Zombie Book Club

Snowpocalypse Now: Survival Stories #1 | Zombie Book Club Podcast Episode 40

April 14, 2024 Zombie Book Club Season 2 Episode 40
Snowpocalypse Now: Survival Stories #1 | Zombie Book Club Podcast Episode 40
Zombie Book Club
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Zombie Book Club
Snowpocalypse Now: Survival Stories #1 | Zombie Book Club Podcast Episode 40
Apr 14, 2024 Season 2 Episode 40
Zombie Book Club

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Ever found yourself in a battle for your literal survival? That's what we're unpacking in our 40th milestone episode of the Zombie Book Club. Strap on your snowshoes for a wild ride from harrowing tales of a snowpocalypse, to the everyday resilience needed to juggle a physically demanding job and a passion for podcasting. 

There's a raw authenticity as we peel back the layers of navigating work with disabilities, a journey riddled with PTSD and physical injuries. The conversation takes a turn from personal revelations to broader societal reflections, examining the precarious balance many face with health and financial stability. Diving into the challenges of maintaining creativity and consistency, we share the behind-the-scenes struggles of keeping a podcast like ours afloat during the tough paving season. 

Dan shares his story of survival, a tale of ice, snow, subzero temperatures, 60mph wind, and the lives of animals that depend on him. We also share a survival story from a longtime listener that showcases the harsh realities of simply being alive.  We're not just recounting our battles with the cold, but also inviting you into the fold, SEND US YOUR SURVIVAL STORIES and maybe we will feature it in a future episode!

Follow our linktree for social media links, and links to all the places you can find our podcast!
https://linktr.ee/zombiebookclub

ZBC Discord Server
https://discord.com/invite/8hCSb4eg

Zombie Book Club Voicemail
(614) 699-0006‬

Zombie Book Club Email
ZombieBookClubPodcast@gmail.com

Our Secret Website That Isn't Finished
https://zombiebookclub.io

Our Merchandise Store (Where you can find our Evil Magic Chicken Zombie Shirts)
https://zombie-book-club.myspreadshop.com

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Ever found yourself in a battle for your literal survival? That's what we're unpacking in our 40th milestone episode of the Zombie Book Club. Strap on your snowshoes for a wild ride from harrowing tales of a snowpocalypse, to the everyday resilience needed to juggle a physically demanding job and a passion for podcasting. 

There's a raw authenticity as we peel back the layers of navigating work with disabilities, a journey riddled with PTSD and physical injuries. The conversation takes a turn from personal revelations to broader societal reflections, examining the precarious balance many face with health and financial stability. Diving into the challenges of maintaining creativity and consistency, we share the behind-the-scenes struggles of keeping a podcast like ours afloat during the tough paving season. 

Dan shares his story of survival, a tale of ice, snow, subzero temperatures, 60mph wind, and the lives of animals that depend on him. We also share a survival story from a longtime listener that showcases the harsh realities of simply being alive.  We're not just recounting our battles with the cold, but also inviting you into the fold, SEND US YOUR SURVIVAL STORIES and maybe we will feature it in a future episode!

Follow our linktree for social media links, and links to all the places you can find our podcast!
https://linktr.ee/zombiebookclub

ZBC Discord Server
https://discord.com/invite/8hCSb4eg

Zombie Book Club Voicemail
(614) 699-0006‬

Zombie Book Club Email
ZombieBookClubPodcast@gmail.com

Our Secret Website That Isn't Finished
https://zombiebookclub.io

Our Merchandise Store (Where you can find our Evil Magic Chicken Zombie Shirts)
https://zombie-book-club.myspreadshop.com

Speaker 2:

Welcome to the Zombie Book Club, the only book club where the book is your real life and the zombies are flakes of snow slowly burying you in negative 30 degree weather. I'm Dan, and when I'm not surviving a dystopian nightmare of living life as an elder millennial, I'm writing a book where the choices of those in power cause the zombie outbreak that the rest of the world has to pay for.

Speaker 3:

And I'm Leah, and when I'm not busy fearing for my life because of creepy men or the possibility of creepy men, I'm actively unlearning generational trauma of internalized misogyny. Today we're talking about real-life survival stories. You guessed it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we are survivors of life, yes, life's circumstances.

Speaker 3:

I'm a survivor. We release episodes every sunday. So subscribe also rate and review. Yeah, it makes us happy. We love it. Yeah, we should check our reviews. It's true, we say we want them. I'll check them after everybody's like I do it every week week.

Speaker 2:

I still haven't been acknowledged. This is a casual dead episode, episode, yeah, episode, as we say around the house.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, we use a lot of Zed words instead of S's and words for fun Like zoo. Yeah, so it's every Sunday. So zoe, subz-zub-zur-zribe, I'm going to edit this out Okay. Life updates Dan yeah life updates Leah. What's going on with you and we're not recording podcasts.

Speaker 2:

So I mean, by the time this comes out, this will be old news, or will it? I don't know.

Speaker 3:

I think it'll be like right on time news. It will be old news, or will it? I don't know. I think it'll be like right on time news will be so sorry.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so the paving season uh creeps ever slowly towards uh, towards me like a zombie. I forgot was in the room like a slow zombie yeah, like a night of the living dead, but it's gonna get you because there's no escape the whole time that we've been boarding up the windows, we've been trapping ourselves inside with it. Oh no, paving it's what I do to make money. I drive a truck and they fill it up with asphalt and I pour it on the ground.

Speaker 3:

We went out for breakfast this morning and the server thanked you. I almost felt like they were thanking you for your service. They're like I appreciate a smooth road.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, you're right, I am a hero. Yes, you know, last year we did episodes like biweekly because of my work season. Yeah, I thought it was a little bit too much, too ambitious To do a weekly episode, but we're going to try to keep up the weekly schedule. If we change that, don't be surprised.

Speaker 3:

But also just don't be surprised if a lot of these episodes turn into winging it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, like this episode yeah. Maybe it'll be better if we wing it, let's find out. Yeah, so it's going to be hard to keep up this pace. I'm going to try but it's a lot to not only just record the episodes but planning the episodes and then editing the episodes.

Speaker 3:

It's a lot of work and then posting on social media, which we already suck at. I go through phases where I'm really good about it and then ironically, I'm better at posting on social media when I'm at work. Huh and a scop. It is kind.

Speaker 2:

You know, after I've been screamed at by somebody because I I don't know spilled too much asphalt or whatever I'm like. Ooh, I wonder what the zombie book club's up to.

Speaker 3:

Well, you're going to hear all about Dan's adventures. I'm sure we call it this summer, but it's actually eight months of Dan's life and I realize we probably do that to like in our minds, psychologically shorten just how long this goes on for. But just to give context, this is not a regular jobs job. Folks Like this is a uh, dan leaves at five in the morning. If I'm lucky, dan gets home at five, lucky, oh I mean, that's a good day. That's a good day. That's like oh wow, Like you're home on time.

Speaker 2:

A lot of times it's 4 am to 8 pm.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, not, not exaggerating. And so what that means is like, while we sleep beside each other, we sleep beside each other, we eat dinner together on a good night and by the time it's the weekend. Dan is pretty exhausted because his job is very physically demanding and then on top of that, we have, like you know, chores to do like mowing the lawn. That's Dan's role, primarily not because he's a man, but because he's a better driver than me, and our terrain is incredibly hilly and complicated, and he is afraid for my life, which I think is fair because I take unnecessary risks.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

I often have a shockingly low fear of hurting myself. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And that's usually when I get hurt. And also I think that sometimes, like, if you don't have like a certain level to the skill set, like you don't know when something really terrible is about to happen.

Speaker 2:

And yeah, when, when I'm in a vehicle, it's like, it's like they are an extension of my arms and legs yeah, but we want to not only not only can I tell when I'm about to roll over or something, but also my feet and hands act without me having to think about it too much as to how to correct that problem.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, whereas that is not me, I feel like I used to mow the lawn as a kid. This is a riding lawnmower folks. We've got a lot of land, we're very lucky. Yeah, the goal is to To terraform it with permaculture principles to make it like basically a big food forest where we don't have very much to mow. But that's going to take years to do so. In the meantime, because we have neighbors who we don't want to have totally hate us, we have to mow at least some of it.

Speaker 2:

We already mow less than people used to.

Speaker 3:

Oh yeah, also ticks. Yeah, keeps away the ticks to keep the grass short. But we're going to keep doing this because it's fun yeah, this is. This is our escape from the mundanity of uh normal life yeah, and it's fun because, like I get to look down in the eyes while he tells me funny things.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, across the table. Um, in other news, I haven't been able to write this week I don't know if I wrote last week I don't know, I don't remember, um. So I'm not really looking forward to the work season, where not only is it difficult to keep up with this podcast, but I absolutely have no time to do any writing.

