RW33 - Apocalypse Vehicle

This week, Dan and John talk about:

The show title refers to John wanting a car that is not controlled by a computer so it will survive an EMP and is still usable after the apocalypse.

John is Good Actually, which was one of his favorite early-1990's movies. Say Anything, Good Actually, Better Off Died. He had to get up early this morning because of reasons, he had a lunch/coffee, and now he is here in the zone, feeling strong. He took his truck in to get it repaired and the repair guys said: ”Oh, and also your turn signal is burned out and by the way this, by the way that…”, so they end up doing a bunch of work on it, which is fine.

Raw notes
The segments below are raw notes that have not been edited for language, structure, references, or readability. Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first! These notes were not planned to be released in this form, but time constraints have caused a shift in priorities and have delayed editing draft-quality versions to a later point.

Thinking about buying a police car (RW33)

John has been thinking about buying a police car at an auction. They are not refurbed very much, they just roll them out of the stock. You can get one of those for a song, but John doesn’t just want some Crown Victoria. The state patrol uses those those big white Suburbans with push-bars and spotlights, heavy duty cars with cop shocks, cop breaks, and a cop motor. All you need to do is replace the cigarette lighter. They really appeal to him, although he doesn’t like that generation of Suburban particularly, but when they are totally copped out they really are scary and cool, like a futuristic Road Warrior Highway death machine, and they super-appeal to John. Those are not the kind that you can get for $6000 at auction like a clapped out Crown Victoria with three different kinds of paint on it. They are a late model.

The cars John has owned (RW33)

John has never owned a car that was less than 20 years old and he doesn’t know what it is like to have a car that works. Every car he ever owned the first thing he had to do when he got it home was to take his wrench out and start either taking stuff off of it or putting stuff on it. In High School that was fun, it was what you wanted.

John’s first car was a 1974 Fiat Spyder, which was a super-practical car in Alaska, an Italian convertible. Sometimes they would put the top down and put on their down jackets and ear flap hats and goggles and drive around because they were 16 year old idiots, but that was the car John learned to do emergency brake turns and he used in perfected driving cars. What do you do when your car spins out of control again? Defensive driving 101. John’s other car in High School was a 1974 Chrysler Imperial Coupe, which had a big 440 engine, but neither car was was especially good on ice. After that John had a Volkswagen bus, all these impractical cars.

Thinking about buying a new car (RW33)

Because John has things to do and places to go, it is not always convenient that he has a vintage vehicle where the mechanic is like: ”Well, we had to fabricate that part because they are not available anymore. We could spend four hours at a junkyard trying to find it, but instead we just built it out of parts.” Wouldn't it be interesting to have a car that only had 40.000 miles on it? John is not talking about buying a new car, that is just crazy, but maybe a car from 2013 or 2014. As he was looking around, what is he going to do, buy a Subaru Outback? He doesn't have a dog and he doesn’t play Frisbee golf, why would he have a Subaru Outback?

John has a friend who in the back of his Subaru Outback he has a homebuilt rack just for his Frisbee-golf discs. Précisément! It is a thing where you have even more frisbee discs of different weights and dimensions and flying capabilities than you would even have golf clubs. There is surely also a dog in there and inflatable floaty bits for his kids. There is surely a tennis racket in there somewhere, but also this rack to keep his Frisbees organized.

95% of the cars on the road are a personal insult to John because of their complete lack of style. He can not tell a Nissan Leaf from a Toyota Yaris. He used to be able to tell every car on the road. He is exaggerating, of course he can tell a Nissan Leaf from a Toyota Yaris, but he cannot tell the difference between his emotional reaction to those cars, which is zero and of course you need a emotional relationship with something so practical as a motor vehicle. These cars are so dull! Driving down the road he is searching for a single motor vehicle that communicates anything other than: ”I have missionary position sex with my partner once a month out of a feeling of obligation.” That is what every car says: ”There is saltpeter in my food!”

John doesn’t have the money to to buy some super-expensive thing. Even a contemporary 911 or a Tesla, they are technologically cool, they are incredible performance cars, but the styling is just so bland. John has sat in one, but hasn’t driven one. Dan drove one and it is 0-60 in three seconds, which is the weird part. When Dan was a kid one of his friends had at least the shell, the husk of a Porsche, not the 911, and he was planning on fixing it up one day. A lot of it had the matte black and primed pieces that now is cool to do, but this was when it was not cool to do in probably 1988. Dan was very into the muscle car and he almost bought an AMC Javelin that he was in love with and in his grandfather's condo parked in the garage there was an early 1970s Challenger that was just amazing and he really wanted to get.

