No fun.

Well, congress voted and passed that deficit thing. I guess we don’t all get to enjoy the coming econopocalypse any time soon or soon enough. I was more than a little looking forward to it. Not that I’m ready for it, but then I’ve decided that there’s no such thing as ready for it.

I’ve been thinking, and yes this is on-topic for this blarg, about the coming civilizational failure. What form will it take? How long will it take once it’s begun? I looked back in my head a few short centuries ago to France and Spain after the fall of Rome for an example. There haven’t been too many Western societies that have really fallen apart in quite the same way so this is the only example I could find.

The Roman empire didn’t fall apart in one day. It rather trickled apart, piece by agonising piece, one little bit at a time, over the course of a couple of centuries. There never was any date you could definitively point to and say,¬† “this is the day that Rome fell.” It lost out one village at a time, one person at a time, one opinion at a time. It likely took decades for some people to realize that Rome just wasn’t Rome anymore, and that the Roman way of doing things was, well, still there. People didn’t wake up one day and say “hey guys, have you noticed that we aren’t Roman citizens anymore?” No, they went on about their business as usual for generations. Then business as usual gradually changed to not include Rome anymore.

Is that the way it’s going to be for us, too? Are we collapsniks planning for a future event that’s just not going to happen? Or rather, it’ll happen, but are we preparing for an event that’s going to putter along so slowly that it’s just not going to bring any satisfaction to anyone whatsoever? What’s different about us that we can do in one day what took the Roman empire a couple of centuries to accomplish, namely, to fall apart? Is oil and the lack of it going to do us in? Will we find a substitute in time before the world’s affordable oil reserves are used up? (Note that “affordable” is the operative word). Are we going to run out of money or will there be a revolution? I think nah on the revolution, there are too many people doing just barely well enough to keep that from going down… and besides, American culture is just too damned complacent to really get angry about anything not spelled out with crayons on the nightly news.

So. There. I think the worst-case collapse scenario is what’s going down. It’s gonna happen like Rome – too damned slow to be worth talking about at the time.

That means that there won’t be a free-for-all of exploration amongst the survivors to find the way of living that works best for them. We’ll all be thinking that everything’s fine and dandy and that things are just the way they are and that it’s useless to resist the status quo and that the way things sit now is the way they’re supposed to be and any deviation from it must be somehow antisocial and destructive.

But maybe I’m just angry. I dunno. Doesn’t matter.

I know I don’t have too many readers. But still I wonder if I’m not the only person out there longing to get out from in front of the computer and out into the real world. I know that the only way to do it is to do it, but I wonder if the best way to help the coming collapse along is to be a pioneer of it? Do like the hippies and drop out?Anyone who has done this before in history either¬† didn’t leave much behind, or if they did, we no longer have any record of it. It would be nice to have a guide.

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Oh can we, please?

Blah.

Could I assume I’m not the only one disappointed by this? Not only did the US not default, it set itself up for business as usual through 2013. I can’t be the only person who was genuinely looking forward to the impending collapse. I was feeling like a spectator in the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, watching the show from the edge, and rather hoping that we’d all go over so I could let go of the rails, lift my arms to the sky and yell “WWHHHEEE!!!!”

Perhaps I’ve become a tad cynical about the system that anyone reading this will find themselves born into. Perhaps. The first few months of a collapse would suck, but the rest – that might have been a different story. I say “might have been” because now we don’t get to take the ride over that edge. At least not now.

I have the feeling that the US running out of money would somehow make my inability to get financially ahead OK. Maybe I’m wrong on that, but my aversion to the capitalist dance is making me more and more nauseous as I get older. I’ve been increasingly drawn to gifting, simplification, and mutual support, as in a tribe.

Therefore I must care because this news means I don’t get to try it.


Forage!

Ok, I’ll admit I’ve been horrible about my posting frequency. I had hoped to do at least one a week, but when you’re in civ and have nothing to say relative to the stated topic of your blog you get a little lazy about it. That said…

I went on a forage walk with Green Deane from www.eattheweeds.com last Saturday. That was, in a word, awesome. I ate stuff I didn’t know was edible. For example, I ate American Elm, willow bark, some stuff that tasted exactly like horseradish, Wild Cucumber, Ilex Vomitoria, Saw Palmetto fruits, and a host of other things I can’t remember or identify just now. I will say that there are quite a few tasty things out there if one knows where to look.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

  • Wild Cucumber. Tastes just like the cultivated one in the grocery store, but is the size of a large jelly bean. They burst in your mouth like
    Fresh Burst chewing gum or a small tomato. Incredible. I’d have gathered a hatful in a heartbeat if there had been enough.
  • The horseradish-tasting seed. Good for a burst of flavor in an otherwise bland dish. Deane said it’s dried and ground and used like pepper, but we picked the seeds and munched them right there on the trail.
  • Ilex Vomitoria. It wasn’t the flavor that I liked, but that it contained caffeine and the fact that I had no trouble whatsoever keeping a small handful of the leaves down, nor did I get a jumpies like I can get on caffeine nowadays. I. Vomitoria did not live up to its name, thankfully!
  • Saw Palmetto fruit. It’s said that it tastes like “moldy cheese in tobacco water,” and “bleu cheese with Tabasco on it,” but apparently I taste things differently than some people. I didn’t taste anything like that at all – it wasn’t bad, in fact, it was a little tasteless for me.

