All the people like us are ‘we’, and everyone else is ‘they’

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I do enjoy chatting with fellow survivalists. There are two or three that I communicate with back and forth in email and it’s always very satisfying and enjoyable. What makes it such a pleasure, other than us being, basically, on the same page is that it also helps to make me feel like I’m not unique and ‘strange’ or ‘out there’… there are people who think that my concerns and actions are perfectly reasonable. I like that feeling of…I dunno…validation?

It isn’t always that way, though. See, everyone has a different flavor of apocalypse. And everyone, when it comes to their particular flavor, is a remarkably fussy eater. For example, the Peak Oil guys are quick to attribute everything to Peak Oil (which, much like how Global Cooling morphed into Global Warming and is now simply the much more vague Climate Change, has undergone some brand retooling)… water wars? Its because Peak Oil makes transporting water too expensive. Food prices up? It’s because Peak Oil makes farming more expensive. Neighbors dog got into the chickens? Peak oil.

I shouldn’t give the Peak Oil guys too much grief….my own particular flavor of apocalypse is probably scoffed at by other parts of the survivalist demographic. But…my point is that it’s always nice when you have ‘out of the ordinary’ interests/beliefs/concerns to get to interact with other ‘like minded individuals’ so you don’t feel so isolated or alienated.

I was thinking about that today as I was restocking the rice containers in the kitchen. As of late I’ve been going through a lot of rice, mostly to use it up and also out of a renewed sense of thrift since there’s a new alternator sitting at the curb with an old car attached to it. Anyway, I was scooping out the last of a five-gallon bucket of rice and I was thinking what it must feel like to have that moment where you see the bottom of the barrel (literally) and think ‘thats it…we’re outta food’.

Of course, in my case that just means opening up another five-gallon pail. But how many people keep multiple five-gallon buckets of food on-hand? For years? Not many, I’d wager. But when I encounter other people who do that sort of thing, I feel much more comfortable with myself. Go figure.

I’m relatively active on a bunch of discussion forums. Some as Commander Zero, some as other anonymous names, but I really enjoy reading other people’s experiences and ideas about preparedness. It really helps to lessen the feeling that I’m the only one who thinks this way and, therefore, somehow I’m abnormal or not quite right.

So…let’s ask an interesting question: not counting spouses or relatives, how many survivalists do you frequently interact with in real life.. not over the internet, not on discussion boards, but in genuine “Hey, you wanna go to the range/gun show/Mormon cannery/backapacking store?” fashion?

How many other ‘outted’ survivalists (meaning people that you know for a fact are survivalists) do you socialize or hang out with in real life (spouses and siblings DO NOT COUNT)?
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    An example of the ‘loaner’ or ‘disposable’ gun

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    Tam very nicely linked back to this post and opined in her blog:

    But say you wind up with a friend or family member who suddenly finds themselves in a life circumstance where they realize that they need a better way to protect themselves than 911? A crazy ex, a stalker, a neighbor making threats, or just one of those violent criminal incidents that happens close enough to home to be a wake-up call…

    If you’re the “gun person” in your family or social circle, this has probably happened to you at least once already. Lately, seeing the occasional sub-$300 fire sale prices on Smith & Wesson Shields and SD9s, I’ve more than once thought about buying one to set aside for just this sort of occasion. “In case of crisis, remove unfired-in-box gat from safe.”

    And no sooner had that post hit the light of day than my vehicle decided that it’s alternator had had enough of this mortal coil (get it? ‘Coil’?) and shuffled off to wherever dead car parts go. As a result, my vehicle very inconveniently puttered to a stop. In front of the homeless shelter.

    Joy.

    So, I called a buddy of mine to come help me push it off the road because I really didn’t want to ask the whiskey-for-breakfast crowd for a hand. My mood was already several orders of magnitude into the red zone and it wouldn’t have taken much to release some pressure in an unprofessional manner. So my buddy shows up and asks how long till the tow truck arrives. “Two hours”, I reply. He looks over at the homeless milling around aimlessly, goes back to his truck, and pulls a beater Beretta 96 out from under the seat. “Wanna borrow this until the tow truck gets here?”, he asks. I thanked him and told him me and my G19 were just fine. But…here’s the big takeaway from that: because he had what amounted to a ‘disposable’ or ‘beater’ or ‘truck gun’ available he was able to offer it to someone else. And a scenario like that is precisely why we have extras, and extras on top of extras – because someday a friend, family member, or other person you care about might be in a bad position and in this way you can offer them assistance. And thats not just guns, guys…. that could be food, ammo, batteries, money, or any host of other things that, when you don’t have it and really need it, are really important.

    This is a big distinction from charity. Charity is generalized giving out of some sense of moral or religious imperative or duty. I generally don’t suffer from this particular quality, so my generosity is a bit more selfish – I give to those that add a value to my life, or I give for the satisfaction I get from the act of giving. It may seem like that’s a difference with no distinction, but I see a distinction. I suppose the greatest distinction, for me, is that charity often comes across as an obligation and I am extremely opposed to obligations being forced upon me rather than they being voluntarily assumed.

    On a side note, I had my Bag Of Tricks with me as well as my mountain bike sitting in the back of the vehicle so I could very easily have left the area and made it back to base with minimal inconvenience…if I was willing to just abandon the vehicle, which was not called for at that point.

    Watergun: grips

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    Set of grip screws arrived today. Had some cheesey plastic P35 grips laying around, so no extra cost there. Also had a couple crappy USA Brand P35 mags sitting around that I never got around to throwing out. (USA mags are unbelievably worthless.) Took the followers out and put them into he mags that rose form the depths with the Watergun. Result: functioning magazines.So, all thats left is replace the parts for the rear sight and get the gun coated with something.

    Must. Not. Buy.

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    Ok, Crom as my witness I am done buying Ruger P95DC’s. I unexpectedly won not one but two auctions last week. That’s a pretty hard punch to the wallet to roll with. So….no more. Done. Finito. Inventory says I’ve got.. well…a bunch. Since my policy is usually to never sell a gun except to purchase another one, I suppose I should remove some of the P89 and P95 non-decocker variants to make room for the two on the way.

    In my defense, though, the last one I purchased for $200 plus shipping was virtually untouched, with box and docs:

    For a pistol platform that is a tertiary level of backup, I really might have gone overboard. But…a quality, reliable, inexpensive, and somewhat semi-disposable handgun is really not a bad thing to have squirreled away for that Rainy Decade. And, quite honestly, for $200 I cannot fathom a better handgun choice….certainly it is leaps and bounds a better choice than any -arov handgun, and it certainly beats, IMHO, a HiPoint. Remember, guys – after the end of the world there will be no award handed out for the person who managed to make it through the apocalypse with the cheapest gear. Yeah, you could go through Katrina with a Mosin-Nagant and a Makarov…. but why would you? Anyone whose aspirations exceed working as a WalMart greeter can come up with better materiels than that.

    If someone I cared about showed up on my doorstep with not much more than the clothes on their back, I like to think I’d be able to gear them up in a manner that would not embarrass or shame me.Guns such as this one allow me to do just that. On the other hand, I have, literally, no people I  am close to who do not already have enough guns in their own stashes to do this sort of thing. But Fate is a fickle and unpredictable thing…so you never know.

    Is this a likelihood? Probably not. But I feel better when I have extra guns in the safe, and (normally) I can afford to pick them up every once in a while. And, like the stash of freeze drieds, a couple of these will get packaged for the Deep Sleep and wind up at the Beta Site. Since these stupid things are, relatively, so cheap it isn’t like there’s a tremendous opportunity cost.

    Overkill? Meh…maybe. But I think differently about these sorts of things than most humans. I tend to overthink things. For example, if I have a friend or relative that I visit out of state, I can afford to stash one of these there for my use while I’m there and not have to deal with the hassle of flying with a pistol.

    My reckoning says I’ve about 25 years left on my meter, and if I were unable to buy any more guns after tomorrow I think I’d be pretty okay…not happy…but okay.

    The good news for you? You guys will no longer be bidding against me on GunBroker for these things.

    Magazines

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    There’s a ratio of magazine:gun that makes me feel comfortable. For a pistol that I plan on shooting and having as an integral part of my long-term plans, I like to have a ratio of at least 20:1. For rifles, thats more like 40:1. That’s not an unattainable goal and, in my opinion, it’s a realistic quantity of magazines if you operate under the guide of “will what I have right now last me the rest of my life if I can’t get any more?”

    Having acquired recently two Ruger PC9 carbines that take P-series magazines, my ratio of mags:guns took a bit of a hit. So…off to GunBroker……

    Once in a blue moon I can find someone selling a bunch of Ruger mags as a single lot. (Which is how this absurd collection of P-series pistols got started.) I just happen to stumble across someone selling a fistful of law-enforcement restricted P-series mags and, since the guns aren’t exactly terribly popular, managed to nail them down for $100 for the lot…or $12.50@. Good deal for gen-u-ine Ruger mags.

    Although it’s not something we usually think about, mags are a consumable. They are disposable. They have a limited usage life compared to the pistol. The person who say “Oh, I’ve got five mags for Beretta 92…I’m all set!” is a short-sighted, ignorant, and unimaginative fool. I’ve covered this elsewhere so i won’t rehash it here, but it’s really hard to have too many spare mags.

    Anyway, these will get distributed amongs the pistols, and a couple pistol mag pouches will be set aside for the carbines. And, unless a smoking deal comes along, I think I’ll be pretty much done on this particular front.

     

    Floodings

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    Between rain and snowmelt, western Montana…esp my little area of it…is experiencing a rather heavy amount of flooding. Rivers are way, way up and low-lying (or is it low-laying?) parts of town are underwater. Fortunately, I live in an are that is pretty much immune to such things. The city would have to be several feet deep in water across its breadth before I’d have to worry.

    Nonetheless, it’s a good example of how when you purchase your little chunk of paradise you really need to investigate all the possible threats. “Oh, it only floods once every 200 years” is not as good as “it never floods here”. In addition to floods, you need to think about things like forest fires, rockslides, avalanches, wind storms. and a few other donkey punches Mom Nature likes to administer.

    Oh, sure…you can build resilient housing, but better to not be in the path of the train rather than develop a train-proof suit.

    On the bright side, the homeless camps (and hopefully some of the homeless) were completely washed away as the river rose about a dozen feet higher than normal. Folks downstream will be inundated with sleeping bags and tents when this thing finally dies down.

    In the meantime, I’m just watching it all for the entertainment value. But I kinda did wanna go shooting this weekend and the rain is spoiling that.

    Making room

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    I’ve another Ruger P95DC coming in and, honestly, I need to make some room for it in my wallet and gun safe by retiring out one of the other Rugers. So…if you want a Ruger P89 that was owned and shot by yours truly, there’s an auction up on GunBroker as we speak. Condition is good, with some bluing wear and some scuffing and whatnot around the triggerguard where some idiot put a wire hang tag on it. But, I’ve shot this thing and it’s as reliable a sunrise. I’ve taken it apart, cleaned and oiled everything, function checked it, and generally made sure it would be ready for that big day when all that stands between you making history and you becoming history is a reliable 9mm pistol.

    Go. Bid. And know that your selfless actions will translate into a greater good for..well…me.

    Politics and volcanoes

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    In typical fashion, Montana pretty much skipped spring and dove straight into summer. Summer means time to do some outdoorsy things like shoot, fish, shoot, hike, shoot, hunt, and maybe shoot some more.

    Unfortunately, I am busier than I care to be. I’ve three jobs/business concerns going on and an educational obligation that takes time. But I really, really want to just spend an entire day being lazy at the range and shooting rifles.

    Midterm elections are coming up and I was discussing them with someone. We both agreed that the notion that the midterm elections will be a weathervane on national mood. I wonder if political polsters and pundits will have learned their lesson from the last election. I am of the opinion that the people in the last election who went to the polls quietly and avoided/lied to pollsters will be out in even larger numbers. My track record for political predictions is pretty awful, but I think the left whines about their ‘resistance’ but isn’t as motivated to actually get out there and vote as the right. We shall see.

    I watched Trump’s speech the other day on pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. While watching that, I also watched a monitor showing live market and metals prices. A few twitches here and there but no real big changes. Either no one was surprised by his actions, or no one really thinks it was a bad idea.

    This has been an utterly fascinating presidency so far. There are things I don’t like about Trump but it’s hard to disagree that he really does make stuff happen. He’s not my ideal president, but he’s a lot closer to it than that entitled harpie he ran against.

    . =============

    Talking about politics is a guaranteed way for me to get frustrated. Swithcing gears…

    You see Hawaii is having a little episode at the moment? Here’s a question that I never knew the answer to until recently. Lets say you own a piece of beachfront property in Hawaii. A flow of lava rolls across your property to the sea. As it rolls into the sea it cools and, bsically, becomes new land. Who owns that land? First person to go file a claim or stick a flag in it? Nope. As it turns out, it belongs to the state. I suppose I should have expected that given Hawaii’s fabulously left-leaning policies.

