Sunday, December 30, 2012

I dissolve--NO! Resolve! I RESOLVE!

As the new year rapidly approaches millions of people make resolutions which they will then struggle to keep. Eventually, their struggles prove to have been for naught. They fail at all of their precious resolutions save, maybe, one.

Do they exercise every day? Nay! Do they stop eating junk food? Of course not! (However, anyone who vows not to eat Hostess anymore will be strikingly successful.)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ho, Ho, Hold it buddy!

Put down that tchotchke and step away from the display case!

I know. Christmas is right around the corner. If you are anything like me (and clearly you are), you're very nearly almost done with your shopping. The gifts I end up saving to the last minute are the ones for whom I am not sure what to buy. They are the people who either seem to have everything they want or who get whatever they want as soon as the fancy for it strikes.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Final Countdown?

In a few short hours, we will all be dead if that whole Mayan End of the Calendar Equals the End of the World thing is true. How shall you spend your last night? Perhaps with friends? Family? Both?

I may be a bit embarrassed tomorrow if the world does come to a screeching halt (not to mention flying east at approximately 800 miles per hour), but I'm spending this last night watching a film adaptation of a novel by Sir Terry Pratchett.

If it's not true, then I will have spent the night being entertained by colorful, entertaining, and captivating characters.

What are you doing?

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Make a List and Check It Twice

While this may be the Season of Giving, be sure to take stock of what you have for supplies. No Survival Diva worth her weight in Manolos will be caught without everything she needs to survive the upcoming doomsday (12 December 2012 at 11:11 GMT; check your local listings for times).

From The Guardian
Have you checked your list? Among other things, it should include:
What if nothing happens on Doomsday? Be thankful for another tomorrow, stow your gear in an easy to reach yet discreet location, hug your loved ones, and live.If Doomsday happens and we're around to enjoy it, I'm going to be thankful I'm alive, get my gear, hug my loved ones, and kick some post-apocalyptic ass.

Tell us in the comments what else is on your list.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dear Santa...

December 2012 is about to descend upon us with its holiday merriment and, from what I've heard, the End of the World. Whether you believe the Believers or the Scientists, this is the perfect opportunity to ask other people to help you build your survival arsenal!

This year when friends and relatives ask what you would like for Chanukah, Solstice, Christmas, Kwanza, tell them you would like something that will help you save mankind.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Yeah...We should go now...

Back in May of 2011 I wrote Should I Stay or Should I Go Now? about how to fortify your home. If you haven't read it, please do. I'll wait...

Back? Okay, good.

If for some reason your home cannot be made into a fortress at a moment's notice (with a little prepping, of course) or with all the notice in the world, what will you do? Defending all the possible points of entry might be more taxing (and dangerous) than packing up and jumping ship.

But where to go?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Flash Fiction: Mesquite

Jackie opened and closed cabinets. She peered into the oven. She shifted papers on the kitchen table. “Baby?” she called out. “Baby, I don’t know what I’m gonna do here.” She looked underneath a pot holder.

“What’s the problem?” He leaned on the door frame. He crossed his sweat and grime coated arms in front of his chest. The doorjamb tried to lean away from him. “And don’t fucking call me baby. I’m fucking tired of that gooey shit.” One of his arms slipped away and rested on his gut.

“I can’t find the new jar of Jamaican jerk spices I got the other day. I’m having a barbecue this weekend and I was going to use it on some of the meat.” Jackie opened a cabinet over the sink and stared at the jumble of cups, mugs, coffee filters, and discarded brik-a-brak that had never made its way to the trash. She picked up a chipped bluebird gazed at it for a moment, then returned it to the shelf. “Ba--. Jimmy, do you know where it is?” The top shelf, above her reach without a stool, was littered with stolen salt and pepper shakers.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dark & Stormy

From eHow
Here in the American Northeast we are all hunkering down to enjoy the coming storm. Each of us has taken precautions (or should have done) to weather this storm successfully. For a lot of people, preparation means buying milk, eggs, toilet paper, and bottles of water.

Only three out of four of those items make sense.

Preparing for a storm of serious magnitude (especially one named after a hubris filled doctor), is serious business. Take care not to make mistakes like the one above.

Friday, October 19, 2012

It's for the children! - Part Two

From Fun and Family
Tomorrow is the pub crawl Fall Fundraiser I am participating in to help raise money for Little Hearts, Inc.

The day, regardless of the weather, will be a lot of fun. However, it will also be a lot of work. Because I am a good Survival Diva, tonight I will prepare.

