Thoughts

I’ve been reluctant to write anything lately, mostly because I feel like I have nothing more to say at this point. Well, nothing that would be relevant to the present situation, at least. Both economy and politics are in a phase where the explosive mixture has been established and we are waiting for the right kind of spark.

As for the disaster preparedness, I would keep this a priority – and I don’t mean just having a bug-out backpack ready. I mean saving money, primarily in form of precious metals, but also cash, and having it ready in various forms, in case you need to react to the worsening of the situation in your immediate environment. By this I mean primarily the good people who live in America or some other potentially explosive parts of the world, who might find themselves in a situation that quickly escalates into riots, barricades and war of some kind. Keep yourself mobile enough to be able to get away from the X if excrement starts hitting the impeller, to put it politely. You know what I mean by mobility – have enough cash at hand to react quickly, and a car full of gas. Also, everything you need to stay online and keep working (laptop, smartphone, chargers), because the moment you stop being able to make money is the beginning of a serious personal crisis for you and your family. I don’t know what to tell you to expect – from what we’ve seen so far, the situation has a tendency to vary wildly between parts of the world, and the undertones of the beginnings of a global crisis are mixed with local disasters; for instance, if you live in Donbass, having mobility means being able to evacuate into Russia where your level of acute danger will drop exponentially, but you will still be in danger of an American nuclear attack, which, to be sure, is very much on the table now that Trump, who got in the way of Armageddon plans, is out of the picture and the old team is back in power. If you’re in America, you might be in the most dangerous place on the planet at the moment, because you live in a country that is simultaneously provoking a nuclear power (China) and a nuclear and space tech superpower (Russia), and if things escalate, they might escalate very quickly, in a way where significant parts of America reach temperature hotter than the surface of the Sun. To be sure, America doesn’t seem to need this kind of foreign assistance and is working on destroying itself quite thoroughly on its own accord, but I simply don’t see America going quietly into the night. As they degrade, they will try to pull others with them, and will eventually and inevitably cross some red line which will make the creation of “The day after: a documentary” an inevitability.

As for the economy, the ideal opportunity to earn lots of money quickly will soon turn into an ideal opportunity to lose it all if you didn’t convert it into gold and silver in time. Basically, when the collapse starts, it will happen very quickly, because of all the computer trading and fast digital connections, and you won’t be able to react in time and pull it out unless you’ve been acting proactively. Basically, if you don’t hold the Krugerrands, you hold the bag.

As for the spiritual preparations, that’s been going on quite intensively for basically everyone I’ve been talking to lately, so I don’t even have to mention it. The “guys up there” have that part handled and people have been going through an accelerated regimen of learning important lessons dealing with their personal karmic makeup, and also a process of detachment from the world. I don’t know in which phase the process is at the moment, but I personally have been ready to go for quite some time, and my personal nightmare isn’t related to all of this ending – it’s related to it going on endlessly. Whenever my ride away from here comes, it will be later than I desire and hope. In the meantime, I’m making plans to endure whatever disaster happens first.

To let you know how seriously I’m taking the preparations, let me just say that the condo I’m renting at the moment has a leak in the roof just above my bed, and all sorts of cracks in the walls, as a consequence of all those earthquakes in Croatia in the past year, and I still didn’t move because I don’t want to expend significant resources before I know where the lightning will actually strike; but I’m sitting on enough money to be able to move immediately and without hesitation if I feel that the right kind of opening was formed. Basically, I prioritize having potential energy to having a good static situation, because we are at a point where good static situations can turn into hellholes on very little notice.

Update

I’m having persistent health issues that look increasingly like spring allergy, and the fact that all kinds of plants are blossoming at the moment, and I’m literally drowning in allergens, is making this diagnosis very likely. This doesn’t exclude the possibility that I’m also having a low-level viral infection that’s messing with my immune system: it happened last year and the symptoms were similar, but this year, so far so good – the symptoms are mild. Regardless, I’m not feeling well, and the combination of factors also resulted in sudden weight gain in the last month, coinciding precisely with the health issues, namely high level of cortisol in my system.

Due to all this, I decided to take a spring vacations and go to Hvar, where such issues usually either improve or disappear completely after a while.

Misc updates

I seem to have covid-19, judging by the symptoms; again, after almost exactly a year. I guess the level of antibodies went down during the winter and here I go again. So far, it’s nothing serious, I just get a slight fever (37°C or so) after physical exertion, so I had to cut down on physical activity, especially during the cold. The worrying part is that it doesn’t seem to go away; the situation is unchanged for the last month or so. Another worrying part is that it’s affecting my brain function, most likely due to low-level inflammation level that’s more-less constant, and it appears to affect my brain functions. So far it’s not very serious, but it’s similar to the last time when it was serious; I have trouble focusing and remembering things, my mind is not clear and I tire easily. Another thing is that my immune system is in turmoil and I am more prone to allergic reactions that just flare up all of the sudden. I increased the vitamin intake just to be sure, because this is very tightly correlated with the time I spent in cold and dark; sunlight helped a lot last year, and it gets much worse as the winter progresses, and the obvious culprits might be low vitamin D and melatonin levels, which degrade the immune system, which then becomes both ineffective and prone to overreaction.

