My Book Wish Lists

Last Updated: Jan 10th 2019

OK, here it is, my book wish list. It is not by any means complete, although very long, but I will try to update it as time goes on. I am mainly interested in “How To” books, anything published by Foxfire Fund, Inc. Basically, DIY guides related to getting back to the land, gardening, homesteading, survival. My collection is mostly Non-Fiction, including history, crafts, self-efficiency, early trades, activism related topics, environmental issues, human rights, and politics. The fiction books I do collect are almost all “End of the World” and dystopia.

My funds for this wish list is rather limited, so it will take time to complete.

Items with a strike threw the text have been gathered already. And should be on a “Books I Own” list. They are left on this list encase I have some other disaster like my house fire a few years ago. Some books are still on this list as a result of that.

You can add comments to this post at the end if you want to recommend something, email me for actually selling me one on the list.

If you happen to be looking for any book listed here yourself, or are interested in getting my copy that has the strike threw in it (I won’t sell it), contact Robert or Peter at BookTown (this store has since closed) that’s where I buy most of my books these days, and will likely still get them there even if I move to Ontario. In fact, the primary reason this list is posted on the net is so that they can read it when new stuff comes in.

My apologizes in advance for the books not being listed in alphabetical order, or by author. I did manage to list them by subject though.

– Wolfe


Early Trades:

Alex W. Bealer wrote a book called “The Art of Blacksmithing” published in 1995 (Castle Books), it was part of a set which included a book on Glass Blowing, and another on Carpentry sold in Canada by Cole’s Bookstore. I’m not sure if there were any other books as part of the collection, but if so I’d be interested in them as well. I do have the “Art of Blacksmithing” ISBN: 0-7858-0395-5, but none of the others.

I have a small collection on Ceramics and Pottery, and am looking for more. As well as some woodworking, metal smithing, and various early arts and craft books. So the scope of what I am looking for includes the basics to advance how to’s in the early trades.

  • Country Tools by Fred Davis
    Part of the “Finder’s Guide Series” #7
    Publisher: Oliver Press. Willits, California. (1974)
    ISBN: 0-914400-06-1
  • “Art of Blacksmithing” ISBN: 0-7858-0395-5


Technical Books:

Electronics:

Radio Shack published a series of small binder insert booklets which included “Getting Started in Electronics” by Forrest M. Mims, III from 1983 to 1994 (Radio Shack Catalog Number: 276-5003 A) I am seeking the rest of the set as well as the other tiny helper books which were about half the size in dimensions as a standard novel with high gloss paper coverings.

Technical Trades and Textbooks on Electronics are also on this mental list, an example would be Donald M. Hunten’s “Introduction to Electronics for Students of Physics and Engineering Science” (University of Saskatchewan textbook 1964) if they are published/required by a University or “Recognized” trade college I’m likely interested.

  • Donald M. Hunten’s “Introduction to Electronics for Students of Physics and Engineering Science” (University of Saskatchewan textbook 1964)
  • Modern Dictionary of Electroics by Rudolf F. GrafStore Commemorative Editon – Unabrdiged
    Publisher: Howard W. Sams & Co, Inc. 1970
    LCCN: 68-13873

Mathematics:

Do not offer me “Glencoe Pre-Algebra: An Integrated Transition to Algebra & Geometry” (ISBN: 0-02-833240-7) it’s a waste of paper. If you do, I won’t be interested in any other textbooks you offer. I desire hard mathematical science textbooks related to prime numbers, and encryption security. In fact, if it has “Glencoe” in the title, your better off burning the book, and I hate the idea of burning any book.

Computer Programming:

C programming how to books, please take note that I am not interested in C++ or GUI programming. I am a ‘nix geek after all folks. If the book even mentions Windows, don’t bother to contact me.

Might also be interested in scripting books on BASH (which I could likely write my own), TCL scripting, Perl, and Python. I am not interested in Java. If there is a history book on LISP, I’d be interested. Programming books which cover encryption, mathematics, “imaginary” high prime numbers, double keys, security, network security, linux kernal programming, firmware (linux), would be cool to add to the list. I prefer Debian, over Ubuntu BTW. Nothing on Red Hat/Fedora Core please.

  • SAM’S Teach yourself C Programming in 24 hours (NOTE: NOT THE C/C++ version)

Chemistry:

I am looking for the answer to what might be a simple question to a chemist.


How do you bind a carbon chain to benzine?

It’s likely in a first year college textbook, but I could be wrong. Don’t ask me why I want to know this, and for you chemists out there, no comments about law enforcement issues.