For The Children, I am endeavoring to walk approximately three miles (not a huge feat!) and stop at almost every pub, bar, and restaurant with a bar along the way. That is about sixteen bars. At each establishment, I plan to have (at least) one drink. That's (at least) sixteen drinks.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

It's for the children!

From 2012 Little Hearts 16th Annual Picnic
 "A Celebration of Special Hearts"
While I normally do not advocate drinking to excess (you know, because I think we should all be alert with hyper intelligent mutated space monkeys [which were initially normal Earth monkeys that we shot into space] attack), in October I throw that rule away and drink an obscene amount of liquor.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

On a more personal note...

Dear readers,

I would like to apologize for my lack of posts in the last month or so. Please let me explain my absence.

Someone I love very much was very sick. He's no longer sick, but he is also no longer with us. In the weeks preceding his passing, I tried to pretend nothing was wrong. In the weeks preceding those, I really thought he was getting better. (Sometimes optimism is a curse.)

I have been very affected by his passing. We knew each other our whole lives. He was more than a relative; he was my first friend.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

That diamond studded collar is so very!

I think it would be fair to say that, in general, people are like dogs. We have great hair, awesome accessories, and we like to hang out in groups. Admittedly the grooming and accessories were to some degree humanity's gift to the canine, but I stand by my statement.

The tendency to form bonds and stay together is often quite helpful. Friends and family can be great motivators. They can lend a hand when times are rough. They can entertain when we would otherwise be bored.

From the Metro
However, they can also limit us. Depending too much on others is just as destructive as not having anyone to whom you can turn when times are rough.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A messy bun? Really? You expect me to look like a school marm?

I'm sure you have noticed, as the whole world has, the the Summer Olympics are happening. I'm not an Olympian. Never have been and, chances are good, I never will be. I'm not really a fan of watching the Olympics either. (Something about them turns me into an old man shaking his cane. I don't like that since I don't have the right parts to be a man and I am SO not old.)

However, unless you live in some small village without electricity and television, the Olympics are wholly unavoidable. So I will live with them and learn from them.

Train A LOT

The athletes competing at the Games didn't get there by accident. They have been working for years and training pretty much every day for the moments we are watching. None of the glory, none of the joy, none of tears, none of what's happening in the stadium and on our screens is an accident.

As future survivors, we need to train every day just like those Olympians did to get where they are. They looked to a possible future and made it the best they could by preparing for what might happen. Their success wasn't written in the stars. It wasn't foretold by soothsayers.

The future is mutable. Bend it to your will.

Gabby Douglas (photo from Times)

Haters Gonna Hate

Gabby Douglas is awesome at her sport. That is the theme here, at the Olympics. People who are not awesome at their sport are not invited to represent their countries.

The theme is not fashion. Nor is it hairdressing. At least, it shouldn't be.

Ms. Douglas was critiqued for having a less than attractive hairstyle. I believe it was referred to as "lazy." The woman is performing acrobatic feats on a balance beam. Most people I know lack the balance, skill, grace, and timing to perform those feats on the ground. If they tried them on a four inch wide beam of wood, even if it were not raised on the ground (which Gabby's was), they'd hurt themselves. I'd probably end up in the Emergency Room.

Oh, and let's not dismiss the fact that no one who competes at the Olympics is lazy. No. Just no.

By the way, she won the Gold. For her athletics.

Cry Goddammit

Merve Aydin (photo from mage 
by Lucy Nicholson / Reuters)
Sometimes, despite all the preparations, you lose a battle. Look at everyone who didn't place First, Second, or Third in the Olympics. All of them trained like the top tier athletes. All of them. None of them will go home with a medal. None of them will get a trophy.

All of them will cry.

That's not to say that all the tears will be ones of pain. Some surely will be. I am sure that much of the tears will arise from a release of pressure. They will be tears that say, "Okay, I didn't win this time, but I did really frakkin awesome! I made it to where every athlete dreams to go. I'll make it again next time. And I'll frakkin win!" (I am assuming that athletes of this caliber would never sully their mouths with cuss words.)

And some of those tears, like those of Merve Aydin, will be ones of pain. Excruciating, fiery pain. But Ms. Aydin's tears were shed while pushing through the pain to make it to the end. Regardless of how she felt, despite the physical duress, she refused to give up. Those are tears of glory. Those are the tears of NEVER GIVING UP.

Goddammit! Cry the Tears of Never Giving Up!

Tell us in the comments what you have learned from this year's Olympics!

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Friday, July 20, 2012

This is SO not Sparta!

We fight battles every day. Some we win. Some we lose. While winning (or losing) just one battle does not decide the outcome of the war, we must remember that the war is made of battles in the same way that a forest is made of trees.
Giant Squid from National Geographic

The every day battles - getting to the train on time, convincing the super-health conscious barista that you really do want caffeine in your sugar-free soy latte, finding a way to keep from getting even more overloaded at your day job - are important but not crucial. When the time comes to fight real battles, you will need to know which ones are worth the effort.

