Hypothetical situation: It’s halloween and you hear a knock at your door.  You aren’t expecting any guests this evening, so that leaves only two possibilities – it’s either a child trick-or-treating for some free candy, or it’s a menacing zombie looking to taste-test your entrails.
What do you do?

(photo credit to Scott Beale / Laughing Squid)

Zombie, not a child. (credit: Scott Beale/Laughing Squid)

This is exactly the nightmare scenario that millions around the world are faced with year after year on the last day of October.

Commonly referred to as the ‘Child Or Undead Paradox’ (COUP for short), this moment of high-stakes decision making has resulted in innumerable tragedies since door to door candy hunting first became closely associated with holiday tradition. Whether it be falling victim to the undead with nothing to defend yourself but a bowl of wrapped candies or accidentally shooting at the neighbor kids, COUP can be a very serious matter indeed.

Here at the Urban Frontiersman, we feel that public awareness and education is always the best way to deal with situations like COUP. First and foremost, it’s important to address the differences between children and zombies, as this can sometimes be confusing for the average homeowner:

Children

  • Generally shorter than the average adult.
  • Vocal tones are of a high frequency, often punctuated by bubbling laughter.
  • Costumes usually involve a superhero theme.
  • When trick-or-treating will always carry a large bag or pillowcase.
  • Cute in appearance, depending on age.

Undead

  • Of varying heights, usually between five and seven feet.
  • Vocal tones are low and accentuated by moaning, depending on post-mortem quality of larynx and trachea.
  • Wardrobe can vary, though frequently sited in 50s era attire.
  • Not interested in candy, bobbing for apples, or egging your house.
  • Putrid appearance, depending on decomposition level.
(photo credit to jackjoann123)

Child, not a zombie. (credit: jackjoann123)

Because of the limited amount of time available in this situation to make the right choice, October 31st is the only day of the year that we don’t encourage you to keep a loaded shotgun on hand to deal with zombies.  Instead, we would encourage you to keep some kind of zombie-appropriate close combat weapon nearby such as a baseball bat, table leg, or golf club.  This way, any cases of children-mistaken-as-zombies will only result in a rush to the emergency room for the little tykes, as opposed to a rush to the morgue.

As public awareness of the dangers of a COUP situation slowly grows, we get closer and closer to a future where Halloween and trick-or-treating doesn’t have to involve shooting at kids or being attacked on our doorsteps by the shuffling hordes.  If you’d like to help spread the word, please feel free to distribute this posting by any means to anyone who might be at a high risk of a COUP situation.

Together we can make things better this holiday season.

Well, I’ve taken a short hiatus from posting because I felt that I needed to reconsider how this thing was going to work.  Throwing in a title as loaded as ‘the Life and Times of the Urban Frontiersman’ makes me feel like I probably should have started this blogging-project out with some kind of gameplan.
Sadly, that was not the case.

In the last few days, though, I’ve taken to considering the possible implications of such a title and feel that I should move forward with it. That being said, I began to review the potential topics that one might be expected to cover on a blog with such a clever title:

  • Voluntary Simplicity
    I moved away from the country and into the urban world several years ago, but it’s only recently that I’m realizing the simple workings of a more natural atmosphere make for the ideal lifestyle.  I’m slowly trying to adopt a more DIY attitude about everything and am looking forward to sharing it here.
  • Financial Independence
    The frontiersman was the very model of independence.  And, while we may not all be able to express our independence by shrugging off the urban lives we lead, learning to live unburdened by our finances might be the modern equivalent.  As we all survey a global economy that has been ravaged by the indentured servitude of the borrow-and-spend lifestyle the current generation seems so fond of, this is a virtue that I could certainly benefit by focusing on.
  • Current Events/Politics
    The mountain men of yore were known to spend those few occasions that they came down from their backwoods encampments and into the city drinking, debating, and whoring.  While I don’t necessarily spend much time whoring, I have been known to throw back a brew and wax philosophic on current events.  As painful as this might end up being for the casual reader, I also enjoy a good debate and would happily back down from my mindless drivel if you’d be willing to point me in the right direction.  Comments and corrections are always welcome.
  • Zombie Apocalypse Preparation
    Frontiersmen needed to be prepared for anything.  Now, I’m not a card carrying member of the Zombie Squad…yet.  But, all the same, I think it vital that we all prepare for the impending plague of the undead.  If there’s one thing that can cross racial, cultural, and spiritual divides, it’s a moving cadaver that hungers for your flesh.  I hope to make this blog a place where you can find hints and tricks vital for dealing with the undead.  Together, we can help save the human race from almost certain extinction.

