wOct 11, 2009

Book Reports: I inherit my father's paranoia

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
If you read The Knife of Never Letting Go, then you know it's literally impossible to share any details of this book without giving hardcore spoilers.

I will only say: WOW! I liked this more than the first book; it hit lots of my bits. My prediction would be that not as many people would like this book as the first one.

Preparedness Now! by Aton Edwards

This book was intense. The man has prepared kits in his office, his house, and his car containing everything from collapsible bicycles to dust masks. This book explains how to dig latrines, and how to safely and odorlessly take care of business in your own home if your toilet isn't working. He recommends keeping an emergency food pantry, but also recommends not telling your neighbors about it, so they don't kill you or your children. He's a little overzealous, but I can't deny the fact that if shit went down, this dude would be alive, and I would want him on my team.

The first chapter is spent outlining all of the terrible things that could happen for which most people never prepare in advance: terrorist attacks, natural disasters, power shut-downs, etc. The author focused on 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.

Now, my father is a pretty paranoid man. Since birth, I have almost constantly been warned of imminent death, and told to figure stuff out for myself. Despite this aspect of my upbringing, I was kind of blown away by the intensity of the author, who is also pretty arrogant. In his chapter on fitness, he tosses in a random aside, that he used to run to school, and all the kids on the bus would look at him excitedly out the window.

His chapter on physical fitness was pretty messed up as well. He feels that people who are predisposed to weight gain simply need to work harder - everyone can be the "right size" if they just work HARD ENOUGH! He also says that if anyone tells you the reader that you have an eating disorder, then that person is just being mean, and eating disorders don't exist. WAY TO BE, BUDDY.

The chapter on weaponry would probably freak most people out, but considering the arsenal amassed in our basement by my father, which contains everything from guns to crossbows to blowguns, I wasn't too perturbed.

While the author is a tool, reading the book got me thinking about how prepared I would be for the unexpected. I'll be proud for a moment and say that I'm pretty good at keeping my head in a crisis, and I know a lot of smart people within walking distance of my apartment, so I'm not too worried. Still, there is a collection of objects that could be going on.
I live in an efficiency apartment, so I'm giving myself a pass on not having gallons of water stored away just in case. Still, there are other things I could do. I don't think that I would even last very long in a power outage - all I have are scented candles. I also don't have a very well-stocked First Aid kit. All that's in it are a package of Band-Aids and some Tums.

I'd like to stock both my car and my apartment with a few things I might need, in the event of an emergency. I keep a spare tire, spare oil, spare windshield fluid, hand sanitizer, and a snow shovel in the trunk of my car. But despite the fact that I frequently travel in my car alone, I never store any extra food in it. If my car broke down in the middle of the woods on my way Up North where I get no cell phone reception, I would be totally screwed!

Stuff I gathered from around the apartment so far, to put in an easy-to-find place:
Swiss-Army knife
Hand sanitizer
mini-flashlight on a keychain
paper [in case you need to write down directions or locations, etc.]
pencil [The dude in the book recommends pens, but ink freezes in cold weather! Apparently he doesn't think of everything after all.]

Things I Could Look into Acquiring
Misc. hygiene items - toothbrush, etc. in travel size
flashlight [Does not need to be ultra!flashlight that costs more than $100, as described in the book]
energy bars/foods
Whistle [Voices fail in inclement weather/exhaustion]
A lighter, perhaps some matches in a water-proof container
Some long-burning candles
Moist towelettes
A watch that actually works
Hand-crank lamp
Hand-crank radio
Tablets for drinking water
Bandages/more substantial stuff for First Aid kit

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scribbled mystickeeper at 9:17 AM

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