A. Lizard

How to Protect Yourself from the Year 2000 Crisis

Chapter 5. Energy Preparation

Chapter 6. Communications and Other Ways to Burn Juice 

Chapter 30: The Spiritual Side of Y2K - AFTERWORD

Appendix: Outline From Book Proposal

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Copyright © 1998, 1999 by A.Lizard.Use of this material other than "fair use" as provided by copyright law is forbidden. For permission to use this material, contact alizard@ecis.com



Part 1 - How did we get into this mess?

Chapter 1 - The Year 2000 Problem
1. 2 digit dates
2. problem with 2 digit dates (00 < 99)
3. why 2 digit dates were used
4 . programmer warnings ignored
5. the results (based on Gartner Group numbers)
        1. mutilbillion dollar remediation expenses
        2. estimated trillion dollar legal bills
6. Will "the experts" get us out of this? (or why many of these experts have already headed for the hills)
7. Will the Federal Government get us out of this? (comment about how a cigar and a soiled dress are of much more importance to the press and our Federally elected officials of both parties than the possible end of civilization.) (Quotes from GAO reports)

Part 2 - What does this mean to me?
Before reading this part of the books, here is a short list of dates with probable events to look out for. This is intended to give you an idea of which scenario I've described best fits your situation we're really in. You will get this book months after I've written it, some of these dates will have happened by the time you read this. How much has happened on each date will give you the best available information on how bad Year-2000 is really likely to be.





Chapter 2: Scenario 1 - "bump in the road"
1. January 1, 2000 is just another day, there was never any need to prepare. The bad news is that even if you're in an area where the lights didn't even flicker and there's still food on supermarket shelves, civilization may not be out of trouble yet.
2. What to do with your disaster preparations:
        1. Right now, do nothing with them. 1/1/2000 is too early to tell. See section 2 of this chapter
        2. donate to charity
        3. eat them yourself, take them camping
        4. keep for future disaster (preferred)
        5. So you bought a retreat? Don't be in any hurry to sell it. You've got a nice vacation spot if you did your preparation properly. Everyone else is trying to sell their retreat right now.
3. It only looked like a bump in the world: Discussion of non-local economic problem effects and national/global transportation on local communities ... gradual economic slowdown to 1930's style Great Depression level.

Chapter 3. Scenario 2 - "This is the one to prepare for" Chances are, your area will experience some of the effects described in this chapter, but not all of them. However, since there is no way to be sure which of thse things will happen in your area, I advise you to prepare as much as possible for all of them. Power and communications are the "big two" Y2K risk factors, if both are operational, the other Y2K factors can be handled. If either works, it insures that the other can be fixed, though at some level of difficulty. If both are down and stay down in your area, you are going to need your emergency preparations. Some of this isn't really in the area of things a business can prepare for, e.g. if you're with a company using large amounts of power for manufacturing, with power out, you're out of business, unless you believe that you have customers willing to pay the increased costs involved with your generating electricity in-house.

This scenario is based on the idea that 80% of businesses will have their Y2K problems 80% fixed by 12/31/1999. Ed Yardeni, famous economist and a Managing Director with Deutsche Bank Securities of North America projects a 70% chance of major recession. The scenario I project says 100% chance of a 1930s scale Great Depression. The difference may be that I don't have to hedge to keep the credibility of top corporate and government officials who haven't gotten the word yet. I think that most of the food you store you will actually wind up eating after the grocery stores are back in business in order to save "cash money" for use on other things you need to survive. So get more than you think you need. It's cheap insurance.

1. power problems (quotes from most recent NERC report from DOE on power),
2. likely communications problems (GAO Chief Scientist report on telco, etc.)
        1. US
        2. international
        3. likely Internet / data network (i.e. frame relay) problems
3. transportation problems
        1. stay out of airplanes
        2. don't go on long trips unless extended stay is possible - 12/15/1999 to 1/15/2000.
4. food chain problems
5. emergency services breakdown
6. hospital equipment problems - get your elective surgery done before 12/15/1999, stay out of hospitals during 12/30/1999 to 2/2000 if you possibly can
7. manufacturing industry problems
8. Just-In-Time based breakdowns (listed separately because they will be common to a number of industries)
9. how to hedge your Y2K bets and why
        1. don't put *ALL* your resources into preparing.
        2. don't quit your job unless keeping it endangers you / your family
10. Who's least likely to be affected. (at least for a while)
        1. local service businesses with local clientele
        2. local businesses which built up good sized inventories

Chapter 4. Scenario 3 - "The End of the World" and what's wrong with THIS picture... and resources on how to prepare for those who feel the need to.

