Monday, March 19, 2012

Plan your Apocalypse

So I was thinking about Encyclopedia Britanica stopping their PRINT versions (in the news last week)... and it got me thinking about the Apocalypse... Oh, I know. It doesn't take much to get me to thinking about the Apocalypse. Though for newbies, let me clarify, this isn't a religious thing... it is a GIGANTIC world shift caused by natural disaster (meteor), unnatural disaster (nuclear war) or plague.  In ALL cases though, I see an interruption in... you guessed it... THE INTERNET!

So if the most recently printed manuals of how to DO STUFF in most people's homes are... you know... ancient... (My own set of encyclopedias is dated 1974), because we are all counting on just looking it up online when we need something, then how the heck do we figure out what we need to know in an age of no more stores, no more printed reference materials and NO MORE INTERNET!?

When that disaster strikes, chances are all communication goes. It WOULDN'T if we still had those ground lines linked place to place... those require no power. We could talk on THOSE, but the new system is not a HARD system.

There would be simple radio waves... walkie-talkies, Ham radios. Although that Ham needs power, so could only work with a generator. Still, I am a granddaughter of a Ham radio operator who talked to people all over the world and I have great faith in that system, were the other ones to fail, as the mechanics of it are simpler.

So if all this internet stuff disappears with that meteor hit or nuclear strike, or large enough epidemic that the population is decimated, what do you NEED? What is that crucial information you maybe should have in a hard copy?

Here are the things I would want handy:

Simple motor. (repairing, but ideally, also making)  I would like to be able to do some basic repairs for say... a really old pick-up or lawn mower. Jericho (the TV show) had a power surge that knocked out anything with an electronic chip, so the only watches that worked were the old fashion quartz, the cars with computerized panels seized, NOTHING digital worked. So the old cars became the only ones they could work.

Plant guide for naturally growing stuff. Talk about a time it would be nice to know how to eat off the land. There are some edible tubers (bulbs) and distinguishing which berries and mushrooms are safe would be very helpful.

A nice list of crucial minerals and such. Like I know they put iodine in salt because we need just a little. Same reason they put vitamin D in milk. Sources of the things we need would be good to know.

What would I DO if this happened?

Well honestly, it would depend a little what was 'out there'. All the shows based on an Apocalypse make travel look pretty darned dangerous. But my concern is where I live is very densely populated, so resources would grow scarce very fast. My instinct is I would head west (probably by going north first--maneuvering through Chicago is not even a little appealing under these circumstances--better to get up to highway 2 and cross—try to get to where my family is in Idaho. There are fewer people there to try to live off more space, and while northern Idaho is infamous for its militia-minded people, I grew up here. I don't believe these people are generally hostile, they are just anti-government. They are not the sort to move out and steal from neighbors. They are more the type who just feel justified defending their own lands through any means necessary. And I don't believe, if there were a large-scale population wipe-out, that I would have any need to try to take anything from anyone who was still around.

What about you? What instructions are you now thinking of printing up? Where would you go?

Side note for the curious:  The motherboard on my laptop is dead and the cost to replace is almost that of a new computer. I decided to have them pull the hard drive and I am currently using it as an external hard drive for my desk top... something that is only a short term fix, but for now, will work.  So I'm back, but limping a little, probably until summer.


Ted Cross said...

So many great stories to write about post-cataclysmic life, and so little time...

L. Diane Wolfe said...

We're prepared for a hurricane but not the apocalypse. We live near an AF base, so if there was ever a big war, we figured we'd be blown up anyway.

Siv Maria said...

Zombie Guide to Survival is all you need :)

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

I think about this too, and there is so much to do; stocking up takes time and money but we've gotta do it. Save those old phone books for tp! I also have things ready to make for trade or barter, and have been printing things off the internet for years. Just in case, I am working on printing off my favorite blog posts and family stories in case we lose the internet without a cataclysmic world disaster (just cyber attack) I made a blog a few years ago with a lot of links to living a self-sufficient life, and just try to imagine what it was like in the old days. The movie The Postman fascinates me too. We live in a good spot and are working on getting an old pickup.

I really like this post, Hart.

Colene Murphy said...

