so if you don't have a source of electricity to do a recharge (like say in the aftermath of a hurricane) they will do better than rechargeables, especially if you have a few spares.  You can buy them in large packs of 20 batts in some cases, and store them in a cool dry spot in the basement (don't leave them there if you expect flooding!).

So I have both Single Use Alkalines which in my 500 Lumen flashlight will supposedly give 5-6 hours of run time, as well as rechargeables which I know through testing give about 3 hours of run time.  That is leaving the light on all the time until the light starts noticeably dimming.  You're also kind of insane if you use more than 500 lumens for practically any situation you can dream up, I do have a 1000 Lumen one but you never need that much light!  There are 10,000 Lumen ones out there too if you want to buy one!  Some of the Survival Websites advertise super high lumen lights that will supposedly Blind a Bear and provide Bear Protection, I am not sure if I believe that shit or not.  Other than that though, WTF do you need such a bright light for?  You do not need to light up the whole neighborhood, just maybe the 50' in front of you!  500 Lumens does that EZ.

The thing besides this is, even in a disaster situation you don't leave the light on full time, you switch it on and off for a few seconds or most minutes at a time when you need some bright light.  I have other more low-tech sources of low light like Candles and Kerosene Lanterns that provide enough light to move around my digs quite well without needing to turn on a high power flashlight, and really these sources of light serve most of your needs in a disaster situation, except perhaps for the initial phases when you are getting set up or dangerous times like high winds outside when you don't want to have anything burning.  In the days (weeks?) following the disaster though, candles and kero lanterns will provide most of the light you need after dark.

"After Dark" is another important consideration, because for the most part the only thing you should be doing after dark is SLEEPING!  You don't need lights when you are asleep, in fact it's easier to do when it's dark.  Here in Alaska in the summertime, sleeping can be a tough thing for many people, requiring stuff like Blackout Shades on the windows and Sleep Masks.  I am usually OK just pulling the cover over my head, but it can be annoying.  Back in the Good Old Daze before we had any sort of electric lighting, people just went to sleep after dark, because even burning Candles was relatively expensive for them.  On the other hand of course in Alaska, in the Winter you will need to use some lighting method unless you completely hibernate and sleep 20 hours a day. lol. Besides that, in the current Hi-Tech era, you have other sources of light that you run which put a glow on your digs.  As long as I have my computer monitor turned on keyboarding out the DOOM over the internet, it basically lights up the whole room, which is my main living space including the Kitchen area.  I can walk around without a Flashlight without tripping over anything quite easily, although fixing dinner by this amount of light isn't really possible except for simple things like microwaving a Potato Skin or boiling up some Ramen Noodles.  My computer is kept going in a disaster situation by a HUGE 120AH Deep Cycle Marine Batt which will drive it for quite a few days non-stop, but again I wouldn't run it non-stop during an emergency, only maybe an hour or two each evening to check up on how the repair work on the grid was going and to make some posts to the Diner to pass on my experiences during the disaster, whatever it was.

Besides the full computer screen being up and running for lighting, I also have my Smart Phone.  That usually rests next to my Pillow. and when I need to answer the Call of Nature in the middle of the night and take a trip from my bed to the Throne in the the bathroom, I just flick on the phone and that provides plenty of light to negotiate my way to the Porcelain God without tripping over anything or having to turn the lights on anywhere on the route.  Then once resting comfortably on the Throne I can surf the web with no other lights on, since the Smart Phone is providing its own light to the backlit screen. 🙂

So for me, the typical Flashlights are just a small part of the arsenal of tools of prepping that keep your lighting situation within reason, and the Flashlights themselves don't get used that much.  I turn them on and off a few seconds or minutes at a time to do specific tasks I need a lot of light for.  The way I use a flashlight, a typical alkaline battset, non-rechargeable would last several weeks, probably months without a recharge necessary.  This would not be true if you use a flashlight all the time to maneuver about something like a Cave of course. What is a bit more interesting to me these days in the department of Portable Lighting is not the luminosity or source of power, but rather the various configurations they now come in besides just your typical Handheld Flashlight.  You can get ones with Clamps that will clip onto things, Magnets that will stick them to Refrigerators, Tower Style with lots of Diodes to function as lanterns, etc.  My particular favorite though are the Headlamps.

I first became enthused on the prepper level with Headlamps when I ran into the posting of Ferfal, who chronicled the Collapse of the Argentinian Economy in 2001-2003 or so.  Headlamps provide the obvious advantage of leaving both your hands free to do other tasks, while at the same time the light from the headlamp is always directed at exactly where you are looking.

There are many El Cheapo versions of Diode Headlamps now available on the market in any Walmart Camping section, down as cheap as around $5, and I have experimented with a few of them.  They work OK for most tasks you would use a headlamp like this for, say fixing dinner or cleaning your Gun in preparation for the Invasion of the Zombies the following morning.  However, there are now better ones on the market than this, and I picked up one that has not one but THREE lights on it and claims 1000 lumens (I don't think quite that, it's a little dimmer than my 1000 lumen flashlight), has rechargeable batts which are REPLACEABLE by the Konsumer as well!  In terms of continuos run-time, I have tested this one as well, it gives 3 hours of continuous light from a full charge, but much like a handheld, I can see few circumstances I would run it continuously for so long.  In terms of price, it came in quite cheap at $25, which is comparable to the price I paid for my 1000 Lumen Aircraft Aluminum heavyweight light running on 3 D size batts, which actually came in a set of 3 for $50 including a smaller version at 500 Lumens running on C cells and a Pocket version running on 3 AAA cells as well.  All 3 are real solidly built and appear as though they will last quite a while.  The fail point on these lights is the On-Off switch, which if/when it fails is hard to replace or fix.  Over a long enough duration of time this WILL occur, so the light won't work forever, even if you can get batts for it.  All I hope for though is about 10 years of service.  I won't be above ground longer than that, if I make it that long it will be miraculous, not to mention an excruciatingly long time to die given my current condition.

Overall, Lighting is a SOLUBLE problem as we move forward in collapse, it doesn't take much JUICE to get a diode light glowing, and the diodes can still be produced quite cheaply.  A few now pretty cheap solar PV panels can keep them charged up, or if you have a generator and a little gas it won't take long to get them topped off and ready for another couple of days of service as you slog your way through the disaster of the day in your neighborhood.  Compared to the more major problems of the loss of A/C in hot climates, the loss of refrigeration of food, or the loss in sewage treatment and water pumping for the neighborhood as a whole, this one is soluble quite easily for you individually.  It is however a problem that the majority of the population ignores, evidenced easily by the fact that as soon as a disaster oncoming is announced by the MSM, all the dopey lemmings run out to buy Bottled Water and Batteries and empty the shelves of them.  This scene replays itself with every fucking hurricane, every fucking flood in advance and every fucking earthquake in the aftermath.  "OH! Shit!  I need batteries! What? Walmart is OUT?"  The deep level of stupidity in the population remains astounding to me.  You can't drop a few of these things in the closet BEFORE the MSM tells you it will arrive tomorrow?  WTF?

Don't be a complete idiot. You don't have to go completely over-the-top with prepping like me, but JEEZUS, at least have some working flashlights and extra batts around you don't have go shop for at the last minute!  It won't help you with the A/C problem in the hot climates, but at least you will be able to see where you are going as you bake to death!

The Strafing Run of Mother Nature 3: The Dimming Bulb Aftermath of Irma


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Published on The Doomstead Diner September 12, 2017

Discuss this article at the Environment Table inside the Diner A while back I wrote a series of articles called "The Dimming Bulb", discussing our decreasing ability to keep electric power moving through the copper wires of our electric grids to the end Konsumer as we slide down the Seneca Cliff on the far side of the Age of Oil.  This aspect of energy decline in availability and affordability is often overlooked in the face of all the problems that come from the transportation industry and lack of fuel for the Carz and Trux.  In fact though, it may well be that lack of ability to keep electricity moving through our metro areas with high populations and a voracious need for this power may be what brings TEOTWAWKI before lack of gas for Happy Motoring does.

Just about everything in our society depends on having electricity on demand.  To begin with, the residential konsumers of the JUICE in Florida are currently watching their freezers defrost and if they are not cooking or drying the meat they have stored, they are going to lose a lot of food to begin with.  All the large municipalities have sewage treatment plants that use gobs of electricity.  How well and how long these can be run on backup generators is an open question.

You definitely CANNOT run all the streetlights of a city like Miami or even fucking Naples on backup generators, so until you have general grid power restored those suckers are LIGHTS OUT.  Would you feel safe walking around the streets of Miami with no streetlights functioning?

A day after the Big Event everyone is breathing a "sigh of relief" here that they "dodged a bullet", but the real problems of recovering from such a broad swath of devastation remain ahead.  It remains an open question exactly how quickly Florida Power & Light can restore the grid statewide, and until they do BAU for people without power just isn't possible.  How many currently have potable water coming out of the taps?  No statistic on that is available AFAIK.  How many have had their carz ruined and can't get to work, if they still have a job to go to?  Somehow I doubt many people will be stopping at Starbucks tomorrow for a Frappucino on the way to work.  How are people who have little to no savings and live paycheck to paycheck going to pay their rent if they lose the next 2 weeks of work?

I woke up just in time this morning to see Irma make landfall in the Florida Keys here in the FSoA.  Not much in the way of Newz or Info coming out of the Keys since then.  I imagine Key West was pretty much flattened St. Maarten's style, although maybe not quite so bad since she hit in Key West at low Cat 4 wind speeds.  She picked up some translational speed from the crawl speed across the north Cuban coastline, scooting up to 14 MPH to make the rest of the trip across the straights to make a second landfall near Naples, FL on the West Coast.

This location for GROUND ZERO disappointed some Doomophiles who were hoping for a full on Eyewall decimation of the skycrapers and hotels in Miami, which did not occur.  The concept that we "dodged a bullet" here or that this event was a "dud" because Miami wasn't completely wiped out is only in the mind of the Kollapsnik who was looking forward to total devastation of that city.

What occurred instead was a much more widespread event, over the whole of the Florida Peninsula.  It could have been much worse of course, either a run up the east or west coast would have kept hurricane strength longer and brought more storm surge in.  Instead, after making landfall in Naples, Irma worked her way into the interior, more or less targeting Orlando and Disney World while the wind speeds dropped to Cat 1 and then to tropical force winds.  As I write this now, she is just south of Orlando, and points north of the former center and eye are still being hit with powerful rain bands, along with possible Tornadoes hitting along that route.

From here, she is scheduled to head north into Georgia still packing Tropical Force winds and a lot of rain is destined to fall around Atlanta with some decent remaining wind behind it, so you are going to get more flash flooding and more downed power lines in that neighborhood as well by the end of the week.  All of which speaks to the INFRASTRUCTURE problem, which is the real problem here, not the wind speeds Irma had on landfall in one particular location.  This is a behemoth which is affecting the entire Florida peninsula and beyond. The main issue already obvious tonight is that 7M Florida Power & Light Konsumers of Energy are currently without power.  This exceeds the record previously held by Wilma with about 3.5M customers without the JUICE, and that is a LOT of wire to restring over a very broad area.  Currently, Houston 2 weeks after Harvey STILL has about 200K Energy Konsumers without power, and they didn't lose near so many with Harvey, and distributed over a much smaller area.  Irma has basically taken out the electrical system of the entire state of Florida!

In any number of ways, you can say FL "dodged a bullet" here, in that it could have been much worse if Irma hadn't decided to do a Strafing Run on Cuba before heading for the FSoA.  Heading for the West Side of FL, Miami was spared the worst of a dead on hit from the eye wall, although they still lost 3 cranes, have plenty of flooding and the power is out to most of the county.  The West Coast track turned out less bad than expected also, as the Eye moved inland pretty early so Tampa/St.Pete was spared inundation from storm surge.

Less Bad than Expected was of course much less bad as what occured in St. Martens and Barbuda, and also apparently across the north Cuban coastline inclduing Havana, where stories are still sketchy from at this point but they are apparently still under a lot of water, with many of the new Tourists Hotels in bad shape.  I don't think anyone will be booking vacations in Cuba anytime in the near future.

Far as Florida is concerned, although no single location got the ULTIMATE in destruction (well, except maybe Key West which probably got flattened). 7M 12M customers without electric power is a LOT of wire to re-string!  According to the "authorities", they have 17,000 linemen including an undisclosed number from out of state ready to spring to the job on Monday Morning of getting the JUICE back to their Florida customers, who are currently sweltering in the Florida heat & humidity without HVAC while their Frozen TV Dinners go bad in the Freezer.  Considering after 2 weeks there are STILL around 200K people without power in Houston, one can figure it will take at least a month to get the full grid back online in FL, since the outages are spread over a much wider area.

Waking up Monday morning, we are in the post-coital phase of the intimate contact with Irma, and for the most part the pols are indeed crowing about how we "dodged a bullet".  Miami took some flooding, sure, but they flood all the time these days.  OK, we lost 3 cranes, but we have dozens of them!  OK, the power is still out, but no problem, the crews from Florida Power & Light will have the lights back on in a jiffy!  Back to BAU in Miami in no time! 🙂

The NEW UPDATE though is that it's not 7M without power, now it's up to 12M!  That's basically the whole fucking state of Florida, they only have a total population of 20M!  From WaPo:

That was the grateful mantra on the lips of many on Monday, even as an estimated 12 million Floridians prepared for a dark night without air conditioning in the muggy post-storm swelter. Though there was significant property damage in the Florida Keys and in some parts of southwest Florida, officials said it was remarkable that so far they are investigating just a small number of fatalities that came as the storm made landfall. It was unclear how many were directly related to the storm.

The lack of electricity across most of South Florida was the most pressing and crippling problem. Millions could remain in the dark for days or even weeks as utility companies struggle to navigate impassable roads and floodwaters to slowly restore power. Things not so good over in Naples though, and even worse down in the Florida Keys, where the "authorities" won't be letting anyone back in until at least Tuesday while they asses the integrity of all the bridges connecting this string of low-lying islands built up as Tourista Resorts over the course of the Age of Oil.  This is the "Margaritaville" neighborhorhood Jimmy Buffet made famous.  When Jimmy first hit it big time as a rock star, the first thing he did was buy himself a yacht and park it in Margaritaville as a getaway if things ever went south for him.  After that he got into planes too.  As has become obvious here, Magaritaville and the Banana Republics may SEEM like bucolic safe havens in the good times, but they have their own set of risks and overall are not sustainable in the least in the way they are currently inhabited.

Doing still WORSE than the Florida Keys are the Tropical Paradises of St. Maartens and Barbuda, which actually did get hit full on by Irma while she was a Cat 5 packing 185 MPH wind speeds.  Both islands basically LEVELLED, and now descending into chaos while their various Colonial Owners the Brits, Frogs and Little Dutch Boys scramble to organize up food aid and police protection from roving gangs of Zombies.  All three countries are sending in additional Police/Military to try and restore "order" on these islands.  Ex-Pats are huddled in their McMansions in fear of the next Home Invasion, although they probably have nothing left to eat either, since anyone stupid enough to be living in a McMansion in one of these places probably did not have a large supply of Preps either.  These are the type of folks who go out the day before a hurricane is due to hit to buy batteries and bottled water.  That is prepping up to them.

Economically, it's hard to see how these islands will ever recover to be the Retirement Paradise they were for apparently about 75,000 Brits, not sure how many Frogs or Dutch Boys.  The cost to restore Barbuda was estimated in one article to be around $100M.  There were something like 1600 people living on Barbuda when Irma came knocking on the door for a short vacation there, so that comes to $62,500 per person, which includes the poor locals who serve as maids and cooks and drivers as well as the retirees who are mostly living on pensions.  You think any of them has $62,500 to pony up here to rebuild the infrastructure?  Hell no, the Brit Goobermint will have to do it, and they can't even maintain the infrastructure on their own island these days. Beyond this, MOST if not all of the Ex-Pats whose Mailbox Money incomes drove the economy will not stay in these places now, they are going to grab the first plane flight or boat ride out of there and never go back.  Carnival Cruise lines is already sending ships for them.  The infrastructure won't be rebuilt for a long time, if ever.  The Brits, Frogs and Dutch are not going to fork over the money necessary to rebuild these places, they are total money losers now and for the forseeable future.  The income generation capability they had as Tourista destinations is gone.  All they will do is try and get the current set of Ex-Pats out of the place and then let the locals Twist in the Wind.  Best they can hope for is that their citizenship as a Homo Sap born in one of these colonies will allow them to move to the Home Country, but they don't have much money to make that trip and probably no relatives or support structure to grab onto once they get there.  They have a bit higher status than the refugees from Syria and Afghanistan, but not much.

There probably will be consolidation of these people on the islands that did not take such a bad hit, which will of course only serve to strain their resources also.  The destitute Newbies will be despised by the locals and a drain on their own limited resources.

Electric power is only part of the problem of course, MOLD & MILDEW are a bigger problem long term.  One has to remember that many of the flooded "buildings" aren't buildings at all, they are trailer homes which if they were flooded, the owner simply waits for the water to recede then puts all his stuff out to dry in the hot Florida SUN.  Except by the time he does this a few days later, the MOLD has already taken hold, and it is almost impossible to get rid of when it does in a trailer.  McHovel owners can strip out drywall and MAYBE eradicate mold, but getting it out of a trailer when it takes a grip is about impossible.  You have to TOTAL it at this point and send it to the Land of Away in some junkyard or landfill, but the people who own them and live in them usually can't afford to replace them.  Add another Human Soul to the list of Homeless People. Because this wasn't the "Ultimate Disaster" it might have been, the MSM will likely quickly forget it as they have already forgotten about Harvey & Houston despite the fact more than 200,000 people remain without power and over 20,000 are still in shelters.  There will be a new and better disaster to focus on in short order.  It will likely take quite some time to get all the electric power restored, if they can even do that before the next one rolls ashore.  Meanwhile, these repair bills don't come free you know, Da Federal Goobermint doesn't just hand out free money to fix up your local grid. The money is loaned to the Municipal Goobermint, which then has to raise taxes in order to pay for this new Bond Issue.  Problem here would be that local Municipal Goobermints in FL (and everywhere else) ALREADY can't collect enough taxes for bills they ALREADY have!  You think cutting a few more Teachers of Sanitation Workers off the payroll will pay to restring all the wire in Florida?  Not too likely.  However, for BAU to continue forward, these loans MUST be issued out, and they will be backed by the Full Faith & Credit of Da Federal Goobermint, which of course itself is ALSO quite bankrupt.