Other chemistry like books I am looking for, relate to the homesteading crowd. A very good example would be any book that would be placed next to Stark Research Associates’ “The Formula Manual” 1974 (ISBN: 0-8362-2701-8), or the smaller version “The Formula Book” by Norman Stark 1975 (ISBN: 0-380-00840-8)

  • Stark Research Associates’ “The Formula Manual” 1974 (ISBN: 0-8362-2701-8)
  • “The Formula Book” by Norman Stark 1975 (ISBN: 0-380-00840-8)
  • Instrumental Methods of Chemical Analysis 2nd edition
    Publisher: McGraw-Hill 1960
    Department of Chemistry New Mexico Highlands University
    LCCN: 59-14446

Medical (Western Medicine):

I am collecting editions of “The Merck Manual”, not the home editions, but the ones that are sitting on the book shelf which belonged to your grandfather when he was practicing medicine.
I own the 8th and 12th editions already. They are published by Merck & Dohme Research Laboratories in Rathway, New Jersey.

Also in this set of Medicine books are the “Gould’s Pocket Pronouncing Medical Dictionary” by Maple Press in York, P.A. I have the 11th edition already.

I would be interested in adding medical textbooks to this list, but older textbooks. It’s the recent history I’m interested in, not in studying to become a doctor. (PRE-1950′s?)

  • The Merck Manual 1st editions till present
  • Gould’s Pocket Pronouncing Medical Dictionary 1st edition till present


Self-Efficiency:

Anything written by John Seymour, or M. G. Kains, or even by any author who has co-author a book with either of them along the same topics. Reminder crossed out books mean I already own them.

  • Title: The Encyclopedia of Country Living: An Old Fashioned Recipe Book (Paperback)
    Author: Carla Emery
    Publisher: Sasquatch Books; 9th edition (May 1994)
    ISBN-10: 0912365951
    ISBN-13: 978-0912365954
  • Title: The Contrary Farmer (Real Goods Independent Living Book) (Paperback)
    Author: Gene Logsdon
    Publisher: Chelsea Green (May 1, 1995)
    ISBN-10: 0930031741
    ISBN-13: 978-0930031749
  • Title: Flight from the city;: An experiment in creative living on the land (Harper colophon books, CN 1005) (Unknown Binding)
    Author: Ralph Borsodi
    Publisher: Harper & Row; [1st Harper Colophon ed.] edition (1972)
    ISBN-10: 0060910054
    ISBN-13: 978-0060910051
  • Title: Handy Farm Devices: And How to Make Them (Paperback)
    Author: Rolfe Cobleigh
    Publisher: The Lyons Press; First edition (February 1, 1996)
    ISBN-10: 1558214321
    ISBN-13: 978-1558214323
  • Title: The Open Door to Independence
    Author: Thomas E. Hill
    Publish Date: (1920s?)
    Publisher: R.C. Barnum Company (Cleveland)
    Volume 1 “The Health Book”
    Volume 2 “The Engineering Book”
    Volume 3 “Agriculture Book”
    Volume 4 “The Stock Book” – “Poultry Raising”
    (more ?)
  • Title: We Took to the Woods (Paperback)
    Author: Louise Rich
    Publisher: Down East Books (January 1, 1970)
    ISBN-10: 0892720166
    ISBN-13: 978-0892720163
    – Also interested in the 1942 edition
  • Title: Building a Multi-Use Barn: For Garage, Animals, Workshop, Studio (Paperback)
    Author: John D. Wagner
    Publisher: Williamson Publishing Company (July 1994)
    ISBN-10: 0913589764
    ISBN-13: 978-0913589762
  • Title: Cold-Climate Gardening:
    How to Extend Your Growing Season by at Least 30 Days (Paperback)
    Author: Lewis Hill
    Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC (January 2, 1987)
    ISBN-10: 0882664417
    ISBN-13: 978-0882664415
  • Title: The Woodlot Management Handbook:
    Making the Most of Your Wooded Property For Conservation,
    Income or Both (Paperback)
    Authors: Stewart Hilts & Peter Mitchell
    Illustrator: Ann-Ida Beck
    Publisher: Firefly Books (April 1, 1999)
    ISBN-10: 1552092364
    ISBN-13: 978-1552092361
  • Title: Raising Milk Goats the Modern Way
    (Garden Way Publishing Classic) (Paperback)
    Author: Jerry Belanger
    Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; Rev&Updtd edition (January 3, 1990)
    ISBN-10: 0882665766
    ISBN-13: 978-0882665764
  • The Guide to Self-Efficiency by John Seymour (Hardcover)
    Publisher: Hearst Books – New York
    ISBN: 0-910990-66-2
  • Five Acres and Independence by M. G. Kains
    Publisher: Dover Publications, Inc. (1973)
    ISBN: 0-486-20974-1
  • The Home Workplace
    Compilation of “Oragnic Gardening and Farming Magazine”
    Publisher: Rodale Press Inc. Emmaus, P.A.,(1978)
    (pre-isbn)
  • The Homesteader’s Handbook to Raising Small Livestock
    by Jerome D. Belanger
    Rodale Press INC. Emmaus, Pennsylvania 18049 (1974)
    ISBN: 0-87857-075-