1. Don't Die of Heart Failure if The Lights Stay On...
        1. total failure of all power - improbable - here's why
        2. total failure of all phone service - improbable - here's why
        3. total failure of all large organization computers - improbable - here's
        4. total failure of all government facilities - improbable, here's why
        5. the world probably won't blow up - here's why. Unless you're in the area marked "X", not all of this is going to happen where you live.
        6. A short list of areas marked "X". Japan major cities (special fire and transportation problems)

2. Retreat Preparation - note that this will either point to resources outside the intended scope of the book or tell the reader how to extend the planning found within the book to cover
        1. criteria for picking a site. (checklist) - get the location you want. Don't worry if the property is smaller than you think viable for farming, property values are likely to drop to a very low level or zero . . . you might be better off getting a few extra ounces of gold and figure on buying afterwards
        2. survival farming (very brief presentation of basics and where to find out more) nonhybrid seeds, figure on fertilizer availability, what to do when it runs out


Part 3 - Personal Preparation

I'll be concentrating on affordable preparation. There are many books and Web sites on how to build retreats and how to stock them, and a fair number of places that offer 1 year packages of food (military rations, freeze dried foods, etc.) at horrendous prices. While I'll be happy to point people at them who actually want them, should they still be available, food is only part of the problem.

Chapter 5. Energy Preparations

Chapter 6. Communications...

Chapter 7. Food,Water, and Personal Sanitation
1. Food
        1. what to store and how to store it
                1. available at the grocery store and other places... (canned, dry packed foods with long-term (> 6 months) shelf life), foods for bulk packing, fats, salt, sugar, vitamin supplements.
        2. do-it-yourself long-term storage
                1. oxygen absorbers, dry ice, nitrogen
                2. Mormon canneries (if available)
                3. sprouting (may be only way to get fresh greens in winter or if farm supplies n/a for other reasons
                4. where to get long-term storage supplies
        3. MREs and other long-term storage foods from conventional survivalist suppliers
                1. Why they may not be available at this point (backorders may make these businesses useless to my readers by the time this book appears in stores
                2. What's available - and some claims as to MRE nutritional value (lack of, reference to Y2K prep list)
                3. Suppliers - and backlog times as of printing
                4. how much to store
                5. brief information on gardening, non-hybrid seeds, suppliers (for 1 year plus scenarios, tools, where to get more information
                6. checklist
                7. chart of shelf lives of suitable grocery and long-term storage foods
2. Water: Remember that your power goes down, your water and sewers probably goes with it.
        1. What to store
        2. How to store
        3. How to purify...
        4. So you have a swimming pool? Uses for non-potable water.
        5. where to get more
        6. where NOT to get more
        7. checklist
3. Improvising toilets - waste disposal
4. soap, detergent, bleach
5. feminine personal hygiene supplies
6. infant supplies... cloth diapers (and figure more water)
7. bug-out bag - if you've really got to leave