Speaker 3:

Dan, have we ever talked about how much capitalism sucks On this podcast?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, every episode I feel like it makes a little entrance.

Speaker 2:

You know this opens up the door to talk about something actually that I'm really hoping for in my future. You know I've talked about a lot of things trying I'm really hoping for in my future Um, you know I I've talked about a lot of things trying to pivot my career for, for one I think we discussed this in a previous episode how that's not going to happen and I just kind of have to like go back to paving Um. Part of that is because, like you know, I I have I have PTSD from being uh at war and, um, you know, various other injuries as well that, uh, basically make it really I don't even want to say difficult, but actually impossible for me to just like be one of those people that shows up to work every day and is able to like answer a phone and talk to people and like engage with clients and customers and bosses without pounding their faces in which, for the good of yourself and society, it's for the best that you're like, not a mcdonald's worker yeah, I feel like a like you.

Speaker 2:

Being like a frontline service worker would be I worked at advanced auto parts and that was more than I could handle yeah, the worst parts of you would come out, I think and I think that, yeah, yeah um, yeah, so like I was trying to pivot my career so that like maybe I could do like work from home helping people with social media and stuff like that, because all those things that I'm actually good at.

Speaker 3:

Um, it's actually kind of interesting to watch like the path of my career go from like this place of um working in this serious like tech environment where, like you know, I have to use 100 of my brain all the time for work and then just slowly downgrading and downgrading and downgrading until I'm like, uh, I, I just pave roads now yeah, it's an important thing that you do, to be clear, like the diner person said to you, but I think that it's an evidence of um, when you have the kind of trauma and physical disabilities that you have from being a young person who went to war, just joined the military period, uh, that it has long-term consequences and for one like capitalism already sucks.

Speaker 3:

Okay, being torn away from your family for like the majority of your work week when it's a normal work week sucks, yeah, but I think that it's like someone like you has so much to contribute to the world that doesn't fit in the boxes that we think of as work, and I feel like your world has gotten narrower and narrower as time has passed when it comes to work opportunities because of the specific needs that you have, and that has nothing to do with how much value you have as a human being or the ways that you contribute, because, I mean, you give me so much. Not to get really emotional here on the podcast, but I guess I am too late. That's what we're doing now, yeah, but capitalism doesn't. The people who want to make money off of you are going to struggle and and the things that you would have to do are going to be mad at you pretty much, and the things that you would have to do in most jobs are things that are not good for you. They're harmful for you.

Speaker 2:

And on top of that I have a lot of physical injuries as well.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

That, like over the last 20 years which is how long it's been since I've gotten out of the army, as I've just like they went from a place where I could ignore it and that's what I did for 20 years, and now it's at a point where I can't ignore it and I'm I'm at, I'm almost at the point where I'm like I'm like I can't drive a dump truck anymore because yeah, it's unbearable it's really, really painful.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's not. It's not good folks, and you know, join the revolution. I guess, is what I'm trying to say Like I can't imagine the stories of people that are listening to this. You know what, if you're somebody who loves your day job and loves capitalism, just don't, don't, yeah, just shut up. Yeah. Who are you and how brainwashed have you become?

Speaker 2:

Getting back to what I was originally going to say before, I had to give all that backstory. I'm working with lawyers to try to increase my VA disability rating and, for people who don't know, your disability rating determines how much you are compensated for your injuries by the government through Veterans Affairs, and right now I have one, but it's not as high as it's supposed to be and it's supposed to be 100%. Yeah, and if I was able to raise it to that, or at least really close, I can kind of just not give a fuck about going back to work anymore, which is my goal. That's my goal. I don't want to work anymore, which is my goal. That's my goal. I don't want to work.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, you can do things that are meaningful to you like writing a book yeah, and to our household like yeah, uh, the way that you support me during the off work season is fucking so invaluable yeah, I like it.

Speaker 3:

I like cooking, I like taking care of things, I like doing the shopping, I like doing all the things that is difficult for you to do right now because of your injuries, and also that you don't have time to do because you're busy making money yeah, that's my job is to make the dollars, which I'm perfectly fine with, but it is true, like I think, that we are an example of why capitalism sucks, because we are like one injury away, aka your injury, from being fucked like fucked, because if you weren't able to do the things that I have needed you to do I don't honestly we probably would just be eating like a microwave potato cat food. Sure, um, like, literally, I have maintained being fed because of this human being across from me in the table, the last, I don't even know how long now, eight months or so, since I was told to like stop walking completely. Basically. So, yeah, and that doesn't make sense, because I'd like to believe that we both provide value. I mean, hey, you're listening to us talk right now.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I didn't know we were going to go down this route. I just kind of like, went this direction.

Speaker 3:

I hope it's okay With our life update.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think it's fine.

Speaker 3:

I just. I'm frustrated because it doesn't have to be like this. You are a valuable contributor to your community in the ways that you are able and want to contribute, and that's all that matters. So, universal basic income. Now, that's basically my argument they're actually talking about that for veterans they should do it for everybody, but if they gotta start with somebody, fine yeah, I feel like for anybody who thinks that universal health care or basic income doesn't work, like the va is is like doing these things.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, like you can see that it's already working it would be life-changing for you yeah, it would well, on a much less serious note, we are actually like days away from having our t-shirts up.

Speaker 2:

Yeah it's true I it would have been already up as of the recording of this podcast. Probably by the time you hear this, it'll be old news, yeah, but uh, you know, there was a the a big, long process, um, that involved, you know, wanting to incorporate a shirt store into our website that we haven't launched yet. Well, it is launched, but we haven't told anybody about it yet. Uh and uh, and we wanted that to be integrated, and the process for doing that involved setting up a business license and having a tax ID, and I'm like, oh my God, I don't remember it being so hard to do this. So now we're just going to go through a different place that actually just lets us set up a merchandise store, and it's simple, quick and easy and simple. We can just do it right away.

Speaker 2:

And the merch is cute yeah yeah, we just have to wait for them to okay it.

Speaker 2:

I think the biggest problem is like us buying all of our own merch because I want it yeah I'm, uh, depending on the shirt quality, I might just like order like high viz t-shirts literally just one that's like all of our zombie chicken merchandise, and then just one that's just like high vis green and doesn't have any design on it, and I'm like that's for dad, that's just me, so I could buy it, because it's just it's hard to find things in my size. You know, as you get to be a bigger person, it's like it's like they forget that people also get taller and bigger at the same time. It's not just either your uh danny devito or your shaquille o'neal, like there's in the middle where you're a refrigerator and all of my shirts fit like halter tops I mean, that's a bit of an exaggeration.

Speaker 3:

Sometimes a little bit of your tummy comes out, yeah well, yeah, sometimes a lot of it comes out well, I think you know, speaking of capitalism, I'm just to fucking shit on capitalism, this entire episode.

Speaker 3:

If we lived in a world where things were handmade, you would be measured and you'd have things made for you. But because we live in these standardized systems, it's really hard to find things that fit right, which is why I love the clothes I'm wearing, because they're free size. Free size clothing yeah, team, free size. It's wonderful. On my side. I've got a few things. I'm going to just list them first for updates. Experimental procedures hurt, ah, tattoos hurt. Working hurts. Also, my dogs are indisputably the cutest dogs in the world of all time.

Speaker 3:

And we had a snowpocalypse where we had 36 inches in less than 24 hours after a 50 degree weather for two fucking weeks. Yeah, so all the frozen ground turned into mud and then the dump three feet of snow on top of. Yeah, that's basically my updates. I did an experimental procedure on my foot. It fucking hurt. Uh, I had to take a whole week of work off that I didn't expect to take off I was. I thought like maybe I might need a day, honestly, like I thought I'd need the day of the surge, or not surgery it's not surgery, but the day of the procedure, like maybe the next day, no whole week just ruined. Um, tattoos this is the biggest tattoo I've ever gotten. I love it, but like wow, the last week and a half of watching that thing heal and like feeling it and resisting the urge to scratch it. The fact that this is like one of two sessions for this tattoo really makes me brace myself for the second one. And yet I more.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and also I resolved a dental emergency that's been going on for like three weeks.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, like there's been a lot of pain in this household and pain recovery.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we've definitely gone through a few bottles of painkillers at this point. Yeah, between the two of us.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and like really just tired. I mean mostly you, sorry, yeah just tired I mean mostly you, sorry, but yeah, mostly me, just just tired, um, in general and uh, so we've been like putting off recording and I'm glad we're finally doing it, because I would say today's probably the first day we genuinely have energy since the last time we recorded, which was, I think, two weeks ago to do it definitely the first time this weekend that I wasn't an absolute zombie yeah, yeah.

