drewbear: (Default)
I'm watching "After Armageddon" on the History Channel. Dunno if this is a series or what, but they're addressing a global pandemic scenario and it's incredibly like the beginning of The Stand. You know, before the psychic stuff started. They're not sugarcoating anything (or very little, anyway) and the only real thing I find disappointing is that they're assuming a "surviving/escaping a major city on one of the coasts" start, in this case, L.A.

Admittedly, there have been some "small town survival" things, like Jericho or Alas, Babylon, but I'm kinda annoyed that the vast majority of post-apoc assumes that everyone important lives in big cities. Even if they don't want to start with a small town, they could go for a smaller city or one not on the coasts, like Raleigh or Oklahoma City or Minneapolis.

ANYway, in any large-scale &/or extended breakdown-of-civilization scenario, I'd be dead within 2 or 3 months. If I don't die in the immediate causative event, my sanity meds would be gone in 4-6 weeks maximum. And once those are gone, I'm non-functional in less than a week and almost certainly dead shortly after.

Really, my purpose would be as a one-time supply dump. And I'm okay with that. :P
drewbear: (Drew tongue)
A possible pandemic in Mexico? Okay, which of you guys decided to give me my very own apocalypse for my birthday? C'mon! 'Fess up!
drewbear: (angry choochoo)
So I saw two things today which, when juxtaposed, say a lot about the current state of America's relationship to private transport and our "right" to cheap fuel.

First, while driving to lunch I pulled up next to one of those godawful stretch Hummer limos. Now, those are bad enough, but this one went that extra mile for godawful and overly grandiose consumption. It was jacked up about 4 feet off the ground and on oversize wheels. Not quite monster-truck sized, but in the same vicinity. So here's this vehicle that's already a paean to conspicuous consumerism and the owner of the limo service managed to find a way to make it even MORE over-the-top.

Then came the flip-side. When driving home from work just now, I passed several gas stations. Keep in mind that this morning, when I drove in to work, the highest gas price for regular was (if I recall correctly) $3.61/gal. This evening, the cheapest station was at $3.69, with a full lot and a line of cars 10 deep in the street and police presence to maintain order! The next cheapest stations were at $3.99, $4.09 and, I kid you not, $4.79.

Congratulations, everyone! We managed to celebrate 9/11 with a spectacular new tradition! Don't expect to ever see gas prices fall below $4/gal after this weekend! Happy Terrorist Blood-For-Oil Price-Gouging Insensate Panic Day!

I'm not going to get into my opinions on WHY the prices are jumping so drastically, since I'm certain they're pretty commonly held and kinda trite at the moment.
drewbear: (Scarlet - math)
My internet connection is spotty, hence the voice post earlier. Right now it seems to be working, but I don't know for how much longer.

The power and water are still working, thankfully, so I filled up all 18 of my spare gallon jugs with water from the bathtub. I put my freezer and fridge on ultra-cold so that if/when the power goes out, my stuff will have a better chance of staying cool for longer. I don't have a lot of staples in the house, but I should be able to stay okay for about a week or two. Right now, the only thing I'm REALLY worried about, supplies-wise, is my medicine: I only have 8 days left on it and, well... bad things will happen to me if I go more than 2 days without it.

I have an idea about the things outside that might give me a chance to get to my car, but I have no idea where to go. Based on reports I'm getting from friends, these things are pretty much everywhere. Plus, I strongly suspect that the roads will be gridlocked like something out of a nightmare. Some of the reports I'm reading imply that the creatures are suseptable to fire, but I really don't want to test that while holed up on the second floor of a wood-framed building.

Jesus. All I have in the way of reasonable weaponry is my baseball bat and a kitchen knife. I really, REALLY wish I had a gun right now. And ammo. Lots and lots of ammo.

EDIT: Okay, it took me 3 tries to upload this, but I don't know if that's on my end or not. The cable internet seems to still be working, but a lot of websites are down or lagging hard. Still no news about this through official media. Not terribly surprised.
drewbear: (angry choochoo)
What the fuck is going on?!?! I decided to go to the store to get some deodorant and it was fucking PACKED!!

People were running out of the store with armloads of stuff when I drove up and I barely avoided running in to any of them. There was a wreck by one of the entrances to the parking lot and these two people, a man and a woman, were screaming at the top of their lungs at each other. I managed to find a parking spot near the back and thank god I usually walk between cars rather than down the lanes; the other drivers were fucking crazed.