    Volcanoes are fascinating players in disaster planning…while you know where the volcano is sitting, you usually don’t know when it’s going to go off. Oh, sure, there are signs but sometimes they go off like a nuke and no one was really expecting it. The Yellowstone supervolcano is always a topic of conversation and speculation when you talk about this sort of thing. I suppose if there’s a volcano anywhere in the continental US that’s likely to go, it’ll be there.

    Other than a full tank of gas and a map showing three alternate routes, I’m not sure how you’d best prepare for a volcano. Staying put is probably out of the question. I suppose splitting up your supplies and being ready to completely abandon your location on a few hours notice is all you can do.

     

    Thunderboomers

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    We had quite the blow yesterday. I was lounging in the yard on my laptop, trying to get some academic nonsense sorted, and enjoying the over cast weather. It got a bit windy and I saw those clouds. The kind that look like theyre cascading over each other like water. Either way, it was time to pack it up and head inside. Sure enough, fifteen minutes later the wind picks up and starts doing its thing.

    We had a really nasty blow come through in August of 2015. This wasn’t as bad but I sat on the porchand watched the rain come down and could hear a couple transformers pop off in the distance. Fully expected the power to go out but it stayed on. At least, on my side of the street it did. The guy across the street had a tree come down in his yard and land on the powerline. That side of the street is without power until the power company works it’s chainsaw magic.

    Me, I was content to listen to the police radio and watch the tree limbs come tumbling down. Why should I worry? Loss of electricity is only a minor inconvenience in this household. But thats what preparedness is about – being able to not be exposed to as much risk as might otherwise occur.

    Tomorrow will be cleanup since there;s dead branches everywhere, but all in all, a quiet  little non-disaster. These summery thunderboomers sure leave a mess behind. Reminds me, I need to get the generator out and run it for a little while. It’s been several months since the last run so I really should get that taken care of.

    Words have meanings

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    Listening to late-night talk radio, especially some of the more…offbeat…programs (looking at you, Geo. Noory) can really mess with your head. On the one hand, the forecast is for economic depression or massive hyperinflation and if you don’t move your money out of currency and into metals you are doomed…doomed! And then there’s an upcoming global disaster that will lead to famine…unless you stock up on food now! But not before the powers that be decide to enact a scheme to repeal your second amendment rights….so get out here and buy guns and ammo!

    I don’t know which is worse, the emotional whiplash or the financial whiplash.

    I was having a discussion with a classmate today. He said that todays generation will be less successful than the previous one.  I said that without establishing a baseline of what ‘successful’ meant, the conversation was pointless. His grandfather fled the Nazis and got out of Europe with just the clothes on his bank and not a penny to his name. We both agreed that would probably, to him, qualify as ‘success’. The generation after that? Probably saw raising good kids and having a job as success. That led to the question – what did we think success was?

    I can’t speak for anyone else but me….to me, success is safety and security. Having constructed a system , or series of systems, to minimize my exposure to risk and harm and having those systems in place and effective…thats success to me. What does that system look like? It looks like a life without debt, some marketable skills, a paid house, with cash in the bank, gold in the safe, guns on the wall, food in the pantry, fuel in the cans, heat in the winter, and good health. I would say I’m a success if I could stop what I’m doing right this second and not have to worry about any of my needs being met for a year.

    It’s different for everybody, of course….folks with kids might say that success is raising your kids to adulthood and having them turn out to be fine adults. Or some folks (notably Gyno-Americans) might judge success by how their relationships with other people are. And, of course, a lot of folks figure success is measured by your bottom line.

    I’m not saying any of that is true or not. I’m simply pointing out that when you say ‘success’ it’s pretty good odds that what you think of as ‘success’ may be different than someone (or everyone) else. Nothing wrong with that, though.

    Speaking of words having meanings, we throw around terms like ‘collapse’ or ‘end of the world’ but we never really specify what constitutes that sort of thing. Here’s a very interesting piece on how we define ‘collapse’:

    And that’s why I hate using the words “civil war” and “collapse”, because they’re not specific. Whenever I read the words “societal collapse” or “economic collapse”, I wonder: collapse to what level? 100% collapse? 50% collapse? (Even a 25% collapse in employment and living standards is going to cause significant problems.) One could argue that we’re witnessing a societal collapse right now — a collapse of established, normative sociopolitical behavior and attitudes. It might be more accurate and specific to say that we’ve entered into a period of societal decline, but it only goes to show just how vague the word “collapse” actually is.

    RTWT, it’s quite interesting. Words have meanings, and when you talk to someone about something as important as preparedness it’s a good idea to make sure that you both know exactly what you mean when you say things like ‘collapse’.
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    Fun ‘gotta share this’ .jpg for the day:

     

    Words have meanings

    Listening to late-night talk radio, especially some of the more…offbeat…programs (looking at you, Geo. Noory) can really mess with your head. On the one hand, the forecast is for economic depression or massive hyperinflation and if you don’t move your money out of currency and into metals you are doomed…doomed! And then there’s an upcoming global disaster that will lead to famine…unless you stock up on food now! But not before the powers that be decide to enact a scheme to repeal your second amendment rights….so get out here and buy guns and ammo!

    I don’t know which is worse, the emotional whiplash or the financial whiplash.

    I was having a discussion with a classmate today. He said that todays generation will be less successful than the previous one.  I said that without establishing a baseline of what ‘successful’ meant, the conversation was pointless. His grandfather fled the Nazis and got out of Europe with just the clothes on his bank and not a penny to his name. We both agreed that would probably, to him, qualify as ‘success’. The generation after that? Probably saw raising good kids and having a job as success. That led to the question – what did we think success was?

    I can’t speak for anyone else but me….to me, success is safety and security. Having constructed a system , or series of systems, to minimize my exposure to risk and harm and having those systems in place and effective…thats success to me. What does that system look like? It looks like a life without debt, some marketable skills, a paid house, with cash in the bank, gold in the safe, guns on the wall, food in the pantry, fuel in the cans, heat in the winter, and good health. I would say I’m a success if I could stop what I’m doing right this second and not have to worry about any of my needs being met for a year.

    It’s different for everybody, of course….folks with kids might say that success is raising your kids to adulthood and having them turn out to be fine adults. Or some folks (notably Gyno-Americans) might judge success by how their relationships with other people are. And, of course, a lot of folks figure success is measured by your bottom line.

    I’m not saying any of that is true or not. I’m simply pointing out that when you say ‘success’ it’s pretty good odds that what you think of as ‘success’ may be different than someone (or everyone) else. Nothing wrong with that, though.

    Speaking of words having meanings, we throw around terms like ‘collapse’ or ‘end of the world’ but we never really specify what constitutes that sort of thing. Here’s a very interesting piece on how we define ‘collapse’:

    And that’s why I hate using the words “civil war” and “collapse”, because they’re not specific. Whenever I read the words “societal collapse” or “economic collapse”, I wonder: collapse to what level? 100% collapse? 50% collapse? (Even a 25% collapse in employment and living standards is going to cause significant problems.) One could argue that we’re witnessing a societal collapse right now — a collapse of established, normative sociopolitical behavior and attitudes. It might be more accurate and specific to say that we’ve entered into a period of societal decline, but it only goes to show just how vague the word “collapse” actually is.

    RTWT, it’s quite interesting. Words have meanings, and when you talk to someone about something as important as preparedness it’s a good idea to make sure that you both know exactly what you mean when you say things like ‘collapse’.
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    Fun ‘gotta share this’ .jpg for the day:

     

    Pistol caliber carbines

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    Pistol caliber carbines – Where do you stand?
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      Watergun: parts arrival

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      As best I can tell, the missing parts to get the gun ‘shootable’ were a sear, sear pin, and firing pin retaining plate. In other words, these:

      I am not a gunsmith by any stretch of the imagination…thats one of the reasons I shoot Glocks – you don’t ‘smith them, you just swap parts. At this point it looks like nothing needs fitting, which is good. But..the proof is in the function. We’ll get to that later. Alright…lets grab a punch, YouTube some disassembly/assembly videos, and get crackin’.

      And once thats done…lets hand-cycle it, check the safety and trigger, and just generally play with it. It may look like the slide is a bit stiff but whats actually happening is that I’m trying to rack the slide without moving the gun or my hands out of the frame. Think its easy? Try it sometime.

      Watergun update

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      Needs sear, sear pin, firing pin retaining plate, grips screw, rear sight spring, rear sight elevation screw.

      That looks like about it. However, that does not mean some of the extant parts shouldn’t be replaced. The ejector should probably get replaced, and I should play it safe and replace all springs. Let’s see if we can just get the bloody thing assembled first. Interestingly, I can buy entire complete top ends for this thing for about $200 and just use the frame. But…I rather like the Been There Done That look.

      So far I’ve got the plate, sear, and sear pin on the way for about $67 total so far.

      In the meantime, the recoil assembly works, the magazine release works, the slide stop works, and the mainspring/hammer assembly work. Still looks like The Last Browning Out Of Pompeii though.

      Article – Missing Oregon trucker emerges from wilderness after 4 days

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      GPS = Gets People Stranded

      LA GRANDE, Ore. — A trucker who was missing for four days in a snow-covered part of Oregon after his GPS mapping device sent him up the wrong road walked 36 miles (58 kilometers) and emerged safely Saturday from a remote and rugged region of the state.

      Im an advocate of Stay With The Vehicle… especially when the vehicle has 48′ of pallets of junk food to keep you fed. But…this guy marched out on his own, without taking any of the potato chips he was hauling, makes it back to his freaking house, and is sitting on the couch relaxing when his wife comes home from the sheriffs office where theyre coordinating a search-and-rescue.

      Glad it worked out for him, but I’ll stay with the vehicle.

       

      Codename: Watergun

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      A friend came by today to show me something interesting and slightly upsetting:

      Ooohhh, thats not right! Nooo…..

      It’s a Belgian P35 (or ‘Hipower’ to you), circa 1971, that was retrieved from the waters of Lake Michigan. The lake it is said, never gives up her dead….but guns are totally different matter. Anyway..it’s mine now.

      Condition is about what you’d expect but…the internal surfaces are surprisingly good. Barrel isn’t bad, and the deep pitting is mostly on non-critical surfaces. I think…I might try getting the missing the parts and getting this thing up and running. (And shooting it from a tire with a long string.)

      First thing I need to do is make up a spreadhseet of all the parts necessary to make a P35 and then see what I have and what I’m going to have to find. Once thats done, if it proves safe to shoot, I’ll send it off and cerakote the holy crap out of it.

      The story, I am told fourth-hand, is that this gun and the mags came out of a diving episode in Lake Michigan a few years ago. The gun ‘had the rust removed’ which, judging by the lack of wire brush marks and the thoroughness, must have been done using electrolysis. The gun was disassembled, apparently, for the process and some parts are clearly missing. I managed to put the recoil assembly together, get it into the slide and , after  applying a tablespoon of CLP to the whole mess, got it sliding on to the frame, and then it seemed to cycle by hand just fine. Promising.

      It also came with three what-used-to-be magazines. Now, thats a bit odd. See, if someone dropped this thing over the side off the boat doesn’t it seem odd that there’s be two spare magazines that fell over with it and made it all the way to the bottom lying next to it? Way I see it, the mags come with the gun for only two reasons: they were all in the same backpack/duffel when it was lost/tossed over the side or it was all on the same Sam Browne of whatever poor schmuck decided to breathe water. The mags will, I think, with new springs and some beadblast be just fine.

      So….interesting project that I anticipate will take a year or two to wrap up since I’m going to try and do this with used parts inexpensively sourced off GunBroker and eBay. If it works out, it’ll be a gun with a great story.

       

      Stuff that you really don’t wanna DIY in the apocalypse

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      There’s a scene in the novel “The Postman” where the main character mentions that there is a ranching community that rallies around it’s doctor and protects him at all costs. Since it’s the end of the world, that makes perfect sense. (and, yes, I’m aware of “Where there is no dentist”)

      Having just spent the last three hours in a dental chair so I can eat food again, I hereby add ‘dentists’ to that list of People I Will Look Out For In The Apocalypse.

      Hot dental hygienists are 50/50 depending on how we’re doing on food.

      I hate going o the dentist, but it’s a necessary suffering. Some people seem to enjoy it though….

      Fenix E11/E12

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      A number of years ago I was in REI and, as I was waiting in line for the checkout, there was a bin of closeout merchandise. On a whim I picked up a small LED flashlight and have been mightily impressed with it ever since.

