Wednesday, December 29, 2010

EMPs, 2012, and Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

I was reading a blog called Food Storage Made Easy and they had a little something about a book called One Second After. I got curious and read the summary of the book on Wikipedia (the wiki article was enough, reading the actual book would be WAY too scary for me!)

The book basically describes what life would be like should an electo-magnetic pulse happen and everything electrical is wiped out. We're talking power, anything with a computer chip including vehicles, water and sewage facilities (think pumps and such), the list goes on and on, and how we as humans no longer have the knowledge of living/surviving independently of our community infrastructure. We don't have the same skills that people born 100 years ago did, like preserving foods, raising crops, making our own supplies, aquiring fresh water, etc.

Well, with all that rattling around in my brain, I searched for info on an EMP attack (or natural occurance through a solarstorm), which led to a blog called, which led to this interesting bit about "magic":

The science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once said: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

This statement is commonly known as Clarke’s Third Law. Many people have heard this quotation, but few people really think about its implications.

We now live in a world that is so completely immersed in advanced technology that we depend upon it for our very survival. Most of the actions that we depend upon for our everyday activities — from flipping a switch to make the lights come on to obtaining all of our food supplies at a nearby supermarket — are things that any individual from a century ago would consider magic.

Very few people in industrialized countries do work that is not directly assisted by electronic computers, although that computerized assistance is often quite invisible to the average person. Few people think about things such as the fact that whenever we buy some food item at a supermarket (and many others are buying the same item), the next time we go to that same supermarket, they still have about the same supplies that they had before. There are invisible infrastructures all around us that are made up of advanced technology. Most of us just take the magic for granted.

Few people stop to consider what would happen if, in an instant, the magic went away. If our advanced technology were suddenly and completely destroyed, how would we manage to survive? A nuclear EMP could make the magic go away. I hope it never happens, and I don’t think that it is at all inevitable. It makes no sense, however, to be blind to the danger. It is both much less likely to happen — and also less likely to have a catastrophic impact — if, both as a civilization and as individuals, we are prepared for an attack on our advanced technology. A nuclear EMP would be a seemingly magical attack upon our advanced technology, the technological infrastructure upon which our lives depend.

click here to read the rest of this article

(I also found good stuff on Modern Survival Blog)

Other research revealed how vulnerable our country's power grid is and that something of this sort could actually happen. Hmmm. (And I really don't buy into the whole "2012" thing, but there is good info on the blog regardless.)

I've been trying to sock away canned goods, but I feel I need to expand my thinking: Long term food storage, water storage, communication devices (and protecting them from EMP so they would actually work afterward (just found out about Faraday cages), ammunition (yep, ya gotta go there) and many other things.

Being Mormon, food storage is no foreign subject and I'm thankful that my church implores us to have food stored away to provide for our families, and gives us resources and information to do so.

Then I also have to think of my older kids who don't live close by. (Guess what kids? Your mama is probably going to show up with some weird things and tell you to store them. Appease her, ok?) And even if an EMP weren't to happen there are always natural disasters, and other kinds of attacks that would more temporarily make life difficult.

So, what do you think? Am I paranoid? A bit crazy? Or are you with me on this? Do you have a plan?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Un-Brace Your Face Day

