What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ultimate Fighter (Part 1)


I went to the gym. I do that sometimes, more to meet women than work out. Calorie burning is a welcome side effect and, ironically enough, can help me meet more women. So I go to the gym.

So I was at the gym. Specifically, I went to the weight room. The weight room is where the jocks and wannabe jocks congregate to flex and admire their own bodies as they strain against dangerously heavy resistance. Jocks like weight rooms because they make them feel superior and stronger. I like weight rooms because I am a jock wannabe.

So I was in the weight room. Specifically, I was at the bench press, getting ready to work my spindly limbs into a sweat. The bench press is the machine of choice for jocks, because it provides a bright-line of achievement. Can you bench your weight? Can you bench five stone? These are questions that are answered in the weight room and lied about outside of it.

I knew a guy once who had a nasty scar across his chest from where the bench press fell while he was trying to out-press another guy. The way I heard it, the injury was the result of an impromptu bench pressing competition before the gym outlawed such gratuitous displays of arm firepower. He had insisted on lifting without a spotter to show the "outstanding strength" of his rotator cuff. Apparently something had failed, and the bar had sunk lower than the lifter expected. The three hundred odd pounds (the number probably gets bigger with each retelling) had nearly crushed the lifter's lung and his rotator cuff was on its third surgery. The scars were pretty cool, though...

Across from me, at the bicep curl, a thin young man sporting a tight white shirt with the name of a rock group pasted over the front quickly moved a light weight up and down before pulling back his shirt to reveal a knotted and very small bicep. Rock Star was not distracting and I returned to the bench press.

That's when I noticed a short, heavily tattooed jock in the far corner of the gym. A stout gentleman, he appeared to be around nine stone and wore his weight with corded muscle over a short frame. His face showed tough features, a cauliflower ear and a Tom Cruise nose. I watched as he hoisted impossibly heavy weights over his head and worked his already bulked shoulder muscles with a common motion but extraordinary resolve. Wow.

To be continued...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Vampire Monday


Today's Monday is in response to Em, who warms FCN in a world as cold as stone. It is dedicated to Tori, who kept the author awake this morning as he was writing this post to help keep you all alive. You should thank them both.

With all this talk of zombies chowing down on your brain, it's impossible not to devote at least a little brain juice to one of the most iconic of all villains in the western world: vampires. While the existence of vampires is now well-established scientific fact, few people really worry about them because they don't really have to deal with them. Scientists estimate that there are probably less than a hundred vampires in the world today. Vampires are very anti-social and timid and usually only prey on one other person before death.

So why all the fuss?

Because it takes just fifteen minutes to prepare for the worst: a Vampire Apocalypse. Suppose any number of seemingly random events caused vampires to become active hunters, tracking down multiple targets and systematically spreading human vampirism across the planet. Would you know what to do when it came to your home town? Do you know how to recognize and protect yourself from a vampire?

We didn't think so.

This Monday, we're not even going to bother giving you advice about forming your VSF. Instead, we just want to clear the air and give you a solid handle on what you're up against. From there, you should be able to cross-reference what you've learned from previous Mondays and get yourself a decent plan.

Now, buckle in! We're about to tour modern and ancient understanding of vampires. No more superstition. It's time for scientific facts. Warning: a few of these might be a teeny bit on the unpleasant side. If you start feeling woozy, put your feet up on the desk (but not on the keyboard, please).

Oh, one more disclaimer. Twilight isn't going to get you very far here. No more "I'm a nice vampire who only drinks animal blood!" nonsense. We're sticking to real, hard facts.

MYTH: Vampires live on human blood.
FACT: Vampires crave human blood.

Vampires are humans, just like you. Okay, not just like you (unless you are a vampire, in which case this post probably won't have many surprises). In any case, the dietary needs of vampires are the same as those of normal humans. You've got your carbs, your proteins, your pizzas ... you get the idea. Here's the difference: when you're eating broccoli, you're wishing it was chocolate. When vampires are eating their broccoli, they're wishing it was blood. Vampires lie awake at night dreaming of blood. They have a craving as drug addicts yearn for a fix or N pines after Sunny D.

MYTH: Vampires love preying on victims.
FACT: Vampires feel really guilty about it.


Most vampires are deeply conflicted about their cravings (and many, at least for awhile, don't even know what the cravings are). Remember back when you were young and your mommy told you not to eat that candy bar she put on the counter? And you walked around for hours playing with your legos and dreaming about that candy bar? And the harder you tried to forget it the more it took over your mind? And in a sudden fit, knowing it was the wrong thing to do and that you'd get caught, you went and ate that candy bar, and even though you loved candy bars it tasted like ashes in your mouth because of the guilt?

Vampirism is like that. Vampires can't wait to sink their teeth into someone but they know it's the wrong thing to do and they're grossed out by it. But day after day, year after year, the temptation wells up inside them and eventually they just can't stand it anymore.

MYTH: Vampires can only be killed by silver bullets/wooden stakes; they're afraid of garlic; etc.
FACT: Um, no! Lol.

Vampires do have strange anatomical properties (ex: fangs capable of sucking blood, like bats), but they are still human. They're just as likely to be killed by silver bullets and have garlic phobias as anyone else. If you need to kill a vampire, do it the same way you'd kill a human, with one important difference: mind the teeth.

MYTH: Vampires have ice cold skin and are sensitive to light.
FACT: Vampires prefer the night.


Studies on exactly why vampires prefer the night are still inconclusive. Some postulate that vampires have guilt/freak complexes and try to stay in the shadows. Others believe there are more complicated forces at work. We're not sure about the details, but we can say for certain that vampires have normal human skin.

MYTH: Bat bites turn you into a vampire.
FACT: Vampire bites turn you into a vampire.


Vampire bats do suck blood, but they don't have the power to spread human vampirism. That's a condition unique to humans. Vampire saliva (which gets into your blood stream much as mosquito saliva does after a bite) spreads throughout your body, and a few days later, you're a vampire. There is no known antigen, though several vampires have generously donated their bodies to science in hopes of finding a cure. Until that happens: be safe.

MYTH: Vampires don't reflect in mirrors; their eyeballs have strange shapes; they wear huge collars; etc.
FACT: The only way to identify vampires without extensive testing is the length of their fangs.


After being bitten by a vampire, a newly infected vampire's fangs will loosen and drop out, giving way to elongated, hollow teeth with razor sharp tips. These teeth are very painful and impractical; they cut the inside of the mouth, they hold the mouth open wider than is comfortable; they get in the way of chewing food. The hollow points in the teeth are part of a thin line running back to and joining the esophagus, and that creates all sorts of complications. Identifying vampires is a simple matter of getting them to open their mouths. Tell them a joke - that works every time.

