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By Amy Scott
April 5, 1999

"The Cassandra Project" is a grass roots non-profit organization designed to discuss all things related to Y2K problems. While I was at their site ( I discovered a set of FAQ's. In some cases I found their advice off the mark, so in my general desire to help the Internet public at large I came up with a few answers to help you in this impending time of crisis.(A. Is the Cassandra Project Answer, AA. is Amy Answer)

Q. I don't own a computer, can the Y2K issue possibly affect me?
A. Even though you don't own a computer, most of the things you do, need, use and call up for assistance does use computers. Take a look at the grocery store check out, the ATM at your bank, street lights, telephone, your utilities, etc. If the problem isn't fixed, and the companies especially don't have contingency plans in place in case there are failures, then you will be affected.
AA. The hidden problem here is that (as seen in the movie C H O M P S) most household pets are actually robots run by computers. So the big question you need to consider is this: What would happen if your dog wakes up on January 1, 2000 and thinks it's actually 1900? Fido very possibly could have a fear of TV or pet conveniences like Snausages. He may have an unnatural desires to chase kids twirling hoops with sticks, or insist on only chewing up high button shoes.

Q. I know computers have problems, aside from my coffee maker and microwave, how else can I be affected?
A. Other things that can be affected are telephones, pagers, security systems, electronic locks, fire detection equipment, medical devices, emergency vehicles, etc. Basically, anything electronic may potentially be affected by the date problem.
AA. Essentially anything you don't know how to properly run will come to life and kill you. (In fact, this is the very reason the Y2K problem is known as the "Evil Enchanted Machines Bug" in many parts of the former Soviet Union). Both your coffee maker and your microwave have finely honed electronic emotions and come the year 2000 will become angry and vengeful at even the slightest operator error. Any misuse will result in your appliance seeking you out according to the subroutine "MAKE HUMAN PAY."

Q. My bank says everything is taken care of. How can I be sure?
A. Analyze their statements carefully. Look for wording such as 'most systems' 'mission critical systems' 'our systems', etc. The year 2000 date problem is a systemic problem. That means that if the Bank does the work on their internal systems correctly, it doesn't mean there won't be problems. The most important question to ask them is, "what are your contingency plans if you have problems, or if your vendors, suppliers or partners have problems? Have them give you some specifics on what their contingency plans are. If they do, then you can feel more comfortable about the assurances they give you.
AA. The only way to be totally sure is to take all your money out of the bank, roll it up in a toilet paper tube, and place it somewhere safe -- preferably a body orifice. Do not tell your family or friends where you have hidden the money, and if you go the orifice route, try to remain in a seated position as much as possible.

Q. Will water and food delivery be affected?
A. If any part of food and water delivery is dependent on computerization, and there are no manual backups readily available, and contingency plans haven't been developed, then--yes, it's quite likely these will be affected.
AA. After a systematic sampling of distribution houses, I have determined that there will be very few problems relating to the delivery of food and water. The Sparklets Water Man and the Domino's Guy both said they'd be able to make their deliveries (although neither of them were sure if you'd still be able to use coupons for cents off).

Q. Do you think stockpiling gold will be of any use to me?
A. That's a tough question, and one that's hotly debated. Personally, I'd rather rely on good preparedness to carry me through a crisis, as well as having stuff on hand for barter. Ever wonder how you make change for a Krugerand?
AA. Stockpiling gold is ALWAYS of use to EVERYONE. Whoever stockpiles the most by year 2000 will become the new "King of Earth" and will automatically be entitled to all rights and privileges therein.

Q. How long of a period of time (worst case scenario) do you expect the crisis to last?
A. Wish we knew. No one knows! If they tell you they do, they're kidding themselves. We understand a couple of engineers somewhere tried to run a simulation of Y2K problems and it crashed their computer several times before they gave up. It's only a rumor, but if we can't predict the weather, or even the course of a hurricane, then it's highly unlikely we'll know before the event what will happen, how bad or for how long. Guesses have run any where from 2 days to 2 years. Your guess will be as good as anyone else's.
AA. This is actually a trick question. The worst case scenario would, of course, be FOREVER ... that's what makes it worst case.

Q. What would you suggest is a good item to barter with and does this include food, medical supplies, ammunition?
A. Well, I've always found toilet paper and tissue great barter items! I won't, however, no matter how tempted, have liquor or ammunition as trade items. If worst case happens, I'd rather trade items that are innocuous and relatively harmless, if you know what I mean.
AA. When push comes to shove, there's only one item you want to be trading: black tar heroin.

Q. I heard that we're going to have a depression because of Y2k problems.
A. Again, we don't know for sure. One of the worlds leading economist, Dr. Ed Yardeni, is predicting that if worst case scenarios occur, we could experience severe economic problems. For more on this, you can read his recent testimony before the Senate Ag Committee at:
AA. Really there are two types of depression. There's the economic kind of depression and let's face it, not even "experts" know the story on those, so you're as well off flipping a coin to decide your fate as you are following any type of hardcore economic theory. Then there's mental kind kind of depression, and that's a bit more tricky. If the Y2K problem REALLY does have you all worked up then it's likely the world in general is just a bit too rugged for you; your best long term strategy is to blow out the pilot light on your stove, leave the door open and inhale deeply.



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Amy Scott ( is a 25 year old stay-at-home mom/writer. When not preparing for the impending doom involving the Y3K bug (she believes that the Y2K bug will look like a frosty mug of root beer compared to December 31st 2999), she is enjoying Internet porn and pranking strangers. Her favorite Backstreet Boy is Howie and her favorite member of the A Team was BA.

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Original text copyright (c) The Cassandra Project
Copyright (c) 1999 Polterzeitgeist Productions and Amy Scott