Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

New name!

Posted: February 4, 2016 in Uncategorized

Of the blog. There is also a new name of me, but that’s a somewhat different story involving having a close personal encounter with my dire dislike of paperwork.

I’ve been feeling a vague sense of unease with the zombie- and kitchen- centric nature of the blog name, when I don’t necessarily have a great attachment to either zombies or kitchens. It has sort of a “trying to make fetch happen” aspect to it that has been something of an obstacle to writing (though, let’s be honest here, the major one is the more traditional flat laziness). Hence, renaming.



Winter is Coming. Bring Snacks.

Posted: January 10, 2016 in Uncategorized

I kind of got out of the zombie preparedness thing for a fair bit. Bought a house, got a cat, got into some other hobbies. Discovered the value of streamlining my life and especially my possessions. This latter exposed a point of pain I have with a lot of preparedness concepts, namely the bit about having a lot of stuff around — since I don’t typically camp on its own merits, rather a lot a lot of stuff — that is pretty much never going to get used. I got tired of having to clean squashed and expired protein bars out of the bottoms of my bags. I dumped a lot of crap on Goodwill. I quit.

Then I got into larping, and fairly soon I realized that I was pretty much organically dealing with questions like “how do I go up in the mountains for the weekend and not realize halfway through that I forgot an important thing”, “how do I get home if someone smacks me in the face and breaks my glasses when I’m an hour and a half drive from home”, “what do I do when my car doesn’t start after said weekend in the mountains”, and “how do I continue to be a useful goblin when it’s ten degrees out and someone has drunk all my Diet Dr. Peppers”.

So the old survival stuff started to become directly connected to my having more fun and less pain, and my interest reawakened. I had a thought, too, of doing some writing on the various merits of larping as it relates to life in general and perchance the zombie life in particular. However, at this point I began to feel inadequate. For some reason, larpers are kind of a joke — more so than even tabletop roleplayers (which is actually my roots), for some reason, despite (and actually strangely because, it seems) that they’re actually going out and physically doing things.

In the face of folks who are commonly talking about how they have to be grey men to disguise their true nature, because people are going to look at them and know that they’re prepared — okay, well, people look at me and they know I’m going to the renfaire. Am I really going to talk about hanging out at a girl scout camp wearing elf ears is totes preparedness y’all because I keep a bag with extra pants and beef jerky next to the door now?

And then this thing happened.

The supply room for these folks, from earlier reports, has more or less what we stock in the portrayer cabin for roughly twenty people over two days — and those are meant to serve as actual snacks, in addition to the snacks that folks bring personally AND in addition to the meals we have hauled in and prepared by a professional chef. We have sleeping bags. We have french vanilla creamer (among other flavors). These are our preparations so that we don’t have to take our elf ears off and drive to Safeway, not so that we can make a final stand against tyranny (unless the cows get out).

So yeah. Apparently doing improv theatre in the woods every month actually does make a person at least a moderately decent survivalist. Honor the absurdity of life, I guess?

Apropos of nothing in particular…

Posted: December 10, 2014 in Uncategorized


Roman numerals. Roman numerals are really cool because they have “Roman” in the name, and Romans were badasses. In much the way some STEM hero out there knows in his heart that he is an engineer because he is a man — LOOK, EINSTEIN FLUNKED OUT OF ENGINEERING SCHOOL TOO, OKAY — I know in my heart that I am pretty much the same as Marcus Aurelius, and if Roman numerals were good enough for him they were good enough for me.


At this point my vague meanderings begin to assume the shape of some sort of proposition. When decoded, this proposition will prove to be obnoxious — generally by way of demonstrating one or many common prejudices overlaid (with massive pomposity) by “Observe here how intelligent and sophisticated I am”.