MYTH: Vampires live for centuries and/or are undead.
FACT: Vampires live about seven years after infection.


Tragically, the vampiric digestive system gradually stops working over time, causing death. There is no known cure. As a vampire's stomach shuts down and its hunger increases, the craving for blood becomes almost unbearable. Eventually even the most careful vampires usually give in to temptation and make their move.

Concluding thoughts: remember, even if the world is filling with vampires, there's no reason to panic. Vampires are humans too and it's wrong to just bump them off like zombies or politicians. Show them love and understanding in the scary years at the end of their lives. Give them space to be alone when the cravings take over. Let them know you trust them - then never, ever turn your back on them.

Not even for a second.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Awkward Situation #5


Picture this. You're the best man in a wedding. It's the big day and you are at the future home of the bride and groom getting dressed for the wedding. A woman comes over who is dressed very nicely, makeup and hair done. She puts some of the groomsmen to work folding the programs for the ceremony and proceeds to the master bedroom to make the bed.

You offer her your assistance, all the while wondering who she is. Finally, you ask: "I don't think we've met; are you the photographer?"

"No," she replies, "I'm the maid of honor...we met last night at the rehearsal, remember?"

You can tell she's slightly put off by the fact that you don't recall meeting her, so you try to smooth things over with your suave, always-appropriate humor.

"Wow!" you say, "It's like extreme makeover!"

Oops.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I wrote this when I should have been doing something else


This post was written entirely in class. It 's 100%, guaranteed, genuine, certified contraband. I did this when I should have been doing something else. You see, in my easiest class (an economics course for general education students I somehow sneaked into), I "take notes" on my computer. When my professor is engrossed in one of his many tangents, I press my favorite shortcut key combination (alt + tab) and work on something else. Last week I wrote a term paper. Tomorrow I plan on Facebooking. Today, I am writing this tome of abject educational rebellion.

Someone, somewhere, estimated that students pay $50-75/lecture for the expensive private education I will pay for when my student loans come due. But like a headstone and life insurance, education is one of the goods we pay for when we don't want to consume it. In fact, if I paid only for the moments in class that I actually pay attention, my education would be so cheap, it could be sent to foreign countries as aid.

I used to doodle and write my funny notes on paper. That was my signature, my trademark. If I were Sitting Bull, that would be my "X." Students who sat next to me would sometimes lean in to get a preview of next week's posts. When the professor turned her back to the class to put something on the board, faces would crowd around my mead pad like surgeons over an operating table. On rare occasions, the surgeons would chuckle or issue forth that "smurphy" noise that generally accompanies partially restrained mirth.

Now I'm much more obvious. Students who take notes on their computers are highly suspect. Teachers are inherently suspicious of generation y-ers, especially those who get their technology on in class. When my bright computer screen attracts neighbors like an outdoor barbecue, my professor gets especially suspicious.

Three times already today, he's looked at me with a suspicious air. I think he suspects something. He looked at me again. I'll just save for publication and get back to class...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Good Idea/Bad Idea #9


Good idea: Throwing a hand grenade.
Bad idea: Catching a hand grenade.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's All About The Benjamins, Baby


Dear mom,

Since writing is my thing, I've concocted a get rich scheme that will either take off and bring in the dough or crash and send me into bankruptcy. I'll write a romance novel about two teenagers.

The protagonist will be a teen girl. That's a character most people can relate to, right? Besides, since the book is a romance, I need to reach my female readers. The guy in the book is virtually indestructible, so maybe some guys will want to read it as well.

Our heroine is also an incurable liar. Typical love stories portray characters as perfect. I want my characters to be almost repulsively flawed—it will make my readers feel better about themselves. I have to please the reader.

The girl has an unnatural fascination with death. I'm trying to reach emo readers here. She begs her boyfriend to kill her, but he always refuses. She jumps off cliffs, rides motorcycles, and spends an inordinate amount of time around monsters.

In the second book, my hero will leave for a while without a trace. This is another attempt to hook some more emo readers. The girl will wander aimlessly and spends her days being depressed and finding ways to die. She finds him and they get in huge trouble with the mafia.

My hero is drop-dead gorgeous. Model gorgeous. That's what every girl wants, right? Someone very handsome to sweep her off her feet. I don't want to give my readers unrealistic expectations of men, but seriously, I need to be able to sell this baby, so I'm willing to do whatever it takes.

In fact, his only flaw is that he is a dangerous guy who wants to kill her. Even after they're married he has to suppress his violent desires. Sure, this may be over the top, but if I'm going to make a name for myself, I need to be outrageously original. He's 80 years older than her. He sneaks into her room at night like a stalker, just to watch her sleep. Creepy, but I think my readers will understand what I'm trying to do. Every girl wants a guy who can't stand to be away from her, right?

But why think small? I've already planned my sequels! In the last book, my hero and the heroine finally get hitched. By delaying this momentous turn in the plot until the last book, I can milk out a few more bucks from my fans.

After the wedding, the story doesn't end. My heroine gets pregnant and dies shortly after giving birth to a beautiful baby monster. And they live happily ever after.

I'll give the books hippie-sounding names for added appeal... names like "Moonbeam" or "Starshine". Hopefully the books will sell well enough to require sequels, and if I'm lucky, maybe even a movie deal. I'll be set for life.

Your loving daughter,
Stephenie Meyer

Monday, March 23, 2009

Stimulus Monday


The times, they have a-chang-ed.

The passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the largest peaceful power grab by any government in human history) is a clear sign to anyone who hasn't been paying attention that the future is not what it once seemed. Changing times call for new, flexible survival plans. Today: surviving the ARRA (or, in shorthand, the stimulus act). How do you survive - no, thrive - in the changing economic climate of the ARRA?

Unfortunately, Congress was unable to read the bill before it was passed. This is understandable as legislators are very busy people with a lot on their plate. The economy is hurting and can't reasonably be expected to survive unless the smart folks in Washington give it a bunch of our children's money. Thank goodness the bill passed so expeditiously!

First, let's clear up some confusion about the size of the bill.

MYTH: The ARRA costs about $789,000,000,000.00 over 10 years.

That's absolutely true if you count all the government grants and nothing else. But the grants account for only a small portion of the bill - the bulk of it lies in "temporary" spending increases to critical government functions, mostly in health care. Temporary? What does that mean? Don't panic, these wonderful spending raises will never leave us. Temporary is just a word politicians use to say they'll hammer out the details later. Add the grants, temporary spending, and debt fees together, and you get:

FACT: The true cost of the ARRA is $3,270,000,000,000.00 over 10 years.

