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Apocalypse Now- Emergency Preparedness Tips

Apocalypse Now- Emergency Preparedness Tips

For all of us who yearn for a different reality, remembering the old Chinese curse, “May you get hat you want and live in interesting times,” could be handy. How many of us can live, even for a short time, without the crutches of capitalist technology, whether after an earthquake, hurricane, fascist takeover, or insurrection? Here are some thoughts on what you could stash to make life a bit easier in the face of large-scale catastrophes, a DIY Apocalypse Survival Kit. This list assumes California Bay Area weather, so adjust to your local weather extremes*

In your med kit:


-1” medical tape

-4×4 sterile gauze pads

-assorted bandaids


-dental floss (for stitches and tourniquets)

-disinfectant (bactine, peroxide, or high proof liquor—which is also good for fire or sedation)

-painkillers of choice

-Yunnan paiyou (Chinese herb to stop bleeding)

-burn salve and skin salves

-menstrual pads (they can be used like gauze)


-herbal or homeopathic remedies

In a pack (prep bag):

-compass (learn to use it!)

-multitool/pocket knife

-lighters or strike-anywhere matches


-extra layer of clothes

-sturdy belt



-camera—to document injury or police brutality

-sewing kit/safety pins

-duct tape or packing tape

-sharpie and paper

-high calories food (peanut butter! Chocolate!)

-drinking water

-sunscreen and chapstick



For your bike satchels:

-repair/patch kit

-cord/bungee, rope, etc.


-water filter or iodine

-preserved food, including some kind of comfort food (dried mangoes, pudding cups) to ease depression, especially with young kids who may refuse to eat during traumatic circumstances.

-wild food guide

-wilderness survival guide

-pot, spoon, and good knife

-salt and spices

-mini camp stove and fuel or tin snips for rocket stove

-emergency blanket

-camping gear

-a tarp, for shade or rain relief

-extra shoes/boots and socks

-thermal insulation—long johns and pantyhose

-cash in waterlight container

-appropriate means of self-defense

-radio and two-way radio

-toilet paper (until you can do without)

-maps—at least local counties, topographical is helpful too.

Infused Oils

This is a somewhat slow but natural process—with tasty and delectable results. First, fill up a canning jar with herbs that you have gathered or bought. If you are wildcrafting, make sure you give your herbs a day to dry out in the sun (in a brown paper bag)—the water from fresh herbs can make the oil go rancid. If buying them, get the dried stuff. Next, fill the herb-packed jar with oil (extra-virgin olive oil, grapeseed, and sunflower are good). Don’t leave room for air, as this may spoil the infusion. Cap the jar and put it on a sunny windowsill for 3-12 weeks, agitate daily if possible. When ready, strain through cheesecloth and Voila! Infused oil can be used for:

-Massage oil (as is or cut with more oil)

-Salve (melt 1 part wax to 3 parts infused oil over a double boiler—right before pouring, add a few drops of a complimentary essential oil, pout into a container and you have a simple, all-purpose salve!)

-Cut half the infused oil and replace with coconut oil to turn salve into lip balm..

-Delicious infused cooking oil—for this you do not want to initially fill the jar with herbs just put in a handful or so—you don’t want the flavor to be overwhelming.

Some good herbal combinations are:

-Lavender, rosemary, sage, and mint are all excellent for massage oils and salves. You can often find them growing wild or in yards.

-Rosemary and sage also make good cooking oils.

-For a clarifying salve/oil, try mint, lemon verbena, and clary sage.

-For a relaxing salve/oil, try chamomile, lavender, and maybe rose petals.

Herbs and Natural Healing

You can supplement or eliminate western medicine for many illnesses and conditions. Be sure to use herbs from a good source, wild craft responsibility or grow your own!

For poison oak/ivy: Labrador tea, jewel weed, lobelia, mugwort, solomon’s seal, sumac, sweet fern, witch hazel, ocean water, or baking soda. Apply poultice or wash to affected area.

