Thursday, April 7, 2016

We're All Gonna Die! (Unless You Read This Post)



Amazon Book Review: 100 Skills You'll Need for the End of the World (as We Know It)"We are all wired into a survival trip now." When Hunter Thompson wrote that near the end of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegashe was talking about the death of a certain version of the American Dream--in his case "that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil" by the generation of Peace, Love, and Understanding. That wave was doomed, of course, at least in its methods, leading to a moment of great uncertainty. What now, what next?

But beyond dreamers and deadbeats, he was onto something. We stand at a similar inflection point in our history, but we can't agree on what's inflecting or in which direction. Pick your poison: whether you TEOTWAWKI will come as Mass Extinction, Mass Surveillance, Economic Collapse, the Other Candidate, or just the Others, we know our personal apocalypse approaches, and we prepare accordingly. As the Good Doctor also wrote, there is no force "tending the light at the end of the tunnel." We are on our own.

In hindsight, the end of the world will be banal and obvious. There will be no  "zombie apocalypse"; the undead simply serve as useful metaphors for anxieties listed above. (And face it: You would not suddenly discover within yourself a bad-ass, machete-whirling death dealer, nor would you ever. Your LARPing skills will not translate.) So it's down to this: You are going to need some basic skills. Here's what to read before the stuff goes down. 

 

Skills & Preparation

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SAS Survival Handbook, Third Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere by John 'Lofty' Wiseman
I'm sorry for what I said about your LARPing skills. Still, it's true, and this classic book--written by a former instructor for Britain's elite Special Air Service--contains essential survival information for everyone from Bear Grylls to the Boy Scouts.
 

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100 Skills You'll Need for the End of the World (as We Know It) Ana Maria Spagna
Maybe it won't be all bad. Maybe the apocalypse just means that we'll have more time to explore our artisanal selves: more time for daydreaming, cairn building, cheesemaking, home childbirth, and whittling. I've always meant to learn to play harmonica.
 

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Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival by Dave Canterbury
I'm not saying that you'll have to move to the woods and learn to do everything by yourself with just a hatchet and a fire steel, but you'll have to move to the woods and learn to do everything by yourself with just a hatchet and a fire steel.
 

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Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit by Creek Stewart
Pack a bag, kids--we're going for a walk! Seriously, a bag packed with essential gear, clothes, and food is a good idea for apocalyptic and non-apocalyptic emergency scenarios alike. I have two.
 

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Visual Guide to Lock Picking (Third Edition) by Mark McCloud
So you're either a certified, licensed locksmith or public safety officer, one meeting all the legal requirements for purchasing lock-picking tools, right? Good! Lock-picking will prove to be a valuable skill in the Apocalyptic Era when you've locked yourself out of your house and all the other locksmiths are busy.
 

Food & Drink

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Eat Grub: The Ultimate Insect Cookbook by Shami Radia and Neil Whippey
When it's down to just us and the cockroaches, what do you want to eat?
 
That's what I thought. Try this sample recipe.
 
 

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Mastering Homebrew: The Complete Guide to Brewing Delicious Beer by Randy Mosher
Forget Cheers, or any other place where everybody knows your name. In the apocalyptic future, nobody knows your name, and if they do, they're not going to offer up a cold one anytime soon. So brew your own, as they say. Not only will it slake a scavenger's thirst, homebrew is bartering gold on a dry planet, along with knives. Stock up on knives.
 

Advanced Study

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The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Just after Literature & Fiction, Amazon categorizes McCarthy's Chernobyl-bleak post-nuclear holocaust novel as Reference/Reference and Test Preparation. I could not have made this up.
 

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Desperate Passage: The Donner Party's Perilous Journey West by Ethan Rarick
Lots of things are bound to change, and you may have to open your mind to new ways of thinking. Or maybe the thought of eating cockroaches is just too much.
 

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Mixed-Breed Dogs (Animal Planet Pet Care Library) by Lexiann Grant
Per Wikipedia, Here's Boomer was an early-80s show about a vagabond dog "that traveled around helping people in trouble." Wikipedia also describes the animal as a "four-year-old mixed-breed dog named Johnny." During the apocalypse, and probably for a while after, people are going to be in trouble, and this book about mixed-breed dogs should tell you what Boomer would have done. This is important, because Boomer is almost certainly dead by now.
 

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