Saturday, January 3, 2015

Electronic Gadgets making me think.

Sometimes, I feel like Sisyphus. Life is like that rock he had to roll up the hill. It has its ups and downs. And the same with technology. And often, they are intertwined. Computers are great. And they are a hindrance. They provide knowledge and, yet, cost us productive time. We have trouble allocating our time properly and efficiently. We use computers to communicate: with family and friends, business, and complete strangers. Computers help us to learn to do things. And they take time from us when we could really be doing something constructive. They can make us laugh. And, they can frustrate us and make us cry. They can save us a ton of money. But, we spend a ton of money for that help.

Technology and its gadgets

Now, we don't just have a telephone line, but an internet line that costs just as much. I use the word “line” loosely and figuratively. We no longer have a land line, but two cell phones. Our internet is more than one of the cell phones per month. And, there is the cost of the computer and the software. And the extra “gadgets”. We have two larger monitors and four external hard drives and two all-in-one printers and wireless mouse and keyboards and... You get the idea. We have extras for convenience, not need. We can't “do without” our toys, but has it really helped us?

A few years ago, we picked up the phone and called a neighbor for help. Before that, it was a face to face chat. Now we don't even know our neighbor, let alone speak to him or her. How many of them do you really know? (Know – as in their children's names, where they work, where they are from, etc.) I bet there are many that you don't even know the name of. 

Neighbors helping neighbors

We can't even talk to each other. We have to text each other. My phones have voice mail. If I have to communicate something important, I'll leave a voice mail. Otherwise, I just hang up (I don't feel an obligation to have to say something). It is so yesterday! But so am I. 

Spending time together?

At work, I'll see people sitting at a table texting, and never saying a word to each other. Are we losing the ability to communicate? Fiona and I were talking the other day about our youth, way back yonder in the last millennium. When you passed a neighbor, there was a social obligation to stop and say “hello”. Now, you don't even dare to make eye contact! Eye contact carries an obligation!

Way back yonder in the “good olde days”, family was your first line of knowledge. You asked Maw and Paw how to do something. Or Grandmaw or Grandpaw. Or an old Aunt ot Uncle down the road. Now, they are in another state and you hardly ever talk. You get your knowledge from a complete stranger instead of family. That is the age of computers. And we can't do without them.

Telephones. They were for calling to town or for checking on the widow down the road or a sick friend or neighbor. Most of our calls in this age would have been charged as “long distance” back then. We think nothing of calling 500 or a 1000 miles, or cross country, to check on a price on something we are “thinking” about getting that we probably don't even need.

Oh, don't get me wrong on this: I'm just as guilty as anyone else, and probably more so than most. I enjoy my computer time – and lots of it. It is my main source of “knowledge”. But I rely too much on it. When we move, I should ask that old farmer down the road when to plant my tomaters. But I already have that information from my Garden Planter from Mother Earth News. Now which do you think I would have been smarter to use?

My crystal ball is a little cloudy. I'm having trouble foreseeing the future. There are a lot of knowledgeable people and thinkers forecasting doom and gloom. They did the same thing in 1999 for Y2K. And that didn't even make a blip. Now, it is the economy. Or terrorists. Or the government. Or... You fill in the blank. This will probably be another one of those “wasn't that silly of them to be thinking such a thing could happen in this day and time” things. They were probably thinking the same of the Pharaoh and Joseph. “This is just a scheme of the government to tax us more and take our grains”. And seven years later, they were able to survive.

I am a pessimistic optimist. I am always looking for the good in things, but expecting the worst. I guest they call that conditioning from life's experiences. As with Joseph, prepare for the bad times, they WILL come, sooner or later. It may be on a personal scale instead of on a national scale, but be prepared. Ask yourself “what if”. How are you going to survive? Seven years of food was what God told Joseph to set aside. I think that is still good advice. I understand that the governments of our great country are now passing laws that it is hoarding and against the law for you to have more than one weeks worth of food on hand. If you lose your job/jobs and hyperinflation hits, or deflation, what are you going to eat? What are you going to feed your children? Are you going to feed them your shoes?