When you put your foot down you want your car to accelerate a certain way and the Tesla accelerates and feels so very different, the closest thing to compare it to is when an Airbus A320 accelerates and the acceleration has a certain feeling to it. You can tell if this is a 737 or an Airbus, it has that feeling. It feels like that, it is crazy that you put your foot down in the car is instantly at 60mph. How did I get to that? It is almost unnerving and Dan didn’t even like it. He didn’t like the styling. It was all nice. What went into making the car you could tell everything was really high quality. It felt really nice, but it didn't feel like a car in the traditional sense and Dan didn’t appreciate the styling of it, it is clearly not for him and he is not its intended audience at all.

John feels the same way about almost every car he can think of. It is the malaise years of the Carter administration. Anything made in America… John never liked a Fox body Mustang, all those 1980s Mustangs, and the iRoc Camaro never really appealed to him. The iRoc-Z was as cool as you were going to find, but the first iteration of the Corvette that came out in 1983 that had a digital speedometer and no longer looked like a shark or a python, John wasn't into it. As cars moved post the 1984 Ford Thunderbird, the first car that truly looked like a lozenge, every subsequent car, then the Taurus…

Dan dated a girl who had a Taurus and her brother in law Junior fixed it up for her, brought it down off the blocks on the front yard, and made it drivable. He spoke very little English.

The Taurus had a performance iteration called the SHO, and counter-intuitively the SHO had only a six cylinder motor, but it was made by Yamaha and it was a highly tuned 6 cylinder Motor, but it was still a lozenge. Since then, they all look like lozenges except for the ones that are styled retro-futurist, which all seem like they are designed for little boys or little girls who are playing with a toy car. The only things John can get behind, contemporary cars that seem cool are Subaru little coupes, the ones that the Japanese car customizers fit with big crazy mufflers and they are made for rally. John is into those. They seem to be built for off the shelf customizing, the little WRXs, little fast get-up-and-goers. They don't appeal to John as a thing he would drive, but when he sees them on the road he thinks there is somebody who got a little bit of flair. The Subaru Impreza WRX.

John is entering a place where the only modern car that has any sass is a used cop car and the only thing that has sass about it is that it has been built for abuse and also it looks like a cop car. John is not a creep that rolls around in a cop car, acting like a cop, but he likes to drive around at night in industrial areas, seeing what they are making in the factories (find references about the people making sparks) You drive up to a factory, obviously there is a smelter in there, they are melting scrap metal. There are people in there working at 2am because they don't want to cool the smelter down.

In the past John had a 15 passenger Ford tour van, and a long Ford van is in some ways invisible because it just seems likes it is a transporter that is moving people around, it doesn't read like: ”I'm up to no good!”, but: ”I am ferrying some people back from the engine room!”, and that enabled John to go around town and sneak around because he was invisible. He also had a black Jetta, but a black Jetta is a different kind of invisible and if you are driving around an industrial area in a black Jetta, you are not invisible. What the hell is that guy doing down here? He is a sketcher and he is looking for a place to smoke crack! But a black Jetta in the city is completely invisible. The green Suburban that John has now isn't invisible anywhere because it is such a beautiful truck. If you are not looking at it, then you are a dummy.

A cop car is definitely not invisible, but it is not a thing that anybody is going to say: What the fuck are you doing here? If anything, when a cop car pulls into your parking lot, that is when everybody takes a coffee break, because: ”Shit, I got a half ounce of weed in my pocket!” John would never pretend to be a cop, but it is not his fault if people see his car that he got a good deal on and decide to start behaving differently. He is not misrepresenting himself, he is just driving his discount car. If he is driving down the freeway at a healthy clip and there are people driving like idiots and they see a car that was formerly used by as a city or state agency and they decide to change lanes, John is not doing anything.

John looking like a cop during his drug years (RW33)

John also personally looks sort of like a cop. When he was young he got that all the time. He would walk into a drug situation, back in the day when the myth was that if you asked a cop whether or not he was a cop, he had to say yes, when people would smoke some pot and they had a bad reaction and their first thought was that somebody had put PCP in their pot because people who had PCP were totally giving it away by putting it into pot that they were selling to anonymous teenagers. PCP was so cheap and so readily available, why wouldn't you sprinkle it on pot that you were going to sell for the same price as a normal pot? There are still people who say they don’t smoke pot anymore because one time they had some that was laced.

