Multi-passionate writer, author and solo-preneur

Month: December 2011 Page 1 of 2

Jericho Addendum

Okay, so we finished the series, and I now feel obligated to say that yes, it did get better in the second season. A lot of that was due to the addition of Esai Morales to the cast, and you can’t help but make things better by tossing an Adama–any Adama–into the mix. The writing was still problematic, but that became less noticeable with a shift to more political action and intrigue, less “aw shucks, we’re just a small town fighting our way through a big disaster with a lot of persistence and pluck.” The production values also improved. I can’t think of one instance in season two where Matt paused the show to point out some visual gaffe (other than the fact that this small Kansas town appeared to be a mountain town, but I can get over that; mountains are pretty hard to hide).

With only seven episodes in the second season, it felt more like a mini-series follow-up than an actual season of the show, and it wrapped up enough of the major loose ends to provide a decent amount of closure. Even so, after going several days without, I’m actually starting to feel withdrawal pangs over this weirdly addictive apocalyptic family drama, and since finishing the series I can now understand where the fans who still pine for this show to make a comeback are coming from.

Not-So-Obvious Survival Tips: Rotate Your Food Stash

I just had a can of Beanee Weenee for lunch that was over two years old. Since money has been tight lately (hasn’t it been for everybody?), we’ve been making our grocery budget stretch by dipping into our emergency stores, and it’s a good thing. Since making sure we had several weeks’ worth of canned goods on hand (a lesson we learned thanks to the 2007 ice storm that blanketed much of the midwest) shortly after we moved into our house three years ago, we haven’t touched that food ever since.

So here’s something that might not be obvious to everybody (as my over two-year-old lunch makes it plain that it wasn’t obvious to us): canned goods and other types of stored food don’t last forever. Most canned goods start losing both flavor and nutritional value after about two years. Much longer than that, and they can start to become unsafe to eat. That’s why it’s important to rotate your emergency stash.

Getting In Shape For Survival

I’m finding that an important aspect of preparedness is doing everything you can to be healthy and in good shape. Not only do you not want to be dealing with health issues if you find yourself in a situation where going to a doctor is difficult to impossible, but you also need to think about all of the physicality involved in a survival situation. Being able to run, at least in short sprints, is important, as it may just save your life some day. Endurance is also important, since you might find yourself needing to cover long distances on foot. And it’s just as important to have good strength for the physical labor that will no doubt accompany a survival situation.

My Every Day Carry Kit

Every Day Carry Purse KitI guess I’ve always had a tendency toward preparedness, even without giving it a lot of thought. I’ve always carried certain items in my purse that would help me tackle common, every day emergencies, such as headache medicine, Band-Aids, safety pins, Kleenex and an umbrella. I also usually keep a protein bar in my bag to help regulate my blood sugar (and keep me from becoming a cranky beyotch) when I am stuck out running errands between meals. So it wasn’t that big of a stretch, once I became more preparedness-minded, to convert my purse into an every day carry emergency kit.

So here, along with my wallet, cell phone and umbrella, is what’s in my purse at all times:


I missed this back when it originally aired on CBS, but since Matt and I have been on a survival show kick lately and we needed something to tide us over while waiting for the second season of Dual Survival to show up on Netflix, we decided to give Jericho a chance. I think I initially avoided it because of its main premise, which is that most of the US is destroyed in a nuclear holocaust. I mean, I still have nightmares from watching The Day After as a kid, and giving too much thought to nuclear war tends to leave me holding myself while I rock back and forth. But I know this show had a rabid fan following, and I have a certain fondness for Skeet Ulrich, and like I said, we’re on a survival kick, and we thought, just maybe this show will have something to teach us.

Well, not so much. You guys, I really wanted this show to be great. I mean, the people who love this show really LOVE this show, and I wanted to love it too. But it’s… I don’t know. It’s like it’s not just the Hollywood version of a plucky small town full of plucky survivors living outside of the fallout zone of a post-nuclear wasteland, but it’s the CBS version of that, you know? And it’s this weird dichotomy of good actors giving straight-faced, heartfelt performances against cheap production values and lazy writing that’s full of plot holes and painfully obvious that the writers and producers couldn’t even be arsed to do a lazy Google/Wikipedia version of research about anything. And while I’m the sort who is normally able to suspend my disbelief fairly easily and overlook things like obvious stunt doubles (for “stunts” like walking out a door?) and palm trees and mountains showing up in Kansas (it’s like they’re not even trying to hide them), Matt is not that sort of person and it pulls him out of the story every time–and then he has to pause it and point out the gaffes to me.