(Okay, I concede: sometimes the caffeine in that latte is crucial!)

Look at what is important and pick your battles. Yes, I know, it's a cliché. Generally, I try to stay the hell out of Cliché Valley: it is terribly boring since I've already done everything there is to do there.

This one, however, is important.

When Giant Squid perfect their SCOBA (Self-Contained Overwater Breathing Apparatus) devices and attack the land-dwellers with equally giant spears, you won't stand a chance if you rush into every battle that presents itself. Before forging ahead, scope out the situation and determine your chances.

I know Ancient warriors went into battle with the notion that dying in battle was glorious. And, in an odd sort of way (even with my modern day sensibilities), I can understand that. Giving one's life for The Good Fight is noble. However, if The Good Fight is saving human kind from complete decimation by eight legged poachers, giving one's life by rushing into a doomed battle is both stupid and counterproductive.

Ancient Greek Woman
Look at the Odds
How many of you are there against them? If the enemy has several times as many soldiers as you have survivors, the chances of a frontal assault actually achieving anything other than annihilating your group is pretty low. Take a step back and check out your other options. Maybe there is a backdoor you can utilize. Perhaps a flaw in their schedule could be exploited.

Look at Your Team
If you find yourself in battle shoulder-to-shoulder with a tactician, use her skills! You know how Pride is one of the Seven Deadly Sins? Ignoring someone else's superior skills in order to keep control will be an excellent example of why it's a Deadly Sin and not just a Really Not Nice Sin. Sometimes a little pride is a good thing. This is not one of those times.
Look at the Possible Outcomes
 Not to be negative, but if you attack and lose, what will happen to you and your women? Will you be slaughtered? Will you be taken prisoner and forced into slave labor? Will you be made to be concubines to the Giant Squid Overlord? Will you be rend to pieces by his beak? Decide before the battle if it is worth the possibility of loss.

If you win, be gracious in your victory and decide how the enemy will be treated. War is brutal. Don't let it steal your humanity.

Look at the Cause
We aren't looking at the reason for the war here: we are looking at the reason for the battle. Why exactly are you getting ready to storm the water castle? If your answer is any variation of "because I'm really pissed off" walk away. Hell, run away!

Fighting a battle out of anger is just plain stupid. Anger clouds judgment and causes poor decision making. There are way too many hormones and chemicals and synapses all vying for attention during the height of an emotional outburst to be able to think logically.

If you want to win the war, not just the battle, logic is requisite. Use it.

After looking at your options, armory (metaphorical as well as actual), and your motivation, make a decision and stick with it. If you decide to go into battle, go. Retreat if you must, but be aware that retreat may not be an option. If you choose not to go into battle, explain why to your group. Someone will disagree. Someone will want to fight out of anger or without thinking the situation through. Do your best to explain your decision and reasoning. If the dissenter wants to wage a battle on her own, determine whether that argument is a battle worth undertaking.

What other aspects of the battle should we examine before drawing our swords? Tell us in the comments!

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pompeii? They just did it wrong.

I'm sure like me, for the last couple of days you have wondered if humans can actually melt. At points, so much sweat was rolling off of me that I wondered (briefly) if I would melt away like a candle in a hot and stuffy room. I also re-learned that lip balm simply does not keep in a car when the temperatures are hovering in the high nineties or low hundreds. Also, the melted wax burns when it drips onto your skin.

From National Geographic
When the fire monsters of Pompeii rise from their centuries long Slumber of Cinders, we will be able to expect many more hot days. With luck, they won't simply incinerate us with their steamy embrace. However, we will need to try to stay cool.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Where's the baby oil? Imma go lie in the sun!

Summer is rapidly approaching and with it the desire to lounge about in the sun feeling its warm rays on your skin. While this is a lovely way to spend an afternoon, there can be consequences. (Shut up: I am totally going to harsh your mellow.) Over exposure to the sun in the short run can mean burns; in the long run, skin cancer.

From BeautyXpose
Neither one of these options is particularly pleasant. Sunburns are painful and can stop you from doing things you normally enjoy. For example, if you get a burn on your legs and the tops of your feet, kickboxing is not going to be an option until the skin stops feeling like it's on fire. Cancer has some obvious side effects one of which is death.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Survival Diva's Guide to Traveling Light

Everyone gets the Travel Itch from time-to-time. Sometimes you just want or need to pick up and go. When the world is infested with giant mutated bedbugs, I expect that urge will hit more people more often.