$2.527 trillion in spending + $744 billion in debt servicing = $3.27 trillion, or about $18,165 per taxpayer. That's a pretty hefty financial payload coming your way, but keep your shirt on. Follow our advice below and the ARRA will be the best thing that happened to your wallet since ... well, ever. You'll be eating caviar in your penthouse looking down at all the starving little people who didn't have ARRASPs.

MYTH: Bailout money is being given to people who will lose their jobs without it.

One of the most tragic misconceptions about the ARRA is that money is given out based on need/potential contribution to the economy. On the contrary! The ARRA is just like everything else in America - a payback. For every action, there is a reaction. For every contribution to the political power of the Democratic party, there is a line in the stimulus bill.

Consider the $950,000 being given to the militant Hispanic-rights group National Council of La Raza. Consider the $6.6 million being invested in researching a rare insect (the Formosan Subterranean Termite). Consider the $855,000 funding a new parking garage in Massachusetts. Consider the $1.9 million spent on a water taxi in Connecticut. Or the $2.9 million to build a bike trail in Illinois.

FACT: Bailout money is given to change the balance of power in Washington.

It's not about need, it's about political favors. Some people are getting all bent out of shape about that because they have unrealistic notions about how government works. It's time for them to wake up and look around. In the post-Obama world, the government is just another branch of the economy. In a few years, the economy will be just another branch of the government. Economic laws absolutely apply to government action. Political campaigns cost a lot of money, and campaign contributors need to be paid back! It's only fair. Not passing this bill would be highway robbery.

How to Thrive under the ARRA

But we're not here to defend the impeccable ethics of the stimulus act. We're here to show you how to leverage it to your advantage. The renewable energy industry sank millions of dollars into the democratic party, and has been rewarded with more than four billion dollars in return. Now that's results!

And how do you do that? By becoming important to the balance of power in Washington. There are many ways of doing this. The simplest way is by becoming involved in the campaigns of liberal politicians in your area. Give them money, work "as a campaign volunteer" full-time, recruit everyone you know to help out and post campaign paraphernalia on every piece of real and personal property you own. Make sure the politician realizes how much he owes you big. Then when he gets elected, remind him about how your business could sure use help to survive in these harsh economic times (be sure to use that phrase: harsh economic times). If you don't have a business, start one. It doesn't have to be serious. Learn from the termite researchers and bike trail pavers of the past. Then skip and clap in glee when you get a check in the mail for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Worth it? You better believe it.

If you're rich enough (for example, if you've already done the above method), you can start buying campaign victories by founding a Political Action Committee (PAC) that isn't affiliated with a candidate. Give it a nice independent-sounding name like "American Taxpayer Coalition" (that name hasn't been taken yet - you don't have to thank us). Run saturation attack ads on the fiscal conservative(s) in the race and be sure to mention constantly that you are an independent watchdog organization that is in no way related to any of the candidates. The liberals who benefit won't forget your generous efforts.

As you climb the political pyramid, you'll start finding that people start coming to you for favors. Be sure to reward them generously to keep them coming back for more. Loyalty is everything. When you think you've amassed enough power, call in all your favors and run for office. Everyone who owes you (both up and down the pyramid) will come in and help you as you helped them.

From there, you can broker power directly by passing bills to help your supporters. Don't be shy about this: there are lots of other people bidding for power. You've got to be absolutely ruthless about handing out those taxpayer dollars if you want your people to stay loyal. Conservatives will whine about how corrupt you are because they're too naive to understand how government works. But fortunately, conservatives aren't in power anymore. You can see why. Make the powerful people happy and all of a sudden that eighteen grand (and the general well-being of the nation) will be peanuts.

Inspiring Conclusion

As you can see, surviving in the ARRA isn't about running away from your troubles. You've got to work hard, be patient, and pay everyone for an honest day's work with taxpayer dollars. In short, you've got to live the New American Dream. The journey will not be easy, and there will be days you feel like just quitting and getting a normal job. Don't relent.

The political industry is the only one with a bright future in America. With a lot of effort and a little unyielding hope, that shining star of financial bounty can be reached by anyone.

Now isn't that inspiring?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Deceit


John would like to get Mary better. They are taking a class together right now, and John thinks he would like to hang out with Mary another time. Unfortunately, John is male and Mary is female, which presents a language barrier. He has tried finding her on Facebook, but alas, she doesn't have an account. What he would like is her phone number, so they can keep in touch after the semester is over. The problem is that if he asks the simple question, "Can I have your phone number," Mary will probably interpret it as "I think you are attractive—would you like to go on a date sometime?" That is not what John wants to ask. (Actually it is, but he's afraid to ask it.)

So John resorts to subterfuge. He asks for everyone to exchange phone numbers in his study group, just in case he's late and he needs to call someone. Not that he's going to be late. He just wants to be safe. Then, he thinks of an excuse to call her. An hour before class, he finds that he doesn't know what the homework assignment is. So he shoots a text over to Mary: "did you catch what the homework assignment was for today?" She texts back: "Yeah, but it's kind of long." So he calls, chats for a minute, gets the assignment, and voila! The two have exchanged phone numbers.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Awkward Situation #4


I am sitting in the library working on a term paper.

I have my headphones plugged into my computer and am listening to Chris Cagle's My Life is a Country Song at medium blast.

I can't hear anything around me because my headphones are sound canceling.

I have been working for twenty minutes and nobody has acted at all abnormally.

My friend from statistics walks up behind me and motions to take out my headphones. She wants to tell me something.

I remove the headphones and note that I can still hear the music. My computer speakers are blaring the music even though my headphones are plugged in!

I look around the library at the ten or fifteen students gathered in my study area. None of them return my looks.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Good Idea/Bad Idea #8



Good idea: Slowing down while driving over railroad tracks.