Chapter 8. What Else do You Want To Store?
1. personal records (hard copies rent receipts, identification documents, tax records, social security payment records, medical records, records of military discharge,etc.)
2. medical supplies
        1. prescriptions - get a month or more of anything you must have (insulin, etc.) - and make sure your and all your family's immunizations are current by 11/1998!!! Note: the Hepatits B series takes 7 months, start by 4/1998. It's expensive. It might save you a lot of trouble. Get current eye exams for anyone in your household, get new glasses and consider getting spare pairs, especially if the new glasses prescription is different enough from the old to make the old ones marginally useful. 2. first aid kit (include a list of basics and some extensions)
3. books, e.g. What to do When There Is No Doctor, etc.
4. contraceptives (spare diaphrams or other reusable units if applicable)
5. tools - Plumbers, electricians, etc. may not be as available during Y2K season.
        1. basic household tools... and add a plunger and a hand-powered snake, include a multimeter and learn how to use it.
        2. "multitool". The Swiss Army knife is a thing of the past for those in the know. The "multitool" available from Gerber and Leatherman are much more useful. In a foldup pair of pliers is all the functionality of the high-end Swiss Army knives in a form factor less likely to break, which can be carried in a belt sheath. Screwdriver, One of these is a nearly complete tool kit in itself. Pliers, screwdriver, knife blades, wire cutter, can opener, bottle opener Get a good one. If you're in a rural retreat, get one for every adult and older kid. You'll thank me for this advice.
        3. duct tape!!!
        4. carpentry tools, e.g. hammer, saw, etc.
        5. repair tools for specific items, auto, etc.
        6. If you know electronics, consider getting a test bench that's largely battery powered.
6: Should I buy a computer and internet access to monitor this situation... and to get the book updates and supplemental information? Probably not if that's all you want it for. You can get Internet access at most public libraries these days, or you may have a friend with a computer willing to help you out. If you already have a reasonably modern (486 or faster / 68x40 or PowerMac) computer, you probably should get Internet access, modems are relatively inexpensive ($40-75, an ISP will cost you around $20 a month.) and the information you'll be getting from my Web site and from other sources, both the ones I recommend and those you find on your own will be worth it.
7. money: currency collapse / inflation-deflation - how much paper money, should you buy silver? (This is intended to for getting people through a crisis, not for personal investment. Investment is in a later chapter.)
8. trade goods: what's likely to be scarce and desired if the stores close or if the transportation problems materialize and transport for goods is allowed on a "essential items only" basis. (cigarettes!)
9. books: information you may need in case Y2K is worse than expected, and why all but the most important references should be on CDROM if you've got a laptop. AT library (should be in CDROM by time book hits the shelves)

Chapter 9. Personal Protection
1. why you should plan for temporary breakdown of emergency services
2. guns (protection, making sure 'critters' don't get your food supply, hunting
        1. firearm advice and training - NRA, local gun clubs... and get lots of practice... and why you         should stick to common calibers
        2. rifle - .22LR AND...
        3. shotgun (12 or 20 gauge...)
        4. handgun (9mm or .45 or, .357)
        5. mace / pepper spray
        6. self-defense courses
        7. more gun info, recommended books, Usenet rec.guns, spare parts, consider reloading
3. burglar alarms / electronic security
        1. special Y2K problems
        2. Your usual alarm monitoring company may no longer be with us...
4. Why you should prepare with a group or friend if you possibly can
        1. neigborhood, affinity groups, extended families...
        2. parents, kids, and guns, if things get bad, you'll need an armed babysitter
        3. You probably can't have an armed adult at home at all times, and you can't stay alert 24 hours a day...
        4. There may be more of "them" than there are of "you".
        5. Being with a companion or a group may help you stay sane 6. quantity discounts are wonderful

Chapter 10. What if you have serious money problems and need to prepare?
    1. the lowest cost alternatives. . .

Personal Preparation Checklist


Part 4 - Computer and Business Preparation

If you are running a business, you probably should get Internet access for yourself if you don't already have it. Web search or directly accessing your vendors' Web sites is the fastest way to get access to information on your computers, software, embedded systems, and other things needed to know to get your business Y2K ready. Some of what you'll need to know to get ready for Y2K trouble is available only via the Internet. Other things you want to know actually can be discovered by phone, if you really want to cope with the usual state of customer support in the computer industry, i.e., hours trying to get through clogged phone lines or waiting for a callback from customer service that you could be spending doing something profitable.

Chapter 11. household / office appliances - which will keep working after 1/1/2000? (most)
1. how to test
2. Check your PBX. If it can't take calls in the year 2000 (quite possible, even if it's new) you are out of business. Find out now if it's year-2000 ready, while it can still be fixed quickly.

Chapter 12. Wintel - hardware platform specific problems.
1. PC internal clocks
2. Diagnostic Utilities and software patches
3. BIOS chip
        1.reflashing flash BIOS - and the dangers of doing this.
        2. replacing BIOS
        3. BIOS boards
        4. RTC/CMOS
                1. when to replace - who needs compliance at the RTC level?
                2. can you replace?
                3. RTC board
        5. Crouch-Echlin time dilation effect, is it a problem for you? (software patch may be available.
4. When should you consider motherboard replacement or new computer?
5. checklist

Chapter 13. Mac
1. no hardware problem
2. brief discussion of application problems / data problems (see next section)
3. checklist