Speaker 3:

And then the snow apocalypse did not help because it was like a dumping of snow out of nowhere.

Speaker 2:

We couldn't even snowblow it because it was so heavy. Yeah, like the tires of our lawn tractor would just spin in the mud underneath.

Speaker 3:

Because everything's soft underneath. I feel like the permafrost has already left.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. We've already had mud season like five times this winter I spent like two and a half hours trying to snowblow our driveway and I successfully made it to the end of our driveway and back up again yeah, and then fucked up the driveway, I fucked up the driveway part of it I I had.

Speaker 2:

I got to the. I got all the way down to the bottom of our driveway. We're on a hill, um, and the tire d-beated from the rim, so I had to take the whole wheel off, bring it up to the garage, re-beat it, fill it with air, bring it back down, and then I started going back up the hill. We got almost to the top and the other tire d-beated and separated from the room like a fucking nightmare.

Speaker 3:

Meanwhile I'm like in the house patting the dogs do to do. I did shovel to get the dogs, uh, to the. We have like these stairs that melt the snow, which has been so helpful, but I had to shovel a part of our deck to get them there and that that took me like I don't know to shovel what. How many feet do you think that is eight feet? To shovel an eight foot probably by like one foot wide pathway took me 45 minutes yeah just to get them to the stairs. It.

Speaker 2:

It was deep and it was heavy.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it was really intense. And again another reminder of why it's important to be prepared for anything. We didn't lose power this time. That was a win.

Speaker 1:

But we were ready for it too.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and also like Nero, who we love dearly, is not in here with us right now, but maybe he'll come because he can hear us talking about him. We'll see. He was like so fucking mad at the snow.

Speaker 2:

Oh, my God he was so mad.

Speaker 3:

He was out there, he was like making his own paths and like when I tell you that the snow was as tall as him, I am not exaggerating. He was literally just like plowing with his face and his body to like make a path so he could go. Bark at the wind, I guess. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

He'd like bark up at the sky.

Speaker 3:

He's just like stop it. Ziggy, who is less than 12 inches tall, was just like fuck this.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, ziggy didn't even try. He's just like I'm going to pee on the deck.

Speaker 3:

I don't even blame him because we shoveled a little bit but it just kept coming. So now it's melting, it's almost all gone. Gonna snow again this week and I, you know I miss the south. I I still don't. Time of year is pollen season in the south, but it's also really beautiful. The flowers are out, it's really nice, the azaleas are gorgeous. If those of you who are listening in the south, uh, fuck you no, I'm kidding. Enjoy your beautiful flowers and uh take lots of antihistamines, yeah they already know yeah.

Speaker 3:

But the, the, the. The topic du jour of the day, dan, is something I wanted you to talk about in the podcast for a long time, since our friend Molly came to visit and you told this story. I'd heard it once before, but possibly the influence of mushrooms made it even more epic. Well, we'll see how epic it is today.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm not on mushrooms. You're not on mushrooms. The audience may or may not be on mushrooms.

Speaker 3:

I think it was Molly's reaction, because Molly's from Florida, yeah.

Speaker 2:

All these things are normal to me, but Molly's just like what the fuck?

Speaker 3:

I don't think we should have ever told Molly if we wanted a chance in hell of her moving up north because she was just like. I don't know how y'all might be afraid of hurricanes and poisonous snakes, but this is way worse yeah.

Speaker 2:

To be fair, where I lived when this story took place is a special part of the world. It defies all logic. Yeah, should we just jump into it.

Speaker 3:

I think we should. I mean, you wrote this very interesting thing in the beginning.

Speaker 2:

Ah yes. So speaking of times where I was a complete zombie, this weekend when we were writing this outline, I could not focus. It's true. I was just sitting there, I was depressed, I was agitated and I had brain fog and I was just like I cannot, I can't even form words. If you spoke to me using words, I'd have to sit there and think about it for about 30 seconds before I was like oh yeah, I guess we could have bagels.

Speaker 3:

He's not exaggerating.

Speaker 2:

So what I wrote was my whole life is a survival story and there are so many stories that I feel very uncomfortable sharing with people and feel a great amount of vulnerability hangover when I do. It's the reason I'm writing a book, because it's easier to talk about things. When it's fiction, I can just laugh and say, well, that was a fun story. Huh, you know the book that I'm writing. It is a way for me to vent about like a lot of the crazy things that I've experienced in my life through, you know, through a narrative of fiction, but like the feelings and the experiences are there, like the, the, the constant, like assault of just being in the middle of a place where everything around you wants you to die. Yeah, and just a constant belt-fed machine gun nightmare is what I would describe my book as. Not yet, because I haven't gotten to that part yet, but I'm getting there slowly but surely.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. And while I don't really want to talk a whole lot about things that happened when I was in the art, I do want to express those ideas and those feelings and kind of sort out with myself what it's all about and that's what my writing is about. So, that said, I am going to tell a survivor story, but it has nothing to do with when I was in the army.

Speaker 3:

Now, honestly, though, it's fucking epic, so buckle your seatbelts. You know it's funny jumping into this story after talking about how broken and old I am yeah, really, because this was this probably didn't help you, but I think you already had challenges at that point. But okay, so just just set the scene for yourself. I highly recommend, before listening to this story, that you get a cozy blanket oh yeah a nice hot cup of hot chocolate or tea, or coffee, unless it's hot outside. Unless it's hot outside.

Speaker 2:

Then just put your feet on a block of ice to really empathize with what you're about to hear. Get the oscillating fan hitting every inch of your body.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, just have it oscillate from your head to toe and back again.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and be naked.

Speaker 2:

I mean that feels like it should be like an R&B song, sitting in front of an oscillating fan. How would it go? From the head to the toe and back again. Oh, I mean, it's kind of hot, sounds spicy and it's about a fan. Okay, and it's how I feel in the summer.

Speaker 3:

Let's dig into this. We also have a survival story from a friend and listener that we're looking forward to. That we'll listen to after this, and I don't think we'll have time for any of mine, so that might be a future episode, because I think this story deserves time. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Let's see how fast I rattle through it.

Speaker 3:

Let's set the stage okay. So you're living in upstate New York, and by upstate New York we don't mean 45 minutes north of fucking New York City.

Speaker 2:

No, I mean a place you would never go, a place that, when people do find themselves there, they never finda way out of again. They live, they, they're born there, they die there or they get trapped there later in life. It's called watertown, new york. I actually lived in a small town called copenhagen, which is not even part of watertown, and that is, if you were from the area, worse. Yeah, now, being 45 minutes away from the shithole that everyone wants to escape from is worse than the actual shithole.

Speaker 3:

Question Would you go back there in an apocalypse scenario? Do you think it would be a good survival location because of its remoteness?

Speaker 2:

It would be a good survival location because of my familiarity of the area, and I think we talked about that once.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I think we did. It's also closer to my family, but that's neither here nor there.

Speaker 2:

It's close proximity to Fort Drum, if anybody knows. You know Fort Drum is home of the 10th Mountain Division. It's also where Special Forces operators go to do cold weather training. Wow yeah.

Speaker 3:

That is great foreshadowing for this story.

Speaker 2:

You know I'd meet people in the Army and you know they'd be like I went to Fort Drum to do cold weather training. I'm like cool, I grew up there.

Speaker 3:

I just lived life there. You lived in a cabin in the woods, like an off grid cabin in the woods there. So let's get into the story. So let's just set the stage. It's in upstate New York, aka rural area near Watertown. It's the mid dead winter, right Middle of the winter.

Speaker 2:

This is January 7th.

Speaker 3:

And you live in town and your mom lives five miles away from you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so, to start off, my mom is on a cruise. Not in upstate New York, there are no cruises there.

Speaker 3:

No one would want that.

Speaker 2:

She's actually on a cruise for my aunt's wedding. Oh lovely yeah.

Speaker 3:

Lovely time. They're having a great time. And what are you doing for your mom?

Speaker 2:

I am uh watching after her house and her dogs. Um, she had, she had two dogs and a whole bunch of cats and a giant farmhouse. I don't even know how many rooms, I'm gonna say 10. It's huge and it's haunted. It is haunted. Um thing about farmhouses up north is that they're all wood heated and you have to feed the furnace or else it becomes sub-zero temperatures inside the farmhouse because they are drafty.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and to get to the furnace you have to go outside.