If you’re in the Florida area or have watched any of Deane’s videos on youtube.com, I highly recommend taking a little walk.

One point of note which bothers me very much is the concept of owning anything and everything on a plot of land, especially otherwise unused land. The reason for this is that it makes many viable forage areas illegal to forage on. Yes, the plants thought of as weeds or garbage on that nearby unpolluted plot are in fact owned, and it’s illegal for you to gather them. It reminds me of the story of the food dancers in Daniel Quinn‘s My Ishmael. So much so that I have a sneaking hunch that this is exactly what he was talking about.

I’ll definitely be doing this walk again.


busy

I’ve been busy lately, but I haven’t been forgetting about the blog. Been thinking about what the next post should be about, and real life got in the way. Pesky thing. Maybe people’s bug-out bags? I recently went back home to the big D and found that only one of my oldest friends does NOT have a bag ready. I have a few opinions about the concept, though honestly more about the contents than anything else.

I keep seeing something that I’m finding a little disturbing: why are people packing so much? I’d like to hear the lists people are putting into them and what the rationale is for a lot of it. I’m personally of the opinion that I’d prefer not to have the bag at all as it’ll likely be filled with things I’ll find myself relying on – crutches, if you will. A few field guides and enough gas in the tank to get out of Dodge – or at least far enough away that the abandoned car won’t be found for a few hours – would suffice, I would think.

If there’s more than one reader, I’d love if they compared notes! Let’s see them comments!


funz

I went to the Knap-in. Was fun! I didn’t knock any rocks together myself, but I did buy an antler pressure flaker for $4. I couldn’t help it.. I picked it up and the way it was curved was a perfect fit in my hand, so it won the buy-me lottery.

A lot of the people seemed to be buddies with each other, which I kind of expected since it’s not the largest community in the world, but what I didn’t expect was the most talkative of the bunch seeming like carnies to me. Don’t get me wrong, they knew what they were doing with the prim skills, but wow I wouldn’t have trusted them any further than I could’ve thrown them. It’s plainly obvious when a person discounts you as you stand there. Kind of makes for strained conversation.

That was the down note. There were many ups! I attended a talk about Clovis hunting technology, which was fascinating, and I saw a lot of different things. One guy I watched shoot his (looked like) self-bow. He couldn’t hit the targets to save his rear, so he asked if he could shoot the fake bear that was out as a target. On THAT, however, he put three cane arrows into a 2-inch grouping where the heart of the animal should have been, and he did it in about 15 seconds from 20 or so yards away. I was impressed. I wish I could shoot like that, with such confidence, and watching the guy… he had a total hunter’s form when he shot, like his whole world fell away the moment before he loosed his shot. Was a sight to see.

In that same vein, I threw a set of three darts with an atlatl for the first time in my life. I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. I had some power behind those darts, though. All three would’ve killed whatever it was they’d hit… if only they’d hit what I was trying to aim at! Most people’s attempts flew off into the air or got caught in the backdrop meant to catch what us noobs couldn’t put in the right place. Mine, on the other hand, did no such thing. The first went to the right and low of the target and then slid out of the range completely underneath the bottom edge of the backdrop. My second was high and to the left… and went completely through the backdrop, and the third one went low and left and slid along the ground until it caught dirt and stuck out at a 45. But they flew straight! Straight into lala-land! Not my weapon of choice, haha.

The hide-scraping demo was cool, too. I got to dry-scrape part of a deer hide to remove the outer layer where the hair follicles stick. That was cool.

I also did get a tip on where to find florida coral stones and some chert to try knapping. I just have to make sure I grab it from outside of the island park!

Fun trip. I told the SO that she’s going next time.


Dirt Time

Well, I won’t be camping the knap-in but I’ll just be attending on the Saturday. The Significant Other ™ is having an allergy issue this year so I’ll be doing it alone. That’s ok. I’m basically looking to learn only a few things… what these rocks look like in the wild so that I can gather them, and what the most basic techniques are. That will get me something to chew on and it’s all I’ll really need. I was hoping to camp it but I won’t go nuts…. I’m going to be there for the knapping anyway.

In another note, I decided it’s high time I did something about the grocery store situation, and the fact that the price of gas is going up and up and up and will never again come down, thus driving up the price of food as well – I planted a wee box garden that won’t feed the whole world… won’t fee a single person, really, but will help with the gardening and plant confidence. In effect, I got some dirt time today! XD

Here’s a pic:

It’s not what my dad does, but I’m already proud of the start, as small as it is.


Awesome by-products.

I went to my second session for my cardiac rehab today. When I got out I realized something – I have better eyesight after the workout. Coincidence? Nah. I think it’s because I get the blood flowing more.

My goal is to get back to where I was when I was 18 or 19, only in better shape. People will say “oh, it can’t be done,” but I think they’re just defeatist BS-mongers. There is no way I’d survive without civilization in my current shape, so that’s how it ties in to this here blarg. I intend to be a parkour crazy-man before I skip out to the woods for any length of time. Of course, by that time there will be no more cardiac medication whatsoever. If I need aspirin, I’ll drink birch tea.