When I got inside, the shelves were stripped and people were fighting over what was left and what was in each other's carts! And I mean actual, tooth and nail fighting! This frat guy lookalike punched out another guy at one of the self-checkout lanes then started kicking him while other guys stole stuff out of the cart and ran. I took refuge (sorta) in the personal-care aisle, which was mostly intact, though shit was scattered all over the floor. Even so, this big woman came flying down the aisle behind me and slammed me in the back with her cart and started screaming at me to get the fuck out of her way.

I managed to get back outside (I still don't know why I bothered going in when I saw the parking lot like that) but I had to leave my car there; the traffic in the lanes had jammed tight. I saw what looked like a couple of abandoned cars, but they could've just been left there while the drivers tried to get something from the store. I did get my big toolkit and baseball bat out of the car and brought them back with me, though. Whatever's going on, I think I want those nearby.

The walk back here was NOT fun. I was wearing my birkenstocks and not my sneakers, so grit and stuff kept getting under my feet. Plus, the people on the road were getting fucking crazy and I ended up having to walk most of the way back by skirting the edge of the woods the lined the road so I wouldn't get hit by assholes using the shoulder as a passing lane. It took me about 40 minutes in total and I am NOT happy about that. I'm gonna go soak my feet some more once I'm done with this post.

Plus, it was hard to tell over the traffic noise and honking assholes, but I heard something trashing about in the underbrush in the woods. When I checked, I saw some brush and stuff about 50 yards in shake around, but I couldn't tell what it was. I'm pretty sure it was big, though.

Jesus, what the hell is going on? I can't find anything online or on the radio or TV. The local college radio station is broadcasting silence, though, so I don't know what that means.
drewbear: (angry choochoo)
Fuck fuck fuck.

The apartment complex is updated the pipes/plumbing in the buildings over the next few months. They're starting with my building, specifically the apartments on my end of the building.

Tomorrow. For both of my days off. From 8AM to 6PM. And water usage is not allowed during those times.

The notice was posted on my door sometime today while I was at work, along with "zones" that I needed to clear to be worked on or moved through (most of the apartment) and "safe areas" where I could store my stuff (the patio and half of my bedroom). So I just spent a funtabulous 90 minutes figuring out where the hell I could move stuff.

Did I mention that aside from the obvious places to be cleared (bathroom, laundry, dishwasher, kitchen sink, etc.) I had to clear out all 3 of my closets? Apparently they're going to need to cut through the drywall in the back of each of them to get to some of the pipes.

My apartment looks like a disaster area. Well, okay, more so than usual.

But completely aside from having to rearrange my apartment twice, what the hell am I supposed to do on my days off if I can't sleep in or fuck off at home?! I'm trying to keep my expenditures to an absolute minimum, which means I don't want to go shopping or see any movies or anything like that. And yes, I know that I have a couple of friends who won't be at work either, but my guilt complex doesn't want to me bother them with my problems.

God DAMN, but the timing of this sucks.
drewbear: (Default)
My plans to stock up for The Coming Event Of DoomTM have been mildly bolstered by my current job: I got an annual raise following a good performance review. It's not terribly large, but it's still nice. Also nice? It kicked in on the paycheck I just received, unbeknownst to me until I noticed that my check was larger than it should be.

All flush with my new-found riches, I did something wild and reckless: I paid all my bills for the month. Shocker! I also went out and got some things to update my preparedness checklist. And since I have some left over, I made a donation to Heifer International (thanks for the heads-up about it, [livejournal.com profile] ginmar!) and contributed a small amount to a Kiva loan to a Dominican woman.

Now I just have to get my meds refill and some groceries and I'll be set for the next 2 weeks with some left over.
drewbear: (Default)
Okay, so here's a checklist of items I should have on hand in the case of an emergency, whether limited or major. Feel free to comment if you have anything you'd like to add or suggest replacements; I'm always willing to accept advice.

Bolding the ones I have and in no particular order:

Food & Water:Read more... )

Transportation:Read more... )

Clothing (assume all should be durable and fit comfortably):Read more... )

Health & Hygiene:Read more... )

Camping:Read more... )

Emergency Gear:Read more... )

General:Read more... )

Okay, I know I'm missing or forgetting things, so please feel free to add to the list.
drewbear: (Drew comtemplative)
First off, let me say that I know I have a good life. I'm in generally good health, I'm gainfully employed and earning enough to live on, my debts and loans are small and getting smaller. I have a home, a car, a computer and good friends. While there is room for improvement, my life is pretty good.

That being said, I've had a vague sense of foreboding for the last 8-9 months or so. It feels like something very big and very bad is going to happen and relatively soon. I don't know what this "something" is, but it's been slowly impinging on my dreams and subtly affecting how I interact with the world. And it's getting stronger.