      The flashlight, a Fenix E11, has been supplanted by the newer E12 model which features a tap switch on the tailcap to adjust brightness levels. In pretty much all other regards, its the same as the E11.

      When I got started in survivalism, the go-to flashlight was the MagLite. Big, beefy, and built for cracking skulls it was pretty much everyone’s first choice. Time goes by and with the development of LED technology we now have pocket flashlights that put out more light using AA batteries than the old-style MagLites ever did with D batteries.

      When you really go all in and decide to get some top of the line photon blasters you often wind up at SureFire (or, to a lesser degree, Streamlight). SureFire is great stuff and I have a bunch of their weaponlights….but they are spendy. On the other hand, if you want to go all ‘poverty prepper’ and grab a fistful of $1 LED flashlights from a plastic fishbowl in the checkout line at WalMart….well, thats great for looking for the keys you dropped behind your desk but durability might be an issue.

      SO…middle of the road – durable and efficient enough to withstand use and abuse, cheap enough that if you lose it you’re not heartbroken, but not so cheap that when you need it there’s a 50/50 shot it won’t work. As I discovered, this little light fits the bill perfectly.

      How much do I like and recommend? Well, putting my money where my mouth is:

      I keep several of these things because theyre so dang handy. Let’s hit the high points:

      Battery compatibility – my battery logistics call for only three batteries: AA, D, and CR123. This light takes one AA battery, making it compact and efficient. I’ve taken to using rechargeable Eneloops for devices I foresee changing batteries in regularly. I do this for economics…I’ll use the rechargeables and save the stored lithium AA’s for when it really counts. Battery life seems pretty good. I change the battery out every month just to keep things at maximum efficiency.

      Output – Advertised is about 115 lumens. For indoor use I find it to be amazingly bright. Outdoors its pretty good for the immediate area but it’s not a long-distance light…thats where the LED 3D MagLite comes in handy. The older E11 has two brightness settings, toggled by twisting the head of the light. The lower setting is perfect for close-in work like reading notes, ro doing work with your hands as you hold the light in your mouth. The E12 uses a tap switch on the tailcap to go through a couple different brightness settings.

      Size – Perfect size for keeping in your pants pocket. I carry one around as my ‘everyday carry’ pocket junk and do not find it to be the least bit obtrusive. (But I do find it amazingly handy.)

      Survivability – It’s gone through the washing machine, been dropped on concrete, sat on, rolled off tables, and has not flickered once. Theres a small attachment point for a lanyard and I highly recommend using a lanyard to keep the light attached to your gear in such a way as to allow you to find it in a hurry. I  keep one in my pack with the lanyard attached to a little plastic carabiner so I can find it in total darkness.

      If I had the money, I’d have a pocketful of SureFire but, in practice, I really haven’t felt ‘undergunned’ with this thing as far as pocket lights go. I would definitely take it over the AA MiniMag light or some discount bin special. For the particular niche that I bought these for (compact, pocket-size, affordable, personal light that I can carry everyday) they are darn near perfect. Highly recommended.

      Ruger PC9…the original

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      Where there’s a will (and poor impulse control) there’s a way.

      I’ve been wanting an original Ruger PC9 for several years now. They discontinued them a few years back and the prices skyrocketed. It was getting to the point that all the ones I found on GunBroker were traveling at an altitude of about $800-1000. This is simply stupid money for a carbine that virtually no one bought when it first came out, is simple blowback, and takes a proprietary magazine for a gun that is most commonly found in gun buyback bins and evidence lockers.

      But..I wanted one.

      I figured that with the reintroduction of the greatly evolved version of the PC9 the prices for the original ones might go down. It appears they have. This particular carbine, with one soon-to-be-thrown-away USA Brand magazine, was $500. Now, for $75 less I could have bought a brand new Ruger PC9 takedown that takes Glock magazines. So..why this original one? Well, mostly because I’ve a dozen P-series 9mm’s tucked away in the safe and I want a carbine to go with them. I think that two pistols, the carbine, half a case of ammo, a dozen magazines, a couple holsters, a cleaning kit, and some other support gear will fit nicely in a Pelican case to tuck away somewhere for that (very) rainy day.

      I still very much plan on getting the new PC9 takedown carbines, especially since they use Glock mags and would therefore make an excellent companion to my Glock pistols. But getting the original carbine was on my list and the opportunity finally came together.

      It is interesting to note that despite the small size of the carbine, it is deceptively heavy. Not surprising since it is, basically, just a modern version of the Winchester Model 1907….with a rather large counterweight housed in the forend of the gun. In fact, looking at exploded diagrams between the two, it’s hard not to think someone at Ruger might have played with the 1907 and thought “Time for a reboot”.

      By the way, for you youngun’s out there, Marlin also had their hat in the ring with a pistol-mag-compatible carbine…the Camp 9 and Camp 45. The former took S&W mags and the latter took 1911 mags. One guess which model commands big bucks today. They were great guns, with Old-Marlin quality, but had a slight design flaw where, once the plastic buffer at the back of the stock ate itself from use, the reciprocation of the bolt beat the stock to pieces. (Aftermarket buffers are available.) After replacing a ton of stocks under warranty, and with the Assault Weapons ban coming in, Marlin dropped both guns. The 9mm turn up far more frequently than the .45 ACP….people hold onto those things with both hands.

      As long as we’re flogging this particular deceased equine, I’ll also point that in the last twenty years we’ve had a handful of other pistol-caliber carbines that took popular(ish) handgun mags…incudingbut not limited to: KelTec, JR Carbine, HiPoint, Spanish ‘Destroyer’, Beretta, a handful of AR-ish 9mms that took Glock mags, and a host of pistol-to-carbine conversions.

      But…while some of those are better than the Ruger, none of them take the same magazine as the Ruger…and that’s the bell I was trying to ring.

      Spec-Ops closeout

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      I loves me a bargain. Being a survivalist is a resource-intensive lifestyle when you’re getting started. Once you’v been at it a while, and gotten the major purchasing sprees out of the way, it’s really just a little hear-and-there upgrades and ‘nice to have’s. The guys at Spec-Ops are having a closeout on two products that I’ve found to be quite good. They are:

      A three-mag MOLLE/PALS panel in your choice of camo for $12.50

      And a very nice knife scabbard in either brown/coyote/whatever-the-new-term-for-desert-is or the hideous ACU for $11.25.

      I have an extra G3 bayonet without a scabbard laying around, so this sheath is perfect for finding a home for that bayonet and keeping it with the bag of G3 support gear.

      I’ve used the Spec-Ops stuff for years and have been extremely pleased. It’s American-made (unlike Maxpedition and most Blackhawk gear), seems pretty durable, and is pretty basic no-frills stuff. I’ve been carrying their messenger bag as a bookbag to school for the last two years and have had absolutely no issues with it. I’ve been using their discontinued SOB buttpacks (make your own joke) for the last decade and found them remarkably rugged and durable.

      Their designs are, for the most part, unimaginative but the quality and price is pretty hard to beat. And at closeout prices, even better.

      You spent how much????

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      TIme for you to play with my poll……

      Whaddya think you spend on average per year on stuff to advance your level of preparedness?’On average’…so if you bought a BOV this year, thats not really part of the average unless you buy one every year, capice? And we’re talking items specifically towards your level of preparedness. ‘Dual use’ stuff doesn’t count…think of it this way, it’s specifically an item you bought for preparedness if you wouuldn’t have bought it otherwise.

      How much do you spend per year on things that you would consider specifically purchased to advance your level of preparedness?
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        Patriots Day and 25th anniversary of Waco atrocity

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        ‘Tis Patriots Day!

        You know what to do, you know where to do it! Get out there!


        —————

        It is also the 25th anniversary of the ATFE burning down a building full of women and kids in Waco Texas. This utterly inexcusable atrocity was the impetus for ‘militia movement’ that the 90’s was known for. To this day there are still a lot of unanswered questions from Waco. It continues to serve as an excellent reminder of what government can do when it wants to. As a result of this incident, and the Oklahoma City Bombing several years later, April 19 is a day of extra caution in some government agencies.

        The classic survivalist’s dilema

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        I had the weirdest dream last night (brought to me by some spicy chicken and rice, no doubt). I dreamed (or dreamt, I guess) that I was visiting a fellow survivalists place and he said i could stay in the guest house out back. Problem was, the place was lousy with grizzly bears and I thought ‘No problem, I have this handy PTR-91 in .308. I’ll just do a mag dump into the first one that gets in my way.’ And then I discovered that the magazine was empty. Awkward. After that it was hide-n-seek with three amazingly large grizzly bears.

        This is the first dream I’ve ever had involving the usual gun problem (gun not working, bullets not having an effect, etc.) and the threat being an animal, instead of zombies or people.
        ==================

        There are several problems for those of us who want to live the preparedness/survivalist lifestyle. One of the biggest is the often-at-odds-with-each-other desire to live someplace remote and quiet but still have a job/career to pay for it. Succinctly, the classic survivalist dilema is how do you live far enough out to have the security and privacy you want while still living close enough in to have a job?

        Virtually all the survivalists I know who live in the ‘perfect’ locations are all either a) retired, b) made enough money to live off investments, or c) live a life of desperate poverty.

        I’m far from being able to retire, my investments don’t provide enough to live on, and I’ve gotten rather used to hot water on demand and not crapping in a compost toilet. As a result, for the time being, I live in an environment that is not 100% conducive to The Lifestyle..the big deficiency being that I live in a fairly large population center. Oh, compared to San Francisco or Chicago it’s darn near a podunk small town, but it’s still too many rats in one cage for my taste.

        Telecommuting? Well, thats wonderfully attractive but those sorts of gigs are few and far between. And, its something of a risk since if you lose your job you are now sitting in the middle of nowhere with no job and a greatly reduced prospect of finding another one given your remote location.

        Alternatives? Well, I suppose the first thing is to lower your expectations. Don’t think that youre going to live at the end of a five mile gated road in the middle of nowhere and make $50,000 a year doing engineering consulting over the internet. After that, it seems the best compromise is to live in an area where you’re close enough to the smallest population center that will still provide you a living, but still small-townish enough to give you the isolation you’re after.

        Let me give you an example of what I mean… in the town I live in, someone doing, say, a welding or diesel repair gig for a large company in this town can knock back around $40k. But…you have to live fairly close by to keep your commute realistic…as a result, you live in a populous place and your cost of living is commensurately higher. SO, you pack up the kids and move to some ‘Northern Exposure‘ type of small town. Your earning potential takes a heavy hit of 35-50%, but your cost of living offsets a bit of that since the expenses are a little cheaper. But an AR15 is still about $750 no matter if you live in the big city or the small town, so you’re going to have to lower your expectations of your purchasing power, or you’re going to have to work twice as hard to earn the same as if you’d remained in Big City.

        There is another alternative I’ve seen where you have someone from someplace like California, New York, Chicago, Denver, etc, sell their home(s) and move out here. They usually wind up getting the same size home or bigger for about half the money and then use the other half to either set themselves up in a business, or invest it and live off the dividends. That has usually worked out fairly well in the instances I’ve come across it.

        And, finally, I’ve met at least two people who did it the old-fashioned way – they worked like mules in The Big City for as much as possible, sucked it up for a few years, and then hit the EJECT button and relocated here.

        I suspect at some point in the future I’ll be in the group of ‘moved to smaller town and earns less but improves quality of life’. In a perfect world I’d stick a million bucks in the bank, live off the dividends and interest, and have my quiet little place out in the sticks. But if you’re going to try for that sort of thing, you need to have started much, much more earlier than I have.

        Frickin’ lasers!

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        Some people like them for the ‘intimidation factor’…the idea that the bad guy sees the little red dot sitting on his sternum and he suddenly decides it’s time for a career change. Others say its a crutch for poor marksmanship. And some day it’s just another gimmicky geegaw that’ll go Tango uniform when you need it most.

        Assuming we are talking about daytime visible lasers (‘Red dot”) rather than IR lasers that are used with night vision.

        What say you, hive mind?

        Weapons mounted lasers (as opposed to mounted laser weapons):
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          Admin – Fifteen years of blogging

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          It is, approximately, the 15 year birthday of the blog today. Fifteen years is a long time. The natural impulse is to look back but there’s a lot in there I’d just as soon not dwell on. Oh, sure, good and bad….but but it’s never an even mix. People..good and bad, experiences…good and bad.

          Initially the blog was simply a space on LiveJournal that I had for posting about preparedness. Then, for a very short while, I tried HTML’ing my own website that incorporated the blog. Then I switched to WordPress and it’s been that way ever since. While WordPress has been a pretty stable platform over the years (knock on wood), I cannot say as much about some of the hosting services I’ve used. (The moral of that story, by the way, is that if you have a blog that you’re fond of running….back that sucker up frequently.)