History:

There are a few key areas that I am looking for in history, and are some what limited by topic. First, I have an interest in the 30′s, 50′s, 60′s, and early 70′s. Although anything within the last 100 years related to sub-cultures in North America would also interest me, my primary focus is on the Beatniks, Yippees, Hippies, Weather men, Anarchist Black Cross, Anarchy, Woodstock Nation, Chicago Seven, Abbie Hoffman, Activism, Civil Rights, Human Rights, Women’s Lib, Diggers, and similar topics. I don’t give a shit about Enron.

  • Making of the English Working Class (Paperback) by E. P. Thompson
    Paperback:
    864 pages
    Publisher:
    Vintage (February 12, 1966) Language: English ISBN-10: 0394703227 ISBN-13: 978-0394703220 Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.2 x 1.6 inches


Fiction Books: (EOTW)


Like I mentioned before I am seeking some fiction books, recommendation are welcome, however the scope of fiction that I am looking for is rather narrow. I would be interested in fiction that is a possible scenario for the end of the world, end of civilization, and the fall of our ‘modern’ way of life. Not books which have as it’s main plot as something which cannot be are less interesting to me.

Examples would include “Farnham’s freehold” by Robert A. Heinlein, “On the Beach” by Nevil Shute, and “Pandemic” by Daniel Kalla.

George Orwell’s’ 1984 would be a dystopia I would buy. (But that one falls under classics, and I have four copies)

  • “Farnham’s freehold” by Robert A. Heinlein
  • “On the Beach” by Nevil Shute
  • “Pandemic” by Daniel Kalla
  • “Day of the Dolphin” by ??
  • “The Chrysalids” by ?? (Note: I think I do have this book just can’t find it)
  • “The Shape of Things to Come” by ??

Last Light by Alex Scarrow

Last Light has to one of the more recent books I’ve read to make it to my mental list of must reads. The reason I would include this has more to do with setting of this novel then anything else, the plot wasn’t that good.

The story opens up with the main character being a civilian engineer working in Iraq when all hell breaks loose, the end result is the end of oil. This story is really about Peak Oil, and the only fiction in this book is the trigger, at least we the readers, and the author hopes that the trigger is fiction, giving us a little more time.

The story is only a medium to the real story going on in the background, survivalists will love this story. The characters are just there to entertain, well we are told what would happen if the world oil tap was suddenly shut off without warning.

The author I think is not making an extraordinary claim as to the consequences of a sudden oil cut off towards food riots, lack of drinking water, and the other end results. In fact he makes an important note, that oil equals the same as each of us, even the poor, as having 96 slaves each:

Well, say you’ve come home from work and you want to wash your office shirt for tomorrow. You’d shove it in your washing machine, and then put it on the fast spin-dry afterwards, wouldn’t you? And maybe you want a cup of tea whilst you’re waiting, maybe put on the TV, and throw a frozen dinner in the microwave. Well in slave terms, that would have required a slave to take your shirt, chop wood to make a fire, to heat the water, to wash it. You’d probably need another slave to go hunt or gather the food for your dinner, another slave to chop wood and build a cooking fire, to boil the water for your tea, and cook the food that the hunter-slave brought in. Still more slaves to entertain you in place of a TV set. And let’s not forget the four or five slaves that carried you home from work on their backs, instead of the car you drive home in. Anyway, you get the point right?”

Imagine us without the slave of oil, that’s the premise for this book. And IMHO t’s not so much a work of fiction, but a warning of the future.

– Wolfe

Kids and the ER

Children are the whirl pools of energy. In their early ages, they are filled with the enthusiasm to explore and have fun. Children being children have no knowledge of risks and dangers thus often end up getting hurt. Some of these injuries are small but some can be scary and end up dragging the parents and children to the nearest ER for urgent care.

Hospitals are scary places, they go worst when you not only have a hurt and freaked out child frightened parents too. In such scenarios, for proper care to be received, it is important for children to feel comfortable.  Picking a child friendly ER is very important. You should talk to your doctors and beforehand know where to rush the child in case of emergencies. The hospitals should have a polite team of doctors and nurses, equipment should be child-sized and toys or other kid friendly tools should be around.