Calmatives: Balm, yellow bed straw, belladonna*, camomille, dill, fragrant valiant*, jasmine, marjoram, motherwort, neveroot, lady’s slipper, Norway spruce.

Insomnia: Marjoram, saffron, St John’s wort, primrose, hops, lavender, lime flowers, sage, skullcap, valerian.

For detox: Chewing cabbage leaves helps with too much alcohol; snowberry tea helps after poisoning; seaweed for heavy metals.

Blood purifiers: Red clover, CA horkelia, yarrow, mayweed, yellow skunk cabbage, dandelion, hyssop, bitterroot, burdock, cardoon, yellow dock, Mormon tea, ocotillo, w. dogwood, yerba santa, Oregon graperoot, CA wild rose, thimbleberry alderleaf buckthorn, sitka spruce, red alder, bird’s foot fern.

Antiseptics: yerba mansa root, garlic, tansy*, plantain, juniper bark, black sage, common elderberry*, bearberry, pinyon pitch, willow bark, sweet gum, bracken fern.

Menstrual cramps: Water plantain, shepherd’s purse, cannabis, lemon balm, hairy angelica root*, mtn valerian, burdock, chaparral, w. white clematis.

Headaches: Mugwort, kola tree, yerba mate, lavender, peppermint, thistle, fennel, rosemary, sage, primrose, fragrant valerian* black elder, lily of the valley*, willow, wintergreen, winter savory

*These herbs should be used with caution. Consult an herbalist guide before using herbs.

How to take herbs

Infusion: brew a tea with leaves (20 min to 8 hrs) or flowers (5-10 min). This is good for systemic conditions.

Tincture: soak herbs in clear, strong alcohol for 4-6 weeks. Take orally, about 3 eye-dropperfuls a dose. Best for bitter herbs and those not water-soluble.

Poultice: chew or mash herbs with water and apply topically.

Compress: apply a cloth soaked with infusion topically.

Food is medicine too! You can add simple things to your diet for endocrine and immune health. Try: dandelion (all parts), garlic, ginger, plantain, nettles (cooked), and seaweeds.

We used Peterson’s W. Medicinal Plants and Herbs and John Lust’s The Herb Book for most of our references. Also check Susan Weed’s Healing Wise. 

Condom Conundrum

Make & Model User Opinion Durability Special Features Lube
Planned Parenthood: Lolli Yes! Fantastic check
Durex: Performax Lubricated Wow Fantastic Numbing Check
Trojan Enz: Lubricated Yes! Fantastic Check
Class Act: Ultra Thin and Sensitive Wow Fantastic Check
Durex: High Sensation Lubricated Sure Durable Ribbed Check
Planned Parenthood: Assorted Eh… Nothing too rough Thin Check
LifeStyles: Ultrasensitive Spermicide Wow Fantastic Thin Spermicidal
Trojan: Shared Pleasure Warm Sensations Lubricant Yes! Durable Warming
Trojan: Shared Sensation with Spermicidal Lubricant Wow Fantastic Thick(er) and ribbed Spermicidal
Inspiral: Lubricant Yes! Durable Thick(er) check 


Slingshot’s Experimentation Process: Each member of the collective took the task of testing condoms to heart, and conducted their own deep research. Special thanks to the many participants, without whom this research would have been a lot more dull. To those we thanked in person, to some whose names we didn’t catch, and to those generous others whose faces we never actually saw in the dark room: your dedication to this scientific endeavor was greatly appreciated… most of the time.

User rating guide: The collective relied on a highly specific grading system. Ratings ranged from “wow” to “yes!” to “sure” to “eh” to “shit” at the worst. (Un?)fortunately, we didn’t fuck with any “shit.”

Emergency Contraception

(A Brief Introduction to Emergency Contraception, a.k.a the morning-after pill)***

First: EC is not an abortion and CANNOT induce one if you are already pregnant.

