Monday, April 25, 2011

Stop having revelations that everyone has already had.

My coworker just came into my office grinning like someone heavily medicated and asked me if I knew why he was so cheerful all the time.  I raised an eyebrow at him.

"I think it's just because I'm so happy to be alive.  That's why I don't want to get married - in case it would depress me."

I laughed because for my coworker, this was some kind of revelation - as if no man in the history of the planet has ever had this same thought. 

I didn't bring up the fact that my father is currently at my mother's bedside in the hospital and has been for the past five days and would not choose to be anywhere else in the world right now.

Sometimes I feel like I am rebelling against my own generation for wanting previously conventional things - marriage, children, family meal times, things (I will openly admit) I used to look down upon.  People say that you inevitably turn into your parents when you get older.

For the most part, I really hope so.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Why I'm excited for the apocalypse and how you can be, too!

At the risk of sounding complacent, I am mutha-fuckin' ready for some natural disaster-apocalypse shit to happen.  Preparedness runs in my veins, you guys, a gift (in part) from my ass-kicking, pirate chasing (seriously, that happened fo real) military officer father.  The other half of that is from my ass-kicking, sharpshooting (she has a medal), military officer mother.  Holy balls, TAB, you must have had an insane upbringing!  Not so much, voice-in-my-head, EM and I had a relatively normal childhood.  But when you go through survival training and organization and ass-kicking lessons in the military (like my parents did) they drill that stuff so far into your head that it hits you square in your genetics, which is why EM and I are genetically programmed to outlast even cockroaches and Keith Richards and Twinkies.  Are you following this logic with me?  Good.

So when things like Katrina and Haiti and Japan and Chernobyl and the end of the dot-com era and the breakup of Pangaea and the end of the dinosaurs at the hand of alien robot overlords who will probably return happen, EM and I will be waiting, ready to rule the land like kings because we are so much more prepared than everyone else, except my parents. And probably the president, because I imagine they have him pretty prepared for this kind of thing.  Oh, and unless you have some kind of bunker or lead-lined basement, in which case I'm jealous and we should be friends so that we can talk about our emergency plans and survival kits together.  (Does yours involve bacon?  Because mine does!)

Now, because you lovely people are actually reading this ridiculous blog, I'm going to impart some of my wisdom to you about what you really need to be prepared for some kind of disaster.  What KIND of disaster you ask?  ALL KINDS, including, but not limited to:  earthquake, tornado, hurricane, tsunami, cyclone, wildfire, volcano, nuclear meltdown, zombie/bear/shark attack, monsoon, flood, flash flood, solar eclipse, lunar eclipse, getting lost in the forest or at sea, something involving a desert or extreme drought and finally, getting in a death match with Bear Grylls because you have a cache of fresh water and he is left drinking snake blood and the water squeezed from elephant poop.

Let's discuss the two types of emergency kits you need:  an Oh Shit! kit and an Armageddon Box.  Your Oh Shit! kit should be small and compact enough that you can grab it in less than five minutes and run, especially if there is something like a tsunami or a dinosaur chasing you.  It should have enough supplies to sustain you for two days.  Your Armageddon Box should be something slightly more long term, and this would be something that you could rely on if parts of the infrastructure collapsed and you needed to camp out somewhere for 10 to 14 days, or until you heard over the radio waves that the military had cleared your city of the zombie plague and you're safe to return to your abode.  Both of these kits should be easily accessible - for example, since EM and I live in Los Angeles and spend most of our time in traffic, our Oh Shit! kits are in the trunks of our cars.  Our Armageddon Box is in our carport.  It's smart to keep supplies in a couple different locations, in case you can't get to one.

There are three rules that you should keep in mind when getting your kits together:
1.  Depending on your location, you need to make sure you are dry, warm, watered and fed. 
2.  The rule of 3:  a human can last 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food and 3 times 3 is 9.  Wait, forget that last part, that's not part of the same rule...
3.  Be aware, use common sense, and remember:  shoot 'em in the head, and they'll stay dead.  (Especially useful when fighting zombies and Bear Grylls.)

Here are some things that you should consider having in your Oh Shit! kit:
  • Drinking water and water purification tablets (at least a gallon, but FYI, you should have a gallon per person per day)
  • Food for two days (you can get compact and semi-tasty MREs at any army/navy surplus store)
  • A first aid kit
  • A flashlight and extra batteries, or even better, a hand-crank flashlight
  • A clean, dry change of clothes
  • A space blanket
  • A small emergency radio
  • A multi-tool (like a Leatherman) or a Swiss Army Knife, something with a can opener for canned food
  • Waterproof, windproof matches or a fire-starting flint
  • Maps of your area
  • A dust mask (to help against dust and also airborne biologicals that will zombiefy you)
  • Baby wipes, toilet paper, pads/tampons and garbage bags for "personal sanitation"
  • A small tool kit:  wrench, pliers, screwdriver  (important for turning off utilities)
  • Road flares and a whistle (should you need to signal for help)
  • Bear spray (not just for bears/Bear Grylls!  That's a 30 ft. radius of spicy protection, my friends)
That should help you last for a couple days.  Granted, that is if you're in a climate like I am (in southern California) and we don't have to worry too much about cold, wet weather and our main concern would be having clean water.  If you're in some place like Seattle where water is more accessible and you would be more concerned about staying warm and dry, I'd seriously consider having rain gear and the little chemical hand warmers in my Oh Shit! kit.  Remember, keep this one the most easily accessible to you and in a backpack or bag that you could carry.  If you can't lift it because it's too heavy, it's not going to do you any good.

Here's what you should consider having in your Armageddon Box:
  • A small tent
  • Plastic tarps to go under said tent (wet ground = wet tent = wet sleeping bag = unhappy)
  • A sleeping bag
  • More water!  Hooray!
  • More food!  Hooray!
  • Another first aid kit!  Hooray!  With any prescription meds that you may need, sunscreen and a first aid book so you can know how to treat things like broken arms and shark bites.
  • Don't forget your pets!  Food and water for them, too.
  • A secret stash of cash
  • A portable water filtration kit
  • A mess kit with pots and pans, paper utensils
  • A small camp stove
  • A lantern
  • Bigger tools:  a shovel, an ax, a machete
  • IF you're familiar with firearms and firearm safety (and yes, I am), a pistol
Above all, have a plan.  How are you going to get in touch with your family, especially if cell phones and land lines are down?  Pick an evacuation route and a meeting place, and then have a backup plan.  Also, here is a great resource for helping you to get your shit together:

Now that you're on your way to being prepared for the apocalypse and for Bear Grylls to creep in and try to bogart your stuff, be sure to maintain your kit.  Food, water, and medicine all expires, so be smart about it and update it once a year. 

If you've come this far with me, you're probably so gaddamn prepared for everything that you're just itching for the opportunity to use your Oh Shit! kit and your Armageddon Box, and you should be.  Just remember to be smart and sane about everything, don't panic, and keep an eye open for Bear Grylls.  Being friends with Bruce Campbell couldn't hurt, either.