Your Government is in Control, America. [Preparedness Calendar 2017 from Ready.gov ]

As the saying goes: The Best Offense is a Good Defense. But Preparing a good defense can be a lot of work and planning. Where does one even start when threats and possible calamities lurk around every corner all day, every day? Start with a calendar. Specifically, start with the Ready.gov 2017 Preparedness Calendar.
Continue reading “Your Government is in Control, America. [Preparedness Calendar 2017 from Ready.gov ]”

How to Trick People Into Liking You…

People are fairly simple creatures who are easily tricked because of their addiction to patterns and basic context cues. People want to trust you, like you, not need to kill you. Heck, you could be an asset to their team if you turn out to be someone they can trust, let their guard down around, and learn to lean on.
We see characters like Daryl on The Walking Dead become fan favorites both in and outside of the show while still being kind of dickish. That’s because in fiction people aren’t real. In fiction, people can’t have all the minutia that actual human relationships are based on.
In reality we dislike people because of their minutia and, surprise, it’s that same bit of detail that makes us either likable or leave-able.

So what are the little things we can do to trick people into liking us?

1. Ask them questions about themselves and their feelings the LISTEN to their responses.

Most people listen to respond rather than listening to understand. Think about it the next time you observe a conversation. The person who isn’t speaking hears something they think they know about and have a response poised and ready on the tip of their tongue. They’ve officially stopped listening to understand the other persons point and are just waiting for a break so they can respond.
This is rude and selfish. If you’re telling someone about your dearly departed grandmother and you see their eyebrows raise up and their mouth do that “O” shape where  they clearly have something to say about hospice facilities while you’re still talking about… Well it doesn’t matter now because clearly your audience doesn’t care.
Don’t show people you don’t care about what they’re saying by listening to respond rather than to understand. Sit, Listen, and take time to process what you’ve heard. Then respond. Keep in mind, sometimes the best response is just agreement or acknowledgement. “I hear you.” “That’s the worst.” “I can’t believe that.” “I’m so sorry you had to experience that.”

2. Be helpful when you can and give a brief reason when you can’t.

Sometimes it’s nice to just sit and do nothing or let someone take care of you. Sometimes it’s super rude even if you technically have nothing to do.
The worst thing you can say when you’re on a team or doing anything with other people is, “That’s not my job.” This one phrase is a sure way to make people side-eye you with utter, unabridged contempt. It’s worse than, “no” or “I don’t know how” or  even making an excuse that makes it clear that you don’t want it.
“That’s not my job” is somehow both dismissive, condescending, and mean. You’re rubbing it in that they still have work to do AND you’re not going to help; not because you can’t but because you just don’t want to.
It doesn’t hurt to help. If anything you gain skills and build a rapport with people through a shared struggle. And if you can’t help someone, don’t waste their time whining about all the things you have to do or how your arm hurts or whatever your real or fake reason is. They asked for help not a time suck. Again, this is selfish. This person is so busy or overwhelmed that they’ve humbled themself and asked for help.
Apologize with a sentence (not a run-on) explaining why you can’t. “Sorry, I’m in the middle of cooking these beans (they understand that the beans will burn if you leave them, you don’t need to explain).” “Sorry, I don’t know how to swim; maybe Joe does? (it’s great if you can offer an alternative; but don’t commit someone else to helping)”

3. Do what you say you’ll do.

The worst people are the people who can’t be relied on. People who can’t bother remembering to do things for others and are regularly letting people down.
It’s not just about being the kind of person that people can’t depend on, it’s about being the kind of person that makes life harder for other people. Your slack needs to be picked up or projects can’t be completed or children go hungry and die (in extreme cases).
The solution isn’t to shy away from responsibility, it’s to recognize that what you do or don’t do effects other people and get it done.

4. Try not to complain. If you must, follow up with your solution and plan.

Everyone hates their job. Everyone’s life is hard. Everyone’s body starts to fail after 25. Everyone could stand to lose a few pounds or tone up or eat better. Shut up and do something about it or just shut up.
Complaining gives people this great feeling of release because it’s good to get things off your chest– unless you’re the person listening to the complaints. Complaints are not communication. People who complain want sympathy not solutions which means there’s no real role for people who listen to complaints.
If you want advice, ask for advice. If you want to complain, get a diary or come ready with your own advice.
Like listening to understand, have conversations WITH people, not at people.