For the child to feel secure, the parents need to be relaxed. Before rushing out, breathe, relax, take a hold of the situation and then make a rational decision. In such situations reaching to scary solutions is very easy hence it is important to not think negatively until the doctor has reviewed your child and the facts are in your hand. The doctor is an expert and they know best, listening to the doctor and following their advice is highly required in such situations. It is a good idea to carry your child’s medical history with you. In a small notebook or your phone, update recent illnesses, medicines, vaccines which the child lately came in contact with. Parents are advised not to give any medicines or try home remedies in a situation that requires medical attention. The doctor should be made aware if any such treatments or medicines were given before the professional care was provided.

When taking the child to the ER, please make sure other siblings do not accompany. This would not only scare them but be a distraction for the parents too. Your child would be needing your undivided attention, so patiently being there for the child is very important. It is also necessary to be honest to the child. Children should be made aware of what is happening, what will happen and what should they expect. His/her mind should be distracted from the pain so that the doctors can work with ease.

Going to the ER with a hurt child is a scary experience. However, if handled patiently the child would be comfortable and in no time be pain free too!

A really late Mondays Lessons Learned Sept 14th 2009

I sit here tired as a dog, every muscle in my body hurts even those little ones in my fingers. Well maybe it isn’t that bad, but I am feeling the effects of not working out every set of body muscles evenly for the last few years.

How did this happen?

In every majority city of the world there is a an intersection called commonly “Cash Corner”. It is used by illegal immigrants looking for work, or other that want to stay under the radar from big brother. The reason this continues, and has for so many years (there were cash corners in the the late 60’s that my own uncle worked at), is because legally it is called sub-contracting. There is how ever a very large underground economy that uses this legal loop hole to avoid taxes. But it is not limited to just one corner of a major city, Dianne Francis once work a very biased book called the “underground economy in Canada” which although IMHO was very lack in it’s fact finding, very right in assuming that lots of companies hire staff ‘under the table’. It is in this market that one will find the future of trade and barter after WHSHTF. And while the economy slips into the nether reaches of depression, you will not only find the illegal immigrant, but guys like me who still pay taxes on what they make in these jobs.

Times are tough people, and if you think they are going to get better your out of your mind. If you want to survive what is coming, get into that mind set which tells you it is already here. If you can’t go looking for a job that is more TEOTWAWKI safe, might I suggest you join a gym? TRUST ME IT WILL BE LESS PAINFULL LATER!

Anyway, I’m dead tired, still have a million things to do before bed, and have to get up early tomorrow for another day like today. We still want to move on Halloween night, so every penny counts right now.

Lesson Learned: You should work your body like your life depended on it, some day it might.

– wolfe

A Late Monday Lessons Learned eating through Preps

Well, as we try to decide what to get rid of, one thing was easy. We are eating our food preps, and there are many things that come to mind that we did wrong. First off, you should be always eating through your preps, rotating the food supply is the best way to make sure you have food stored that you like to eat, and that it doesn’t get stored for so long that it spoils. The other that only occurred to me as a result of having almost all the cookbooks packed already was to keep your favorite recipes near the food that is stored. It would also be a good idea to store dry ingredients already mixed for soups, stews, and mixes such as pancakes. The best place to store these are still in mason jars, but the other thing we have learned is that non of the many many many mason jars we have will not travel well, so they are in the garage sale. Which also explains why we are eating through our preps, we need to empty them, and most of our good preps that did not spoil are in mason jars.

One other thing that I have learned this last week while we try to get what is turning into a never ending task of sorting and packing is that I am really looking forward to getting out of British Columbia. It has gotten to the point that I am even beginning to hate this province. As the Olympics get closer, I keep thinking to myself how much better off we would have been to have moved back to Ontario five years ago when we had the chance. We should have jumped on it, and because of that thinking, I find myself making easier choices about what to keep, and what not to.

My advise, or lesson learned this week could therefore be wrapped up into saying that you should always live as if you would never get another chance. If your gut tells you, you should move out of the city, do it this month, do not wait till you can do it, make it happen.

Wolfe

BOB/GOOD/GO Bag for the Ultra-Urban Environment – Part 10 – A real world test of urban preparedness

NOTE: The following has been “fictionalized” to protect the guilty. The essence is true, but details have been purposefully changed to prevent identifying the city.

While continuing to work on the mental exercise that prompted this series of articles, I had an unplanned opportunity to test some of my presumptions and preparations. As a world traveler, I sometimes end up in cities that may not be the first world’s image of an ultra-urban megalopolis, but are densely packed, urban environments with building roofs higher than what the local, first responders could normally reach by their standard equipment. In this case, while working late at a Customer’s office building, an explosion occurred that impacted more than a city block. It took until the next day before I was able to return to my hotel. In essence, I had to depend on what I had with me overnight.

