Advice Column #24

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I listen to quite a few podcasts, mostly when I’m doing something I don’t feel like doing. Which is often something my wife wants me to do. Podcasts are perfect for cleaning up around the house, commuting to work, or walking badly behaved animals to a place where they can comfortably shit in grass.

Earlier today my buddy Marc and I recorded our first episode of a podcast called Scary Thoughts. It’s about horror, philosophy, and culture. Our inaugural recording is all about Stranger Things, so stay posted, I’ll have links to the show on iTunes and wherever else it goes.

I mention this effort for two reasons The first is pure self promotion. I want you to listen to it and tell all your friends so I can get super duper internet famous overthinking horror movies and talking about hard to read books. The second reason is I think you should be doing the same. Get together with a smart friend who is passionate about whatever you’re passionate about, hit record, and start talking.

My buddy Nate has been making a go of it as a podcaster for a few months over at Games, Comics, and Culture (I stole the culture thing from him). I’m not really much of a gamer or comic book reader these days, but I love his show. He has smart things to say and it sometimes feels like I’m sitting on the couch at his house in New Orleans again. You can see the progress he’s made as a host in just a few episodes, which is inspiring. Who knows, maybe one day he’ll get invited to Comic Con as a cultural influencer or something?

The worst thing that can happen to you for trying is you might suck and no one listens. I’ve recorded quite a few podcasts over the last couple of years that will never air anywhere, but they were all fun to record and I really learned a lot about my own weird speech quirks (“um, “ah”, “like”) and I’ve worked to fix them. I think this has actually benefited my career in some noticeable ways. I do a decent amount of interviewing of people for my job and freelance writing. As I’ve gotten more confident talking, the interviews have gotten much better.

Unlike blog writing, I don’t think you need to try doing a podcast everyday, but once a month would probably be doable. Give it a try.

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Preparing for our first episode was really enjoyable. I flexed my close reading muscles more than I have since college, read secondary sources, and spent some time writing out my thoughts. Ultimately, Stranger Things is just a fun, silly show, but it does have some weight to it that can fire up your neurons. When you’re working on a show, it kind of requires you to be thoughtful, or at least more thoughtful than you are during a normal Netflix binge session.

Something else to note for the would-be culture commentator: blogs are sort of dead. If you’re reading this, you’re probably still something of a reader, or you’re just friends with me in real life. But most people, including myself, have turned to YouTube and podcasts for this sort of light edutainment. Even though I hate the sound of my own voice, I’m going to attempt the jump to a new medium, starting with podcasting. I’ll still be rocking this blog for the full 365 for you Reading Rainbow types.

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On to the questions.

I have a luxury watch worth about $3500. If I wanted to trade it in for a small arsenal and Zombie Apocalypse prep kit, including a good tactical (non-reflective, etc.) fine (1K) watch what should I get? I already have Glock 17, a good knife, a shitty hatchet and shovel, camping gear, cold and hot weather stuff and about 1000 rounds of ammo.

I don’t really know anything about watches and all the tactical sites seems to recommend some basic version of the Casio G-Shock. The one that’s closest to $1000 is the G-Shock GWG-1000 Mudmaster. Personally, I’d just get a $100 watch and grab anything fancy I liked off of the many scattered bodies you’d pass during a zombie outbreak.

To keep with the question as asked, I’m going to assume you’ve dropped $1000 on some kind of watch you think is cool, leaving you with $2500.

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The pistol you already have is pretty great. I’d get a drop leg holster and a few magazine pouches for it. That’s going to run you about $80. Four 3o round magazines are going to set you back about $150 as of today.

You’re going to want some sort of rifle. For zombies, all you’d really need is a .22 with a suppressor. But unfortunately, the biggest danger in any survival situation are other humans, so you’ll need some more punch. You should be able to build a pretty decent AR-15 or Ak-47 platform rifle for around $1500. That would include some sort of decent scope.

Depending on what sort of sling or other accessories you like, you’re going to end up with about $700-$800 left over. That should go right into training with your weapons. Take a course. Get out there and shoot.

My buddy Barry is the most knowledgeable firearms person I’ve ever met. He has owned just about everything you’d want to kill a zombie with and his take is that you can just start out with a basic revolver when things go crazy and trade up as you find the bodies of armed humans who have fallen to the hordes of the dead (or whatever).

Professional MMA fighter and sniper Tim Kennedy runs a few courses over at Sheepdog Response. He believes the best investment you can make is in your training. He recommends a basic Glock like you have, a basic rifle, maybe a shotgun, and a whole lot of ammo for all of it.

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What are ways to deal with being corrected, especially if unsolicited?

If the information you’ve received is correct, then you should use it and better yourself. Years ago when I was running my old blog, Doomsday Fitness (the focus was on training for apocalyptic situations), a random person took me to task for something I said about wealth inequality. I was wrong, and the email this anonymous person sent radically altered my perspective on finances (for the better).

That said, if the person is trying to get power over you or playing some sort of game, you don’t have to take any shit from them. Think about if they’re right, but feel free to tell them to mind their own fucking business.

If there’s one definite wrong move in this scenario, it’s defensively responding with unsolicited advice of your own.

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What am I missing by not watching (Japanese) anime?

Cartoon tentacles fucking cartoons that look like schoolgirls and terrible, terrible music.

What was your most embarrassing hotel experience?

I once had sex in a hotel room full of people who I hoped were sleeping. I don’t think some of them were, but, you know, YOLO.

Platitudes: What are some sweetly comforting things people say that are factually incorrect?

Number one with a bullet is “it gets better.” I know the intention is to make kids feel better about how shitty high school is, and I get it, things definitely improve once you’re out of that awful environment, but the fact is you and everything you love will be ground up in the great thrashing jaws of the universe. We are all doomed. But, you know, YOLO.

If everything was free for 10 minutes, what would you take?

I’m assuming after 10 minutes, everything goes back to its normal market value. I would grab platinum bars or priceless doubloons. Something with a high value that could be converted to currency easily.

Is it true that the more you socialize, the smarter you’ll become?

Yes, but only if you socialize with smart people.

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