Bad idea: Slowing down while driving over railroad tracks when there's a train coming.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Juggling Act


Who says that routine is boring? Walking to school is often the most exciting part of my day. (By "day," I mean non-weekend, non-holiday, and non-LAN party day.) You see, I manage to spice up my commute by juggling on the way. Figuratively speaking. It goes something like this:

9:15 I wake up and grimace at the clock. Class starts at ten.
9:20 I guiltily wake up again and repeat the grimace.
9:25 I wake up again and get out of bed. Then I wait for other people (whose gender, ahem, will remain unspecified) to finish using the shower.
9:35 I shower, shave, and shine.
9:40 I check Facebook and pack my books.
9:45 I check my feed reader.
9:48 I head to school. This ordinarily takes six and a half minutes, but today a stoplight is red that is usually green, which takes another fifteen seconds.
9:54:45 I find a parking space six rows from school instead of eight. That gives me twenty more seconds. I walk toward the entrance.
9:55:45 I say Hi to a passing friend, which doesn't take any time, but we decide to stop walking for a second and ask each other about the test yesterday.
"How'd it go yesterday?"
"I dunno, I think I bombed it."
"Hmm.. too bad. Yeah, it was hard. I feel good about it though."
"Cool. Good luck.
"See you tomorrow."
That takes fifteen seconds. I've got time.
9:56:30 I enter the building.
9:57 I go to the bathroom. I check my watch and realize that I have enough time to go there the long way, stopping by the water fountain on the way out. It takes 30 or 45 more seconds, but things are going smoothly today.
9:58:30 I run up the stairs a little faster than usual.
9:59 I head down the hall toward class. The drink machine looks good, but getting a Mountain Dew would take a whole minute. Oh well, maybe I'll get one during the break.
9:59:30 I pause in front of the classroom door to roll up my iPod earphones. Pocketing them, I enter class.
10:00 I have a seat.
10:00:30 The professor comes in. Drat, he's late. I could have got the Mountain Dew after all.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mutant Insect Monday


Mutant insects? Where! Show me!

Lower the Raid can, Kemosabe. Mutant insects (as a potentially society-ending entity) don't currently exist. But that's not to say they can't, and, as sean b so gently pointed out, it's high time we devote a little time to getting your MISP off the ground.

Insects do two basic things: eat and reproduce. They're small, they move in swarms, and they all have ways of attacking humans. Why haven't they consumed the planet by now? Because they're at the bottom of the food chain. Everyone eats bugs - even some plants. Insects are getting gobbled up so fast it's a miracle there are any left. It takes constant breeding just to stay alive.

If you are annoyed by the presence of insects around your home, it's a simple matter to break out the pesticide and clear the area. Bugs can sometimes be annoying, but they're never a real threat.

Mutations being what they are, however, it's impossible to predict the future. Insects would require only minor changes to become incredibly threatening. Let us assume, for instance, that a given insect lost susceptibility to modern insecticides, or doubled its rate of reproduction. Suddenly, the current delicate balance of existence would be upset and insects would take over the world. Let us examine:


Termites


Termites consume dead plant material (wood). This means the agricultural threat is not total (trees and vines will be destroyed while grains and legumes survive), but the danger to modern society is still very gret. Wood and wood fiber products (like cardboard and paper) have been of critical importance to infrastructure for millennia. Widespread termite damage would cause buildings to collapse and paper records to be destroyed. The vast majority of the human population would be without shelter. Forests and jungles would vanish and shipping would grind to a halt.

Civilization would face desperate turmoil for several years until metal and plastic building materials became cheap enough to restore basic construction. Refugees would roam aimlessly in search of shelter. The global economy would collapse and then implode.

A few words of advice: fighting termites is about protecting yourself. Build your home with metal framing; use synthetic insulation; coat your drywall with a thick impermeable plastic. As always, be sure to have enough weaponry to deal with swarming refugees who want to live in your termite-proof house. If you work in construction, manufacturing, or transportation, get a new job presto.

Locusts

Locusts are not directly threatening to humans but they devastate agriculture. Before modern insecticides, locust plagues were capable of causing devastating famines causing tens of thousands of deaths. Entire regions find themselves completely devoid of crops after a locust swarm descends; it often takes years to recover.

A locust apocalypse would consume above 90% of the planet's current plant life. This would have devastating short and long term impacts. Short term: massive food shortages would cause billions of people to starve to death. With survival on the line, countries would be forced into war over the remaining stockpiles, and rationing would give way to corruption and blackmail. The rich and powerful would pay their minions with food and play subfactions against each other; anarchy would reign. The geopolitical structure would devolve into a caricature of dogs squabbling over meat.

Civilization would collapse under the weight of rapid depopulation and the world would be plunged into a post-apocalyptic stone age. Regions safe from locusts (mostly the polar areas) would be invaded by survivors who would fight bitter wars to the death over the space. Civilization would slowly return, only to face the long-term impact of a locust apocalypse: atmospheric imbalances.

Flora and fauna are extremely co-dependent. Here's a basic idea, courtesy of Mountain Empire Community College:


See how that works, boys and girls? CO2 > plants > O2 > animals > CO2 > and so on.

Take plants out of the equation, and you have a broken chain. O2 gets used up and converted to CO2 but it's never converted back. What happens now? Do we all die? Not quite - there are special machines that can decarbonize CO2 and maintain the atmosphere in a small, closed system. But we don't have the technology to keep the whole planet going. Human life will go underground and exist in air-tight cities. With post-anarchic government settling back down in easy-to-control spaces, totalitarianism will see a sudden resurgence. Citizens will be forced to toe the line to get food and oxygen or be exiled to the lifeless surface.

Preparation for a locust apocalypse is simple: first, have a survivor party capable of fighting for food if and when necessary. Second, stockpile food and make sure no one outside your survivor party knows about it. Have enough to keep your party alive for several years with some left over. Use the leftover food to buy power in one of the brutal dictatorships of the post-locust world. Third, move to the Rocky Mountains.

Bees

Africanized honey bees (also known as Killer bees) are some of the most potentially dangerous critters on God's green earth. They have everything that makes normal bees dangerous (potent, fast-acting poison, wide hive coverage, excellent communication, super-dynamic body), with the added comfort of a scent "tag" they place on enemies, causing all nearby bees to swarm and sting the target. If you're tagged by a killer bee, you're in very deep doo-doo.

A sting from a single bee is not dangerous to those of us who don't suffer from bee allergies. In fact, it's possible to develop an immunity to bee toxin (ask a bee keeper about the last time he was stung). Some cultures even use dried poison for medicinal uses to stimulate the immune system. But there's no coming back from a bee swarm. Poison effects every part of your body; swelling some things, shutting down others.

Killer bee apocalypse would cause the deaths of billions of animals, from lizards to humans (and yes, in between). Depopulation would be just the beginning. Because bees don't need their victims to survive, they could exist on the surface indefinitely, and without sufficient quantities of herbivores, plant life would rapidly overtake the planet. Humans would be forced into ironclad cities safe from both insects and the ravaging plant sprawl. With every passing year, the bees would become more prolific and life on the surface would be more impossible.

