For several years I’ve been documenting my DIY (do it yourself) efforts on my long-time personal blog, Burkbum.com.  Burkbum has been my catch-all for what’s going on in my life from new jobs, pets, cars and hobbies to personal vacations, random things I find on the internet, the occasional sports-related post, and recently, gobs and gobs of baby pictures. With our little girl’s arrival and the subsequent traffic that the site is getting from family and friends who care only (or mostly) about the baby and our personal lives, I’ve decided to begin splitting out the DIY efforts and project-related posts onto a new space.  But what to call this new space?

About a week ago, fellow Durham, NC-based blogger Paul Overton, over at his blog Dude Craft, directed his audience to a Café Press sticker he’d stumbled upon that reads:

I don’t have “hobbies” I’m developing a robust Post-Apocalyptic skill set.

I’m pretty sure Café Press artist Kashmir Knitter didn’t coin that phrase because I’ve seen it in the public consciousness via the internet, though related mostly horror movie/video game subculture, for quite some time.  That said, most information you’ll find on the web related to post-apocalyptic skill sets does tend to include things like Stacie Adams posted at Diatribe Media (read her article, My Post-Apocalyptic Resume), documenting the role you’ll play in the world, assuming you are one of the survivors and can succeed at killing zombies, propagandizing for the alien resistance, or dumpster diving in a nuclear hot-zone.  This is all great fiction fodder, but it’s not so much my interest.  Or rather, while the skills may overlap (maybe I will need to bone up on shortwave radio), the motivation is different and the  application is more grounded in our current reality.

If you read Burkbum.com you’ll know I’m a long time sufferer (for they post so frequently) of BoingBoing (with special nods to Cory Doctorow and Mark Frauenfelder) and more recently of Mark’s new book, Made by Hand (one of several I link to in my living bibliography).  In his book, Mark speaks with the founders of the Post Carbon Institute, who relate that what many of us are working towards is not to be super “green” though that’s nice, but to live within a community that can support itself, ideally off-grid, in a mutually sustainable way.  They go on to state some really interesting stuff in this chapter (3), including the idea that there is a Big Solar just like there’s Big Coal and Big Oil, and that small solar and small wind aren’t terribly fond of what the Green establishment is trying to do by keeping people in their existing paradigms, on their existing grids, and with their existing dependencies.  That’s the crux: learning how to get away from our existing dependencies.

That’s what this blog is about; on a few levels.  Yes, I’m still in a wholly dependent paradigm, paying my electric bill and my gas bill and filling up our car at the gas station when we need petrol.  I’m still not using gray water the way I’d like to be, nor am I capturing rain with a rain barrel like I should be doing already; we haven’t sufficiently “killed” our lawn, and we have too many tall trees to bring in a nice garden harvest…  But these are challenges I’m interested in tackling and that I plan on documenting here, as my Post-Apocalyptic Skill Set grows.

All of my works are in progress, even the ones I’ve “completed.” Of course they aren’t really done though because, as Hugh MacLeod says about entrepreneurs (All entrepreneurs are aspiring entrepreneurs), all Post-Apocalyptic Skill Sets are the result of their particular apocalyptic dynamic and are as such, subject to change and open to refinement or redesign.  That’s less catchy than Hugh’s statement, but we’re talking about an apocalypse here, not just a small business start-up; the stakes are super high.

So that’s what this site is about.  A skill set, or rather a life, in progress whose development follows a model (if not an ideal) with many influences and aspirations; a journey that is way more about the path than the destination.

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