INVENTORY

A quick snap shot of what I had with me, both on my person and “at hand”:

– A “breakaway” EDC lanyard attached to a tiny, coin battery operated LED light, a Fox 40 Micro whistle, a Leatherman Squirt P4, and a USB reader loaded with a2 Gig, Micro SD card. All items secured inside a couple inch piece of bicycle inner tube (both to protect the items as well as keeping me from using the light for non-emergency situations).

– A large, suit pocket wallet with money, credit cards, licenses, emergency contact info (ICE), and passport.
– Traveler’s ankle “pocket” with credit cards, bulk of currency, and photo reduced copies of key identification.
– A coin pouch.
– A key ring with assorted keys, ear plugs in a case, and a Pocket Wrench II as the fob.
– A GSM/GPS Blackberry.
– A well-worn, hard wood and steel cane.
– A large, silk kerchief.
– A nondescript, black, Lowepro camera/laptop backpack containing:
– – Laptop (which could be another “flashlight”), USB external hard drive, USB hub, power cords, 12 foot extension cord, international power converter with many plugs, Ethernet cables, Ethernet hub, … (Yeah, I’m a geek!-)
– – Design notebooks, paper files, pencil case with pens, dry erase markers, and the like.
– – A novel, newspaper, local tourist guide, map, and phrase book.
– – Small tool kit with some basic hand tools, suitable for electronic gear. Including a cheap, Chinese made, 9 LED, three “AAA” flashlight.
– – Four, 500 ml water bottles filled nightly from a known good water source.
– – Some fiber and protein bars (bought at the airport).
– – Basic, personal First Aid Kit with some travel sized, over-the-counter drugs and potions.
– – The beginnings of a basic, personal Urban Survival Kit with rain poncho, heat sheet, head lamp, crank operated SW/FM/AM radio, water tablets, 100 feet of “550” cord, magnesium fire starter, zip lock bags and garbage bags (stored inside one zip lock bag), two P-100 masks, a traveler’s “cummerbund” wallet with photocopies of ID and the like, …
– – Assorted detritus that seems to always appear at the bottom of the bag.

I did not have a rental car, so no car-based emergency kit on this trip. I had some more gear in my luggage at the hotel, but in no way did I have the complete BOB/GOOD/GO Bag inventory that I have been developing as a result of this series of articles.

THE EVENT

The business part of the meeting was over. I had finished packing up my laptop and placed the backpack out of the way by the credenza in the conference room high up in a downtown office building. The discussion had now turned to debating going home to wives or heading out to a club.

If it wasn’t for the booming noise, I would have guessed an earthquake hit. Immediately all went dark as the power died. The conference room I was in did not have any windows. The air became a bit thick from the dust shaken loose. There was a delayed crash from one end of the room that later turned out to be the large, decorative, company logo falling off the wall. As I pulled the EDC lanyard out of my pocket and peeled back the rubber by feel, all in the room voiced that we were shaken but OK. As I turned on that tiny LED, there was a noticeable, if non-audible, “sigh” in the room. Just having that small glow of a light was enough to change a few people from silent fatalism to begin to think and take action.

I probably could have crawled to the credenza and found my backpack by feel for a light, if I had nothing on my person.. It was so much easier to find it with that small light. Once I oriented myself in the room, I hung the lanyard with the lit flashlight around my neck and started to move. Just before picking up my backpack, I relocated the Blackberry and wallet to my front pants pockets because I wasn’t planning on wearing the suit coat. I would carry the coat in the backpack – it was too hot for the “tropical” weight suit coat. I didn’t want the Blackberry or wallet to accidentally slip away from me. Without removing the tool kit from the backpack, I unzipped the tool kit to retrieve the 9 LED torch and lit up the room. As a side note; no one else had a flashlight. A couple people did have lighters; the cheap, BIC type . At this point I wondered if the local government required adding the chemical odor to the natural gas supply.

Although a lot of dust was stirred up, I could not detect any smoke. I tested the door, and then the doorknob with the back of my hand and did not sense the heat of a fire. The corridor was also very dark, even though the far end opened up onto cubicles with windows along the outer wall. A quick look determined that all the lights from the other buildings were also out. There were reflected lights from some traffic on the street.