During that period, another piece of conventional wisdom was that if you said: ”Are you a cop?”, the cop was legally obligated to tell you at that point: ”You got me!” If a detective is engaged in an investigation of you that they have spent many, many hours on, an undercover agent that is in a drug-buy situation where his life is at risk, and the guy is: ”Are you a cop?” - ”Yeah, you got me! Is it cool if I leave now because I am a cop and I am going to just back out of here really slowly, and also: All this pot is laced!” None of that is real!

John would be in drug situations all the time and the guy would ask him: ”Are you a cop?” - ”No, I am not a cop. I want to get some drugs!” - ”Yeah, but are you here to get some drugs like a cop?” - ”No, I am not a cop!” John did kind of look like a cop and he realized that it worked to his advantage. He could go into situations that were far, far sketchier than we have ever known. The best of times and the worst of times, and John had a little bit of immunity, a little bubble around him that was just that extra two seconds he gained by people in that culture having to look at him twice, having to guess whether or not he was able to call in backup. Of course, cops don't actually look like him, but detectives have their own vibe. John is the stylized imaginary version, a TV cop, and drug people are idiots, too. Low level street criminals are not the brainiac cop detectors. Maybe the higher-level guys can tell a cop from a non-cop, and John learned too.

One time John was on a city bus and there were a couple of kids that were really, really, really hassling the other three people on the bus, and John was sitting way in the back, watching these kids moving around the bus. The driver was obviously very afraid of them. They were in a stretch of town that where there was nowhere you could pull over, a long, dark stretch of town, and these kids were actively harassing bus riders who mostly were little old people going home from their late job. John was way away in the back in one of those double long buses and the bus driver was not going to do anything and these poor people can't defend themselves.

John got up and walked to where these kids were and just sat on the bench immediately behind them, implacable. They turn around: ”What’s up, man?” and John just sat there and smirked at them. They moved across the aisle and John moved across the aisle and sat right behind them. He did that three times and they were like: ”Shit, this guy is a cop!” One of the kids got up and pulled the chain, and the bus pulled over, and they were like: ”Fuck you, cop!” and John just kept that same look on his face of nothing, zero, and they got off the bus and then the bus door closed and John stood up at that point, looking at them out the window, and made the jack-off sign: ”Fuck you!” and then they were super-mad and chased after the bus, but the bus driver was glad they were gone and John thought it was really funny.

The problem in that situation was that none of the little old people gave John a round of applause. Where was his parade? They didn't even say: ”Hey, thanks!” They were probably also embarrassed and ashamed of having been bullied by these teens that they were just glad the situation was over. John just went back to the back, put his feet up on a chair and thought: ”That is right! I look like a cop!” That type of thing happened periodically.

If John is driving in a late-model Suburban with tinted windows, a spotlight, a push bar, cop wheels, and he pulls up and jumps out in all of his white-bearded hipsterness he looks like a TV detective lieutenant, especially from the from the 1970s time period, like a CSI type. Not like he would ever play that up or do anything with that, but he can't help what other people do.

Being ready for the apocalypse (RW33)

In addition to a car with some style John is always looking for an apocalypse vehicle. You need to make sure that your vehicle doesn't require sophisticated technology in case of an electromagnetic pulse and the new cop cars would have onboard computers obviously that would would be affected by an electromagnetic pulse, which is why John has the 1979 Suburban. It is about not being dependent upon technologies. He would never have a situation where doors he needed to get through were electronically locked because that is a situation that can fail in a way that a key never will, and so forth and so on.

As each new technology comes online, John loves his phone, obviously, but his family for instance has a plan in place for if the cell network goes down. They have not just a meeting place, but they have rehearsed what they do in the event that the cell network goes down as part of some other disaster or civil unrest where they all need to be thinking about one another and one another's location. John has a lot of friends that enthusiastically embrace new technologies and little by little, it is not just a question of eels attaching themselves, but none of us think of the fact that all of our cars are controlled by computers now and those computers are a) hackable and b) completely fragile. Why are Dan and John the only ones that seem bothered by this?

Everybody thinks they are virtuous, even people who are doing terrible, terrible things feel that they personally are virtuous. Bernie Madoff had 100 different rationalizations and explanations for what he did and ultimately his last defense would be: ”Look, I am a good person. I just (blank). I just fell prey to a thing or I just accidentally slipped on a banana peel and took several billion dollars from a bunch of retirees.” Everybody thinks they are virtuous, it is the rare person that thinks: ”No, I am a sociopath!”

