Revelation (Daily Prompt)

Today’s Daily Prompt is: Revelation.

Now this, this is a prompt I can get behind. Revelation, I can dig it. You’ve got your whole Biblical thing if you choose to go that way, or personal revelations aplenty, or political stuff to choose from. I don’t believe in the Bible, obviously–rather, I should say I don’t believe it’s divinely inspired–but Revelation is an interesting book. I’ve always been fascinated by apocalyptic stuff. I don’t know why. I think the apocalypse is necessary so humanity can take the next big leap forward. Of course, whether humanity would survive at all depends on the kind of apocalypse we’re talking about. If we nuke ourselves to death, well, I guess that’s our final chapter. But if we have a pandemic or a big solar flare or something, then humanity’s future is very much an open question.

Right now, as it stands, there is very little natural selection going on with humanity. We’ve gotten so good at survival that we just don’t get eaten by tigers anymore. With our complex civilizations and their social safety nets, just about everybody survives until breeding age, and then most people breed. Now, I’m not a social Darwinist, but I have to admit we’re watering down our own gene pool. In an optimal society, you’d want the people with the best traits breeding the most, while people with less desirable traits breed the least. Now, we could argue about the traits for days, what’s desirable and what’s not, and again I’m not advocating anything specifically aimed at any particular group, but if there were an apocalypse of the survivable kind, then I believe that natural selection would start kicking in again. People who survive the apocalypse are going to be intelligent, socially adept creatures. They may also be violent and cruel. Many of them may be sociopaths. It all depends on what the apocalypse is and how the story of the survivors plays out. If it goes the right way, though, we could be looking at humanity’s next big leap forward, genetically speaking. Instead of an average IQ of 100, maybe after the apocalypse and the resulting rebuilding of society the average IQ is like 140. Maybe the people who survive are adept at consensus building and growing communities in a sustainable way. Then again, maybe they’re like Negan from The Walking Dead–violent sociopaths who kill to survive. I would expect to find a mix, depending on the manner of the apocalypse.

That’s what fascinates me about post-apocalyptic fiction. I want to see how things get rebuilt. I want to see what kind of society comes out on the other side. It could be brutal and terrible, but it could be great. It could be just what we need for humanity to start fulfilling its full potential. It won’t be great for me personally–I’m not positioned to survive any kind of apocalypse, really–but it could end up being a good thing for humanity.

I kind of expect some kind of apocalypse to happen in my lifetime. It seems like we’re pushing up against all sorts of Earth’s natural limits. I don’t know how much more overpopulated we can get before there has to be some kind of reckoning. Of course, the apocalypse may not happen all at once–it could be a gradual decay, as climate change and energy depletion and resource wars all take their toll. I personally would vote for a more sudden apocalypse, like a pandemic or an EMP, that would be more likely to bring about the downfall of the existing power structures. In a slow decay, the power structure will do everything it can to stay in power, likely at great cost to the survivors. Better to start fresh.

I am taking a few common sense steps to prepare for a calamity, although it’s more in preparation for a Cascadia earthquake or a big ice storm than it is for something worldwide. For my birthday I am getting a solar-powered, hand-cranked radio (you can check it out here) and a Lifestraw. We have a river less than 100 yards from our building, and with a Lifestraw my wife and I will be set for clean water for quite a while if something should happen to our running water, as it could in a big earthquake. I’m slowly building a little stockpile of food–I’d like enough to last us two weeks. I figure if things aren’t getting better in a couple of weeks then we’re really in trouble. We don’t have the money or the space to plunk down five years’ worth of MREs. So I’m preparing for a small-A apocalypse, but if the big-A Apocalypse comes, then we’re rolling the dice with everybody else.

Well, my wife’s awake, so I’m going to end it here. Thanks for reading. =)

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Survive (Daily Prompt)

Today’s Daily Prompt is: Survive.

 

 

In my mind, there are two forms of survival: ordinary, day-to-day survival, as in keeping a roof over your head, food on the table, and gas in the car, and then apocalyptic survival, where you are trying to survive some calamity, whether it be a major earthquake or a worldwide pandemic disease.

I worry enough about day-to-day survival, and because of my dire financial situation, I can’t make many preparations for calamities. A few gallons of water and a dozen cans of Spaghettios are, so far, the whole of my disaster preparations. I can’t really do much better because I can’t afford to. But for those of you who CAN afford to do more, I would advise you check out a blog called The Automatic Earth. It’s a huge blog and a bit intimidating. I would start with the following two posts: The Automatic Earth Primer Guide 2017 and How to Build a Lifeboat. Those posts will get you up to speed on what you need to know and what you can do about it.

Now, I’ve followed TAE for quite some time, and thus far, the financial system hasn’t collapsed (as they predict it will). But there is no doubt that we are in another giant bubble that is just waiting to burst, and the banks are even bigger than they were in 2008. I doubt the ability of our government, particularly with the idiots currently in charge, to be able to “save” the financial system again like they did in 2008. If you trust Trump and the zealots in Congress to handle another, bigger worldwide financial collapse, then brother, best of luck to you. The rest of you, check out TAE. I can’t spend a lot of time on there because worrying about the end of civilization is another big trigger for me. I worry about day-to-day survival enough that I don’t need to worry about the apocalypse too–it’s just too much and there’s nothing I can do about it anyway. But I feel the apocalyptic fears even if I don’t think about them much. I feel like a rabbit caught out in the open who can’t go to ground. There is no safe harbor for me, but for you, dear reader, there may be something you can do to protect yourself.