This will keep working until it doesn't.

The Strafing Run of Mother Nature 2 – The Path of Total Destruction

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Published on The Doomstead Diner September 10, 2017

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…or perhaps, the Eve of Destruction As I begin writing this article, it is 3PM Alaska Time on Thursday, September 7, 2017.  Cat 5 Hurricane Irma has already begun her Strafing Run to destroy Industrial Civilization even faster than it can do it by itself.  Irma follows closely on the heels of Harvey, which focused it's attention on the center of the Oil based economy, Houston, Texas and left it in ruins.  In "normal times", Houston and the cleanup would still be the focus of the MSM newz, since most of the area is still a complete disaster scene.  Even FEMA admits it is a cleanup which will take "years".  These are not "normal times" however, they are the "NEW Normal Times".

In the New Normal, there is a new and bigger disaster every week, which is great for a Collapse Observer and Writer, but not so great for the millions of people living in a given disaster zone.  Even while these climate related disasters get ever larger and more frequent though, you have a large cadre of Politicians (mostly Repugnants) who remain deniers of Climate Change or Ocean Heating.  Which is pretty amazing they can get away with since we have direct data from Da Goobermint's own agency of the NOAA that shows unequivocally that the Total Heat Content of the Oceans has risen over an order of magnitude since 1975.

What happens when you put a pot of water over more heat?  Do you get more steam or less steam?  More, duh.  So in this case, the Ocean is putting more water vapor up into the atmosphere.  The Global Oceans are just a very big pot of water.  More water vapor in the atmosphere means more water available to come down in buckets once the system moves its way over a land mass.  It also means a lot more energy available to the storm, because on falling DOWN, all the energy stored in raising the water UP gets released.  Remember the Law of Conservation of Energy"Energy is neither Created nor Destroyed, only transformed from one form to another".  In this case, the heat energy used to crank the water UP into the atmosphere is mostly transformed on the way DOWN into mechanical energy reflected in the terrific wind speeds we are now getting with these behemoths.


Irma made her first landfall in the Antilles and Virgin Islands, to absolutely devastating results on some of the islands, which were basically levelled.  Some of the worst hit were St. Maartens and Barbuda, but few of them got away unscathed.  Death toll numbers coming in from those islands are currently in the low double digits (publicly), but communications have been out there for a couple of days and rescue teams can't make it to many areas on these islands either.  The Death Toll there will undoubtably rise over the coming days/weeks/months ahead, but for now everyone's eyes are turned toward each new destination on the Strafing Run of Irma.

As I pick up on writing this article on Friday, Irma finished her Strafing Run on the Carribean Islands, and made her way to the North Shore of Cuba.  As you can see above, what she left in her wake in the Virgin Islands was a wasteland.  The above satellite photograph is of the island of Barbuda Before & After.  Not only the McHovels of the Locals and the McMansions of the Ex-Pats were flattened, so was all the vegetation as well.  The island was basically stripped of every Palm Tree that grew there over the last 20 years at least.  Maybe they can put in Plastic ones with spring loaded breakaway bases that will lay flat in the next Cat 5, then spring right back up after it is over!  I'm sure the Touristas won't notice the difference!

Little Newz at all coming from Cuba, even though it's a few hours since Irma made First Contact there, but NOAA Sat imagery shows it has been raking the coastline which is scattered with numerous fishing villages all now undoubtable completely flattened.  Hopefully, the Cubans in those locations found some refuge, although given storm surge and the fact these folks do not have a whole lot of transport ability to do a Bugout, it's hard to see where they would shelter or how.  Will we ever get accurate casualty numbers out of Cuba on this?  Unlikely.

Tonight here from my perch in Alaska I just watch the Satellite Imagery from the NOAA website to see when Irma makes her turn Northward to Strafe Florida.  The track has moved progressively westward through the evening as Irma has lingered longer than expected by the computer models devasting the north coast of Cuba.  In the latest RGB image I opened, it looks like the turn may be beginning.  These things come agonizingly slow for the doom watcher.

On the latest & greatest Sat & Track forecasting from NOAA, It looks like First Contact comes from the Western/Gulf side, which might be good because it is slightly less populated than Miami-Dade, but on the other hand bad because it keeps Miami in the NE Quadrant of the Hurricane for the entire time it traverses the Florida Straights, where it is projected to further strengthen.  It's already back to Cat 5 status, and southern Florida is already feeling the effects from the Outer Bands, with 25,000 Energy Konsumers already without power and Irma hasn't even left the north shore of Cuba yet!  She has tracked far enough along that coastline now that Hurricane force winds are battering Havana, given the immense size of the storm.

As I awaken on Saturday morning here in my Perch on the Last Great Frontier, Irma still is pummeling the north coast of Cuba, and my mistake, the archipelago Keys along the north coast are no longer populated by mostly fishing villages.  This area has seen a lot of development since the FSoA and Cuba decided to "normalize" relations, which amounts to allowing Amerikan Touristas being allowed to Vacation in Cuba and Amerikan Banksters to further exploit Cuba.  Which also means those islands on the northern edge of Cuba have seen a lot of resort hotel development over the last couple of years.  They are TOAST.  The Insurance industry will take a nice hit from this Strafing Run also.

cone graphic Irma's jog westward in the forecasts has made some changes to the devastation to come here in the FSoA, depending on how well it holds up.  As of now, it looks like instead of skirting the East Coast of Florida, she will skirt the West Coast.  In both scenarios, the Florida Keys will be decimated.  There are old-timers down there who refuse to leave, they are goners.  But if you are 70 years old and on Social Security living in your Van because there is no affordable housing down there anymore for any but the 1%, WTF else would you go?  And just how far could you GTFO of Dodge at this point?  Maybe you could make it to Jacksonville…maybe depending if you could get gas along the way.  If you didn't make the decision to GTFO of Dodge 2 Days ago, you are SOL now.  You will stay where you lay, and you will either make it through the maelstrom or you won't.

Meanwhile on the Mainland of Florida, they are now in a complete state of PANIC.  The folks who did not get out early are now lined up in Traffic Jams and can't find available gas at the convenience stores to keep moving on their Bugout to the house of some relative in Atlanta.  The folks who could not Bugout at all because they don't have a car are now lined up outside "shelters" to hunker down for the duration of the storm.  These shelters are generally hastily organized from large facilicities with a lot of space available, Talladega Speedway in Alabama for instance is opening up the racetrack for Refugees from Irma, and inside the local Miami area pretty much every school gymnasium is being set up as a shelter, but the reality is there are far too many people living in this zone that you could possibly shelter them all in buildings that are sturdy enough to withstand the winds, and then if you get inundation from Storm Surge you are equally fucked in a concrete building as a stick built one, if the water rises above one story in height you will be flooded.  Beyond that over the course of a day or two is the Potable Water problem and the Sanitation problem in these shelters.  Toilets don't flush once the water rises past ground level.  Further down the line the problem is what do you do with the people living in the shelter after Irma blows through town and they no longer have homes, just piles of flooded rubble?  It's not like they can go back to the McHovel and take up BAU life again just because it stopped raining.

Before we get to the problem of how to get them OUT of the shelters once they are in them is the problem of getting them IN to the shelters before the storm arrives. Finally after days of dawdling on this, Da Goobernator of Florida Rick Scott ordered a "mandatory evacuation" for much of south Florida, although it really isn't mandatory for most people, just they are told nobody will come to rescue them if they get in trouble.  Homeless people though are forced into shelters under a law which says people who pose a danger to themselves can be forcibly removed.

The problem getting the people IN to the shelters is that there are TONS of people now looking for shelter as they read or watch more about the devastation in the Virgin Islands, and there just aren't that many good shelter locations available.  Basically every decent size school built from concrete has been turned into a "shelter" over the last 2 days, but that doesn't mean they have cots or water or food in supply there.  IF you manage to get in, you better have your own air mattress and sleeping bag at the very least, or you will have a real uncomfortable couple of days sleeping on a hard floor in the gym. There is also no guarantee many of these shelters won't suffer from many of the same problems the stick built McHovels will face as Irma rolls into town.  If the neighborhood is inundated by Storm Surge, school gymnasiums are no more water tight than a McMansion is, and the water will flood the ground floor of the building at least.  If there is a 2nd Story, refugees might move their sleeping bags up there, but most school gyms don't have a 2nd story.  They also don't usually have an emergency generator to keep the lights on either, so if/when they go out, the gym is plunged into darkness, with 1000 strangers surrounding you and a real racket coming from outside that sounds like you are standing behind the jet wash of the engines on a Boeing 747, or if you are right on the Eyewall maybe a Sonic Boom.  If you are not completely terrified by this time, you have more fortitude than me.  I would be shitting myself.

We're moving into the afternoon here, and Irma STILL has not made the right hand turn to Go North to Florida from Cuba.  Cuba has been hammered all day by hurricane force winds all along the north coast, and little in the way of newz has emerged from there to this point.  The Eyewall is close enough to Havana now they must be getting hurricane force winds and on-shore storm surge.  Forward speed of the storm has slowed to the crawl speed of 6 mph, which is making all of this interminably slow for the Collapse Observer, and orders of magnitude worse for anyone who happens to be on the Path of Total Destruction.  I can go faster than that in an electric Cripple Cart at Walmart!  The longer the hurricane force winds hang out in your neighborhood, the worse the destruction.  Hard to say whether suffering 1 hour at Cat 5 is worse than 2 hours at Cat 4.  Both are not good scenarios though.

Jeff Masters at WU and the NOAA all predict that Irma will take the hard right hand turn north to the West Coast of Florida sometime today.  I stay tuned to the NOAA website and their Satellite imagery to watch for this today here from my safe computer workstation on the Last Great Frontier.  I count myself lucky, because at one time I DID live in Melbourne, Florida, for a short year-long gig job coaching gymastics for a couple of women I absolutely despised for the way they ran their program.  But it was money I needed, and it was a job.  So far though, this turn has not occured, and the possibility does exist that Irma may drift into the GoM further, missing the Florida Coastline altogether.  That would spare Florida and a lot of people who did EVAC & BUGOUT will be mighty pissed off, but it wouldn't remove the danger that Irma poses, because once inside the GoM waters and roaming again, she would regather strength and finding a new place to go on a Strafing Run would be chosen by the Finger of God.  Maybe she would set her sights on NOLA, who knows there?

I do have fair confidence though that the NOAA models are correct here only one day out from Lower 48 landfall, and the West Coast of Florida looks highly probable at this point.  Biggest population center likely to take a big hit here would be Tampa, and Tampa Bay is perfectly set up for an enormous Storm Surge, probably close to 20' on the current projected track. If in fact both the NOAA and Weather Underground get this one WRONG though and Irma moves further West in trajectory and misses the Florida Peninsula entirely, the whole Weather industry of Meteorologists Weathermen will take an ENORMOUS hit it their credibility.  The costs even before the storm hits in terms of the evacuations and the lost bizness and wages to workers are enormous already, and all based on PREDICTIONS the Weathermen are making.  If this turns out to be a DUD for South Florida, first off you will have a lot of Finger Pointing and Blame Game being pitched around. and second it will make people less likely to GTFO of Dodge the next time one of these behemoths is targeting the neighborhood.  Even with the Supercomputers and the great Algos on the job these days, even just one day out, a variation of a couple of degrees in the track makes a big difference as to where the mother fucker will make landfall and when.  Strength at landfall also is a tossup right up until First Contact.  In this case, while also delaying the northward direction change, Irma has also slowed down substantially in translational movement, only plodding along now at 6 mph.  That means she will spend more time over the warm waters of the Florida Straights, which means more time to regain strength after her Strafing Run on Cuba.  She might even make it back up to a Cat 5 during this period, in which case she doesn't have to hit Miami dead on to wreak devastation, the wind field is so large it will cover all of southern Florida, and Miami would be in the worst position in the NE quadrant for that wind field and storm surge.

So even at this fairly late juncture, you can't really say for sure where Irma will hit in the Lower 48, or with how much strength or how much damage will be inflicted on Industrial Civilization in that neighborhood.  It does look likely though that the damage will be severe, even if Miami doesn't take a full on direct hit from the Eyewall.  The bigger picture as we know from both Harvey and Katrina is that in reality, the biggest costs come not from exactly how powerfully a hurricane arives at on the Saffir-Simpson scale, but how much water gets dropped down on a given neighborhood in a given period of time.  Houston suffered its greatest problems not from Wind Speeds, but from inundation of rainwater measured in FEET, not inches.  In this case, the most likely inundation comes from Storm Surge all the way up the West coast of FL if Irma stays offshore.  She will make landfall somewhere though, if not Tampa than maybe north of there towards Tallahassee.  Of course, to have real big media impact the landfall needs to be near a major Big Shity, So that would dampen the psychological impact and the MSM will say "we dodged a bullet".

OK. PUBLICATION TIME has arrived here on the Diner for the Sunday Brunch article.  As of now, all the Livestream Cameras that AZ (one of the Diners) put up Inside the Diner are now offline with NO SIGNAL.  I'll leave this installment of The Strafing Run of Mother Nature with the latest update of the NOAA Sat Animated GIFS in nice RGB colors.  Still moving at an intemrinably slow 6MPH, now moving NW and likely to make a close hit on Key West as First Contact.  Unless she takes a more NNW track though, she will miss the FL West Coast entirely and collide with the North American continent  somewhere around Pensacola, or even NOLA.  That would be a hoot.

If JM & BH at WU and all the Code Jockeys running the models at the NOAA are right though, tomorrow will see a few million Retired Floridians experiencing FAST COLLAPSE, with virtually the entire state destined to lose electric power.  It will be quite some time if ever if it is all restored.

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You.

The Strafing Run of Mother Nature

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Published on The Doomstead Diner September 8, 2017


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Here you have it in one animated gif from the NOAA.

The Virgin Islands are already TOAST from the hit from Irma, José is coming in for a 2nd Strafing Run in a few days.  Next up on the hit list tonight from Irma are the Bahamas.  A few of the islands may get a direct hit from the Eye of the Storm, but all of them are within range of the massive 160 mile diameter of Hurricane Force winds.  They will all also be TOAST by tomorrow morning.

Although generally speaking most of the Tourista Hotels on these islands are built from reinforced concrete and can stand up to anything but a full on hit from a Cat 5, you have to remember that most of the people who work in the service industry supporting that tourista bizness don't live in near such sturdy buildings, although the management is at least kind enough to open up their stairwells as shelter during the height of the storm to locals as well as Honeymooners in the Tropical Paradise.  Once the storm passes by though, the locals gotta leave the stairwell (if in fact that stood up to the storm and they are still alive) and figure out where they will get the MONEY to rebuild their homes, particularly considering the Tourista bizness they made a living from is pretty much gone in infrastructure.  Who is going to finance the rebuilding of this industry in these places?  Can the Insurance Companies even afford to pay off all the claims from all the Hotels that were wiped out all along the Strafing Run?

The costs haven't even BEGUN to mount up yet though, because Irma still hasn't even made it to Miami, where the Storm Surge alone is expected to put it under 10 feet of water, and that is without a direct hit, which looks probable at this point based on the fabulous graphics provided by Jeff Masters at Weather Underground.  If they do get a smack dab dead on hit in Miami, Irma will still be at least a Cat 4 and maybe even retain Cat 5 status at landfall.  In that case, all the hi-rise condos at the beachfront will at the very least lose all their glass, if they aren't knocked down completely.  Nobody Boards Up all the windows in a 20 story Hotel before a Hurricane.

GFS ensemble forecasts for Irma, 0Z 9/7/2017

The 160 mile wide swath of Hurricane Force Winds is large enough to swallow the whole Panhandle, all the way across to the Gulf Coast.  That means everybody who lives in a trailer home all the way across Florida even if they aren't on Beachfront or Golf Course adjacent property is going to be smacked by these winds, plus of course the rainfall which actuall gets worse in the outer bands, and more potential for Tornadoes to be spun off too.  There are going to be a lot of wrecked Trailer Parks in Florida that look something like this Marina in St. Maarten's for Yachties:

But, that's not all Doomfans!  Irma isn't going to JUST leave the Strafing Run after decimating Miami.  Oh no, she is taking a track straight up the coast of Florida and will likely maintain Hurricane Strength the whole way because the Eye looks like it will remain over the warm waters surrounding the Florida Beaches the whole way.  Not so far off the coast though that the massive winds won't be packing at least Cat 2 strength at the coastline.  Besides that, everybody along the way gets hit by DIRECT onshore wind as it approaches, due to the counter-clockwise circulation of a Hurricane in the Northern Hemisphere.  That jacks up the Storm Surge.  Depending on the time it arrives in a given location, if that matches the High Tide of the neighborhood, then you go under at least 5' and perhaps as much as 15' in some locations.

Due up after Miami are such places as Ft. Lauderdale and Jacksonville, to name only a few of the major population centers along the Atlantic Coast of Florida.  Not only are there enormous populations at  risk here, you ALSO have not one but TWO Nuke Puke plants in the direct path of Irma and her Storm Surge, Turkey Point and St. Lucie.  Both are great candidates to be the next Fukushima.

The Storm Surge these plants will be subject to is not that far of from the Tsunami that hit Fukushima, plus they have the added hazard of all the wind they will be subject to.  Of course, Nuke Puke plants are structures built from really thick rebar reinforced concrete and one would not expect them to be knocked down by even Cat 5 strength winds alone, but in combination with storm surge it is hard to predict.  Even without a full on knockdown though, cracks could develop allowing in water, and then pumps could fail with the failure of the electric grid and backup generators, which themselves may go under water.  In any of these scenarios, you get a repeat of the Fukushima Clusterfuck. Even in the less-than-worst case scenario, these plants will be offline for quite some time after Irma.  That is a LOT of JUICE currently serving to power all the HVAC units cooling all the homes and biznesses in Florida.  Even once they manage to retring all the wire knocked down, it's questionable how quick they can bring all the power plants back on line to feed the voracious maw of power consumption necessary to make life down in the Tropical Zone compatible with Industrial Civilization.  With luck, maybe they  can do it in a month if they throw enough funny money and resources at the problem, which POTUS Trumpovetsky has promised to do, along with promising to send Houston the $125B or so currently estimated (sure to be far more , of course) to fix their mess up.  None of this money is "given" away though, it's all issued out as, you guessed it, MORE LOANS!  Our friends the TBTF Banks will make an ENORMOUS profit off this!  Assuming of course the Monetary system holds up in the aftermath, which is no certain outcome at this point.  Meanwhile, the numbskulls who want to rebuild on this patch of the earth will have to go in more debt than they already are in, to start off with just to replace their damn carz!