Speaker 2:

No, no, this one, it was just in the basement. So we go down the basement stairs to where there is a nightmarish dungeon of a basement with a dirt floor and a little concrete area that looks like a room that has no windows or doors but it's crumbled away so you can see inside and wonder how many human bones are in there.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's a scary place all by itself. Yeah, it's a scary place all by itself.

Speaker 2:

So it was very necessary for me to be there to put wood into the stove every four to six hours. When you live in upstate New York and you have a wood stove, you wake up in the middle of the night To feed it, you put your boots on and you go throw wood in the fire.

Speaker 3:

And it's either really fucking hot in your house or cold.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, in the fire, and it's either really fucking hot in your house or cold. Yeah Well, back then it was only ever cold because my mom hadn't done the renovations to make it warmer yet I didn't know that and you had to let the dogs out all the time.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so on this day where this horrifying story occurs of survival, you're not at your mom's house to start. No, I am, you are.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so, yeah, I'll just give the details, because there's some details that are important here. Okay One, I am staying at my mom's house for the week. That's because I'm feeding the dogs. My apartment's not that far away and I do go there during the day to use the internet. Also, I'm working. I work as a field service technician for Dell. I go to people's houses and I repair their computers.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, important note for those of you who have never lived rural. He has to leave his mom's house to get the internet because there is no internet at his mom's house. Right, this is the 2010s and there's still no internet at his mom's house.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think my mom only has internet now because she has a hotspot yeah, a wife like a 4G hotspot.

Speaker 3:

And that's it.

Speaker 2:

So it's a weekday, I need to go to work. My workday entails usually driving about 400 miles all around New York State fixing people's computers Snow or shine, yeah. And what I didn't realize is, um, something that I didn't realize until I started driving on the road, which is that there was a huge storm. I'm used to storms. At this point, you know, rain or shine, I gotta go yeah, and snow is just common in that.

Speaker 3:

like a lot of fucking snow, if I, if, I.

Speaker 2:

If I didn't work every time there was a a fucking blizzard, they would have fired me, because nobody would. I wouldn't work all winter, so, um, so I take off and I'm driving and I don't see any other cars on the road and like the snow's pretty deep at this point, I'd say like at least a foot deep on the road, and like the snow is pretty deep at this point, I'd say like at least a foot deep on the road I'm pushing, I'm pushing snow out of the road with my front bumper in my 2004 Dodge Stratus. And that's when I hear on the radio that the governor has declared a state of emergency and that all roads and all of New York state have been closed to the public and anyone driving on those roads will be pulled over by state troopers.

Speaker 3:

And what do you do when you hear this?

Speaker 2:

Well, I mean, I'm already committed. So, like, I just got to keep driving because, like, if I slow down I might not be able to get moving again. Okay, so I just keep driving. I'm on the road that my mom lives on, which is about four miles long. The road that my mom lives on, which is about four miles long. I will reach a three point, three way intersection and turn into the town that I live at, at my apartment. So I'm like I'm just going to go to my apartment and see what's going on.

Speaker 2:

Well, I get to the end of this road and there's a giant snowbank instead of you know what you would expect to see where the road is. And I just crash into the snowbank and because it's a three-way intersection, I have to stop or else I might get hit by a car, damn, and I get stuck. So I'm out there, there's a Jeep that almost plows into me and slides around and goes into the guardrail on the other side and just keeps going. And it's a crazy situation. And I have to call a tow truck to pull me out of the snow bank. And a tow truck comes, they pull me out of the snow bank and, uh, and at this point. Like just getting out of the car I can feel like my hands start to like like uh, get frostbite, it's cold. My ears got frostbite. My beard froze just from stepping outside of the car and like trying to dig a little bit. It's not good. So they pulled me out of the snowbank. It costs $108.

Speaker 3:

You will never forget that amount.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and also they pulled me out. And then they're like all right, well, good luck, I'm like I'm not all the way out. You didn right, well, good luck, I'm like I'm not all the way out. You didn't pull me into the road, I can't move yet. And he's like, fine. And he pulls me another two feet out of the out of out onto the road, and then I drive to my apartment and I I sit there for most of the day wondering what the hell I'm going to do, because the snow just got worse. It just kept getting worse and it's illegal to drive.

Speaker 2:

Literally, they had told you to not drive yeah, yeah, and I'm like, well, maybe it'll clear up in a little bit. Maybe, if I wait here a few hours, I can message my boss, tell him I'm not working that day on account of the state of emergency. My boss asked me if I would be able to get out on the road later that day and I told him no. Where did your boss live? Oklahoma?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, they had no context.

Speaker 2:

He's like well, can you go out anyways? Like, if you just drive slow, can you do it? And I'm like, dude, the governor made it illegal to drive today. I'm not working, yeah, yeah, I'm not working, yeah, anyways.

Speaker 2:

Um, there's a point later in the afternoon where I am really upset now because there is no way for me to get back to my mom's house. The dogs are in crates. They have to be put in crates during the day, or else they tear things apart and they are in there and they don't have. They don't have like food or water other than like maybe like a small bowl, I think, and that was it. And I'm like I don't even know if I'm going to be able to get back there this week. I don't know when I'm going to be able to come back to my mom's house. And it almost it brought me to tears, to be perfectly honest. Almost it brought me to tears, to be perfectly honest.

Speaker 2:

Like I broke down because I'm like these animals are going to have to suffer, because I wasn't smart enough to look outside and be like I can't drive, in that I decided to drive anyway because capitalism, baby, you've got to make that money. Like I didn't feel like I had an option of not going into work that day on account of just just on account of snow. Because, you know, the company that I worked for, my boss, was in Oklahoma. He didn't give a shit if it was snowing. He didn't know what that meant. Yeah, not, not in the, uh, the frozen tundra of Northern New York, like he just he just thinks, oh well, you know, just drive slow and it's like, no, that is not an option. Yeah, so I actually hold on. I I forgot that. I screenshotted this. I made a post on facebook. It's not the best post, because I'm I wasn't the writer that I am today what year is this again?

Speaker 2:

this was 2014, right, um, january 7th 2014, I say so. This morning I left my house, my mom's's house, which I am house sitting. I'm watching the dogs and cats and feeding the wood stove until she gets home on Friday. In a short amount of time, the weather took a turn for the worst and I found myself separated from the house and, more importantly, the animals who need to be fed and taken care of. The roads are impassable and, upon trying to blind drive through the whiteouts and two feet of snow on the roads, I crashed into a snowbank and had to be dragged out by a tow truck. It is not possible for me to make it home in my vehicle.

Speaker 2:

The real intent of this message is to inform that I will be making a second attempt, not by vehicle, as I've already explained is impossible but by foot. I plan to pack all the necessary provisions I can and make the five mile journey on foot in subzero temperatures. I don't know what it's going to be like out there Digging my car out my hair and beard froze in a matter of seconds, but I know that I have to try. I should have known not to leave the house in the morning, and now animals might have to suffer for several days without food or water if I wait for conditions to improve. Is this dangerous? Yes, is this stupid? Most certainly, but I only know one thing I have to try. Wish me luck, fucking epic.

Speaker 3:

Epic post Dan.

Speaker 2:

I wrote that post because there was a strong possibility that people might wonder what happened to me. I did not expect a 100% chance of survival. In fact, I would have said that my chances were 50-50.

Speaker 3:

And why were you willing to take that risk, knowing that if you died maybe I don't know if you thought about this do you think about the fact that, if you died, your mom might also be devastated?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you die and the animals suffer yeah, but also, you know, I'm a veteran and, uh, for a very long time I have not valued my own life over the lives of other people, um, and it was something that I wouldn't be able to live with if, if those animals, uh, were stuck in their cages, died of dehydration, froze to death, because freezing to death is very much an option.

Speaker 2:

Um, because something that I haven't a detail that I haven't said yet, is that it was currently negative 30 degrees, the wind speed was 60 miles an hour, visibility was like less than 10 feet and the wind chill was between negative 40 and negative 60 yeah, this is wild and I don't know that I would have made the same choice, but I understand why you did also like for the audience that doesn't know dan as well as I do.

Speaker 3:

Dan loves les animaux, animaux, les animaux, animals and has a special connection with them and, frankly, I think, is uh slightly psychic because he's able to anticipate the needs of our animal companions in ways that are wild to me. Sometimes it's like they're talking to him. So so I understand, like your love of animals and why you did it, and also that post is just epic. So so you, you write the post, you leave your house, but you, before you leave your house, you put on like how many layers of clothes.