          Originally, the blog wasn’t about disseminating preparedness info, rather it was about what I was doing in my life for my own preparedness. Notes to myself about things I needed to get, or my impressions of various gear and guns that I’d picked up. From day one, the blog was really just a sort of journal to keep track of my experiences and thoughts on preparedness. Things evolve and while it still is mostly about me and my efforts, there’s also a strong undercurrent of ‘hey, you should take a look at this.’

          One fascinating aspect of having been doing this for this long is that I can glean interesting info..I can see how prices of things (as well as availability) have changed over time and, most importantly, how forecasts of things (gun laws, metals prices, political changes, etc.) have turned out. There aren’t many actual blogs on preparedness I’ve found that have the same length of time at it as I do. That’s not to say there aren’t any, just that I haven’t run across them. However, in the time the blog has been kicking around I have visited hundreds, if not thousands, of other preparedness blogs…some interesting, some not…some ran for quite a while, some disappeared quickly….but a few have had legs and are still around (and I read them daily). [Most notably ,Rawles’ SurvivalBlog which popped up about two years after I opened this place….I knew I should have registered that domain name!]

          It’s been interesting to see how things have held up over time..for example, I have posts where I mention putting some food away for long term storage and then ten years later I have a post about opening it up and using it. Thats kind of a rare thing in the blogosphere.

          Expenses? Well, I figure it’s been a couple grand for hosting, bandwidth, domain registration, etc, over the last fifteen years. Spread it out over 180 months and it doesn’t seem so painful, but when I look back on it as one lump sum..well…thats a few AR15’s that never were. (And if you’d like to kick in a few bucks for housekeeping expenses around the blog, there’s a link right here…

          Every dollar you spend does not go to a starving child in Africa, a baby seal rescue organization, or to a GoFundMe for some kid with cancer. Instead it goes to a blogger in Montana who uses it to pay for website expenses, .223 ammo, freeze drieds, and lap dances from morally-challenged and financially-illiterate coeds. (Well, mostly the first three things.) Ah, but seriously….I try to not put the arm on folks more than once every several years. But, some folks want to help keep the lights on and I appreciate that greatly. Some folks take it up a notch and actually make a repeating monthly donation (sort of a subscription) and for that I’m really grateful. And thats the end of the infomercial part of todays post.

          The advent of cool stuff in those fifteen years? First and foremost is the expiration of the assault weapons ban…that annoying bit of Clinton legacy that gave us things like this: Many of you are too young to remember, but there was a time when the M4gery you paid $600 for today brought $1500. And your $12 PMAG was worth about $50. Second mortgages were the order of the day if you wanted something like a Beta 100-rd drum. Fortunately that nonsense expired in 2004, one year after the blog opened for business.

          Gas prices ran the gamut from $1.75 to darn near $4, silver bounced between $6 and near-$50, and we all somehow managed to make it past half a dozen end-of-the-world scenarios including but not limited to: 2012, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Harvey, Peak Oil, Birld Flu, SARS, Ebola, Anthrax scares, and a few others that escaped me. Still no sign of Xenu, zombies, assorted religious returns, UN troops, alien overlords, or space Nazis.

          Gunwise there have been some pretty forward movements…most notably the ‘arm brace’ fad, the somewhat-mainstreaming of the non-NFA 14″ not-a-shotguns, and the massive post-2016-election gun market slump that saw factory AR’s as low as $400 and AR mags cheaper than a Starbucks coffee. We also saw at least a half dozen panic buying episodes that we never really fully recovered from (if $15 bricks of Federal .22 are anything to go by. [or go buy]).

          I suppose a very valid question is: how long can you keep blogging about a topic before you’ve exhausted every possible idea worthy of posting? Beats me…life has a bizarre way of throwing a curve ball (right at your head, usually) when you get to feeling complacent. I’ll keep blogging as long as I have internet and a pulse, I suppose. If the traffic dropped to near nothing I’d still blog…it’s something I really do for my own enjoyment rather than for the accolades and attention. (Although it’d be disingenuous for me to say that I haven’t enjoyed the very small level of notoriety that sometimes comes from these posts.) I suppose there’s never really a shortage of grass to graze on when it comes to preparedness topics. There will always be a hurricane, earthquake, riot, pandemic, or what have you, somewhere in the world that makes us re-examine the survivability of our existing systems.

          Someday, though, I’d like to be able to make a post about how I’m sitting on the front porch of my little concrete hacienda out in boonies, watching the clouds drift by, listening to the creek, and occasionally popping off some ammo at whatever target of opportunity happens to pass by. Hey..it could happen.

          At this point of introspection, the blogger would usually make some sort of comment like “I couldn’t have done it without you, the readers…and for that I am grateful.” Well, that sounds nice but it really isn’t true. Even if not a single person read this blog, it would still be here today and probably just as good (or bad) as it is now. But…the readers do make me enjoy blogging more than if it were just me yelling into the emptiness. So…theres that. I like to think that people who have hung around here a while have enjoyed the postings and in some way have felt a bit of a connection. That’s probably the biggest enjoyment I get from blogging – the connection. You see, back in the old days, before the interweb, we survivalists could very easily think that we were the only ones. We never really met other survivalists, or had a efficient way to communicate and meet  with other like-minded individuals, so it was very easy to think that you were unique and possibly a little weird in your outlook. Over the years, through the blog, I’ve had the immense satisfaction of encountering other people who had the same darn outlook.. and that sort of reinforcement is really useful at times. So…if nothing else, I hope I’ve helped to make some folks feel like they weren’t alone in their concerns and interests.

          Thats about it, I guess. Back to our regularly scheduled brain droppings.

          Article – I Lived Exclusively Off Doomsday Prepper Food for a Week

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          After 9/11, my dad filled a duffel bag with some energy bars, a couple gallons of water, some penicillin, and a map. Amid scaremongering headlines about imminent anthrax and “dirty bomb” attacks in the city, he wanted to have some supplies on hand in case we needed to get out of Brooklyn fast. Were he to assemble such a bag today, he’d likely stumble on a number of companies promising a more wholesale brand of disaster preparedness: a box full of shelf-stable freeze-dried meals, to be revived from their dessicated state with the addition of boiled water.

          Always interesting when someone does this sort of thing. They seem that the point of this food isn’t to replicate your pre-collapse culinary habits, but rather to keep you alive.

          Bricks of 22

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          Was up at the local chain outdoors shop and saw, stacked high, bricks of Federal .22 for the first time in what seems like quite a while. $24.99, which, if you do the math, comes out to $0.0476 per round. I just picked up about 50,000 rounds for $0.0410 per round, so, on a brick of ammo, the difference is about $3 a brick. Multiply that by..uhm…100 bricks…and you get a savings of about $300. I can live with that.

          I’m the first to admit that I do not get out into the stores as much as I’d like, so perhaps the availability has been high lately and I simply haven’t noticed, but I actually cannot recall the last time I saw bricks of bulk Federal sitting on the shelf with no limits on purchase.

          Did I buy some? Yes, actually. One brick just for some recreational shooting. Yes, I just bought 50,000 rounds but thats Deep Sleeper ammo. It’s for that Really Bad Decade..not for busting rocks at the range. (Well…it might also be used for barter purposes with hungry, desperate, short-sighted coeds who were woefully unprepared for the end of the world.)

          Even though I have a bunch of .22 ammo sittinghere, there’s still a part of my lizard brain that has been conditioned over the last several years to grab all the bricks whenever I see them. I have to remind myself “It’s cool..it’s cool…you’ve got plenty.”

          But..but…bricks!

          Court: Gun in glove compartment violated concealed carry law

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          MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Supreme Court says a man who had a loaded handgun in his glove compartment violated Wisconsin’s concealed carry law.

          Police in Milwaukee stopped Brian Grandberry in 2014 and found a loaded semi-automatic pistol in the glove compartment. Grandberry didn’t have a concealed weapon permit and prosecutors charged him with violating the state’s concealed carry law.

          I cannot imagine how having a gun in your glove compartment counts as being concealed, but I guess thats a job for the appeals court to figure out. I suppose the argument might be that although the gun isnt on the person it is ‘readily accessible’.

          Tsunami dreams and earthquakes

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          I don’t know what I ate last night but, man, it was some weird dreams last night. I dreamt that I lived in a coastal city, surrounded by mountains, and the whole city had been evacuated because of a tsunami warning. I, for some reason, had remained behind and was contentedly wandering through an empty CostCo wondering how long the produce would last before I could get around to eating it all…and wondering if the power would stay on. Next thing you know, I’m on a ridge overlooking the city and I see the Hollywood-style wave slam through the city, obliterating everything and…heading right up the side of the mountains where I’m standing. I make a dash down the opposite slope of the ridge hoping the ridge will channel all the water. Nope. The wave comes up behind me, picks me up and hurls me to certain doom. My final thought before I’m slammed into the ground, and presumably killed, is for my loved one. And then I wake up.

          I recall, in the dream, watching the city get washed away and thinking “Man, I shouldn’t have left all my gear down there.” Live and learn, I guess.

          Definitely a change from the usual zombie dreams.

          =========

          Interesting that I had that dream and then today was pointed to a fascinating article about the likelihood of a massive earthquake (and it’s consequences) in this region.

          Soon after that shaking begins, the electrical grid will fail, likely everywhere west of the Cascades and possibly well beyond. If it happens at night, the ensuing catastrophe will unfold in darkness. In theory, those who are at home when it hits should be safest; it is easy and relatively inexpensive to seismically safeguard a private dwelling. But, lulled into nonchalance by their seemingly benign environment, most people in the Pacific Northwest have not done so. That nonchalance will shatter instantly. So will everything made of glass. Anything indoors and unsecured will lurch across the floor or come crashing down: bookshelves, lamps, computers, cannisters of flour in the pantry. Refrigerators will walk out of kitchens, unplugging themselves and toppling over. Water heaters will fall and smash interior gas lines. Houses that are not bolted to their foundations will slide off—or, rather, they will stay put, obeying inertia, while the foundations, together with the rest of the Northwest, jolt westward. Unmoored on the undulating ground, the homes will begin to collapse.

          Interesting article. We had a bit of an earthquake here last summer and it underscored that, for the entire time I’ve lived in Montana, I had seriously underestimated the likelihood of seismic-related events. I’ve been thinking about it on and off since then (which is worthless without actually doing any followup) and figure that there are a few things I really need to bump up the priority list…most notably, I need to get the second water heater secured and have flexible couplings installed. I also need to get a couple gas shutoff wrenches and chain one to the gas meter out back. And, of course, reposition a certain amount of gear and supplies someplace where they’ll still be useful and accessible if a house falls on top of them.

          ETA: Followup article

          ==================

          I was going through blog email and discovered a couple email notices that a couple folks very generously sent a few bucks my way. Darn nice of ’em. Next week when the blog has its’ fifteen-year birthday I’ll probably lean on everyone for offerings to the bandwidth gods, but for those who jumped the gun a little early…much thanks.

          Article – Here’s What Will Happen After a Huge Earthquake Inevitably Hits California

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          Well, for one thing, an inordinate amount of people will chortle evilly and go “Sucks to be them. So long, hippies!”

          California is the land of beaches, mountains, and all the legal marijuana you can stomach. It’s also, inconveniently, a dangerous minefield riddled with nasty fault lines that rupture without much warning, generating massive earthquakes that can level buildings, pulverize roads, and kill lots of people in the span of seconds.

          First rule of surviving a disaster: Dont Be There. But, as we’ve pointed out recentl, some folks, despite wanting to leave for greener (and safer) pastures, are stuck where they are for various reasons. Good luck.

          I have a friend whose uncle was a photographer for the railroads in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. I have a suitcase here filled with ancient pictures of California in the late 1890’s right up to, and shortly after, the big San Francisco earthquake. Its eerie to look at those photos and imagine all those buildings, wharves, and people being destroyed in the following conflagration.

          It’s easy to forget that a gigantic California earthquake is not the same as a giant San Francisco earthquake. We think of earthquake we think of tall buildings swaying, broken water mains, etc…but California covers a lot of ground that looks nothing like San Francisco or LA.

          All the scientists keep saying that The Big One is ‘overdue’. Will it create Nevada beachfront property? Probably not. (Darn it.) But it will definitely be something pretty much unprecedented in modern American disaster responses. I would think that it would be an ‘all hands on deck’ event with pretty much every resource across the country being shipped westward. The survivor stories would be epic.

          Happily, my little chunk of Montana seems relatively stable…last years earthquake notwithstanding. Sure, we have a supervolcano brewing a few hundred miles away, but the likelihood of that thing popping off within the incredibly small amount of time that is my lifespan is like hitting the PowerBall.