HAHA! I'm so glad other people think about stuff like that. Makes me feel less crazy. But you're so right! What will we do when all our EVERYTHING is online and all that shuts down? We're boned. Especially with the way kids aren't learning to spell and add and crap on their own anymore. Oh God, I have no faith in our future generations should technology fail us...but that's a whole other tangent.

Anonymous said...

I have several apocalypse plans, all different depending on the situation/root cause. Some of those packs are put together. One of the plans involves highjacking a school bus from the parking lot of the school across the street and hitting the Army depot 3 miles away. I didn't say it was a good plan...

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

i love how brittanica going digital made you worry about all of this. :)

now that's the mind of an author.

Cold As Heaven said...

Not sure what I would prefer in the worst case; trying to rescue my stuff stored on electronic media, or boxes with tons of paper. If everything in society breaks down we would probably be back to basic need anyway; finding water and something to eat. I would probably move up to my fathers cabin in the mountains, to fish and hunt. And there is an old encyclopedia, printed in 1963, in the bookshelf >:)

Cold As Heaven

LTM said...

It's so funny that you're posting about this. I wasn't thinking about the Apocalypse, per se, but I'm often thinking about survival techniques and how bad I am at them and how I'll totally die if ever put in these situations.

We DO have a plan, though. My dad came up with it, but now it's like 12 hours away by car/interstate. So hopefully we'll still be able to drive, or rut roh... :D <3

Creepy Query Girl said...

Yes, I've thought about this before and yes, the shit would definitely hitteth the fan if the internet were to go down forever. I think I'd whole up in a library. Maybe build a bunker beneath it filled with canned goods...;)

Hart Johnson said...

Ha! Great ideas!

Ted-I've got two specific books already sort of plotted/started--very different in focus.

Diane-you're probably right on War, but there are all those OTHER Apocalypses!

Siv-I will have to look at that!

Kathy-WOW--you really HAVE thought about it! Great stuff!

Colene-it's true--you can't have a conversation with a teen unless it is by text!

Joshua-you made me fall out of my chair! School bus. *snort*

Vic-Yeah... sort of how we roll, eh?

CaH-that is sort of what is in my head, too--there is a place my grandparents had a cabin--fishing right there, close to some berry picking. Only problem is not much sun for a garden.

Leigh-Oh, you can be handy. Get your girls enrolled in girl scouts and learn as they do.

Katie-definitely a good option--reminds me of the movie The Day After.

Old Kitty said...

I must have a cookery book! A how to make simple cocktails and... a how to make a toilet but most importantly I must have the Essential Guide to NAKEDness! Ahem!

p.s. I used to work in a library where my manager was adamant that if we were ever going to save anything from the library if it goes up in flames - it's the reference section - i.e. dictionaries, thesaurus (what the plural?), encyclopaedias, registers!!
Take care

Johanna Garth said...

OMG! When are you and I going to be able to have a drink and talk about our survivalist plans? I can obsess about this kind of stuff for entire weeks at a time!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The Internet goes down, I'm screwed!

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

In apocalypse, zombies would just eat me. Therefore I need nothing. You could go on without me Hart, and I would distract the zombies while you got away.

Clarissa Draper said...

Without internet!? We all might as well be dead!

Well, after going through a hurricane, my husband bought a generator and so that's helpful. Also we have a few cans of food laying around. Yes, that plant book would be handy. Thanks goodness my son has one.

Helena said...

The closest I've come to preparing for a catastrophe is just getting through a 24-hour blackout (candles, water, flashlights, etc.). If it's a short-term apocalypse, maybe I'd help arrange a block party where everyone brings formerly frozen meat for a mass barbecue 'cause it's gonna go bad if you don't eat it fast. But a long-term apocalypse? Maybe head for the mountains like everyone else in Colorado and try to live off the land. But buy a gun or bow first so I can shoot the zombies and vampires.

Anonymous said...

Good points. I'm a total Apocalypse slacker. I don't know what I'd do, I'm not prepared. Agghh! Guess I'd better channel this frustration into my writing.


Sarah Ahiers said...

we have a book that's all about gardening to, more or less, see you through an apocy. I mean, it's not titled that, but it tells you how much land and how to handle it so you can more or less live completely off it.
Slightly OT - i just read Awakened by David John Wellman which is all about a meteor apocy. I really enjouyed it. Maybe check it out if you think it's your cup o tea