Modest missives from The Genteel Recessionista

Two members of our MAKE family, our indexer and blog contributor Patti Schiendelman, and Eccentric Cubicle author Kaden Harris, have launched a new blog The Genteel Recessionista: Practical Lore for Modest Times. Congrats, guys! Looking forward to seeing what your victory garden grows.

Here’s the first post, from Kaden, to give you some idea of the informed zaniness in store.

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ZOMG!! WTF!! WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!

Oh, shush, we are not. Things changed, is all. From our immediate perspective they are Big Scary Changes to be sure, but rest assured, historians will deem these ‘interesting times’ at best. Or worst. Avoiding an ignominious fate at the hands of social evolution depends on your ability to adapt. You are smart, attractive humans: You can do this in your sleep. The question is, can you enjoy the process? Can Plan B be fun?

That’s why we’re here.

We know a lotta good quality Plan Bs, most of which lead directly to fun.

Here’s one of ’em:

You need supplies to be a genteel recessionista. Every dollar counts, and the urge to cut corners is irresistable. Do so intelligently.

Case in point: Fixin’ stuff.

This is a subject that’s gonna come up a lot, because fixing your own stuff is significantly preferable to paying someone else to do it, and infinitely preferable to buying a new replacement. Sooner rather than later you will be faced with a repair job which calls for 2 part epoxy. This stuff comes in a million different flavours. There is only 1 that matters. JB Weld. The inferior products you and your friends have used in the past will not be held against you, provided you immediately stock up on this stuff. It is the very best, and in times like this, only the very best is good enough.

Deal with it.

JB Weld is the stuff of legend, capable of amazing feats of adhesive legerdemain. Google up some testimonials and be amazed. You need the traditional J-B Weld 8265-S Cold Weld, and the J-B Weld 8267-S STIK stick compound.

Now, you could buy these miracle products from the comfort of your own home via the intrawebs. If you were to use the links we’ve thoughtfully provided over there on the right, we’d even get a bit of money out of the deal, but here’s a plan B for you to consider: Go buy this stuff brick and mortar. Maybe at a traditional hardware store, where during the transaction you will exchange a small but meaningful nod with the salesclerk, acknowledging your status as ‘Someone Who Knows What They’re Doing’.

Your heart will swell with pride, just a tad. Do not mistake the feeling for gas; it’s important for you to be ‘Someone Who Knows What They’re Doing’. That’s gonna come up a lot too. Accept the fact.

Here’s what this little exercise accomplished:

1) You have new state of the art tools in your Fixin’ Stuff arsenal. So go fix your stuff.
2) You can also fix stuff for other people who don’t have tools as good as yours. What will they swap?
3) You have nascent credentials as Someone Who Knows What They’re Doing.
4) Efficient!! It didn’t take long at all, so you can do something else now. Like cocktails. Also: Fun.

The Genteel Recessionista

10 thoughts on “Modest missives from The Genteel Recessionista

  1. Oh, shush, we are not.

    Well, history begs to differ. Every human civilization has ended, either with a bang or a whimper, and usually because they fell into the trap of progress.

    While the advice here is good, it deals with surviving on the margins via human ingenuity, which we have in a never-ending supply. This is good.

    The same unending ingenuity also causes us to progress for the sake of progress, damning all the torpedoes as we go. This is the part we always forget to pay attention to.

    Every failed civilization is marked by a segment of the population that lives on (possibly even better than before) and adapts, yes. This does not mean that the civilizations did not end in a terrible upheaval, leaving many of the marks of that civilization in dust.

    Now, what we have working in our favour is that the right circumstances can allow a better-than-average dynasty. While most civilizations we know about flowered for about 2000-4000 years, with the right set of variables some have lasted much longer. For example, the total length of the great Egyptian and Chinese dynasties were 8000-10000 years. Mostly due to environmental factors that kept agriculture working. Compare with the Hittite and Sumerian emptires, which had to keep following their topsoil down the river until they turned what is now Iraq into a dustbowl.

    They didn’t last very long at all.

    So, why the rant?

    Well, the mere existence of human ingenuity does not preclude compete social collapse. It just means survival. I’m not saying moden human civilization is about to collapse, or that it ever will. But it is naive to assume that just because we are smart we can avert the same disasters that befell other smart people. Modern humans are essentially unchanged with respect to our intelligence and capabilities since our species emerged.

    We have the same challenges to meet that every great empire has had to meet.

  2. The package of JB weld contains testimonials from people who used the product for such esoteric tasks such as mending an engine block.

    I use it for a much more important task – fixing the toys of a five year-old.

    Just this weekend, I used it to re-attach the nose wheel of a toy fighter jet. I’m on my second package since he got old enough to learn NOT to chew on the fixed toys, and I anticipate going through at least a gallon of the stuff until he graduates high-school.

    Here on my desk I have a father’s day card my son made last year. Written on the card (in his teacher’s handwriting) it reads “I like it when my dad fixes my toys.

    JB Weld has made me into a god. :)

  3. And the comment by clvrmnky (don’t you hate people who use the word “clever” in their online handle) was exactly ten paragraphs too long.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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