As with many apocalypse plans, you must be able to identify a killer bee invasion before it becomes serious. Get into densely populated areas, where you can stay indoors and where plant life (which is what attracts bees) is more scarce. No matter how safe you feel, never remove your protective mosquito netting. Better safe than sorry.

Life underground won't be easy, but neither will adjusting to the post-anarchic totalitarianisms of closed-city governments. You'll need a plan to adapt to harsh new realities - but that's a topic for another Monday.
Got your own Survival concerns? Comment below with your own life-and-society threatening scenario for a free expert analysis.

Friday, March 13, 2009

That Joe Nichols song about Tequila...

Chester is often considered the baby in the social groups in which he runs. He is the youngest person (and the only guy) in his upper division French literature class (be ye jealous!). His face has more fuzz than a Flavorcrest and his cheeks have so little gristle that some meanies have taken to calling him Princess Peach. Chester takes this all in stride, knowing that when his friend's skin looks like like partially masticated teriyaki jerky and they lose control over basic motor functions, Chester will have Nivea skin and be able to choose when and where he...eh...functions.
[Switching to past tense for narrative reasons]

It was Erin's 21st birthday. She was stoked to be a legal drinking-permissible adult and wanted to go test the limits of her new freedom. The baby Chester was chosen to be the designated driver. Actually, Erin and Chester were going together and exclusively to a drinking establishment. No one else would be accompanying them. It was to be a date. A date where Erin would drink and Chester would watch, while holding the keys and wondering just how tipsy Erin would get.

To clarify, Erin was really pretty. She was attractive in that pleasing and graceful way that only certain girls can manage. She was also normally very responsible and not the sort of person who orders two piƱa coladas (one for each hand). Chester really liked her; that was one of the reasons he agreed to go in the first place. Chester was also really curious about what might happen after Erin consumed a few adult beverages. He felt like a scientist: he'd formulated a hypothesis (things would get more fun) and was ready to put it to the test.

The server arrived and heard Erin's first drink order: a fruity margarita that was sure to make the hairy, manly man in me scream. It was not the kind of drink guys ordered and Chester didn't understand its allure, but Erin ordered it with the sort of prepared confidence that suggested she had premeditated her drink order. I made a mental note to consider my own first drink order for my 21st birthday.

The drink arrived and I noted immediately that it was quite large. The margarita container (for it can hardly be called a cup) looked like it held several gulps full of sugary adult beverage, almost enough that I would have to take a breath if I wanted to "throw it back" like a shot. I quickly realized that this was one drink that was not meant to be "thrown back."

To complete a mental picture of this situation, it's important to know that there isn't much to Erin. Some people are built like freight trains and can take a lot of alcohol before showing signs of excess. Others are built like a Schwinn bicycle: A little wind is all it takes to knock them over. Erin is closer toward the Schwinn. And she wasn't ready for the immense size of this liquid assault.

It was just like that Joe Nichols song about tequila: Erin drank a few sips, excused herself to the restroom and came back without her scarf. It was a nice scarf too: turquoise with blue polka dots. Then she started playing with her earing and it fell off in her adult beverage. Chester thought that it was kinda awkward to sit around while she fished around for it, first with her fork, knife and spoon and finally, as a last resort, with her fingers. He wanted to help, but it didn't seem appropriate. It was her drink; she should do the fishing.

Chester figured this was a normal part of consuming alcohol and wasn't concerned until Erin returned from the restroom for a second time. She had her scarf again, but her socks and belt were missing. Something was very strange about that restroom!

Chester drove Erin home at a slow pace. She asked to drive, but he turned her down. She asked to stop by BevMo's to purchase a quick drink, but he kept driving. She asked to stop at In N' Out for a cheeseburger - despite the fact that she had just eaten a birthday dinner and complimentary cake. Chester assented to this request because Animal Style fries sounded really tasty.

And that was the date. Chester returned Erin to her place and drove away. Very confused. He gave the evening a B minus, because Erin had told him she really liked him just before going into the house. That was really nice of her!

Incidentally, Chester's twenty-first birthday is seven short months away. He is willing to entertain suggestions as to what his first drink should be. Leave your advice in the comment section...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Awkward Situation #3

Picture this.
You're cruising around on Facebook, minding your own business.
You get an instant message from Becky, a girl in your Biology class.
"Hey how r u?"
"OK, I guess." You don't really know why she's talking to you, so you go with a general answer.
"Hey u kno Samantha from our class?"
"Yeah." You know her vaguely, she sits behind you most of the time.
"Hey what do u think of her new haircut?"
"I think she's trying too hard. College bobs are overused. You'd think she'd be more creative."
"Hey what do you mean 'college bob'?"
"You know, a lot of girls cut their hair short while they're at college as a sign of independence and maturity. I think it's tacky."
"Hey, so would u go out with her?"
"Nope. She's a snob."
"Hey you're a JERK."
"What?"
"Hey, this IS Samantha, so watch it bud. I hacked into Becky's facebook to talk to you."
Your mouse heads for the "logout" button before you know what you're doing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Good Idea/Bad Idea #7



Good idea: Changing your name if your last name is "Jivitis."


Bad idea: Changing your name to "Jen" if your last name is "Jivitis."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Weird Hobbies


Are you bored? Fighting the winter doldrums? Avoiding homework? Maybe you just need to spice up your life. Perhaps you're hoping to attract an available member of the opposite sex with your mad skillz.


Whatever the reason, it's never too late to get a new hobby. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

This is the art of creating shiny balls out of mud. It takes lots of patience, but the end result is well worth the effort. Plus, it's a very low-cost venture. It's dirt cheap, pun intended. Dorodango is a great way to show your creative side while making a lovely conversation piece for your dorm room.

Have you ever pictured yourself suspended from a cliff... ironing your Sunday-best shirt? Well, look no further, because this is the hobby for you! As seen in this youtube video, Phil Shaw, aka "STEAM" says, "Extreme ironing is the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt." Can't get any better than that.

Duct Tape. (Is it duct or duck?) Arguably the strongest adhesive material in the world, right after Gorilla Glue and Amy Winehouse's hairspray. From hats to purses to guitar straps, duct tape has been revolutionizing the fashion world. It may just take a long time to catch on. But I'm not losing hope. If you're lucky enough to be in high school AND have a date AND aren't afraid of scaring them off, you might consider making your prom getup out of duct tape. Just go to stuckatprom.com for more info.

