Survivalism and Personal Progress: Seeking Synergy in a Paranoid Paradox

The inexorable acceleration of global warming and geopolitical instability contribute to a climate in which a relatively significant investment in disaster management preparation appears to be reasonable, if not required. So just how much “Doomsday” prepping is too much, and how much is simply part of a rational strategy of diversification? Phriends, if you are looking to me for an authoritative answer, I’m sorry to report that you’re barking up the wrong tree. As a guy who has long had an instinctive aesthetic attraction to the apocalyptic, the idea of prepping has appealed to me for several years, but until recently I had only dabbled. After reading Emergency by Neil Straus in approximately 2010, I started storing a bit of food and bottled water, but I soon became concerned that for me, this sort of thing might become a slippery slope of paranoia, potentially leading to a state of perpetual negativity, a Mad Prophet of Doom, bunkered in, waiting for the apocalypse that never comes. A few years later, a little older, and if not wiser, at least a bit less crazy, I find myself able to approach the concept in a more balanced way. Borrowing ideas from the seemingly paradoxical camps of Zen and finance, I have become more comfortable with the reality of uncertainty, and the need for diversification in one’s approach to the future. The experience of becoming a father has caused me to realize that preparing for the future, whether it be apocalyptic or not, is no longer an optional endeavor, and needs to be approached in as rational and strategic a manner as possible. The apparent paradox between living in The Now and taking reasonable actions to increase the probability of a safe and enjoyable future is perhaps a topic for another day, but unless some sort of transcendental collective enlightenment is achieved, the future remains a universal human concern. I make no claim to foresee the future, and while I remain perhaps irrationally optimistic about the potential for human development, there are clearly myriad significant short and medium term large-scale risks which seem only logical to incorporate into one’s assessment of and preparation for the wide array of disparate and unknowable possible future scenarios. Clearly, it is impossible to prepare for everything, and there are certainly innumerable conceivable situations in which there is no possibility of survival, regardless of one’s level of preparation. Even so, a combination of recent history and imagination can serve to inform us of certain broad categories of disaster, many of which can be rendered significantly more survivable given even a moderate amount of sensible preparation. Interestingly, as I begin to take disaster preparation more seriously, I find that I am also approaching other matters of personal, artistic, and professional development in a more effective manner. This subjective and anecdotal experience suggests a thread of speculation that taking matters of fundamental physical survival more consciously into account might create a sort of biologically driven cognitive enhancement, with the potential to be applied to many different areas of life. Progress in these other areas, such as healthcare, community involvement,  sustainable living, economic development, quasi-political organization, interdisciplinary scientifically informed next wave industrial innovation, re-imagination of social contracts and constructs, newly evolutionary art forms, and generalized myth-making might in turn contribute to synergies with one’s disaster preparedness methodology, creating a sort of virtuous spiral, theoretically serving to mitigate violent and disruptive external forces, ultimately clearing and illuminating a path toward a brighter tomorrow.  As a relative newcomer to the Wide World of Prepping, I currently consider myself to be prepared at about a 3 out of 10 (generously), with 1 being a completely pedestrian civilian, and 10 being a fully sustainably bunkered commando. I’d like to get closer to a 7 out of 10 within the next couple of years, taking small incremental steps, without compromising the other priorities in my life, and plans for more favorable possible futures. With this goal in mind, I intend to dedicate an intentionally uncertain percentage of my future posts to exploring a variety of survivalist related topics. Again, to be clear, I am not claiming expertise in the field, but am happy to pass on potentially useful knowledge as I acquire it, and will credit my sources when appropriate. I invite comments with additional ideas or constructive criticism. When I find items that I personally own and find useful, I’ll post Amazon links. Phoenix and I make about a 2% commission if you buy something through our links, and it doesn’t cost you any extra, so we appreciate your consideration. I promise not to promote anything that I don’t actually believe in. It is important to me that prepping not become an isolated and paranoid endeavor, and thus discussing it in a public forum might prove psychologically beneficial. If the Walking Dead has taught us anything, it’s the seemingly paradoxical truth that people are the real threat, but that we all need other people to survive. 

Byron H Diel
AKA Subcommander Dada

Copyright 2017, Byron H Diel, DBA EyeDiel Enterprises 

From the Ashes of Postmodernism: Another Resurrection. 