Everybody thinks: ”Who is going to hack my car? I am a good person. The only people whose cars get hacked and whose identities get stolen and who get killed in an uprising are bad people!” John is not some chem trails anti-vax conspiracy theorist that thinks that there is going to be an uprising, exactly and he is not ready to go out and say publicly that he thinks people are stealing identities and hacking on such a regular basis that any of us are really that in danger. Merlin is always mad whenever Johns tweets a picture of his computer because he is pretty sure that people can look at the computer and see the vulnerabilities of it. John took a picture of his keys the other day as an example of this and put them online, like: ”Come at me, bros!” and there were a bunch of people like: ”Dude, I could totally make duplicates of all your keys with my 3D printer!”

John’s attitude about it is: Yeah, all right! Go ahead, make a duplicate of my keys, Instagram followers, and come and key into my house and steal my silver bar. The challenge isn't that you could do it, but who is going to fucking do that? If they are listening to this program that have already passed a group of tack tests that they have an interest in these things, but they are not criminally minded generally. The sociopathic ones are maybe learning great techniques, but they don't want to come at their teacher!

Also John’s identity would be a little bit harder to steal just he is findable. It is not like going through a graveyard and stealing the identity of a 7-year old that died in 1968. Some Ukrainian thugs could get a new mortgage on his house, but John is not that worried about that stuff. The electromagnetic pulse is the thing that nobody is ready for. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition and nobody thinks there is going to be a 9.2 earthquake today.

John at an active shooter training session (RW33)

The other day John sat in at an active shooter training session (find picture on Instagram). A SWAT instructor and the lieutenant of the local precinct and some other cops put on this thing for bouncers and people in the entertainment business what to do in an active shooter situation because the bouncers are the first line of defense and Seattle has a really vibrant show security culture. Anytime you walk into a club or approach a club here with any kind of suspiciousness, there are already five sets of eyes on you and they are talking to each other into their headsets. John has a lot of friends in that line of work and you stand next to them at a show and the whole show they are just like: ”See that guy in the red shirt? What is under his shirt? What is that girl up there doing, the one in the sparkly blouse?” They are scanning all the time and they are talking to each other about what they see.

These people are at this active shooter training and the SWAT guy is a cop who has been trained or has taken some classes on how to present, how to TED-talk a room, but cops are corny, even the funniest cop is corny dad humor cop. This guy was giving an active shooter training where they were listening to the actual 911 calls that are coming from inside various places where 14 people are killed, it is pretty intense, and he is just making these corny jokes about: ”Then I put a pickle in a pear jar!” - ”What? What does that have to with it? That is weird!”

The security guys are not corny. Club security guys in Seattle mostly come from the Punk, Alternative Punk Metal scene and they are all pretty black metal, speed metal culture and they are not pretending to be funny. They are all bad ass and they were looking at this cop: ”No, seriously! Pickle in a pear jar notwithstanding, but what do we do when somebody busts in with a long rifle and starts shooting?” Ultimately, the SWAT guy was like: ”Well, the truth is that you are on your own. By the time the police get there, it is always over!”

At one point he said: ”I am going to leave through the front door here. Take your phones out, get the stopwatch setting, and at the first sign of trouble start your stopwatches.” He walked out and was gone for a while and all of a sudden, from the back of the room, he walked into the building through the kitchen and starts going: ”Bang, bang, bang.”, walking down the aisle, putting his fingers to the back of people's heads right behind their ear and just going: ”bang, bang!” They all started their stopwatches at the first bang and by the time he got to the front of room he said: ”Stop!” and it was 14 seconds and he killed 9 people.

The number one thing that you need is situational awareness at all times. If you are in public, don't look at your phone. If you are going to look at your phone, go pull off somewhere, get into a little cubbyhole, look at your phone for a minute. Don't walk down the street looking at your phone, don't stand in the middle of a crowded club, looking at your phone. You have lost all situational awareness. The difference in a situation like that of an event that is going to last 14 to 30 seconds is the two seconds of awareness that you would have that otherwise you wouldn't if you weren't looking around and if you weren't aware of the fact that you are in a public place and there is always something unpredictable that can happen.

