Saturday, October 23, 2010

Obligatory Saturday Post

Good morning! I've found out this week that I have more readers than I was aware of so I just want to say Thanks for reading.

I still have one more preparedness blog in me, so expect that on Monday. In the meantime, check out this link. Basically, this is a daily podcast with preparedness topics being the subject. It's got a wealth of information on the forums section and and overview of the weeks episodes on the main page. Check it out if preparedness is anything you're interested in, because it's a fantastic resource.

It's Saturday morning and I'm at work typing this on my phone before the store opens and I'm seriously enjoying my cup of coffee. I'm very thankful today for my family and my job and the ability to have an iPhone and a great cup of coffee. Don't forget why you are who you are and what makes you tick. Be thankful for the little things and it will make the big things seem so much greater.

Have a great weekend!


Friday, October 22, 2010

Preparedness, Part 2


The second thing to prepare for your family is water. Truthfully, it’s the most important. As I know, you can’t mix formula for a baby without water. Most of the time when you cook, you need water for that as well. We all know how important it is to have a steady supply, not just for drinking, but for the sake of cleanliness as well.
          FEMA, again, recommends having a three day supply. You can count on an average person drinking a minimum of half a gallon per day with age, physical condition and other factors applying to that number. Also, sick people, nursing or pregnant mothers, and children should drink more than their allotted half gallon. Another often forgotten need for water is your pets. Summer temperatures can also double then amount required. That’s a lot of information to take in, believe me. FEMA says to store one gallon per person per day. That includes any you would need for cooking or washing. Go look at a milk jug. Imagine that’s your water limit for the day. It doesn’t sound like a lot of fun.
          My suggestion is to triple that just to be on the safe side. It’s always much better to have too much than not enough. So, my personal goal is three gallons per person per day for a minimum of three days. There’s still not much wiggle room, so don’t expect to be wasteful, but it will help. Storage can be done with bottled water you buy at the store, or by using other approved storage containers from bottles to 55 gallon drums. I prefer water cans (similar to gas cans) that can be found at stores (like Wal-Mart) which are intended for camping. Mine, in particular, hold seven gallons and they are square so they’re easily stackable and there’s a spigot included. Do your own research though and make choices that best fit your family.
          Water purifiers are a whole new realm of information. I don’t know as much about them, other than it’s great to have as a back up. The market is flooded with purifiers, from Brita pitchers to the Life Saver system. They all have their uses and strengths and weaknesses but one thing they all do is give you clean potable water to drink so definitely consider adding a purifier of some sort to you preparations.
          Having water available to you can not only keep you alive, it can also help ease the tensions of a disaster situation. Knowing that you have at least enough to get you through a couple of days should give you and immense peace of mind and it also helps you to remain self sufficient and not rely on the government for a had out.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Preparedness, Part 1

Be prepared.

As an Eagle Scout, I have been very familiar with the phrase. It wasn’t until the events of September 11, 2001, late August of 2005 with Hurricane Katrina, and, of course, January of 2009 with the Ice Storm that struck here in the Western Kentucky area that this concept hit home. These events, and others like them, have served to really get my mind focused on my preparedness.
Was I prepared for the Ice Storm? Not really. We stayed at my in-laws for two weeks and luckily, they had a gas fireplace, gas water heater, and a gas stove; not to mention the generator we used part time. Coincidentally, we had some cash on us from my wife’s paycheck a few days before. We live off of our debit cards and, to that point, never carried much money on us. It helped then because we were able to buy groceries at the local IGA grocery which only accepted cash due to the lack of power. Yes, I did have flashlights, tons of candles, guns, and quite a bit of food, but, I believe that I went into that disaster completely unprepared for what we were going to have to face.
Since then, I have been researching different ways that I could be ready for disaster. Tornados are not uncommon around here and we live on a very large fault line that has been predominantly inactive in my lifetime. Anything can happen though. FEMA states that in a state of emergency that it can take them three days to be at ground zero ready to help. I, for one, cannot wait three days. I have children and a wife who depend on me to keep them safe, fed, and as comfortable as possible. Three days without drinkable water can be fatal depending on the temperature. Yes, three days without food is doable, but who wants to go through that? It makes sense for every family to have enough supplies for themselves for a minimum of three days so that they don’t end up worse off than they should be.
What does three days of supplies mean? Obviously it means food, water, and shelter.


You need to have enough food to feed yourself and anyone who lives with you and a way to prepare it. Now, that may not be too much of a struggle depending on the climate at the time. Things from your refrigerator and you freezer can be eaten either over a gas stove, a campfire, or a charcoal or propane barbeque grill. If it’s not that big of a disaster (like a power outage due to a storm) it’s actually kind of nice to sit outside on the patio and grill some steaks that you were saving for a special occasion. Canned goods are also good to have. These can range from soups and vegetables that you would buy at your local supermarket or fresh fruits and vegetables that were canned in mason jars right after harvesting. Either is great and will go a long way in making sure that you stay well fed. They also have a very long shelf life so having a few extra sitting on your pantry shelves shouldn’t be that big of an inconvenience. Making sure that you consume a sufficient number of calories is critical. If you have to clear out your road with a chainsaw so help can even get to you, you’re going to burn calories. The less you eat, the more exhausting even the smallest chores can be during a time like that.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Last night I immersed myself into a new project my brother and I are working on. It was really fruitful to use my brain in that manner. It's been a long time since I've created anything like that and especially in that detail. It was really nice and exciting to have the creative process going. We were sitting in my living room just bouncing ideas back and forth and even the wife joined in. This is going to be a project that I will be spending an enormous amount of time and energy on in the coming months and I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated on how it’s going.
I don’t really have much else to blog today and I apologize for that and the fact that the fact that it’s much later than normal when this is being posted. I promise that I’ll something better in store for you tomorrow. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog! Same Bat-time, Same Bat-channel!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Service with a Smile