Near the outer wall I could get signal strength showing on the Blackberry, but could not get a dial tone. So I sent out some SMS and PIN messages to people I knew locally and at home base to find out what was going on, and to let people know where I was.. The messages did not go out immediately, but seemed to “dribble” out over the radio waves. Some of my companions wanted to leave immediately. I wanted to first know what was happening. It took a bit to find a station on the hand crank radio. Even if I was totally fluent, I don’t think I could have understood the rapid pace of the news announcer. One of my companions translated saying that while it was not clear what exactly happened (as there were differing reports from a petrol transport explosion to a terrorist event), it was clear that it had happened the next street over and that the area of the city we were in was blacked out.

The first SMS response came in but was also unclear as to why there was an explosion. It was now about twenty minutes since the event and we decided to head out. My companions wanted to head home, and I decided it would be safer to go to the hotel. With an explosion that close, there was always the possibility that this, or an adjacent, building might have been damaged. There was plenty of emergency vehicles and sirens moving on the street, and no further sounds of explosions, gunfire, or anything else unsafe. My hotel was about a dozen blocks away

I donned the traveler’s “cummerbund” wallet under my shirt In it I stashed my passport and other things from my wallet except for one credit card, my international driver’s license (get it cheaply at AAA), and enough money to hire a cab, eat a meal, rent a room, and give tips.

There were some stumbles before finding the stairs and getting down to the lobby, including a pit stop in the men’s room to void bladders. Again, without the light it would have been very interesting.

Actually getting into the lobby was a problem. Probably because it would have been visible from the lobby, the door was unusually heavy and ornate. I’d guess it was a custom made door so it would blend in visually from the lobby side. With the jolt of the explosion, the door was now jammed down hard into the floor. It looked like the hinges had slipped and shifted their alignment. I guessed that the door was really too heavy for the hinges as mounted. Fortunately, unlike the factory made, western doors, the screws holding the hinges were not hidden by the closed door. I could not budge the screws on the door, but did break them free on the jam. I put a screw driver through the now empty screw hole on the top and middle hinge creating “T” handles to pull the door open from the hinge side, at least open enough to slip through.

As it was way past office hours, we seemed to be alone in the building. There was supposed to be a night watchman, but no one was visible in the lobby. And, of course, the exterior, lobby doors were locked. We were discussing searching for other exits or breaking this door when the night watchman jogged up to the exterior door. He had left the building to see what was going on and saw my bright flashlight through the lobby windows. He only approached when he saw that we were in office attire and probably not robbers.

Out on the street there were some people milling about. I turned on the GPS to confirm my sense of direction – the hotel really was about a dozen blocks on the other side of the explosion site. With the Blackberry back in my pocket I started to go around the corner. The first responders were still putting water on whatever it was. The fire appeared to be all but out. However, the police were not letting anyone proceed down that block. All were being shepherded down a side street. I was game for heading towards the next large boulevard before turning towards the hotel. I quickly noted that as I progressed away from the event, the number of people walking down the street decreased. There were some young men hanging out on the street corners ahead, and I started to get uncomfortable with the potential of someone wanting to take advantage of the blackout.

With the international travel, there is no way I can carry a firearm. Even knives or sprays are problematic. My cane was purposefully built to be strong and useful in such situations. The handle is a contoured “T” made of stainless steel with foam covering most of it for comfort (but not the ends, which happened to be rounded almost to a point on each end). The bottom of the cane is a knurled hunk of stainless steel with a rubber “foot” on one side and spikes on the other (for biting into ice covered walks). The foot can be unscrewed and reversed without tools. While the two ends look like they just screw onto the threads sticking out of the wood body, the threads are really the ends of a steel rod running the length of the cane. When the metal detectors go off, the guards see that it is a cane, and even if they unscrew the ends they won’t see any cavities so they have no concerns. I explain the heft as my need for a really strong cane to handle my mass.

But even if I was armed with a “full-auto”, the best way to handle a confrontation with bad guys is to not get into it in the first place. An acoustic guitar alerted me to a dimly lit “hole-in-the-wall” restaurant down an alley. A young couple, hand-in-hand, went in which made up my mind – it would probably be safer in there then on this side street at this hour.

The dim light was from the many candles – the power was still out. It turned out to be a family run place. They were obviously interested in the novelty of a “foreigner” in their place. I played on this and was the epitome of a gregarious visitor. I applauded after every song. I tipped after the set. I entertained any question. After consuming a filling meal, I invited the owner/chef to join me in dessert. I paid in cash, and tipped well. My backpack was securely stored behind the bar and I was at a table with a full view of the bar.

Near closing time a local constable came in and, after surveying the patrons, focused on me. Demanding my identification, I handed him my International Driver’s License. This seemed to be a new wrinkle for him. He took the time to flip through it all and seemed impressed with all the languages, photo, and personal details. I guessed he didn’t know exactly what it was, but he accepted it as “official” identification.