          Will The Big One happen in my lifetime? I dunno. I figure I’ve got about 25 years left on my meter…thats a pretty small window, from a geological timeline, to have something happen. For the sake of the few decent people in California, I hope it doesn’t happen but theyd be crazy not to be geared up for it.

          Chow mein yes, expansionist policies no

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          Apparently, according to my extraordinarily unscientific poll, when it comes to what country we think is going to be a big problem we give the nod to China. Not surprising, although what was mildly surprising was the way it was the top vote-getter.

          The Chinese are famous for taking the long view of things. American politics tends to focus on short periods (like, say, four or eight years) when it comes to policy making… the Chinese, on the other hand, are in it for the long haul. I’ll give you an example:

          I was reading an article about an airport in Sri Lanka that was built to handle a million passengers a year, but serves only 50,000. Who backed the construction of the airport? China. Why? Well, ostensibly its a development project for Third World countries. Mind you, its a development project that conveniently creates a large airport with runways capable of handling military transport. Interesting, that. And as you read about China’s other endeavours, you see more ‘long game’ maneuvering… long-term leases on huge swathes of African farmland spring to mind. And, again, those infrastructure improvements that look pretty noble and generous but are easily converted to military use.

          You guys are all familiar with their recent activities in the South China sea, right? China is building islands in contested waters to give them a military launchpad for regional actions. Forward thinking stuff.

          Economically, we hear about how China is the biggest buyer of US debt. A popular end-of-the-world scenario is China dumping that debt and doing tremendous financial damage to the US.

          And there’s always that niggling little detail about how dang near everything we buy is Made in China. That includes electronic devices which sometimes mysteriously come with spyware already loaded into it that reports back to……?

          Perhaps the Russians aren’t doing anything that China isn’t already doing, they just do it quieter. But, I’m of the opinion that between the two countries, I’d say China is a more viable threat than Russia because China’s focus is on economic warfare and dominance, whereas Russia seems to just go for the military. It’s the difference between being robbed by a shady accountant or by the guy in an alley with a baseball bat.

          So, yeah, I’m in that percentage that voted China as the biggest problem.

           

          Gotta watch those guys

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          SO many nations to choose from.. who do you think is the biggest threat to the US today? ‘Threat’ can mean anything you want it to..economic, military, culture, whatever. Who do you think we need to be keeping an eye on?

          What country is the bigger national threat?
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          • 33.33% – ( 1 vote )

            Things that annoy me #10,292

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            For some reason, this amazingly stupid sentiment seems to be prevalent among Gyno-Americans whereas I have never encountered it among us Penile-Americans..the slogan: “live every day like its your last” or sometimes phrased as “live today like theres no tomorrow”, or some other similar phrasing.

            Dude, I’m a survivalist. My whole existence as a survivalist is predicated on being prepared for tomorrow. Additionally, if people really lived their lives like there was no tomorrow we’d be living in ‘The Purge‘. With an absolute absence of long-term consequence (‘long term’ being no more than 25 hours from when you commit your act of non-tomorrowness) you know what you get? People settling old scores, killing people they dislike, shotgunning their annoying neighbors, looting everything in sight, and generally going completely off the chain. Thats what a world full of people who live like there’s no tomorrow looks like. Oh, sure..there will be some folks who will spend those last 24 hours with love ones, or conversing with their deity of choice, or simply committing suicide (kinda of like quitting before you get fired)… but by and large, you tell a couple billion humans that in 24 hours they will all be extinct you can bet there’s going to be some Olympic-level savagery taking place.

            And, really, if you think about it, anyone who says they live like there’s no tomorrow is, most likely, just spouting pithy sayings. If they really believed that they’d have no qualms forking over the keys to their car, quitting their job, or doing any one of a host of things people who really aren’t going to see the sun rise would do.

            Heck, think about it even more and you realize that someone who lives like theres no tomorrow is living a life devoid of the notion of consequence. Who wants to share a planet with a socipath like that? Expecially when they dress their insanity in the garb of some sort of noble enlightenment. Sure, maybe the Dali Lama says he lives like theres no tomorrow but I’ll bet you a hundred bucks he buys his toilet paper in a 12-roll pack.

            What this world really needs is more people who live like there is a tomorrow. They plan, develop careers, establish long-term relationships with other people, invest, and engage in long-term goals and projects.

            I have got to stop looking at the bumper stickers on the cars in front of me in traffic… its a recipe for aggravation.

            Cashless society

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            No doubt you’ve heard the term ‘cashless society’, right? Basically, it means a system where the usage of physical currency has been supplanted by the use of ‘cashless’ forms of payment….debit cards, electronic wallets, etc. They’ve already started experimenting with this sort of thing in parts of Europe (naturally) and this sort of thing is being hailed by the technology fans as a tremendous advancement in society…muggings and robberies will fade as people no longer have cash. Why hold someone up in an alleyway or knock over a MiniMart when there’s no cash there?

            Who else lauds this move to the cashless society? Folks who feel they have an interest in keeping tabs on what you do with your money. I’m of the opinion that whether I’m buying a Slim Jim and a copy of Hustler at 3am in 7-11, or buying a duffel bag of AR mags out of the back of a van in the Domino’s parking lot, what I do with my money is no one’s business but mine.

            I was in the bank today and saw this lovely sign:

            This is what I would call a ‘soft ban’. A hard ban would be the outright prohibition of the use of cash. Knowing that sort of thing might actually not go over well with a large chunk of the voting constituency, the alternative is to make the transactions more and more annoying to the point where the average Joe says “Screw it, it’s easier for me to just move the money to your account using [PayPal/ACH/Debitcard/etc]”. See, they don’t actually ban the cash, they just make it more and more difficult to the point where it may as well be a ban. (Machine guns are a good example…they’re not banned, they just require a tax..and fingerprints..and background checks…and police approval..and nine months of waiting…and…and…and…to the point where they may as well be banned.)

            Governments angle, of course, is tax revenue. Oh, they cloak it in ‘war on terrorism’ nonsense…can’t let those guys have a bake sale amd then move the money to Islamabad to buy RPG’s..but a happy side-effect (for the .gov) is that it’s far easier to make sure you’re claiming all the money you make for tax purposes.

            Taxes aside, no one needs to be able to look at financial records and determine who bought freezedrieds, ammo, guns, bus tickets, politically-sloganed sportswear, or anything else for that matter.

            There will always be that group of people (raises hand) who prefer to do cash transactions for things. When Kroger stops taking cash and only takes EBT and debit cards, or the local Conoco only takes plastic ‘for the safety of our staff’, what choices are left to you? Barter? I suppose that might work but the guy working the island at the Costco gas pumps isn’t in any position to dispense fuel for cash (or cash equivalents). You’re only real recourse will be small businesses and entrepreneurs who will fill that market void…and, reasonably, make a profit. $2.50 a gallon for gas with your debit card at Costco, or $4 a gallon in the back of the WalMart parking lot from a bunch of five-gallon cans in the back of someones pickup.

            I used to work in an adult bookstore. Virtually all the transactions were in cash for a very obvious reason – no one wanted their spouse (or whoever) getting the cancelled checks or credit card statements and seeing that someone had rented movie or bought toys. Did the store owner declare all that lovely undeclared cash? Beats me. But the takeaway here is that using cash afforded a level of privacy.

            The usual crowd will address these issues by saying  ‘if you’ve got nothing to hide then you shouldn’t have a problem with it’. Thats the same crowd that has schoolkids wearing see-through backpacks and want’s a backdoor to unlock your phone. ‘Reasonable’ and ‘commonsense’ limitations on privacy, of course.

            Whats the privacy-minded to do? Well, the obvious answer, to me, is also the shady answer – go create a fake identity and load it up with a debit card or other electronic banking info. But…that would be wrong, You could use some anonymous electronic payment form like a prepaid debit card like you’d find in vending machines or in the gift rack at the supermarket checkout, but those actually have some limitations on how they can be used. I suppose the lowest-impact thing to do would be to vigilantly make sure that your must-be-private transactions are done with cash. And, of course, whenever possible try to be paid in cash.

            Cryptocurrency? That’s definitely something that has potential, but it’s still a bit too unstable at the moment. The idea is brilliant and wonderful and, of course, of great concern to .gov who thinks that unmonitored financial transactions are the work of terrorists and bad guys and not simply people who want their privacy.

            Gold and silver are about as close a thing as we have to a universal currency. Trouble is, you still can’t really go into WalMart and buy a deli bucket of chicken wings with it. Oh you can convert it into a currency that will let you get your bucket of wings, but if that WalMart doesn’t take cash then what exactly will you convert it to?

            I’m not sure what the solution is. I suppose it’s to simply be prepared to pay a premium to do things the ‘off the grid’ way. The more clever and morally flexible of us will, no doubt, come up with some workarounds but that has its own set of problems and issues.

            For now, I suppose I’ll just have to keep an eye on how things develop.

             

            Neologism -Uncertain goods

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            It occurred to me that I need a term to describe those materials (or materiels) that we want to stockpile but are, for one reason or another, becoming uncertain in terms of their availability. For example, two years ago a ‘bump stock’ was a good that you could buy with no hassle or threat of unavailability. The only thing limiting it’s availability was if the company sold enough to stay in business. Now it’s a different story. With the banhammer being warmed up those things are now an uncertain good…you have no idea if you’ll be able to get more, or even keep the ones you have. (I use this as an obvious example..personally, I think those things are useless toys.)

            Other examples? The usual…magazines, semiauto boomtoys, that sort of thing. But non-firearm stuff becomes uncertain goods too from time to time. The old Polar Pur water purification crystals, for example.

            So, for my purposes, and future postings, the term ‘uncertain good’ refers to an item (or items) whose availability may become limited or non-existent due to unpredictable factors that influence it’s availability, including legislation, and therefore have a higher priority in the order of acquisition.

            Bottlenecks

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            So two people figured that they mad maxed out their preparedness level, according to the last poll I posted. Interesting. The majority of respondents put themselves at a very middle-of-the-road five. A couple people threw in a zero. As I said, I figure I’m about a seven.

            It’s a little misleading though…we don’t have a standardized benchmark for what constitutes readiness. You may think a years worth of food is your goal, and someone elses goal would be six months. But..it’s not a competition..the only person whose opinion really matters on this sort of thing is your own. I suspect the perfect level of preparedness is like achieving the speed of light – you can get to 99.999999999999% there but you’ll never get to that 100%.

            Biggest bottlenecks? Again, it differs from person to person. My experience in talking with other survivalists is that there are really usually only three things that hold them back:

            • Money
            • Family
            • Job

            Money is the one that holds me back. If I could shake loose an extra couple thousand bucks a month I’d get a lot of stuff crossed of my list. But…it’s hard to make that kinda money out here in the flyover states. I already exists on a pretty tight budget, and while my income is definitely going up it’s still well below the national average.

            Many, many people I talk to say that their big bottleneck is family. Why are you still living in San Francisco, I ask? “Oh, I want to move to Wyoming but my wife doesn’t want to leave because the grandkids are here”….I’ve heard that one a bunch. Or they feel they have to be near an elderly relative. Or the kids are in school for another X amount of years. So, they do the best they can where they are.

            Finally, the job angle. This is the same as the family angle except the focus is the career rather than the family. It’s hard to walk away from being a gas/oil lease attorney in Houston making a zillion bucks a year and become a small-town lawyer in Thermopolis or Pahrump.

            On the other hand, I have met survivalists who conquered this sort of thing in the simplest and most arduous way possible – they took a deep breath and jumped into a 3-5 year plan of working their asses of in big city like Chicago, LA, or New York, saved every dime they could, put together a nest egg that would let them live elsewhere, and then took the money and ran.

            He’s dead now, so I can talk about him….I used to know a machinist down the valley here. He came out in the 70’s fell in love with Montana and knew this was his future. He went back to his aerospace job in California and worked like a dog for four years until he had enough money to bail. He came out here, bought about 60 or so acres, built his house and machine shop, and moved out here for good. He brought enough money from his California indenture to pay for the land up front, build his place, set it up, and have some money in the bank to cover him while he got his new machining gig set up. Being a gunnie at heart, he wound up selling a chunk of the property to the local shooting range. So..you guys who go shooting in Hamilton at the Whittecar range, your local friendly neighborhood survivalist sold ’em that property.

            Much more rarely I’ll meet people who simply had some sort of moment where they just packed it up and moved with a lot less planning than that. Someone has a really bad day at the cube farm, gets stuck in traffic on the way home, comes home to find neighborhoodlums on the lawn, gets woken up by sirens and urban noise, and says “Screw this, lets sell this place and move to Idaho”. Which, actually, often works better than you think since the house you sell in LA or Sacramento will fetch enough to buy you the same size house out here for about 1/2 the money….leaving you the other half to stake yourself.

