Figured I was long overdue for an update. With lockdown still in effect, I have no longer have much of an excuse.
Isolation is an odd word in our new reality. As a society we have never been so connected. The world is just a click away and it seems (to me at least) that we have never communicated so much.
Annoyingly so in fact.
From my jaded eyeballs, I attempt to spend my days keeping busy. Sighting in glass, doing chores/DIY projects and generally speaking, watching the world go by with a sense of general dismay and yet unperturbed.
I read the daily briefings from the FT and then try to ignore the rest of the noise. It seems the narrative is tangled between positivity and negativity. Both skewed and off the mark. As always.
It’s tragic that I am in a situation where my mindset has insulated me from any harm, but you still end up seeing entire communities suffer. I saw the supply lines breakdown coming a mile away. I pre-booked my food deliveries months ago. Staggered. Every 10 days.
When everyone was freaking out about toilet paper becoming a scarce resource, I was
helping impeding the girl from gardening. Because I had nothing but time on my hands.
I don’t even remember the last time I felt panic. Perhaps during my home invasion?
I still remember when the power went out for nearly a week in Canada. In December.
It was annoying, but we had supplies and just plodded along spending time with our neighbour. Eating deer. Over a firestove.
Because we prepare.
6 million people applied for unemployment benefits stateside. Look up how many applied for them in 2009 and really feel a sense of dread. This crisis is going to upend our world in a way we can’t really fathom.
From an increased reliance on decentralized workers (and the subsequent impact in commercial realty) to our spending habits & collective accumulated debt. It’s a house of cards and once again speculative traders are running rampant squeezing a few bucks ignoring the signs in the sand.
If I hear another wall street employee mention the bounce back in equities I think I may consider buying a cabin in the woods and hiding out with the girl and our clowder of cats.
If you have the stomach to endure butchered ramblings, I wrote about this here.
I could start writing about The Donald and his crack team of “Officials to re-open America council” which interestingly doesn’t feature a single economist nor healthcare professional. Amazing. Big brain. Super genius.
Folks, when I run out of wine and cigars, we can really start to worry because I won’t be able to sedate myself on this platform any longer and I will break my own no politics rule.
What really gets to me with this whole scenario is how oblivious everyone is to this whole pandemic. The WHO pointed out that Covid-19 will stalk humanity.
Interesting choice of words.
When our economies crumble under debt obligations, rampant unemployment and renewed clannish rhetoric which will cause further fractures in our society, how much humanity will really remain?
Employers are already taking advantage of suspended labour laws to cut out expensive employees. But don’t worry folks, its temporary. No doubt corporations will bring manufacturing back to the west and not double down on cheap labour from the east in an effort to cut costs.
The French crafted a word, Amertume and as I witness the inmates run the asylum, I find myself drowning in it.
get a $50 bicycle from craigslist. One with big tires, 18 gears and a suspension system. get some solid rubber tires for it, they are $25 each, and you need never again worry about having a flat. The entire 3200 miles of the US has been crossed in 8 days on a bicycle. 100 miles per night, on back roads, is no great feat. A week of such will get you out of cold country. having a nearly year-round growing season will be essential to life if shtf. There is no reason to suffer the risks of ice, snow, smoke, having to melt ice for drinking water, leaving tracks and sending up signals for enemies to follow and kill you. To have the birds all migrated, the animals and fish all hibernating or dormant under the ice. To hell with all that noise, when moving 700 miles south can remove those issues, at least.
Thomas Xavier says
I have been thinking about getting bikes for the girl and I but the roads here are more than a little questionable and with the quality of the driving I have witnessed…eek.
100% with you on escaping the frozen wasteland- s’reason why I am typing this from Portugal! ;)
you can easily have to move where it’s warmer, use clear plastic sheeting, raised seed-beds and heated stones inside such “greenhouses” to grow sprouts and root veggies, once a year has passed and 99% of the population is dead, making it far safer to have such food-sources.
Thomas Xavier says
I think for most people, being self sustaining is a fools errand. I don’t think growing your own food is viable for most people (‘m basing this judgement on the sort of people I run into).
Hope I am wrong though.
As for 99% of the population dying- I doubt it. I suspect the real fallout from this virus and whatever superbugs and other viruses will plague our species for the next century will ultimately be economic. A clear and inescapable fracture in society as the gap widens.
IF things open up again on May 1, we’ll probably be ok. But if it’ goes to june 1, big trouble is likely, july1, HIGHLY likely, aug 1, fighting looting, major fires, starvation are almost guaranteed! Get lots of non-hybrid seeds, folks. they will be far more precious than diamonds ever were!