Again, you need to look at the BIG PICTURE here, which is quite obviously first off this is not a one-off disaster.  In fact you have two major ones ongoing at the same time here in the FSoA, not counting the vast devastation through all the Carribean islands, which in the Insurance Industry language have been "totalled".  As in a total loss.  None of these economies were doing too good before Irma strafed them, definitely not Puerto Rico which currently has over $1M people without electric power and no hope of getting the lights back on anytime too soon.  POTUS in Residence Donalditry promises recovery money Houston, now to Miami too and eventually he will promise to send the FRNs to every last city and town sprinkled along the Strafing Run of Irma too!  EXCEPT, currently at the moment although it is overwhelmed by the ACTION ongoing in the Climate Realm of Collapse is that even before these disasters struck the Pols in charge of Da Goobermint were ALREADY unable to come to any kind of an agreement on how to resolve the budget problems they face, and a Goobermint Shutdown looms as a result.  Now they have to add in at LEAST $300B in disaster relief for all the communities that are going to be devastated by Irma, and that is a Lowball Estimate if it follows the track that Jeff Masters, Bob Henson and the rest of the Weather Junkies at Weather Underground are predicting, and they are pretty good as far as Weathermen are concerned.  OK, sorry, they are "Meteorologists" now.  I never could figure out that one, WTF does the Weather have to do with Meteors? ???  :icon_scratch: 

A much more realistic estimate is in the neighborhood of $1T if you were to really try to rebuild all these communities and the infrastructure that has been destroyed or severely damaged.  This is far more of course than could ever be paid off in any sense of the word, and every "loan" that is made here in this collapse scenario will end up as another "NPL", or "Non-Performing Loan", AKA defaulted on debt.  Can They, Will They issue out the debt to these levels to try to keep this failing system running? ???  :icon_scratch:  The Masters of the Universe will certainly TRY to do this, because unless they do the whole House of Cards the monetary system is constructed from will COLLAPSE.  If they do this though, it makes transparent to all that the "money" is ephemeral and can be conjured out of thin air whenever whoever is in control of it cares to do so.  If you can work up $100B to Bailout AIG or fund the Pentagon every year to the tune of $1T, WTF can't you conjure up the money to bailout Unemployed people and do a bit better than 6 months of UE Bennies IF you can even qualify for them before you are DESAPERECIDO off the counted members of the Unemployed and become one of the increasing number of people who are "out of the worforce"? ???  :icon_scratch:

What will happen of course in due time if they do make these enormous loans to rebuild is that at some point confidence in the monetary system will be lost not just by J6P (who really doesn't matter as far as TPTB are concerned), but also by various members of the Elite class who hold all the debt as Assets on their books.  They won't be getting paid back for these loans, which came from money they never had to begin with, it was just leveraged up on other assets they "owned", at 10:1 or more often enough and on multiple loans too!  See Donalditry Trumpovetsky for a good example of this shit.

Is this event the BIG ONE that will finally send the Industrial Economy and Civilization off the Cliff to the next plateau downward as we exit the Age of Oil?  I can't answer that question, but this one is a mighty big Fly in the Ointment.  I do know one thing though for sure.  In the time it has taken me to write this article, FAST COLLAPSE  has ARRIVED for the Residents and Touristas of the Turks & Cacos Islands.  They are now smack dab under fire from the Strafing Run of Mother Nature.

Irma will arrive with FAST COLLAPSE somewhere around Miami on the continental FSoA on Sunday.  About the same time, José looks set to take a second Strafing Run across the Virgin Islands and the rest of the Carribean.  No real good idea of where José goes after that.  Based on the progress of steering currents in the upper atmosphere I see from Weather Underground and the NOAA website, it seems to me José might go for Norfolk or NYC as a Cat 3.  If I get that one right, I am beating the best computer models around, because that is a good 2 weeks away and they only go 5 days out.  lol.  If I get it right, I am the Gary Kasparov of Weather Prediction.  I beat Deep Blue, at least once.

The strain on the monetary system from all of these disasters is ENORMOUS. It is quite difficult for me to see how the Masters of the Universe will pull another Rabbit out of the Hat to cover the costs of recovery for this.  It's just too BIG.  It makes Katrina look like a Sunday Picnic.

More coming on this for my Sunday Brunch article, which coincides in Publication Schedule to right about the time Irma should be hitting Miami Beach.  I'll keep it updated with the latest in Doom as this plays out over the next couple of days.

Campfires in Collapse 2

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Published on The Doomstead Diner September 6, 2017

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Here in the second installment of the Campfires in Collapse series, we look at the issues ofr acquiring fuel for your fire on the cheap, as well as making a campfire suitable for cooking on, which really big bonfires generally are not too good for other than roasting marshmallows.  A big Bonfire makes tons of heat, but for cooking you need a controlled heat which is stable over typical cooking times, usually in the 1/2 hour to 1 hour range for most meals besides stuff you slow cook, which can be much longer and generally take other methods to accomplish out in the field where you don't have a working electric slow cooker that will deliver just the right amount of energy when you set the temperature so you don't have to go over and mind the fire every 5 minutes to make sure it's not burning too hot or too cold. Back in my main camping years which went from about the age of 11 until age 30 or so, I did most of my cooking at campsites over open fires, not using campstoves of either the old pump style pressure stoves or the more recent version of propane fired camp stoves.  In this period, I always made a separate cooking fire from the larger campsite bonfire we would sit around after dinner and before bedtime and swap Ghost Stories or sing Folk Songs and roast marshmallows.  lol.  Good cooking fires are made with much smaller diameter wood pieces, generally from downed branches no more than about an inch thick.  Once the fire is going, you feed these in a little at a time to keep the temperature fairly constant while you cook.  When settling down in our campsite for the evening, after getting the tents set up the next priority was to gather wood, both for the cooking fire and the bonfire.  Bonfire people got to find big downed trees (you weren't allowed to cut them down and besides green wood sucks for making a fire) cut them into manageable chunks and split the wool.  Cooking fire people got to collect lots of twigs and small branches and cut them into smaller chunks to fit the cooking fire surface.  The Bonfire job was the more physically demanding one because of all the chopping and splitting you had to do, but the cooking fire job took a lot more trips over a wider area so also had it's physical demands.  This was all particularly annoying after an exhaustng day hiking over Mt. Katahdin and just about the time you hit the campsite it starts to rain.  Setting up old fashion Pup Tents in the rain and getting your fires going in the rain is no fun at all, and neither is collecting and chopping up wood.

So usually we would quit the hiking or canoeing around 4PM or so to get going on setting up camp for the night.  It usually took around 30 min to get the tents up and then another hour collecting wood for the night and for cooking the next morning.  I became Head Cookie (what a campsite chef is usually called) in my 2nd year at the Primitive Skills camp at the age of 12, very young for a Head Cookie at this camp, usually they were 14 or 15.  This because cooking became an interest of mine very young, and I practiced year around out on my porch over a small cast iron charcoal hibachi.  In fact I snubbed Propane as a cooking fuel for years because it just doesn't deliver the flavor that charcoal does.  However, I got lazy after around age 30 and went to mostly propane. lol.   Head Cookie was a great position to have, because once enough wood was collected to begin the fire, you didn't have to go out searching for it anymore, your job was to start the fire and make it ready for cooking, which takes some time and tending to, especially in the rain.  It usually takes around 30-45 minutes to get a wood fire ready for cooking, charcoal is a bit faster, especially if you are liberal with how much kero you will pour over it to get it going. lol.

Cooking over a Bonfire is something I only started working on in the later years, and takes a whole different set of techniques and equipment.  In the videos, I only discuss a few of them.  The main way I do discuss is simply to wait for the fire to burn itself down to coals until it is at the right temperature for cooking.  However, with a big fire you have to wait a while for that.  Dinner comes pretty late if you go with this method.  Another way is to raise up your cooking surface, a Camping Tripod is a good way to do that, I have one of those.  However, you are limited mainly to stews and soups and other stuff you can do in one big batch in a Dutch Oven.  You generally can't get close enough to the fire to do stuff like sauteing or even just flipping your burgers.  You can roast weenies on long forks though with this kind of fire.

The advantage to doing this is you get dual use out of the Bonfire, not only does it provide heat for the campsite (and it can get quite cold at night in NH, VT & ME even in the summer), but you get cooking heat out of the same fire, conserving both wood and human effort.  In recent years, I developed a 3rd use for the same heat, which is to heat thermal mass (rocks) to keep your temporary domicile warm overnight too.  If you follow the series here, you will find more information on those techniques.

The most important thing here to consider is that in all mobile living arrangements, fuel for heating and cooking is an important consideration, and often will cost you money.  You CANNOT do outdoor fires if you are Boondocking a Walmart parking lot!  If that is where you park for the night, my main advice is to eat cold food like cheese and maybe some hard boiled eggs and fruit, or just a Subway Hero that night.  That is no muss, no fuss.  If you insist on having something hot for dinner in this situation, use a kero or propane fired stove inside your Bugout Machine to heat a can of Chunky Soup.  Also no muss, no fuss.  For Gourmet Road Cooking, wait until you are in a location you can set up your full 9 yards of equipment.  If I put out all my portable cooking gear, I can cook up OTR any thing I ever did at Capsuto Freres, and in some cases better because I had no Smoker there at the time.  For myself though these days, I never do that.  I am happy if I can munch down 1/3rd of a Subway Spicy Italian for dinner now. Roll Eyes

“Get Out Now Or Die”

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Published on The Doomstead Diner September 3, 2017

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This week in Collapse featured the arrival of Hurricane Harvey on the Shores of South East Texas, with the Bull's Eye of Houston directly in its path.  The city got positively HAMMERED with a massive Rain Event, topping 4' in a few locations.  Usually Hurricane destructive events are focused on a few miles around where the Eye of the Hurricane hits when it is at full strength, goes a few miles inland and then dissipates after that.  So in normal circumstances it is only cities that are located right on the ocean that will sustain maximum damage from such a storm.  Cities like New York with Sandy, New Orleans with Katrina or Donna and numerous others which have hit Florida over the last century of record keeping on this are the most vulnerable. Harvey was a bit different though, because the overall weather patterns kept it stalled over the Houston neighborhood for several days, and the rainfall totals kept piling up.  Levees were overtopped, flash flooding arrived everywhere.  One of the 2 main rain catchment reservoirs designed strictly to control water flow not to store water got over-topped, and still more water flowed down the Buffalo Bayou, the main river flowing out of Houston to drain the copious amounts of excess water that city receives in even normal weather.  Houston is a hot, humid, damp and rainy place not fit IMHO for human habitation, like many parts of Florida as well.  But people do live there, mainly because there have been jobs that pay well down there for the last century while the Oil Industry both extracted and refined the Black Gold for use in the Happy Motoring lifestyle that evolved in the FSoA during the Age of Oil.

To accomodate all those people, Suburbs around Houston popped up like Mushrooms on a damp August morning in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, often built on land that used to be Swamp but now drained by oil powered pumps to keep the land dry enough for people to drive their cars around on, most of the time.  However, even in typical moderate rains in the Houston area, low lying neighborhoods will often flood with just a few inches of rain.  Harvey did not bring rainfall measured in inches.  Harvey brought it down in buckets measured in FEET.  There was no way of getting out this storm once it began, so if you were not prepped up and ready do go, you were pretty much Shit Out of Luck, as many people who live in the Houston area currently still are. The thing here is, this was no fucking surprise, the Weather folks have gotten a lot better over the last few years with these big cyclonic storms in terms of predicting the track and predicting wind speeds and rainfall totals.  At least 2 days before Harvey hit, everyone knew about where it would hit and a rough estimate of rainfall totals.  It was obviously going to be a total fucking disaster.

This is where I begin to have real trouble with folks who have at least the modest means of a used car and enough money to buy tents, sleeping bags, food preps etc.  WTF would you stay in a location which OBVIOUSLY will be innundated and out of commission for at least a few days?  GET THE FUCK OUT OF DODGE!  What purpose is there for you to remain in your McMansion during this time?  You're just setting yourself up to be camping on your roof and waiting for the National Guard to rescue you by Helicopter.  If you are lucky and they get to you.

On the other hand, if you LEAVE, what's the downside?  Maybe you miss a few days of work if your workplace is actually still open for Biz?  You might get your McMansion Looted while you are gone?  Who is going to be cruising around flooded McMansions looting Plasma TVs in boats when the streets are all flooded?  Besides, if you have a big enough rig with a trailer, you probably can fit in it most of your really valuable electronics anyhow, you don't necessarily have to leave them behind.  You might have to leave behind your expensive Italian Leather Sofa, but maybe you can move it upstairs to the second story and you'll only get 5' of flooding in your McMansion and it will be salvageable. Losing a few pieces of furniture and some drywall is not a life devastating event though, and for the most part even if you stayed you wouldn't be able to keep these things from getting wrecked in some way.  So WTF do you hang around when you KNOW you're about to go under water?  Are you just fucking STUPID?  GTFO OUT OF DODGE!  Don't be an IDIOT!

Of course the question is "WHERE DO YOU GO?" when the "Big One" hits, and besides not being prepared to do a Bugout, most people probably have no plan on where they will Bugout TO!  The best place for a few people is obviously Relatives who you actually like and somewhat get along with, although many people these days don't have too many of those.  lol.  Do you have a brother or sister or aunt or uncle you could shack up with for more than a week without being at each other's throats?  In my case though, I would head for friends rather than relatives, for a few reasons.  First off, I just don't HAVE many relatives, and the few I have are pretty far from me and I don't keep in touch with them much.  Second, you can PICK your friends and they can pick you, you can't pick your relatives.  I have slightly more confidence my friends would tolerate my presence for a week or two than my relatives would.

If you don't have either relatives or friends to seek succor and shelter with, now you are pretty much on your own.  If you have enough money, the next best alternative is a good Bates Motel and line up accomodation there for a week or so.  In all the cases here of Friends, Relatives or a Bates Motel, you want to pick a place a minimum of 100 miles from Ground Zero of whatever the disaster was that hit your neighborhood, because blowback effects are always going to happen in the vicinity even if it is not directly affected.  The Bates Motel we took on the way in and out of Rexburg ran around $70/night for 3 people.  Another extra person, you are probably at $75/night.  For a full week, this will cost you a little more than $500, but you also might be able to get a weekly rate, these places often offer that deal.  This is pretty much a bargain price to stay out of trouble and stay in relative comfort while the worst of the shit is worked out in your neighborhood.  Bates Motels usually have a Microwave and small Fridge, FREE Internet and electricity and cable TV too if you watch that shit.  You can't find them listed usually on the internet, you have to find them yourself through recommendations.  The way we found our Bates Motel was from a recommendation from a Waitress at a Bar-Restaurant that itself was not a place you normally would find on the internet in a search.  So NOW is a good time to go search these places out.  They may not save your life, but they could make a week away from home a LOT more comfortable than Boondocking in your car, unless you are real well set up to Boondock, as I am. After the Friends, Relatives & Bates Motels, now you are down to camping in one way or the other for your week away from the Disaster Zone, and of course legal For Pay sites are nicer and better, and if you have a Big Ass Diesel Pusher as your Bugout Machine you might be living in close to the same Industrial Era Luxury during your week away from home as you would be if you were still there.  Some of the really big mother fuckers even have Hot Tubs!  If you are not on such a big budget though, you can do quite well with a Used Van (like my SaVANnah) and an enclosed cargo trailer, you can put a rig like this together for under $10K.  Dropping down to car camping and just using a tent, you seriously limit what you can carry and how comfy you can make a campsite, but even this is still better than being stuck on the roof of your flooded McMansion with no electircity and no potable water available for days or perhaps in some cases weeks.

What can drive you from your home and force you into the Bugout situation?  Hurricanes are quite obvious and a really good one in the sense that unlike many othe collapse disasters they are pretty predictable these days.  Within reasonable dgrees of error, you know 2-3 days before a Hurricane hits where it will hit and with what intensity.  So if you happen to live within this zone of uncertainty, it is just plain stupidity not to GTFO of Dodge once you know it will hit somewhere in your neighborhood.  If you are really poor with no car and no means to escape you have an excuse, but anyone above that level of extreme poverty has no excuse. In its wake, Harvey left behind a Chemical Fire at a Frog Plant manufacturing Organic Peroxides for Industry, currently spewing all sorts of chemicals into the local environment, but of course is denied any or them are harmful at the moment by the EPA and the plant owners.  Nevertheless, they ordered a mandatory evacuation for a 1.5 mile diameter around the plant, which is quite a large neighborhood.  This diameter would have covered everything from the Main Street #7 Line Subway to my house in Flushing, Queens when I was a kid, which also had a shit load of people living in aparments as well as McMansions in this space.  I would guess 20-30,000 people lived there at this time in the 1970s, today likely more than that as many McMansions were bulldozed and multiple family dwellings replaced them.  The neighborhood around this plant in TX is likely not too different from that.  Even after the flooding from Harvey recedes, is this a place you want to live and drink the water?  Think Love Canal or more recently Flint, MI.  At least though it wasn't a Nuke Puke Plant going Super-Critical that could cause problems on a wider scale than just 1.5 miles or so.  One of the "officials" in his statement to the public said "Get Out Now or Die" and suggested anyone who remains in the neighbohood should use a Sharpie to write their Name and Social Security Nuber on their arms for when the corpse is fished out of the receding waters and delivered to their surviving relatives for burial..

Residents in one East Texas county received a harrowing warning from emergency management officials to “get out or die” due to expected massive flooding.

Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette posted the stark message late Wednesday when the remnants of Hurricane Harvey headed back to land and dumped more rain near the Texas-Louisiana line.

“The US Army Corp of Engineers has advised the Tyler County office of Emergency Management that the flood gates were opened to 100 feet at 3:00 pm CSDST,” Blanchette wrote.

“River levels will rise to near seventy-nine feet. With additional rain fall accumulations, a potential elevation could reach near eighty-two feet.”

The alarming missive said residents near the area must evacuate immediately.


“Anyone who chooses to not heed this directive cannot expect to be rescued and should write their social security numbers in permanent marker on their arm so their bodies can be identified,” wrote Blanchette. “The loss of life and property is certain.”

The advisory ended with the words “GET OUT OR DIE!” along with a phone number for anyone needing boat assistance or rescue, the Houston Chronicle reported.

