Thursday, December 31, 2015


A paracosm refers to an imaginary, often vividly detailed, world created in the mind.

This fantasy world may stem from that which exists in reality, but we recast it in exaggerated form.

It may be reality taken to the entirely imaginary through hysteria.

I’ve written about the tone all of us strike in our blogs. The masturbatory glee with which some of us write write about shit hitting the fan and the end of the world as we know it is a paracosm and we look like tin-hat crazies when we adopt that stance.

We are all guilty—sometimes—of the over-the-top, strident, missionary—dare I say messianic—glee we take when we write.

It’s our intellectual hard on and we inflate so that no one will suspect we are underendowed.

Because prepping matters to us, we are guilty—sometimes—of intellectual bullying.

We see benefit in prepping.

We want to bring others into the fold.

Doing that by browbeating people—however—isn’t ethical.

What I wonder sometimes is whether our strident tone is all about being scared out of our minds at the notion of #SHTF and/or #WROL and/or #TEOTWAWKI and talking tough so others will not know just how precarious we feel.

The problem is that—whether people will admit it or not—many of us feel precarious in our lives and maybe instead of fear mongering and acting tough, we should talk honestly and openly about our fears.

Being open and honest about our fears is not a sign of weakness, but instead a sign of tremendous strength.

In order for a man to be vulnerable enough to be open and honest about his fears, he has to be secure enough to have people know that he is a man without answers.

I am a man without answers.

I have plenty of questions and I have some ideas, but I do not know all the answers.

I do not pressure myself to know everything.

I do—however—expect that I need to keep learning.

I have much to learn in 2016.

My knowledge grew exponentially in 2015.

When 2015 began, I knew very little about prepping. Over the course of the year I assembled a 72-hour bag, pet bags, and car bags. I stockpiled two months worth of food—which was my initial goal—and I succeeded mostly.

Toward the end of 2015 I was refining my prepping strategy and taking stock of my accomplishments and failures.

I made very few first-time prepper errors, but I also created burden and inefficiency when doing the opposite was easier.

I did not get into prepping because the end of the world was at hand. I failed to heed the painted paracosm of the khaki-wearing, nut-sack-grabbing extremists.

So yes, this is one of “those” posts.

Happy New Year and oh yeah, suck in my message.

The irony is that I wrote this post for myself.

Take it as you will.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


"Has anything actually ever happened?"

At a family get together a few days ago, the subject of prepping came up and one relative asked that question.

In his mind, "nothing" has ever happened.

The normal tendency is to be strident and document all that has happened, but when preppers do that, it falls on deaf ears.

He did not want to hear the truth.

As a boy, I remember a rainstorm that was so intense that within the span of 12 hours all the crops were under water in the fields and the water coming out of the spigot was obviously not clean.

As a boy, I remember a dust storm so intense that we had to bug in, tape the windows to prevent dirt gaining entry and to keep them from breaking, and the power going out for the better part of a day and a half.

As a man, I was very near the Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles.

My answer was: "You're right. Nothing's happened."

That was not the answer my relative expected.

His question had an unintended consequence in that I left the debate.

John Lennon sings "...nothing's gonna change my world..." in The Beatles' song "Across the Universe". The lyric is ironic because what he was really saying is that change is the only constant.

Yet people believe nothing is going to change their world, or if it does, the solution is readily at hand.

On Christmas Eve, my ex and her new husband were over for dinner. We share a daughter and we try to be as civil as possible.

She saw how I had repurposed a bar and some book cases into a very stylish pantry. She noted a baker's rack that I reimagined as storage for flats of water.

She said to her husband: "If anything happens all we have to do is make it here."

Saying that my preps were for me and my daughter alone would have either fallen on deaf ears or, more likely, brought indignation that I would not share with her.

Perhaps she took my silence for tacit agreement that I would make everything OK, but there is a consequence for choosing to believe that all solutions are simple.

What I wonder is how people can live blissfully in the puffy clouds.

I am by no means a pessimist—quite the opposite.

I am by no means a “negative Nathan”—quite the opposite.

I live with both feet on the ground optimistic that more good than bad will come my way and I feel positive about the future, but I just can’t smoke the crack pipe of “nothing’s gonna change my world” minus John Lennon's irony.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Hobby Farmer

Yes, the above graphic is tied to Whole Foods Market—you know—the place that cash rapes Prius drivers, Subaru drivers, and the wealthy who think organic automatically means that one has to pay exorbitant prices.

I will NOT pay a premium for organic when  non-organic is as nutritious. Pay no attention to what the people say that Subarus with their "I'm Ready for Hillary" bumper stickers.

Nevertheless, the graphic presents a fun idea.

As a kid, I used to garden and an abundance of produce came from a very small plot. 

This past spring, I planted tomatoes and got a grand total of six. 

I planted eggplant and got NONE. 

How is that even possible?

Cucumbers? Forget that!

The odd thing is that the tomato plants grew rapidly like weeds, but produced virtually nothing. 

The eggplants stayed alive for six months, but did not grow appreciably. 

Ditto the cucumbers.

The perplexing thing is that the plants were in excellent soil—I know a thing or two about good soil or so I thought—and not over or under watered.

My lime tree produced two limes, but the lemon tree produced a scary amount of lemons. 

Go figure.

This spring, I will again try valiantly to get a harvest in motion and maybe try some of these start-in-the-kitchen options.

Fingers crossed.