What it is: EC is 2 hormone pills (different brands may have different hormone makeup) taken in 12 hours of one another to prevent pregnancy. The sooner the first pill is taken, the higher the effectiveness of EC, and although it is most effective if started within 3 days after vagina/penis intercourse, it may be taken up to 120 hours later.

How it works: The hormone in EC works in one of three ways depending on how soon after intercourse you take it: 1) by stopping ovaries from releasing eggs; 2) by thickening the cervical mucous; 3) by preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.

Availability: Unfortunately, in some states you still need a Rx to get EC at the local pharmacy. Let this not deter you if you need it! Make an appointment with your doctor or local clinic ASAP. Planned Parenthood generally provides EC on a sliding scale basis, and you can stock up on EC in case. To find out about availability in your area, call 1.888.NOT.2.LATE

Safety Note: The hormone in EC is also a hormone in some birth control pills, it is only in greater potency in EC. For this reason, if it is not safe for you to use birth control pills, you probably should not take EC.

***A reader pointed put that if a person with a uterus taking EC weighs more than 160 pounds, there is a high chance the EC will not work. See:

Coping Tips

In an insane world, it is hard to stay sane. Every day we are faced with issues that test our ability to keep level. If you feel or find yourself overwhelmed with the daily duty of living, or prevent getting to that point, try these tips.


A healthy body contributes to a healthy mind!

Food: One can’t expect to be at one’s best if one doesn’t eat well. Everything in moderation is the key. Steering clear of foods high in cholesterol and salt, eating more beans, rice, and fresh veggies can help your body stay in balance. Eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet can prevent most common illnesses. Diet also directly affects energy levels and moods, the healthier you eat, the better you feel. Drinking lots of water is essential in maintaining energy, flushing out toxins, and preventing headaches related to dehydration.

Sleep: Sleep is essential for mental wellbeing. The average person should get between 6 and 8 hours each night, but everyone is different. There are accounts of people only needing a couple of hours of sleep a night! If you aren’t getting enough, try to plan some mid-day naps if possible, even 20 minutes does wonders (then the midnight dumpstering won’t leave you fatigued and grouchy). If you are having sleeping problems in general, check out our herb guide.


To survive in this world, we need to be able to take our minds back.

Meditation: Meditation can clear the mind of useless crap that often finds its way into our brains and mentally exhaust us. Setting up group meditation can allow trading of ideas and techniques. Solidarity meditation can help you with everyday stress and anxiety.

Create: Learning to express yourself in creative ways can help much of your problems by allowing yourself to see them by bringing them to the surface. Take up an instrument, cook, garden, build, paint, or carry a writing or sketching pad with you. Allow your everyday life to become an expression of self!

Panic Attacks

Given the amount of things we are forced to deal with everyday, it is easy to become overwhelmed and stressed. These are some tips on how to deal with panic attacks. Use as a person having a panic attack or a friend helping.

-Breathe! Keep your breathing steady, exhale twice as long as you inhale. Count your breaths. This will calm your breathings and keep you from hyperventilating.

-Remove yourself from crowded areas. If you are with a friend, take them with you. If not, it’s okay to do this alone.

-Come back to your body by having your friend hold you, or hold yourself. Sit somewhere soft and remember to breathe, rocking back and forth, until you come back to your body. Walking around also helps to put your body and breath back in rhythm.

-If alone, call friends until you reach someone. Tell them what you are feeling and what is going on. This will give you support from someone you trust.

-Don’t fight it. Letting the feeling come will be helpful. Fighting it will just create more stress and anxiety, the ebb and flow of emotions is natural.

Accepting yourself

The best thing to do is accept yourself with your problems. We are taught to hold back and act “normal.” It is totally natural to cry or get angry. When we learn about each other and our emotions, we become connected in ways that are unmatched by anything our society has ever seen. Making real honest emotional connection with others, ourselves, and our communities gives us the strength to fight the system.

Note: This is not meant to be a guide for people with serious mental illness. If that is the case, these suggestions most likely will not be enough. If you are dealing with someone who suffers a serious mental illness, we encourage you to find help, which is respectful and appropriate, whether social, psychological, or a combination.

