When I first read the book Ishmael (almost 9 years now!) I realized that Civilization was going to collapse in my lifetime. My initial response was, “I must learn to live like a hunter-gatherer!” I saved up a lot of money and went to a weeklong class at one of the nations most notorious schools for wilderness survival. During this class our instructors told us that by the end of the week we would be able to walk out into the woods with only a knife… and survive. That was very exciting. I could regain 10,000 years of ancestral forgetting in 7 days! Can you even put a price on that? The money was worth it. Of course this was a lie. The purpose of this I guess was to either get you inspired enough to actually try it when you got home, or fill the class with students. Well I was inspired, so I did it. The experience lasted 2 days. It made me so uncomfortable and ill that I to this day, six years later have never tried it again.
Late last summer I ran a post-apocalyptic skills summer camp. We traveled to Laurelhurst Park for Calens grappling hook climbing lesson. Calen began his lesson at the west end of the park. Having a shoulder injury I could not partake in the climbing so I began to wander the park in search of food. When I reached the pond I saw that it was almost glowing neon green in color. It looked radioactive. Around the pond was a strip of yellow caution tape and posted every so often were signs that read, “TOXIC ALGAE BLOOM: Microcystis. Please keep away from water.” I thought, isn’t it odd for a pond in a city park to have a toxic algae bloom? Apparently it isn’t as rare as I thought.
I’ve spent the last couple of days browsing the internet for information on poison. Sasha is very concerned that I don’t poison myself when I eat such meats as raccoons. Dioxins love to stick to fat and so they travel quickly up the food chain. It’s not difficult to see the chain here. High levels of dioxin have been found in the sediment of the Willamette River, which separates Portland into two halves, East and West. Living down there are crayfish who get eaten by raccoons (among others). Since raccoons are fatty creatures, most likely urban raccoons will be full of dioxin.
Haven’t gotten around to doing much this last week. I’m not sure if I am going to participate in Christmas next year. Let’s see…
Final Cut: I’m getting Final Cut Pro this week. I was going to just edit in imovie but I played with it for a few hours and realized that I’ll be able to cut faster… way faster, with Final Cut. So I’m getting it this week.
Clothes: I bought a bunch of new clothes last week. I felt a little guilty buying a few new articles. I feel like I should make all my own clothes from here on out, but I’m not sure. I told myself that I was buying “wardrobe” for the film aspect of the project and it made me feel better. Maybe I should explain the way I choose clothes, new or old or handmade. First off, they need to be “Earth Tones.” That means grays, greens, browns, and blacks. These colors provide more camouflage than say, neon pink. Second, they have to look cool. Vain? I don’t know. I like feeling like I look good in the clothes that I wear. I want the clothes to attract people. I care about my image. I like to look sexy, smart and hip. This is why I’ve had a problem with most outdoor gear. Third, I want them to function properly for the outdoors. This means they must be; warm and waterproof and silent. Modern outdoor clothes totally suck for people like me who want to remain silent. Most “northface” crap is multi-colored, and LOUD synthetic material. You can’t wear those clothes and walk silently. My rain pants for example, make a swish-vip sound every time I take a step. Wool, leather, fur are the best materials. Wool is silent, flame resistant, and warm when wet. The only problem is that most functional wool clothes are ugly as hell. One-size military surplus pants and sweaters. I try to stay away from cotton, but I do wear a few t-shirts.
Dioxin, etc: I’m starting to have second thoughts about eating urban game. Or urban anything really. I recently read this article. I’m scared that I’ll end up poisoning myself pretty bad. I want to know what you all think. Anyone know any great herbs that clean out dioxin and other such toxins? Should I be fasting regularly? Sweat lodges? Medicinal Teas? There is part of me that says, “It’s in everything now. There is no escaping the poison. If you want to live as the raccoon, then like the raccoon you will process these toxins in your body. This is the fate your grandparents have left you with.” You know? I read this article about US beef too. The poisons are even in the food we are trying to control… Is there more poison in wild animals than in domestic animals? Does it matter anymore…?
Food: I’ve been on the Paleolithic Diet off and on for a long time now. My latest stint has been the last 7 months, maybe 90% paleo. A little sugar here, a little soy there. I also quit smoking and drinking 7 months ago. I still am experiencing constant fatigue. It’s going away slowly, but Willem recommended that I go on the Body Ecology Diet, which is like a more hardcore version of the Paleo Diet. Basically the idea is that carbs and sugars that are so prelevant in Industrail Civilization create a nice place in your guts for really bad bacteria. This bacteria, mostly Candidiasis, causes yeast infections among many other symptoms like my constant fatigue. First you starve the bad bacteria by not eating sugars or carbs. Simultaneously you eat lots of fermented foods that are filled with the “good” bacteria, replacing the bad as it starves and dies. Once you have a healthy amount of good bacteria, you need only eat fermented foods and no carbs to keep your health up. There is a great article on how Native Americans ate fermented foods here. Also check out the books Wild Fermentations and Nourishing Traditions. Anyone know of any other books on indigenous diets please post. I feel like this diet will prep my body for dealing with the toxins I will find in the wild urban game that I eat.
