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:


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


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)


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


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)
  • The Homesteader’s Handbook to Raising Small Livestock
    by Jerome D. Belanger
    Rodale Press INC. Emmaus, Pennsylvania 18049 (1974)
    ISBN: 0-87857-075-


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
    864 pages
    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 ??

A mini interview with the author of gpredict

Alexandru Csete, also known as OZ9AEC is a physicist from the University of Aarhus, and works as in the European space industry, and a holder of a CEPT Cat. 1 amateur radio certificate since 1991. He is also the author of gpredict which I have mention in my Beginner’s Guide to HAM Radio (Debian Program List) on this blog.

His primary interests today are satellite comms, building and modifying equipment and developing free software for Unix-like operating systems. Between Jan 2008 and Mar 2009 He was also involved in the Google Lunar X PRIZE by contributing to Team FREDNET.

His website is dedicated to technological endeavors within the areas of ham radio, free software and space technology – all free and open source. I approached Alexandru via jabber for a mini-interview for the purpose of posting to this blog, and here it is.

Wolfe: How long have you been interested in HAM Radio’s and Satellites?

Alexandru: I got interested in ham radio when I was 14 and got my license at the age of 16 in 1991. It was mainly shortwaves in the beginning and satellites came a few years later.

Wolfe: What kind of set up do you have?

Alexandru: Antennas: Butternut HF2V for 160, 80, 40 and 30 meter bands and some yagis and parabolic dishes for VHF, UHF and microwaves. Radios: IC-765, FT-817, Elecraft K1, some home built kits, and some experimental hardware for playing with software defined radios.

Wolfe: How far can a HAM radio broadcast? What about line of sight?

Alexandru: On shortwaves around the world (depending on the cyclic solar activity, which is currently very bad). On VHF and up only line of sight, continental when using satellites in low earth orbit, “half globe” when using satellites in high earth orbit.

Wolfe: Your the author of gpredict, what is that program used for, and why did you create it?

Alexandru: The program is used for real time satellite tracking and orbit prediction. It is necessary for satellite communication in order to know when a satellites comes by, where to point the antennas and how much Doppler correction is necessary. I wrote it because there were no such application with nice GUI for the Linux operating system.

Wolfe: Have you ever been involved in emergency broadcasts with HAM Radio, and if so what happened?

Alexandru: No, I haven’t.

Wolfe: How would someone get started with HAM Radio, with the intention of having a backup communication system in the event of an emergency?

Alexandru: I would suggest to get in touch with local clubs and regional/national societies. They should be able to provide guidance in getting started according to regional laws and regulations.

Wolfe: What would be your dream communication set up? Why?  How many different types of antennas are there , and what are they used for?

Alexandru: Hmm… my imagination has no limits… I think the biggest obstacles for me are lack of proper location with room for antennas and time (and of course money)

Alexandru: There would be antennas and other equipment for covering the relevant parts of the whole spectrum 100kHz to 50GHz.

Wolfe: What kind of power supply would you need for such a set up?

Alexandru: Good question… I’m not sure, but I like green power so it would have a lots of solar arrays and windmills (Denmark is a very windy country).

Wolfe: Is broadcasting on Short Wave, MURS, or Microwave the same thing as HAM radio?

Alexandru: No, those are commercial or national services. Ham radio is a hobby.

Wolfe: If the world was going to have a major disaster tomorrow that wiped out our modern society, what radio equipment would you suggest to buy today?

Alexandru: Shortwave would be good to have long comm range.

Wolfe: Your in Denmark, is knowledge about Morse code still a requirement to get your operators license?

Alexandru: I believe it has been removed now.

Wolfe: Do you think that even thou North Americans do not need to learn Morse code to get their two meter band license, they should learn it anyway? Why?

Alexandru: No, except if they are interested in it. I use morse code because it’s fun but I wouldn’t impose it on anybody.

– wolfe

Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS)

In the Memorandum Opinion and Order and Second Report and Order (pdf) released May 23, 2002, the Commission updated the service rules regarding five Industrial/Business Pool VHF frequencies known in the PLMR community as the VHF “color dot” frequencies. These frequencies were moved from Part 90 to Part 95 and became a new Citizens Band Radio Service (CB) named the Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS). The Commission defines MURS as a private, two-way, short-distance voice or data communications service for personal or business activities of the general public.