I bought 2 ozs of 1/10th oz gold coins at spot price 2 weeks ago. I dont have a lot of money, but a lot more of it is in cash now, and not in banks, either. Dont trust safety deposit boxes for your coins, folks. FDR had the banks close during the Depression, for 3 days, while they searched all the boxes and confiscated everyone’s gold., BURY it, at night, in many places, showing no light and leaving no sign. The coins are so small that you can do it in broad daylight, with dozens of people around, if you know how. right in front of a cemetary headstone, for ease of finding it again.
I got the $1200 2 days ago and used it to get a 50 lb salt/mineral block, more rice, beans, molasses, honey, oatmeal, powdered milk, and various things that I’d overlooked in the cold weather, like bug spray and bugnetting. Now it all has to be buried, at night, at the BOL, in a variety of caches. You’ll need 2 lbs of food per adult per day. There’s no carrying it. Those who “think’ that the woods will provide are fos. All the fish and game will be gone in a month or 2, eaten by starving dogs and people. I’m going to use a silenced AR-15 in 223, with a CMMG .22lr conversion unit and subsonic Aquila 60 gr .22 ammo to brain a cow, at night and convert all of it into jerky. I have steel traps, netting, trotlines, fish poison, bird lime, snares, salt licks, etc, at the BOL, which should provide a lot of protein in the first 2 weeks, but the livestock will all be gone in a week or 2, so I’m grabbing that first.Somebody or something is going to kill that cow, and most of it will rot. It’s better that I preserve it all.
W-A-A-A-Y too much pessimism here!
And WAY too much BS in the media.
All this doom and gloom is simply unrealistic. The world isn’t ending (yet) and the world economies haven’t collapsed (yet) and they WON’T for some time.
There will be a ‘slow’ decay happening, for sure. But nothing like what you’re preaching.
Get out. Walk a couple miles a day. Get off the computer for a couple of days and smell the roses. Too many people are believing all the news…it’s mostly BS. They’re ‘selling’ panic and dismay.
Think for yourself. What is REALLY realistic? Quit fantasizing about going out into the woods and becoming a hermit/hunter. Instead, enjoy nature.
The end is NOT as close as you’ve imagined.
If you haven’t had a conversation with God in awhile, it’s time to start.
Thomas Xavier says
Hey mate, no doom and gloom here- just pragmatism. Everywhere I go businesses are going under. 58% of the service industry in my neck of the woods. Reason we don’t feel the impact as we should is due to payments from the government to prop up the situation. Grants, loans, debt etc. it can’t last forever and I don’t expect the economic situation to get better.
What you have to realise, is that 10% gdp drop isn’t just magic numbers on a screen, its a huge drop in employment, social security payments, tax revenue etc. the domino effect will end up hitting us, regardless of our sense of zen. ;)
Old OutdoorsGuy says
Well Thomas, here’s my feelings on the situation which, with a few bucks worth of 0 value American dollars, will buy you almost nothing worth talking about, Hell you can’t even buy a decent cup of 10 cent coffee for much less than a fiver here in the LotF?? First, things are NOT getting better and they WON’T be getting better unless and until we get our collective heads out of our asses and put the “clinical” tests, “approved” treatments, and “acceptable” medications for a virus of which we know nothing and get down to shoving a little bit of this totally worthless money at somebody who wants to find some treatment and maybe develop some sensible meds to knock this pandemic down for the count. At least for the short term, we need to get it under control and find ways to impress upon the entire world that the only way we will be really “safe” is if we all buckle down and stay HOME!! How can anyone predict the “peak” or the “flattening out” of the death curve associated with the virus when nobody can even speak with authority about what this virus IS and what it will take to contain this virus until the close contact of humans has a chance to have an effect on the virus’s spreading.
Hey, what will happen when ALL the food producers and processors are lying sick in bed with this virus? We had one meat plant lose over 400 of its employees up in the Dakotas BEFORE anyone even knew there was a problem at the plant! It won’t take long before the shelves are emptied and the meat and the produce counters are bare of everything but chittlin’s and grits with no estimate of when another “delivery” will come to the neighborhood grocery store. And people will be increasingly hungry each morning with no income, no way to grow anything in a garden or raise anything on a small plot of land and then they will come to town looking for an instant “solution” for things of which they have no experience or knowledge of how to deal?