In the increasingly apocalyptic era of Trump and the apparent triumph of the political machinations of the weaponized post modern surrealism of Putin and Vladislav Surkov, it has been a struggle to work through a sort of creative paralysis in the face of a future which has never appeared more uncertain. As an individual who has long been drawn to the apparent storylines of history, both collective and personal, yet repeatedly witnessed the unmasking of the illusory nature of many of these narrative structures in the experience of myself and others, the postmodern idea of “incredulity toward metanarratives,” as expressed by Lyotard, is both fascinating and horrifying, liberating and disorienting. In the deliberate distortion of metanarratives currently operating in our politics, it appears to me that we are witnessing the potentially dangerous nature of malevolent misuse of the postmodern. It occurs to me now, that in an era when new and more productive metanarratives are likely required, postmodern methodologies might be productively employed to dig below our collectively mis-programmed ideations and expose some useful deeper and more natural truth. Going forward, this metatheory will guide, at least in part, my future labors on Phoenix And Phriends, and other EyeDiel Enterprises related projects. a For the last time, I shall apologize for the lengthy delay between posts. Once again it occurs to me that to embrace the official “Dada Diaries” title of the blog means that no published post ever needs to truly be “finished,” and that the stream of my ideas, whatever they may be worth, might simply be allowed to continue to flow, however incoherently, and hopefully in the end occasionally contribute something useful to the wider evolution of publicised discourse. It is in this spirit that I hereby resolve to post something to this blog on a daily basis, regardless of its apparent value. I have tried other resolutions, such as publishing weekly, bi-weekly, or some other variation, and these have simply enabled my tendency toward extreme procrastination. So anyhow, daily it is. 

The political environment here in 2017 has become so overwhelmingly bizarre that once I had taken a week or two off from Facebook after the election to attempt to regain some sense of balance and sanity, I felt so behind the curve on the daily torrent of outrages that it seemed impossible to regain a relevant voice. Well, no matter, relevance is after all, relative, and one feels as though something should be said. Given the current climate, the machinations of the Smoke Brothers seem positively quaint. Perhaps that is indeed one of the operative layers of the elaborate, multimodal game of bait and switch being played. Some have suggested, somewhat convincingly, that the entire topic of Russian meddling and Trumpian collusion is in fact another bait and switch, however, even acknowledging this possibility, the question continues to seem extraordinarily important. Regardless of whose tail is actually wagging which dog, I am increasingly convinced that one cannot begin to unravel the myriad webs of distortion in which we find ourselves ensnared without some study of the postmodern politics of Vladislav Surkov, and the concept of “Nonlinear War,” as described in his enigmatic short story “Without Sky.” For my more intrepid readers, the few of you left who I have not already urged to read this strangely relevant work, it’s only about a 10 minute read, and I’ve found it somewhat illuminating as to the strategies and tactics of some of the significant sociopolitical forces operating at this potentially pivotal point in human history. Admittedly, I have achieved no true clarity, but do intuitively believe that Surkov has become arguably the most influential political strategist of our time, and as such deserves careful study. Again, in the words of the Immortal Brian Kenney Fresno, “Moron this later.” In the meantime, whatever this may or may not mean to you, Happy Easter from Phoenix and Dada! May we all awaken, rise from our collective grave, embrace our inner bunny, and find the fertile eggs of humanity’s renewal. 

Byron H Diel
aka Subcommander Dada

Now a word from our sponsors (well, affiliates, to be more precise.) This is an extremely interesting book about postmodern Russia. I suspect Putin would have us believe it to be some sort of CIA propaganda, and really, who knows anymore? In any case, its a fascinating viewpoint, somewhat behind the scenes, from a son of Soviet ex-patriots, who became a British documentary filmmaker, who returned to Russia and worked in the state sponsored media system. EyeDiel Enterprises will get about 2% of the proceeds if you purchase through our link, and it doesn’t cost you any more.

Copyright 2017. Byron H Diel, DBA EyeDiel Enterprises 

Episode 2 Update

Yes, the delay has been lengthy, but Episode 2, Weird Weather, is well underway. The uniforms have been freshly updated, many of the scenes have already been shot, and pre-editing is already taking place. We are working hard to achieve a Thanksgiving 2016 release. Phoenix turned 2 years old yesterday, and is at an unprecedented level of action hero capacity!

The origins of our extended inter-episode interval have been uniquely multifauceted, and largely the result of foundational work at the service of the long term sustainable evolution of Phoenix And Phriends. Fans will be releived to learn that subsequent episodes will be increasingly rapidly produced. We have upgraded our uniforms, and are in the process of developing entirely novel, mixed multimedia special effects. Some of these new techniques will emerge in Episode 2, but will be heavily incorporated into Episode 3 and beyond. 

In the interest of creating cash flow to fund the future phases of the show, we will soon be opening an affiliated Etsy shop. This endeavor has become a bit more labor and resource intensive than initially anticipated, but I feel increasingly excited that the long awaited launch is now quite near. It is our intent to offer a unique array of ornamental items, thematically and aesthetically complementary to the ethos of our show. 

Watch this Space!

Episode 1: Premiers Thursday Feb 11th!

At last, after over a year of work, Phoenix And Phriends, Episode 1: Hubble Trouble is finally complete, and will air on the CMAC Fresno Public Channel at 7:30 pm  on Thursday the 11th, and 11:00 am on Saturday the 13th. The channels for the Fresno area are 93 for Comcast and 99 for AT and T. The show can also be live streamed from the CMAC website at the following link: CMAC Fresno Live Stream.


