what to do?

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If this Y2K problem is as big as some think it is I may be in a better position than the majority of the population. My family owns 80 acres in southwest Arkansas. It is just outside a community of just over 8,000 people. The question I have is what do I do?

Do I buy a mobile home, dig a well and septic tank? Buy a generator in case the power goes off? Scratch out a vegetable patch and get a few chickens? Get a bass boat if I want fish for dinner? Build a really big fence around the mobile home?

I am also unmarried and have no children so I have no "family worries", but if I "got out Dodge(Shreveport in my case)" I am a bit flummoxed as to how I will earn a living. Except perhaps bartering with the produce from the aforementioned vegetable patch, and taking up the abandoned family tradition of "informal distilling".

I have tried not to sound to much like an idiot in this message, but this Y2K problem could have profound implications, and I want to be safer than sorry.

-- Jason Stroud (crimson@softdisk.com), March 28, 1998


I thought I'd start by saying that I attend a very reputed engineering school, and the typical reaction I get is "Why-Two *What*?" Scary, neh?

I have been thinking a lot about "the Problem," and I'm reluctant to do anything too drastic. As a student on a limited income, this is not Pascal's wager for me...if I pour all my money into armaments and MRE's, then I'm going to be left feeling very stupid if the actual consequences fall in the "light to moderate" category.

Thus, I am working on what I consider a practical solution. My family owns property in upstate New York which, although it is not a pleasant place to spend a January without electricity, would suffice as a good location to wait and see what happens. I plan on pouring a bit of money into foodstuffs--more of the supermarket variety than the freeze-dried staples variety--I will delay this as long as possible (that is, until the rumors of "anti-hoarding laws" become anything more than just rumors"). As far a camping supplies, pellet stoves, battery-operated everythings, unless the public awareness increases drastically, I'll probably just throw them in with my Christmas '99 shopping; that way, they'll be returnable if it turns out we were all being pessimistic.

Are we all being pessimistic? I've read a lot of literature for both sides, but the two things that make it hardest to make a decision are:

1) The only people who are screaming about what a problem it will be seem to be the ones who stand to make a profit from it. (Mr. and Mrs. Yourdon excepted, of course.)

2) The only people who are screaming that it is a fraud, or media hype, or whatever, are the ones who, due to their field of business, would know nothing about it (i.e., management, marketing, the media itself, etc.)

Patrick Vitarius vitarp@rpi.edu

-- Patrick Vitarius (vitarp@rpi.edu), March 30, 1998.

I have only recently become aware of the y2k debacle and in truth, I am still trying weigh the evidence available to me. The information I have access to goes from "a mild hiccup" to "It's all over" I am of Hispanic decent and am fluent in Spanish. I have not heard one word about getting out of Dodge and going to Mexico with some gold or silver. Most of rural Mexico experiences: Inconsistent electricity, bad water, bad sewage, tricky food supply etc etc. If it all comes to pass, they are more prepared than we will be. They are already geared for getting along on less. I suspect that no matter what happens, Mexicans will always have a taco or two and a bottle of tequila available even if the taco has donkey meat in it. I just hope Mexico does not close it's borders to us. I would hate to be a "wet back" in reverse. I would like to hear from anyone who has given any thought about going south of the border.

-- Bill Solorzano (notaclue@webtv.net), March 31, 1998.

Patrick, it is not at all unusual to want to take a wait and see attitude. The truth is we just don't know what the ramifications are at this point. My personal timeline is to start the serious survivalist-type activities if by the Sep-Oct 1998 timeframe I don't see whole industries in a total state of pell-mell panic to fix the problem.

I work in the software industry (systems integration), and I stand to lose a lot if Y2K turns out to be as bad as some say it will be. My skills are totally useless if the infrastructure collapses for an extended period of time. My life and the life of any children I plan to have would be far less richer than I had planned. I have every incentive and reason to downplay the problem, but I'm preparing for Depression-severity hardship. It comes down to this: how well we address the problem depends entirely upon how seriously senior management teams (who control the purse strings) take it. Currently, most teams just are not treating it very seriously.