WordPress: I’m having trouble formatting this site. I have a list of needs and am too lazy to search through the WordPress help section. I thought someone on here might know how/what I need to do to fix the following:
-Header image off center after turning it into a link.
-Cant figure out how to change the hover color of main blog articles. Also, the links in the articles are not red.
-Still need to figure out the forum. Anyone know a good free forum that will work with this site?
-Need to figure out how to make blogs only be summaries on the main page, not the full post.
-How can I view how many visits my site is getting?
I guess that’s it for now. I’m still trying to make sure I get the video from the Meyer Trust up by January 1st, but if not… I’ll post something fun.
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Where does the project stand?
Video Blog: On January 1st I will post an hour and a half talk I gave about the project to the staff of the Meyer Memorial Trust, the largest foundation in Oregon.
The Tipi: I was planning on building an underground shelter in my friend Erins backyard when she suggested, half serious, that I just live in a Tipi. I laughed, and then thought, “what the hell?” It’s such an Indian clichÃ© that I didn’t want to go there, but I thought the irony of it was funny. And I like funny things. So I bought a Tipi, actually called the “Scout Tipi” by the manufacturers. Haha. It’s about 8.5 feet in diameter. I built a fire pit in the middle and started a fire. Almost immediately the Tipi was full of smoke, suffocating everyone inside. Luckily I’m not the only ascetic person Erin knows; that night she had a friend over who makes his living building wheelchair accessible tree houses around the world. He had once lived out of a Tipi and told me that I needed to get a “liner.” I did some internet searches and found out there is a lot more to Tipis than I, and most people, think. I found a book called, “The Indian Tipi” that my mom actually gave me a few months ago, before I was even thinking about living in a Tipi. It’s a great book that covers so much more than Tipi’s. From the outside, a Tipi looks like it’s just a canvas or buffalo skin cover wrapped around some poles. The Liner is a piece of fabric or leather that hangs inside the Tipi adding more insulation and providing a draw of air in the passage between it and the cover, pushing the smoke out at the top. It also creates a shield so there are no shadows cast on the cover of the unsuspecting insiders. I am sewing a liner for the Tipi out of wool, which was not recommended anywhere, so I’ll let you know how it goes. When I am done this is going to be one dope Tipi.
The Scout Pit: Me, Pete and Kyle built an underground scout shelter in my backyard at one of my Sunday Schools a little while ago. Turns out it’s filled with water now. We couldn’t find enough thick branches to cover the whole all the way across, so we filled the spaces with a lattice of twigs. There weren’t many twigs so we put leaves on top of the twigs, then the soil back on top of that. I’ll probably end up tearing it apart when I have more time later in the year, and once it dries out I’ll test it out.
Solar Power: I have assembled a solar kit; solar panel, charge controller, battery, female cigarette lighter adapter, and a power inverter that fits into that. I’m not quite sure what I can power with from the battery.
Video Gear: I have all the video gear, except I accidentally ordered a 6 to 6 pin fire wire cable, and I need a 4 to 6 pin cable. I’m working on the second Video Blog. Don’t know when that’ll be up yet.
Shit Bucket: I’m reading “The Humanure Handbook.” It’s about turning human shit into a nutrient rich soil through thermophilac composting. Many people have asked me what I’m going to do about shitting. I’ll get back to you on that, but I’ll tell you that the Humanure Handbook is really making me think that shitting in a bowl of fresh water that you then dump into rivers is a really gross and unsanitary thing. More unsanitary then say, shitting in a bucket and dumping that into an outside compost pile.
Other gear: I bought a small hand axe, a saw that disassembles, a small cast iron dutch oven. For some reason I have this incline against modern tools. A voice says, “That’s not primitive!” But I’m ignoring that voice now, as I’ve learned it’s bullshit to think you can survive without tools until you’ve had the security of them already there.
Philosophy: Sasha and I were walking to a Thai restaurant the other night in the bitter wet cold of the Northwest. As we walked in bundled silence I began to wonderâ€¦ what the fuck am I going to eat? You know the indigenous people who lived in the Northwest mostly slept through the winter, occasionally eating some salmon they had smoked weeks or months before or eating dried berries and probably some fermented food. I keep thinking, what the hell am I going to do? They had a routine that was thousands of years old. I have a few skills gathered here and there. It made me realize that to the indigenous person, there was no such thing as “wilderness survival.” They had all the time to make tools and find food. They knew where it all was, had caretaken it for thousands of generations. No wonder their lives were so laid back. Seeing it in this reality feels daunting to me. Old emotions of anger come boiling up. Why did Civilization have to fuck this all up? Why did I have to be born during the worst age for humans? I guess it’s just more clarity for what I am trying to do with this whole project, which is to find a way to return to that life. To start a routine that will be carried out and transformed each generation until there are again more salmon in the river than there is water, to use one example. I especially like the sleeping through winter part, especially right now.
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