It was obvious that he did not like “foreigners” and was looking for some excuse to exercise his “authority” on me. He demanded to know what I was doing here. I answered that I was invited to his wonderful city by “Big-Name-Customer” to help train their employees, and after spending the day at their offices down the street, I came in here for some real food instead of what is served at the hotel. I was intentionally playing up that I was really interested in participating in the local environment and wasn’t some westerner here to take away a job – or anything else he could object to. He demanded to know which hotel I was staying at, how long I had been staying there, how much longer I was planning on staying, and then came to an interesting question; where was I when the explosion happened. I fibbed a bit and stated that I stepped in here, this restaurant, since the explosion – implying that I entered as the explosion happened. The owner of the restaurant chipped in that I had been here since the explosion happened. Somewhat mollified, and probably miffed, that there was nothing blatant for the officer to use as an excuse to exercise his authority, he stated that he would hold my ID to check out my story. I got the impression he was asking for a bribe to get it back. Even though I knew the magical phrase, “Is there a form or a fee to make this right?”, that would not explicitly acknowledge bribery nor indicate that I was trying to do anything illegal, I was keenly aware that I was in a “damned if I do, damned if I don’t” situation. If I paid for the return of my ID, he could arrest me for trying to bribe him. If I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t be seeing that ID anytime soon. I was glad I did not give him my passport. Instead, I complemented him for being so thorough in protecting his fellow citizens and being such a diligent officer. And that as I would be staying here for several more days, I had no concerns with trusting a police officer with my ID.

This seemed to both confuse and pacify him. It wasn’t the response he was expecting. But it was a response he couldn’t object to. He proceeded to talk to a few others as he headed towards the door.

Originally I had reserved the hotel for several more days as a cushion for any additional time needed, but the real work had been completed that day. Some reports to type up, drawings to finish; those could be done remotely. I decided right then to check out of the downtown hotel and move to a hotel close to the airport, if I could not get an earlier flight.

As an apology for the officer’s behavior, the owner asked me to stay as he closed up. He shared one of his special bottles with me as he smoked and talked about the better parts of his city, his country, and his culture. The owner seemed to be very apologetic for the behavior of his countryman. The owner handed me my ID saying the officer had asked for it to be returned to me. From the look on the owner’s face, I got the impression he had taken it upon himself to “pay the fee” to get it back. After taking time for us (mostly the owner) to finish the bottle, I asked if I could return the favor and buy a similar, special bottle. I purposefully overpaid for it to reimburse the owner for the bribe money he had paid, even though I would have gladly never seen that ID again.

I took advantage of the situation when he fell asleep to retrieve my backpack, make myself comfortable, and catch some sleep. I woke up as momma came down to see what happened to her husband. She shifted quickly from scolding him to happy and welcoming, as soon as she saw me. She insisted I stay for breakfast.

In the full morning sunlight, I continued on my circuitous route to the hotel. Two blocks later, at the boulevard, I grabbed a taxi to the hotel. After some phone calls and a shower, I got another taxi to the airport hotel and ended that impromptu exercise in urban preparedness.

LESSONS LEARNED

I really had three situations to deal with; getting out of the darkened conference room high up in an office building to the street, circumventing street thugs, and dealing with an odious official. The most important thing one can have in those or any situation is a knowledgeable and flexible brain. Just like “defensive driving”, one should practice “defensive living”. Situational awareness and creative problem solving, – using one’s brain and thereby anticipating and bypassing or, at least, attenuating dangerous or unpleasant situations. Even worst case scenario planning. A mindset already adopted by “preppers”.

The two physical tools I was really glad to have was electric light and cash money. Every other tool I used – screwdrivers, pliers, radio, Blackberry, etcetera – were not absolutely necessary. I did not have to use GPS to confirm my planned path. I could have used substitute tools found on site, like unscrewing the base of a rolling office chair and using that heavy metal as a pickax to break through the wall or door.

It would have been much more difficult to read a map or hack through the door in total darkness. Unlike the wilderness where it is rarely, totally dark (due to moonshine or starshine), it is too easy for the urban dweller to be plunged, instantly, into total darkness. As examples; a subway car, elevator, room with no windows, parking garage – all get very dark very fast when the power fails. Flashlights are very important in the urban environment.

And money – especially cash in hand – is the grease that works wonders for any human interaction (with maybe the exception of “true love”). Having sufficient cash in hand to get water, food, shelter, or anything else to keep one healthy and independent is the best insurance policy.

