Sunday, April 13, 2008

Yet Another Book Giveaway!

Yes indeedy my it is about that time again.

I've just finished reading the new fiction work by James Howard Kunstler twice. It's an interesting book.

The premise is that the oil economy of the world has collapsed. Rather than get all geopolitical, much like the world would, in reaction to such an occurance, Kunstler instead focuses on one Upstate New York town. One man in particular.

It's a World Made By Hand where things that are taken so much for granted these days are either precious beyond obtaining, or simply gone, maybe forever.

People, being what we are, react all different ways. Most folks try to simply muddle through as best they can.

The events of the book cover one summer's experience. It's not a huge or daunting read, but it is a grim, yet strangely hopefull account of how things might shake loose.

Now we arrive at the contest. As with all my contests I promise that the judging criteria will be arbitrary, quite possibly unfair, and I will state at the very outset that I have been known to solicit and accept all manner of bribery and flattery.

The contest is simple. The protagonist of the book was a systems analyst in the computer industry who now makes his living as a carpenter. If the things you needed for your daily life were all of a sudden unvailable, what skills would you bring to your family and your community? I would probably find my skill and talent with horses, breeding, training and handling them to be something folks would need. My ability at the forge for shoeing the horses would be something I could use to raise my own standard of living and those of folks around me. I have excellent frontier skills in gunpowder making, again at the forge I can cast and fabricate things that would need to be made. My acoustic instruments would be in demand too. As would my library.

What would you bring? Answer in the comments please. Let's not forget the bribery part this time. I will send a copy of the book to the winner.

contest notification post at Big Brass Blog


Anonymous The Disgruntled Chemist said...

I don't have a lot of time to read lately, but I'll answer the question anyway. I have three skills that could combine into one very valuable skill:

I'm a decent gardener (not as good as many, because of the limited practice afforded by living in the suburbs my entire life).

I have experience distilling and otherwise separating chemicals.

I have loads of plumbing/soldering experience.

Consequently, as long as I could get my hands on some yeast, I could build a still, grow some fruit, and be of great use making various liquors for the dystopian society of the future.

Hey, if you're living in dystopia, you might as well be drunk.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Jesse Wendel said...

I'm a retired paramedic.

In a world without oil, the old ways include farming. Farming is DANGEROUS.

People who can keep people alive using field expedient methods will have enormous value.

That's me. *smiles sweetly*

Plus daughter #2 is a decent bicycle mechanic, and getting better.

Also, I am very good at sorting out deep relationship/religious issues for folks. So I'd probably roll out a shingle as an all-in-one medic/relationship/spiritual counselor.

Plus bicycle repair, on the side. It'd be enough for our family to get by.

Oh... and I forgot. We know how to build serious electrical systems. From scratch. I'll need help from people who know how to forge, make pipes, make copper cables and stuff, but the electrical end of it, the actual "how do you make a dam work", that, I've got down, all the way to the approved manuals. *grins*

We'd make out okay.

12:02 AM  
Blogger PeterofLoneTree said...

I do profess to be no less than I seem; to serve
him truly that will put me in trust: to love him
that is honest; to converse with him that is wise,
and says little; to fear judgment; to fight when I
cannot choose; and to eat no fish....
I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious
tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message
bluntly: that which ordinary men are fit for, I am
qualified in; and the best of me is diligence.

Or, in his own words--not Bill's--PoLT lays claim to being:
A knave of all trades, and jack of none.

4:51 AM  
Blogger BlondeSense Liz said...

Well let's see...
I am good with nail polish, hair color and makeup.

Just kidding.

5:59 AM  
Anonymous oddjob said...

I'm not interested in the book, but I'd bring three skill sets.

I have an undergraduate degree in horticulture, plus a decent set of gardening references, both ornamental and more importantly fruit & vegetable. I also like to think I'd be able to figure out the grain-growing thing if I had to.

I have a huge mental library of trivia (including natural history), some of which comes in handy at unexpected moments.

I have strong observational skills, particularly in regards to the interactions of insects with plants, but in other situations, too.

(I can cook, too, but I wouldn't describe myself as such.)