One might consider it a facile observation to say that the chosen set of prejudices will be framed in a highly demeaning way, but there are expressions of prejudice and expressions of prejudice. “Oh, honey, you just need to recognize that your gift of being nurturing and emotionally expressive is valuable too” is something that a person might conceivably say to a loved one or at least a wanted-to-keep-talking-to one; bald expressions of “You are self-evidently unable to operate or even describe your own life, so much so that I will treat it as axiomatic” generally not so much. What I’m going for here is mostly the latter, possibly with a few bits of the former added in tones of contempt.


I understand cause and effect. If I did not, I would be a MRA. Since this is not a rant somewhere in the bowels of Reddit about the perfidy of women as demonstrated by the bitch who took my kids away for no reason and how this amply justifies the practice of giving women the pimp hand on a regular basis, it therefore follows that I have figured out that the foregoing proposition has produced two groups of readers: those who favor the prejudice(s) that I picked and are flattered by my association of them with my constructed identity and the merits it endorses, and those who do not favor said prejudice(s) and are starting to feel an irritating burning sensation.

It is to the latter that my next section is directly addressed. I will now display my Nostradamus-like powers that follow from my immense wisdom — “Of course you are offended” — and proceed to write a story about the burning sensation contingent’s motivation for offense that connects said offense to a generally stigmatized experience or state such as being bullied in school, being a narcissist, not having lost one’s virginity, being a narcissist, being financially unsuccessful (excellent as this is one of those classic sets of moving goalposts), being a narcissist, etc. The story will be laden heavily with condescension and self-importance, with several further pop-Freudian “Of course you…”s characterizing the reader’s presumed emotional reaction to their presumed experience or state in a way that is further framed as stigmatizing. At the end, those burning sensation readers not successfully cold-read will be handwaved away as suffering from denial and probably angry that they have not been treated as the special snowflakes they are, which of course means that they are narcissists.

The flattered group is indirectly addressed by this, in that they are further flattered by the well-known logical inference of “IF A THEN B -> NOT-A THEN NOT-B”. A few bones will perhaps be thrown directly to them at this point, as well as perhaps a few ambiguous barbs so that they understand that they are not QUITE as smart as me.


Why do you read this, anyway? The thing about the foregoing section is that it scores ego-points off of both groups of people who read it, i.e. those people who not only decided to read this tome but also who did not correct this decision before they got to the third section. There is no content here, beyond the sort of things you can see written much more simply (although admittedly with more dubious grammar and spelling) in the comments section of any given news site. The best case scenario here, barring that you realize that you have wasted your time, is a profound burning sensation — but there is also a danger that you will in some way take this bullshit seriously, either by internalizing further a prejudice that applies to you or (even worse) taking on an identity as a follower of me or my genre, with obviously disastrous results.

Yes, I followed a chain of links one click too far. I accidentally the whole thing. I regret.

Ambling Toward… House?

Posted: December 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

So, I have a house. Well, half a house. And a cat. A whole cat (minus certain parts). And despite my best intentions, this seems to have happened somewhat by surprise.

Last year, I had gotten into something of a state of unambitious comfort with the Big Corporate Beast that I worked for at the time — it was a nice enough place, with interesting people, and in many ways decidedly static. One of the folks I’d worked with had worked with earlier forms of this company since a few months before I was born, and so far as I know he’s still working there. Periodically, I entertained the thought of seeing if there was any hope for me in the downtown startup market, but keeping the principle of “grass is greener” in mind, I would always decide “eh, things are fine now, maybe later”. Well, about a month after the last time I did this I got a meeting invite from my boss with a very nonspecific sort of subject.

Naturally, it turns out that the meeting was about the application of the Chaos Monkey theory to my career, i.e. I’d been the lucky fool selected for the next round of layoffs. Over the course of the next couple months, I played most of the Half-Life series, all of the Portal series, bought a lot of exercise equipment (I don’t recommend this, necessarily, but it didn’t turn out badly), finally filed for unemployment, and then sent out my first set of job applications.