Although I didn’t have to deal with fire in this situation, fire was a part of the emergency. And if I was just one block over, I would have had to deal with fire as part of my escape. This has reinforced my perception that personal protective equipment to allow a civilian to egress from a fire and/or smoke filled building is very important for an urban kit.

POSTSCRIPT

“Bravo Zulu, Animal Papa.”

D. Period – All rights reserved – 2009 – Use permitted by all only with attribution.

My Opinion of The Irresistible Revolution

I recently read a book by Shane Claiborne titled “The Irresistible Revolution”, and I must admit that the type of Christianity that Shane describes in his book is the type I was desperately searching for in my youth.

Christmas is a special time of traditions in our house, it is a time to invite friends, and family over for dinner, to enjoy each others company and reflect on the past year. We often hook up some kind of video over the internet to connect to family back east, and spend the day sharing the time as best we can with each other. I want each day of the year to feel like Christmas, the love of family, that moment of joy, and everything else that can not be described in words to extend beyond the season of a few weeks in the cold of winter. And it does for the most part, because we love each other.

The word Shane uses most in his book is love. But it’s a love with priorities all mixed up. I’ve been involved with many intentional communities and they all have one thing in common, the members have a lack of connection to the family they come from, the community has replaced that family. In Christian, Messianic, and Eco-Farm intentional communities the story is all the same, families complicate your life, they challenge your resolve, and they force you to look at your goals, Shane’s “simple life” is not family friendly. I myself am guilty of this. I remember a time when I thought Christian charity was the keystone of what being a Christian was all about, it isn’t. Being a ‘true’ Christian maybe beyond my understanding, but I know what is wrong for me to do, and what is right, family comes first, it is the primary reason that Ontario is the only place I am looking for land now.

I related very much to Shane, his book is often a reflexion of my own experiences when I was involved in mission work as a Christian, as a street kid, and a member of several intentional communities. The message of community rings loud in my ears as echoes of “The Basin Farm”, “The Rainbow Family of Living Light”, and even Indymedia. The time I spent trying to make the world better, has not ended, the methods have just changed.

I do not believe in socialism, nor do I believe that Shane’s voluntary simplicity is totally voluntary. People make choices between what is available to them, and what they understand, and most of them tend to choose the easier way. Group Think is always easier then individuality. In one part of the book, Shane makes reference to “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for a life time, but who owns the pond?” or something similar in context.

The answer to that question is that some one does own the pond, and no one has the right to take down the fence except the owner, the steward of the property in question.

Shane’s communes are city based, charity based, religiously based, Utopian, and doomed to failure. They are based in a Borg mindset no matter how much he tries to deny it, and he is not fighting poverty as much as he is fighting individuality. And I note to make a point, that this is his, and those with him, that I am referring to, because little of it has anything to do with whether or not Christ himself desired his followers to take up this cross, this is Shane’s interpretation of the message of Christ. It has been tried before, and failed countless times. I believe that it looks like it helps at the beginning, but it grows old fast, and the fundamental reason is lack of individualism.

This is the same reason I reject consensus based decisions over democratic vote, the same reason I prefer sovereignty over solidarity, and the same reason I choose Libertarian over Liberal. But most important, and connected to all, is the ability to freely choose, the individuals right to self ownership, and to own property. Shane wants us to tear down the fences around our fish pond, to feel guilty that we have enough to eat, and share it. When we deny him the fruits of our labor he calls us capitalists, part of the empire, and consumers. I refuse to be labeled.

I believe that the worse place to live in the world is on the shores of Victoria in Africa, the level of poverty in that region is beyond the understanding of most Americans, let alone the people that live there in the middle of it. I’m sure that Calcutta is no different in a lot of ways, and other poverty areas on this planet where greed, corruption and international corporations have taken advantage of those that do not know any better, or are over powered by limited options.

But the truth of the matter is, it is we who have created this level of poverty in the world by consumerism, and on that note I agree with Shane’s simple way. We continue what can be stopped in a matter of months by simplicity, instead of forming communes to feed the poor with industrial “freegan” food, we should get back to the land, and grow our own. You can not do that with out property rights. Some one has to put it in the effort and labor to produce the food, better me and my family, then an industrial farm that is part of the problem in the first place. The same can be said for ANY other product or service, and none of it is free. It costs human labor, and I own my labor like I own myself, and anyone who claims anything else is a thief.

As harsh as I sound at this moment, understand I still believe in charity, in teaching to fish, and being fare in trade so that others can buy their own pond. But I refuse to believe that the answers to all life’s ills is charity alone. Socialism is a means to an end, that end doesn’t sound to good to me. Every attempt in human history to create utopia has been distorted, that why they all ended up under the title of dystopia in the history books.

– Wolfe