Since I’m half-sick and my brain isn’t working properly I haven’t been doing much thinking lately, so I don’t have much to contribute; mostly resting and watching things on YouTube, but I do wish to comment on a few things.

The first is that I observed that people seem to think that investing in Bitcoin or some weird stock is a much better idea than actually working for money, and the worst part is, the economy is in such a state that they might actually be right – if you are locked down, businesses are closing all over the place, and everything is so regulated it’s almost impossible to find something that pays well and isn’t regulated into extinction already, and things like Bitcoin and Tesla seem to go vertical, it’s obvious what will make sense to most people. Of course, in my experience this is always a precursor to collapse.

The second thing I want to comment on is saving money. I saw several situations where it looked like a very bad idea; for instance, kids trying to save money by buying silver and gold, and people trying to save money when it’s obviously that their problem is insufficient income. This made me wonder where the actual limit is, in a sense of who should save money and reduce spending, and who should simply work on increasing their income. It’s hard to tell, but as a general rule, if you find yourself buying unnecessary stuff after you got everything you actually needed, you should probably think about saving. Also, if you have a stable career which brings significant monthly income, and there is no obvious path forward in a sense of an income multiplier, saving money is the obvious choice. Conversely, if you’re a kid who is just starting his career, saving money in gold and silver coins strikes me as a bad move; rather, you should invest in your skills, buy a better computer, buy tools that will increase your effectiveness on whatever career path it is that you chose. Basically, there is a time to invest, and there is a time when investments pay off, and then you save.

The third thing that provokes my reaction is a case of a person who applied for a job and then figured out “oops, I only have a smartphone and I would need a laptop in order to do this”. We don’t live in a parallel universe where laptops are expensive. Sure they are, if you buy a really fancy one, but really, you should only think about a fancy one after you did lots of work on your cheap one. Not to have one at all, today, is actually dangerous, because everything is done over the Internet, and if you actually want to get anything done, you need a proper computer, not just a smartphone. The level of equipment at which you are a “player”, meaning that you can technically do serious work for money online, is so low, you need to be a dumbass not to have a laptop and a smartphone. For fuck’s sake, a cheap Xiaomi phone and an Acer Aspire 5 will get you in the game, for everything up to really, really high levels of professional work, at which point you will already have made so much money with a Xiaomi and an Acer, buying the newest and best equipment will be something you just do in your stride without even feeling the financial sting. Not having a smartphone with a good mobile network contract, and a decent laptop you can use to do work and stay informed, it’s not even borderline careless, it’s actually self-endangerment by outright foolishness. In my case, having less than two fully functional computers at any one time, having only one way of connecting to the Internet at any one time, would be something I would consider risky. Don’t think it’s just because I have money. I had redundancies of that kind even when I was really out of money, because the first thing you need to look after when you’re out of money is maintaining access to means of making money. If you lose that kind of access, your life is basically in danger. Losing access to means of making money, and here I mean access to making money by doing skilled work online, and not chopping wood for pocket change IRL, is something that starts a very steep downward spiral that ends with you starving and freezing on a street somewhere. Never allow yourself to lose full access to the Internet, and full capability to function in an online environment. This means a computer capable of running the right kind of software for the work that you do (whether that’s Office, AutoCAD, Visual Studio, UNIX terminal or Xcode depends on what you do), it means a webcam with a good microphone so you can do telepresence, which is absolutely essential during the lockdown and probably in the future work of any kind, and it means comfortable interface, which means “not phone”; a good laptop is usually fine, and a big monitor, proper keyboard and mouse are usually a welcome improvement. As for the operating system, don’t get a Chromebook if you need MS Office or Xcode for work. Don’t get a Mac if you have to write .NET code. Basically, being able to do work completely online today is absolutely essential, and good smartphones and laptops can be had for so cheap, compared to what used to be the case until very recently, that failure to equip yourself at least in some minimal sense necessary to get started, is sheer fucking idiocy. If you lose your home, you can bounce back easily if you have a smartphone, a laptop and some money saved. If you lose access to the Internet, and/or means of making money online, you are in a much worse peril than if you only lost your home. You basically lost access to civilization.

Earthquake

Another powerful earthquake here in Croatia. Epicentre Petrinja, magnitude initially reported as 6.3, revised down to 6.2 on momentum tensor scale; EMSC reports 6.4. Reports of strong damage at the epicentre. Seven people reported killed so far, many severe and light injuries, widespread damage in the Petrinja city – apparently half the buildings in the city centre are destroyed.

Day later (30/12) multiple aftershocks, some very powerful, further damage, more casualty reports. There were utility disruptions in Zagreb yesterday, now mostly restored. The Sisak/Petrinja region sustained extreme damage, almost the entire population is left homeless in the middle of winter.

Damage reported on dikes on Sava river during high water levels which creates danger of flooding. Damage on the roads, deep cracks newly formed in the ground.

 



Pictures (C) Jutarnji

Felt very strongly here in Zagreb, my estimate is 6-7 on the Mercali-Cancani-Sieberg scale. My condo suffered slight additional damage, according to my visual inspection. Plaster and pieces of concrete on the floor everywhere, things flew all over the place, but nothing really bad.