How to Tell if You’re Ovulating

Many of the forms of birth control currently available to women seem like easy fixes—IUDs, the pill, hormone shots—you put the thing in your body or you tae the little pill and you can forget about what your body is doing. It’s all taken care of. The result of this has been a severe alienation from our own bodies, to the point that many women have no idea when they are the most or least fertile. So when standard forms of birth control don’t work or are unavailable, women end up unexpectedly pregnant.

Learning how to decipher al the subtle changes our bodies go through every month not only grounds us in our own skin, but allows us to understand what ur bodies are doing and autonomously act on what they need. So how to tell if your ovaries just released that lil’ magic speck known as the ovum?

Generally, ovulation happens halfway through your cycle, but each body is different and external variables can affect our cycles month to month. One good tipoff is an increase in sexual appetite. If you suddenly find yourself wanting to hump the closest hipster, you may be ovulating. As far as the internal workings, a good first step is checking out your cervix—if you never have, you can sometimes acquire plastic speculums from reproductive health clinics. If that fails, there’s always the “grab a spec out of the drawer when the gyno’s out of the room” approach—although this could put a strain on future spec resources. How about sharing one between friends?

Once you’ve got a good view… your cervix changes color and texture depending on where you are in your cycle. Bright blue or verging on bluish? Probably time for a prego test! When you are ovulating, your cervix will be pulled higher up and it may be softer and larger than usual (which you will not recognize unless you routinely peek up in there. The os (openings to your cervix) may also be slightly open.

In conjunction with the daily guise of your cunt, your juices are very telling. You taste differently when you’re about to bleed than when you’re ovulating… Doing routine taste tests—or getting someone else to–  can help determine where you are at in your cycle. Also, the consistency of vaginal mucous changes as hormones shift though your cycle. To test your juices, make sure your fingers are clean and clipped and gently swipe around your cervix. If you find a clear, salty, slightly thick blob of what appears to be snot, you’re ovulating! Before you ovulate your mucous will be thinner and kind of milky and creamy. A good test is to test the mucous with your fingers: when you’re ovulating, it will be almost gummy, and it should stretch between your fingers. Pre-fertile mucous will not be as tacky. Right after you ovulate, you will find thick, sticky, maybe curdy or clumpy, white mucous. If it is sticky and white with little or no snot, it’s safe to say you just ovulated. The rise in progesterone as your period approaches makes your vagina dry up a bit. With some practice and close attention, it is also possible to actually feel your ovaries releasing an egg—a very slight pain or tightness in the vicinity of your ovaries is the cue.

Knowing these things does not do much unless you routinely check the status of your vagina and familiarize yourself with the progression of your cycle, including moods and bodily changes. Making it a weekly habit to do a little self-inspection goes a long way toward planning birth control as well as the amazing empowerment of knowing what your body is doing and when.

Compiled from my head/body and “Cunt” by Inga Muscio, Seal Press, 2002.

Heroin/Downer Overdose Prevention

Learning to deal with drug overdose is a key tool in harm reduction—.


*Warning Signs of an Overdose

-Can’t be woken up by noise or pain.

-Blue lips and fingernails; snoring, gasping, or gurgling.

-Slow or shallow breathing (less than 1 breath every 5 seconds).

-If the person is still unconscious but doesn’t seem OK, try to keep them awake and monitor their breathing.

What to do if someone is overdosing

-Try to wake them up by calling their name, shaking them, or raking their breastbone with your knuckles.

-If you need to leave the person alone, put them on their side so if they vomit, the won’t choke.

-If the person des not respond to noise or pain, call 911. Stay calm. Tell the operator where you are and that someone is not breathing. Stash IDs and drugs if necessary.

-Don’t be scared to call for help because you’re worried that police will arrive—jail is better than death. In San Francisco and other cities, if police come they are ONLY there to back up the paramedics and NOT to arrest anyone.