It turns out there was hope for me in the startup market. Actually it turns out that there was a bit of a feeding frenzy in the market, and within a week of looking up the instructions for applying for unemployment I was trying to find the button to push that said “uhm, never mind”. Not to mention finding the place to turn in my Millennial card, I guess.

So I ended up with pretty much the job I wanted originally, although with a somewhat silly commute (essentially from the outer edge of the city to downtown) until I got to the end of the lease on my apartment, at which point I would naturally rent another apartment somewhere closer to downtown and… sign another lease… pet deposit… move out of white walled apartment cube… move into other white walled apartment cube this one maybe with Deluxe Granite Countertops… sigh…

While I was contemplating THAT prospect, I went to a game event that one of my friends was holding at their house. The house they’d bought, south of downtown, that was old and interesting and close to public transit and definitely not a white cube. The house that was surrounded by other houses, some of them similar, some of them for sale, some of them that could potentially be sold to me by the realtor of my friend, who I called the next week…

Couple months later, I had me half a house (i.e. a half duplex, which it turns out is a fairly common item of older housing in this area) with its very own set of Deluxe Granite Countertops and no pet deposit, although not for lack of trying on the part of the pet. I feel as if this speaks ominously regarding my career as a personal finance blogger, being as such things are apparently meant to be done with a lot more spreadsheets and a lot less “oh, might as well”, but then again that was probably doomed to begin with.

Welcome to Colorado

Posted: July 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

As many people have heard, there is a wacky state called Colorado that has legalized marijuana. Wow! That’s really strange and unusual, because I remember being worried about the assistant principal catching us back when I was maybe smoking a thing about which I am cleverly cagey. Did I say ‘us’? I mean, er, someone else. The bad kids. Who definitely were not me.

Since I aspire to be a journalist, i.e. someone who is paid money to write stuff, I decided to do the thing that all the other journalist kids these days are doing. Which is to say, going to the Colorado, consuming the marijuana, and then writing a story about how weird and amazing / horrifying it all is.

On a surprisingly non-snowy afternoon, I went to a local “Safeway” to see what sort of products they had to sell. I went into their brightly-lit store with its tiled floors and was amazed at the variety of food and non-food products they sold. Food! In bags! Some of it not in bags. Some of it not food! And such variety — they even sell cookies, but I heard a bad thing happened once to a person who ate a cookie, so I passed. Eventually, I selected some “Firey Hot Cheetos” and paid for them using a fascinating machine that actually lets you scan your groceries yourself. Amazing what new future experiences are occurring here!

Then afterward I went to a weed store and bought some weed.

When I got back to my hotel room, I proceeded to eat the marijuana. It was crunchy, and the leafy bits got stuck in my teeth. Otherwise nothing much happened. I spent the rest of the evening eating Cheetos and idly browsing the Internet.

In conclusion, wow! Colorado is totally, like, far out, and I am hip with its far-outness!

Bring Out Your Dead

Posted: July 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

So, er, that happened.

Since the point where I said “Hmm, I should definitely write a post soon” and then didn’t… a lot.. the following things have happened:

  • The Garand arrived.
  • My job departed.
  • I got a new, more awesome job.
  • The cat got larger.
  • I bought a house.

Aside from that, things have been pretty boring.

Garand Update

Posted: June 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

With great enthusiasm, I put in an order back in March or so for my very own piece of American history — a M1 Garand of my very own. The genuine article, not a reproduction, exactly like our boys used it in the Pacific or maybe counted it in storage lockers after the Korean war, the only firearm from which “PING!” is a slightly less ominous sound than it usually is, et cetera. And now, after months of waiting, I can finally take a picture of my new Garand:



The observant reader will note a few things:

  1. This is an absolutely awful picture. I blame…
  2. The obligatory cat who has to intrude into every gun pic. He was in a feline sort of mood, which is to say uncooperative.
  3. I have thrown all caution and gun safety to the wind, and have taken a picture of a LOADED firearm!
  4. There are a few bits missing.

