January 22

Winter Weather Safety

One of the reasons why I’ve been getting into the prepper thing is because of winter weather. We live in an old house and there’s almost always a pip burst or we get snowed in for a few days, or something similar. One year it was an ice storm that took the city weeks to dig out of.

It’s not about SHTF or the collapse of the government. Sometime it’s about being able to manage to pay day, or being able to find a way to work out a sudden $800 plumber bill. Or not having to drag the kids with you to work (getting stuck in the ice and snow twice) and having them bored all day because there’s no water at home and you can’t leave them there alone.

So here’s some of the absolute essentials for surviving winter.

At Home:

Snow shovel- It’s a duh, but they sell out quick when you need them. And you would think other shovels would easily compensate, but they don’t. Indulge in a snow shovel.

Cardboard boxes- It’s always nice to have extra boxes around. In the winter they can be used under tires to help a stuck car get traction. Or to box up perishables to take off site if your power goes out.

Stored Water- When you need it, it’ll be too late. Especially important for people with pets.

Food that Doesn’t Need to be Cooked or Refrigerated- Canned tuna, canned pasta, peanut butter, bread, powdered milk, electrolyte powders (like powdered gatorade)

Extra blankets- This seems like a duh, but there are all kinds of uses for them. Even those small cheap fleece blankets can be used to insulate a reptile tank, wrap a dog, or lay over the pillow of a sick child so that if they miss a puke bucket you can just change out the blanket. You can also use it to stuff holes, wrap pipes, cover windows or drape over doors if you need to concentrate all the heat in one room.

A Secondary Method of cooking- I don’t mean a stove AND a microwave. I mean a stove and a grill. Or a camping stove. We’ve lucky enough to have gas heat and a gas stove, which while costing more has been a huge relief some winters

A Plan- Know where you can get shelter or food aid if you need, preferably within walking distance. I live in a poor neighborhood, but this is a bonus when there’s churches with food pantries and who serve free hot meals and a Salvation Army that always opens its doors for shelter in this kind of weather. Other plans or habits that help include never going under a few days of dog food/cat food/people food/etc, leaving sinks dripping to help prevent pipes from freezing, keeping up on prescription refills, etc. Also you should absolutely positively know where to turn off the main water line to your house in case of an emergency, whether you rent or not.

In the car

Blankets- Another duh, but sometimes we are so used to having other resources we don’t consider what would happen if we got stuck on a high way, or in a ditch. By yourself you could walk for help, but what if you have kids? Also it can help you save gas.

Water bottles- You can melt snow to drink, but stored water would freeze for most of us.

Food- Protein or granola bars, snacky stuff that won’t freeze and can hold you or some kids over for a few hours.

Extra money- For emergency gas, cab ride, etc.

Cell Phone charger- Back up chargers are cheap now days. I have a solar one that I keep on my car’s dashboard. I paid $12 for it and don’t even have to remember to charge it.

At Work

If you can’t manage a get home bag you can get a few things stocked up just in case.

Food- Again, small, light, snacky stuff. No elaborate meal things.

A Change of clothes- (or a second set to layer over what you are wearing if you have to walk in the snow)

A water bottle- Or stored water if you have no place to fill a water bottle at work

Emergency cab or bus fare- because not all emergencies are being snowed in

Hiking Boots- To, you know, get home. I don’t work in a place where you have to wear heels or dress shoes, but tennis shoes are my go tos for comfort and a long wet, snowy, cold walk is better done in boots.

I tried to keep it simple, but what are some of your tips?

From Doom and Bloom

A Guide on Winterizing your Car

How To Drive a Regular Car in the Snow

Oh, and if it’s on this list DON’T do it!




