Back in our “sailing days” when UrbanSurvival was young, and we were living on our sailboat in San Francisco (video), we would go out into “Hurricane Alley” on a regular basis and do the “Sausalito beat” to weather, up past Alcatraz, while the tour boats zigged their way around us and the big “meter” boats from the RCYC were turning up for races.  It was the life, indeed.

16-years on, getting ready for “heavy weather” is a little different proposition.  We’re now 200 miles inland and 600 vertical feet from the nearest breakers, although people in Houston are getting ready for a possible hurricane strike this weekend, hence this morning’s topic.

It’s useful to have a checklist at hand, so we jot down a few things to have handy next time you’re (or Ure) in the area of a “weather impact zone.”  Too damn hot, too damn cold, too damn wet, or too damn…whatever, the list doesn’t change much.  Time to review for our friends in Houston.

(Continues below)


Shipboard, there’s a lot to do to get the boat “ready for sea.”  That’s because things like strapping down the televisions, making sure the stove is ready to gimbal, setting the tether lines, refreshing on overboard recovery, issuing whistles…well, just a lot of stuff to do.

Shoreside it’s easier.  But the idea to write down the
“short list” for the weekend was brought to mind because on the daily jaunt to the mailbox (half a city block) it rained on me Thursday.

Here’s the thing, though:  Out of a clear blue sky.

You hear about this kind of thing now and then, but when it happens (*rarely) you will remember it.

Getting the House Set

____Secure the patio furniture.

____Cover on the BBQ grill, tied and secure.

____Cars under cover unless doing a “storm wash.”

____Chainsaw test run for fallen trees.

____Check stock of gas, oil, bar oil.

____Where’s the damn chain adjuster tool?

____Solar panels ready (*down position) in case of hail?

____Hey!  Empty the rain gauge!

Inside the House

____Worth doing a precooked meal?  (We like stews when the weather is bad – simple to fix, simple to heat, simple to eat, and saves OK.  We’d have a hard time beating a hot bowl of stew after being out in sloppy weather, ashore or inland, matters little.

____Soups, chocolate, and what after the Great Depression was called “pogey bait?”  (Pogey was a slang term for welfare or ‘the dole’ back in the day so unemployment bennies were called pogey and people on unemployment did do much but sit on the couch and eat?  What else but pogey bait!)

____Boots ready?  If you don’t use ’em most of the year, finding them can be an adventure.  I know we put them somewhere….

____Telephone numbers to report power outage?

____Telephone number for neighbors – touch base with ’em?  Good time to bond is in a mild weather emergency.

____Books laid out to read?  Might as well find them while the lights are on.

____Kindles and readers are all charged?

____Check battery supplies for the flashlights.  Wait!  Where’d we put the damn flashlights?

____Got the cat in the house?  Got pets food out where you can find it? Water? Etc…

____2-meter ham radio net fired up?  In our local Palestine Amateur Radio Club, we know who the dean of bad weather is (stormy Larry).

____Got any notes on weather spotting you need?

____Shortwave and/or good AM/FM radio with fresh batteries at the ready?  GroundZero and CoastToCoast make damn fine companions in the wee hours.

____Do you need to haul out the old-fashion (but always work) old landline phone that doesn’t use batteries?  Or should you get battery packs updated in your cordless?

____Space battery, chargers for the cell phones?

____Notepad to make notes on things that happen/go by.

____Everyone knows where the main breaker is if electrical gets whacked by trees and such?

____Non-essential electronics powered-down.

Did you ever get around to backing up all your data, or did you not pay attention when George was pimping his WD 4TB My Cloud Mirror Personal Network Attached Storage – NAS – WDBWVZ0040JWT-NESN.  They ain’t cheap at $280 a throw but we keep one each on two of our wireless networks.  Everything from family photogs to old tax returns (with huge .PDFs of backup) to thousands of MP3’s that can be ‘grab and go’ if needed.