From The Mayo Clinic
While we may not be able to escape our problems by taking a little vacation, we can leave them behind for a little while. Even if just for a weekend.

Sometimes a short getaway is just what a body needs to make life bearable again. But for this to work, that body cannot carry everything she owns. When the S & M Bedbugs of Yore dominate the world, traveling light will be a necessity.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Please clarify: you want to do what with that butter?

In a world where lobsters have risen above their station as the cockroaches of the sea to rule the planet with an iron claw, it will be easy to think in absolutes. "We are never going to break these chitin chains!" "The mollusk guards are always vigilant, never leaving an opportunity for escape!"

Easy is not always right nor is it always best.
From WhaleNet

While always and never are useful they can also be dangerous.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I Give Out Fortunes, Not Cookies!

Sometimes the outcome of a situation comes down to how we think something is going to happen. This is called a Self-fulfilling Prophecy. This means that preconceived notions about the outcome of something within a person's control directly affect the outcome of said situation.

For example, if there is a young boy in your community who comes from a less than upstanding family, people in your community may treat him as though he were a criminal even if he's never done anything amiss.

Day after day he is treated like a thief despite never having stolen as much as a stick of gum. One day he's in a store. He sees something he desperately wants but doesn't have enough money. Maybe he consciously thinks, "I may as well. People already think I would." Or maybe he doesn't think along those lines at all. Either way, because of social pressure telling him that he is a thief, he probably becomes one.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Apocalypse Takes a Holiday?

Summer is coming! In New England, we will soon be out of the gloom and rain and chill of winter and early spring! Sunshine and later afternoon summer storms will reign. And the day trips, weekend holidays, and honest to goodness vacations will start.

From National Geographic
When planning a trip - be it across the state, country, or globe - you should take steps to insure your safety. The apocalypse won't give a monkey's banana that you are taking a few days off; it will happen or not according to its own whim.

Speaking of monkeys, do you think the sentient Spider Monkeys of Central America will hold off on taking their revenge against primates who have thumbs? Do you really expect that they will see you holding a cocktail - with your four fingers and thumb - and not attack? Gods help you if that drink is fruity!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Eh, it is what it is, you know?

Warning: Survivor's Rant ahead.

I'm what you may call a bibliophile. In fact, please do. I don't have a particularly extensive book collection, but that is in part due to loving the library. Wandering amid stacks and stacks of books, smelling the scents paper and binding glue waft off the shelves, feeling the paper under my fingers, and hearing the crackle of the spines as I open each volume makes me happy. No, not happy: sublime.

Words and sentences, turns of phrase, and utterances of language are like food for my soul. Sometimes I even indulge in junk food for the soul (the perfect diet is one that allows for imperfection). But there are some sentiments that leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Survivor's Toolbox: Zip Ties

Let's face it: some day house cats will take over. It's going to happen. They already have humans on a feeding, petting, watering, petting, poop cleaning, petting schedule. I really want to think that they will be benevolent overlords: I mean for cryin in my soup, just for all the poop we've cleaned we deserve to be treated well!

The Flintstones (1960-1966)
Alas, I seriously doubt that's how it'll go down. I am inclined to think that when the time comes, we humans will be put out at night a la Fred Flintstone in the closing credits of the Flintstones.

When we end up spending our nights outside under the stars, being able to build a sturdy shelter with low weight supplies will come in handy.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Why are you asking where I'm going to be in five years? There are zombies afoot!

I hate when people ask me to predict where I'm going to be in five hours, never mind in five years. I get that interviewers want to see the motivation level of potential employees. People who are not interviewing me for a job deserve to either be ignored or to get an interesting answer:
From Deviant Art
  • Breastfeeding our third child.
  • Cleaning the blood of the innocent from my brow.
  • Dining on the flesh of the uninitiated.
  • Sprinkling your ashes over my begonias.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Survivor's Toolbox: Hunting & Fishing

Most of us get our food from stores. If we want a nice cut of meat or a filet of fish we go to the butcher or the fish market. But when mutant guinea pigs take over the planet with their cute wiggly noses of doom and the butchers and fish mongers are no more, where will you get your tasty vittles?

I don't know about you, but I plan to hunt and fish for my dinners. I have no desire to kill, gut, and fillet anything. Frankly, scaling and gutting fish has always totally grossed me out. For that matter, I don't particularly care to handle it when it's store bought and all I have to do is prepare dinner.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Which one is the penicillin?

You started taking care of yourself. You instilled in your children a sense of worth regarding their health. The End Times are upon us and Gillian has a cut. She got it when she tripped while running drills in the wood. It’s not a bad cut. But you are out of anti-bacterial ointment and clean water is low.