No licenses are issued for this service. An entity is authorized by rule to operate a MURS transmitter if it:

What is a MURS Radio, it’s the new version of the old Citizens band (CB Radio) at a higher frequency. However, unlike CB Radios of old, MURS can be used for other things beyond mere voice communications, except for transmissions of “images”. The first that comes to mind is a wireless drive way alarm systems. Although there is a limit on output of only 2 watts, there is no limit on antenna gain. Antenna height is limited to 20 feet above structure or 60 feet above ground, whichever is the greater.

Freq. List:

151.820 MHz

151.880 MHz
151.940 MHz
154.570 MHz
154.600 MHz

Hand held MURS have a range from anywhere between 2 miles and 8 miles, whereas base station to base station can reach up to 20 miles. (depending on terrain)

These are not HAM radios, which are meant for long range communications, these are the radios you use to scout with. It is important to note that data and voice transmissions are permitted on these frequencies. This give rise to the possibility of using encrypted voice communications using MURS. You can not alter the circuits of the MURS radios themselves which are regulated by the FCC, however, like using echo mics in the 70’s, I see no problem with using altered microphones which contain circuits within them to encrypt voice to data transmissions. Double key encryption would be the preferred method of choice here during TEOTWAWKI, with trusted parties previously sharing keys. Since you can run an entire Linux distro from a USB 4gig pen drive, hard core GPG/PGP data encryption transmissions should be a breeze. Something to be submitted to the open source/patent groups?

I am pretty sure that a lot of the HAM radio programs available for debian/linux distro can be used in some fashion for use with MURS, I’ll poke around with this as soon as I can. Another idea I have has to do with a secure telephone system, now you can not connect your MUR to a telephone network, but as long as the telephone equipment meets the FCC rules there should be no problem with using them exclusively on MURS radios. The FCC has now established an entirely new, Part 95-based certification procedure for manufacturers wishing to enter the MURS market.

Anyway, MURS have made it to my shopping list for this year. I’ll keep you posted on what else I come up with for taking full advantage of the system.

– 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.


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 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.


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.


“Bravo Zulu, Animal Papa.”

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

BOB-GOOD-GO Bag for the Ultra-Urban Environment Part 2 – Modular Design

The potential emergencies for the skyscraper dweller includes what most other preppers have listed – hail storms, fire, radioactive release, blackouts, civil unrest, etcetera – just with some twists. Specifically, the impact of the density of human beings, the height of the structures people work, sleep, and play in, and the lack of space to store all the “stuff”. This is what makes survival in the downtown core a little different than in the rural to wild environments.

First and foremost, this means that even though there are many magnitudes more emergency first responders within hailing distance that you could ever have in the rural areas, it is not enough to rely upon. When a major catastrophe occurs, they will be overloaded and you will have to rescue yourself. So there will be a constant battle between having too much, not enough, the correct mix, and the cost of it all (in dollars, time, weight, and storage space).

I think a modular approach to the “stuff” needed (or wanted) for survival situations would be the best approach. Specifically, partitioning the “stuff” into EDC on a lanyard (around the neck or in a pocket), EDC in wallet/pouch as a purse insert (or could hang off a belt or in a fanny pack on the non-business attire days), a “bat belt” with stuff to keep one alive and going for 24 hours that is donned when an emergency dictates, a rolling backpack as the official BOB/GOOD/GO bag, and some sort of storage locker(s), bin(s), or some type of furniture for securing the “bat belt”, backpack, and other items.

For most urban professionals, there are four, main locations where the individual could be found on any given day (or night);
– Home – where most of an average day is spent, especially sleeping.
– Primary Workplace – second biggest chunk of time.
– Car (van, SUV, work issued POS, ….).
– And a fourth location – a second car, second job, vacation home, school, lover’s home, …).

There are always other places; bars, clubs, library, … But it seems that most urbanites spend most of there time routinely in up to four distinct locations. Your list might vary from the above, but will probably end up being four distinct locations that account for the major of the 168 hours in a week.

I leaning towards one set of EDC items, and four BOB/GOOOD/GO bags, one stored at home, work, grandparents, and lover’s home.

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