Chapter 14. business computer applications - general
1. what to look for in applications and data files
2. how to check applications for y2k compliance
3. automated remediation suites and their limitations
4. what to look for in data files if you're doing it by hand.
5. incoming and outgoing data, brief discussion of possible EDI problems
6. checklist

Chapter 15. network / server (unix, Novell, NT)
1. check the year-2000 section of your hardware and software vendor Web sites
        1. Microsoft
        2. Novell
        3. Sun/Solaris
        4. linux /

Chapter 16. Web server / Webmaster special issues
1. Javascript and PERL (date handling problems)

Chapter 17. mainframes
1. a summary of what the mainframe subculture does for us
2. why it matters
3. resources for mainframe programmers

Chapter 18. hospital compliance: embedded medical equipment and other special issues

Chapter 19. farms - a brief discussion of special issues

Chapter 20. Manufacturing: a brief discussion of special issues

Chapter 21. Business infrastructure problems - and contingency planning
The question to ask yourself is if chunks of your infrastructure go down, do you still have anything to sell? The smart thing to do may be to lock up until things get better. Also note that if you can stay in business, you will be selling the goods and services that your competitors who didn't prepare can't.
1. power failure - Can your business function without power? If not, can you use generators and pass the increased costs of doing business to your customers?
2. communications failure - Can your business function without communications? If not, can you use alternate and pass the increased costs of doing business to your customers?
        1. phones
        2. Internet
        3. WAN
3. water
4. garbage
5. transportation; shipping and receiving - If you are using just-in-time, can you rent warehouse space?
        1. US mail / package delivery
        2. Fed Ex, UPS, etc.
6. GPS rollover; do you use GPS? 7. Have you checked vendor and customer year-2000 compliance?

Chapter 22: Legal Problems with Y2K
1. your legal position with respect to knowing of Y2K problems and not telling your customers
2. document, document, document


Part 5 - Local Government Preparation

This section is really intended to give citizens an idea of what their governments are supposed to be and probably aren't doing, and how to find out (where possible) what's really being done.

Chapter 23. Local Utilities?
1. Does your community have government controlled power generation and distribution? What about sewage? Water? Find out right now how they are dealing with year-2000 problems. If they won't tell you anything or what they are telling you is obviously meaningless legal boilerplate, assume the worst. Many municipal power companies and other organizations are doing absolutely nothing to protect their facilities from year-2000 problems. (quote from Texas and Minnesota PUC reports)
2. computer preparation: see Chapter 4
3. Example of what looks like a good job of county preparation: Contra Costa County

Chapter 24. Can your community function with the lights out?
Emergency Infrastructure Problems
1. Emergency Services - Vulnerability and contigency planning
        1. 911 dispatch - power and communications
        2. local fire / police stations - power, can their phones work without power?
        3. emergency vehicle issues
2. Disaster Planning
        1. food storage - warehousing of non-perishable foods
        2. food preparation - emergency soup kitchens (special considerations)
3. emergency shelters (special considerations)
        1. power outage
            1. heat
            2. sewage problems
            3. food preparation

Chapter 25: State and Federal Governments: brief overview of serious trouble chapter opening: This section is brief because there is very little you can do about it, unless you are a major campaign contributor.
1. Pennsylvania did it, here's how. (y2knot13.txt)
2. It seems to be the only state ready... these states may make it
3. Federal Government, a quick look at Y2K disaster in the making
4. What this means to you. (you may not be getting your government checks...)


Part 6 - Y2K and personal / business finance

Chapter 26. How to make money off Y2K via goods and services
1. computer services
        1. PC
        2. server / mainframe
2. Products of use to people preparing for Y2K

Look through this book. The stuff that I'm recommending for Y2K preparation is stuff that people are going to want to buy. If you're already operating a business, I recommend that you seriously consider buying the items I or information sources I recommend in large quantities and sell them to your customers. Hopefully, these items will still be available for vendor purchase by the time you get this book. For instance, if you're a grocer, see if you can find a company willing to subcontract to repackage and deliver bulk foods for long-term storage. If you can get food packaging equipment, bulk food, and oxygen absorbers or alternatives that don't require oxygen absorbers (CO2 and nitrogen) at a good price, consider doing some bulk food packaging send some flyers to local stores telling them you're in business. I mention this because as of this writing, the reputable sources of food are backordered several weeks. By the time you see this, they will probably be backordered for months and worse, probably won't be accepting further orders.