For blizzards and such add:

____Got at least one Thermos of hot coffee?

____Back-up/off-grid heating source test-fired in case of power failure?  Frozen pipes are a beast – and a mess after.

And the Car Needs a Look

____Does the car have enough gas in it to get you 300 miles?

____Does the car have a case of water?

____A couple of MRE’s

____Some rolls of tee-pee?

____Some large trash bags?

____Cellphone chargers plugged in and tested?

____Maps or GPS updates?

____Is there a first-aid kit?


____Air in the spare tire?

After more than a decade of living on a 40-foot sailboat, sailing some of the finest cruising grounds in the word, good habits evolve and certainly excess preparedness is one of those habits.

One of my daughters called the other day to announce she and her hubby are now 100% ready – food, water, clothes, paper products, fem products, cat food – EVERYTHING for a couple of months.

I congratulated her soundly.

Not too many people are really prepared – both physically or mentally – for anything other than “tomorrow being just like the day before…”

So there you have it:  Going through the list should take more than a few minutes if you live remotely as we do and this kind of stuff is second nature.

Oh, sure, we will need to get cracking on the stew in advance, but oh, yum!

The Boy Scouts have their motto “Be Prepared” and I’ve never heard anyone who has needed their preps complain about the effort when they really needed it.

One last thing:  Make sure you have and keep a weather radio on all the time, regardless of your perceived weather risks.  Something like the Midland WR120 NOAA Weather and All Hazard Public Alert Certified Radio with SAME, Trilingual Display and Alarm Clock – Box Packaging  will set you back $29-bucks.

Amazon will do gift wrapping, though, so you can  give it to yourself.  Pretend Christmas is here early.

____On Dancer, on Prancer, on Ecstasy or weed, have you called your hook-up and fixed up your need?  LOL… Seriously, though?  Have your meds where you can find them, too.  You should never get below a two week supply of anything mission-critical.

Other than checking the “compass juice locker” for when the worst is past, let’s hope like always that we have way over-prepped again.

Let’s see if telemarketers will call into Houston during the storm, shall we?  THAT ought to be a felony.

This being Friday, if we have overthought this, the stew and the compass juice should see us to Monday when UrbanSurvival flies again!

Woo-Woo: The “Star Chamber” Dream

I awoke with a start and looked at the clock:  4:12 AM.

The dream I’d just had was one of those more real than Life things I get every so often.  It was the basis of my first novel, DreamOver: A David Shannon Adventure, too.  Which deals with the odd phenomenon of “personality jumping” in the dream-state.

The dream scene that had jolted me awake was this:

The setting was almost Gothic.  There was a machine ahead and to the left of me and the remains of a man’s body was about to be lowered into the machine.  It was evident from the design that its purpose was to not only kill a man, but also to, in effect, grind up his soul so there’s be no out for his spirit at the End of Time.

The people around we were unfamiliar.  They were…the word Masonic formed in my brain, but it wasn’t that.  More like a cross, though being judicial and religious order.

A question had been presented to the group:  “What is the fate of this man, bishop Bannon?”

At that, a voice from one of the figures in front of me – who apparently had been deeply wronged by the “bishop Bannon” let out with a kind of gleeful “Well, if it’s HIM, then let’s get on with it.”

As I awoke, the upper third of a torso was being lowered into this “soul wrecking machine” – almost like a shredder of sorts.  And there was an image of a thing like a scepter, except quite gross, as would be carved into the tops of intricate church seating, such as I once saw at the old church from the 1500’s down in Cusco, Peru.


A fine example of how the human brain and tune-in and make-up “endings” to stories started a long time ago.  But odd enough – and with enough clarity and detail – especially the judicial/star chamber aspects – that I thought it worth writing down here (as well as my dream journal).  Told Elaine about it and got up, still bothered by the imagery.  Not common for me.

There was residual it it; a sense this “bishop” had to go lest he reveal secrets that would somehow impact “the Order.”

Whatever that Order is, anymore.

You can imagine my surprise at all the death imagery in politics that has been floating around…and then to find out Stephen Bannon may be invited to speak at UC Berkeley, well too, too weird!

And no, we don’t get SNL or cable, just streaming, and not since early last night…


Write when you get rich,