5. Mind your manners.

The weird thing about killing people with kindness it that they never seem to see it coming.  I had a roommate in college (who is alive and well to this day) who hated me– specifically she hated having a roommate. I went out of my way to pretend I didn’t notice.
I was nice to her and respectful of our space. I didn’t try to be her friend or invite her to parties. But I was kind to her friends and let her use my refrigerator and offered help when it was convenient or relevant. Eventually she and I genuinely got along swimmingly. I forgot she made me feel unwelcome and she forgot to make me feel unwelcome. The kindness ended up killing the animosity.
Being nice doesn’t cost you anything, doesn’t make you look bad, and doesn’t make life harder. Making the effort to mind your manners is not only basic decency but also the finishing touch you need to make your personality the kind that people are fond of.

So can you trick people into liking you?

Making a habit of all five of these things will guarantee more people will like you. Unfortunately these are not tricks. These are just things that people should do and other people will respond to.
You can fake them for a time, but eventually you’ll either grow to be a more likable person or your true colors will shine through and you’ll get a lot of side-eye and hear a lot of whispered conversations.
P.S.: Sorry if this headline tricked you into clicking. TLDR: some things don’t come naturally but you if you try them you might like the results.

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5 Apocalyptic Lessons From Halo: Reach

Halo: Reach, the final installment-prequel in the Halo series by Bungie, chronicled the initial invasion and downfall of the human race on the planet Reach to the Covenant.

The planet Reach is humanity’s last line of defense between the encroaching Covenant and their ultimate goal, the destruction of Earth. If it falls, humanity will be pushed to the brink of destruction.
source

Known for it’s fairly short campaign mode and extensive multiplayer offerings, Halo: Reach is a perfect way to learn a few apocalypse life lessons. Continue reading “5 Apocalyptic Lessons From Halo: Reach”

Post-apocalyptic communications

I’ve been having Internet problems lately. Basically, my router is rebelling and refuses to connect me to my addiction the interwebs. (The robot uprising, it is starting. Maybe.)
All of this lovely yelling at my router (in child-friendly terms, which means that my router is usually a fudge-y piece of spaghetti, occasionally the son of a blimp, and sometimes other equally ridiculous things) had me thinking about communications in the post apocalypse.
Because, you know, I depend on the Internet for communication. I mean, without the Internet, I never would’ve become friends with two women I’ve never met and have never even spoken to. And if THAT hadn’t happened, believe me when I say that the world would be a less entertaining place.
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Ask all the questions, avoid all the chaos

Chaotic situations are rooted in no one knowing the answers they need to to stay calm, stand still, and think about basic shit like being quite while decisions are made. To survive after the apocalypse you’ll need to limit your social chaos. How? By asking the right questions —and then having the answers and making people listen.
I’m not typically one for too much pre-planning or excessive deliberation–I’ll take as long as you give me to think about something but then end up making a spur of the moment decision anyway. However, even I realize that the simple exercise of developing a problem solving mindset that includes quickly asking the right questions and processing their answers can drastically affect the survivability of a situation.
The most basic question is usually, “What are we doing?!” or “What’s happening?!” These are valid questions that having answers to would help clam the situation down.
People might shout out other things like, “We NEED to hide!” That’s a suggestion, and a damn good one, recognize it.
Someone else might say, “We’re all gonna Diiiiie!” That’s not helpful. Shut them down quickly and with authority. They don’t deserve to talk.

With almost all situations there’s an easy way to bring order to chaos: QUESTIONS.

Continue reading “Ask all the questions, avoid all the chaos”

Maintaining a healthy relationship post-apocalypse

In most of the western world romantic love is the ideal. From day one we are told it will conquer all, that there is a specific kind of ‘true’ love that overwhelms all obstacles and ensures your safety and happiness. This is a lie. Love exists, but a happy and successful relationship post-apocalypse will need a lot more than just love.  I decided to talk about how to keep yourself- and your relationship- alive and healthy in the hellish future.
Lets talk for a bit about the sort of love we’re told to expect by the media. This love is wild, dramatic. It happens when two people who seem to really dislike each other meet in a stressful circumstance. Regardless of how incompatible they are, they fall in love, which makes it great. Because that totally works in real life. If you’ve had more than one or two relationships I shouldn’t need to tell you this is nonsense. That kind of ‘love’ rarely lasts, and is rarely healthy or supportive when it does. More to the point, if required to survive, it will get you killed.
Picture this. You are hunting for food. Just you and your lover. Awww. But you disagree on which way to go! Your hollywood-approved belligerent sexual tension means you argue, and snipe at each other over which way to go. You’re distracted- so distracted you don’t hear the threat sneaking up on you. BAM. You’re now slaves to a set of raiders. How could you have solved this? Well, several ways, but for the purposes of this post we’ll talk about the ideal Apocalypse survival relationship skills.
Continue reading “Maintaining a healthy relationship post-apocalypse”