I've always been a fan of the (post-)apocalyptic genre, but lately it seems to be the only kind of fiction that can hold my attention past the first chapter or so. I've begun looking into what I would need to do for a food/herb garden for my porch (answer: moot point. I don't get nearly as much sun as most food plants would need). I'm researching camping and survivalist equipment, trying to find stuff that I can afford that also doesn't suck. I'm socking away money into my savings accounts whenever and however I can, not because I feel strongly about building a nest egg or I'm saving up to buy something big (I could use what I already have saved to immediately clear one debt and seriously damage another), but rather because I have the sense that it's going to be a really, REALLY good idea to have a semi-decent emergency fund available sometime in the near future.

What kinda scares me is that, by observing and talking with people, it seems like I'm not the only one who feels this way. At least 1/3 of the people I glancingly mention this topic to are themselves worried about it and most are also preparing for some unknown, worrisome disaster. Planting or expanding edible gardens, stocking up on medicines, stocking up on essential yet one-shot goods, stocking up on dry goods, stocking up on emergency gear out-of-season, stocking up on guns and ammunition. The daughter of one of my coworkers is, according to said coworker, prone to occasional highly-accurate precognizant dreams and has been having nightmares regarding a similar looming disaster.

I'm certain that at least part of this is a subconscious reaction to the current depressing and stressful American situation, but so much of people's reactions is focused on preparing for an IMMINENT danger with long-term consequences that it's kind of hard to totally dismiss it as a stress-reaction. Also, until I bring it to their attention, so many of the people I talk with seem to think that they're the only ones who feel like this; they don't initiate discussions about it and seem reluctant to talk about it for some ill-defined fear of being labeled paranoid or crackpots. But once that barrier has been passed, they're eager to share their preparation plans and tips, acting slightly relieved that they're not alone.

I'm worried. And I'm making contingency plans.
drewbear: (skycolor)
I'm not quite sure why, but lately I've been listening to more computer game music. Not just the originals, either, but remixes too.

Specifically, I'm listening to music from the Fallout series, something from one of the Dune games and a neat remix based on GLaDOS from Portal.

The Device Has Been Modified )

Got some other weirdness on my playlist too: Blue Oyster Cult, The Turtles, Rasputina, Cake, Metisse, Oingo Boingo, etc.

In related news, I need a music icon.

Edit: Speaking of Fallout, I didn't realize that the trailer for Fallout 3 was released this summer. I'm of mixed feelings about this because YAY! MORE FALLOUT, but frankly, I SUCK at FPS and I'm really annoyed that virtually every game I might like is following that style. Anyhoo, here's the trailer:

Ron Perlman for the win! )
drewbear: (Nice Day)
This is a fanfic I wrote for [livejournal.com profile] kissmebleeding for the [livejournal.com profile] apocalyptothon challenge. Many, many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] valarltd for beta-reading this. Please enjoy!

It's The Little Things That Kill

Betty hadn't thought anything of it when people started getting sick. )
drewbear: (Default)
Right now I'm watching Disaster Zone: Volcano In New York on SciFi. And as if the title alone wasn't enough to clue you in to the cheesiness, the tv guide description of it is "A geologist and an intrepid band of tunnel workers must save New York from an underground volcano."

Intrepid band of tunnel works. Underground volcano. NEW YORK!

So even before it starts, it already dancing on the line that separates "so godawful that it's cheesily good" and "so godawful that it's painfully bad". Let's give it a shot and see which!

Update 1 )

Update 2 )

As an aside, let me just state that I absolutely loathe the fucking shaky handicam fetish that's overtaken a lot of TV these days. I blame The Blair Witch Project for starting it and 24 for making it popular. Note to filmographers: it doesn't make your film look "realer" or "edgier"; it just makes it look like your cameraman was having a seizure.

Update 3 )
drewbear: (Default)
Okay, so that massive pressure system that's been hanging over DFW keeping us hotter than blue blazes? Is pushing Rita away from us towards east Texas/west Louisiana. The local forecast is cloudy with a 30% chance of rain. I doubt that we're even going to get 6 inches of rain, which we sorely need.

Of course, now I redirect my worries to my grandmother and great-aunt, who are in Longview, still in the path.
drewbear: (genepool)
So, Rita is aiming straight at East Texas. Oh, joy. My grandmother and her sister both live in Longview, square in the middle of the projected path.