And there you have it, folks – the Urban Frontiersman Manifesto.  I’ll try to keep my publishing schedule relatively regular as long as you are willing to stick around and continue reading my inane babbling.

Well, it would appear that I’ve missed the first deadline of my Mon/Wed/Fri blogging challenge schedule.
It would only APPEAR that way, of course.

I had a last-minute scheduling conflict that didn’t allow me to come home until now and I am in desperate need of sleep. But never fear, I will return with a full explanation tomorrow. I promise!

I’ve been a big fan of the Streets for a number of years now and the release of their latest album, ‘Everything is Borrowed,’ may be the best album frontman Mike Skinner has released yet.

I would like to spend a paragraph or two discussing the clever manner in which Skinner manages his rhyme schemes, a full three paragraphs discussing his ability to tell a story, and another paragraph dissecting his personal life and how it’s effected the way that he writes. Instead, I’m going to just post the video to one of his new songs.
Why would you want to hear from me when you can just watch a music video and know that I’m justified in my fanboy celebrations?

I don’t feel that I’ve really hit my stride with this new blog, as I’m sure you’re well aware. My writing has been mediocre and my ability to think ahead on the subject matter just doesn’t seem to be coming to me as naturally as I remember it being in previous incarnations.

That being said, I think that part of the problem is that I’m not really sure what I want to do with this thing. Ultimately, I’d like to one day be able to monetize my writing – whether it be professionally, or just on the side with a piddly little blog like this one, it matters not.
If I’m going to continue to crank out the same sort of tripe that can be found in the previous posts here, you can certainly bet that that dream won’t be coming true any time soon.

So, please continue to bear with me as I attempt to squeeze what little creativity I’ve got left after years of mental torment and anguish. Eventually I’ll manage to get this ship up and seaworthy again.

I used to consider myself something of a political news junkie.  But as I’ve carefully watched the current election unfold on the national stage ever since Clinton and Obama started running (despite their denials of doing so at the time) back in 2004, I’m finding myself growing more and more cynical about the whole matter.
That being said, I’m a cynical guy as it is.  And you can bet that I don’t think very highly of either McCain or Obama.

So, as I type this, the final debate of the three scheduled presidential debates is playing out in the background and I can’t say that I’m that impressed with the performance of either candidate.  What really IS impressive, though, is the clarity that one of my favorite bloggers showed in his post following the last debate.

Ramit over at I Will Teach You To Be Rich, showed some serious clarity in his post, ‘The Truth: What Obama and McCain won’t tell you about your money’.  You should give it a look because, frankly, I’m in doubt about the possibility of either candidate providing many truths this evening.

Time Warner Cable might just be the worst corporate outfit in the country.
Nay, the world.

J and I have a cable internet connection that used to be bundled with a basic cable package. After spending a couple of weekends with J firmly planted on the couch during an ‘America’s Next Top Model’ marathon, I realized that I would prefer to be dipped in chocolate and pushed from a helicopter hovering over one of those fat kid camps than have to listen to that show in the background. That being said, I would rather enjoy the irony of landing on Tyra Banks as she gives a pep talk about Bulemia. Yes, I hate the show that much.
But I digress.

Veiling my intentions to cut her off from watching a bunch of bone-thin girls kick and squeal their way into the spotlight as an attempt to save money on monthly bills, J and I eventually canceled our basic cable package while maintaining our internet service. This worked out perfectly until about two weeks ago when our internet completely cut out.