I will predict that, when hunger becomes so acute that “dumptster diving” becomes the sport of “kings” and people will value the experience of those like myself, who have spent 60 years off and on taking to the woods, mountains, fields, and trails in search of peace and solitude and learning how to sustain and keep food in one’s belly with little or nothing canned or prepackaged in neat little cellophane bags and little plastic throw-on-the-ground “zip lock” packs. I never wanted for food in the woods, for a weekend, a week, or longer when I was out by myself enjoying the few important things from which I gleaned a level of satisfaction for which I had paid nothing more than a few days in the woods or fields or sitting around a warm fire at night and listening to the whip-poor-will droning its mournful call out there somewhere in the dark. Yeah, I am rambling on about things for which many people don’t even give one minute’s worth of thought. While many were out on a cruise or shopping for clothes, or buying a new [ …. insert whatever you feel you simply cannot live another minute without], I was fishing or kayaking somewhere into a little bayou or up a small creek, the source of which I had no clue but I thanked that “guy” up there for placing it in my path to explore. …… Kid’s stuff, dreams and fantasy, that’s what I have been accused of participation in when I go out to see what is “over that hill over there” [ … point a finger in any direction, chances are that is where I went or where I plan to go, first chance I get]
Yeah, I heard on the news, “It will blow in and then blow right back out and things will be back to “normal” in no time”. Or, “This is simply over stated, it isn’t any worse than the annual flu or any other interruption of our “normal” way of life!” Maybe, “We will be releasing “big” checks to
everyone who has filed an income tax return in the last 2 years!” Oh, boy, what a windfall THAT will be …… I will guess that that 1200 bucks will be spent before the checks ever reach very many mailboxes, at least in this country where I live. And, all the while, there are millions upon MILLIONS OF UNEMPLOYED filing for help from Uncle Sam?? Where is all this “money” coming from?? Who will pay it back when this all “blows away” at the end of the “next month or year or whatever”??
I read or heard somewhere that Bill Gates’s wealth qualifies him as the “richest man on Earth” supposedly a sum of about $86,000,000,000!! that’s Eighty Six Billion dollars. So, if he liquidated his entire wealth and got it in a stack of $100 bills, how high would that be? Well, many commercial airplanes [the ones which are still flying, anyway] will cruise at 30,000 feet, roughly 5.7 MILES. Bill’s “stack” of wealth in $100 bills would be around 10 times HIGHER than the clouds which those planes are flying above. And we haven’t even come close to a TRILLION BUCKS yet.
Now I have a headache and so, if you will allow me some leeway to becoming a victim of a massive migraine, I will leave a link to a graphic showing how much the debt of the USA WAS back in 2017!! And we have thrown another 2.7+T. and only God knows how much MORE at that pile in the last few years.
Who’s gonna clean up ‘dat mess?? Or better yet, “WHO’S RESPONSIBLE FOR ‘DAT MESS”?????
You can tell me later, if it matters ……..
Thomas Xavier says
Breathe mate! Our economic policy for the past 70 years can be summed up as kicking the can down the road. Our debt will never be repaid and yet due to developing countries throwing cash at us for T-bills and EU bonds, our (western) currency will withstand more shocks than anyone elses.
I don’t expect we will see starvation in the west, the real issue is our social contract as a people will be severely put to the test. We cannot have rampant unemployment and prolonged hopelessness without social fractures and clannish behaviour emerging from the woodwork. :/
The house of cards our economy was built on in the last 30 years is crumbling around our ears. I doubt if manufacturers will move production back to the USA, to expensive for our multi national cooperations who all they think about is profit. Our service economy is pretty crippled right now and doesn’t look like it will get back to where we were for many years. Damage is being done daily that’s not easy to repair short term. Reading the survival blogs, many preppers are clamoring to open the economy up as their tired of hunkering down. Go figure, all those self sufficient blowhards with 20 guns and thousands of rounds of ammo, never prepared for a true pandemic! Sure this is a SHTF situation but the grid is still up, grocery stores are open yet their crying!
Thomas Xavier says
Blowhards is the right term mate, but its to be expected- most people do things for social approval- even the “rebels”. Nothing cool about learning to can or pickle but here we are.
Agree completely on the economy, service sector here is on life support.
Yes, things will be different in ways that cannot be fathomed today. Just like things were different in ways after I was forced to start going to school, to raise a baby alone, to have to start working for a living.
You focus on keeping your priorities in order:
1. keep healthy;
2. keep happy;
3. keep learning new skills;
4. deal with the problems that you can deal with and the ones you can’t deal with – ignore or don’t go into a tissy.
My dad (whose father died in the 1918 epidemic before he was born in 1918) went from driving a chicken truck in Mississippi during the depression to earning 3 masters degrees from MIT. Things change in life – and not always for the worse. You may very well have more control over your life than you can imagine.
Thomas Xavier says
Agreed mate, what really bothers me about this situation is that people don’t seem to realise the precariousness of our current set up. Money from the government is starting to run out here in Portugal and whatever recovery plan is put into effect isn’t going to undo all the lost jobs and tax payments.
Thats my concern and sadly I don’t have a solution.