            As I said, my bottleneck is cash. But, Im lucky in that money is not finite. You can always get or make more. It’s time that becomes scarce. My math says I’ve only got maybe ten or fifteen productive years in front of me, so it’s balls to the wall in terms of trying to get money put away and stuff acquired.

            What bout you, man? What’s keeping you from pegging the needle on the HowPreppedAmI-o-meter?

             

             

            Hallmarks

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            There are little hallmarks that occur in life that let you  know, for better or worse, that you’ve transitioned to a new stage in your life… having to wear a tie or body armour, for example. Todays sign that my life has gotten more complicated than it used to be: I had to buy a matching pair of monitors so I can dual-wield programs.

            On the bright side, if I get back into gaming these will be fabulously useful.

            Ready?

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            I dunno about you, but sometimes I think there’s never a level at which I’m satisfied. Me, I’d say Im a 7. But…lets put it to a vote:

            This poll is about to
            start on 31-03-2018 01:00:09
            and will end on 31-03-2018 23:59:59

            But, we happy survivalists being a rather independent bunch, my definition of prepared may not be the same as your definition of prepared. But, for me, I’d say I’m an easy seven…prepared enough to outlast a majority of the population, but not so prepared that I won’t worry when the bombs go off.

            Housecleaning

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            Ugh…Im immersing myself in a bit of reorganization of the long-term food. The positive aspect is that it gives me a chance to inspect, update , and repackage things. The negative side is that it’s a buncha work. After the last big Mountain House buy I wound up with a dozen cases of leftovers to add to my own stockpile. But…where to put it? Its an eye-opening experience. I’ve come across quite a bit of older stuff that may need to be excised from the current stash…most notably some MRE’s that are, no lie, 20 years old. Gotta figure out what to do with those.

            It’s very odd to come across all these different things that have been in storage so long I’ve forgotten about them.

            Anyway, when you have spent as many years as I have doing this sort of lifestyle you wind up having these sorts of to-do lists. I’m hoping that once Im done I’ll have freed up a bunch more space for better organization. And, really, I need to split the whole thing into an even distribution of three or four stockpiles to be relocated elsewhere…Ive got way too many eggs in too few baskets.

            But…there’s a certain fun and bittersweet nostalgia to going through stuff from so many years ago. I’m curous to see what turns up and what winds up not being worth keeping. (For example..the cheap sleeping bags will probably be eliminated since I have so many of the military sleep systems these days.)

            Admin – Grattitude

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            I’ve been remiss in mentioning it, but as of late a few people have ponied up a few bucks in the tip jar and for that I am grateful. Although there’s a little PayPal donation link button at the top right hand of the page, virtually no one uses it. There are, though, a couple people who not only kick in a few bucks but actually make a repeating donation every month…and thats really nice of them. Mucho thanks.

            Where does it go? Honestly, it goes to domain renewal and hosting. “What? That can’t be very much!” I hear you say…well, it isn’t. But what comes in isn’t very much either…so – it all goes to that.

            I try not to put the arm on anyone because, honestly, I blog mostly for my own satisfaction. Once in a while I ask for donations to keep the renewal/hosting fund solvent but I havent done that in…lets see…I think three years. Of course, I’d never say ‘no’ to any donations that came my way but I’m not going to be annoying and make pleas every few months either.

            Anyway, I just wanted to acknowledge the folks that kick in for keeping the lights on here and give them their due. Thanks guys!

            We now return you to our regularly scheduled descent into dystopia.

            Musings

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            Those were some interesting numbers from that poll. Apparently, the majority of respondents share the same thought as I – that the ‘Big Event’ will be economic. Not zombies, not the Rapture, not Planet X, not chemtrails….just a good ol’ fashioned economic crisis.

            Of course, no one really knows what the next apocalypse is going to look like, so I’d rather err on the side of ‘overprepared for an economic collapse’ so I don’t wind up ‘underprepared for WW3’. Succinctly, if you’re prepared for a nuclear war you are probably, de facto, prepared for all the smaller stuff than that….blizzards, power outages, etc.

            I have had an interest in preparedness (although I didn’t know thats what it was) since my early teens. (Directly traceable, I believe, to having started reading post-apocalyptic fiction for some extra credit book reports)  It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that I could do anything about it. And, being a young stupid kid, my immersion into preparedness was pretty much the same as most n00bs – lotsa guns. In the painful decades since then, I’ve moved away from the fun stuff like guns and camo to the mundane stuff like food and toilet paper. Don’t misunderstand…both are needed for a well-balanced approach to preparedness….but in all the crises I’ve been in , we used alot more food and TP than we did M855.

            I was emailing someone the other day and I mentioned that there’s a point where you can ‘plateau’ as a survivalist and your focus goes from acquisitions to maintenance. Your’e pretty much done acquiring things and you’re now at the stage of maintaining those things. Preparedness is a commitment, man….sure, there are some things you can tuck away and forget about, but there’s alot that needs to be maintained and taken care of on a regular basis if you want to not waste your money. (For example, running the generator once a month to make sure it’s always ready.) I wouldn’t say I’ve plateaued… there are still a few big ticket items I need to acquire, but if the world ended tomorrow I would not feel at a great disadvantage with what I have now. But…always room for improvement, y’know?

            The things that hold me back? Easy: money and motivation. (and, really, the two kinda go hand in hand.) If money were no object, I’d be living in my own private county right now. But my motivation wanes from time to time and without motivation I’m less inclined to take the steps and do things necessary to get the money. Frankly, it’s always easier to do nothing than it is to do something…and I’m sadly notorious for taking the easy way.

            This is probably the main reason I so enjoy disaster movies and books – it puts my overactive imagination into overdrive and I start wargaming things in my head…and next thing you know I’m in the attic with a clipboard inventorying Hardigg cases and making lists. Hey, whatever gives you motivation. Me, my motivational imperative has always been security. Not physical security, per se, but rather security as in being able to absorb the punches that life likes to aim at my family jewels. My goal is to be secure enough that a job loss, debilitating injury, or other insult to my well-being will be an inconvenience rather than a critical hit. To that end…survivalism.

             

             

            Polling Plug-In

            Something new to play with, blogwise………

             

            My anticipated flavor of apocalypse is:

              The culture war unabated

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              I’ve apparently reached a stage in my existence where my standard uniform of jeans and a t-shirt is not always the perfect ensemble. But…it’s ridiculous to pay retail for clothes I don’t even want to wear unless I have to. So…yay for used clothing. Got four shirts and a wool sweater for $24. That frees up more money for ammo.

              Speaking of ammo, the big event at the moment seems to be YouTube doing some ethnic cleansing in the continuing culture war. I think it’s absurd, but I’m not sure they don’t have the right to say whom they’ll host or not. I’m reminded of the last great gun culture war back in the late ’80s/early 90’s…back when gun owners were urged to buy shares of TimeWarner to try and influence their trajectory. That didn’t work either.

              But, make no mistake, it is a culture war. Guns are the convenient excuse to get everyone on board but invariably the gun community tends to trend towards the right side of the political spectrum and the real issue is about quelling those voices from the right, guns is just the convenient rally cry to muster the troops. Kinda like how the Civil War was ostensibly fought over slavery but was really about something else.

              How do you play defense and win at a culture war? I’m not sure you can. You can not lose, though… which is almost as good as a win. You not-lose by dragging out the issue until the other side gets tired/bored/distracted or loses support. (Same technique used in Algeria, Vietnam, Korea, Colonial America, Colonial Africa, Colonial everywhere.)

              Eventually the Tide-Pod-eaters who we can’t trust to cross a street safely will  move back towards video games, sex, cars, and spring break. As a political bloc they are virtually worthless for anything except media fodder. A 10/22, a brick of ammo, and a Saturday afternoon would probably go a long way towards encouraging them to think for themselves. Something more about the fun of shooting and being outdoors rather then about political indoctrination (not that political indoctrination is uncalled for, just that there’s a time and place for it….an 8am Monday morning on the first day of learning to shoot is probably not it.)

              In a place like Montana it’s pretty hard to find someone who is anti-gun AND has never shot a gun before. (Mostly transplanted Californians and East Coasters, I’d imagine.) I should post an ad somewhere offering to take kids shooting for free if they’ve never had the opportunity. You know there was a time when lotsa high schools used to have smallbore rifle teams. We should bring that back.

              Indoor shooting practice at school back in the day. High school shooting teams were not rare and these kids didn’t grow up to be mass murderers.

              Local Missoula Junior Varsity Indoor RPG Team. State champs last year…… I kid, I kid.

               

              Its only overkill if you don’t need it

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              So after the last large purchase of freeze-drieds, it was time to put the leftovers away. The freeze-drieds (FD) are packaged with an advertised shelf life of a minimum of around 30 years, and the experience of some folks seems to suggest that rating is pretty spot-on.

              Thirty years…. I’ll expire before the food does.

              But, the food only lasts as long as the container it’s packaged in. Now, I have had some MH sitting on the shelf for almost 20 years and it appears to be just fine. BUT….I have also had some #10 cans from the LDS cannery that eventually started to rust and look like they may be a bit sketchy. (One can had almost turned black with freckling, but when I cut it open everything was flawless inside…but there is no room for ‘probably ok’ when it comes to food storage.) Honestly, I do virtually nothing special to my #10 cans…I stick ’em in a cardboard box that holds six cans, tape it shut, and stick it on a wire shelf in my basement. Here in my part of Montana, the basement stays cool with virtually no humidity…optimal conditions. But, when a can of FD beef or chicken sets you back fifty bucks a can, it’s probably a good idea to maybe add an extra layer of protection. And some folks live in areas where the humidity can get downright troublesome…like, oh, the southeast US for example.

              I’ve read a lot of stuff on how to store food long-term. Other than the ubiquitous statement about ‘a cool, dry place’, there are a few other suggestions on how to make sure your canned stuff doesn’t have it’s structural integrity compromised. The most detailed that I’ve read involves removing the labels from each can and ‘painting’ the can with (or dipping it in) melted paraffin. This seems like a pretty solid way to do things except that it also sounds like a tremendous pain in the butt. As I pointed out, there is an alternative. The folks at repackbox.com were kind enough to send me one of their kits that are designed to maximize the lifespan of the #10 can that’s housing the stuff that’s preventing you from having to eat your dog. I am always up for examining new gear..

              So, starting at the top:

              UPS dropped off a box and I was delighted at how much detail went into things. I mean, the storage boxes are marked with places to write down he contents of the box and then they provide a new black Sharpie for you to do the writing with. And a roll of tape to tape up the boxes. Literally, everything you need to pack your #10 cans for long-term storage is included…except for the shelves. Note to the guys at repackbox.com: find a bulk deal on surplus P38 can openers and include a couple with each overbox.

              • 24 boxes for individual cans
              • 6 overboxes that hold 4 individual boxes
              • 24 polybags
              • 24 dessicant packets
              • 24 zip ties
              • Sharpie
              • Roll of tape

              So the idea is that you take your expensive can of yuppie chow, put it in the polybag, add a packet of desicant, ziptie the bag shut, seal it up in the small box, and then load four of them into the overbox. At that point you’re good to go for what will probably be the next hundred years.

              Lather, rinse, repeat until all boxes filled. The boxes, by the by, are some heavy duty cardboard. Is it waterproof? Of course not, but thats why the cans are sealed in a polybag. Is this the sort of packaging that you could put together on your own? Maybe. I ship stuff for a living so I know all the sources for this kinds stuff. But…here it is, in one place, ready to go, and just a couple mouse clicks away.

              For my current needs, this is overkill. But, overkill isn’t a bad thing. What I mean by overkill is that, for me and my current circumstance, this is more protection than seems necessary (although erring on the side of caution isn’t a vice in the world of preparedness). But…let’s say I was going to store a bunch of this stuff offsite at the Beta Site, or the family hunting cabin, or in the attic at my uncles warehouse, or under the floorboards of a family members kitchen…..well, then there’s really no such thing as overkill. Come the day when you’re fleeing the [zombies/hurricane/troops/tornado/alien overlords] and arrive at your hideout, tip over the fake woodpile, and untarp your cache, it’ll be hard to think “Man, I really didn’t need to pack that stuff as well as I did”.

              The biggest issue I would think anyone would have with this sort of lily gilding is the expense. But, four cans of FD meat is $200. And then there’s the whole what-if-my-life-depends-on-it angle. Breaking the cost down, it’s about $2.91 per can to exponentially increase the level of  protection of your food supply.

              Honestly, my own policy is probably that the stuff I store in my basement will probably not be packed like this. I mean, its in my basement…I can go downstairs and check on it every week if Im so inclined and stay on top of any issues. BUT…the stuff thats going to be tucked away Elsewhere…where I may not see it for a year (or years) at a time…well, that stuff is going to definitely get packed up like this.