You clean the wound, bandage it, and hope for the best. Gilly’s chances for fighting an infection on her own are pretty good. Before the sentient King Cobras from the Center of the Earth emerged to dominate the planet, she ate well, took her vitamins, played outside and got enough sleep.

What if that’s not enough? If she gets an infection, how are you going to fight it?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's fine. I'll just take some cold medicine!

In our go-go-go pre-apocalyptic world, we occasionally neglect seemingly little things that turn out to be quite important.

For example, if you were to have a bad cold that included a fever and nasal discharge that was yellow in color, you might want to see a doctor. This goes doubly if those cold symptom last more than about seven to ten days and are accompanied with a headache, dental pain, facial pain, and a cough or chest congestion.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Survivor's Bookshelf: Apocalypse How

Regardless of which eschatological doctrine you follow, the end is nigh. Well, it's very nearly nigh. I think I see it on the horizon. I hear that Iran is making Nuclear Weapons and that some politician are trying to get an oil pipeline built that would start in Canada and go through the US. A guy standing on a corner told me so!

In any case, knowing how to survive the [insert your personal Apocalypse theory here] will be important. But shouldn't you also know how to make the best of the Newest World Order?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Post-Apocalyptic Dating Game!

Congratulations! You have beaten the odds and managed to make it to the "post" part of post-apocalyptic. Unfortunately, like most of the planet, your chosen mate has become less post and more past. Take some time to mourn, stay away from implements of self-destruction, and come to grips with your new status as a Single Survivor.

Not to rush you, but time is not exactly an abundant commodity. I hope you have come to grips with being single again because we need to get you back out there and dating! (BTW: if your ex is now a zombie, you cannot simply change your relationship status to “it’s complicated.” That's dangerous, dumb, and cheating.)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Apocalypse Training?

Every once in a while, a Survivor has to test her mettle. She must put herself in a situation that requires quick thinking, a reliance on instincts, and the ability to make a conscious decision about whether to fight or to run. She needs to prove to herself that she will survive The Big One.

Since most sports - all of the ones I can think of at any rate - are games of war, any one of them could help in this endeavor. They are about two sides fighting to be the winner. They run. They chase. They attack! By Gods, they defend themselves, their side, and each other!

But this is organized madness. It has rules and standards and reliable outcomes. Despite the look of the field and the state of some of the players after the match is won, there is relatively little danger here. Okay, yes, I know: even with helmets, football players get brain injuries when they hit their heads. (By the way, technically speaking, that goes for anyone who takes a good wallop to the head.) But the madness is on a clock and there are people around trying to ensure that no one gets really hurt.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I’ve got the pistol, so I’ll take the pesos.

The post-Apocalyptic world is going to suck kind of hard. Power grids will go down. There won’t be any Internet. When their fuel runs out, gas and diesel  powered vehicles will be useless except for as makeshift homes. Ironically, without power, the safety systems at power plants will fail: expect nuclear issues. Other bad stuff will surely follow!
From Travel Destination

This is not going to be a world in which living will be easy. Nor will it be one in which living without people who trust you is possible.

Yes, I understand that it will be a Dog Eat Dog existence. Ruthlessness may seem the only option. I will concede that - to some degree - this is true. As a kindness, it may be unavoidable. For example, if your best friend becomes Infected, destroying her brain or removing her head will be the best thing for both of you regardless of how ruthless and unkind it may feel at the time.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

OMG! The stress!!!!

From Write It Sideways
Big changes are overwhelming. Hell, sometimes they are terrifying beyond all reasonable comprehension. The Apocalypse, regardless of the form it takes, will be a big change.

An awfully big change.

Just thinking about how the world will change is a bucket of stress. Unfortunately, since it isn't the good kind of stress, it doesn't do anything other than wig you out. How in the name of Fluffy Bunnies can a girl combat that?

Easy: use small changes you can control and positive stress to prepare yourself for the End of Times. Well, at least to learn how to handle change well. Preparing for the End of Times will take a little more than what I've got in mind here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Caaaaaalm Down!

From Pam's Planet
Last night there was a fairly epic car accident outside my house. Only one car was involved (which was very lucky for the woman who happened to be driving there as well). I heard the screeching of suddenly braking tires just before the sound of the car hitting another object then the barrel sound of it rolling up the street. Not on its tires. Side over side!

I jumped up from my desk and ran to the window just in time to see the car roll out of sight. I threw some shoes on, ran downstairs and grabbed a jacket on my way out the door, and commanded my mother to call 9-1-1. I called over my shoulder on the way out the door, “Do it now! There is smoke coming from the car!”