Of course, despite DFW being on the fringes of the west side of the projected path, everyone around here is freaking out over OMGWTFHURRICAAAAAAAANE!!!!!! Dudes, chill. We're gonna get some rain and thunderstorms, yes, and sorely needed at that (have you seen how low the lakes are?) but the most, the most that'll happen is that we'll lose power. And unless your local waterpumping station loses power, we'll still have water. So stop buying out the supermarkets and bitching because there's no more bottled water. If you're really that worried, fill up containers you already have like that almost empty milk jug or your mixing bowls or plug your kitchen sink and bathtubs and fill them.

You know what I've done to prepare for OMGENDOFTEHWORLD!! ? I made sure that I knew where the candles and matches are. I made sure my flashlight's batteries are still good. I filled up some empty water jugs i had lying around that I used for my CPAP machine. And I'm keeping an eye on the weather.

Ungh. Mob mentality at work and isn't it fun, boys and girls?
drewbear: (Default)
Just got back from the office again. We just saw three La Quinta employees who were evacuated out of NOLA last Wednesday. All three were just quick "xray->diagnosis->meds" visits because nobody knows when or if they're going to be moved out of the region. So we're waiting until Tuesday before scheduling them for treatment.
drewbear: (Default)
Well, today's been busy so far. The converted-for-evacuees rec center near my apartment is apparently housing 200 people. This morning, my parents, sister and I went over and found that they're in desperate need of hygeine supplies. So they went over to the Sam's/Wal-Mart to get diapers and feminine hygeine stuff and wet wipes and the like in bulk while I went to the office to get dental stuff. I don't know exactly how much stuff they got at Sam's, but I picked up and delivered 2 gross of adult toothbrushes, 1 gross of kids' brushes, around 300-400 tubes of toothpaste and I'm not sure how many things of floss. I also found out that, of the local evacuees, 250 have already been enrolled at my sister's high school alone, and the school district just north of here is going to start admitting evacuee students starting Tuesday.

After dropping stuff off, Katie and I went down to the Arlington Museum of Art to audition for the Texas Radio Theatre Company's next radio play. We think we did well, and should find out in the next day or two, since rehearsals start Tuesday evening.

While we were auditioning, my dad received a call from Mission Arlington, which is providing free emergency medical care for the local evacuees as well as coordinating food and clothing dispersal. They had a woman there who was having a dental emergency, so he picked her up and took her to the office for treatment. Well, just as Katie and I finished auditioning, Dad received another call from Mission Arlington about another emergency, so I picked up the patient and drove her up.

All in all, it's been a busy morning.
drewbear: (Default)
Okay, so I talked with the apartment manager today. Apparently this guy already has three lease violations, not counting last night, and they're already working on terminating his lease early. However, she told me that having a police report would definitely help matters, so I'm filing one this afternoon.

The guy has lived here only 3-4 months and already has 3 confirmed lease violations plus the one I'm about to file plus who knows how many complaints from neighbors. What the hell is wrong with him?

*****

In other news, Gov. Rick Perry has authorized 75,000 evacuees to come into Texas, 25K here in the DFW area. They're gonna be all over Dallas and Tarrant counties because no one facility could hold them all, and I just found out that the rec center about 1.5 miles from my apartment complex has been designated a refugee center. I don't know how many people are being housed there, but I'm gonna go over this weekend and see if they need any volunteers.
drewbear: (Drew comtemplative)
I'm finding a lot of racism and classism in a lot of the reactions with regard to the people who stayed as Katrina bore down on them. As someone who has lived under the poverty line and is still not that far above it, I get livid at these people's blind assumption that "of COURSE only idiots and fuckheads would stay behind!" (paraphrased) Unfortunately, this is one of those occasions where my rage is so severe that I can write either coherently or politely, but not both. Luckily, there are people who can keep cooler heads than I.

They stayed because they could not run, and now they might die because they cannot swim.

Lessons that Katrina is teaching us.

The economics of disaster

EDIT: I know that a lot of you want to help but may not be able to physically get there. I also know that the Red Cross website is flickering on-and-off due to the high traffic. I also know that some of you have philosophical disagreements with the Red Cross. So here's an alternative: Direct Relief International.

EDIT 2: Los Bastardos, a Rocky Horror troupe based in Dallas, is taking donations for Katrina relief in lieu of payment for its prop packs. They're going to be doing this through the end of Septemper, so check it out if you're in the area and thinking about doing Rocky Horror.

Also, some news: the breaks in the Lake Pontchartrain levies are flooding massive areas of NO and keeping them flooded. This includes the Superdome, which was housing approximately 30,000 refugees. Since the Superdome was no longer safe, Houston offered the Astrodome and refugees are becoming evacuees as we speak.

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