6:49 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

I grew up on a farm, have hunted (long ago) with bow and musket, and am a carpenter. I can make a fire without flint and steel. I am a voracious reader, so I have at least book knowledge of lots of different subjects.

Also, I come from hardy, long-lived stock, and, should the necessity arise, would be willing to contribute my DNA as often, and to a many women as needed, to rebuild the population after the inevitable die-off.

7:46 AM  
Anonymous oddjob said...

Consequently, as long as I could get my hands on some yeast, I could build a still, grow some fruit, and be of great use making various liquors for the dystopian society of the future.

Hey, and don't forget about the spoiled grain! What would we do without beer and whiskey? ;-)

8:00 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

hummm, lets see...

i'm good with children and animals.
i'm a poet so i could write of times gone by. i can cook, even outdoors. i'm a helpful soul. a good listener and shoulder to cry on or bitch at. i have a lot of books to share. i don't eat much, so i wouldn't use up much food

and tho i can't have children anymore i'm still pretty good...

if you get the idea. (and yes, i still blush and i am right now but hey...!)

frankly tho, if i had to do without coffee and chocolate i don't think i would be fun to be around! ; )

9:01 AM  
Blogger pissed off patricia said...

I'm a good listener, would that be needed? Total strangers feel they may confide in me, even when I don't understand why.

9:10 AM  
Anonymous ta hussain ta said...

Women of my family have freakish upper body strength, thus I am well-suited for the time after power steering.

I have no illusions about this: after oil, we may live shorter, harder lives, depending on how we cling to our old habits and desires. Thus, my biggest asset is a wild, vivid imagination.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous oddjob said...

Total strangers feel they may confide in me, even when I don't understand why.

You, too, eh? :-)

Oh, and POP, you don't do yourself justice. Your story telling skills are singularly good!

9:29 AM  
Blogger Angelos said...

Hunting, cooking, carpentry, gardening. I can do all of that cabin-in-the-woods stuff.

I do aim to learn more about what to eat in the wild, though. I don't know anything about what I could pick out of a forest in a pinch.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

been thinking about tjhe question all day now.

truthfully, i doubt i could contribute much but i might be good for comic relief!

11:35 AM  
Anonymous blackdog said...

Julia contacted me today about her upcoming San Diego trip to see her son who will be on leave for a bit from the "Lake Eire". She is slowly but most surely dying but is feeling better today, she has run out of medication for multiple cancers and has fought this battle for years, chemo, radiation, all the standard shit with hardly a groan or complaint, she has taken several steps to insure that her husband and son will be financially OK and that her demise will meet her expectations. In her way.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of my life saving emergency surgery, but for this most wonderful girl, I would gladly exchange my life for hers if I could.

Some people just shine a bit more, and she shines more than most.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous oddjob said...

angelos, for starters a not small number of garden "weeds" are actually both edible and nutritious.

2:44 PM  
Anonymous The Disgruntled Chemist said...

Hey Minstrel, totally OT: I was just randomly paging through your archives and you mentioned some surgical procedures you were planning on having. It caught my eye because I had microfracture surgery on my knee about 8 years ago and I wanted to see how yours went.

Mine didn't take; I had to have it scoped again about 3 years later. Hopefully 8 years of progress will give you better results.

If you're out of cartilage, you might want to ask about SynVisc (or whatever lubricant they're using these days). It worked OK for me, and it's a fuckload less painful than a cortisone shot.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Brave Sir Robin said...

Well, Chemist beat me to it, but I can brew beer, or distill whiskey.

I can absolutely design a still.

I'm a fair gardener and better than fair cook. I can kill and clean chickens and rabbits. I would think that skill would translate to larger animals if needed.

Also, if we hope to keep some technology alive, I am old enough to know how to draft and design by hand, sans computer.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blondesense may underestimate her value as a prostitute. I think she could have a bright future, with the highest level of survival ability available to her.

Me? I'd just remain a librarian, caring for my books. While the rest are out flailing about what weeds to eat, where to get yeast cultures, etc, I'll just look them up in my reference sections, or refer to a "how-to" manual, and find the solution to whatever problem that is manifest.

There is no more valuable professional in your community than the librarian.


5:13 AM  

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