This is one of the more honest statements made by a Goobermint Apparatchik during a disaster made in recent times.  Usually they don't even admit there is a problem and just issue out platitudes like "Texans are the salt of the Earth.  We will all pull together and recover from this disaster." Roll Eyes

The deal here is of course that Harvey is not a one-off disaster.  These suckers are coming with more intensity and greater frequency all the time, although you can only keep track of this shit anecdotally, you don't get any solid statistics on that.  I however have been walking the earth for 60 years, and from my experience over this time we are getting a lot more and bigger Hurricanes, and besides that more Volcanic eruptions and Earthquakes too.  Then there are the Wildfires taking out huge swaths of forest and of course the Droughts which are making numerous regions uninhabitable for Homo Sap and lousy locations to be growing food.  So pretty much any region you live in currently can become an uninhabitable one pretty close to overnight, and this is of course not even taking into account the possibily of Thermonuclear War and an Atomic Bomb being dropped close to your McMansion by the North Koreans, Chinese or Ruskies, depending on who the FSoA is most pissing off over any given geopolitical or economic issue.  The "end" part of TEOTWAWKI can actually arrive quite rapidly even living in a First World nation.

In the wake of Harvey, in the coming week there are already two more nice size storms brewing up in the Atlantic, Irma who has already achieved Hurricane status and is on track to likely make landfall somewhere along the East Coast of the FSoA and Jose behind her, currently a "Tropical Wave" coming off the West Coast of Africa but also showing signs of maturing into a nice Hurricane which will hit nobody knows where at the moment, the weather models don't work that far out in advance.  Da Federal Goobermint has promised even more money to recover from Harvey than they shelled out for Sandy, which was supposedly around $120M in funny money.  Despite being flat broke, somehow they manage to come up with money to fix up these disasters after they occur.  The money is never there though to improve and repair infrastructure BEFORE such a disaster hits, levees all over the country are in disrepair, so are bridges and dams.  In almost any location you care to pick out, you will find fragile infrastructure we depend on ready to fail with the slightest push over the edge by Mother Nature.

To get back round to the main topic here, I find it simply amazing so few people are prepared to do a Bugout of even a short duration like a week or two while the "authorities" in a disaster get some semblance of BAU going again, like restoring electricity and drinking water.  Currently as I write this article, Beaumont, TX is on its second day with no drinking water available, although the city is currently sitting in a lake.  Both the water pumps providing fresh water to the city went under and failed, and there is not even an estimate on when they will come back on line.  This in a city with over 100K people.  That's more people than live in the entire Mat-Su Valley here in Alaska, and the valley by itself is about as big as Texas.  While you can live for a week or more with no electricity, you CAN'T live much more than a week with no fresh water.  Now these people HAVE to evacuate the city, but it's a shit load harder now since the roads are all flooded and many of their Bugout Machines are also under water and probably ruined for good. Now, not every neighborhood is suceptible to Hurricanes, as I said earlier it usually tends to be a coastal problem and here in the FSoA mainly focused on the Gulf Coast cities and on the South East cities on the Atlantic coast.  They can produce interior problems with extreme rainfall events though as well.  Hurricanes aren't the only threat you face though which might require a Bugout.  Wildfires are another, and they have become ever more prevalent in the western states and here in Alaska as well.  The nice thing about both Hurricanes and Wildfires is you usually get at least a couple of days of warning, so you have time to pack your shit into your Bugout Machine and GET THE FUCK OUT OF DODGE!  For the Earthquakes or your local Nuke Puke Plant melting down though, you're probably not going to get much if any warning at all, so having your gear pre-packed and ready to go is a good idea for the true prepper.  Right now, if I get a newz report that Mt. Redoubt went Ballistic and the ashfall will cover the Mat-Su valley for 100 miles around it in the matter of a day, I am out the door inside of 5 minutes and putting as many miles between myself and Mt. Redoubt as I possibly can, putting the Pedal to the Metal on the Glenn Highway doing at least 70 for at least 4 hours straight, for around 280 miles.  I've got enough dried foods packed inside SaVANnah to keep me going at least 6 months, especially considering how little I eat these days.  I've got kero for heating and cooking, I've got life straw water filters and I would probably throw my Yamaha 2000W generator in also at the last minute if I suspected it was going to be a long to permanent bugout situation.

I could do a lot better than this too if I was pulling an enclosed trailer, say 12'-16' ft in length which SaVANnah with a V-8 engine is fully capable of towing and already has the tow hitch installed.  A second set of springs would be a good idea to install though if I go the full 9 yards on this, which currently I plan to do next spring.  Pulling such a trailer, I can carry enough Preps along for a good 2 years without going Fishing ONCE!  However, even without the trailer just using the van, I am good for the normal amount of time anyone gets displaced in typical disasters, which tends to run from about a week long to a couple of months.  Even with Superstorm Sandy, I think most people were back in their neighborhoods within a couple of months doing "rebuilding" as a target for the next Hurricane that comes down the pike in that neighborhood.  Katrina was exceptionally long in recovery, people were in shelters or FEMA provided trailers for a year and more there, and some never returned to NOLA at all.  Even here, with a good Bugout system in place, you are a lot better off than having to depend on Goobermint provided shelter as you literally try to "ride out the storm".

Where would you rather hang out for a week while waiting out the disaster in your neighborhood?


or Here?

The second photo above is the Boondocking Site we set up for during TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼ in Rexburg, Idaho.  This is done with just an old Toyota Pickup on a farmer's field, not even a real campsite location.  No Picnic Tables, no Fire Ring, no potable running water, no electricity, NADA.  What we got out of it in a couple of hours of set up time was a 3 Bedroom apartment, with 2 bedrooms sleeping 2 each and one sleeping 3 on very comfortable air matresses, along with a living/dining area with a table to eat at, another table to cook on, coolers for refrigeration and a tarp to cover it and keep off the rain if we got any of that (we didn't) and maintain shade for the hot mid afternoon SUN (we got a lot of that).  The Toyota provided all the electricity we needed from her starter battery and a 400W Inverter, we didn't even need a deep cycle marine battery or a generator for this length of Bugout (around 3 days, but we could have easily gone a week with this set-up).  With my Bugout Machine SaVANnah we could have improved on this a LOT, but SaVANnah is currently up here on the Last Great Frontier of Alaska, and the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼ was in Rexburg, Idaho and I wasn't prepped yet for driving the Al-Can to get her down there for this one.  So we made do with the Toyota Pickup, and she did a great job.  Brian also did a great job in stuffing her full of Preps for the trip, she was PACKED.  That took a few hours to accomplish because we had to go buy stuff at the Prep Big Box Stores.  If you had them all in containers and ready to go, you probably can pack up in under an hour, with the exception of food which you might have to go buy on the way out of Dodge.  How much does such a Bugout arrangement cost you?  You are in it for under $5000, and that is INCLUDING the vehicle, if you buy a good used one.  You can be ready to GET THE FUCK OUT OF DODGE pretty much anywhere, even if you live in an apartment in a Big Shity.  There is no excuse for people who have at least enough money to afford this level of prepping and who get themselves trapped on a Rooftop awaiting Rescue from the National Guard.  I have little sympathy for these folks when I see the fotos and vids of them helplessly holding up cardboard signs waiting for help.  They should have been out of the location long before this came to pass.


Even heavy duty Kollapsnkiks with a fat wallet often do not have a good Bugout Plan in place.  One of these folks might have a gorgeous 40 Acre Doomstead complete with Honeybees, Chickens, Goats and Pigs and a full blown Permie Raised Garden setup AND and Aquaculture setup in a Greenhouse which cost him a good half million to get set up, but they got ZERO figured out on WTF to do if the Doomstead itself goes up in smoke, literally in the case of a forest fire?  Or maybe you can't even GET to your Doomstead because the roads are covered with flood water?  Lotta good your expensive Doomstead does for you if you can't even GET there!

For myself, the most likely scenarios for temporary disruption that would require a Bugout would be an Earthquake or a Volcanic Eruption, since I live on the Ring of Fire here in Alaska.  Wildfire also a significant risk here.  Hurricanes and Tornadoes, low risk for this neighborhood.  Nuclear Bombs a significant risk since Alaska is basically a Military Base here to protect the OIL still coming up from the ground in ever decreasing quantities at greater cost.  All 3 of the large military bases here are obvious targets in the case of Global Thermonuclear War, and running away far enough to get away from the fallout would be pretty tough.  I am likely to be Nuclear Toast in this case.  In the cases of the Earthquakes or Volcanic Eruption, I probably get little to no warning.  I have been through a few decent size quakes since moving up here a decade ago, 2 7s and 2 6s that I felt and shook my digs pretty good.  In my current spot, I can get outside in under around 10 seconds when the shakes start to come.  So I think I can avoid having my digs collapse on top of me unless I am sound asleep when it takes off.  Then it is a matter of whether SaVANnah survives as well, she is outside under the Carport and that could collapse on top of her, but it is a pretty solidly built one and it would take a real big shaker to knock it down completely.  I debate with myself all the time though if I shouldn't just park her in the open at another spot not under the carport at all.  Disadvantage of that is clearing the snow off during the winter.

I would of course lose most of my preps in the situation I had to permanently Bugout from the location with just what SaVANnah has inside for the Fast Bugout.  In most situations though, I would expect to be able to return to the location a week or two later, survey the damage and then pick through the rubble to retrieve more preps.  Rebuilding would likely occur as it did in NY Shity after Sandy, I would find new digs and transfer my preps over there.  I don't own the property I live on, I rent it so there is no property loss for me here, just major inconvineience while I look for a new rental property.  This is the major reason I prefer rentals to "ownership" of properties.  It's a big White Elephant hanging off your neck every time you want to make a move, and as a Nomad for most of my life, I moved a LOT.  There are of course downsides to being a renter, but overall I find it better suited to my personality than buying property.  It is though for most people the "Amerikan Dream" to "own" your own McMansion somewhere.  Not my dream though, more of a nightmare.  WTF wants this headache?  Maintenance, HOAs, Property Taxes, Building Codes it has the WORKS in terms of bullshit to deal with in modern Industrial Culture as we live it today.  I can do without this headache.

One more note here on the subject of prepping for a disaster in your neighborhood.  I consider anyone who does not do this but has enough money to do so (around $5-10K for a real good setup) to be completely irresponsible.  You immediately become dependent on Da Goobermint for aid and support, from the Rescues from Boats and Helicopters to the crowded shelters they drop you into after you are "saved".  You have no source of food and no way to get to a job, if you still can find one.  Your car if you had one is now wrecked and submerged and will cost a fortune to fix, if it is even worth fixing.  You can avoid all of that witha good Bugout Machine setup.  I am a completely over the top with this with what I do, I have every portable prep known to man and I couldn't fit all the shit into my rig even if I add an enclosed trailer to it.  I would need a fucking Freightliner tractor and a 53' Dry Box to pull all of it like I drove back in the good old days when I was OTR. lol.  You don't need to get this extreme though to at least be responsible.  A car, a tent and sleeping bag in the trunk, a cooler for food, an extra set of clothes and a few other essentials is enough to keep you going and out of the shelters for a week or two.  Longer than that, you're going to need something like my arrangement with SaVANnah.

For those who consider prepping stupid because "we're all gonna die because we are going extinct by 2026" according to Dr. McStinksion, unless you plan on commiting Seppuku when Collapse arives at your doorstep if you are not prepared for this eventuality you too will be throwing yourself on the mercy of Da Goobermint to save your Nihilistic & Misanthropic ass.  Even fucking extinction will not come overnight, and there will be a period of time between when BAU exists as we know it and when whatever comes after will come.  Granted, if what comes after is Nuclear Bombs dropping all around me, I am not going to maintain a strong desire to live to see the aftermath of that.  SaVANnah doesn't only provide me a way to SURVIVE though, she also provides a couple of ways to DIE, pretty damn quick also.  I can drive her off one of the cliffs on the Glenn Highway.  I can park inside a garage and let the engine run, as Fred Astaire did with his sports car in "On the Beach".  As decrepit as I am though, I still have the WILL TO LIVE, and the imperative here for all life forms is to do that for just as long as you possibly can.  Unless you prep though, you can't do that.

I don't know what Irma or Jose will bring to the FSoA over the next couple of weeks, but I do know that I won't feel too sorry for the idiots on top of the rooftops in the neighborhoods affected by those storms.  Look at the fucking Weather Maps for crying out loud!  You got a car?  GET THE FUCK OUT OF DODGE!

The Eclipse at 60

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Published on The Doomstead Diner August 31, 2017

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Happy 60th Birthday to ME! :icon_sunny:


Somewhat incredibly, today I reached my 60th complete year Walking the Earth as a Homo Sap Meat package.  I have considered myself "60" for just about the whole of this last year, but now it is "official", I am 60 years old.  I never figured I would make it so long in this iteration of my immortal soul.  I should have been dead many times over already, and really I have considered all the time since I was 50 as Bonus Time.  I am glad I got this Bonus, because it gave me the opportunity to observe and write about the Collapse of Industrial Civilization I witness around me every day.

In terms of my own life, I already covered most of it in my autobiographical posts, so not a whole heck of a lot to write there anymore other than going into more detail, most of which I don't remember all that well at this point.  My life continues onward though, as sad and decrepit as it is so I still have new shit to write about every day to keep me bizzy.  The most recent action was my Last Great Adventure down to witness the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼ in Rexburg, Idaho with some friends. It turned out to be a great Bucket List trip overall, and in this article I will cover the eclipse itself as we experienced it.  If you can manage it, this is something you do not want to miss experiencing in your lifetime.  This was the only one I ever saw, once in a lifetime for me.  There is another one due to occur in the FSoA in 2024. if I am still above ground and can still get into the 70 mile wide Path of Totality for that one, I will be there too.  My hopes are not very high that I will make it that long to see that one, but at least I got to this one and it was incredible.  It is a memory that will go with me into Eternity in the Great Beyond.

The TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼ came on Monday, August 21st, 2017 around 11:30AM where we were located in Rexburg, Idaho.  To be ready for it, I determined a wake-up call of 8AM was necessary for all at the campsite.  I was up substantially before that around 6:30AM, and K-Dog was actually up before me probably around 6AM.  Brian got up a little before 8AM.  The Nex Gen Ecliptics though were a bit hard to wake up, I had to yell at their tents and shake them a few times to roust them out of their sleeping bags.  They went well into the night before soaking up the booze and ganja and were not too happy about getting out of bed so early. lol.  I did manage to disturb their Wa enough though to get them moving by around 8:30 to perform their main job of cooking up breakfast, which was another good bacon/egg/hash brown potatoes meal, which once again I did not eat too much of.

By around 11, we were all set up for the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼ , and right on schedule it began to occur as we finished breakfast.  If you don't have Eclipse Glasses, at the beginning of the Annular Eclipse when the Moon first begins to cover the SUN, you wouldn't notice it at all.  If you have the Glasses though and know it is coming, you watch for the beginning.  K-Dog was the first to pick it up in our encampment, and perhaps at the whole Rexburg, Idaho site we were at.  The call you make when you detect this is FIRST CONTACT, and you shout it out.

When it first occurs, you have been in anticipation of the event for so long this is very exciting, but visually even through the Eclipse Glasses it's really not that big a show overall.  You're just seeing the Moon slide over the SUN at a relatively slow rate.  Primitive people never got to see this show at all, you can't look up at the SUN even when just a sliver is left still shining through.  I find it hard to imagine how anyone could "damage their eyes" looking at the SUN during this period, without the Eclipse SUN Glasses on I couldn't even look up at it for a second of time.  You definitely can't see jack shit this way, so why would anyone do it?  You don't even realize anything is ongoing until the last couple of minutes of the Annular Phase of the Eclipse. because your eyes adjust to the changing light conditions.  If you are really perceptive, you will notice that there is higher contrast at the edges of objects you look at because the light is coming from a smaller and smaller crescent all the time, but you don't get really perceptible darkness or change in temperature until the last few minutes before TOTALITY sets in.  Primitive people without all the equipment and the knowledge of what was ongoing would have been taken completely by surprise, and it must have been quite the shocker for them.  You also have to remember that the Path of Totality is only around 70 miles wide during any TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼, so few people historically got to see one of them.  They didn't have EZ travel and mobility we have now, certainly no Inuit living up here on the Last Great Frontier could travel by Jet Plane to go see one occur in Idaho.  For most people, such travel remains impossible and out of budget to this day.  Even though I am a relatively poor cripple living on my SSI bennies, relative to global population I am still probably in the Top 1% of the world to be able to afford such an extravagance.

I did get to go though, and I will never regret this trip or feel bad about the fossil fuels I burned to get there.  There is no Bucket List item I can think of that could match this experience.

The TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼ lasted only around 2:15 of time, but it transfixes your gaze while it is ongoing.  Time slows down in your perception of it.  I stopped trying to shoot pictures after around 30 seconds because I really was not properly set up for that, and trying to readjust my cameras and the filters I would have been so bizzy I would have missed actually watching the event take place.  Fortunately, my fellow Admin here on the Diner Surly DID get really good pics of the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼ in South Carolina which I incorporated into the video along with the audio I recorded during this period in Rexburg.  I compiled all of it into the Video Montage that heads this article.

The aftermath of TOTALITY as I said at the end of the video is sort of a "post-coital" experience.  The first part of the Annular Eclipse is like Foreplay where you have expectations and become stimulated, and the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼ is the Orgasm.  Afterward, the Annular Eclipse of the Moon exiting the other side is just a repeat of the incoming phase, just run in reverse.  At the end of that, there is no big sight to see, you just have your normal SUN again.  So for those of us at the Boondocking site in Rexburg, we were all ready to leave pretty much as soon as the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼ was finished.  Actually, Brian was ready to be out of there even before that, while everyone else was enjoying the spectacle Brian bizzied himself packing up stuff and organizing for the trip out in his usual obsessive manner.  Pretty much single handedly he packed up the whole campsite, simply because he wouldn't wait for everyone else to help him. lol.  Like we were rushing to get somewhere?  The plan was to stay at the Bates Motel anyhow, so it made a big difference if we got there at 7PM or 9PM?  Due to Brian's diligence and expert and obsessive packing  and organizing though, we did get there at 7PM and had a really awful meal at a local restaurant! lol.