Speaker 2:

So I put on three pairs of pants. I didn't have proper cold weather gear. Um, the closest thing that I had to cold weather gear was my columbia jacket, which I got in afghanistan. That's the only thing that was had to cold weather gear was my Columbia jacket, which I got in Afghanistan. That's the only thing that was rated for subzero temperatures that I put on. I was wearing a pair of sweatpants and two pairs of jeans. Both pairs of jeans had holes in them in the nose, but holes in different places, which is important.

Speaker 2:

Yes, very important. I packed a backpack, I brought water bottles with me and I put them inside of my coat, near my chest, so that they wouldn't freeze.

Speaker 3:

This story should be one of those TV shows like I Barely Survived or whatever they're called no. Well, I mean, that happens late. Spoiler alert Naked and Afraid happens later in this story. So stay tuned for that. But no, those stories where it's like I shouldn't have survived. I've watched some pretty intense ones, and that's what this, this story, reminds me of. So you're totally dressed, you pack your bag, your pack your backpack put on gloves.

Speaker 2:

I don't know what I had for a hat, but I also my coat had a hood, and that was very important. I think I had a scarf too, but I'm not sure. I brought sunglasses, because I needed to block my eyes because my eyes would have froze. Also, snow blindness is real, yeah, and I packed a backpack with all kinds of things and also grabbed a pair of really cheap Walmart snowshoes that I barely ever used.

Speaker 3:

You know I have a question for you. Yeah, Did you have a soundtrack and some headphones at least? No, just you and your thoughts.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and the howling wind. So then I took off out of my front door, walked through the town that I lived in. Before I even left town, there was a guy on the side of the road stuck. He was just driving in the road and the road was no longer passable and he could not move his car anymore. So I helped him push his car out of the, out of uh, out of the snow bank and uh, and he asked if there was a hotel anywhere around and I said no, I wonder what happened to him.

Speaker 2:

And uh, watertown was his best guess, his best bet, and that was a 45 minute drive on a good day, on a good day, and considering that the nearest interstate was backed up for tens and tens of miles and people were going out there on snowmobiles to rescue people from their cars and taking them to hotels, I didn't think he had a very good chance of getting a hotel room, damn. So I started my journey, and the journey started in my town, which had a main road going through it, one that was being plowed regularly, and that's important because I couldn't. There was no sidewalk to walk on, there was no side of the road, it was a four to five foot tall snow bank on each side, and I only knew if there was a snowplow coming once it got within 10 feet of me.

Speaker 3:

I'd like to pause this story to make a note for listeners again who are not from wintry locations, or from a wintry location, but not as wintry as this location. You may be tempted to not believe these details. Let me tell you they are real. Yeah, they are very fucking real, you know I I should say winter is dangerous right now.

Speaker 2:

That um that, that snowstorm brought us 21 feet of snow.

Speaker 3:

That's just I can't, that's, that's, that's.

Speaker 2:

I've my brain just stopped our, our town, and you can look this up on the internet. Our town of Copenhagen, new York, was voted the snowiest town in North America. That's snowier than anywhere in the Rocky Mountains. Yeah, that's snowier than Canada.

Speaker 3:

I love how that feels.

Speaker 2:

Sorry, as a Canadian, I find that really funny, but yes, Well, part of Canada is in the Arctic Circle, it's true, and the reason for that is our proximity to Lake Ontario and we get what's called lake effect snow, yeah. So all of this warm-ish winter air comes across Lake Ontario, picks up a whole bunch of humidity from the lake that dumps it on you, and then it hits the Tug Hill Plateau and all of that snow dumps into the Adirondack Mountains and it snowflakes as big as your fist coming down.

Speaker 3:

I need to see that.

Speaker 2:

We need to be there.

Speaker 3:

I mean, I need to see that from inside of a cabin, yeah.

Speaker 2:

By a fire, a roaring fire, yes. So I had to dodge two snow plows and I only knew they were coming if I listened really hard, because you're walking in the middle of the road and saw like really bright flashing lights which meant I had exactly zero seconds to jump out of the road and which, like I, had to climb up a five foot snow bank to escape it, otherwise I was dead. That's scary and but luckily that was the shortest part of my trip was walking on a main road um, because you say luckily, but I know what's coming next.

Speaker 2:

So you get off the main road. Yeah, I get off the main road and I turn on. Even walking, at that point I mean this is a mile, okay, and it's the easiest mile by far. So I've been walking maybe 20 minutes and I take the turn where I got stuck previously in my car onto the road that my mom lives on. I probably have another four miles left at this point. The only saving grace to this is that that 60 mile an hour wind when I turn onto my mom's road is now at my back, so if I have my hood up, I'm actually pretty well protected against the wind.

Speaker 2:

The road that my mom lives on at this stage was not plowed and it won't be plowed for another seven days. Wow. And over three feet of snow have already accumulated in the road. So I'm up to my waist in snow and even after putting snowshoes on, I'm still sinking down to my knees in snow. Wow. And I just started walking and the thing about the amount of snowfall and the visibility is that I couldn't actually tell if I was on a road anymore. I was just walking and I could have been in the middle of a farmer's field.

Speaker 3:

I could have been walking over a lake yeah, we should describe the uh geography of the area. It's pretty flat and it's a well there's some really big hills there are some big hills, but this particular area is basically like you can see for a really long way because it's relatively flat yeah, usually and another direction of the road are farmers, fields or farms, and then ahead of you nowadays is um some windmills. I'm not sure if they're even there yet they weren't there yet, but, like normally, you can see a very long way.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, from this point in all directions yeah, and I know face a situation where, as I walked past a telephone pole, I couldn't see the next telephone pole you're so fucking lucky you didn't die and do not ever do this, don't ever attempt this and as I walked away from the telephone pole that I passed, there was a point in the middle where I couldn't see either telephone pole and I literally couldn't tell if I was on the road. So what I would have to do is I just have to look at the telephone pole and see the way that the power lines were facing, and then walk in that direction and hope that I found a telephone pole. Wow, the power lines were also very hard to see because they were frozen.

Speaker 3:

But that's what your main guide point was. The power lines yeah, interesting, I didn't think I know that detail. Are the snowshoes that I use now the same snowshoes? Yeah, interesting, I didn't think I know that detail. Are the um snowshoes that I use now the same snowshoes?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, wow, yeah, I didn't even think about that.

Speaker 3:

It just occurred to me now.

Speaker 2:

I forgot.

Speaker 3:

Dan Dan, I donated those to me and got some new ones. And, uh, for Christmas or something like that, you got new ones.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

Wow, they have seen. They've seen some shit.

Speaker 2:

No wonder they're a little rickety.

Speaker 1:

So um, I learned something that I didn't realize was a survival mechanism that I had been preparing myself for for a very long time, and that was my beard.

Speaker 2:

I didn't realize how practical it was to have a beard in this situation because my beard froze like in like by this point it is a sheet of ice on my face like I. Like I can feel the ice expanding and pulling the hairs on my skin. But what I didn't realize is that having your beard or hair freeze is actually really helpful because it kept the wind off of my face.

Speaker 3:

I wonder if this is like this for animals too?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, maybe. So I thought that having ice on my face would make my face colder, but what happened is that I had a gap between the ice that formed on the outside of my beard and the outer layer of my skin because of my body temperature. How? Was your body temperature, who knows?

Speaker 3:

I mean, you still have all your limbs. Yeah, all of your digits.

Speaker 2:

At this point I figured as long as I kept moving, I would remain alive. If I stopped, I wouldn't.

Speaker 3:

And what was the state of your clothing if your beard was frozen? Oh, it was frozen. What's it like to walk? I mean, I've done this, but I want to know, for people who don't know Everything, that wasn't a joint that was moving, was frozen, so it was like wearing shin pads for soccer.

Speaker 2:

The jeans on my legs were frozen so hard I could have kicked a tree and they would have shattered. Oh God, if I took them off, they would stand up on their own and at what point did it become nighttime?

Speaker 3:

because we also I'm getting there just want to say briefly, though there's another reminder for those who don't live in northern climes it gets fucking dark early, like in december it's dark by four, and january it's dark by like 4 1515. It's getting slightly better.

Speaker 2:

And that's if the sky is clear. Yeah, so I would say that this, where I'm at in the story now is about an hour in, okay, and, like I said, it's 30 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, to specify. My beard is frozen, my hair is frozen, my clothes are frozen and, yeah, we should have specified that I started my journey at about two o'clock in the afternoon. One of the comments on my post was I hope you can get there in two and a half hours. Um and uh. Yeah, I figured that, if nothing else, I have to keep my legs moving. There is no option for stopping.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, you stop, you die.