The credits as listed at the end of the show are printed below. Expanded credits with further explanations of music and projects of the other performers will be released in the near future. Thanks to anyone out there taking an interest in the show, and many thanks to everyone who has participated. Much more fun to come!


Director:  Byron H Diel
Writer:  Byron H Diel
Producer:  Byron H Diel
Camera:  Anita Fernandez
Floor Manager:  Anita Fernandez
Editor:  Byron H Diel

Director of Despicable Alien Scene:  Cesar Perez
Camera on Despicable Alien Scene:  Dez Martinez
Camera on Despicable Alien Scene:  Leonard Brewer

Cast: in order of appearance

Sub Commander Dada:  Byron H Diel
Commander Phoenix:  Phoenix Jack Morgan-Diel
Charleton Smoke:  Clark Sumner
Dagmar Smoke:  Chris Hubble
Lieutenant Meowzers:  Maddy Collier
Master Mustafa:  Wael Abdelgawad
Sampi Saaduna:  Salma Abdelgawad
Queen Nana Bettina:  Betty “Nana” Imhoff
Despicable Alien-Trumpet:  Mike Ault
Despicable Alien- Keyboard & Vox : Evelyn Fey
Shadowhead:  Wael Abdelgawad
Madam Anima Mundi:  Alison “Gale Force” Gale
The Music:

Theme Song:  Byron H Diel 2015
Dada’s Intro:  Byron H Diel 2014
Smoke Brothers Scenes:  Respectable Citizen 09/2015
Lt Meowzers:  Respectable Citizen Absinth
Mustafa’s Dojo: Byron H Diel <>2012
Nana Bettina:  Byron H Diel 2008
Despicable Alien Intro:  Despicable Alien 12/2012
Despicable Alien:  Despicable Alien 07/2015
Final Battle:  Vance Galloway Byron H Diel 2009
M.A.M. Awards:  Respectable Citizen Le Charm 2007
Dada Outro:  Byron H Diel 2014

Space Imgery ESA/Hubble and NASA

The concept of “Natural Guard” was created by Jim Channon.

Disclaimer: While the producer is generally a supporter of NASA, Phoenix and Phriends is not supported by or endorsed by NASA in any way.

Warning: Some of the martial arts techniques in the “Final Battle” scene are dangerous, and should not be attempted without the supervision of a qualified instructor.

Many Thanks to the staff of CMAC Fresno for all of the help.

Special Thanks to Anita Fernandez for the indispensably loyal assistance and excellent friendship.

Extra Special Thanks and Love to Phoenix’s Mother Maleah Morgan,
without whose help, understanding and support none of this could have been possible.

BABYBJORN Baby Carrier Original, Black, Cotton

Mission Statement: Phoenix And Phriends

As we draw ever more near to the release of the pilot episode, I feel compelled to clarify my intentions regarding the future of Phoenix And Phriends, and its surrounding efforts, including this blog. While “The Dada Diaries” will remain a useful forum for the dissemination of news regarding the show itself, that alone will not be enough to provide real value to my hypothetical audience. One element of the plan is to expand into the creation of various sub-categories of content relating to themes presented in, and otherwise relating to the show. These will likely include, but possibly not be limited to the following: parenting, space, science, technology, music, martial arts, education, environmentalism, art and multimedia production, self-improvement, progressive politics and entrepreneurship. For me personally, one of the greatest aspects of creating Phoenix And Phriends has been the ability to combine two of my favorite things, spending time with my son and doing creative work. From the beginning it has been my stated position that even if the audience for show remains relatively limited, as has been the case for all of my previous projects, it will have been well worth the effort. The fun that we are having, and the memories that we are creating together will be something that Phoenix and I can share as long as we live. That having been said, I am unapologetic about my seemingly grandiose vision of the possibility that the show might gain sufficient popularity to become a means of livelihood for Phoenix, myself, and our family. In my view, the best way of accomplishing this is to insure that we provide our audience with content that is substantively educational, socially responsible, and highly entertaining. For our audience members who care enough to dig deeper than the 29 minutes of the show itself, and do things like reading the blog, visiting the soon to be built website, and engaging with us in other ways, I want to find ways of rewarding their efforts by enhancing their lives with truly useful and life enhancing information. This will be an enormous undertaking, to be sure, and one which I eagerly anticipate. In the past I have often struggled with the relationship between art and commerce. Both my progressive values and my sometimes narcissistic creative process have often made me uncomfortable with the concept of actually being financially compensated for creative work. Becoming a father has been a life transforming event, and has caused me to re think many of my methods and motives. I can not expect an audience to reward me for simply attempting to dazzle them with idiosyncrasy. People need art which actually serves to inspire, inform and truly entertain. If Phoenix and I can provide that kind of creation, in a sustainable manner, consistent with the values with which he is being raised, I feel confident that our audience will provide us with the means to continue to grow and truly thrive. Thank you for taking the time to pay attention. We’ll do our best to make it worth your while.