Live Like You Mean It / The 80/20 rule and #preppernormal

In the News: Wheat Crop going to be way down this year.

Failed States Updates: Haiti

Bad Luck

Robert Heinlein, science fiction novelist and philosopher, noted this about civilization: “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as “bad luck.””

Call me a conspiracist if you like, but there are forces in the world, often at the highest levels of government and business, that seem to desire to make folks’ lives worse. Oh, they won’t put it that way, of course. They usually do it under the guise of ‘helping’ the poor or underprivileged or some other disadvantaged group, or the environment. But mostly they hurt everyone except for themselves and the cadre of people who have the wealth and influence to avoid the problems and inconveniences caused by their disastrous policies. See one of my favorite articles: ‘How the Government Ruined Gas Cans‘. (I finally found these metal gas cans that I’ve bought a few times, but they cost $50 more now than the first one I bought 3 years ago. I’m now testing these Jerry-style cans…I definitely like the open spout for filling better, but we’ll see if they are as resilient.) In any case, I’ve bought and thrown out hundreds of dollars of crappy red government-mandated gas cans. I’ve had them explode, I’ve had the nozzles fail after 3 uses, and I’ve spilled more gasoline with them than I ever have with a real gas can. I’ve poked holes in them so they vent properly, which is stupid and dangerous, but they are so miserably frustrating. They are an utter waste of money because someone in some room, somewhere, thought that fixing something that wasn’t broken was the most important thing to do today (gas stoves anyone?). And then the fix ended up making things worse.

Another example…a blogger I read has often quipped: “I’ll believe its a crisis when the people telling me its a crisis start acting like its a crisis.” If the people who want me to be worried about the climate really believed it, I mean deep down in their bones, wouldn’t they act differently? I see lots of people who say that the changing climate is the most dangerous thing in the world…who simply don’t act as if that’s true.

How many politicians and celebrities buy million-dollar property on the beach? In the same breath they also tell us the seas are rising and our cities are going to be under water. As a normal human being, if I really, really believed the seas were rising, I’d move to Oklahoma, not spend $40mm on a house that might be gone in 20 years. These are people who don’t practice what they preach. If I really, really believed that carbon was the enemy and that enemy was killing people, would I fly up the coast every time I wanted a cheeseburger or cup of coffee? No, of course not, because that would be immoral. But there are ‘environmentally conscious’ celebs who make that choice every day. If I really believed the world was ending and CO2 was the cause, I wouldn’t own 10 properties using 1000 times as much energy as that yokel from Tennessee working minimum wage and hoping his 40 year old truck makes it home from work. Yes, if someone sanctimoniously preaches to us, the unwashed masses, that our F-150s use too much gas, while flying regularly by private jet, they need to just shut up. But they don’t. And so I have no choice but to extrapolate they don’t actually believe what they are saying. And if they don’t, should I? Worse, I get the sense that their policies hurting those on the bottom more than on the top is a feature, not a bug.

A little thought experiment: imagine where virtual reality and our internet infrastructure would be if instead of politicians, CEO’s and celebrities generating bazillions of tons of carbon and spending tens of billions of dollars traveling to and from climate conferences for the last 30 years if we had poured all of that money into the software, hardware, and communications delivery to make teleconferencing perfect. Now, please see what I am trying to do here…I am not talking about whether a changing climate is good or bad, that’s the not the point of this discussion (plus I’ve always tried to avoid being super-political on this blog, I guess until today!). Nor am I saying all regulation is bad (though much of it is). I am saying that if all of these people believed what they were saying, they would act differently. I am saying that we should measure whether policies are successful or not before we continue them or enact more. If we had poured the same money into virtual spaces (so that we could all get together virtually) that we did into political junkets, we’d have full-body VR and advanced Augmented Reality work-spaces already. So that tells me the reason for all of these conferences is more about flying around feeling fancy and engaging in graft than it is about solving an actual problem.

What does this have to do with prepping and the 80/20 rule?

It used to be that I prepped for some of the more unlikely scenarios (EMP and total societal collapse type scenarios). Today, a big part of my prepping is due to the conscious choices businesses (potential harms of AI, censorship, blacklisting, taking away banking privileges) and government (choices on crime, criminalization of energy and policies that rob money of value, excessive regulation that makes running a business harder and more cumbersome) make. Now, these kinds of feelings don’t really matter who is in charge…many on both the political left and right feel the other is out to get them…so prepping makes plenty of sense no matter who you are.

Prepping via the 80/20 rule means that I am looking to get a large value (the 80) for a small output of effort (the 20). Now remember, I’ve also embraced my #preppernormal, which says that while I recognize that an ‘all-in’ survival lifestyle means in an actual EOTW scenario one will have a better shot, its not for me. I’m also at a point where I see far more ‘non-EOTW’ scenarios where prepping will come in handy.

So going back to the origins of this blog, what does that look like? It means Food, Water, Shelter, Light and Fire. Food and water first, because they are the most useful in far more situations than having a fire-steel and knowing how to use it, for example.

Food and water keeps folks alive, so that is a big +1. Food regularly gets more expensive, so the 2019 expiration soup and mac and cheese that I just finished (and didn’t die) cost me less than $.50 a meal. Food helps feed hungry people in our community. Having lots on hand means my daughters always have cans to bring to a food bank, and we can always give a box of food to a friend who is out of work (this was done less than a week ago). Food in a SHTF will be worth its weight in gold, and that’s just the icing on the cake.

My advice on food hasn’t changed in about 9 years, so I think it’s pretty solid. Store as much food as you will eat in the time period the shelf life allows. That’s a mouthful, so here’s what that means. My wife and I eat 2 cans of soup per month. Soup has a shelf life of 2 years (its way longer than that, as I just mentioned, but we’re going to pretend the FDA knows what its talking about). 4 cans x 24 months. We should have 96 cans of soup in our storage. And we only replenish some of that 96 as we eat it when its on sale. So in 2 years, when my soup is $4/can, I’ve paid $1.50 on sale today. We eat a jar of peanut butter per month…it has a 1 year shelf life. Hence, our storage should have 12 jars. Do this for all of your shelf-stable foods and snacks, and you’ll have a ton of food you actually eat and know how to prepare. And you won’t generally have to discard any of it due to expiration. Of course this is limited to your storage space, which luckily is not one of our challenges (we have plenty of others though!).

Only after you have done the above should you consider storing ‘prepper foods’ such as dry goods in bulk (rice, beans, wheat, oats, pasta), investing in a freeze dryer (unless you just like freeze dried foods!), or ordering long term foods from a food storage company. If you do get to this stage (and being #preppernormal, if you don’t, that’s OK!!), head on over for the absolute best-in-class products to help you on your way.

One of the reasons I preach food storage first is that the more folks that have some basic preps like food, the less they’ll need to be out looting or raiding in the event of some kind of a scenario. If our entire society had 60 days of food at home, then any particular disaster, personal or otherwise, becomes less dangerous. It creates a resilience that is relatively simple to accomplish, and unlike training skills and learning to prepare a salad from grubs, it doesn’t really require much motivation either.

Love y’all, maybe back to AI next time!

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06 2023

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