My 2009 survival strategies

Meeting more people

This one’s simple: meet more people in the real world. Attend more conferences, unconferences, and meetups. I know of no better way than “networking” (however crass that sounds) to find jobs, collaborators, business partners, romantic partners, customers, clients, etc. etc. In increasingly precarious times, having strong networks has never been more important.

Indoor gardening

I have no illusions about getting “off the grid” but I do want to substantially supplement my diet with homegrown food. Given that during WWII 40% of all vegtables eaten were grown at home, I think it’s reasonable to think that gardening will be a key part of our food security moving forward into the recession.

My partner and I have access to outdoor gardening space at our apartment building, and live about 3 blocks from a community garden. But since we’re planning on moving (and obviously we missed planting season) we’re planning on starting with a small indoor hydroponic system, probably an EarthBox (or maybe a DIY EarthBox) with an LED grow light. Also, I just ordered the Espresso Oyster Mushroom Patch from Fungi Perfecti. I’ll be sharing my results and experiences with the process.

Excercise & ergonomics

Your health is probably the most sound investment you can make at this point. I’d done a decent job of keeping in shape in recent years until 2008, but I totally fell off this year. My partner and I have been doing vinyasa yoga at home lately, and I plan on keeping up with this. More walking and biking is also mandatory.

I’m also dedicating myself to learning up on ergonomics. Bruce Sterling has a good rant on the subject here, but doesn’t fully drive home the health angle. Most of you reading this are probably destroying your eyes and back right now. Hell, I’m screwing myself up writing this. This must stop.

Start using local currency

I’ve been fascinated with local currency for some time, but have never actually used it. It’s about time I signed up for Cascadia Hour Exchange.

Committing to solving global problems

Perhaps the best way to protect oneself against the global problems we face is to solve the problems. Thus, I am committing myself to converting all my experience to the highest advantage of others. So from now on, everything I do will revolve around a couple simple questions: does this benefit humanity and if not, how can it?


  1. Meet more variety of people, less like yourself.

    I can set you up with a sprout farm. Salad you grow yourself, once a week (or every day if you grow in rotations).

    Lowest cost / highest return ergonomic investment I’ve made: PAUSE ONCE IN A WHILE. Secretaries who get carpel tunnel make around 300 stress motions an hour. As a sign language intepreter I make around 3,000 stress motions an hour. Stopping with the typing and signing once in a while makes all the difference.

    A fine set of strategies. Add in a system to check for error and learn from mistakes and you’re golden.

  2. My survival strategies for 2009 (cheap knock off article to come):

    1) Martial arts. In particular, knife fighting.
    2) Learn Arabic.
    3) Work out like crazy.

  3. @Trevor – Systems to check for errors and learn from mistakes need to be implemented for every project and subroutine, esp. since most of what I’m doing is intended to be replicated by other people (if successful).

    Will talk to you about the sprouts, that’s something else I was thinking about.

    @Ulysses – I plan to continue with Mu Ryu when the season starts up, but I’m starting to worry about martial arts as a form of exercise. I’m skeptical about the applicability to actual fighting, and the potential for injury is high. The knife fighting exercises, however, are much safer so that’s a good choice.

  4. Re ergonomics – the best thing I’ve ever found is to have a chair that you can tilt downward (opposite of bucket) so your legs help support you, instead of your lower spine.

    Re veggies – i’d like to hear more about sprouts too.

    Re exercise/fighting, although knifefighting is fun and as a real activity is more likely than swordfighting, but it is less vigorous and not representative of the ideal virtues of knifefighting which are viciousness, fearlessness and the skillful taking of cuts on your outer arms while getting accurately cutting/stabbing crucial arteries/tendons. Swordfighting is alot deeper and is applicable to virtually all weapons once you get conceptual about it being about focus, awareness of lines, and the manipulation of force.

    However, martial arts give you a reason to exercise (while general “health” gets abstract past a point, unless a mirror is your guide).

    I’m down to climb some mountains.

    & another thought/goal for your list – create art.

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