The trip out did come with some good Traffic though, unlike the trip in.  We ran into a stretch of road shortly after crossing the border into Montana that had been cut down to one lane for maintenance, although there was no maintenance being done for the entire 5 miles or so of this lane restricton visible anywhere along the road.  This backed up traffic for a good 1.5 hours @ around a top speed of 5 mph.  We raced along against two other interesting vehicles, a logging truck that had a full load on its main trailer and then a lonely single log on the auxiliary trailer, it was pulling double.  I cannot fathom why they would throw a single log onto a whole second trailer.

The other rig racing with us belonged to the FSoA Air Force, and appeared to be a Missile Carrier complete with the hydraulics to angle the missile upwards and fire it off.  Probably a Cruise Missile of some type, I don't think this rig was big enough to be carrying an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).  It certainly would have been cool if they actually fired the thing off while we were stuck in traffic, but that did not happen. lol.  It also had out in front of it another rig which obviously was the control rig for this device.  Where they were going with it I have no idea.  I am sure it will protect us from attacks by the North Koreans though.

We made it back to Couer d'Alene in pretty good shape just around noon, and unloading the Toyota went pretty quick.  K-Dog and myself organized our bags to be ready for a pickup from an airport shuttle service at 4PM to save Brian the hassle of driving us to the airport.  K-Dog had his flight to Seattle for the evening that night around 6PM, mine was not until the following day so I copped a hotel room by the airport for the night and did a lot of sleeping and some editing of photos taken during the adventure.

The trip to Seattle was de riguer for a cripple, I got my ass wheeled around the airport, picked up my bags and K-Dog was on time to pick me up, waiting in the smart phone staging lot for me to text him I was ready for pickup.  We had another enjoyable day together shooting the Collapse Shit, with the major excitement for the day being we got ourselves locked out on his porch when the porch door locked itself closed after being slammed shut.  Fortunately, his son was available to rescue us after a 15 minute drive from where he was hanging out in Seattle, so we got out of this one relatively easily.  The following morning prior to my flight back to the Last Great Frontier, we headed over to the airport rental car warehouse and rented him a car for the week while he waits for his Mercedes transmission to be fixed up.  The resolution on that one was to have the Mercedes shipped from the "dealership" in Missoula to the one in Seattle he bought it from for repair.  The Missoula "dealership" really doesn't deserve this title at all, it is basically just a car lot for sales.  They have a one-bay "service" department and one employee to do this task, and it was going to be a good couple of weeks before he even LOOKED at it or threw it on the computer to get the codes to diagnose the problem, which is how the techno-carz work these days.  Hopefully in Seattle they will get to it a bit quicker than this.

My final stop on the Last Great Adventure was a pilgrimmage to the grave of Jimi Hendrix in Seattle, which is a real nice monument with other family members buried under gravestones surrounding it and a big bronze guitar underneath the concrete gazebo which I presume Jimi is buried underneath.  I won't have near so big a monument at my gravesite, but I do intend for it to be quite technically neat so it houses my corporeal remains safely until the SUN goes Red Giant.  My friends and relatives all think I am nuts for this, but I don't care.  I am going to get this piece of shit left of my Meat Suit packaged up right so it lasts a long fucking time.

The Last Great Adventure 2: The Total Eclipse of the SUN☼

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Published on The Doomstead Diner August 27, 2017

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The Last Great Adventure is not yet over, since currently as I write this article I am sitting in the Spokane airport waiting for a plane to Seattle, where I will spend another couple of days with another one of the Diners who was with me at the campsite we occupied down in Rexburg, Idaho to observe this once-in-a-lifetime cosmological event (actually, there is another one in 2024 I hope to still be above ground for in 2024 to attend).  Then on Friday night I fly back to the Last Great Frontier and park myself back at my Diner Workstation in the digs.  I don't have any other Bucket List items and at the moment I have no plans to leave my  perch for observing the Collapse of Industrial Civilization for the forseeable future.  You can't do better than Alaska for low population density and good energy, food and water resources.  Besides, it's where all my Preps are.

Overall, the Last Great Adventure to the Path of Totality of the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼ was a raging success on almost every level, and the trip was Blessed I think by the Finger of God.  I came soooo close to cancelling on it the day before when I felt as though I was at Death's Doorstep and the Grim Reaper would win this race and come to collect me as the counselors did when I tried to make my run for Woodstock from Summer Camp in the Summer of '69.  Not this time.  RE won this race with the Grim Reaper.  I made it to the Cosmological Woodstock. :icon_sunny: 

In reality, the "Last Great Adventure" turned into a series of adventures, beginning with just getting my crippled ass out of Alaska and to the site of the Big Event.  I couldn't have done it without the help of my two friends you see with me at the top of the page in the Header Pic, K-Dog from the Diner and Brian, a friend from my years as a Gymnastics Coach.  They successfully got me in and out of cars, and mostly unsuccessfully tried to get me to eat more.  I did eat enough to stay alive though, since I am currently keyboarding out this article.  It's amazing how little you can eat and still stay alive for quite some time.

Although a lot of stuff happened both before and after the core part of the Adventure, for this article I am just going to focus on the Road Trip from Spokane & back, along with the 3 days spent at the campsite preparing for the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼.   Other adventures from this trip may get their own articles at some future date, particularly my trip to the Computer Museum in Seattle.  For the Eclipse itself, I also will likely write a separate article, including videos and still pics from the event.  That will take a while to get produced and edited up though.

We began with an inauspicious start when Brian was an hour late in picking me up at Spokane Airport on Friday morning, because he set his wake-up alarm for PM instead of AM.  I waited longer in the Spokane Airport than it took to fly from Seattle to Spokane, around 45 minutes air time.  As soon as you get up to cruising altitude, the plane starts descending again.

Once he did finally arrive, we headed back to his place to inventory his Preps to see what he already had and what we might need to buy for this trip.  He just moved into a really cute little Doomstead near Lake Couer d'Alene which is nicely separated from close neighbors, but still inside the BAU envelope of Industrial Civilization, so the neighborhood has all the Big Box stores you expect, Target, Costco, Safeway and of course Wally World (WW).

Brian had most of the Camping Basics of a nice size Tent big enough for all 3 of us on comfy twin size air mattresses, sleeping bags and cooking gear including some vintage stoves that still worked, but we still needed a lot of Preps, both of the durable kind you can re-use on other trips as well as the consumables and disposables like food, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, etc.

I discovered a major problem at this point, which was that my 4 year old smart phone batt was going bad and not taking or holding a charge very well and also running very hot, usually meaning the batt is going south.  If it quit on me on the site this would have been a major disaster.  It's a 5 year old Samsung Galaxy Mega, and the Batt for it usually is not in stock at the local batt stores and you need to order it online.  I lucked out though and Batteries & Bulbs had ONE of these batts on the shelf, so that was our first stop in terms of prepping up.

The next stop on the Prep Run for TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼  was of course Wally World, for a few reasons.

First off, Wally's has Low, Low Prices Every Day, they generally come in cheaper than anyone else for any given item they actually stock on the shelves.  It's not generally the highest quality stuff and they keep the prices so low by exploiting their employees who stock the shelves and man the registers and contractors who provide the merchandise over in China & India, but as a consumer it's hard to pay double the price somewhere else for the same stuff even if you know this, unless of course you have money to burn, which I do not.  I gotta make my little Nest Egg last for however long it is I actually have left to live.  I have no further financial windfalls coming to me on the horizon I can forsee, since I don't buy LOTTO tickets.

The second main reason is that Wally's is a One-Stop-Shop not just for the Prep Hard Goods, but also the FOOD.  Again, it's not the greatest Food Superstore out there and initially we wanted to go to a separate better quality Food Superstore in the neighborhood, but time was tight and besides for Camping Food you're not really shopping for high quality, just calories and at least some nutritional value.  We made a list of the usual suspects like burgers and hot dogs, fresh fruit, potatoes, onions, bacon & eggs for breakfast, etc.  However, Brian couldn't stop throwing every food item that appealed to him in the basket, so pretty soon it was filled to overflowing. lol.  He was the one who had to unload it and get it packed into the bugout machine, so I didn't complain too much.  By the time he was done though, it looked to me like we had food not for a week, but more like for a month. lol.

After Wally World we headed over to Cabela's, a more high end Camping Superstore that carries many specific items that you don't find at Wally World I wanted for this trip, like the Folding Camping Chair you see at right, which I picked up ON SALE at Cabela's for $40.  Not that WW doesn't have camping chairs, they do, but they are generally pretty flimsy and not real good for cripples.  In this model, the armrests are part of the support structure of the chair, and I can use them to help me get in and out of said chair fairly easily.  When I sit down in an El Cheapo chair where your butt sinks real low, I can get stuck in it and not be able to get myself out.  Shifting from the sitting to standing /walking/shuffling/liimping positions several times a day is one of my toughest repetitive daily tasks I have to consider and engineer properly to accommodate my cripple status.  I also spend most of the day in the sitting position, so it needs to be pretty comfortable for my ass for the whole day.  This chair fit the bill nicely.

Besides the chair, we needed some type of Picnic Table to eat at because the campsite I bought really wasn't a campsite at all, just a 25'X30' rectangle in an unused small farm field that the owner had decided to make a nice profit from since the farm was located right on the Path of Totality of the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼ .  So it had none of the amenities you expect from a "real" campsite such as a picnic table and fire ring.  This also came in ON SALE at Cabela's for $90.  You see this table in the header pic at the top of the article.

I also realized I had forgotten to bring with me a pair of regular Sunglasses, and it was a real bright sunny day in Idaho when we were doing our Prepping Up and I was squinting before noon.  I of course had my Eclipse Glasses with me, but you can't see jack shit through them unless you are looking straight at the SUN☼, in which case it looks in normal times like a disk about as bright as the Moon.  So I went over to the Sunglasses counter to see what was available, and got the full Sales Pitch from the Sunglasses Sales Desk Rep on how these Sunglasses are soooo much better than the El Cheapo ones I have been buying from Convenience Stores for decades because I always lose them and they only cost like $15 each these days.  They sure better be better, because a pair of these Optical Protectors of your Eyesight go for $200 and more at Cabela's!  This was a Bucket List trip though so I went ahead and coughed up $200 for a fucking pair of sunglasses!  I lived in fear for the whole trip I would lose them before the trip was over.  I managed not to do that though, and the $200 Cabela's Sunglasses made it back with me to the Last Great Frontier in the Ballistic Nylon Hard Case Cabela's supplied along with the Sunglasses in my Carry-On Wheely Bag.  There they will remain until the next Bucket List trip I make if I make one before the trip across the Great Divide, and up here locally I will switch back over to the El Cheapo Sunglasses I have about 3 pairs of and do an OK job of protecting my eyes from the harmful radiation of the SUN☼ for as much as it hits Alaska even on a cloudless sunny day.  I will say though that the expensive glasses really do work better, although I am not sure it is worth $200 to buy them.

Prepping & Packing for the Road Trip now finally complete, we could actually now begin the drive down to Rexburg, ID to get our campsite set up.  This is Friday around 4:30PM, 3 days before the actual event of the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼ .  Drive time according to Google Maps around 7 hours, but this assumes you do the Speed Limit on all the roads on the drive for the full route, and those limits are well up there at 80mph for most of the drive.  8 hours is a much more realistic estimate, even 9 if you take time off for a sit down meal somewhere and don't just buy sandwiches and eat while you drive.  This would have brought us to the campsite well after midnite, which is not a great time to set up a campsite with one working body and another cripple.  I decided the best alternative was to make it a little past half-way, just past Missoula before stopping for the night in a Bates Motel, but I was determined we should make at least the half-way point before stopping at around 9PM or so for dinner then crashing in a Bates Motel.

So we drive pretty flawlessly and smoothly through Missoula on the West side, passing many chain Motels but I tell Brian to keep going, we are sure to find a Bates Motel somewhere on the East side of Missoula before we stop.  Unfortunately, as soon as we pass through Missoula to the West Side of the town, everything fucking DISAPPEARS!  No more Motels, no more Restaraunts, no more Gas Station/Convenience Stores, or at least they are long distances apart.  I am starting to curse myself because it is looking more and more likely we will have to catch some ZZZ's sleeping in the seats of the Toyota Bugout Machine before finishing the trip the following morning.  While I have pulled this stunt on many occassions, it is never pleasant and even worse for the driver who was not me in this case but Brian at the time.

However, after about another hour of driving, we ran across an exit with a still open Convenience Store and a still open Restaurant, around 9PM or so.  Henry's Poor Boy Bar & Grill, with good food at least so Brian told me since I only ordered a beer.  The waitress told us there was a  Bates Motel around 30 min down the road we might get a room at, so we called them and they did in fact have one room available which we reserved.  After dinner, we sped down the road to grab our beds for the night at the Bates Motel

This was a TRUE Bates Motel, of the type I love.  I have stayed at many during my years as an OTR Trucker, and lived in a few for extended periods during my years as a Nomadic Gymnastics Coach.  They all have the same type of design, rooms in a one story building with the parking spot right out front.  They are not corporate owned, usually owned by some local who himself lives on the property.  Residents are often people who get Section 8 Housing Credits, sometimes Welfare Moms, sometimes Crack Heads, you never know precisely what you will get there when you check in.  But they are the REAL AMERIKANS for the most part, people who have not quite yet fallen completely off the economic cliff and still manage to put a roof over their heads a little better than a tent in a Homeless  Encampment.  In all my years staying in these places, I never had any problem with violence or theft for myself, although periodically there was such action that went on surrounding me.

In this particular Bates Motel, Dogs seemed quite popular to have as pets, the owner had around 8 of them and the next door neighbor had araound 2 of them, but they were reasonably quiet overnight.  Brian and I got a good restful sleep in the Motel and set out early on Satuday morning to finish the drive to Rexburg and get the Boondocking site set up to view the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼ .

EXCEPT, one *small* problem occured.  Behind us on the road, K-Dog had taken off from Seattle in his Mercedes on Friday night also.  Somewhere near the WA-ID border, his transmission went haywire and his Mercedes got stuck in 1st or 2nd gear, and he could do no better than 40mph without over revving the rpms on the engine.  But he kept going anyhow.  Had the Mercedes kept working according to spec, he likely would have bypassed us overnight while we were sleeping at the Bates Motel and arrived first at the Boondocking site.

The following morning however while finishing the drive to Rexburg, we got a BRAZOS call from K-Dog telling us what had occured to him on the road and what his situation was.  When you get a BRAZOS call from another Diner, there is no greater priority than to RESCUE that Diner, if you can.  So Brian and me turned the Toyota around and went back up the road to rescue K-Dog, who parked the Mercedes in a Rest Area in Anaconda, MT, just outside of Butte.  We got the Mercedes towed to Butte, and the 3 of us got back on the road to see the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼ at the campsite in Rexburg Idaho.

We found the campsite with only a slight bit of navigational trouble, and then determined priorities in set-up.  It turned out good that K-Dog was with us at this point, because I was little assistance to Brian for setting up the site, other than giving Boondocking Advice.  Some of the tenting systems worked, others did not.  We had to adapt to get the site reasonable for 3 days of Boondocking, which in the end we did but took some creative thinking along the way.  My main concern at this time was keeping my crippled ass out of the SUN until we had some shade set up so I could avoid both heat stress and sunburn, both of which plagued me at the last Convocation at the Harvest Day Festival in SC last year.  I actually got bubbles on my skin and 2nd Degree burn which was quite painful for about 2 weeks after that adventure.

Once the initial site was set up, it was a matter of waiting for the Next Generation to show up to finish it off, which did not happen until well into that night, around 10PM  they finally showed up and got their two 2-man tents set up to complete the Boondocking location for 7 people.  It came out pretty comfortable for all of us in the end, and the Next Gen folks were handy to have around since we assigned them the cooking responsibilities which they mostly did a good job with.  In the morning we had a real good Breakfast with Bacon, Hash Browns and Scrambled Egss which were good, although I only ate a few bites.

After Breakfast it was a matter of getting things set up to record the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼ , and this was fraught with technical problems as far as electrics were concerned on the site.

As I generally do, I had Backup for my main Inverter, but somehow that one wasn't working right.  I got Brian to try and hook up the new 1000W pure sine wave inverter, but he crossed the positive and negative poles on that inverter and blew a bunch of the fuses inside, rendering that one useless also.  K-Dog thinks he can fix it though, so I gave it to him.   Given this was a fairly long event to record, I wanted a steady source of electric power beyond the internal Batts of the cameras, and without the funtioning inverter I did not have one.  This made me terrifically unhappy. lol.  The Next Gen folks have a couple who are Nerds, and they set about trying to fix the busted inverters, which went a good part of the day with a lot of discussion on what we would need to fix the mother fuckers.  Many great ideas and these inverters may eventually become once agai functional, but after hours on this day it became apprent to me that such a fix was NOT going to happen before the  the following morning.  So I did what any smart consumer would do, I sent the Next Gens out to buy me another one!  lol.  They spent more than I wanted for this replacement, but this was Bucket List shit and money was no object here for this one.  This throwing money at a problem resolved the electrics issue  for the next day recording of the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼ .

We spent the evening prior to the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼  quite pleasantly cooking up some burgers over the charcaoal grill, although the "professional cooks" attending did have some arguments about how to best cook a burger over an Open Flame.  For the people who actually ate one of them, the cooking seemed adequate and I was ot one of them, either cook or eater so if it was OK for them, I am fine with this.  I sure would never have cooked them so long over this fire though.

OK,  that's the leadup to the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼ .  I'll follow up next week for Sunday Brunch with more of the LAST GREAT ADVENTURE.


Collapse of Cyber Anonymity

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Published on The Doomstead Diner August 23, 2017

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A few weeks ago I bought myself a new computer, a Dell "All-in-One" unit which is sort of a Laptop on Steroids.  All the components besides the keyboard and mouse are packed into the same framework as the screen. No tower necessary here, so very clean on the desk or wherever you wish to put it.  Much larger screen than even the largest laptop, good for watching videos if you do that sort of thing on your computer, which I do periodically these days.  I don't watch whole movies generally speaking or have a Netflix account, but I do watch music videos and some newz stories.  It is also nice to have a real big screen just for reading these days, as my eyesight finally appears to be deteriorating after 60 years of not needing glasses or contacts.  I'm going to have to go in to an optometrist and get glasses pretty soon I think.  My right eye is much worse than the left one, and overall the right side of my meat package is deteriorating faster than the left, not sure why that is.  I am left-handed though, so perhaps that has something to do with it.