All of that said, I think I do kind of love this show. We’re almost finished with the first season, and I will say that the story–if not necessarily the writing–is getting better. The Touched By An Angel quality has diminished as the town begins to face actual hardship, and the fact that this town in the beginning seems extremely lucky and barely touched by The End Of The World As We Know It actually becomes a plot point. It’s a very character-driven show, and a little soapy, which makes it a little easier to overlook a lot of the implausibilities. It’s frustrating, because this show really could have been excellent if the production staff seemed to care half as much about it as the actors, but there are parts of it that are good, and parts of it that are so bad, and it’s a little bit unintentionally campy, but it’s all entertaining. And as much as we both complain to each other about this show’s problems, we’re still compelled to keep watching it. As much as I have to say that I can see why it was cancelled, I have a feeling I’m going to bemoan its cancellation regardless once I get to the end.

There’s still a hue and cry among this show’s fans for it to be brought back into production. What I would rather see is a remake — even as anti-remake as I usually tend to be — helmed by someone like J. J. Abrams or Joss Whedon or Ronald D. Moore or somebody who cares about making shows good. Regardless of your opinion of the original, tell me that that would not be pure awesome.

What’s Your Zombie Plan?

An oldie but a goodie:

My Earthquake Bag

The increase of tremors here in Oklahoma have prompted me to put together an earth quake readiness kit. Hopefully, we’ll never experience a large enough quake that I will need to put it to use, but as most things preparedness-related, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Prompted by a post on The Survival Mom that left my head swimming with visions of my husband and I having to stand around outside in the cold in our skivvies in the middle of the night while we watch our home get shaken off its foundation, I put together a grab-and-go bag that contains the following:

Survival Blog

If you’re not new to disaster preparedness and survival, then you probably already know about James Wesley, Rawles’ SurvivalBlog (and no, that comma in his name is not a typo); but if you are new and you haven’t checked out this resource yet, you should. It’s a little hard-core, but as such it’s loaded with great info for preparing to survive anything from tornadoes to social upheaval to zombies (okay, I made up the part about the zombies–but seriously, the stuff here would probably help you survive zombies, too).

Winning, Recovery and Other Odds & Ends

…or, “Where the *@%! Has Jean Been?!”

November was a heck of a month, y’all. As if NaNoWriMo wasn’t enough to keep me busy, about a week and a half into that my freelance business started to pick back up, and before I knew it I had more clients and projects than I knew what to do with. Not that I’m complaining. And then I got sick with the creeping crud, that annoying sickness that isn’t bad enough to give you a good excuse to curl up in bed and do nothing for a couple of days, but just bad enough to slow you down and make you miserable. I actually went about a week without writing anything for NaNoWriMo, because it was all I could do to keep up with my freelance workload before I ran out of steam and had to go fall into a Nyquil coma to get ready to do it all again the next day.

Which meant that I got to spend the last week of November writing my butt off. I almost didn’t bother. I came really close to dropping out of the race after that week I spent not writing. After all, by this point I had already finished my novel, and I still had another 25,000 words to go, and there it was Thanksgiving already. But CreateSpace would be giving the winners five free copies of their novels on top of a free proof, and I kept thinking of all of the promotions I could afford to do with five free paperback copies of Dominion at my disposal, and that was a big enough carrot to get me moving again. So somehow I managed to write another 25,000 words between Thanksgiving and November 30th and pull off a win. Don’t ask me how I did it because I don’t even know.

And yes, you read that right — I FINISHED Dominion of the Damned! Now I’m going to take the month of December off to let my brain recover and recharge while my husband and my BFF both give it a first read, then I’ll commence revisions in January. Allowing time for beta readers to read the second draft and another pass to fix any issues they come up with and take care of formatting, I’m hoping to have it available by March.

In the last few days since finishing Nano, I’ve been working on client projects and trying to catch up on sleep. My only big non-work-related goal right now is to clean my house and decorate it for Christmas. And continue catching up on sleep, because I’m not there yet.

How was your November? If you were doing NaNo, did you win? And how was your Thanksgiving?

Disaster Preparedness For Beginners

This is not coming from a survival expert or a seasoned prepper. I myself am barely more than a beginner. Of course, living in Oklahoma, land of tornadoes, wild fires, intense heat and drought, devastating ice storms, large hail and now earthquakes, you generally grow up knowing to be at least somewhat prepared for disaster. But as far as seriously preparing to survive a true, out-of-the-ordinary SHTF scenario, my husband and I are just getting started.

One lesson I’ve learned is how overwhelming it can be, once you’ve made the decision to try to reasonably prepare as much as possible for every disaster, terrorist attack, zombie invasion or breakdown of society imaginable. Suddenly, you find yourself able to imagine a LOT that can go wrong, and it’s easy to become discouraged once you realize it’s simply not possible to prepare for every single possibility that you read about or that crosses your mind. There’s also a tendency to panic, to want to do everything possible to get ready NOW, even if it means running up a lot of debt or spending all of your savings to make sure there’s a year’s worth of food and water in your pantry. Just last week, my husband had to talk me down from wanting to sell our house immediately and move in with my mom out in the country and start a mini farm in her back yard.

Here are some steps I’ve learned to help mitigate the sense of panic and overwhelm.

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