The security guards said: ”Well, I am responsible for these 900 people!” - ”That is extremely noble, but there is nothing you can do. If somebody wants to kill 9 to 50 people you can't be responsible for 900 people. The only way you can be is to be way out in advance of this person ever getting into the club. That is your responsibility, to have systems in place where it is not possible, or where the possibility is reduced. Once the guy is in the room, once he has come into your business, once he is on a rampage, like all you can do is get out the window!”

being prepared (cont)

It reminded John of the situational awareness that he tries to always practice, which is: If you are out in the world, what happens if there is a 9.0 earthquake right now? What happens right now if somebody starts shooting? This all comes from when John was a kid: What happens if you see a flash in the sky? What do you do? You got five seconds, hopefully, before that shock-wave, followed by superheated air… If we were really under attack from the Russians, it is very unlikely that there would just suddenly be an air burst and you wouldn't see it coming. There would be sirens or there would be some advance warning, but they were taught that there wouldn't be.

All that stuff about: If you dive into the gutter and protect your face in the corner between the curb and the street, even though your back and shoulders and buttocks suffer third degree burns from this explosion, at least you will survive it, so take cover anywhere you can. All this crazy preparedness for that apocalypse. it just got in John so that walking down the street he is always looking: Who is the freakiest person on the street? Who is the most unpredictable person that I can see right now? And when you are on the highway, the same thing: Which one of these cars is behaving even just the tiniest bit of subtlety in the way that car is proceeding down the road, or the way that car looks, that that suggests that that is the most unpredictable person in your field of vision.

That amount of situational awareness leads to certain choices, for example John gives himself a slight advantage if his car isn't computer-controlled and if it is four wheel drive. He gives himself a slight advantage if he always has a knife on him, not a killer knife, but just a knife that can cut rope or twist-ties or that can cut wood or can gradually chip away at cement. That is the logic behind Keeping a small bag packed, too.

Most of John’s preparation is geared toward a future where technology is inoperative. You are hiding in a basement and you go six more hours to play Bejewelled and then your phone is just a little brick. John went over to his mom's house the other day, and she was like: ”Here, come help me test this out!” and it was a solar-powered and hand-crankable shortwave radio that his mom had bought somewhere. They set it out in the sun, they are both ”Watch a pot boil”-type of people and they were sitting and chatting, looking at this short wave radio and counting how long it had been sitting in the sun.

Then they turned it on, it works great and it picks up all citizen band. It is not a transmitter, but it is certainly a good way to monitor all that stuff. They listened to the marine frequencies for a while and then she said: ”All right, now crank it!” How much power can you put into it by sitting and hand-cranking it? John hand-cranked for a while and if they need this, this will work fine. It actually works, it is not a toy. Considering that it is not expensive and it doesn't take up a lot of space, why not have it? It doesn't fit with the mid-century modern spare de corps (?), you have to have a place for it in the garage.

Also the social thinking: John and his mom disagree on one particular thing, which is that although she has a considerable stockpile of food and defensive elements, and she has turned her house into not a bunker exactly, but measures have been taken to make it a survivable place. She says: ”Look, if my neighbors need help, if I can take my neighbors in, I will!” - ”But where do you draw the line? There are people all over this neighborhood and you can't support 60 people!” - ”Well, let me figure that out, but I am not going to leave my neighbors out in the cold!”

Dan recommends John to watch the movie 10 Cloverfield Lane because it addresses this very issue. J.J. Abrams didn't do it, but it is his production company behind it. There are people in a bunker and there is uncertainty as to whether or not a world-ending event has taken place or not. Are they down there for the right reasons or not?

This is also one of the old apocalypse canards: ”What if you think the apocalypse is happening and it is not and you are down in your bomb shelter for 75 years, waiting?”

There is one of the newer Twilight Zones or movie or TV show in that vein that must have come out in the 1980s at the height of all of this, where there was a guy who was absolutely positively sure that any day he was going to look up, he was going to see the flash, he had seven seconds, and what would he do? He had been fully prepared for everything, he had built a bunker beneath his house, he had antennas and air purifiers and the whole works. Something happened and he saw the flash and he did everything and got down into his bunker, but unfortunately he had been showing off the bunker to his friend and the antenna which would have allowed him to receive radio frequencies was still up and destroyed in the blast, so he had no idea what was going on.

His friend, of course, who didn't believe him, was outside: ”Let me in! Everything smells like burnt plastic!” - ”I can't let you in, sorry!” Meanwhile, he is down there, prepared to spend the rest of his life alone in this bunker, and then it is revealed that it was not actually an atomic war, it was some kind of accidental nuclear explosion, but the rest of the world was fine, outside the city limits was fine and he could have been rescued, but would never be rescued because he was down forever in his bunker. That is a real concern!