Just writing this much about survival is starting to trigger me, so I’m going to stop here. Thanks for reading. =)

 

Probation Officers, Survival and etc.

I can’t seem to find a Daily Prompt that I like, and I can’t think of a topic to fill an entire post, so let’s just do some stream-of-consciousness stuff around a few topics and see what happens. I got up early on a Sunday to write in this damn blog, so I’m gonna come up with something.

I saw my PO (probation officer) on Friday, and I’ve got to start paying $25 more a month in restitution. I owe over $30k in restitution for the crime I committed, which is probably more than I’ll ever be able to pay. That extra $25 a month is going to hurt. We already barely make ends meet at the end of a month, so we’re going to have to tighten our belts a little and squeeze by. It won’t be fun, but we can do it.

Financially, we’re in a bit of a mess. We owe $75k in student loans that we’re in default on and will probably never pay, then there’s the $35k in restitution. To put it in perspective, we live on $735 a month. If I get my disability, we’ll probably bring in more than double that $735, but our rent will go up, our food stamps will go down, and I’ll have to pay $150 a month in restitution instead of $75. So even me getting my disability won’t be a real game-changer for us. I worry a lot about money and about what Trump budget cuts might do to the programs we rely on to help us get by.

In other news, my PO actually drug tested me for the first time in like a year. I was clean, of course. I’d so like to smoke some pot that it’s not funny, but my paranoia would kick in. If I actually smoked some herb, I’d convince myself that I’d get drug tested again and turn up positive. So far I’ve done everything right on probation, and I don’t want to change that. I’ve got a year and a half left and I just want it to go by as smoothly and hassle-free as possible. I can smoke pot when I’m done with probation.

The PO also wants me to be getting in more “social” activities. I’m a homebody and a loner by nature, and their little computer programs tell them that loners are more likely to reoffend, so they always want you to be doing something “pro-social”. So I told the PO I would look into starting to go to the local chess club. That seemed to satisfy him and it’s something I’ve been thinking about doing anyway. I haven’t played serious chess in a long time, and I’m not averse to the idea of picking it up again. I haven’t looked into where the chess club is or when it meets, but there’s a big university right up the road from me, so I’m sure they have a chess club. Chess seems to have taken a nosedive since I played, but there’s gotta be a few nerds out there who still play.

You always hear criminals complaining about their POs, but I have no real complaints about mine. He’s very by-the-book, but he’s always been pleasant to me. To hear most felons tell it, POs are always trying to get you locked back up, but in my opinion that’s just because the average criminal is too stupid to stay clean and do what they’re supposed to do to stay out of prison. On the prison unit I was on, three separate guys got out and came back during the time I was there. It’s always drugs. They just can’t stay clean. Now, they’re probably addicted to something heavier than pot, and I know addiction is a disease and yadda yadda ya, but damn! Going back to prison for shooting up some heroin or snorting some meth or whatever, that’s a hardcore addict there. I’m glad I don’t have that problem.

One problem I do have is that I’m wanting alcohol in the evening nearly every day lately. I think it’s just because I’m so bored, but it’s still not a good habit to get into. I’m not an alcoholic, and I don’t want to become one. Plus, we can’t afford to be buying booze every day. It takes a lot to get me drunk, so it gets expensive quick even though I drink the cheapest stuff I can find. Well, not the ABSOLUTE cheapest–that stuff is undrinkable–but close enough.

Changing topics, I made a first effort at disaster prepping the other day. We picked up a dozen cans of Spaghettios at the store, and I’m keeping them in our storage closet. We have a few gallons of drinking water, but didn’t have anything to eat. Everything in our apartment is electric, so if the power goes out we have no way to cook anything. Spaghettios, at least, you can eat right out of the can. I’m going to add some peanut butter and trail mix and other things to the disaster kit. I’m not a doomsday prepper, basically because I don’t have the money to afford it, but I do want us to be ready if there’s a big earthquake or an ice storm or something and the power goes out for a while. I need to make a list of stuff we need. We’ve got a couple flashlights, but we don’t have extra batteries, etc., stuff like that. We’re in a bad way if the shit really hits the fan, and I’d be sitting on a bunker with ten years’ worth of food if I could be, but that’s not my fate unless I hit the lottery that I never play. If society collapses entirely, through nuclear war or meteor strike or what have you, we’re probably not going to make it. But maybe that’s for the best–I’m not sure I want to survive some things, like a nuclear war. The world is dog-eat-dog enough as it is, and though I love post-apocalyptic fiction, I’m not sure I actually want to live it. But the least I can do is get us ready for an earthquake–we’re overdue for the Big One to happen. I worry about the structural integrity of our building if it’s a really big quake–our building was built in the 1960s–but I just have to take it on faith that the building holds up to the quake. I guess if it doesn’t, all other survival prep is moot anyway. There’s no way you can get ready for every eventuality–not without spending a small fortune.

I don’t really see the world ending in a nuclear war, although it’s certainly possible, particularly with the orange gorilla in charge. I see it more as a series of die-offs as various things fail. Everything from financial collapse to energy shortages to climate change and disruptions in the food supply is fair game to happen. I just hope it doesn’t happen in my (or my wife’s) lifetime. I triggered myself the other day by reading The Automatic Earth and realizing just how unprepared I am. What’s worse, there’s no real way I can GET prepared. I just don’t have the money. It’s something I just have to try to avoid thinking about, because I’ll just worry myself for no good reason. If the shit hits the fan, we’re in trouble. But the world hasn’t ended yet, and maybe it can keep wobbling around the sun for another 30 years before things really start to go to hell. Here’s hoping.

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading. =)