-If they aren’t breathing, use rescue breathing: at least 1 breath every 5 seconds, tilt their head back and make sure their airway is clear. Pinch the nose closed, and give 1 slow breath every 5 seconds until the paramedics arrive or they start breathing normally. Watch to see that their chest is rising and falling with every breath.

Preventing Overdose

­-Fix with a friend.

-Avoid mixing heroin/pills with alcohol.

-Use less after getting out of jail, the hospital, or detox.

-Release the tourniquet before injecting the whole shot.

-Ask at your local needle exchange about getting naxolone (Narcan), the medication that brings people back from an opiate (heroin) overdose.

-If you live in the Bay Area, you can get naloxone at many places. Call the Drug Overdose Prevention and Education Project (part of the Harmed Reduction Coalition) for more information at 510.444.6969 x16


Harm Reduction 101

-Understand drug use as a complex, multifaceted phenomenon that encompasses a continuum of behaviors from severe abuse to total abstinence, and acknowledges that some ways of using drugs are clearly safer than others.

-Establishes quality of individual and community life and wellbeing—not necessarily cessation of all drug use—as the criteria for successful interventions and policies.

-Calls for the non-judgmental, non-coercive provision of services and resources to people who use drugs and the communities in which they live in order to assist them in reducing attendant harm.

-Ensures that drug users and those with a history of drug use routinely have a real voice in the creation of programs and policies designed to serve them.

-Affirms drug users themselves as the primary agents of reducing the harms of their drug use, and seeks to empower users to share information and support each other in strategies that meet their actual conditions of use.

-Recognizes that the realities of poverty, class, racism, social isolation, past trauma, sex-based discrimination, and other social inequalities affect both people’s vulnerability to and capacity for effectively dealing with drug-related harm.

-Does not attempt to minimize or ignore the real and tragic harm and danger associated with licit and illicit drug use.

Book List 2006


-Message from Forever, Marlo Morgan.

-City of Joy, Dominique Lapierre.

-Bless Me Ultima, Rodolfo Anaya.

-The Tin Drum, Hunter Grass.

-Reservation Blues, Sherman Alexis.

-The Dewbraker, Edwidge Danticat.

-Caramelo, Sandra Cisneros.

-In the Time of Butterflies, Julia Alvarez.

-Everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer.

-The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie.

-Rent Girl, Michelle Tea.

-Mixed Reviews, Aaron Cometbus.

-The Alchemist, Paulo Coehlo.

-The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy.

-You Shall Know Our Velocity, Dave Eggars.

-The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, J.T. Leroy.

-Ulysses, James Joyce.



-A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle.

-The Seed, Isabel Pin.

-Abiyoyo, Pete Seeger and Michael Hays.

-The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster.

-The Princess Knight, Cornelia Funke.



-War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race, Edwin Black.

-No Surrender Writings from an Anti-Imperialist Political Prisoner, David Gilbert.

-The Better World Handbook, Jones, Hanenfler, Johbnson and Klocke.

-O Solo Homo: The New Queer Performance, Holly Hughes and David Roman.

­-Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness and Liberation, Eli Claire.

-Wobblies! A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World, Paul Buhle and Nicole Schulman.

-Mongo: Adventures in Trash, Ted Botha.

-Yakuza: Japan’s Criminal Underworld, David E. Kaplan and Alec Dubro.

-Cinderella’s Big Score: Women of the Punk Rock and Indie Underground, Maria Raha.

-Reinventing the Enemy’s Language: Contemporary Native Women’s Writing of North America, Joy Harjo, Gloria Bird, and Valerie Martinez.

-Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, Jeff Change.

-Back from the Land: How Young Americans Went to Nature in the 1970s and Why They Came Back, Eleanor Agnew.

-Central America: At Home and Abroad, Hollbrook Teter.

-Woman at Point Zero, Nawal El Saadawi.

-We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change, Myles Horton and Paulo Freire.

-Revolucion! Cuban Poster Art, Lincoln Cushing.