              So there you have it. There’s the old saying about how if your pants absolutely Must Not Fall Down that you go with suspenders and a belt…and then you sew your shirt to your waistband. This kit from repackbox.com is definitely the sew-your-shirt-to-your-waistband step of extra certainty. Go check ’em out.

               

              Who you know

              There’s an old saying that every man needs to have five kinds of people in his life – a forgiving priest, an understanding mistress, a loving wife, a friendly banker, and a good doctor.

              I was doing a little business the other day and it occurred to me that my circle of acquaintances encapsulates the survivalist version of that…cops, gun dealers, gold/silver dealers, a couple medical professionals, and a few other ‘useful’ people. It was brought home to me when I was given this:

              See, one of the people I know runs a business where he resupplies and maintains emergency equipment for businesses. One of his tasks is to pull expired components from the first aid kits in the vehicles of a large regional company. What happens to those expired items? Well, they get thrown in a big box and whoever wants ’em can have ’em. Since bandaids and gauze pads dont really ‘go bad’ I took ’em for supplying some tertiary-level first aid kits.

              But….it’s useful to know people who are in such businesses. I still need to establish relationships with a good realtor, and a doctor. But…I’ve got a pretty good grasp on a rather eclectic mix of other useful folks.

              Networking, baby…………..

              Who you know

              There’s an old saying that every man needs to have five kinds of people in his life – a forgiving priest, an understanding mistress, a loving wife, a friendly banker, and a good doctor.

              I was doing a little business the other day and it occurred to me that my circle of acquaintances encapsulates the survivalist version of that…cops, gun dealers, gold/silver dealers, a couple medical professionals, and a few other ‘useful’ people. It was brought home to me when I was given this:

              See, one of the people I know runs a business where he resupplies and maintains emergency equipment for businesses. One of his tasks is to pull expired components from the first aid kits in the vehicles of a large regional company. What happens to those expired items? Well, they get thrown in a big box and whoever wants ’em can have ’em. Since bandaids and gauze pads dont really ‘go bad’ I took ’em for supplying some tertiary-level first aid kits.

              But….it’s useful to know people who are in such businesses. I still need to establish relationships with a good realtor, and a doctor. But…I’ve got a pretty good grasp on a rather eclectic mix of other useful folks.

              Networking, baby…………..

              Who you know

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              There’s an old saying that every man needs to have five kinds of people in his life – a forgiving priest, an understanding mistress, a loving wife, a friendly banker, and a good doctor.

              I was doing a little business the other day and it occurred to me that my circle of acquaintances encapsulates the survivalist version of that…cops, gun dealers, gold/silver dealers, a couple medical professionals, and a few other ‘useful’ people. It was brought home to me when I was given this:

              See, one of the people I know runs a business where he resupplies and maintains emergency equipment for businesses. One of his tasks is to pull expired components from the first aid kits in the vehicles of a large regional company. What happens to those expired items? Well, they get thrown in a big box and whoever wants ’em can have ’em. Since bandaids and gauze pads dont really ‘go bad’ I took ’em for supplying some tertiary-level first aid kits.

              But….it’s useful to know people who are in such businesses. I still need to establish relationships with a good realtor, and a doctor. But…I’ve got a pretty good grasp on a rather eclectic mix of other useful folks.

              Networking, baby…………..

              Book – ‘Pulling Through’

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              By now we’re all familiar with the ‘handbook-as-novel’ concept in preparedness literature. You create a ‘how to’ guide and turn it into an illustrative story. It’s not a bad way to create a story, although you might wind up getting a little too heavy into repetitive detailed descriptions of gear (cough*Metalifed Python*cough).

              Dean Ing, an author with some chops, wrote a book called ‘Pulling Through’. It was interesting not so much for the story, which was your average family-hunkering-down sort of yarn about a nuclear war, but rather for the fact that, literally, the second half of the book was a treatise on how to prepare to survive World War Three.

              The story follows a bounty hunter who scoops up his latest charge just as nuclear bombs start exploding around his California neighborhood. He takes his charge to his home, which he’s had somewhat prepared for this sort of thing at the urging of his preparedness-as-fad sister. Eventually the rest of the extended family shows up and the story mostly chronicles the days they spend in the basement waiting for the worst of the fallout to subside. During this time they deal with inadequate ventilation, unexpected guests, escaped convicts, improvised lighting, improvised sanitation, improvised everything.

              Dean Ing’s previous works are usually of a technical nature and Ing himself , in the second half of the book, paints the picture of himself as someone who has come to survivalism as a logical response to the threats of the time. The book came out around1983 which is right about where the new wave of survivalism was at it’s crest.

              Is it a good read? It’s not bad…. it is quite realistic with people suffering the types of injuries and insults that you would expect in such a situation. People die of radiation poisoning and there’s plenty of descriptions of how that sort of misery looks. Gunplay? A shootout with real consequences, a standoff or two. Sex? Nope..a little hinted romance at the end, but that’s about it. Having read Ing’s other books, male/female pair bonding is not his strong suit.

              What Ing’s strong suit is, however, is writing about technical things. In his personal life he’s been a hobbyist of airplanes, race cars, and other highly technical goodies. In short, he’s a good technical writer who, on occasion, can crank out a good book. (FYI, two of my favorites of his are ‘Spooker‘ and ‘Flying To Pieces‘.) The second half of ‘Pulling Through’ is Ing telling the reader about his experiments in surivivalism regarding technology and improvisation that he and his family have undertaken. Additionally, there’s a large chunk of that section of the book taken up with reprinting the instructions on how to make your own ‘Kearny Fallout Meter‘…an item which factors heavily in the story part of the book.

              Good fiction makes you think and Ing does throw out more than a few situations in the book that make you wonder what you’d do in a similar situation. But, to be fair, he also throws in some oddball and esoteric details that show what a techie he really is.

              Like a lot of books i like, this one is out of print. It turns up at the usual sources from time to time, though. This book isn’t really everyone’s cup of tea. It isn’t as epic as others, with virtually all the story taking place over the course of a week or two and mostly in one location, but like ‘Alas Babylon’ it was written by someone trying to urge people to take nuclear survival seriously. It’s not a great book, but it isn’t a bad one… it’s a good choice for people who are a bit nostalgic for the days when we all thought WW3 was just moments away.

              I’d be curious to know if he stuck with his interest in survivalism some 35 years later.

               

              Last call on leftovers

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              Here’s whats left from the group buy:
              (6) MOUNTAIN HOUSE CHICKEN FRIED RICE WITH VEGETABLES #10 CAN ” $23.44
              (2) MOUNTAIN HOUSE BEEF STEW #10 CAN $26.79
              (1) MOUNTAIN HOUSE COOKED DICED BEEF #10 CAN $51.58
              (3) MOUNTAIN HOUSE LASAGNA WITH MEAT SAUCE #10 CAN $26.79
              (3) MOUNTAIN HOUSE CHILI MAC WITH BEEF #10 CAN $23.44
              (6) MOUNTAIN HOUSE NOODLES AND CHICKEN #10 CAN $23.44
              (4) MOUNTAIN HOUSE PASTA PRIMAVERA #10 CAN $21.43
              (2) MOUNTAIN HOUSE SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH HAM AND RED AND GREEN PEPPERS #10 CAN $29.47
              (3) MOUNTAIN HOUSE SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH BACON #10 CAN $29.47
              (2) MOUNTAIN HOUSE GRANOLA WITH MILK AND BLUEBERRIES #10 CAN $29.47

              Anyone who wants to come into Missoula, lemme know. There was about three times this much earlier so if you want something, lemme know so I can set it aside. Cash only. Offer ends next Friday.

              Go deep

              One is none, forty thousand is one.

              It occurs to me that one of the better reasons for having a ‘group’, rather than being solo, is to have some folks to help you carry the damn ammo up and down the stairs. Whew.

              This will be Deep Sleep ammo. For target and plinking I’ll use whatever is available at WalMart or wherever, but this stuff goes right in there with the Mountain House stuff. The only time I expect to see it again is during some enormous crisis or when I transport it to a secondary location. And, for the record, each 40mm ammo can holds 8,250 rounds…or 165 boxes of 50. And they’re heavy….right at the limit of man-portability.

              Go deep

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              One is none, forty thousand is one.

              It occurs to me that one of the better reasons for having a ‘group’, rather than being solo, is to have some folks to help you carry the damn ammo up and down the stairs. Whew.

              This will be Deep Sleep ammo. For target and plinking I’ll use whatever is available at WalMart or wherever, but this stuff goes right in there with the Mountain House stuff. The only time I expect to see it again is during some enormous crisis or when I transport it to the Beta Site. And, for the record, each 40mm ammo can holds 8,250 rounds…or 165 boxes of 50. And they’re heavy….right at the limit of man-portability.

              Inspection

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              Have a few (ahem) leftovers from the Mountain House group buy that are going into the Deep Sleep. I used this opportunity to adjust quantities of ‘broken case’ items. See, the boxes normally hold six #10 cans. If I have only five cans of, say, Diced Beef, that means that six-can box is short by one can…or, in other words, it’s a partial or ‘broken’ case. So, I used this opportunity to round out my broken cases. In the process it also gave me a chance to inspect things. Embarrassingly, according to the dates stamped on the box, the last inspection I made on these things was seven years ago. In reality I should probably inspect these things once every other year or so.

              Why? Well, mostly just to check that nothing has started to rust or otherwise be compromised. Last thing I want is to be packing up one day to move to a new location, pick up a cardboard case and have a bunch rusted cans fall out the soggy bottom of the box. No, no, no,no. I did not spend this kinda money to just wind up heaving it in a dumpster someday because I didn’t take the time to do the things necessary to protect my stuff.

              What sorta steps? Well, nothing terribly intricate. Everything is in a cardboard box, taped shut, the boxes are stacked at least two feet off the floor on wire shelving, away from electrical and water sources, and (in theory) routinely inspected for damage. If I really wanted to go balls deep on the preservation side of things, the guys at repackbox.com sell a kit for really going full Burt Gummer and protecting your investment. I might have to get that to try out and see how things hold up over time.

              By the by, the oldest of the cans I have in storage are pre Y2k (in fact, they were purchased at a post Y2K sale) and the majority are about 14 years old. How have they held up? Pretty well. Labels havent peeled, can integrity appears solid, boxes show no damage….just a little dust on the boxes.

               

              Things that annoy me #29,201

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              People who don’t understand the difference between: “Take me shooting” vs “Go shooting with you”

              It’s the difference between “Cook me dinner” and “Have dinner with me”.

              Case in point – my buddy texts me and says “Go shooting with me”. Ok, great. We go to the range, he sets up his targets and shoots, I set up my targets and shoot. He works on his gun, I work on my gun. We have some informal target practice. But we each have a good time and get to spend time doing our own thing.

              Contrast that with “Take me shooting” which, when someone says that, means “Take me to the range, and make me the center of attention where everything is done for me and you get to accomplish nothing you want to accomplish. Hand me guns and ammo, you set up targets, watch me shoot, and make sure I have a good time.”

              Now, I don’t mind taking people shooting if Im aware ahead of time that thats what Im doing. But saying “Let’s go shooting this weekend” and then have me be your personal instructor, target puller, brass catcher, gun fixer, and program director is not what that phrase means. When you say ‘lets go shooting”, to me, that means Im going to get to spend some time behind a gun and work on my own stuff as you work on yours and we’ll do some stuff together.

              This is why I keep my circle of shooting buddies small. And why I usually go to the range alone.

              Reposting “‘Trust me’ Is Not Enough”

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              So after the Trump election we all saw the gun/ammo markets come up with new equilibrium pricing on AR’s and the like. Why? Because people believed that they had dodged a gun-control bullet with Trump. And now? Well, past history has shown us that you take Trump seriously, not literally. (Whereas the Democrats took him literally, not seriously.)

              I posted this about Trump’s unproven record on gun control and I believe that it is rather timely now. The fact remains, you don’t know that he won’t enact some sort of Feinstein-esque agenda. With Hillary it was a certainty, with Trump it’s an unknown. And that unknown is why you’re not out of the woods, gun control-wise, in regards to a Trump presidency.

              MH Arrival

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              Well, that’s a goodly bit of freezedrieds. Somewhere, there is a ‘poverty prepper’ with a vein throbbing in his forehead and teeth a-gnashing as he rails about how many 2-liter pop bottles of beans and rice you could buy instead of all that yuppie survival food.

              Local LMI: there are about 54 cans of misc. freeze drieds that are ‘extras’ that are available for purchase if you’re willing to come into Missoula. Email me if interested. I’ll make you an offer you cant refuse. (Unlike when you cross a mobster with a lawyer…in which case you get someone who makes you an offer you can’t understand.)

