Preparing for the apocalypse (RW69, RW78)

John is not a super-prepper, but it is still nice to be prepared. When the bombs fall right now or the aliens come and John has no chance to run to the 7-Eleven, how long could he go? If he had time to fill all the bathtubs plus the water in the hot water tank and all the water he does have stored, if he could get to all the stuff that is in the freezer and do something with it right away, like having a 2-day lion gorge, sitting and eating all his steaks, he could maybe support himself and his family for 4 months. John's mom and sister are very serious about this stuff. If you don't have a bunker, his sister will give you the business! John is not the one in his family that generates this kooky energy, but he is just the one that adapts to the environment. His mom has enough materiel like water, food, propane, grappling hooks, signal flares and battle pikes in her house to support herself and her neighbors in the whole block for about that long. John told her that she should simply barricade the door, but she won't turn her neighbors away. (RW69)

To store 4 months of food, you simply fill up your larder, but you have to keep eating from it! 5 year old tuna is fine to eat but tastes a little metallic. John replenishes his stock and does not drain it down past a certain point. There are sacks of lentils, rice and other grains, there are general cans of tomato paste, there is freeze-dried stuff, mostly canned or boxed, there are discrete ingredients, like a case of canned mushrooms, there are those big 5-gallon soft-sided water bags, batteries and whatnot. He doesn't have a faraday cage, but he probably should! He does have a lead suit. The key is to integrate your food stacks into your normal kitchen. People have pantries that are way underused. You go to IKEA or Home Depot and buy some narrow crappy shelves that sit against one wall of the garage and you buy a couple of cases of everything. Chilli, corn, chicken noodle soup, Macaroni and Cheese Kraft Dinner, beans, rice, and lentils. You can keep root vegetables for a while, but not really long enough. You can find people on the web who talk about their 4 month stack of food and they would tell you excatly what to get and how to store it and how to rotate it. (RW69)

With every passing day it seems more and more plausible that some Stuxnet is going to turn off all the power. It is not going to be the end of days when civilization crumbles, but if you ever read up on the New York City blackout of 1977, you know that a blackout releases pent-up frustration. In Seattle right now there is plenty of pent-up frustration, but not enough to burn down the city. In 1977 they got it up and running after 24 hours, but the Stuxnet style of web worm could absolutely be designed as a virus that caused the power grid to eat itself, opening and closing switches at the wrong time. It could just burn it out in a big way so that you would be without power for a while. John cannot forsee any situation where he would need 4 months worth of food, but his mom and sister are earthquake and volcano-crazies and they sit down periodically to talk about who is on the wrong side of the bridge, assuming that all bridges will fall when the big one hits. They used to have an assembly point in town which was his mom's house, but after she sold it, the assembly point is John's house which is harder to get to, assuming that also cellphones don't work. Listening to them, they both have their theories about what needs to be done that the other isn't doing and John just sits there with his legs crossed, reading the newspaper on his phone and listening with half an ear. (RW69)

The number one rule for the end-times is to get to Texas as Dan has already done, because Texas is God's country and doesn't have any natural disasters. When it comes to stockpiling food, Dan feels woefully unprepared and always has. It is his natural state to be a very hard-core prepper. Not only when it comes to bags of water, but also some kind of rig for condensation and rainwater preservation, drilling down to get to the aquifer, a well, a whole section of the house would be a faraday cage, all of that! He would have a safe house in the other part of town in case he was closer to that, with food and ammo. In reality he doesn't have any of that stuff. His family could come by for a couple of weeks, but not 4 months and that is what Dan wants. Dan spent enough time in South Florida during Hurricane season and enjoyed a little bit of prepping for that, because you had to make sure you had water and you could be without power or water for extended periods of time. You could get a generator that you could hook directly into your house and disconnect your house from the grid. Dan always loved the idea of being prepared for that kind of thing. Even if they wouldn't be dealing with a full-blown apocalypse, it will be a bit unpleasant for a while if the power grid is out for a month. (RW69)

People are talking about the bombs fall, but it isn't going to be that. It is going to be this little chickenshit stuff that will do tremendous damage. It will not kill us, but we are going to be inconvenienced, bored, hungry, and pissed. It is not like the apocalypse John imagined as a kid where they all burned in a holocaust of flames. All those pictures of people rioting grocery stores right before a hurricane affected us. In Alaska, first of all, you have to be ready for this stuff! If the power goes off up there in January, it isn't kidding around, but nature is actively trying to kill you at all times! You and your family will be huddled in a corner, wrapped in all the blankets you have, struggling to keep it going, burning your furniture in the fireplace. John was hitchhiking one time and got dropped off in the Yukon territory in Canada where he wandered through the forrest and found some guy that had like 100.000 gallons of gas back there, waiting for the apocalypse to happen. Panicing for a natural disaster in Florida that happens all the time like you never heard of it before? John just hates that shit. There are hurricanes every year and you didn't have water on hand? You should be ready! The same is true in Seattle when it comes to earthquakes: The idea of having to run down to Safeway and get stuff in some kind of riot situation where people are scrambling to get Cocoa Puffs because that is all that's left is just insane to him! He would go down to Safeway because there is that one kind of six layer chocolate cake that he likes and he would try to get as many pieces as he could. He can't stockpile them because he would look like a crazy person. (RW69)

John is not part of the point-your-gun-at-the-neighbors crowd. He does not think he could turn somebody away. This whole notion that you live in a city and you are capable of fortifying your house into a defensible bunker against marauders is kind of dumb. In that case you should have 10.000 acres and live in a decommissioned silo, but if it gets to the point in a city where gangs are scrounging for food and water, you are not going to be able to keep your garden going. Everybody who has ever survived an extended siege says the same thing: Don't have a weapon on you at all! Do not have a gun or a knife or anything that could be construed as one, because whoever will find you with it will take it from you, assume you are a member of some alternate militia and kill you on the spot! You are not going to be able to roam the wasteland with a pistol in your belt and protect your family, unless you are the kind of person who is capable of invading armies. The secret to survival is to learn to live with nothing, try to take nothing and just live by the skin of your teeth. All of your hording will get stolen, your defensive perimiter wall will get breached, your guns will be taken and you will be punished. The people who truly have survived awful things have done it with their clothes on their back and their intestinal fortitude. (RW69)

Dan is sure that John is very much comfortable to be outdoorsy and survive. While John is not comfortable to be out in the rain or in the cold, he is comfortable with discomfort. At least so far in his life he has not encountered the threshold of discomfort that flips his breakers. Luckily he has never been tortured. Sleeping out in the rain, being beat up or being hungry just doesn't afect him inside. He doesn't give up hope and doesn't nurse a persecution complex or aggrievance, he just gets up and keeps working. He thought about the road scenarios where his daugher and he are trying to make it in the world. That's the way to get to him: through his child. John could just live in a mud puddle, but things change when he has his daughter with him. (RW69)

John is worried about the tendency of people calling their food for protein, starch and fat. Soon people will give you space food in tubes! John has a huge bag of Soylent that he has never opened and that he will probably keep for the apocalypse. He does not have any MRE:s right now, but he has quite a good collection of apocalypse food. He feels that it is important, but he doesn't know why. John is less and less actually preparing for it, though, because apocalypse-preparation is a self-fulfilling prophecy and people are making decisions based on apocalypses that are not really imminent and those decisions are almost always wrong or they are not helping anybody. You can leave the house without all your important tools, because you can forage until you can put a fishing kit together and if you can't forage until you find a fishing pole, you will not survive even if you do have a fishing pole. (RW78)

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