Unboxing the new computer on Christmas Day as my present to myself was a bit of chore, since my right arm doesn't work too good anymore and has little strength.  It is OK for keyboarding, but doesn't work too good for tasks that take some strength like pulling an object tightly packed into a box out of that box.  But I did in the end get this job accomplished, and after installing batteries in the wireless keyboard and mouse that came with the computer, I was ready to get it set up!

This is the first new computer I have purchased in a couple of years, and the last time I bought a new one I did notice that I was asked to Sign On to the internet in the process of setting up the computer, but it wasn't required and I was able to set it up while not being internet connected.  NOT SO THIS TIME!

The second screen that showed up after firing up the new Dell was a screen that asked me to make an internet connection.  There was no Option Out of this that I could see.  Unless I signed on to the internet, there was no way to make the computer actually WORK!  Now, I am sure a good Code Jockey could have loaded Linux onto the computer from a disk and circumvented this, but I am not that conversant with this stuff, as most people are not.  So for me as for most people who buy computers you are dependent and TRAPPED by the folks who make them into giving up a lot of information about yourself the moment you unbox your computer and want to work with it.

Who wanted my personal information here?  Well, first off, Dell the manufacturer of the computer wanted it in order to provide "support" for the computer, including of course the regularly scheduled and NECESSARY updates.  In fact, even on unboxing here a brand spanking new computer, it already needed updates to the OP system.  OK, it took me 3 weeks to unbox, and it probably was sitting in the inventory at Best Buy for a month before that, and then it also probably took a month before it made it from the Factory Floor in China via a COSCO Container Ship to the Best Buy Big Box store in Anchorage, so the OP system it was loaded with was already at least 3 months old, but probably more than that since on manufacture the latest version of the OP system is already months old.  In order to combat viruses and malware that circulate around the internet, the OP systems have to be constantly updated with the latest in barriers to infection of some kind.  This kind of updating is now done on a Monthly if not Weekly basis.  No way to keep up with it manually, you gotta TRUST that the automatic updates are all good and for "your protection".  Why am I suspicious of that idea?

If you are not a Code Jockey, you gotta depend on the pros who manufactured your computer to regularly update it, so you sign off on the Support Agreement.  What this does though is allow said manufacturer access to the basic OP system of your computer, including really just about everything you ever keyboard in or websites you ever visit.  Even if you did encryption on everything, the computer could still have a "backdoor" which records your passwords in some hidden file you never would be aware of unless you were a really first class Code Jockey  and went through every line of code running the computer with a fine tooth comb.  So, OK, I grasp this fact of life and cough up my personal information to Dell so I will get support for the unit.

Next up in the line of corporations I need to cough up my personal information to is Microsoft, who provides the Edge Browser the computer is loaded with which allows me to begin surfing the internet.  Until I get the Edge browser activated, I can't even surf to download Firefox so I can stop using Edge and use Firefox instead!  I could circumvent that by downloading Firefox onto another computer, then loading the .exe file to the new unit, but this is a fucking pain in the ass most people including yours truly will not do.  It's a waste of fucking time because by one means or the other, all these corporations will get your personal information in the end anyhow.

So now OK, I now have Firefox installed, but they ALSO want my personal information for further support on their browser!  Dutifully, I hand off this information to Firefox as well.  After Firefox gets my information and I use it to sign on to my Yahoo Email Addy, Yahoo recognizes I am using a new computer and asks for all sorts of Verifications that this is really me, including my Cell Phone number which they asked for a while back so I could "recover" my account in an emergency.  So once again, I dutifully keyboard in my personal information to Yahoo, who already has it from previous episodes of this nonsense so its not a big deal, other than the fact this now ties the new computer and everything I ever drop on it to ME!  Incontravertible EVIDENCE someday in a Court of Law when I am tried for TREASON before being sent to GITMO for some Waterboarding Fun as my last stop on the way to the Great Beyond.  I am not sure if this is better or worse than Freezing to Death as a Homeless Cripple on the Streets of Palmer, Alaska or not?  That's a tough choice on worser endgames for RE. lol.

Now, perhaps a super-duper Code Jockey can still stay anonymous on the net, but I sure can't.  Every time you want to access some new necessary service, whoever provides that service wants to know everything about you that is the least bit important.  Name, Physical Address, Email Address, Phone Number how big your dick is, etc.  I keyboard in my Dick size measured in Nano-meters so the number looks really BIG! Anonymity on the internet is a thing of the past in any event, regardless how big your dick is.

I'm a child of the computer age, even though I never specialized to become a Code Jockey.  When I began at Columbia University in 1974, computers were just starting to get distributed out somewhat.  The TRS-80 and Apple 2e had yet to be born.  To use the computers of the era, you had to go to the Computer Center on campus, and mainly they were good only for Word Processing tasks at the time.  Keyboarding out your weekly required papers was better to do there than your Electric Typewriter, because you could fix your mistakes and get a nice clean copy off the printer without using Whiteout.

Around my Junior Year, they installed computer centers in all the dorms, but these weren't really independent computers, they were terminals that were wired in to the mainframe at the computer center on campus.  At this time they also were wired into the "Arpanet", and chit chat from some University Geek at Columbia to some University Geek at Harvard or Yale or Princeton became common on IRC, or "Internet Relay Chat".

After graduating, there were a few years where I wan't connected to this growing communications medium, but in the early 90s I finally got my first Personal Computer, an ACER Tower Unit with all of 500 MB on the hard drive and maybe 4 MB of RAM.  Things were really starting to HOP at that time, AOL got on the top of Networks fairly quickly and "You've Got Mail" became a feature of life for a small portion of the population of early adoptees of the systems.  It was at that time believe it or not if you are  millenial very rare to find somebody else who had an email addy.  Only other geeks had email addys at this time, and no official communications with anyone were yet done over the internet.  In fact, Goobemint Agencies were among the last adopters of email, and they still lag to this day in terms of communicating this way.

The other difference between the 90s and today on the net is back then it wasn't very well tracked in any way, which is why I refer to the period as the "Wild West".  There were all sorts of crazies running around the net at the time, and they would play havoc with anything you were doing.  The big ISPs began to clamp down on the stuff though as we moved into the 2000s, and each year as we move forward the "Free & Open" internet disappears even more.  Everything is tracked now, everything is recorded, and you absolutely CANNOT keep your identity SECRET if you want to access the services that the net provides in terms of communications.  It's very reminiscent of the scene in "Dances With Wolves" where Kevin Costner as John Dunbar wants to go see the Frontier "before it is gone".  The frontier is gone now on the internet, and what we mostly have left is a tracking mechanism that will collate and store everything you ever do or say, and peg it to your phone number which is pegged to your credit card number which is pegged to your social security number.

There is a  tradeoff that has been made for "security" versus "freedom" on the internet, just as the same tradeoff is being made IRL.  There is less threat now from sexual predators for instance than there was in the 90s.  Now everyone can be tracked, along with all their downloads and conversations on the net, so it's harder for a sexual predator to operate now on the net than it was back then.  But in return for that additional security, you pay for it with your own daily conversations and downloads being recorded and tracked.  Beyond that, the fact that computer memory has become so cheap allows TPTB that run these systems to record EVERYTHING you ever do or say every moment of your life, long as you are carrying a cell phone connected to the 4G network, soon to be 5G.  It has a GPS chip embedded, so your location is always known.  When you go in to buy a 6 pack of beer at the liquor store, also known and recorded to your file.  As long as you use the system, you can and will be tracked, basically from the moment you are born until the moment you die.  You cannot avoid this tracking as long as you want to use the system.

Really, REALLY good Code Jockeys can still avoid some of the tracking, but even for them to do so is a major pain in the ass.  A simple example would be setting up a Skype account. Soon as you do that, the computer you did it with is recorded, so is the ISP you have your account with, which you pay with your credit card which is tied to your bank account which has your social security number on it.  You're a part of the MATRIX here with all of this stuff.

For myself, I have quit on the idea of anonymity as long as I continue to use the internet, along with mostly the idea of using encryption to maintain sececy in communications.  For the average J6P, you simply do not have enough knowledge to control what is being "updated" on your computer automatically each day by whoever manufactured it or whoever provded your browser so you could surf the collapse blogophere.  Today, I simply no longer CARE if the NSA reads what I write, in fact I hope they do.  I hope I have some spook who gets the thankless job of having to read through my fucking endless stream of prose! lol.  Talk about a job you don't want to do every day to make a living! Prison Guard would be a better job! lol.

OK, now back to the task of getting the new unit set up completely so I can switch over and have a nice HUGE screen I can read without squinting or closing my right eye.  Then getting all the fucking software I use installed on the thing.  Such are the pleasures of life at the close of the techno age.

The Path of Totality: The Last Great Adventure

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Published on The Doomstead Diner August 12, 2017

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On Wednesday August 16th at 8:00 AM, I am scheduled for the long awaited Hearing with the SSA to try and resolve the dispute on how my SS Bennies were figured after I received my Workman's Compensation Award.  After that I have booked and planned a trip down to the Lower 48 to Witness the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼  at a prime location for this, right on the line of the Path of Totality.  It remains an open question however whether I will achieve either goal. On my own, there is no way I could pull it off.  I have been in bad health for years, but the last few weeks have seen an enormous deterioration.  I am fortunate though that I got a couple of friends who are going to try and help me to make it there for the Last Great Adventure of my life as a Meat Package Walking the Earth.  I don't know if we will be successful with this as of yet.  Every day becomes harder to even get out of my chair, much less go Jet Setting and contributing further to the carbon being excreted into the atmosphere.

I wrote a "Bucket List" article a while back where I made the statement I didn't really have anything left I haven't done that I wanted to do and was still capable of doing.  That was true when I wrote it.  But then I found out about the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼ , and I decided I had to try and be there for this event.  They do not happen often, and when they do happen the Path of Totality is very narrow, only around 70 miles wide.  So few people ever get to witness such an event in their lives.  I have never witnessed one to this date.

For me, the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼ holds a lot of symbolic meaning.  First off, our Civilization is in Eclipse, it is Going Dark as we speak.  Then my own life is in Eclipse as well, I am truly on my "last legs" and struggle every day to stay above ground.  I kind of hope I will Buy My Ticket to the Great Beyond© right during the 2 Minutes or so that the Big Event lasts for.  I want OUT of this Meat Package!  It is just a complete mess, not the great one it once was that anyone would have been proud to wear.  But I am not the suicidal type either, so I don't pull my own plug no matter how awful I feel each day.

Life is a One Way March from Birth to Death for everyone.  I suppose everyone also hopes for a long life in this march, and some folks get long ones and others get short ones.  I got a Medium Long one, which I am happy with.  60 years walking the Earth in one Meat Suit is certainly a lot longer than the statistical average for Homo Sap over the last 70,000 years.  Even today, when you start living to 80 or so even if you were Mr. Healthy your whole life you get Med problems, so living so long is not so great no matter how you look at it.  It's a fabulous drain on the society to have so many OLD people around.  Just about all nations are facing this problem now, from East to West.  China & Japan have it the worst, but the Europeans aren't far behind them and we are not far behind the Europeans for this problem.  The demographics are horrific, and the implications for a monetary system based on perpetual growth are horrific as well. The evidence of how it is breaking down is already well in view.  Both Public & Private retirement systems are collapsing in all these countries, whether they are "socialist" or "capitalist".  There is no way out of this dilemma, and when the collapse comes, the Old Folks around are going to go first here.  I am getting a jump start on this and going to the Great Beyond before this becomes a systemic problem.

There is also no great purpose to living so long for a Homo Sap.  If you Marry at 20, by the time you are 40 your kids are grown.  If you live another 20 years, you can help your kids raise your Grandkids.  What is the purpose here for the time after that?  You're too feeble to be much help raising your Great-Grandkids, and probably have Med issues too. Now you become a burden to your kids.  So for Homo Sap life expectancy and reproduction purposes, I think 60 years Walking the Earth is about right.

Returning to the Last Great Adventure though, logistically this is a tremendous challenge, even if I was healthy.  Actually even getting there and getting out will be difficult.  This event is like Woodstock on Steroids.  There will be a fantastic number of people trying to position themselves along the Path of Totality all at the SAME time, and the road system just isn't designed to handle that.  Think Katrina.  In the words of Arlo Guthrie, "The New York State Thruway is CLOSED man!"

Better get there early and be prepped for a lot of traffic if you don't!  Keep your Gas Tank topped off!  Have enough Food & Water to last you at least a day after the event to wait out the real traffic crush.  If you do not have a Stealth Van or RV, bring a tent for temporary shelter.  In many respects, this is like a mini "Dry Run" for a Bugout.  If we manage to follow through with our plans and I do not croak first, we plan to get to the campsite on the 18th and have enough with us to last a week if necessary.  Hopefully though we only have to wait most a day for the traffic crush to let up. Then because I want to record this event in various ways, I have all my cameras to get set up and experiment with in the day or two prior to the Big Event.  I have never tried to shoot anything like this. It takes special filters and the exposure issues are difficult. I'm not sure of the campsite layout either other than I am pretty sure I have my spot guaranteed.  Then I have my own physical disabilities to deal with in this, and dependence on friends who are not as familiar with photography as I am or how my current set of equipment works.  Even *I* am not that familiar with how it all works!  In the digital age, it has become a lot more than just focusing, framing with the Zoom, setting your aperture  and shutter speed and pressing the button.  The cameras have numerous types of settings you can work with.  You can spend a lifetime just figuring out how one of these cameras work, and they all use proprietary software.  So no 2 are alike at all.  Back in the day, there was no real difference between a Canon and a Nikon or even a Hasselblad, other than price of course.  Today, you work through a whole different tree of choices on cameras of a similar price which do similar things.  When you buy one, you gotta figure it all out.  Then before you know it, the camera is obsolete for some reason, and you have to start this process all over again.

Nonetheless, I hope to get SOME good images/vids of some type here if I make it to the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼.  I have a lot of redundancy.  The "Pro" pics will undoubtably be a lot better, and I have Weather to worry about too.  What if it turns out to be a CLOUDY DAY?!?!?!?!  ACCKKK!!!

Despite the fact the Pro images will be better (not to mention NASA images taken from Satellites) I want to have my own images & videos with my own Copyright © to them as my Intellectual Property.  Beyond the Eclipse itself, I also want to record the EVENT.  This is going to be quite the show, again like Woodstock.  It was only partly about the Musicians up on the stage.  It was really about all the people who came to see the event.  So I want to talk to people and video that action.

So, tomorrow is another day and there are 10 more to make it through to the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼.  T-10 & Counting.  We'll see if I make it.

Campfires in Collapse 1

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Published on The Doomstead Diner August 10, 2017

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This is the first video in a series of 4 about how to use a typical campsite fire as a means to warm up your Mobile Domicile, in this case my Stealth Van SaVANnah.  All the same techniques could be used in many other types of mobile dwellings of course, besides such dwellings as Geodesic Domes, Yurts and TeePees.

In the series, we also discuss Cooking Techniques for working over an Open Fire without burning the shit out of your food if you make one big enough to also do the heating task besides the cooking task.  Generally speaking under ideal circumstances, cooking fires should be small ones using small wood, while heating fires should be big ones using big wood.  But when Boondocking, you can't always get both or have the ideal situation.

Your Tools and your Knowledge are the most important things in terms of making the best use of the fire you make, and getting the most out of the Energy that is released in the Combustion process.  Many of these tools will not be available after SHTF Day arrives, so it's a good idea to prep up with them NOW and practice with them.

60: The Life & Times of a Boomer Doomer

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Published on The Doomstead Diner August 9, 2017

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My 60th Birth Anniversary Month of August has arrived, and I am getting Prepped for a trip down to the Lower 48 to see the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼   My original plan was to post this Full Biography on August 31st, my Birthday after I get back, but these days I am not sure I will make it through until tomorrow, much less down to Idaho or back up here to the digs after that.  Every day is a challenge staying above ground now.  In the Drafts here on the Diner is my Self-Obituary.  One of the other diner Admins will need to publish that after I Buy My Ticket to the Great Beyond.

So to tidy up here just in case TONIGHT is the one the Grim Reaper finally arrives, here's the Full Autobiography of RE.  It's only around 13,000 words, so not complete detail here, but it should give the casual reader some of the Flavor of my Life these last 60 years.  There are also many other autobiographical articles of mine posted up here to the Blog.

I have enjoyed tremendously being a analyst of Collapse over the last decade.  I made a few friends, and a LOT of enemies in the process.  I continue to alienate people to this day because I am a very uncompromising sort of guy and I never quit on an argument.  Most people just cannot handle the truth of their lives and their beliefs, and if you tell it to them they get angry with you. So it goes.

Anyhow, hope you enjoy the story below of 60 Years Walking the Earth as a Boomer-Doomer.



Unbelievably, I (almost) 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 chuncks 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 6-9 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.

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 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 even in those years was comparable to Ivy League tuitions.

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 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 ast an OTR Big Rig Driver cruising the Eisenhower Interstate Highways, along with occasional dispatches into Mejico and the Great White North of Canada.

The OTR Trucking Years

I covered this period of my life in extensive detail in my 5 part Over the Road series back in the early years of the Diner.  I won't rehash that stuff here, although there are a few stories I left out. The first is that prior to going out in the truck, after years of headaches with Student Loans and Credit Card bills, I finally got out of debt.  I was completely broke with no assets at all they could take in a bankruptcy.  I only had my 10 year old Toyota, and they can't take your primary transportation.  Besides it was worth almost nothing.  The Student Loans were gone, over the years I had transfered them to the Credit Cards.  So I didn't have the problem of Student Loans not being disharchargeble in a bankruptcy.  If you get a big enough CC limit over the years to do this, I highly recommend the method! lol.  So at the time of the BK, all my debt was in unsecured CC loans, and it wasn't that huge either by today's standards.  Around $7000 at the time as I recall, which is probably around $12K in 2017 dollars.  This may not seem like much, but when you are totally broke and the interest charges and penalties keep piling up, it just gets worse all the time. The Banks did not even bother to show up for this piddling bankruptcy though, and I walked out of the courtroom in 15 minutes, free and clear of debt for the first time in my adult life!  What a load off my shoulders!  I had a clean slate and a new job lined up as an OTR Trucker for Schneider National!  I never went in debt again for anything, and never held a Credit Card since.