It is an element of the the last surviving Japanese soldier in the Pacific. There were still guys out in Borneo or something who didn't believe that Japan would ever surrender and when they would see modern people wandering around, they did believe maybe that the Americans had taken their island and they needed to be doubly vigilant. Everybody should go find the stories, for example Japanese Holdout, you should actually go read the stories of some of those people because it is extraordinary. The last one was found in 1980, still in the Philippines, living in a hut, still fighting the war.

Every Day Carry, keeping a small bag packed (RW33)

As part of this curly-Q mustache (?), Macklemore haircut culture of people that admittedly John’s Venn diagram overlaps them slightly, that whole relationship that he used to have with the Filson brand, which is now on shaky ground, the desire to have nice things nicely made, it has been co-opted and turned into a different style of materialism. It always was materialism, let's be honest, but now it is a different kind. John doesn’t want to use the word fashion pejoratively, because 99% of everything is fashion if you want to get ugly about it.

One of the adjuncts of that culture is this subculture called Everyday Carry, or EDC and John does not want to suggest that anybody should go down the K-hole of everyday carry. John finds himself on the verge of that state quite often where he doesn’t feel his limbs anymore, he has been looking at the artwork of World War I vets for what seems like 14 hours. Why am I? How did I get here? How did I get into this weird place where I am now extremely paranoid and hallucinating because I have filled my mind to the brim with what seemed very important at one point and now I realize is complete ephemera?

The everyday carry cult is an extension of this idea that you should leave the house with in your pockets or in your little shoulder bag all the equipment necessary to survive for a year or something. You should have a fishing line, you should have a microscope, and now you should have a boomerang, and all of this should be in a super-tight, groovy, kerned (?) table top of gear: first aid kit, throwing star, extra shoe laces, espresso maker, all condensed down into a little grouping the size of a McDonald's hamburger that is with you at all times.

It doesn't matter how great your small bag is. If the shit goes down and you don't have it with you. Would you really get into like: ”Is the shit going to go down without any warning?” The only shit really that goes down without any warning is an earthquake. What are the other shits that could potentially go down with no advance warning? Dan was raised in the 1980s to think that this could absolutely happen, there would be no warning. The movie The Day After scared the crap out of Dan!

Now that we are not 11-year olds who are being propagandized to by the paranoia shock troops of the Reagan administration, as you are preparing your everyday carry pouch and you are putting in fishing line and you are saying to yourself: ”I am going to need an altitude and distance computer. I am going to need a shortwave radio and a fishing line in case the shit goes down!” and then you head off to your job designing apps, what shit exactly? Let's say an airplane that was hijacked crashes into your building car, you will potentially need a knife.

Another thing that the SWAT guy said to them: ”If you are in a situation where you are trapped in a building, drywall should not be an impediment to your free movement. You can take one step back and put your foot through drywall. Be prepared to move through a building if that building is under attack or on fire in whatever direction is available and if that means kicking your way through some drywall, don't sit in a room and die because there is a quarter inch of gypsum between you and the next room. Everybody in the room nodded.

He asked how many of them have kicked through drywall before and there were 14 of them who had done it. People die all the time because they go around a corner and think drywall is going to protect them. The nominal killer in this situation can shoot a gun through drywall just as easily as through tissue paper. If an airplane crashes into your building, you do potentially need a knife, but you don't really need a fishing line. You could repurpose fishing line as as a bit of a rope, but you don't need fishing hooks. Maybe you are huddled there, the flames are closing in, and your co-worker is crying: ”I never pierced my ears! I always wanted to!” - ”I got just the tool!”

There is every day carry and then there is every day carry. John does not subscribe to this sub-cult and when he walks out the door he doesn't have a little dish that has his compass. He used to carry a compass and that was one thing that he stopped. He doesn’t intend to just need to go across the mountains overland in his dress shoes. When he walked across Europe he looked at his compass 80 times a day because it was giving him valuable information. The difference of a few degrees actually mattered.

John grew to love his compass, it had a little signal mirror and he would walk along, looking at his compass, looking at the mountains in the distance, using his compass to pick which pass he was headed for, and he would turn the mirror up just a little bit and look at his mustache because he was 30 years old and he still could not quite grow a mustache. He had a big, full beard, but John is one of those Northern Celtic people with a mustache… Dan had a mustache when he was 11 years old, but John’s mustache never fulfilled him. At 30 years old he still had a Gregg Allman mustache. At 24 his mustache was very, very different from his mustache 28 and his mustache at 30 was very different from his mustache at 35. Dan’s mustache has been the same since he was about 17.