To make a long story short, after a half-hour session spent mostly on hold listening to Time Warner Cable advertisements and two house visits from different technicians, I was given the opportunity to record a customer service survey message – and I took full advantage of it. Within ten hours, I had another technician knocking on my door to tell me that they’d fixed the problem and that whoever originally cut off our basic cable had never really filtered our connection and that we now have free basic cable.

But why am I giving you all of this backstory? What do you care about the drama I’ve had with Time Warner Cable? Well, in the time since J and I canceled our one connection to the world of anemic platinum blondes and their shallow interest in being splattered on various highway billboards across the midwest, we’ve grown to rather enjoy living without basic cable. Now we get films and television shows in the mail via our Netflix queue and, more recently, we’ve figured out how to stream Hulu.com television shows to our TV. And I just want to tell you how.

First, you’ll need an Xbox 360 or a PlayStation 3. It’s expensive up front, I know, but consider it an investment in sedentary living. Second, you’ll need a router with an high speed internet connection. Finally, you’ll need a computer with MediaMall Technologies latest version of ‘PlayOn!,’ a fancy little program that functions as an intercessor between your television and the wonderful world of streaming internet TV.

If you’ve managed to make it this far, I’m sure you will intuitively know how to get things up and running. If not, there’s always instructions posted on their download site.

And if you’re one of those cretins who aren’t interested in television on demand, perhaps you shouldn’t be sitting here on the internet when there are broadcast and cable networks filled with shows like Dancing With The Stars and Flavor of Love that you could be sacrificing braincells for right now. As for me, I’ll save my braincells for something worth the sacrifice, like the episodes of Ghost Hunters I’ve queued up to watch before I go to bed.

Boys don’t dream of one day growing up to be an office drone. I am no different.

This was the thought that crossed my mind as I entered the elevator with the suede upholstered walls and marble floor. I still hadn’t quite gotten used to working in an office building that had an indoor courtyard and a guy that they pay to hold the door open for you on your way in, and out, of the building.

One of the middle-aged women who mismanage another department in my office ran to get on the elevator before the doors closed. She looked at me, trying to figure out how to come up with conversation because, well, that’s what you do on elevators.

‘So how are you doing?’ she asked me, obviously unaware of my name.
‘I’m still alive, so I suppose there isn’t too much to complain about,’ I said. ‘How about you?’
She let out a laugh and then turned to look at herself in the mirrored elevator doors as they closed and said ‘It’s always so busy here, but we should just be happy we have jobs in this economy!’

The door opened at the bottom floor and we both went our separate ways. I couldn’t quite shake the conversation from the forefront of my mind, though.

I really don’t feel negatively about the impending financial apocalypse. I’m young, I don’t have much debt, and I was only just squeaking by on a definitively low wage a couple of years ago. I could easily transition back to that, were there to be an economic collapse.

From chaos comes order, it’s the way of the universe. How the hell else would you explain something as chaotic as the big bang bringing us to this point?

To be perfectly honest with you, I am completely unprepared to make a return to the world of self-publication.  At least, not when I’m working under a self-imposed deadline.

I had considered just vomiting up a listing of interesting links, but I think even that would be too damning. Instead, I leave you with this awesome first-person video of someone base jumping.

I used to think it might be interesting to spend the last few moments of your life hurtling downward at high speeds. Now that I’ve seen that video, it appears that there’s no excuse NOT to spend my last breath doing just that.

(And, no, I’m not planning on killing myself. I’m just not planning on providing an interesting blog post tonight.)

It feels like I’m starting up a new blogging project about once a year, usually following a long period of neglecting the previous project. And, each time, I feel exactly as optimistic about my new venture as I recall feeling with the prior experience.

So, without too much optimism (and an over-abundance of self-indulgence), I am please to present ‘the Life and Times of the Urban Frontiersman.’ I’m not really sure what the title even means, so don’t put too much merit in it. Right now I really don’t have any special plans with this project beyond the fact that Scott and I will be getting back into the nasty business of a blogging challenge – requiring me to make postings with some frequency. The common belief is that if you do something often enough, you’ll get better at it.
Well, I certainly hope that’s the case.