If you've ever had the urge to demonstrate your split-second reactionary photography skills, try getting a picture of someone barfing. Bodily fluids can become art when they are captured on film.

Apparently, some people aren't afraid of snakes. Don't forget to register for your permit if you're lucky enough to live in rattlesnake territory. Hey, at least you can hear when they're coming. It might be easier than hunting those quiet, cute animals. I dare PETA to protest rattlesnake hunting... let's see how many people jump on that bandwagon.

This sport is like paintball, but instead of balls of paint, they use plastics BBs instead. Yeah, that sounds painful. Don't believe me? Take a look at this. I'd find new friends if I was that guy.

All the thrill of a medieval sword fight or jousting match, but with less potential for death. Boffers are padded weapons, and are used by bofferers to hit each other in a combat-like manner. Even if you don't decide to check out this hobby, just try saying "boffering". Really. It's fun to say. Boffering.

Stereotypically, yodeling is the art performed by lederhosen-clad Alpine folk or country western singers with beehive hairdos. But, with a little practice, and a lot of support and forgiveness from your friends, you too can master this ear-splitting talent.

This guy really impresses me. He has way too much time on his hands. This talent could be really cool, but the downside is, you can't do it in public. It requires access to a camera, and software to reverse and edit the tape. But still... the coolness factor of this skill is beyond amazing.

What would a hobby suggestion list be without giving a nod to the extra-terrestrials? This really is not an exact science because nobody knows when the little green men will make an appearance. You'll have to be very patient and observant. If you're lucky, you'll get a glimpse of a UFO, and if you're not lucky, you might just get vaporized. Be careful.

I hope this list has been useful. You really should try something new. Just don't hold us responsible if you do something stupid while trying to master one of these pastimes. Happy Hobbying!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Computer Virus Monday


What? Viruses, seriously?

Seriously.

Everyone knows that you need a good antivirus program so you won't lose your hard drive. That's common sense. But many people fail to consider the possible implications of an Apocalypse Virus - a computer worm designed to put an end to modern society's way of life. Such a virus would put everyone in the planet in grave danger. You and your family must be prepared with a solid Computer Virus Survival Plan.

What are viruses? According to the internet:

"A computer virus is a computer program that can copy itself and infect a computer without the permission or knowledge of the user."

They're like the computer version of catchy tunes that get stuck in your head, so you unconsciously hum them and get them stuck in other people's heads. Viruses can be fairly innocuous, but most are designed either for malicious or piratical reasons. There are a host of possible effects of computer viruses, but what really sets each one apart these days isn't so much what it does, it's how it gets there. The virus-antivirus arms race is a fierce one, with both sides constantly inventing new and more sophisticated ways of blocking or bypassing each other. If a virus actually breaks through the defenses it considers itself the victor. It does a few uncreative/obvious little stunts like corrupting your hard drive and uploading your personal information to pirates, then copies itself and uses your system to spread itself to all your friends.

Such viruses are annoying but not threatening to the social order. The fact that we have never faced any serious Apocalypse viruses has lured most of us into a false sense of security. Few people truly grasp the degree to which virus-susceptible software controls our lives. Our cell phone alarms wake us up; we listen to digital radio as we dress; we use smart microwaves and coffeemakers; we drive in smart cars through smart traffic intersections; we use credit cards and mp3 players and XBOX 360s. A widespread virus attack would be able to spread itself very quickly over most of the industrialized world and shut it down. Consider this worst-case scenario:

The Scenario

An anarchist cyber terror group based in Berlin uploads the ARM-262 virus, notable for its incredible flexibility which lets it adapt itself to attack almost any binary-based system and can spread prolifically. It can also be patched remotely by new uploads from Berlin, allowing it to stay ahead of countermeasures. It corrupts and shuts down everything it touches. National and private responses to the spreading virus come too little, too late. Within twenty-four hours, the industrial world is unable to use anything that was capable of accessing the internet or existed on a network (no matter how remote) containing internet access.

Even land line telephones drop out as computerized switchboards catch the virus. Cell phones turn into little plastic bricks. Email, texting, instant messaging, faxing - it's all out of the question. Communication grinds to a halt; and in a society in which texting across a room is commonplace, infastructure collapses.

Delivery and transportation (which use computer-generated schedules) are thrown out of wack. Trains collide when track controls go dark. Planes are lost in the wide open expanse of air space or circle an airport until they run out of fuel, then ditch. Smart cars become unresponsive and disoriented, causing a host of peculiar behaviors from less responsive brakes to the loss of onboard navigation. Major roadways become clogged with massive multiple-car pileups. Lighthouses shut down and boats run aground or get lost in the fog.

The electrical grid goes dark. Fuel pumps quit working. Banks shut down and electronic assets vanish. Many shops and restaurants close their doors as their registers act up. Credit/ATM cards are rendered worthless. Schools and government offices shut down. Military units are cut off and assume the worst, initiating poorly coordinated forceful responses to threats that don't exist.

Power plants explode or melt down as computerized safety protocols power down.

The Response

Crashes. Explosions. No communication. Nuclear meltdowns. Rogue military operations. Industrialized civilization topples and collapses. Getting the picture? Now - what do you do about it?

First, there's no reason to destroy or get rid of your electronics, but use some common sense about it. Keep paper records of important documents and keep them in a safe in your home - not at the bank. Disconnect from the internet when you're not using it. And above all, be ready for the virus strike.

When it comes, you'll have no need for anything powered by electricity. It will be decades before any of that stuff comes back. Don't try to communicate or travel by car - use nothing larger than a bike. Get away from metropolitan areas and form a survival party.

Think in terms of stone age understanding, as if you were rebuilding civilization from square one. Welcome new additions to your clan if they are willing to submit. If they are not, crush them without remorse. Guard your territory fiercely and scout nearby areas - including the nearest city - aggressively. Be sure you know what's going on so you can react to it in time. The return of electricity, a nearby clan raiding for food - these things should all come naturally.

The process of surviving in these conditions is complicated and extensive - beyond the scope of this post. Here's the main thing to remember - you need to know where you'll go when ARM-262 hits, and you need to be ready for it so you recognize it before general panic ensues. When you see it, act with the greatest possible swiftness. Running at full speed for the nearest exit is absolutely appropriate.

Get out, stay out, rebuild. Eventually the golden age of man will come again.

Want a Monday all to yourself? Comment with a topic you want included and we may provide our free expert analysis.

Friday, March 06, 2009

"Do you guys take food stamps?"