...aka "The Great Brace Erase".
Yesterday I got to leave work early and meet Sis at her orthodontist for the great unveiling. This has been 3 1/2 years in the making, with nearly every orthodontic appliance known to man installed in her mouth.
(Ya know why they call them "appliances"? Because you could've bought brand new appliances for your kitchen with what it costs to straighten your kids' teeth, that's why! I guess it's some sort of sadistic orthodontic joke or something. At least that's my take on it.)
At any rate, I've gotta hand it to Sis, because first she had to have an expander put in the roof of her mouth that not only made her talk like Sylvester the Cat (thufferin' thuccotash!), but that with the help of me and a handy-dandy mini allen-wrench, broke apart her palate to make room in her mouth to start her treatment.
THEN, she had to have oral surgery and they went up into her gums and hooked a CHAIN on a tooth that never emerged, for lack of room, and they basically winched the sucker down into place like you'd winch a Jeep out of a rock slide. (The winching took months, mind you, as teeth are more difficult to move than Jeeps.)
Then it was power chains, and rubber bands in all kinds of wacky configurations, molar bands, springs, wires and any other kind of contraption they could think of that would help rearrange her teeth into a proper and attractive alignment.
And ya know what? Not once did she whine or complain about it. Seriously, I can't think of a time. She REALLY wanted her teeth fixed and she was so good about everything.
We knew at her first appointment it was going to be a long haul, because her ortho declared her one of the worst cases he'd ever seen (and he's a specialist that teaches orthodontics, so I don't think he was exaggerating.)
It was hard to believe the day was finally here, and she was finished! Done! Complete!
The last Brace-Faced smile.

And...they're off! (Took only a minute. They just popped them right off.)
The retainers. She got to choose colors and design them. She brought in a little heart sticker that they embedded into the one on the right (her top one) in which she chose clear glitter as the base. The bottom one is glow-in-the-dark green.
(I just couldn't get over the retainers. When I got my braces off they gave me a big rubber mouthpiece retainer (kinda like a sports mouth protector)to wear at night, and it was horrible. I gave up on it after about a week. Had I got to design my own retainer and had something reasonable to wear like Sis' wire ones my teeth would still be perfect.)

The orthodontist gave her some gift certificates for ice cream so that's how we celebrated! Look at that beautiful smile!

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Wake Up Call Dream

I hate it when I have one of those dreams where I wake up with my heart pounding.

Last night I had one of those.

I dreamt that some "bad guy" was trying to get into the house and only me and the little girls were home. I got to the door and locked it just as he was turning the knob to enter. I was yelling at him through the door that I was calling 9-1-1 and getting a gun, however I knew that was just a threat (9-1-1 never works in my dreams for some reason.)

I wanted to get us out of the house and run, but I realized that there was only one door we could get out of and that's where the bad guy was.

I went back to my room and was trying to figure out how to open the gun safe and realized I didn't know the combination. I thought I knew where Mike hid it -- in another little locked box, but had no idea where the key to that was. About this time the bad guy was there with me insisting that I open the safe for him so he could have the guns. I was trying to tell him I didn't know!

Somehow the girls and I ran out the door and past the bad guy's idleing car in front of our house, I decided against stealing it and we ran through the streets of our neighborhood instead. I remember we were barefooted and the pavement was icy and cold (as it really is right now.)

We ran around the corner and I realized that we didn't really have anyone in the neighborhood that we knew really well who I could run to in this kind of emergency. That felt pretty scary. I finally decided on a lady who babysat the girls a few years back. Just as we were getting to her house, the bad guy came down the hill in his car and spotted us.

That's when I woke up.

As I lay in bed trying to recover I realized that all the scenarios from my dream were true: two of our three doors are currently blocked with snow, I didn't know how to access the guns, we are so far flung that actually getting help from 9-1-1 in the form of a sheriff would likely be a very long wait (thankfully if we needed the fire dept. they are only a mile away), our feet would freeze if we had to run out of our house in an emergency, and we don't have anyone in the neighborhood that we know really well.

I thought about all this and decided we need to sleep with our snow boots next to our beds in case we need to get out of the house in an emergency. The girls can go out the back door from their bedroom, but wouldn't be able to go far in several feet of snow with no boots.

Then today I told Mike about my dream and he showed me how to get to the guns if I should ever need to. That made me feel better.

I can also start getting to know the neighbors better.

My dream taught me that we need to have a plan. It's unlikely that a "bad guy" would come in and attack us, probably more likely we would need to evacuate because of fire, but ya never know. It's good to have a Wake Up Call Dream.