Speaker 2:

If I get tired, I can't stop. If I twist my ankle, I can't stop. I have to keep going, because the second that I stop moving, my body temperature is going to lower. My legs are going to start to seize up because as long as I'm keeping blood pumping through them, they're going to keep going. But if I stop, my body is going to want to shut down Right, and this is a race against time at this point, because the sun is setting and if it's already negative 30 degrees, you can imagine what that's going to be like when the sun goes down. And then the sun went down and I still had a long way left to go, and what I know now is that the temperature dropped to negative 60.

Speaker 3:

You're lucky you have your fingers and toes.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

I will say you are the kind of person that can be warm in really cold environments. So if anybody was going to do this journey, you yeah. Your Nordic genes definitely came out to save you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

So night falls, Dan, and it's negative 60.

Speaker 2:

It's negative 60. And now, on top of the visibility problems from the snow, it's also dark. So even when I walk past a telephone pole, I don't see it until I'm right on top of it. I have to be right next to it?

Speaker 3:

Do you stop to eat or drink or anything? No, no, okay.

Speaker 2:

In fact, I had my water bottles in my coat, but I kept them there because I felt like it. As long as I kept them liquid, I had a a certain amount of like thermal mass inside of me.

Speaker 3:

And what were you thinking at this point?

Speaker 2:

I was thinking that I can't allow myself to die, because if I died I won't be able to let the dogs out of their cages, and no, no thought about your own life. Not really, so I'd say most of the trip. I'm shivering pretty heavily so I am hypothermic at this point. Let's see, yeah, violent shaking is stage two, I believe. So I've just entered stage two hypothermia, and the good thing that happens is I suddenly come to a point that is a steep long downhill section.

Speaker 1:

And.

Speaker 2:

I recognize this because that means I'm one mile away from my mom's house. And another thing that happens that's really good, because the wind was coming from my back is that the further I go down this hill, the less wind I feel.

Speaker 3:

That would help yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm still violently shaking and I'm just trying my best just to keep moving Because my clothes, if they were frozen before, I couldn't even bend my knees anymore. I was walking like a scarecrow.

Speaker 3:

I'm so glad you're not dead. I just want to say that you've had a lot of near-death things and I'm just glad. I'm glad that you made it, because this is an absolutely well, let's not spoil it. Well, I think we all know you made it because you're telling the story.

Speaker 2:

So I'm, I, I keep going and I, I feel the strong, strong urge to like, just lay down oh no, like I'm, I'm entering stage three hypothermia because I stopped shivering. I stopped shivering, I start feeling really warm and I, like, I, I kind of have a lot of, like I'd say, confusion. It's like I, I couldn't really grasp that, like, like what I was doing. I just knew, keep walking and I keep walking and I keep walking and I'm just like I don't even know how to describe. It's almost like a drunken haze where, like you, don't know why you're doing a thing.

Speaker 1:

You just know you're doing it.

Speaker 2:

And then I I just happen to look to my left and I see two trees that look really familiar and I'm like those are the trees in front of my mom's house. Oh, thank God I would have walked right past it.

Speaker 3:

There were no lights on at your mom's house. No.

Speaker 2:

There were no lights on anywhere. The power was out. Oh shit, that's right. So I walk up and I go in through the front door, and those I walk in through the front door and the dogs are just yapping their heads off.

Speaker 3:

Cause at this point. How long had it been since they saw you Like?

Speaker 2:

12 hours. Wow, well, maybe not that much, maybe more like 10 hours, but it's like it's like five o'clock in the afternoon and uh, and they haven't been out all day and I didn't plan on being gone that long. And uh, I'm just, I'm just pleading with them. I'm like, please, please, stop. I need to take off my clothes, then I'll let you out. Guys, I, I just need to take off my clothes. And uh, and my pants were so frozen Like they literally stood up on their own, like I pulled them off and set them up, I put them on the ground and they were just like clunk. This would have made great social media content. Yeah, sheets of ice came off when I took off my coat. I opened it up and it was just like crunch and just sheets of sheer ice came off my back. I let them out. They went outside. They did not spend much time outside.

Speaker 3:

I feel like you're glossing. Dan is naked in a cold, dark house. I got naked. And he has to, because I remember you told this with Molly. I really enjoyed the detail about you having to go let the dogs out and like open a door, butt ass naked after you were already frozen. Yeah, so the dogs can go pee.

Speaker 2:

But it's almost, it's all. It almost feels warmer to have the frozen clothes off of you. Um, and because of the scenario of like, like, because of how my situation was just house sitting, I didn't actually have any like clothes there to change into. I wasn't planning on, I was planning on, like, being able to go to my apartment before going to work changing there Like I didn't plan ahead for an emergency, so I didn't actually have any warm clothes. So the only option that I have was to take off all my clothes and, like, my body can barely move at this point, like I I have. I was beyond my limit break of exhaustion two hours before. So they come back in and I'm so happy to see them.

Speaker 2:

But also inside the house. I don't even know how cold it was. It was. I think it was like between 30 and 40 degrees inside the house because the stove has been off all day. So I needed to feed the stove immediately, immediately, or else we were all going to freeze inside the house and the pipes were going to burst. Like if I fell asleep on the couch, I would have woken up to a flood inside the house as the pipes burst, oh my God. And we were in like negative degrees inside the house. So I went downstairs completely naked because, again, my clothes are frozen and I'm just like I can't even think at this point. But I know that I need to feed the stove and I look over at the wood pile and all the wood needs to be split.

Speaker 3:

Oh, my God.

Speaker 2:

So I grab the axe and I'm just stage three hypothermia, naked, splitting wood and lucky didn't chop any body parts off I am lucky, yeah, um, another thing to think about, and this is such a weird detail my mom's storm door was so old and decrepit that it didn't work anymore. It was just smashed to pieces and my mom just left the doors open. The storm doors to the basement were just left open. Just shaking my head right now which is also why it was so cold in the house is because they just let all the heat go out through the basement. But I will reserve my judgment because it was a long time ago. But I will reserve my judgment because it was a long time ago. So the basement, while it wasn't negative 60, it might have been like negative 10 or negative 20 down there and I'm fucking naked splitting wood and the fire went out. So that meant that I also had to start a fire.

Speaker 3:

This is the naked and afraid portion of the show and I managed to do that.

Speaker 2:

I did it all. I don't I barely remember it because I was just. I was just so out of it at that point.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, you were just in survival mode, like your body was just doing the things.

Speaker 2:

And I loaded up the stove as much as I could Once I got a fire going, which takes like 20 or 30 minutes then. Then I went upstairs and I wrapped myself in blankets and I passed out on the couch Naked.

Speaker 3:

I just love the detail.

Speaker 2:

And the dogs all piled on top of me because they were freezing too.

Speaker 3:

Where are the cats?

Speaker 2:

Oh, who knows, they go off and do their own things. They were fine, they would have been fine and yeah, I've never been more tired in my entire life than when I had hypothermia and this is the point where we say I'm really glad you survived, and you should read the comments on your initial post.

Speaker 3:

Oh, I didn't save those. Oh, you didn't, there were some good ones.

Speaker 2:

So, um, I I was running a youtube channel with a guy named r and Russ was, uh, the person. Russ texted me Cause like I didn't have internet there so I couldn't tell people that I wasn't dead, um, and once I got to the house, I finally got enough signal to receive a text, so I saw that he was like hey, uh, I saw your post. Are you okay, are you dead? Do we need to send a search party? And I just text them with my frozen fingers and I'm just like I'm okay, I made it. And so, on behalf of me, he posted a comment on my Facebook post telling everybody that I was indeed alive. I made it. And the comments ranged from like, at first, everybody joking yeah, to being like.

Speaker 2:

I'm genuinely concerned now I haven't heard from you in a few hours. It's been a long time like somebody even commented like I hope you can make it in two and a half hours, and then, like three hours later, they're like um, are you there? And um, and yeah, uh, one of the comments was russ and he's like before you go, bring a camera. Yeah, he wanted the content, he wanted me to vlog it. I mean it would have been a great vlog, but I wouldn't have been able to operate the camera at all.

Speaker 3:

No, you would have needed like a headset, but I bet you the headset would have frozen Like I don't think it would have survived because and they didn't even have that technology back then.

Speaker 2:

They had GoPros, but they were not very good.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, like if you try and use your phone outside in weather like that, it just dies.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

It's just. I mean, I don't know about modern phones, but definitely like a 2014 phone would just fucking die.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And then, after it was confirmed that I was alive, somebody was like oh, I'm really glad that you made it and you're still alive. Now go back and grab a camera and do it again.

Speaker 3:

How much food was in the house to last you till things got packed? I mean there was probably enough.