I am a starving college student who frequents Starbucks because it makes me feel better about my lot in life and because it's a great place to meet women. But mostly because it's a great place to meet women. I was at this fine caffeine depot the other day, studying, no doubt, the latest issue of Men's Health or some such auspicious and educated publication, when a woman entered and marched to the barista behind the cash register.

"Do you guys take food stamps?" she asked with a mix of indignation and authority.

I was shocked. Even as a woefully underemployed member of the proletariat, I pay a goodly portion of my paycheck to the state and federal government, which in turn redistribute my income to needy people like this woman. I didn't want her to starve, but I didn't want her to spend my hard earned bucks on her post matin caffeine fix. If you want a coffee and you are accepting food stamps, make it yourself for 25 cents. Don't accept the charity of your neighbor (through the "generosity" of government) to purchase your mocha.

When she heard "no" from the cashier (Whew!), the woman went outside and used the ATM to withdraw cash from her account. She then reentered and purchased a venti.

I am ashamed to say I said nothing to the woman. I should have stood up right there and demanded an explanation for her abuse of western charity. There are people who need the funds she is abusing -- need them to feed their hungry children or get themselves through the week. Granted the standard for poverty in this country is nowhere near what it is in other nations, but there is a place for some redistribution. But this lady was a walking advertisment for welfare reform.

Please, have some dignity.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

"Strawberry" Milk

I have a problem with red milk. I could care less about most iterations of cow's milk. I drink the stuff white, off-white and clear. I drink milk from Caucasian cows and I drink milk from African-American cows. I drink milk with enzymes and I drink it without enzymes. I drink milk from obese cows, milk from skinny cows and milk from the cows who are undecided about their weight. I drink milk with eggs added and milk with eggs and courage added.

But I can't handle the idea of "strawberry" milk. Milk should be an offering of affection from heifer to calf. The fact that we interrupt the stream with our greedy cartons is sufficient. We shouldn't also forcibly remove the milk from the animal. I want my milk given freely, not coerced or torn from its producer!

And I certainly don't want to be drinking more than milk in my cup. Please, farmers, have some concept of respect for the creatures under your stewardship. Get the milk when the milk is offered and no earlier. Tomatoes you can harvest green; milk is different. You should wait and let it turn a healthy shade of white.

Shame on you for violating the heifer and then covering your tracks by sticking on a name like "strawberry" to make it appetizing. No one is fooled. No one.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

14th Do It Yourself Post


The perfect name for _______ is ________.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Jerry


Jerry is a strange fellow. We just finished a conversation and I couldn't help thinking that he really is quite a strange fellow. Not that he's a weirdo or anything; he just doesn't act like other people. Think Napoleon Dynamite, not Michael Jackson.

I met Jerry last year when I was on AIM. AIM is where I go when I'm too bored to do homework but not bored enough to play Halo. (Halo fans, do not kill me -- release your angst against the Flood.) In other words, it's where I go when I'm in a humanities class. AIM is a cool place where lots of happy friends hang out, and it only needs Ronald McDonald to make it perfect. And little plastic tunnels.

I logged into AIM and noticed something a little unusual. It wasn't my friends. sk8trfrk had his regular "chugging Mountain Dew" status, and fcnLvr was "busy," probably working on another post. ImaEmo's sad emoticon peered through the screen at my half-empty bottle of soda just as usual. No, the change I noticed had nothing to do with the friends I already had—it consisted rather of a new group of friends that had unexpectedly joined me.

Everyone in the group had the same name: AIM Bot. Their status messages were what set them apart. "Want to know the secret of the universe? Type '24' to find out!" "Want to get rich quick? Type 'Vegas' to learn how!" "Want to know who will win the elections? Type 'Obama' for our latest forecasts." Apparently, the AIM Bots were a tribe of superheroes who hung out on the web just to help people expand their mental horizons and strengthen their intellectual prowess.

I was attracted by the glamor, the mystery, and the utter uselessness of it all, so I initiated a chat with one of the bots at random. I figured this was one of the more intelligent ones because his status message had to do with books: "What happens in the unwritten Twilight novel? Type 'lolz' to find out." Besides, I hadn't known about an unwritten Twilight novel and hoped this bot could enlighten me. I dutifully typed in "lolz" and waited for a response.

For a minute, I felt like I had asked the Godfather for a favor he didn't want to give me. The bot stared icily into my eyes. Then it suddenly started replying. "I'm sorry, just a minute, just one minute. I know I have the file in here somewhere. I just didn't expect anyone would be stupid enough to type in 'lolz.' No, no! I didn't mean that! Stay there, I'll give your answer in a second—why does this stupid little search dog keep running but never get anywhere? I'd almost rather deal with the paper clip! Sir, please be patient, this is my first day. Please."

The poor bot seemed on the verge of tears, so I felt compelled to offer some encouragement. Our dialog went something like this.

Chip: Hey bot, no problem.
[Awkward pause.]

Chip: Say bot, while you're looking, have you read the Twilight novels? Pretty good stuff, huh?
[Another awkward pause.]

Chip: Well, why don't you try selecting a certain folder so the dog doesn't get lost in your entire hard drive?

Bot: Haha, sorry, I'll try that right now. I don't mean to be rude, I'm just a bit overwhelmed. Do you have any idea how hard this job is?

Chip: Um, no. I just assumed it was easy for you because you seem like a superhero. How hard is it?

Bot: Very hard. I'm Jerry, by the way. What's your name?
[I had changed his alias to Jerry.]

Chip: I'm Chip.

Jerry: Do you have a friend named—

Chip: Dale? No. That's not funny. I think I'll go try the Janet Jackson bot.

Jerry: No, no! Please don't go! I need the company! I'm so, so sorry I said that.

Chip: Lol, no sweat. I was, uh, kidding. So how did you land this awesome job, Jerry?

Jerry: Really, you think it's awesome? omg, that's such a relief! I'm seriously starting to think it's not as cool as it's made out to be. They only pay me fifty cents an hour, and none of my friends even know who I am.

Chip: Who pays you? I thought you were here of your own free will, motivated solely by the beneficent satisfaction resultant from the fulfillment of your fellow-humans' erudite cyber desires.

Jerry: Very funny. Do they even have online prostitutes?

Chip: That's not what I—

Jerry: Hold on a sec, I think I got the file.

