Why do I do this?

So I wanted to explain why I am doing this. Why did I set up SickoftheSystems.com and start writing about the systems and what we can do to lessen our overall dependence on them? The simple answer is that I want to help people.

I want to help people look at things a little differently than they have been told to do so. I want to give people hope in their own lives that they’re not stuck, that they don’t have to be a part of the systems as much as they are and that some systems can be thrown out altogether. There are ways around them, there are ways through them. We may still have to work within them for certain things, but we don’t have to bow down and take whatever is thrown at us.

Another reason is that it helps me. It gives me a chance to get things off my chest, things that otherwise I would haul around. It gives me a voice that can be heard by more than my wife, coworkers, city council, etc. Call it a form of therapy?   That sounds about right. It also gives me hope that other people think the way I do. Having thoughts about how things could be or should be can be pretty depressing if you think that you’re the only one thinking them. The fact that others know that there are better ways out there gives me hope and should give you hope for this great country of ours.

I also want this to become a community of ideas. Each one of us have our own ideas about different things; what works, what doesn’t, how this should be handled, how that could be rectified. We all have tons of ideas and this should be a place that we can put some of those ideas to work, to get them out in front of more people and see what happens.

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Garden in July

What systems are you dependent upon?

And how dependent are you on them?

These are a couple of questions you should ask yourself and try to answer honestly. Even if you don’t like the answer. If you ask yourself these questions and figure out which systems that you and your family are reliant upon, then you know where to start working if you would like to be less dependent on them and more dependent on yourself. In other words, be more self-sufficient and self-reliant.

So what systems are you dependent on? If you are like most of us, you are dependent on most, if not all, of them to one degree or another. That isn’t anything to worry about though. Not really. What is more important is how much you are dependent on them. For a list of The Systems, go back to What Are The Systems and take a look. Read through them and jot down which ones you rely on. It’s not a 100% complete list so if you can think of anymore, write those down too. And maybe comment on that post letting me know what I might have missed.

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Blackout! How you deal without power

There you are in the bathroom, brushing your teeth and getting ready to turn in for the night. Your wife is already in bed reading her book. And then, without warning, the lights go out. With a mouth full of toothpaste, you poke your head out of the bathroom and look in your wife’s general direction as if she just killed the breakers from her cozy spot in bed. So it’s 10:30 PM and the whole neighborhood just went dark, what do you do?

First, you would probably grab a flashlight (that is hopefully handy and the batteries aren’t 12 years old) and go check the breakers to see if it’s just your house or not. If those look good, on to step two – calling your power company. Hopefully their number is saved in your phone or posted near the house phone so you don’t have to search for it. The power company is probably very aware of the situation already, but give them a call anyway and let them know that your power is out so you’re “on the list.” Or in the count, at least. Do this while you’re on your way to get your Blackout Kit.

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Bell Peppers - Sick of the Systems

Self-Reliance in the Backyard

TomatoesSo if you have read any of my past posts, you know that I think that our dependence on the many systems in our lives gives us a false sense of security. It is absolutely misplaced trust. Go back and read The Intertwining Systems for kind of a scary eye-opener. But we’re about doing things around here, not just complaining about the systems or being too stuck in our ways to do anything. We’re doers, aren’t we? So what can we do to put a buffer between our lives and the food system?

Grow your own food

Having a garden and growing what you ate used to be a normal part of life not too long ago. It just made sense. Why is it not the case today? Why doesn’t it just make sense in our culture? I don’t know. I have many ideas but I don’t want to get into it now. Let’s get into growing your own food and why it does make sense.

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How do we change anything?

If you want to change things in your life, the change must start with you. You must start to change yourself before anything else can change. Otherwise you are just coasting through like everyone else. You are like the wave on the sea tossed by any wind that comes its way.

Do something!