What the hell has happened to our society? It’s no secret that I work retail, but some of you may not know that I manage a women’s clothing store. (Insert Al Bundy joke here.) The women I see in my store on a daily basis will yell and curse at me over a $3.99 return. They have a flagrant disrespect for me and my store because I am a man. That’s not a joke, or speculation. I’ve had several of them tell my staff and me things of that nature several times.
Never in my life have I ever chewed someone out for following their store’s policies. Never have I ever even grumbled when an acceptable explanation was given for an issue I had. This cut-throat attitude has got to stop. And surprisingly, it’s not one particular demographic either. Rich women. Poor women. White women. Black women. Young women. Old women. Apparently, being a complete jerk acknowledges no stereotype or boundaries.
These “customers” will enter my store and, as per policy, I will be in the front third of the store and I will say hello and welcome them. They literally look straight at me and then look away. No response. No smiles. Nothing. This is absolutely infuriating to me. I know it’s my job and you don’t have time to have a conversation with the plebeians, but all I’m asking for is a sincere greeting. Is that too much to ask?
Society is majorly screwed up. I know it’s not just women who are like this, but I am limited in who I deal with so they’re the ones who get picked on. Imagine: the women who can’t say hello to someone are raising or have raised children. Do you think those kids are going to have any respect whatsoever for the service industry? I know it’s not a glamorous profession, but without me, you couldn’t buy you cheap plus size apparel; or you’d at least have to try harder.
People need to start truly living by the Golden Rule again. It seemed to work great in the early days of our country but now it’s all about selfishness and entitlement. I don’t give a shit who you are. If you come in my store, you need me. At a restaurant you need your server. People in the service industries do jobs that not everyone wants to do. Unlike the medical profession, I am not required by law to provide service to you. Treat me with courtesy and a modicum of respect and we’ll be fine.
Please read this blog and really think about how you treat people in the stores you shop in or the restaurants where you take your family to eat. We do this to make a living. I feel that the fact that I’m working and not sponging off of the government should at least grant me some respect. The fact that I’m paying my mortgage with the money you spend so you can look nice on Easter Sunday doesn’t mean anything to you, but I guaran-damn-tee it means a lot to me and anyone else who is my shoes.
Be aware of how you treat people. Be conscious of how your children see you around people and the things that you are unintentionally teaching them. In the words of Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” That’s all well and good. I much prefer the more contemporary, “Wheaton’s Law.”

Monday, October 18, 2010


          I’ve always considered my father a jack-of-all-trades. He knows something about everything and is, at the very least, competent at everything he does. As a child growing up around him it was awesome because I cannot remember a single thing that he didn’t know, at least something, about. It’s pretty amazing even to this day.
          I’ve always wanted to pattern myself after that. I’ve tried to learn something about everything, and it is the most infuriating aspect of my life. To be proficient at everything, generally speaking, you can not excel at any one thing. There are, as always, exceptions to the rule; like my dad. For myself, on the other hand, that idiom holds entirely too true. I have a novice level of proficiency and understanding in a myriad of subjects. I’d say that on a scale of 1-10, 1 being no practical understanding, I have a 3 or a 4 in most things I come across.
          It may, in fact, be a statement about the caliber of people that I associate myself with, but there is always someone in my life that is better than me at whatever particular thing I’m into that week. It’s insanely demoralizing and a bit of a catch 22. I feel like, for instance, if my wife writes better than me, my gut instinct is to not write anymore. If she’s better, then why should I keep trying? Some people have a certain natural aptitude for things that I don’t have. Why not leave it to them to do the job? I’ve lived my entire life by that standard. I’ve been playing guitar for around 15 years now and my 8 year old nephew who’s been playing for just a few months knows things that I don’t. There are absolutely times where I want to give it up, even to this day. If it wasn’t for my band, I probably would have.
          To me, it is incredibly hard to be proud of anything that I do. It’s an even harder thing to come to grips with when there is someone close to me who, comparatively, is a prodigy. I have so many passions and interests in my life that it’s hard to feel successful or knowledgeable about anything. That’s not including the things I have no real desire to know, but feel like I need to; things like home improvements and car repairs.
          What little maturity I have developed over the years has taught me that no matter what I do, someone will do it better. I can accept that. I’m never going to play guitar like Hendrix. I’m never going to sing like McCartney. I’ll never be as funny as Kevin Smith or a hilariously brilliant as Lewis Black. I won’t have the millions of readers like R.A. Salvatore or Penny Arcade. I have come to grips with these truths. I just want to be better than what I am. There’s a strong fire burning in me to do more than I am doing and I have such a hard time dealing with that. It’s hard to be successful. That is the damned truth. That’s why so few people see the level of adoration as the aforementioned comparisons. It’s hard to see your best friend be exponentially better than you at something when you have a stronger passion for it. It’s hard to suck it up and not quit when you feel bad about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
          What I’m going to have to do is to put a few points into my sticktoitiveness skill and soldier on.