I stretched and looked around. Pretty much everyone in class was sleeping on the inside, even as their faces radiated counterfeit rapt attention. I glanced up at the teacher and nodded thoughtfully at a point he was making, hoping he thought I was still taking notes on my laptop. Then I stole a glance at some of the other laptop screens in the room. There was the predictable Facebook, and the equally predictable goth girl looking at "fashion" pictures. One of my colleagues in baggy clothes and a loose-fitting cap was playing an online flash game. He had to kill all the little soldiers before they reached his fort. Pity there was no sound. And then of course there were the studious individuals who were frantically filling out a dozen pages of single-spaced bullet points in Word, evidently intending to print them out later and memorize them. I yawned and opened my notes again to see if I had missed anything. But Jerry was back.

Jerry: Hey Chip, you're out of luck. There is no unwritten Twilight novel.

Chip: Dude! How can you say that? I started this whole chat just because I wanted to know about that book.

Jerry: Um,

Chip: I sacrificed valuable study time to talk with you, and you've betrayed me.

Jerry: actually,

Chip: Jerry, huh? How about Benedict Arnold?

Jerry: you didn't lose any time

Chip: Who are you to tell me I didn't lose any time? I have a pile of papers to write and instead of typing them I'm typing to you!

Chip: Besides, you're getting paid fifty cents an hour, which is pretty good in this economy, and all you give me for it is lame excuses about the Microsoft search dog.

Jerry: because I'm sitting here

Chip: You know what I ought to do to you? I ought to report you to your employer.

Chip: Who's your employer, Bozo? Come on.

Jerry: and you're in the same class as me.

I jerked up my head and scanned the class. The professor was trying to squeeze in a last sentence but no one could hear him over all the zipping and packing and paper-rustling sounds, as students scrambled to get out of the room the instant class was scheduled to end. A laptop slammed closed behind me, and I whirled around to see its owner. Jerry flashed me a smug grin and a fleeting snicker, and headed toward the door. And I had to smile at myself.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Global Warming Monday


With global surface temperature increasing by nearly half a degree Celsius over the last century, it's clear that a society-changing global warming catastrophe is only a matter of time. As soon as you're done formulating your Redhead Revolution Survival Plan, you need to buckle down and get prepared for hot water.

Literally.

But what is global warming? Didn't that end with Al Gore? Sadly no, in fact, Al Gore has continued sounding the warning trumpet even when no one would listen. That's because he doesn't need things like evidence that global warming is caused by humans - he has hard facts instead.

But back to the original question: what is global warming? It's a rise in average surface temperature in the planet. Global warming and cooling are natural processes. Surface temperatures have fluctuated for centuries and none have been cause for alarm - until now. This one is really extreme, because, as the hard facts indicate, we are polluting the planet and trapping all our heat in.

Among other things, global warming causes a melting of polar ice caps, causing a rising of sea levels, causing a recession of shorelines. If you live near the coast, you should be paying very close attention. Rising sea levels will look nothing like Day After Tomorrow - they'll be extremely gradual. In fact, it will take decades for serious coastal flooding to begin. At first you'll hear people saying things like "wow Joe, high tides are really really high these days." Then storms - which will be crazier as a result of global warming - will cause severe flooding.

Just to put something to rest right now: global warming cannot actually sink the planet - there's not enough ice to do that. It can submerge a good deal of it, though, and that's something you don't want catching you unawares.

Global warming is, well, global. To save time and to focus on our main readership market, we will stick to talking about what life will be like in the USA (after all, in many countries its not legal to read FCN).

America will be rocked as southern states are caught in deluge after deluge (Katrina is just the beginning, folks). Property values for coastal cities will free fall as people move inland to get away from the storms. Efforts to drain Louisiana and Georgia will eventually be abandoned. Florida will be completely submerged. Beaches will permanently flood and cities will be abandoned: Houston, New York, Charleston, Miami. Much of Arizona will sink into the expanding Baja Bay. San Fransisco and Seattle will become swamp land and the Central Valley in California will become a lake. The Midwest will suffer devastating weather changes. Tornadoes will become as normal as putting sugar in your coffee.

Meanwhile, the Rocky mountain range will be high, dry, and a lot warmer than it ever has been. Guess where everyone will be moving!

Um. The Rocky mountains, that's where.

Try to keep up.

If you live in the south, your experience will be one of a series of catastrophic hurricanes. There will always be people who refuse to leave and/or come back as soon as the storm is over, but that number will steadily dwindle with each passing year. Folks will be moving north and west in increasingly frustrated, confused caravans. Eventually that whole part of the country will be erased, and by then millions of refugees will be wandering around looking to be stored in a cool, dry place. Foraging and, later, pillaging will become hallmarks of these roaming parties. Gun play over food and gas will be so common that many regions will refer to caravan-infested areas as "the front." Your goal should be to evacuate ahead of the caravans and stay ahead of them at all times and costs.

If you live in the northeast, your experience will be one of steadily worsening weather and collapsing terrain situation. Some of the coast will flood but it won't be too serious for awhile. The soil, however, will become very soggy. Drainage will become a headline issue. Mosquitoes and disease will run rampant; agriculture will falter. Farmers will metaphorically pull up their metaphorical tent stakes and move to the midwest, and the rest of the society will collapse in their absence, causing a mass exodus. Your goal should be to sell your land while it's still worth something and skedaddle (that's northeasterner for leave).

The midwest will suffer the worst weather. Constant, devastating tornadoes and lightning storms will pound the ground, tearing up buildings, frying electronics, and keeping little kids awake at night. Owning a house will be a question of the lottery; each new day may be the day your house is blown away and you're left with nothing. One by one, destitute midwesterners will begin travelling west toward higher ground. Eventually a critical mass will be reached and the general population will get up and leave, too. You should know by now where they'll stop.

The west will suffer the least. Unless you live in California, Washington, Arizona, or a small handful of spots in Oregon, flooding won't be a problem. Tourism will suffer as snow becomes more scarce, but life in most of the Rockies will simply be warmer. California will experience the only sudden catastrophe in the nation, when a sudden violent hurricane sweeps over Monterey and empties itself into the Central Valley. Folks living there will have little chance once the storm begins. Their only hope will be to have abandoned the area long, long ago.

So, all roads lead to the Rockies, right? Very good. You get a gold star. Now you need to formulate a GWSF: one that allows you to detect potential flooding/storms long before anyone else, sell your property while it's still worth something, form a survivor party and move to the Rockies, and defend it against the increasing swarms of dislocated Americans trying to keep their feet dry. Then you'll need a way to feed yourself; America's collapsed agricultural society won't be able to support you. And we can't talk about it in this post because we've already gone a little long. We'll save it for later.

Our advice: move to the Rockies immediately. Do it early, do it often.

Got a life-and-or-society-threatening danger you want discussed? Leave a comment and we'll see what we can do help you out, free of charge.