My horizon is to lay in enough supplies and services to live out an entire year on what I purchase. If by the spring of 2000 it looks like it will stay unstable for a while, I'll break into my farming supplies and start planting, hopefully riding out the worst.

-- Anthony Yen (tyen@netcom.com), April 01, 1998.

I'll get right to the point: This "wait and see" approach on preparations is, in effect, "too little, too late". First, a little background: I have spent close to 30+ hours a week for the last 6-8 months solid researching "the problem". Consequently, however, this research has cost me quite dearly. Although I now consider myself quite knowledgable as to the overall extent of the problem (that is, it is total and systemic, and is going to be far worse than most can even fathom), my relationship between my wife and son have grossly drifted apart, I have gone into a severe depression and near nervous breakdown, and my social life has gone the way of the Cold War! So, after some bitter arguments between my wife / family / friends and I as to my "doomsayer" approach to living life, I have changed my overall personal approach in viewing Y2K. I still take the whole thing quite seriously. However, over the last few weeks, I have turned over a new leaf. I am still preparing, but not with a 'gloomy' mindset attached to it. I am also focused on prayer more, and reading the Bible, as I find it very calming in these uncertain times. My relationship with my wife, son, family and friends has greatly improved over the last few weeks or so. And, all in all, I think everything will be just fine over the long haul. But, this leads me to the reason for posting this in first place: In early 1999 (April 1st, 1999 to be specific), the fiscal year century date rollover will occure (from 99 to 00) in Japan, Canada, and New York State. From what I see, Y2K will begin very early in 1999, and the subsequent financial crash will totally ensue throughout 1999 straight into 2000, with a whole host of peak failures occuring on the magic date of 01/01/00. Now, I am not even going to go into detail about how the coming GPS rollover will affect international commorce. So, again, preparing for Y2K during the Christmas season of 1999 would be like preparing for winter as the snow is falling. It will be too late. If I have one mission in life it would be to stress the following two points: 1) Get prepared NOW! and more importantly 2) KEEP A POSITIVE MINDSET!! That is very, VERY important to good health in these challanging next few months/years ahead. God Bless... -Colin

-- Colin Woods (y2k@colinlink.com), April 01, 1998.

Colin indirectly brings up a good point in his last posting. Fiscal year rollovers in various business and government systems may well give a preview of how whole Y2K problem is going to play itself out. For instance:

States administer welfare. Each state welfare system will suffer the Y2K problem when its fiscal year rolls over. The states with the later rollovers will at least have the early birds to learn from when figuring out how to cope. Of course, this does nothing for the poor people in the first few states who may go without their payments for a few days/weeks/months, but in the other states there will be an opportunity to learn from other's experience.

Why is this important? Well, if everything goes to hell in a hand basket all at once, everyone has to figure out workarounds from scratch. But if the failures occur over a longer period of time, people further down the timeline can use the actions of the early sufferers as examples. This could translate into improved service for all from both government and business.

Of course, this assumes that civilization doesn't collpase entirely, but that's an argument for a different thread.

-- Paul Neuhardt (neuahrdt@compuserve.com), April 01, 1998.

It seems the main factor in determining one's sense of urgency would be the uncertainty of it all. We know there is going to be disruption of some kind, but the intensity level is debatable. And as you start to put 2 and 2 togehter the intensity level looks like it is going to be quite high. Anyway, you have much more to lose by not preparing than if you do prepare. If y2k fizzles I have some extra food and supplies. So in my view it is a Pascal's Wager sort of an argument. Keep a positive mental framework. IMHO we are witnessing the end of an era, not the world. Sorry to get so philosophical, but I can't help it. This is heavy stuff.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.


-- Tom Scully (2scully@concentric.net), April 03, 1998.

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