Typical Politician - Head up their ass
Typical Politician

If you are sick and tired of the systems, do something about it! I know those in power, some of those running the systems, don’t want you to know this, but guess what?  You do have power.  More power than you may think. You can cause a change in that which you don’t like. That is a dangerous concept because it puts you in control and that is what they are afraid of. Once a populace knows that they are the ones that are actually in control, it’s game over for them. They have lost. And they will stop at nothing to make sure that does not happen.   That is precisely why they oppose so many ordinarily good ideas, leaps forward for a society, and label them as bad, as the poor choices of the masses. They are scared shitless of these kinds of changes.  And yes, sometimes those in charge just have their heads up their asses.  But often, they do know what they are doing and are doing it for control and money.  What?  A politician wanting control and money?!  I know, it’s crazy.

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Credit Card Debt

How do I pay off my debt?

Credit Card Debt“How do I pay off all this debt?” “How the hell did I get here?” These questions have been asked since the dawn of time, since the first time one man lent another man money. It seems like a simple enough thing for us to wrap our heads around – if you have a debt, you pay it off. Simple, right? Yes, but that doesn’t mean that it is easy. If it were easy, there wouldn’t be so many people still in debt. Let me tell you a story.

Phil’s fight with debt

Years ago, there was a guy I knew named Phil. When he was nineteen, Phil worked in a furniture warehouse making OK money and doing fairly well for himself. He received a pre-approved credit card application in the mail one day. He didn’t really think anything of it. He just threw it away with all the other junk mail he got. Soon Phil started getting more and more of these applications. They were

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Clipper Sailing Ship

Where do you want to go?

Where are you? Where do you want to go? And how the heck do you get there?

Today I wanted to help you get an assessment of your current situation. Whether good or bad. And also where you want to go, where you want to be. It doesn’t matter how good you are with direction, how disciplined you are, your perseverance, whatever. If you don’t know where you are, you will never get to where you want to be.

The ship

Clipper Sailing ShipThis reminds me of an analogy I heard on The Survival Podcast by Jack Spirko. I’ll add my own details, but you’ll get the point. So before a ship even leaves its port, the ship’s captain plots a course for its destination port. To do that, the captain must know where he is currently. And for the purpose of this analogy, the ship does not have any GPS navigation equipment.   Back to the story. The captain knows that if he is in Norfolk, Virginia and he wants to go to the port in Dover, England, he must plot a northeast course across the Atlantic and go through the English Canal before arriving in Dover. He only knows that because he knows where he is to begin with. If he were actually leaving a port in Argentina, but thought he was leaving Norfolk, he would plot that same course. He thinks he’s in Norfolk. Except this time, he would really be confused

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9 Year Old Suspended for Threat of Magic

Educating our children through fear.

Kermit Elementary, Kermit, TX
Kermit Elementary, Kermit, TX

I just read a shining example of how our education system is working for our children from The Odessa American and The New American. The story starts with a 9 year old boy seeing a movie: Lord of the Rings – The Battle of the five Armies. Harmless. The boy then brings a ring to school, still no harm done at this point. And then apparently copying the movie, the boy told one of his classmates that he “could make him disappear” with the ring. What is the problem with that?

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Self-Reliance in the Pantry – Part Two

Long-Term Food Storage

Packaging rice in jars - Long Term food storage
Packaging Rice

So sticking with growing your pantry, I wanted to talk a little bit about long-term food storage. To me, this includes the food that lasts longer than the average canned food shelf life of 1 or 2 years. Stuff like beans, rice (you know, the classic survival stores), grains, lentils – essentially, dry goods. Properly stored, this stuff can last for years. And then we move onto freeze-dried food. The big #10 cans of this and that, that last 15, 20 or 30 years. Brands like Provident Pantry, Auguston Farms and Mountain House. That’s your REALLY long-term stuff.

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Self-Reliance in the Pantry – Part One

In one of last week’s posts, The Intertwining Systems, we saw how precarious our food system really is. I showed you just some of the points of failure and how if just one of the many systems that prop up our food system were to fail, it could fall apart.

Pantry - Canned foods
This pantry needs to grow!

So what are some things we can do about it?

For one, we can start storing our own food. I’m not talking about going out and buying 120 cases of military MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). I mean buying a little extra of what you already use on a regular basis. Just a little at a time. If your family likes canned clam chowder, the next time you buy a can, buy

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