Speaker 2:

My mom's a bit of a hoarder, so like Well, she's a prepper, prepper. Yeah, well, she's also a hoarder, she's trying to rehab her hoarder ways, which is why we have a, a bread maker, a bread maker. We have a. What do you call one of those exercise? Oh elliptical, elliptical. Yeah, she's trying to give us even more stuff. She's like anybody want these dishes? No, she's giving away so much stuff that sometimes I'm worried. I'm like do you need to tell us anything that you're giving away all your you know your valid valuables?

Speaker 3:

No, I get it, yeah, but I think, um, I'm curious, dan, I've got a couple of questions for you now that you are here to tell the tale One what's worse? A uh, once in a lifetime winter snowstorm that you have to trek through, or a zombie apocalypse?

Speaker 2:

Oh, I don't know, I feel like they're on, they're on par, they're on par. Okay, the uh, the difficulties that I had to navigate and the dangers that I faced would have been very similar to a romero style um zombie outbreak.

Speaker 3:

This would actually also be a great story if you added zombies in it too, like I would watch this movie frozen zombies yes yeah, I don't want to give

Speaker 3:

away I don't want to give away too much, but like I'm thinking this sort of story for book two oh yeah of uh of my books I feel like it would be epic because there's just zombies and there could be like frozen solid zombies, so much goodness could be in this. Um, my other question for you is what zombie survival tips do you have based on your, your lived experience of surviving this?

Speaker 2:

plan ahead. Plan ahead um. If you can shelter in place, that's the best option I was gonna say.

Speaker 3:

I think the biggest advice that I glean from this story is just, if it's a storm like that, just don don't leave.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean I shouldn't have left my mother's house in the first place, yeah, but I did, yeah, and as a result, I got punished for it. I got punished in a way that it almost took my life, yeah, and, but the second time around I don't believe that could have lived, knowing that the animals that I was in charge of taking care of were going to be in trouble and I wouldn't be able to help them.

Speaker 3:

Well, I'm glad you're able to help the animals, but I would also just like to say, for the record, I'm really glad you stayed alive, because we were not talking in 2014. Yeah, and none of this life that we have right now would exist if you had died.

Speaker 2:

It's true, there'd be no podcast no, there'd be.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, well that's.

Speaker 2:

That's the worst part the biggest shame of all uh, that's insane.

Speaker 3:

should we, um, should we? I feel like we should listen to a couple of zombie clucks and then chris's story and wrap it up for the day Chris's survival story. See what we can what survival tips?

Speaker 2:

we can learn. I want to hear that.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, okay, but I need a cluck in between because that was intense. Yeah, we need a palate cleanser cluck. Okay, are you ready?

Speaker 2:

I haven't listened to this one yet.

Speaker 3:

Yes, it was kind of soothing until this. Wow, wow, wow.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, this is a mid-transformation zombie chicken. I can tell.

Speaker 1:

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait wait.

Speaker 3:

This chicken goes for it.

Speaker 2:

I think this person is a singer yeah because that's some breath control yeah, let us know if you, if you've ever been a professional singer yeah, or at least a good hair metal band somebody should sample these and make songs.

Speaker 3:

I would fucking love that so much yeah, any djs in the house? Dj in the house. Okay, thank you for that palate cleanser listener. We appreciate your evil monster chicken zombie clucks. We need some more, so please send them along. Got a couple more for next evil or not evil monster chicken zombie episode. Next casual dead episode. Are you ready? I am ready For Chris's story. Yeah, all right, chris.

Speaker 2:

I Are you ready? I am ready For Chris's story. Yeah, all right, chris. I know Chris from way back. He was a fan of our work with Snake Fist Explosion.

Speaker 3:

That's fun, yeah, and when we're listening to this, because neither of us have listened to it before how about, if you want to comment on it, you just tell me to pause and we can live, react, okay, okay, and we're going to're gonna live, react.

Speaker 1:

Glean some survival tips for this. So here we go. Let's listen to chris. Hello, this is chris here and I want to leave you guys a little voicemail that's gonna be 28 days later. Uh, podcast about a survival story. Um, it's about 2011 in this story and I decide I'm gonna go for my hometown out to portland. Come hell or high water, I'm going. So I go. I got nowhere to go. I got nowhere to go, but thankfully, at the time I have. Why did you go, chris?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, didn't you learn anything from our story?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, Were you listening to this back in 2011, three years before it happened to know not to do? That is like a movie where I'm like, no, what the fuck are you doing? Chris, Don't leave the house.

Speaker 1:

Okay, I'll keep going. A partner and their partner's family member lets me camp out in their backyard.

Speaker 2:

Thank.

Speaker 1:

God they let that happen, because otherwise I would have just been almost in the street. But it's cold back there. It's cold.

Speaker 3:

It's freezing. I just realized he had nowhere to go as in like wait well he, he literally had nowhere to go.

Speaker 2:

Um, he left his house because he had to leave his house, because he was houseless I mean because I was thinking I'm so sorry, can we start over yes I'm so sorry, chris.

Speaker 3:

I thought you just like chose to leave your house for a good time, not because you did not have a house to live in, and I'm very sorry for that. Okay, let's start from the beginning now, with context.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, hello, this is chris and I wanted to leave you guys a little voicemail. That would be uh, 28 days later, uh, podcast about a survival story. Um, it's about 2011 in this story and I decide I'm gonna go for my hometown out to portland. Come hell or high water, I'm going. So I go. I got nowhere to go. I got nowhere to go, but thankfully at the time I have a partner and their partner's family member lets me camp out in their backyard. Thank God they let that happen, because otherwise I would have just been almost in the street. But it's cold back there, it's fall, it's freezing every night it's fall, it's freezing every night.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, first of all, I want to give a shout out to the partner's family and community.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, community cares how we all survive yeah, um, I know not everybody like is cool about the whole idea of like being unhoused. You know some people like they look at it like a disease, like like ah, gross, I wouldn't let you live in my backyard, even though I have five acres of land.

Speaker 3:

The reality is that any of us are really close to this moment.

Speaker 2:

I also want to give some context, because I know something about Chris and that when he says he left his hometown, he means Wisconsin.

Speaker 3:

Oh damn, that's far away, or Michigan, one of the two, chris, let us know, yeah, let us know. But yeah, I think this is the reality is I think you and I probably are like two months if, if jobs were fucked up like we might have two months before we're in real trouble? Yeah and that's actually pretty good. The average american is like two weeks basically paycheck to paycheck yeah all right.

Speaker 2:

I feel like it'd probably be like three months before the bank kicked us out yeah something like that. Yeah, the foreclosure process might take a little while yeah, they probably take the solar panels back before we lost our house uh, okay, let's keep listening clear.

Speaker 1:

I dreaded that full moon because my god it was freezing. When you could see the moon? But thankfully I got a job uh doing bell ringing for the salvation army those bastards I did not know this about you, chris.

Speaker 2:

I didn't know you were a bell ringer.

Speaker 3:

I didn't know that was a paid job. I thought it was a volunteer job and now I feel really bad for all the times I've given those people dirty looks.

Speaker 2:

You know, this winter I tried my hardest to avoid going into a grocery store that had bell ringers on both exits of the grocery store and I had to go in, so I just walked past them as fast as I could. Luckily they didn't even say anything to me. They were, they didn't even, they weren't even paying attention.

Speaker 3:

You know it's really. I did not realize that was a paid gig. Wow, OK, let's keep going. I'm going to put it back just a little bit.

Speaker 1:

But it was enough money. After about two or three weeks of eight hour days of riding six buses to and from the outskirts of Portland and downtown to do this, people were I finally had enough money to rent a really shitty cockroach invested apartment that they now charge a thousand dollars no, twelve hundred dollars a month for back then it was only five hundred.

Speaker 3:

Life is a survival story under capitalism. That is wild. And also, your landlord was making money off of you. Yeah, I I saw a really interesting quote somewhere which is basically like in order to thrive in capitalism, you have to exploit someone else. That's the only way. Yeah, it's the american way. Like most people I know who are homeowners in toronto have renters because they can't afford a home otherwise, but ultimately that means that they're exploiting somebody. Yeah, that's fucked up. I'm so sorry. Okay, a thousand dollars a month for a shitty cockroach infested apartment. Are the cockroaches really big there, chris, I want to know what a portland cockroach is like. Yeah, we'll wait. Yeah, we're just gonna pause now.

Speaker 1:

Okay, keep it going and uh, sure, and apple was able to move into that apartment and uh, thank god, because, oh my god, I was starting to get sick from sleeping in the tent. Yeah, and it all worked out though, because three or four months later, I was able to get fafsa money granted to me and I was able to go to film school, to continue doing video production, because it was the only discernible skill I have to this day is using a camera.