Nonetheless, progress has been made. I’m now reasonably sure that the CMP knows I exist, that they have a credit card number of mine that has not yet been lost or stolen, that my apartment manager now knows that I am the sort of nutter who has antique ammunition delivered by mail order, and that I know what Cosmoline smells like. I am now fully prepared for the arrival of the rifle, just as soon as the crates-of-surplus-rifles gods smile upon me and the other thousand or so of us whose bits of history are presently hidden somewhere in a warehouse in Alabama.

So I went to see World War Z this weekend, and it was pretty much everything I expected — which is to say 1) a delivery system for a visually impressive horde of zombies running into full tilt into walls with an enthusiasm not seen since the most recent Tough Mudder and 2) absolutely nothing at all like the book.


As I write this, I don’t know what is going on in Boston right now and it appears that nobody I know is directly involved in the event. So I’m not going to write about it. What I am going to write about is a subject that I do have a fair bit of experience in — that is, reading the news.

If you are involved in the event yourself or may know people involved, your problems are somewhat different and I’m not going to cover them here. For the rest of us, whose function is mostly or entirely watching the news, here’s Tinker’s Simple Guide to Disaster for the Uninvolved:

  1. Shut your piehole. People are looking at the media, including social media, in order to understand what is going on and in some cases what to do — to leave the disaster area, to find their loved ones, or to know which stocks they should have sold. If you originate speculation or repeat unsourced information, you are part of the problem. This sort of stuff has a way of sticking around. I’m often shocked, with regard to events that I have some degree of knowledge about, that I can talk to people years later who still believe early speculation that was later thoroughly debunked — that the “Trenchcoat Mafia” was any sort of organization, for instance (it wasn’t), that fat people materially hindered evacuation from the Twin Towers (almost all deaths were dependent on one’s location within the building at the time of the plane striking), or that a whole bunch of people saw Kitty Genovese get stabbed and did not call 911 because they did not care (they did not see her and 911 did not exist). Make sure that the information that you repeat comes from a trustworthy source, and cite that source so that people can refer to it and not to their memory of your interpretation of something someone told you in the hall that they saw on the teevee.
  2. Be quiet. Particularly if you are selling something. Realistically, life does go on for those of us not directly involved. However, you probably do not want ads for your new low-carb diet juxtaposed against the news that 27 children and three cute puppies were just killed in a tragic molasses accident. Not all publicity is good publicity, so turn that shit off before you become the next time-filler feature.
  3. Keep your fucking mouth shut. Yes, okay, you’ve got some sort of little political kink that you’re really into — whatever it is. In the early phase of a disaster, DO NOT go around running your mouth about how somehow this thing just totally proves how you were right all along. One of two things is going to be true: you’ll be an asshole and right, or you’ll be an asshole and wrong. Even if you’re right, which attribute are people going to remember first — your incredible prescience, or the fact that your first thought upon observing a significant national tragedy was something involving the word “sheeple”? Hint: geniuses are often not recognized in their own lifetime.
  4. When news stops being news, STOP READING THE NEWS. For any event, there comes a time in between the initial propagation of what is known to have happened and the emergence of useful analysis and slower-moving data. During this time, nothing new can be learned of the event. However, if a reporter were to tell you “We know nothing more about the alien invasion, please come back tomorrow when scientists have had the chance to examine the pods” they would be sacked and the persons responsible for sacking them would be sacked. They will therefore not tell you this. Hence, you must do the job yourself. When the news people start repeating themselves, shut them off. At the least, you will be saved aggravation; probably also misinformation, by avoiding the point at which unsourced data starts to get spurious attribution.

When something happens far away from you, there often isn’t much you can do to help during the initial phase of the event. The only thing you may have an effect on is whether you aggravate yourself and whether you aggravate other people — and by following these four simple rules, you can make sure that your contribution (tiny though it may be) is the best that it can be.

… so here is a picture of a kitten.