bw says "thanks" : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I hope we all make it to Y2k's far side. It's time to take a deep breath, and hope our lungs can get us to the next air.

I've never much cared about Y2k in itself, it's just one of many disruptions we might see. Puget Sound is overdue for a big quake, we are a nuclear target, and as a major port we are vulnerable to mass-destruction terrorism. An awesome hazard on its own, Y2k has also been a good hook to hang preparedness on, people have responded, and I hope we have done enough. When we lived in Louisiana we were ready for hurricanes; when growing up in Minnesota we were ready for tornadoes; every winter we were ready for power failures. Until about 1980 we still had the old two-hole outhouse, just in case.

After 20 years of mainframe programming, I started working on Y2k remediation in 1994. My own programs have used 4-digit dates since 1984, and around 1990 I think it became criminally stupid to do anything else. In 1997 it became clear that too few were working on Y2k, and we were in big trouble. We started warning family and friends, and began community outreach of various kinds. Under my real name I have emailed many who work in the public eye and behind the scenes, in food supplies and crop protection, disaster aid and related fields. In April 1998 the Westergaard site used a couple of my emailed comments in the first (far as I know) public warning of the famine risks that Y2k brings.

I stand behind everything I've said on this and other forums. A non grata individual challenged GIs to apologize for their failed predictions, and I accept his/her challenge. I predicted up to 50,000 dead in the US in the winter of 2000, from cold and hunger. I predicted up to 300,000,000 dead worldwide from crop failures, from Y2k errors stopping shipments of seed and pesticide and fertilizer. Hope neither of those comes to pass, but if anyone can show me how they were hurt by my predictions, I will apologize. We warned our neighbors about Y2k (and earthquakes), and suggested that they have a couple months' food set aside. We told people to buy long in advance (to finesse the panic) and we suggested ways to save money. My wife designed a one-page planner to start a food-stockpiling program, gratefully grasped by hundreds and downloaded by thousands. If anyone tells me how this hurt them, I will apologize.

It is tiring to use a fake name. I've never been bright enough to tell lies, because I always forgot exactly what my lies were, and got caught, so it's easier to just tell the truth. I use the pseudonym "bw" and a fake address to protect my GI employer's privacy. My boss permits my rabble-rousing and in return I keep a low profile, and I post comments that focus on Y2k issues only. I have emailed some of you using my real name, and thank you for respecting this privacy. My real name means "Highland Orchard Brook", and in French it might be Butte Riviere du Bois (sp?), or (as I have said on this forum) "BRdB".

We hope to meet some of you, later on. I would like to meet Jeff Zurschmeide (I owe him a beer) and Ashton and Leska. Valkyrie lives pretty close to us, too. Taz sounds like a real find, and if we visit Florida relatives we'd like to look her up. Perhaps the next time I see Ed Yourdon we'll have more time to talk. If we are lucky enough to meet you, we want you to know who we are. Anyone might claim any identity, in a forum like this. So I'm giving you my "name" here, and when you hear my real name, you will realize (perhaps with a nudge) that this is indeed Highland Orchard Brook, your buddy from the Good Fight.

On the other side I want to get back to what's really important. For ten years I've been working on a book, now ready for publication and accepted by one publisher. When the dust settles from Y2k, I want to take your brain and shake it a little, and show you a new way of seeing who we are and what we are doing here. We are a magical beast, deeply flawed but with real possibilities. All this is purely Darwinian, no crystals, no alien lizard beings, no abductions. There is no goal to our evolution, there is no higher force guiding us, yet we have acted (and evolved) AS IF there were, unlike any other animal. Quite by accident, while busy on private work, I found a story that leaves me breathless. Those who have read it say that nothing in the world looks the same, after the reading. This is the first time I've mentioned it on any public forum.

But there is no space for books and philosophy when we are just trying to survive. Those of you who have contributed advice here, who have tried to help warn the unaware, are owed a great deal. Your efforts have stood in place of public leadership in this country, to guide the larger public through rough (or at least uncertain) times. The response has been abuse, jibes, derision and threats, because sleepers resent being awakened. You are people who give me great hope, people who can think "out of the box". You are the people who worked with me and my wife, though never meeting, side by side, sandbagging the levee, nailing plywood on the windows, preparing for the storm.

We are hunkered down, now, with family and neighbors. I'll be on this forum most days, looking for useful stuff, contributing where it seems appropriate. We are pleased to have known you as well as we have, and some of you we hope to know better in the future.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), December 28, 1999


Wow! It was worth logging on today just to learn more about you, bw. I'm looking forward to next week, when we might start to be able to sort out these identities and meet the people behind them.

-- jor-el (jor-el@krypton.uni), December 28, 1999.

Now you've made us curious, bw! Can you eMail us that story? We're terrible about replying to eMails, but we do read them! Just too boggled by reading overload to form coherent replies.

We've met Jeff (prepped Polly ;-), and jor-el, and Ed, and the Squirrel Hunter (talk about conflict of interests! ;), and Michael mikeymac (yeah!), and Diane, and Suzanne L 'n hubby, and some other Yourdynamites, and want to meet all of you! Twould be heavenly if the world was intact enough to have some Spring picnic potlucks somewhere in central Cascadia when it is blooming and fragrant and riotious with brilliant colors and magical hope ...

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, December 28, 1999.


Thanks so much for heartwarming post. I feel much the same as you. We are very fortunate to have had the opportunity to "know" so many on this board who were so willing to share so much. It is amazing how, after while, you feel like you know whom to trust, those whom you would like to know because you already feel like you know them and the humor - there has been nothing like it.

We, too, are fortunate in that our closest friends and most of our little neighborhood have all prepared to some degree or another. I feel that no matter what comes our way, we will all be there for each other. I am so hoping that TPTB have not lied as much as I am afraid they have and that all goes BITR.

So I heartily second your post and wish you well in the New Year. I'll lift a glass of bubbley and hope we meet some day and at the same time, I wish us all a kind, warm, well-lit future and say a prayer of thankfulness for having "known" you. Skol!

-- Valkyrie (anon@please.xnet), December 28, 1999.


Wonderful post...with folks like you, there is yet hope for this world. Best to you and your loved ones. May God be with you!

-- TM (, December 28, 1999.

bw, did you ever know people by the names of Steve Sherell and Dick Dearman and Reed in recovery?

-- formerly (formerly@nowhere.zzz), December 28, 1999.

Y'all are INTENSLY fortunate, as I sit looking out at the neighborhood and see........... NOBODY who is even CLOSE to a GI.


-- Chuck, a night driver (, December 28, 1999.

Chuck -

We see a lot alike. As I passed through the crowds this Xmas season, I couldn't help but see the coming despair painted on clueless faces. I even looked away or down, sometimes, to hide my gaze. In the vernacular of the job description I now fill, "The poor bastards don't have a chance"

-- michael (, December 28, 1999.

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