WARNING: If there are breakdowns in civil order where you are and your Y2K customers aren't satistfied (e.g. they open a can of rice and because the food wasn't packed in nitrogen or with an oxygen absorber as claimed, it's crawling with bugs) they are likely to blow your head off instead of sue. Best sell people what you have told them they are paying for.

Chapter 27. Investments and money preservation make sure your Y2K disaster preparation is done first before considering Y2K investments
1.banks - mixed news and ugly rumors
        1. The good news is that almost all merchants taking credit cards can handle the 2000 dated cards.
        2. The FDIC has virtually blacked out all information regarding the Y2K readiness of individual banks.
        3. The other good news item is that the FDIC says banks will either be remediated or merged.
        4. problems with data transfer from non-compliant (i.e. foriegn banks) crashing systems
        5. some mergers may compound banking Y2K problems
2. the stock market - will the market exist? (results of first SIA tests, discussion, what to look for in the next test)
3. Simultaneous attempt to convert to Euro and fix Y2K at the same time. Major problems.
4. Y2K winners and losers... how to profit from the stupidity of others.
5. should you buy gold?
        1. basic purpose: wealth preservation during time of crisis
        2. current cause of historic lows in gold prices
        3. you haven't figured out that a crisis is probable?
        4. buying gold is stabilizing, the money spent goes straight back into the banks
6. an interesting strategy involving gold call options (get permission to reproduce)
7. get out of real estate: Owning your own house may be a good thing, delay purchases of property around yours into 6/2000 or so... and why.
        1. rental - eviction - foreclosure problems: in a depression, many ordinarily "solid" and solvent citizens and citizens with all the good intentions in the world aren't going to be able to pay their bills, including your rent bill. This is because in a depression, most businesses aren't doing business and have laid off their employees, who unfortunately are also your customers. Courts, assuming they are still in existence will be overloaded with Y2K litigation and with extra crime caused by Y2K related problems. Evictions are going to have zero priority. Do-it-yourself eviction isn't an answer, people who shoot you or whoever you send to collect are probably going to be set free by a jury regardless of evidence composed of renters in similar financial positions to the people you tried to remove. Local police or sheriffs' deputies work for people who answer to the voters. Even if you succeed in removing the tenants / ex- homeowners, you will have to find new tenants immediately, or find that people will have moved into your place without your consent and aren't leaving voluntarily and have no contract with you and absolutely no regard for your property.
        2. Get back into the real estate market around 6/2000 or later, wait until either the prices drop to around zero, you might be able to get a $250,000 house in the current market with a 5 ounces of gold worth $1500 - $2K at the time this is written from property owners who can't pay their bills. The hyperinflationary scenarios also support this, though in this kind of situtation, the same amount of gold might be "worth" $1,000,000. Or, that gold might be worth $100 in a deflationary situation. You're still getting the property for 5 ounces of gold.
        3. Computer problems may interfere with the process of land transfer. County Assessor rolls and title insurance searches are only two of the possibilities.


Part 7 - After Y2K Season


Chapter 28. How to be sure a recovery is actually taking place
1. decreasing power outages
2. new supplies of manufactured goods
3. increasing employment in non-disaster related businesses
4. investment in new businesses and new technology

Chapter 29. Lessons to be learned How can we stay out of messes like the Y2K situation in the future?
1. dangers in short term thinking
2. dangers in having elected officials who are not technology-literate
3. dangers in having business leaders who are not technology-literate

Chapter 30. Afterword - The Spiritual Side of Y2K



  • Appendix A - download or other instructions on how to obtain supplemental material intended for use in conjunction with the book.
  • Appendix B - FAQs on food storage, etc. if reprint permission can be obtained
  • Appendix C - list of useful URLs with information only available online , books, etc. not in the main text... e.g. The Extension Agent's Handbook for Emergency Preparation and Response http://www.fema.gov/library/eprhb.txt
  • Appendix D - list of local Mormon cannery phone numbers in the US (and warning that they're some are backlogged X weeks as of time book went to press and that some are already backordered) (I have a current copy)
  • Appendix E - How to download or otherwise the information package intended to accompany the book. (if it isn't supplied with a disk)

For more information, go to A.Lizard's personal Y2K page