Next is how this period which lasted around 7 years changed me psychologically.  Up until that time I had been a fairly gregarious person, enjoyed hanging out with friends, going to parties, etc.  However, when you are trucking you spend all day driving or getting loaded or unloaded for weeks at a time and don't talk to anybody.  In the truckstops where all the truckers congregate, I had nothing in common with them other than the fact we all drove big rigs.  Even if I did have something in common with them, it's a different crew of people every night so it's not like hanging out with friends.  More like going to a bar and talking to whoever sits down next to you.  The only person you might have regular conversations with and get to know some is the Bartender. I got used to being alone this way, and actually came to enjoy it over time.  I did have the internet, it was just getting into the Truckstops in the era, before Wi-Fi.  There was a company called Park n View which put little hubs into the asphalt you could get cable TV and a phone line.  It was dial-up modem era, and all text.  However, that was enough for me then, and I ran my Yahoo Groups and Forums in areas of interest to me at the time, primarily Gymnastics.  I maintained contact with coaches who were friends, and parents of some of the gymmies I had coached who kept me updated on their progress.  Three of them went on to become Elite Gymnasts and two made the National Team.

In addition, whenever I made it to Central California, I would take a few days off to go in and guest coach at a friend's tiny gym in the relatively poor Ag land area around Madera.  It was a small gym serving the mostly Mexican community, and she was persistently broke.  Not a super successful gym owner, she wasn't real good at bizness and she set up in the wrong neighborhood to make any money from the sport even as an owner.  She lived in a barn loft with 1 bedroom I think she paid around $300/mo for.  She also was a heavy smoker, and then shortly after I left trucking a couple of years later, she died from an embolism in her brain.  Around 45 years old at the time.

Of all the things I did not cover in the Over the Road series though was that this period featured the last real "relationship" I had with a female, as in something more than just a one night stand or one week stand.  After a year of slaving for Schneider at 21 cents a mile, I turned in my resignation a day after my anniversary, took a month off and then went to work for JB Hunt, first at 48 cents a mile as a company driver, then 2 years later as an Owner-Operator.  JB financed this if you were a clean driver who made his deliveries on time with no accidents, which was me.  In the first couple of years with JB I was already doing quite well and had virtually no expenses besides my truck expenses, and these were all tax deductable.  No rent, no mortgage, no utilities to pay on a McMansion.  No kids to buy clothes for, and the Med Insurance from JB was all paid for by them.  I was still pretty healthy at this time anyhow, and didn't need to see doctors except for my annual driving check up.  My Savings Account was piling up the FRNs.

So one day I hit the Petro in Joplin MO, one of the nicest truckstops out there and a favorite of mine to stop at whenever driving the I-44, which I did often because my terminal was in Kansas City and this route was one of their biggest.  On this day when I rolled in, I went in to hit the Buffet for dinner, and a REALLY cute young waitress came to take my order.  The Old RE came back from the dead and I made some jokes and flirted with her.  She laughed and made some jokes of her own.  I decided not to order the Buffet, but instead order a dish off the menu so that I would see her again.  More flirting when she brought the meal, more when she refilled my water glass and more when she brought me desert which I usually never order but it gave another opportunity to chat.  By this time I had found out she was attending the local community college and had grown up on a small farm outside Joplin.  She was half my age, but when she brought the check I asked her for her phone number and she gave it to me.  Thus began the last romance of my life, which lasted around a year and a half.

To her, I was a successful Trucker, I took her out to nice places and took her on the road with me a few times when she was off from school.  After a few months of this, she started talking about the Big M, Marriage.  I put it off, I said we should be dating at least a year before tying the knot.  I didn't want to dash her hopes entirely, I really enjoyed being with her and talking, she was a great listener although kind of quiet herself most of the time.  The sex also was quite good. lol.  She accepted this idea in her own quiet way and the talk of getting married stopped, until I had almost forgotten about it.  But then almost to the day I first met her the next time I rolled into Joplin up the topic came up again.

"So, it's been a year.  Don't you think we should set a date?"

I almost said "Date for what?", but I knew what she meant.  So I said, "Yes, I suppose we should.  How about when school lets out in May?"

A HUGE smile broke out on her face and she gave me the biggest hug EVAH!  It was only around 4 months away!  We would drive to Vegas and get hitched there.  She was happy, I was happy…for me for about a month.

Then all the old memories came back to me of my first marriage, while I was alone in the truck driving the endless miles of the Eisenhower Interstate.  On top of all those issues I thought about the new ones with this marriage.  As a trucker, I would be away from home most of the time, with a young and attractive wife at home, unless I took her with me on the road, and did I really want to be living inside a Freightliner 24/7 365 with ANYONE?  We would need a McMansion, and there would go all the savings I was piling up.  What if she got Pregnant!  Just like wanting to get married, she surely would start talking about having kids inside a year or two.  These questions all floated through my brain every day, even as we chatted on the cell phone making plans for the Big Trip.  The Butterflies in my stomach flapped their wings harder every day.

The fateful day finally arrived, and as I approached the Joplin Exit on the I-44, I realized I just could not do this, and I drove right by it.  We spoke on the phone and I made an excuse I got delayed and would be there in a couple of days.  I called her a couple of days later and told her the truth.  There were a lot of tears.  We spoke a few more times in the months after that, but the phone calls finally drifted into history.

Athough I often wonder how my life would have gone had I taken that exit off the interstate and it breaks my heart every time I think about it, in the end I think I made the right choice on this one, for her and for me as painful as it was and still is for me at least.  About a year or so later 9-11 went down, and freight dropped off the map for a while.  Income dropped precipitously.  Not as bad a situation as when my Union had gone on strike financially for me during my first marriage since my expenses were so low, but had I been married that would not have been the case.  Besides that, I was quite sick of driving by this time, it's just an endless grind and doing it for the rest of my life was not something I wanted to do anymore than I had wanted to do battle with administrators and recalcitrant, unprepared and unruly students as a teacher for my whole life either.

So out of the Truck I got, and moved on to the next and last period of my Working life, a return to the World of Gymnastics as a Full Time Coach.  It also coincides with the years where I metamorphosed into a Doomer.

The Gymnastics Rerun & Early Doomer Years

After getting out of the truck, I had a nice buffer of savings and took a nice two month break from work while I figured out what to do with the rest of my life.  I finally settled on returning to gymnastics, as even though the pay wasn't great, at least I enjoyed the job and with money in the bank as long as it was enough for my bills, it would be fine.  So once again I called up old coaching friends and lined up a job in WI as Asst Head Coach for Optionals with the Team Director there, who was a friend of my friend.  It was a community owned gym, so she wasn't the Owner, just another employee except she had the right to hire and fire other coaches, with the approval of another employee, the overall Gym Director.  We came to a salary agreement I felt I could make ends meet on, which was hourly but guaranteed me a minimum of 30 hours a week of coaching time.  No medical bennies or retirement account or sick days, no pay for when the gym was closed for holidays, but generally enough to get by on.

This went fairly well for a couple of years, although there was the usual Gym Drama between coaches who all do not usually agree on the best means and methods for developing the gymmies. lol.  Still, our gymmies did pretty well, we took a couple to Nationals at Level 10 and we had a strong Compulsory level program in the younger age groups.

Unfortunately, the area was not doing well economically, it was in the lead-up to the Financial Crisis in 2008, in the years 2005-2007 or so.  Enrollment in the rec & preschool programs were low, and the Gym Director called me in one day and told me she had to cut my hours back to 20/week, just Team.  I told her I couldn't live on that, and she told me there was nothing she could do, they just weren't making enough money.  So I started checking the Ads in USA Gymnastics Magazine (still not fully digital job seeking yet on the internet), and found one for a gym in Alaska looking for a Head Coach.  A week or so later after sending out the resume via Snail Mail I got a call from the owner, and we had several more long phone calls after that discussing philosophy and how to build a good high level gymnastics program.  He then invited me to fly up for a test week, paying for my plane ticket and expenses.  The test week overall went well, he offered me a Salaried Position with bennies and I immediately quit the job in WI on returning and made plans to move to Alaska the following month.

I moved up here with no car, no furniture, just the 5 bags of personal stuff I usually carried with me during my years as an OTR trucker.  It was just before they started dropping charges on checked baggage on the airlines, so the 3 bags that went in the baggage compartment did not cost me any money on that trip.  It was in February of 2007 that I made my migration as a refugee from the lower 48. lol.

Things were not precisely as the owner had made them out to be when I arrived, as I soon found out.  He indicated the old Head Coach who had been with him from the early days of the gym wanted to step back to spend more time with her family, but in fact she did not want to at all and was very resentful of me.   We had a kind of shared Head Coaching responsibility, and we battled often the first year.  We reached a raproachment of sorts in the second year, and the gym began to turn around from perennial loser to State Champion at several levels.  Things were looking OK, but then I got my first real medical issue, Peripheral Artery Disease in my legs.  I had to take time off for a rotor rooter job on the femoral arteries, and in the meantime the Owners Daughter (again!) took over responsibility as Head Coach.  The original HC had by this time quit and gone into teaching PE in the Pulic Schools.  Once I had recuperrated and came back in, things were way worse than they ever were with the original HC, me and the Owner's Daughter were like Oil and Water and just could not mix.

My gymnastics responsibilities were reduced, and my job was redefined to help grow the Private-Homeschool Academic program the Owner had dreams of building, as addition to the Day Care program he already ran that went from Infancy to Pre-K.  I lasted an additional 2 years this way, spending part of the day teaching the Homeschoolers through 3rd through 6th Grade, and the other half teaching developmental gymanstics to pre-team level gymmies.  This kept me and Owner's Daughter from butting heads much over team, although it was distressing for me to watch her eviscerate the program I had been building.

It might have persisted a while longer, except the Homeschool program was losing money. Not enough parents wanted to pay for this service that was supposed to bridge the gap in cost between Public & Private School.  So at the end of the second academic year of this, the Owner gave me my walking papers.

So, now I am past 55, and the likelihood I can find anyone down in the lower 48 to hire me at a decent paying position with bad legs and overall diminished mobility necessary for spotting in gymnastics is quite small.   However, there was a recently opened gym by another former employee, which had grown some and moved into a new facility.  I went over there and talked to the fellow who opened it, a New Owner.  We came to an agreement of my old hourly, but only 20 hours/week to start.  Not enough to cover my bills, but not draining my savings too fast either, so I figured in a couple of years we would grow the program and I would get more hours.

Grow the program we did, and once again the gym went from perrenial loser to State Champion in the 3 years I was there.  Team Doubled in size.  That's a LOT of additional income over that time period.  Did I see any raises or any more hours?  Nope.   Instead in year 3 said owner invested his additional income in expanding the gym and buying tons of expensive new equipment.

In the same year, I took a fall while spotting on the Uneven Bars and injured my neck.  Consequences from this began to crop up, extreme pain for a while, then my right arm became semi-paralyzed, then walking started getting difficult, etc.  I was trying to hang on long enough to take my last bunch of gymmies to State Championships, but then just a couple of weeks before that me and the owner had one more big argument and my career as a gymnastics coach was over.  It would have been over anyhow in a couple of weeks, the doctors told me it was too dangerous to continue, but there was just no way I could go into work the next day after that argument.  Fortunately, the gymmies were well prepped and they all went on to win the State Championships at all 3 levels I had been coaching.

During this whole decade of time, simultaneously I became a Doomer, and that began right after I moved up here.  Even though it occured at the same time, I'll give it a separate category, the Beginning Doomer Years.

The Beginning Doomer Years

Right after I moved up here in 2007, the Investment Bank Bear Stearns began to have serious problems.  I picked up an article on the web about it, don't remember where.  I started following the story, and by June they were in the deep doo-doo.  I began to research the causes for this and eventually came on an article by the notorious Goldbug Antal Fekete, "The Twilight of Irredeemable Debt".  Further Link Surfing brought me to the forum in late 2007-early 2008, not sure when.  By then I was sure Bear Stearns would fail, and fail they did, and then Lehman Brothers after them.  Then the full blown Financial Crisis of 2008 came around October, and by then I was a full blown Doomer and predicting the Collapse of the Monetary System within a year.  It didn't play out that way of course.

The Smartest Guys in the Room like Henry Paulson, Larry Summers, Ben Bernanke along with pissing in their pants politicians pulled out the Big Bazooka. They conjured up 100s of $Billions$ out of thin air to bail out AIG and other TBTF Banks on the brink of toppling over the cliff like Bear & Lehman did.  They got it patched together and BAU resumed, with one exception.  Instead of each year a few 10s or 100s of $Billions" of debt being added to the system, now every year $Trillions$ were being added.  Along with that, Quadrillions in derivatives bets on the whole House of Cards.  That continues to this day, although it's not doing a  whole hell of a lot to fix the economies of any country in the world at all.  Every last one is in deep debt, and the weakest ones with the least ability to manipulate the credit creation system are being triaged off first, places like Greece and Venezuela.

All of this of course has had increasing Geopolitical consequences and Social consequences as well, with more brush Wars between Proxy Nations of the Big 3 of China, Russia and the FSoA and more Shoot-em-Up Postal events occuring all the time, along with numerous Bankster Suicides and domestic violence and Homelessness increased.  The only question at this point is when the Tipping Point for the whole system will come and what event or events will be to really send things into a tailspin.  Will it come from a failure of one of the TBTF Banks, as it did with the failure of Lehman in 2008?  Will it come from the failure of a major European state like Italy or Spain?  Will it come from a direct military confrontation between the FSoA and Mother Russia over Syria?  China and the FSoA over the Spratly Islands and South China Sea?  A Nuke pitched out by North Korea? There's no good means to predict this, all you can say with assurance is something is gonna give here at some point, and the timeline doesn't look too far into the future.

Anyhow, while I began my Doomer years as a typical commenter on the Peak Oil forum, being very opinionated and often a contrarian to the Group Think there, I eventually got my ass booted off the site, not once but twice.  I began there under the Rogue Economist ID, and after being banned with that one returned a couple of months later under the Reverse Engineer ID, the one I use to this day on all the sites I either run myself or participate in the Commentariat.  Often just using the "RE" initials.

At that time I set up the Yahoo Group Reverse Engineering, where I invited a few friends and maintained off and on from 2009 to 2012 when we opened up the Doomstead Diner for serving Doom up to the World Wide Web on a daily basis. lol.  I also blogged for a while on Jimbo Quinn's blog, The Burning Platform as a counterpoint to the racist, alt-right claptrap he serves up there on a daily basis.  We had numerous arguments and falling outs, and he owned the site, so eventually I got the Permanent Ban, after a few shorter duration ones, and a brief rapproachment after we started the Diner and we cross posted each other's blogs.  When he sticks to economics and CPA style analysis, Jimbo is actually a very good and detailed blogger.  However, his political views are so putrid it overwhelms his accounting analysis overall and his commentariat is a complete sewer of shit throwing monkeys, which he encourages.  That is his own term to describe the participants in the commentariat of TBP.

While the Reverse Engineering Yahoo group was congenial and small, it was a Private Group not open to the general public, and just a few people read it, maybe a dozen or so the most at any given time during it's operation.  Overall I was pretty happy with it though as it gave me a place to write and a few people of similar mindset to discuss ideas with without the discussions turning into Napalm Contests.  I probably would still be there if not for one thing…YAHOO BOTS!

I put up a couple of posts discussing racial inequality and racism in general, and used the word "Nigger" in the posts.  This is in a Private Group mind you, not a generally accessible public forum.  My goal with the posts was to show why one group (the Niggers themselves) can use the word without a taint of racism to it, but a Honky cannot do so.  It was overall a word analysis post.  It never went up.  Then I had a couple of other posts not see the light of day for similar reasons, and I mentioned this to Peter, who I had met on Karl Denninger's Ticker Forum and who was quite the computer wizard, amongst his many other Wizardly skills.  He said he could set up the kind of blog & forum I wanted, with all the bells & whistles I wanted.  I agreed to do this, and the Doomstead Diner was born in February of 2012.

Retirement and and the Recent Doomer Years

I have written any number of blogs about all the nonsense I have been through over the last couple of years with respect to my exit from the working world, my hassles with the medical and insurance industries and all the Goobermint nonsense you need to negotiate your way through to get your bennies.  Crap which I still am dealing with, it's still not done after over 2 years of battling the bureaucracies involved.  Along with my Diner tasks, this also keeps me bizzy.  lol.   Even more on this topic (MUCH MORE!) is written in my Personal Diary Inside the Diner titled "RE is Dying".  It's on a restricted board though, so only visible to mods and long term respected Diner contributors.  So again, I won't rehash that shit in this compilation of autobiographical stories.

For me though, this switchover to the retired life changed my priorities, while still employed the Diner was just my Doom Hobby and not my primary focus.  Nowadays though, it is basically what I LIVE for. If I didn't have the Diner, I would be bored out of my skull as a mostly home-bound cripple with little to do but eat, sleep and excrete.  As it is with the Diner, every day I have something new to ponder on and write about, and I also am always finding new friends to discuss ideas with and new enemies to argue with!  I have tons of tech maintenance issues always to deal with and always getting new BRAINSTORMS on ways to get the message out to more people to fulfill my stated goal of "SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN". These days beside the Diner Blog & Forum itself we have Facebook and Twitter channels, a Reddit Channel, several Newz Agreggations and a Soundcloud Channel for Audio Podcasts.  I'm not responsible or Admining all of them though, my partner in crime Surly handles the Facebook, Twitter and main Newz Aggregation curation site of Doomstead Diner Newz.  He is not too pleased with me these daze though. lol

At the same time though, it's not like this is the typical job where I have to get up at any specific time to do Diner tasks; nor am I obligated to a Boss to please him to keep my job and keep my Weekly Paycheck incoming.  I can on any day simply not "show up for work" and it doesn't make that big a difference, although I usually do not do that under normal circumstances.  If I am travelling or other medical shit is going down, those are the only times I won't show up on the Diner to drop in my humble opinions on a given day on EVERYTHING! lol.  So it's really the ideal job for me that I always wanted, just I don't get paid for it and it costs ME money to keep it running!  lol.  However, it's not an onerous amount of money at the moment, and since I spend little in other ways I can afford it even on a Poverty Level income.  I could in fact do it for free for the most part, although it would not be so customizable and I wouldn't have as much control over the data that way.