Speaker 1:

So there's a story of survival for you and cluck cluck that's for you I wasn't the clock on it.

Speaker 2:

That might be the best one yeah, I think it's the best because I wasn't expecting it. Yeah, that was a great end. Wow, thanks, chris. That was that was that's a real life survival story, you know, like, like you know, the thing is like I told a story about like almost dying from hypothermia, but, like a lot of survival stories, you might not even realize it was a survival story, because sometimes it's just life. You know, um, around 2010, 2011, kind of a similar situation to chris, except I never had to sleep in a tent. Uh, like I, I had to uproot my whole life and go and live in a cockroach infested apartment as well. Yeah, luckily it was 425 a month, which even for then, was really cheap, but it was like even that I couldn't afford um, and that that the whole time that I lived there the one from my story, that's the one yeah, the whole time that I lived there, the one from my story, that's the one yeah.

Speaker 2:

The whole time I lived, there was like a survival story because like that was a very low income eight years of my life and and getting through that was was was a survival story in itself. So like, if you're, if you're thinking that you don't have a survival story, like survival stories come in all shapes and sizes.

Speaker 3:

Unless you're a billionaire, you probably have one, yeah, and the middle class is like basically non-existent now.

Speaker 2:

So I don't know and, like Leah, you have a lot of survival stories and they're not necessarily freezing to death. They're. They're a different type.

Speaker 3:

Mostly surviving men. I'm not kidding.

Speaker 2:

You can have a survival story just from being around creepy dudes.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I'll tell those another time. I think we've had enough survival stories for today. But I mean, we do live in a world where being unhoused is illegal, it's criminalized, it's fucked up, and I'm really glad, um, your partner's parents did that. I hope that they let you use the bathroom and stuff. I I wish they'd let you live inside, I don't know. Uh, it's a start, but I think, um, individualism is a disease.

Speaker 2:

yeah, and you know, I think, that people that have these types of survival stories, where they've, they've had to deal with these sorts of like really hard life times where, like you can't, you can't just like get an apartment, you can't just not live on the street, you can't just buy food to eat those are the people that are going to be the best survivors in the zombie apocalypse, because they've, they've, they've been living the zombie apocalypse before it ever started well, that's the thing about the zombie apocalypse genre is like if you have, uh, lived on this planet, odds are some level of your experience is already pretty apocalyptic.

Speaker 3:

If you're any group that has been systematically oppressed, it's already been apocalyptic. Yeah, it's old hat yeah, it's like yeah fucking.

Speaker 3:

My ancestors and me have been surviving some shit for hundreds of years now four or or 500 at this point. So but I'm really glad, chris, that you got to go to film school and make a life out of that and hey way to go Like student loans actually doing something good for somebody yeah, to get you on your feet again. Still think we should forgive student loans. But at least it was a start for you and I'm glad you're doing OK.

Speaker 2:

At least I hope you're doing okay now. Yeah, and you know what I feel, that about feeling like you only have one discernible job skill. Yeah, even though I'm a talented person and I'm a capable person, I don't feel like there's anything that I could do to make a reasonable amount of money other than what I'm doing right now.

Speaker 3:

Which physically harms you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, which brings us back to the beginning.

Speaker 3:

It does it all full circles here. Yeah Well, I guess this episode proves the true story that you don't need zombies to have a good story, but if you add zombies it would be more fun. Are there zombies attacking your tent, chris?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, where did the zombies show up in your story? Were there zombies inside the house, so you had to live outside?

Speaker 3:

Were there zombie. Are there cockroaches, also zombies? Zombie cockroaches? Oh my God. No, absolutely not. I don't want to watch that movie. So yeah, we'll do more episodes of Survival. I've got a few that I'd like to share eventually, but really appreciate you sharing the realness of that one. Chris and Dan for you talking about yours too. We and Dan for you talking about yours too. We'll listen to more Clucks next time. Didn't realize we're going to get two entries today.

Speaker 2:

I didn't either, and you know. I'd like to encourage everybody to send us a survival story, because I think this is something that we could talk about, because, like you know, we talk about a lot of societal issues under the view of the zombie apocalypse and like I think that there's a lot of wisdom to gain from people's survival stories.

Speaker 3:

I think that, um, I would like to hear how community has made a difference, because I think that, like, um, well, no, your case doesn't involve any. Actually, you know what? You were good, you were a good community member to those dogs yeah, I was. I was performing my community duty yeah, to make sure that those animal friends weren't going to starve to death or freeze to death, and sometimes that's what community is Like.

Speaker 2:

a lot of times, you think about community in terms of what other people can bring to you, but sometimes you're the person who has to has to put yourself at risk to help your community.

Speaker 3:

Yeah Well, my friends, it's been a good one. Yeah, what a help. Your community? Yeah well, my friends, it's been a good one.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, what a wild ride. By the time you hear this, dan will be back at work. Yeah, another form of survival apocalypse.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, the apocalypse where you get diesel all over your body all the time.

Speaker 3:

The pavement apocalypse also a great name for a book. In the meantime, um, first of all, we've hit 40. This is our 40th episode, woohoo, yeah, and then five more episodes. We will be talking to laurie calcaterra about path of the pale rider, her amazing comic series, um, that we are super stoked to be talking with her about. There's also a choose your own path adventure book. That is super cool, highly recommend. If you like those books when you're a kid, you're gonna love this yeah, I can't wait.

Speaker 2:

I love those those things. Yeah, if you want to know a little bit more well, first of all just check it out on Laurie's website, pathofpalewritercom. But also, if you can't be bothered to do that, I'll just tell you it's a Wild West apocalypse. It pays homage to spaghetti Westerns and sci-fi and things like Mad Max and the Book of Eli I, to spaghetti westerns and sci-fi and things like mad max and the book of eli I am legend. You know the ones. Yep, imagine if clint eastwood had to had to go into the, into the town of the pale rider.

Speaker 2:

Oh, my god, the pale rider yeah, oh shit uh, what are the other ones that were very similar, that he was in like highland, highland, drifter, and uh, the good, the bad and the ugly. Imagine there are zombies in those movies and zombie bears.

Speaker 3:

Zombie bears and people advocating for the human rights of zombies, zombie chickens. I would love an evil magic chicken zombie to appear. Uh, so far sylvester's disappointed us. Maybe laurie will surprise us, we haven't read the last one yet, so you know either.

Speaker 2:

Better be an evil magic chicken zombie. Sylvester said anything's possible.

Speaker 3:

That's true. If we get an evil magic chicken zombie in any of Sylvester's books, that will be our true legacy.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's the Easter egg that we leave in people's books. Yeah, but in the meantime it's an evil magic chicken zombie.

Speaker 3:

In the meantime, send us your survival story. Now you've heard a couple.

Speaker 2:

They can really be anything, anything, um, let's talk about how to get out at all of this alive, at least for a while, till we die. Yeah also, uh, you can call us with your burning questions. Yeah, you know, we've got a.

Speaker 2:

We've got a phone number like a burner phone, you know like like we're drug dealers number yeah, you know we won't answer, but you can leave a message and then we I don't know drop off your drugs in the in the park. Um, don't ask for drugs. We don't do that. Who said we did? I'm not a citizen yet, damn don't at me government uh, you can call us at 614-699-0006. Uh, you got up to three minutes to send us a message. You can cluck like a chicken because we need more of those clucks. Give us us our clucks. We want them. They're delicious.

Speaker 3:

Somebody's going to get a t-shirt, maybe a couple of somebodies.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we're giving away the evil magic chicken zombie t-shirt, which hopefully is out. If it is out right now and you want one, there's probably a link, probably. I don't know, I hope so and or you can email us at zombie book club podcast at gmailcom I think you should be a voiceover artist I am yeah, technically, because we do this podcast, that's how you should get paid.

Speaker 3:

Be a voice for ours. In the meantime, don't forget to subscribe, write and review. Come hang out with us on instagram and threads. We're there. We're just really inconsistent, but if you message us, we'll eventually get back to you.

Speaker 2:

We will one day get back to you. Yes, yeah, but thanks for listening everybody, and just remember that the end is nigh.

Speaker 3:

Stay safe out there as long as you can. Yeah, don't leave your house, don't get bit.

Speaker 2:

Okay, don't freeze to death.

Speaker 3:

And if you have to leave your house, remember that it's important to have good relationships with your friends and family. Otherwise you're fucked. Yeah, it's true.

Speaker 2:

And if you don't have good relationships with your friends and family make new ones Find somebody else's friends and family.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and make new ones, Because if your original friends and family suck, fuck them you can always make your own.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the best survival tool is somebody else. It's true, kinda.

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