Archive for October, 2013

Living in earthquake country

Or: how I satisfy my inner doomsday prepper

Well, there ‘s been an earthquake here. It happened in the middle of the night. We both slept through it, though and I only heard about it when I met up with some people the next day. Oh well 🙂

Still, even though you can sleep through many of them, people here really do stress the importance of being prepared for an earthquake. The Great California Shake Out is a good example. And when we moved into our apartment we were given a packet of informational leaflets including a Red Cross pamphlet about being prepared. All this is music to my ears.

You see, back when I lived alone people who accidentally glimpsed my stashed supplies liked to joke about how I could easily survive a decent nuclear winter in my apartment. I’m a hamster when it comes to usable things such as dry goods, canned food and toilet paper. Beloved thinks I take it way too far (he’s likely right – I think that I used to store over four times the recommended amounts of supplies), but even he agreed that moving to California probably warranted some dedicated preparation.  And so, I embarked on Project Bug-Out Bag, aimed  at keeping two people safe and comfortable outdoors for 72 hours.

Here are most of our accumulated supplies:

Picture by me.

4 gallons of water

tablets for water purification

a sterno stove


a first aid kit

asthma medication (that’s the little purple box with Russian / Greek / something (?) script)

dust masks

trash bags (for waterproofing and because we have no tarp)

ziploc bags (for keeping small things safe from water)

some small tiewraps (no single pre-built kit names these, but I figure they’re useful)

some twine

some stronger rope

a box cutter

solar powered flashlights with a back-up battery and a head lamp with a normal battery

a small radio with batteries

Not pictured, but still included: lighters, sleeping bags, sterno for the stove, smaller water bottles for accessibility

Still needed: food, multitool / an actual knife, a pot for cooking food (depending on food choice), clothes, copies of passports, some cash.


Picture by me. This is the BOB (Bug-Out Bag)

At this moment most of the supplies from the first picture are packed up in the bag in picture two. The thing is uncomfortably heavy, but considering that it is a very standard size back pack, I was quite pleased with how much fit in. I could not pack all of the water (there are two gallons in there, though) and I packed enough candles for 120 hours of burn time (60 if you burn two at the same time), keeping the other ones tucked away elsewhere.

I plan on finding another bag (secondhand, ideally, I’m cheap like that) for dividing the weight and increasing carrying capacity. That’s when I can look out for some freeze dried meals / granola bars or other lightweight food choices as well. I’m thinking of using some of the rope to just tie the sleeping bags to the backpacks as well.

Once the rest of the kit is also securely packed, I can just stash the bags out of sight, knowing that if the Big One hits, we have a decent chance of not succumbing to exposure or thirst before help comes in. That idea really helps me sleep through the ‘little ones’  at night 🙂


Time is fun when you are having flies

Ahh… With Beloved off to a long day at school and the networking meeting I planned to attend moved to a far-away location I don’t feel like going to, I’ve decided to spend some of my time writing a new blog post. It’s been too long.

Where did I leave you guys again?

Oh, right.. Work. Things are well, in that regard. Very, very well. I’m on the cusp of securing an assignment big enough that I will be able to start paying the rent and have enough left over for some health insurance. It likely won’t last forever, but I’ve been offered a little over five months duration, so it’s a very good start. It should also provide me with taxable income, which provides me with something to deduct tax from, which provides me with a reason to maybe spend some money on office furniture. this means that soon-ish I will no longer have to work while sitting on my bed.

Kermit the Frog is copyrighted by The Muppets Studio LLC (but original credit goes to Jim Henson, of course)

Last weekend we jetted off to the Pacific Northwest to attend a cousin’s wedding. It was quite the event. I don’t know about you folks, but I had never been to an actual black tie event before and I seem to be one of the few people  who does not enjoy playing ‘fancy dress’  every now and then. Still, despite my trepidations of the wardrobial persuasion (I wore pants, y’all, and lip gloss) it was a highly festive occasion. The bride looked lovely, the groom seems like a cool dude, the toasts were moving and it was lovely to talk to all of Beloved’s relatives. Also: whisky sours! And rain, which made me think of home.

The weather here in the Bay Area is.. funny. It’s October, but projected temperatures for this week are expected to hit the mid-twenties (in Celsius – I’m not fluent in Fahrenheit, sorry). It’s also been dry as dust, with one notable exemption on a Saturday morning. Thats when the local stadium flooded. I wonder if I’ll ever get tired of all the sunshine.

So far I’ve not felt any earthquakes. I hope it stays that way for a while because all our books came in and the bookshelves have not yet been secured to the walls. But: books! At last! Finally! A reunion of the paperbacked companions. Most of last week has been spent alphabetizing fiction and categorizing the non-fiction. We seem to have a strong overrepresentation of the letter H (Haldeman, Harrison, Heinlein, Herbert, Hobb) and of books pertaining to language. I’ve got about a box and a half of non-fiction left to sort, but everything else is in its place.


With the shipment of books also arrived our silverware (so now we eat like grown-ups again), the good kitchen knives (ah! slicing and dicing and chopping and throwing it all in a pan) and the single sketchbook I allowed myself to keep. So yesterday I went out and bought a mechanical pencil and an eraser. I look forward to spending some of my leisure away from the internet, because that has been hard, lately.

New project: Make plans for the holidays. We’ve been invited to go east for Christmas and it would be lovely if I got the tickets sorted before I take on the big work project.

Talk to you again soon, dear blog-pals. But first, let me scour your blogs for updates 🙂