Besides continuing onward with the Diner as a means to "Save as Many as We Can" (aka inform people of the shit that is coming down the pipe so they can prep for it), the other aspect of these retirement years is the SUN☼ Project, which is a non-profit 501c3  corporation we set up originally back in my Stage 1 Doomer years, but are now trying to lift off the ground and actually get some kind of resiliency system and forming community IRL to combat the problems we see on the horizon.  Not an EZ thing to do for many reasons, $MONEY$ being the #1 obstacle on this one.  I am leaving behind a substantial amount of money to get it off the ground, but I do not know how the other Officers of the Foundation will spend this money after I Buy My Ticket to the Great Beyond.  Unlike a website to form a virtual community in cybersace which is within reason on a poverty level budget, setting such a thing up IRL on a real piece of land with all the preps you need to give it a reasonable chance of success takes a decent piece of change and I only have enough for a small part of it.  Then there are the number of people you need to bring aboard the project, as I have hammered down on many times the individual Doomstead is a fantasy in terms of its long term sustainability.  Even in Cyberspace we are nowhere near that number of committed Diners, much less getting such a number together IRL, which would be around Dunbar's Number of 150 at minimum.  The Diner has plenty of lurker-readers, but the number who are committed to the SUN☼ Project remains in the single digits.

However, I always council patience on this sort of thing, Rome was not built in a day after all. lol.  As long as the internet remains up and BAU continues, there'sd still opportunity to keep growing the project and getting it to fly.  The Wright Bothers crashed a lot of kites and gliders before they got that first plane to fly at Kitty Hawk you know.

As things progressively deteriorate, if there is not a sudden meltdown and instant fast crash, more and more people will become interested in the ideas we have been cultivating with the SUN☼ Project.  It remains a worthwhile project as far as I am concerned, at the very least like the Diner it keeps me bizzy and thinking aout plausible solutions to the predicament we findourselves in these days.

SUN☼ has already produced significant IRL results, it provided a reason for the first Diner Convocation in April of 2014, where all of us who had never met IRL got together for a week of learning and celebrating our online friendships.  Last year in September of 2016 many of us got together again for a second convocation in conjunction with our first real life sales pitch to the Movers & Shakers of the Inman City Council, which went very well politically speaking even if it did not raise the money we need to get the project off the ground.  Even without the money though, it provides a Foundation to work from and brings more supporters into the project, so that is progress.  Hopefully in this next year we will see more progress, we're working on a Greenhouse project in Inman at the moment.


PHEW!  After over 13,000 words, this more or less encapulates my life and how I got to this point, still semi-ambulatory and above ground.  I did not cover the many times I should have died before I hit 60 in this autobiography, although I have detailed a few of them Inside the Diner.  Perhaps if I make it to 65 that will be the next autobiographical post.  I have also over the last few weeks thoroughly pissed off and aliented some of the Diners with my opinions.  The basic problem is that generally speaking people cannot handle the TRUTH of their lives.  Because I am on my way out the door, I tell them the truth they do not want to hear.  So I may very well leave this iteration of walking the Earth in a Meat Suit with no friends left.  So it goes.

Where does it go from here?

Given my wide variety of medical issues, I don't give myself many more years walking the earth as a corporeal meat package.  It's a race to see which collapses first, my biological functions or the global industrial economy? lol.  I do HOPE I live long enough to witness the kind of fast collapse of the monetary system that I think will occur at some point in the timeline, and I MIGHT live just about long enough to see that.  If not, I will witness it instead from the Bleacher Seats of the Great Beyond.  The Daily task of walking around inside this decrepit Meat Suit is no fun though.

In the meantime, I have the Diner to write on and a great perch here on the Last Great Frontier to observe the chaos as it spirals out of control through the rest of the world. Here it still is quite peaceful, the shelves are stocked full of food I usually don't have much appetite for but is nice to look at as I cruise around the aisles of 3 Bears on my Ewz.  I am getting better at passing up bargains on sales of Ribeye Steaks and Baby Lamb Chops, I am out of freezer space for more meat and I can never finish a package before it goes bad.

On the uplifting and positive side, the SUN project still slogs onward, and there are new projects to undertake with that to keep me bizzy and my mind occupied.  I have a nice new Dell All-in-One computer with a HUGE monitor screen, the biggest one I ever had in all my years as a computer and electronic gadget junkie.  The internet is now more or less at its Apex, it's getting increasingly more intrusive but you still do have the freedom to write and have others read it.  At least as long as you stay within some boundaries anyhow, you won't last long if you advocate for terrorism for instance.  You can however make analysis of why terrorism exists and what the motivations are for terrorism. Besides the somewhat circumscribed freedom to write, as much as Google is a collector of YOUR information on YOUR life intruding into your personal privacy, it's also a fucking AMAZING search engine.  With a well composed query of a few words, I can get answers to questions I am thinking about in a few seconds, depending how fast my ISP is moving, not how fast Google processes the packets.  Besides that, when composing my material, I am no longer limited to just text, I can also search up and include pics, videos and audio to illustrate the points I am trying to make, and of course if a Picture is worth 1000 words, a Vid clip of just a minute in length is worth 1800 pics at 30 frames/sec, which makes it worth 1.8M words!  It would take me a long time to write that many words! lol.

Seriously though, for all it's faults and problems, the internet is still a pretty decent communication medium, and at least for now I remain reasonably able to communicate with the rest of the world.  The Diner actually is still below the Radar of sites banned in China, we even make it through to there.  It also continues to grow, and ovverall readership at the moment is around 400 users/day, which far as I am concerned is plenty of people to be reaching every day (although I would like more of course!).

If the internet does crap out before I do, I'll have to evacuate my digs here and get together with some of the other Diners in the Lower 48 or I'll go completely stir-crazy (I'm halfway there already).  Hopefully though, the crapout does not occur before I tidy up the last of my legal battles with the bureaucracy, hopefully again by the end of this calendar year.  Then it will be off to another adventure of my life in the Age of Oil, likely the Last Great Adventure.

It's been a blast though, and I was a very lucky individual to be born when I was, where I was and to who I was, along with the gifts given to me by God.  Regrets?  I have a few, but then again, to few to mention.  I did it MY WAY.

Boondocking the Last Great Frontier 4

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Published on The Doomstead Diner August 6, 2017

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I was going to do all 7 Days of the Last Great Frontier Boondocking Adventure in detail for every day, but I think after 3 days the techniques have been pretty well elucidated.  So I will tidy up this series with a recap of the last 4 days of the adventure.

Day 4– I determined not to spend ANY money, either on food or a campsite.  My choice for this day/night was the Mickey D's which is right across the street from the Wasilla Lake Park.  It was another beautiful day on the Last Great Frontier, and I spent most of it in the Park, scarfing up one of the nicer Picnic Tables for my Outdoor Diner Office and Command & Control Center.  My food for the afternoon was the last 1/3rd of the Subway Spicy Italian Hero I bought at the beginning of the week.  It was a little soggy by this point, you really should try to finish one of these in 2-3 days, not 4.  But it still tasted OK and didn't give me Tomane poisoning.

The park has a bare bones Toilet with no sink, just the Throne.  I used it once during the day.  Otherwise, the afternoon was spent surfing doom on the net, arguing on the Diner and writing for the most part.  Shooting a few pics as well.

One interesting thing was in the middle of the day a Food Truck providing FREE meals for kids showed up.  These charitable sources of food are a BIG help if you are Homeless living in a vehicle with a family to feed.  You can cut a lot out of your daily food budget on the SNAP Card if you use them.  Besides such food trucks, there are also Food Pantries around run by charitable organizations, where usually they give you 1 Food Box a week with size dependent on family size.  I volunteered at one of these in my neighborhood for a while, and the Single person food box was more than I could eat in a week by itself, forget using the SNAP Card if I was low enough income to qualify for one of those.  Choices of foods are not that great, but neither are the choices in the grocery store either for the most part.  If you really wanted to, you could actually hit more than one of these places in a week if you are mobile in a Stealth Van, simply by going to different towns in the area.  Don't do that though to scarf up more free food than you really need this way, leave the stuff for other people who need it more than you.

If you do supplement your weekly food supply this way, then what you do with your SNAP Card is buy long lasting foods like Rice, Dried Beans and Beef Jerky that store well with no refrigeration and keep them in your Storage Unit for hard times when the Food Pantries are out of Food and the Repugnants in CONgress cut or cancel the SNAP Card program.  You should always try to have at least 2-3 months of stored food of some type for temporary disruptions of JIT delivery in your neighborhood.

As dusk fell I headed over to the Alaska Club for a quick sauna & steam and exercised my legs on a couple of the machines.  Then I drove back to the Mickey D's to park for the night.  This McDonalds is 24/7, so there is always somebody parked in the lot and you don't stick out or get noticed unless you do it too often.  My storyline if I ever did get my door knocked on by the Gestapo or Mickey D's employees is that I was just tired after a long drive and catching a nap prior to going in for a McMuffin.  However, as of yet no knocks on the door.

The Mickey D's is great overnight parking because you get FREE Wi-Fi, which you can pick up from the parking lot.  You can increase the sensitivity if you get a USB Antenna for Wi-Fi, but I haven't found this necessary as of yet.  If you do buy one, they are only around $50.  You also of course can use their bathroom overnight if you get the Call of Nature.  Also great for this are 24/7 Convenience Stores & 24/7 Walmarts.  In Convenience Stores though they tend to notice you if you park in the lot too long because the lots are small, so are not good for overnighting.  Small lots are not good Boondocking locations.  You want to look for a Convenience Store that is next to some kind of strip mall to actually park in for the night.  Also scope out the lot you will park in beforehand to see how many carz stay there overnight, the more the better.

Once parked and on the Wi-Fi, I watched a few Music Videos since I wasn't worried about bandwidth, then hit the bunk for a good night's sleep.  Another day of Boondocking tomorrow.

Day 5–  I got up pretty early around 6AM and went into Mickey Ds to wash my face and wake up some, and then bought an Egg McMuffin for $3, not so much because I was hungry or wanted to eat one of these disgusting pieces of shit, more just as gratitude to the McDonald's Corporation for giving me a place to sleep overnight.  I determined to again do another FREE night of parking, this time 1/2 done at the local Hospital/Medical Center and the other half done at a Commuter Parking lot right nearby it.  The hospital has great services, it is open all night, super clean bathrooms and FREE Wi-Fi.  I could stay there all night, but I don't want to push my luck with the hospital and get noticed.  It's too good a parking spot to risk if I don't have to, and I don't.  I don't usually sleep more than 3 hours at a stretch anyhow, so moving parking spots in the middle of the night really isn't too much of a pain in the ass.  Security DOES patrol these parking lots, and staying under the radar is important for Stealth Boondocking.

As opposed to the Hospital, the Commuter Parking lot is as bare bones as you get.  No toilets, no picnic tables, no fire ring and you can't even set up your own stuff in the lot.  It's just park and sleep for the most part in such a lot.  At 2AM though when you arrive, there really isn't much to do anyhow besides sleep, and then you leave by 6AM.  If you do get the Call of Nature during this period, you excrete your waste into the bucket inside the Van without getting out.  I did not have such a call at this time on this night.

Day 6– Leaving the parking lot in the early morning of Day 6, I drove over to another FREE parking spot by the river to make breakfast, again a FREE spot.  Same big breakfast as before, 2 large Scrambled Eggs, Breakfast Sausage and Homefries.  While consuming this meal and surfing the net over the 4G network, I decide what I will do with the day.  One task I haven't yet done is go to the Laundromat to do some wash.  I don't really have much wash to do at this point, just some underwear and socks mainly and normally for me when OTR wash day only came every 2 weeks or so.  However, this is a task you have to schedule in when you live OTR, so I felt I should do it at least once during the week.

The Laundromat I choose is in the same general strip mall parking lot that Kahladi Brothers Coffee and Safeway are in, both of which have FREE Wi-Fi.  The laundromat itself also has grid connected electric outlets as well of course, so I can drop a Batt onto one of them for charging while my wash is running.  I still do not really need to do this though, I have been driving around enough to keep everything charged up enough off the van alternator.  I go to another park to hang out for a while, then go over to Lowe's and Home Depot to do some window shopping for preps scooting around on one of their electric shopping carts for Cripples.  I love the hardware stores more than Walmart nowadays for Prep Window shopping.  I don't buy anything though, I just make notes on prices in my head for future purchases while the FRNs still work and the shelves are still stocked.

I have been on an Austerity Budget for the last day and decide to SPLURGE for dinner, and go over to my favorite Asian Cuisine restaraunt in the neighborhood, ordering a small Miso Soup (cheapest thing on the menu at $3) and a Scallops Batayaki appetizer at $10.  I am able to finish the Miso Soup, but only eat half the scallops, the other half go in the cooler for breakfast tomorrow.  I reloaded the cooler with new ice from Safeway earlier in the day.

For tonight's Boondocking, it's back to the FREE spot by the river and I entertain myself for the evening designing and drawing plans for a Geodesic Gazebo to add living space to SaVANnah for longer stays in bucolic locations OTR like the Grand Canyon or Lolo National Forest, site of my Pi-Fi Collapse Novel, How I Survived Collapse.  I make a few posts to the Diner and get back into a long running argument with one of the Diners who lives in the Tropical Rain Forest over whether you should kill or let live Pythons that are crawling about your property.  This remains a disputed question. lol.

Day 7–  This will be my Final Day Boondocking for this trial run.  I am going to finish off IN SPLENDOR, buying a For Pay campsite with electricity, water & sewer at a private campground for $40.  This is a HUGE expenditure and totally unnecessary, but I am doing it just to get some pics of how the "other half" of the Van Dwelling community lives, the RICH ones.  This is relative of course, they may not be rich compared to others of their age group, and they are usually Baby Boomers.  They are the ones who own the Big Ass Diesel Pushers that are the size of Tour Buses or monster 5th Wheel arrangements pulled by monster pickup trucks.  Or in some cases, they actually yank around Tiny Homes.  I have seen rigs being pulled by full blown Kenworths and Freightliners. lol.

I am a dwarf in this crowd of behemoths, and I don't need the sewer hookup at all since SaVANnah doesn't have a plumbing system.  The running water also unnecessary, and in this case the electricity unnecessary also since my batts are all topped off.  If I was actually OTR right now, I NEVER would have bought this campsite.  Total waste of money.  However, I will count it in to my expenses for this week anyway.

When you do buy such a campsite, besides all the hookups you do get other ammenties also.  There is a laundromat on site, so I could have used this laundry instead of the one I used the day before.  There are showers also, and down in the lower 48 such places will have Pools also for the kids to swim in, just like any fairly decent Bates Motel.  Ice making machine to fill your cooler too.  So you do get some value back for this expenditure, but for me it's all a waste of money.

I can never see pulling around a rig this size if you don't have at least 4 people in it.  They seriously limit places you can go because of the turning radius to begin with.  They also hit about ZERO on the stealth scale, and they are whopping good targets for thieves.  Why don't you advertize a little bigger how RICH you are?  Not to mention of course the fuel consumption of such a large rig.  The smaller the rig you can get away with for full-time living, the better. brings us round to the BIGGEST controversy this debate engendered on the Diner, which is whether or not you can live the Gypsy lifestyle with KIDS in tow.  Just about everyone agreed it is possible to Van Dwell as a Single Male, and perhaps even as a couple with the gender partner of your choice.  However, opinions were expressed it was IMPOSSIBLE to live this way if you have children, and/or nobody would do it unless absolutely forced to.  Are these postulates true?  IMHO, no they are not true. of all, Yachties choose this lifestyle on a reasonably regular basis, just they do it over water rather than over land.  A rig arrangement on land is really just a a land yacht.  If you have a family on a Yacht, you're NOT going to be able to get away with a 30 footer.  You're going to need something in the 45' range.  Similarly, on land you are NOT going to be able to bring kids along with just a Van or Pickup Truck/Camper, you're going to need a Trailer for that.

Increasing the size of your rig increases the cost, but of course raising kids always increases cost.  In this case, it still increases costs less than scaling up in McMansion size as you go along that trail.  It also decreases your ability to do Stealth, if you drop in at Mickey D's in the middle of the night with your 4 year old who needs to use the toilet, the staff will probably notice this and call the local Gestapo.  So you're going to have to stick to the FREE Public Use sites for the most part to stay under the radar.

You do have an advantage when working with a Partner, one of you can leave the Boondocking site and get some Gig Work for the day to cover your costs, which you are keeping rock bottom cheap.  You're living even cheaper than the folks who live in Trailer Parks do at this point.  Which of course means you are even below the level of "Trailer Trash" on the economic scale, and most people find being so identified as a mark of failure in their lives.  But is it really?  Again, IMHO, no it is not.

First of all, you are going to be spending a LOT more time out of doors experiencing the Nature we still have left.  Next, you are tons more FREE & MOBILE, to go wherever there is work you can find to support your lifestyle.  In contrast to living with other relatives, you have more independence and freedom from dealing with them.  You are making so little money that you have no TAXES to pay into the Military-Industrial-Complex. So you are making trade-offs here for sure, but it's not impossible and is just a matter of your priorities and whether you can put together enough money to get into a decent size rig for the number of people you are pulling OTR.

I lived a long time OTR, so this type of living is second nature to me, for most people it is not.  Certainly not impossible though, Gypsies have been doing it for centuries.  On land, today, it's going to require you to have enough MONEY to buy the gas to move the rig down the road from place to place.  This however is not a huge amount of money.  My final costs for the week of Boondocking came to $242.  My fuel cost came to $34.  I spent a lot more money than I had to on Premium Campsites, Premium Food and Restaraunts.  Even so, on a wage of just $10/hr, I could have afforded this week working just 25 hours serving up Frappucinos at Starbucks.  The cost for having kids along would not have been much greater, since I could get all the food for them for FREE from the SNAP Card and the Food Pantries.  All the For Pay campsites would have cost exactly the same.  I would just have a larger fuel cost pulling a trailer, perhaps 20-30% more the most depending on the length, weight and type of trailer.  So most this brings up the fuel cost is from $34 to maybe $50/week.

I don't want to try and make the case this form of living is for everyone.  It's not.  You have to have a Nomadic Soul to be happy with it, and you have to be comfortable living in small spaces, although you can creatively increase your living space, which I will be doing on I Spy Doom videos building a Geodesic Gazebo as an Add-On room for SaVANnah when parked for longer periods of Boondocking a given location. You also have to be an unconventional thinker, and not bought into the Matrix Meme of a Double Wide Trailer as your Dream Home.  Most people will buy into this, and become trapped by it.  That is sad, but you cannot help people who are trapped in this mindset.

Next up on the Boondocking Level is the trip down to the Lower 48 for THE TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼, which I will view from the PATH OF TOTALITY in Idaho in a Rental Stealth Van.  COMING SOON TO A LAPTOP NEAR YOU ON THE DOOMSTEAD DINER.

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