There is a map that shows in Europe specifically where the concentration of red-headed people is. It is a incredibly narrow little pie slice of Northern Europe where basically all the redheaded people in the world who are not suffering of albinism, but all of the people that have red hair come from this tiny little sliver of Denmark, Iceland, Northern Scotland and Ireland. It is just this little, little 15 degree arc of the compass. All of John’s people are from there, going back as far as they can trace, and in some cases they can trace it to the 1400s. There is no-one fro anywhere else, no-one from Spain, no-one even from southern France, nobody outside of this redhead quadrant.

John has 8 first cousins and 5 of them either have bright red carot-y and big freckles or have snow-white hair, all by way of saying that John’s mustache is a Danish mustache or a Viking mustache. By the time a Viking is 400 years old or even 50 years old their mustaches big, but the Vikings let their mustaches grow long and that longness is to conceal… Their mustache is not like Dan’s mustache, like an Ashkenazi mustache like the pelt of a Wolverine, but this wizard mustache that is a little bit wispy or unruly.

John was looking at his mustache in his compass mirror, once a day checking in on it and proudly brushing it from side to side and going: ”I am almost there. I almost have a mustache that I can be proud of.” and by the time he got back from that trip he was proud of his mustache and has been ever since. It was a turning point! Part of your everyday carry should include a Swiss Army knife that has a set of scissors on it that can keep your mustache trimmed, that goes without saying. Even in the event of complete disintegration of our culture, you want to trim your mustache, keep it out of your food. You get SpaghettiOs on it!

Eating cold SpaghettiOs with a spoon, finding marksman medals from the 1960s (RW33)

Of course Dan has eaten a can of cold SpaghettiOs with a spoon. There are surely a lot of people that have never opened a can of SpaghettiOs and just sat and ate it with a spoon. SpaghettiOs with meatballs are a thought crime. Keep your meatballs out of John’s SpaghettiOs! SpaghettiOs are a perfect food.

Yesterday John was at a Goodwill and found a framed set of black powder musket marksmanship medals from the late 1960s and he sat and petted them and headed to the cash register and then he walked back and put it back on the shelf and really had a come to Jesus moment: ”Listen, this has been planted here by agents of a foreign power to tempt you, but honestly: What are you going to do with this? They are black powder marksmanship medals from the 1960s, which is amazing, and saying those words out loud does not in any way change your feelings about the fact that you should have this, but: No, don't buy this!”

John turned the thing over in his hands to see if the name of the black powder marksman was written somewhere on it, he turned them upside down, and then he left it, which was a big deal. There was nothing he was going to do with this. He is not going to display it and he is not going to take these medals off and put them on a jacket, arranged as though they are Soviet World War II medals, and wear that to a show. John is not Prince or Michael Jackson, he is not going to put epaulets on anything anymore, but Leave it!” John walked away from it and it was like he was trying to escape the Death Star and the tractor beam was still on. Then somehow, right at the last minute, R2 went beep boop and then the tractor beam was gone and: ”Boom!” Hyperspace!

The brand Annie's make the all natural macaroni and cheese in the shape of a little rabbit. John trusts that she is doing good things because she claims to on her can. If someone named Annie is telling him that her macaroni and cheese is good for him, he accepts it. Annie now is making canned SpaghettiOs that taste really good. John just bought two cans of cheesy ravioli and two cans of SpaghettiOs from this woman that he trusts implicitly, and the other night he opened the SpaghettiOs and ate them cold, which is the ultimate test. The are called BernieOs, but John didn't understand if that was a Bernie Sanders reference. Dan thinks Bernie is the rabbit.

She also has all stars, pasta in tomato and cheese sauce, just like BernieOs, but shaped like stars instead of Os and rabbits. John doesn’t want that either.

John is off the gluten free thing now, he is in the gluten desert. He went to see Flight of the Conchords the other night and was in the VIP area where they had all the cookies you could eat and he was just eating cookies by the handful: ”Look how far I have fallen! None of my friends are doing this because they are not insane drug addicts!”

The first comment here on BernieOs says: ”So good and no metal aftertaste like SpaghettiOs” and that is a problem with SpaghettiOs, a little metallic taste because tomato leeches heavy metal from cans and you shouldn't eat tomato sauce from cans.

John went to which he has bookmarked because that is where he gets all his good discounts on different Frisbee discs, and they say Consumer Reports confirms that bisphenol A leaches from tin cans.