­-Borderlands, Gloria Anzaldua.

-Peops, Fly.

-Ham on Rye, Charles Bukowski.

-Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, bell hooks.

-Rights on Trial! Odyssey of a People’s Lawyer, Arthur Kinoy.

-Manifest Destiny, Anders Stephenson.

-Thirrd World omen and the Politics of Feminism, Chandra Mohanty.

-Sweatshop Warriors, Miriam Ching Yoon Louie.

-Killing the Black Body, Dorothy Roberts.

-Doris Anthology, Cindy.



­-Distress, Astro Girl.

-Loitering is Good, Joey Alone.

-The Match

-Scam, Eric Lyle.

-Maximun Rock and Roll

-Absolutely Zippo

-Slug and Lettuce, Christ(ine)

-FagSchool, Brontez

-Inkling Zine, Melissa Kline

-Long Ago and Right Now Audio Zine, Sara Jaffe and Melissa Kline.

-KerBloom, Artnoose

-Teenage Death Songs, Tennessee Jones.

-Routed- A Road Map for Those Who are Fucked with by R.S.I.

-This Little Girl of Mine, Moe.

-A Brooklyn Diary, Carolyn Connolly.

Don’t Dream It– Be It!

There is no easy roadmap to get from the troubled world we inhabit now to a sustainable, non-oppressive future because there are so many possible routes and no clearly defined destination—we seek freedom rather than a new prison.

Sometimes it seems like a lot of people aren’t on a road, but are instead content to stay where they are—accepting the established order, hierarchy, and short-term environmental practices. Part of building a new world is figuring out—personally and socially—how to get beyond the hopelessness that causes people to accept the status quo. It is hard to imagine a different world and even harder to see a way to get there. The most basic form of activism—underlying the concrete things people do like cooking Food Not Bombs or going to protests—is fighting the sense of hopelessness and apathy that makes an uprising and the construction of new structures possible.

Imagining a different world is crucial to getting beyond despair and an acceptance of the existing order, because in thinking about how a different society would look, things start seeming less permanent and pre-determined. We need to figure out why so many folks assume that centralized control by the few over the many, permanent poverty and inequality, structural violence and war, intolerance, ugly and soulless cities, and environmental destruction for every human function are “normal.”

The current social order assumes that everyone will behave selfishly, but our lives tell us that people are generous. A different world of freedom, cooperation, free time for play, and sustainability floats in our minds—community gardens, childcare collectives, free skools, cooperative communities, collective workplaces. Imagining new structures and forms of organization is a crucial activity for all of us who struggle for change.

But just imagining a different world is clearly not enough. A lot of people talk a good game about how they wish things could be, or what they will do after the revolution, which begs the question: Why the gap between our dieas and our daily lived practice?

Daily living forces everyone to make constant decisions: to decide whether you’ll compromise and conform with “the way things are” or do your best to live what’s in your heart and your imagination. Those individual daily decisions eventually add up to your lifetime. Each decision seems minor—each compromise and conformity can get rationalized as “necessary, realistic, or inevitable.” But if you imagine a different world—a world with cooperation, sharing, equitable distribution of resources and sustainable environmental choices—why do you think that some moment in the future will be the right moment to start living according to your vision?

What are you waiting for? If you think about it, the capitalist/industrial system requires participation, whether to “get ahead” or just to survive. Learning to live according to human values instead of economic imperatives means figuring out how to reduce your dependence on the capitalist infrastructure while increasing your social and physical wellbeing. This includes redefining property, transportation, food, entertainment, and family relationships—really all relationships. Each of us must escape from whatever imprisons us. While everyone’s obstacles and options are different—economic class and many other demographic factors that influence the roads of resistance people take—everyone has opportunities to envision a different existence and figure out ways to live that existence.

In finally living according to your vision instead of always living a compromise, you instantly have shifted to a new world: beyond an unrealized dream and into a new way of living that changes the only life you can ultimately determine—your own.