#38 Blend in

February 7, 2009

When the cataclysm hits and marauding bands of your unprepared neighbors tear through the ‘hood looking for a bite to eat and some fresh water, your ability to stand out in a crowd will be definite disadvantage.

Note how this wily crayon cleverly blends into its surroundings

Note how this wily crayon cleverly blends into its surroundings

You’ve cultivated your own personal style and developed strategies to draw attention to how you are completely unique in the world. That’s the American way, after all – rugged individualism in the search engine optimized era.

After the global climate change cataclysm, though, you won’t want to show up on your hungry neighbors’ armed analog equivalent of a Google search for “local food.”

To the contrary, you’ll want to blend in and not be noticed. You’ll want people to pass you right by without seeing your well-stocked cataclysm kit.

Get started now. Start taking note of those background people in your life. You know – the invisible ones you don’t usually see. Study their habits of dress, behavior and driving habits.  They have a lot to teach, and you have a lot of bad habits to lose if you’re going to go unnoticed and survive after the cataclysm.

Crayon photo by EJP. Click to see more camoflaged crayons.

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What else can you do with locally-grown veggies?

November 21, 2008

After the cataclysm, we’ll all have to find unexpected uses for familiar things after the cataclysm. The Vienna Vegetable Orchestra is already prepared:

Just be prepared – the veggies that grow in your ‘hood today may not grow there post-cataclysm. For related info to help you create your own veggie music, check out tips #8, #18 and #22.

Thank you, Cheryl, for posting the link!


The official blog52 status update

November 20, 2008

Regular readers of blog52 will have noticed I’ve been doing a Brownie-style heckuva job lately preparing you for the coming global climate change cataclysm. This is week 47, and I’m only up to tip #36. I never call, I never write, I know.

Apology by Jshei

Apology by Jshei

Let’s see, what can I blame?

First there was the sudden realization in Washington, DC, that we’re in the middle of an economic cataclysm. They gave $700 billion to some executive from Goldman Sachs to take care of it, so at least that problem’s solved. But it did distract me for a few days.

Then there was that pesky election thing that had me up late, biting my nails and clicking back to HuffPost compulsively to see the latest poll numbers from North Carolina.

For a few days afterward I was so full of hope that I couldn’t even imagine the cataclysm. Then the fires broke out in Southern California and of all people it was Arnold Schwarzenegger who reminded us about climate change and what a mess it’s making for everyone.

On a more personal note, the hand crank on my wind-up radio broke, which really threw me off my cataclysm workout. Then, this morning, I’ve had to break down and admit that those radishes I planted just aren’t going to get any fatter no matter how long I leave them in their container.

Well I’m back to business now. I promised 52 tips for surviving the climate change cataclysm, and like it or not, you’re going to get them. Plus 52 podcasts of those tips, with music from 52 fabulous artists. It’s just going to take more than 52 weeks to get there.

Stick with me, and we might just survive the cataclysm yet. In fact, if you have any suggestions on how to survive, send them along. I’ve got a sweet sixteen more to go.

Cartoon: fan art by Jshei on Super Mega Comics


#35 Buy an old cookbook

October 13, 2008

If your favorite cookbook doesn’t include instructions on how to dress and cook a squirrel, it’s not going to be much use after the global climate change cataclysm.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Cooking is cultural, sociological, environmental and historical. What we cook depends on what’s available in our local grocery store or market. As globalization and international trade have grown exponentially in recent years, we’ve grown used to seeing ingredients from around the world on local grocery shelves, like Bulgarian feta, Italian proscuitto and Philippine tilapia.

As ingredients have changed, so have cookbooks, which was nice while the global supply chain still functioned. When it collapses and you have to rely on locally-grown ingredients, your fancy-pants modern cookbook will be next to useless. Well, I suppose you could use it to start a fire.

Luckily, I have the 1975 edition of The Joy of Cooking on my shelf. It includes detailed instructions for how to dress and cook squirrel, opossum, porcupine, raccoon, muskrat, woodchuck, beaver, armadillo, and seven different ways to prepare rabbit. Plus recommended side dishes.

The 2006 edition only offers this advice: “Small game can be cooked following most recipes for chicken.” To survive on local game post-cataclysm, most of us will need more guidance than this.

I mean, the recipe for moo shu tempeh looks tasty – I’ll give it a try it while I can still buy the ingredients. But the odds of finding shiitake mushrooms, wood ear fungus, sesame oil, canned bamboo shoots and tempeh on the grocery shelf after the cataclysm are slim.

I’m keeping my old fashioned cookbook with old fashioned local ingredients in my cataclysm survival kit.


Street level dining in the urban jungle

July 1, 2008

If you didn’t get a head start on your guerrilla garden before the global climate change cataclysm hits, you’ll need this skill in order to survive. Listen below, or read tip #22 Edibles in the ‘hood and watch the video from Fallen Fruit.


If you don’t see the embedded media player, right click here to download to the podcast.

[The Message by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five]


#22 Edibles in the ‘hood

June 25, 2008

After the global climate change cataclysm, you will eventually get hungry. Your cataclysm survival kit that looked so big inside your closet, will look so small beside your hunger. Once you’ve run through all the power bars, granola and canned beans you’d stocked up on, you’re going to come up with new options. There won’t be any trucks, trains or ships around to deliver kiwi fruit and ahi tuna to your local grocery store.

Yes, you could take up attacking people and stealing their food, but that’s not a good long-term solution if you want to survive. As I’ve discussed earlier, you may find yourself eating the flesh of animals you once considered vermin. For sure, you’ll want to start your guerrilla garden, but if you didn’t get a head start before the cataclysm, that’s going to take some time to pay off.

So another skill you’re going to want to develop, in order to eat and survive, is how to identify all the foodstuffs that grow right in your own ‘hood. I’ve already spotted two avocado trees and a lemon on the street where I live. What grows in your neighborhood? Which of it is edible? There’s likely to be food all around you.

Check out this video from Fallen Fruit:

They’ll get you started on foraging for fruit in your neighborhood, and staking out where the good stuff is. Their maps going to be plenty valuable after the cataclysm. That is, if anyone still knows how to read a map by then.


It’s not quite Leadbelly, but it might be the blues

February 10, 2008

What can we do now to protect our post-cataclysm food supply? Listen here to find out:

If you don’t see the embedded media player above, you can download the mp3 (right click and save). Or click here to read the post.

[What’s that cool music? The incomparable Amadou et Mariam.]