Look around your neighborhood. What are your neighbors doing to prepare? Are they doing anything at all to prepare? Are you doing anything to prepare? If you prepare and they don't prepare, are your good neighbors going to come over and help you share your bounty? And what about those “other” neighbors. What are they going to do? How are you going to respond? Will this fall under plausible deniability on your part? Or ignorance? Or, just “head in the sand” syndrome? When you are starving, what are you going to eat? What about your spouse (significant other)? What are you going to tell your children? The government isn't going to be helping. It won't be able to. It will be up to you. As you starve, look at your family and ask yourself what you could have done, but didn't do. There is still time. Will your city “friends” be coming for an uninvited visited? If you're on a main road, that is more likely.

Asphalt traps

And those gadgets? What if there is an electrical collapse? No computer to go to for help. No phone to call on for help. No seeds coming in the mail. No gas. No replacement parts. No heat. No electric or gas for cooking. Or for the refrigerator or freezer.

In the late 90's, I lived in Eastern North Carolina. We got hurricane Dennis. Just over a week later, we got hurricane Floyd. The ground was still soaked from Dennis. The water had no where to go. The streams came up. A lot. The Tar River is normally 150 feet or less across. It was over 3 miles across. The water was less than a foot from the high voltage power lines. They had boats checking on the power lines and their swaying from the wind. We were about 2 inches from the substation being shut down. They said that if the lines touched the water, it would take out the entire electrical grid east of the Mississippi River. As it was, we were without electricity for seven and a half days at home because of trees across local power lines. We survived fine. All roads were flooded. No tractor trailers could get in with food and water. It took several days for electricity to come on in most areas, we were seven and a half days. It was several days for the water to go down. Tractor trailers started restocking shelves. Government aid started coming in. I worked on the other side of the river. They called and asked me to try and get in. I was one of the few that could operate and work on our machinery. I called the local, state, and federal governments. They knew of no roads that were open. I drove in the opposite direction and around the area to Virginia and came in on numerous back roads from the back side to get there. Many were under water, just not deep. I drove over 400 miles to get 30 miles to the plant. I never left the plant for three days. I slept on the floor in the offices. My family was prepared. The plant wasn't. We had two Chrysler plants shut down and we had seven other Ford, Chrysler, etc. plants almost shut down. The “just in time” delivery thing. Each plant was a million dollars a day fine for us for shutting them down. They brought in six helicopters to fly us in to work. It was cheaper than the fines. Finished product was flown out by airplane. The airport was next door.


For the first two or three years, we intend to grow at least double or triple what we need. We're thinking of that seven years storage thing God gave us through Joseph. When I order seeds, I order at least twice what I think we might need. The excess unused seeds go into the freezer, just in case. The computer – we have years worth of stored knowledge on those hard drives. It is worthless without electricity or if the drives fail. We are buying notebook binders and reviewing that info for offline storage into those notebooks. A lot of ink cartridges in use. That knowledge is worthless if it can't be accessed. We're buying hand tools in case we might need them. No electricity. No gas. No tiller. (Non-electrical hand tools.) We're buying non-electrical kitchen helpers to cut corn off the cob, shred cabbage, etc. Good axes will be needed. We get a piece here and a piece there. We get something today, something else next month, etc. We're just working on doing what we can, when we can. And don't forget lots of jars, and different sizes. We use them for dehydrated food, for beans, for rice, for flour, etc.

 Preserve your food
We hope this is Y2K all over again. But, what if it isn't? Or what if something else happens? Or if that something is even worse? What if it is just something “small” on a personal level. It is better to be prepared and not need it than it is to be left wanting!

We need to pray more. For ourselves, our families, our loved ones, our friends, our neighbors, our country. I haven't received a memo yet saying God has quit listening to prayers. And from our own lives, I know He is still answering prayers. Pray and expect to see results. But accept His will, whatever that may be. And do your part, be prepared. I believe I heard something about “if a man is not willing to work, then neither shall he be fed”. (Literary license in effect, not exact wording.)

Pray and expect your answers.


PS: And those old phones, we didn't need them anyway. Stop and speak to your neighbors.


  1. Ralph, good article. It's always good to be reminded of who we are and why we are here. The analogy of Joseph and the seven years is an excellent reminder. Storing seeds is a good idea, too. You might want to stock up on some extra hand tools, not the expensive variety, but the type you feel comfortable giving to a neighbor in a time of need. Inexpensive shovels and hoes and a handful of seeds given to the right type of man or woman, and you have a friend forever. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. And you can use those old cell phones as a weight for a snare. Good article. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Great post with full details.Thank you so much for your information. Nice article, thanks. electronic gadgets

  3. Digital media has taken the world by storm, Outdoor advertising is not shy of it too. Digital hoardings by Hoarding India