January 20

Review: She-Hulk, Volume 1: Single Green Female

Apparently She Hulk is way to much of a rock star for anyone to handle. Her success, invulnerability and Tony Stark-like fame has made her a very difficult to tolerate Avenger. So difficult that she is fired from her day job, kicked out of the Avengers manor and firmly encouraged to re-evaluate her play girl, partying, larger than life ways. It seems Jennifer has fully embraced being the big, green, powerful, indestructible Hulk and turned away from being a brilliant, but small, delicate, weak and vulnerable human.

Until she gets a new job working for a very prestigious law firm who wants to hire Jennifer, not She-Hulk. Dismayed, but desperate, she takes it, only to discover she’s going to work as part of a special super-human law division, blazing new trails in the law field.

There are a ton of cameos, quite a bit of Marvel-verse meta silliness (apparently Marvel comics are historical documents in this universe, so She-Hulk references her own past issues, as well as others a number of times), and, eventually, some heart to these stories.

With the growing popularity of superhero media there’s been a rise in commentary internet articles on the downsides or hidden truths of living in the Marvel-verse. This volume of She-Hulk is a dark side expose all of its own, when lawyers get involved with defending, or prosecuting, or just trying to make sense of the chaos in this world. If reading this fun, but off-the-wall (I mean, Spiderman sues J.J. Jameson for defamation in one case, then Peter Parker gets named as a co-defendant for “staging” pictures of Spiderman. That’s the level of meta we’re talking about.) volume of superhero tales doesn’t make you glad that you don’t live in the Marvel-vese, nothing will.

January 15

Review: Dog with a Bone by Hailey Edwards

Thierry is the daughter of the Black Dog, a fearsome, often vicious enforcer of the fae, and a human mother. She’s just graduated marshal school and is now on her first real case with her trainer turned partner and romantic interest, Shaw (the only person known to be immune to her power). Someone is poaching rare fae creatures and Shaw and Thierry must put a stop to it, no mater how dangerous, or how inexperienced Thierry is.

Dog with a Bone, while labeled as Black Dog #1 is actually a novella prequel to the trilogy. As such it’s missing a lot. Edwards’ has some good writing here, a world with a lot of potential and a determined lead. But Edwards doesn’t do much world building at all in this volume.

As a reader it left me with so many questions. Is this a seelie/unseelie world like Laurell K. Hamilton’s Meredith Gentry world? Or more like Seanan Maguire’s Toby Daye’s world? How is Shaw allowed to be a barely-legal Thierry’s teacher, then marshal partner, and then budding lover? Wouldn’t their superiors worry about this being a very uneven, potentially abusive relationship? Again, it’s real clear Thierry is only 18 in this story. Shaw…is much older. And an incubus with sex powers. How is this not all kinds of red flags?

Finally, does Thierry, for all her determination and training and excelling at marshal school, have any ability other than her Black Dog magic that consumes people? Shouldn’t she have some other skill if she’s supposed to be an elite fae enforcer?

Despite all my questions and out right balking about this book, I still finished it and am still considering buying the next in the series. Edwards isn’t inept as a writer, or boring. This book is just incomplete, a terrible introduction to the world and instead is more of a afterthought fan service add in. Dog with a Bone is not where new readers should start with this series.

January 13

Review: Guardians Team-Up #10

You are going to get exactly what you think with this one. Deadpool peddling a bike (that is apparently owned by Zelda) with an angry gun-firing Rocket Racoon in the basket sprawls over the cover and inside Rocket and Deadpool kill evil aliens and make smarmy jokes for 32 amusing pages.

There is some continunity, and a cameo too. And pseudo-cameos by a Minion and Beast. (Maybe. Or maybe I was just imagining things.) Did I mention fun and snarky already?

January 10

This Week in Photography

I’ve started participating in a photography project to take one picture a day. I’m trying to push my art/photography skills a little bit, so I’m using it as motivation to try the shots I’ve been wanting or finally go to the places I’ve been wanting to go. Here’s what I got this week (and I started late).

fenwick_1-7-16_watermarked drautpark_1-9-16watermarked lannonpark_1-10-16_watermarked