Being prepared (cont)

Dan suggests that an EMP will affect the starter and the battery in the car anyway, and John is not going to go back to a car he can hand-crank like a Model T or something. You would need a manual transmission car. There is an article about EMP effects on vehicles at

An EMP is a side effect of a nuclear detonation. Depending on where they are exploded, high up in the atmosphere for example, an electromagnetic pulse would be incredibly powerful and it could be done in a way that is only designed to disable our infrastructure and ability to communicate, to get around, to have a modern society without really doing any physical damage to a city or to human beings. It would just be used as a disruptive attack, an initial attack for example that would significantly disable the bulk of humans that were affected by it and depending on where it is detonated and when, it could have a tremendously sweeping effect on a huge area, not just a city, but potentially many cities.

This article says that in most cases you can unhook the battery and reset everything. It is more of a disruption than a total frying. There are probably many ways to initiate an EMP that don't depend on detonating a nuclear bomb. There have to be just EMP bombs. UFOs that are hovering over your city and one of their motherships could do it. An EMP and everybody's car stops, mostly as a way of getting everybody's attention, like: ”Hey, get your solar-powered radios out because we have some stuff to say!” That is the type of thing where John would still like to be able to drive his Suburban around.

Most of this stuff is just fun. Like that game John plays in airports when he lands in an airport in the middle of the night and that feeling of an airport in the middle of the night, particularly Newark for some reason. You are in an empty airport and there is a post-apocalyptic element to an airport in the middle of the night, particularly if you have to leave the airport and go get a rental car somewhere. It is weird! The games John likes to play, and he doesn’t just play it in airports, he plays it all the time: ”I am being followed!” and he has to figure out who is following him and he has to ditch them. It is just fun to walk out of the house and say: ”What if a volcano erupts today? What if a bomb goes off and all of a sudden all of civilization is wrecked?”

It is just gaming. John is not actually living in fear, quite the opposite. It is exciting because if something happens and he is going to die, if he is going to die suddenly, who cares? If he is going to die gradually he would like it to at least be on as many of his own terms as he can muster. He doesn't want to just get on a train that is headed to a vacation camp in Eastern Europe and not reflect on the history of these events, like: ”This has happened before. I don't think I want to get on this train!” There is an element of just walking around with this mindfulness that does help other things. It keeps John from getting run over by a car. It keeps him from eating a sandwich that has a plastic bag in it because somebody put the ground beef in and just didn't get all the plastic bags out of them. It is that little bit of looking at things.

It is not based in any kind of paranoia, but purely in a feeling that life is fun and why not make it funner by imagining extreme scenarios as a way of adding a little bit of extra color to the day. If every time you drive, you are picturing one of the fellow people on the road with you deciding at that moment that he can no longer tolerate his divorce and he is just going to start driving into people. What if that happens? It is not funny to the imaginary guy who is suffering from a divorce, but it is funny to John to imagine what if one of these cars starts driving crazy.

Everyday carry and keeping a small bag packed are only fun as long as you don't start getting crazy, as long as you don't feel naked because you don't have your multi-tool. Everything is going to be fine. You are just going to work and go on home, you are not going to have to feed your family with your fishing line probably this afternoon. It is not going to end up being a problem. It is a certain kind of fun, a little bit of role playing.

When Dan was sentenced to his eight hour driving school thing, one of the things the driving instructor teaching them said: ”Always be playing the what if game when you are on the road!" If this car in front of you were to slam on the brakes right now? Would if the car next to you were to swerve into your car? What would you do? Not in a way that was supposed to keep you in a state of panic and fear, but in a state that keeps your mind active, keeps your mind focused on on the road and keeps your mind focused on what you are doing. Dan had done that naturally, but there were a lot of people in the class who had never thought about that. Dan is always thinking about that! Those are the arguments against tailgating. You are trying to get around this guy, but what if he slams on his brakes? You can never be sure he won't!

John uses the male pronoun ”he” because it is always a ”he”. The SWAT guy showed a montage of pictures of various people and asked: ”Which one of these was a serial killer? Which one of these is a mass shooter?” and obviously, because he is a corn cornball the answer was all of them. Within the mass-shooter community there have been a couple of women, but typically, of the 4000 mass shootings that have happened in America so far this year, most of them are guys, enough that you can generalize with a male pronoun. The guy that is suffering a bad divorce and decides to take out as many people as he can is also a guy. Someone driving in the fast lane who suddenly slams on their brakes for no reason, that could be someone of any gender.

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