              Link – California hiker found after 6 days missing in Yosemite park

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              YOSEMITE, Calif. (AP) — A well-prepared California hiker missing for six days in the icy backcountry of Yosemite National Park was found in good health after an extensive search, officials said.

              A helicopter crew spotted Alan Chow on Friday above Wapama Falls near the center of the park, where overnight temperatures dipped below freezing, the National Park Service said.

              Park Ranger Scott Gediman told San Francisco Bay Area news station KTVU-TV that the 36-year-old Oakland resident got lost because usually well-marked trails were covered in snow.

              Chow had done everything right to survive — he was prepared and didn’t “try to walk around and get even more lost,” Gediman said.

              He “did the right thing by setting up his tent, using melted snow for drinking water, had some food, had warm clothing and was able to stay put,” the ranger said.

              Not to minimize the whole thing, but I suspect this guy’s mindset and ability to remain clear-headed and think his situation through helped him at least as much as the gear.

              Loses a point for not telling people when to expect him back though.

              Range time

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              There is not a single thing that is, pricewise, cheap about HK products. Even the clones are spendy. And the accessories as well.

              Which is why I should not have been surprised to find that the PTR I picked up shot about 6″ to the left and 18″ low at 50 yards. Why? Because unless you’re willing to spend about $80 for a genuine HK tool, or $45 for a knockoff, your ability to zero your rifle is rather limited. (Yes, you can use snap ring pliers but the marks it leaves on that sight drum ain’t pretty.)

              Fortunately, being an evil yuppie survivalist, I actually have an HK sight tool and was able to zero the gun properly. But I did learn something I did not know. The sight drum has three aperatures and a v-notch. The idea is that the v-notch is your quick acquisition sight, and the subsequent “2”, “3”, and “4” aperatures are for 200, 300 and 400 yards respectively. Ok, fine. What I did not know is that the v-notch is not a 100 yard sight. I just assumed it was. As it turns out, from what I read, the V-notch and the “2” aperature are the same elevation. Didn’t know that.

              I’ve posted it before, but here’s one of the best instructions on sighting in your G3-type rifle.

              Years ago, Cheaper Than Dirt (home of the $99 Pmag) had a sale on surplus G3 furniture kits…stock, forend, and pistol grip….for ten bucks. I bought a bunch of them and since I have so many spares, I could afford to whip out the Krylon and DIY some winter white.

              Might send this gun out to be dipped or coated in a winter camo pattern.

              Yup..thats the ancient WGerman snow camo. I desperately want the new Danish or Finnish snow camo but its a colossal pain in the ass to find that stuff here. I may have to make friends with someone overseas, figure out the Byzantine metric clothing size system, and ask them to hit the surplus stores for me. Didn’t wear the matching pants to the range because..well..I figured I was already looking a little tinfoil-y with the color-coordinated rifle and outerwear. Which reminds me…anyone know a vendor for white 3-point rifle slings? I suppose I could order up some white webbing and fab up my own, but……..

              Book – “Alas Babylon”

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              This is the book that I think could widely be regarded as the gateway drug into preparedness fiction, and probably to some degree the gateway to developing an interest in preparedness in the first place.
              I first read AB when I was 13 years old and it solidified a feeling and interest I’d only recently become aware. (No, that OTHER feeling.) Written back in the halcyon days of the late 1950’s, AB is probably the ‘cleanest’ of the nuclear war novels that followed. By ‘clean’ I mean that there is an absence of the sort of brutal imagery that we’ve come to expect in books about nuclear war. The violence is minimal and not graphic, no one dies of slow starvation, the citizenry isn’t roused to action against a cannibal army, and the characters don’t experience a dramatic renaissance of personal development that leads them into becoming some sort of ‘Red Dawn’-esque ersatz militia. The book simply tells the story a a man, his neighbors, and how they cope with the aftermath of a nuclear war that devastates their region.

              For people like you and I who have read tons of literature on the subject, and have a basement full of freeze drieds, you’ll find the book to be a bit frustrating at times with the mistakes or lack of insight that the charcters show to their situation. But the book wasn’t written for survivalists…rather it was written to encourage people to think about survival. The author, whose real name was Harry Frank, wrote the book from the perspective of someone who believed that Americans needed to be more proactive in preparing for a possible nuclear exchange with the Soviets. To this end he wrote AB to illustrate his points.

              The action in the book takes place mostly in Florida, in a small town where the main character resides. The cast of characters include pretty much everyone you would see on an episode of The Andy Griffith Show in Mayberry. One interesting thing to note is the 1950’s-era way in which blacks are portrayed. Hey, it was 1959 when this thing was written and ‘colored’ was considered a perfectly good word back then.  Notably, Frank addresses this issue in a very forthright way – the poor black family down the road winds up being an asset to the community as much as any other group and is never treated as anything less than equals.

              What’s so wonderful about AB is that unlike many end-of-the-world books, it wasn’t really written with the idea that the main character (or any character, really) has any background at all in survivalism. It seems like in every book there’s always that one character..usually a retired military veteran of some kind…who winds up turning the whole crew into competent guerilla fighters (Lights Out, One Second After, etc.) That sort of thing is absent in AH. Oh, there’s a retired admiral that is a good supporting character but his influence isn’t anything like what other books in this genre show.

              Alas Babylon isn’t a difficult read…I read it at 13-years old and found it to be light reading of the easiest kind. But it’s an enjoyable read. The characters are fairly simple, with no real backstory beyond a paragraph or two about their initial history, but it’s still a good story and there is enough variety in the characterizations that it’s easy to find someone you can empathize with.

              Good fiction, as I’ve said, make you think. Alas Babylon was one of the first books I’d read in this genre and it certainly made me think about things I hadn’t thought about before. As the book progresses, characters lament the loss of their batteries, matches, soap, fishhooks, and all those other little consumables that we take fro granted. It’s a good example of how the small details in life get overlooked and by the time you realize you should have stocked up on salt (or .22 ammo or instant coffee) it’s too late.

              Having been around for almost 60 years it is not difficult to find a used copy of Alas Babylon in pretty much any used bookstore. Even if it doesn’t sound like something you would be interested in reading…not enough zombies or gunplay for you, perhaps…..it is still absolutely worth reading simply because it is the book probably most singlehandedly responsible for influencing most survivalists.

              So…no cannibal army, minimal (but reasonably likely) gunplay, no gear-heavy descriptions of equipment (cough*Ahern*cough), and no zombies. But….you do get a good story, set in an interesting time, written by someone who wanted to gently nudge the reader rather than hot them over the head with a hammer. In that regard, given how much this book is cited by survivalists as being influential in their lives, I’d say Frank did a good job.

              Available from the usual sources.

               

              Article – Enough is enough: Tenants join landlord in Bay Area exodus

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              SAN JOSE – Tony Hicks moved to San Jose in 1981, but he’s had enough.

              Hicks told his 11 tenants he would soon place the three homes he owns on the market. He expected disappointment. Instead, most wanted to move with him to Colorado.

              “It didn’t take them long,” Hicks said. “I was surprised.”

              This article, ostensibly, is about high real estate prices in California and how it’s driving some people out of the state. Really, nothing in the article that is particularly interesting to people who are interested the sortsa things you and I follow.

              But….

              Read the article closely. Basically, this guy established relationships with his tenants, who became long-time tenants, and many of them are retired or highly mobile so they can really live anywhere. And…they’re packing up to move with him to a new out-of-state location to continue to rent from him in the new properties he’s going to buy/build.

              So…do you see what happened here? This guy, totally by accident, is creating an actual community of like-minded individuals. I’m not saying they’re survivalists, but rather that he’s established these relationships, and gotten to be part of these peol[es lives (and vice versa), to the point that theyre willing to pack up and ‘keep the family together’.

              We always think about communities and how they would be started… here’s an example of a guy who completely inadvertently created his own community. It’s rather interesting.

              …but then I’d have to live with myself……..

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              Scene: Local gun/coinshop

              Him: Hey, we’re getting a buncha used guns in later
              Me: Awesome. Lemme know when they arrive.

              :::Hour  later:::

              I show up an start sifting through the stack. He says theres a Ruger 556 in there. I find an AR-pattern rifle, but its the Ruger 762. Ok, he mixed up the Ruger 556 for the 762, I can see that.

              Me: Hmmm…..What’ll you take for the PTR-91 and the Ruger 556?
              Him: :::mentions price::::
              Me: Hmmm…I’ll give you $1500 for the pair.
              Him: Sold!

              And I trundle off with my loot. An hour or two later, I’m thinking “Man, those SR-762’s are kinda pricey. Lemme look up the price on those.” So I did. And, apparently, a new one goes for around $1500 :::sigh::: I know what happened. I drive back.

              Me: Hey, that list of guns that came in. It had prices with it right?
              Him: Yup.
              Me: Read me the serial number off the list for that Ruger you sold me.
              Him: :::reads wrong serial number:::
              Me: And the model number?
              Him: ::: reads off wrong model number :::
              Me: And the caliber?
              Him: :::reads of wrong caliber:::
              Me: I think you sold me the wrong gun. Let me see your bound book.

              Sure enough. There was a Hawkeye in .223 on the list and and somehow the SR-762 got mixed up as that gun.*

              Me: Dude, I really hate saying this, but you sold me this gun way too cheap.

              And we figured it out. It was a bit of a headache to clean up, paperwork-wise… The Hawkeye, that never left the building, had been entered as sold to me. So, rather than  correct it we just logged it back in as received from me. Easy enough. But…man, a $1500 rifle for half the price woulda been nice.

              But….I like the people there and I’d never be able to show my face in there again if they called me and said “We made a mistake” and I said “Too bad.” So…yeah. Mensch.

              * = Here’s what happened. I asked if he had any Rugers. He said “I have a 556” which I took to mean he had a Ruger 556. So I grabbed the first AR-15’ish gun I saw with a Ruger logo and it was the SR-762. I figured “He’s not really a gun guy. He thought it was the 556 model because it looks like an AR, he doesnt know the difference between the 556 and the 762 models”. But what actually happened was that he MEANT “I have a 5.56 caliber rifle in the Hawkeye.” A very interesting miscommunication.

              Plan B heating

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              Montana is awesome in the summer and lethal in the winter. So, for my needs, it seems a good idea to have an alternative source (or two) of heating in case something happens that causes the normal heating system to be unavailable.

              First and foremost, if youre going to burn anything…propane, wood, kerosene, fiat currency, whatever….for indoor heat you absolutely must have a carbon monoxide detector (or three) in place. And if it goes off, don’t ask questions….walk outside immediately.

              I have a fairly decent supply of kerosene sitting here. In the last fifteen years I lucked out into two sales on kerosene that were just too good to pass up.

              Kerosene heaters are a mixed bag. For one reason or another (mostly .gov nonsense) the really good kerosene heaters (like the Toyosun) are hard to come across new. Fortunately Craigslist provides a ton of used kerosene heaters at very decent prices. I mean really good prices…like $20-50 for a heater that was $150+ when it was new. So, since one is none, I have a couple heaters. But…I almost never use them. (Thats the problem with living in an area that is basically disaster-free.) As a result wicks dry out, things get dusty, batteries go dead, that sort of thing.

              I decided to get around to taking care of some preparedness tasks I’ve been letting go and one of them was making sure the kero heaters were up to snuff. Nope. Both are sitting on “E”. And they’re dirty. So…time to institute a preventative maintenance and readiness program for the stupid things.

              I sat down and disassembled things as best I could. I wiped down everything to, tightened all screws, cleaned the glass, applied some kerosene to the exposed wick, filled the tank, and lit the wick. And…it ran fine.

              Some people don’t like kerosene because “it stinks”. Yeah it does…when you start it and when you shut it down. When it runs, it usually runs without any smell. I set my heater on my porch, light it, wait five minutes, then bring it inside. When I want to extinguish it, I take it outside, turn it off, and leave it for a half hour so not only is there no smell but it’s also cooled down nicely so i can handle it and put it away.

              And speaking of putting away, I really need to make up some sort of ‘dust cover’ for these things. I don’t like leaving them sitting in the basement where they get dusty.

              And, I really need to put together an accessory package for these things. A tall .50 can with spare wicks, batteries (for the ignition), barbecue lighter, matches, fuel handling materials, etc. By the by, even though kerosene is extremely safe to handle, I always fuel them a) outdoors b) when theyre cool/cold, and c) there is always a fire extinguisher handy.

              I need to go into Evernote and create a category for the kerosene heating supplies. I should probably also set up a scheduled set of reminders to inspect and test the heaters as well. So, yeah, a little bit of work but they payoff when the heat is out should be quite worth it.

              Unicorn sighting

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              I was at school today, and as I was waiting outside the advisors office I engaged another student in some small talk. She was a young, attractive, female, black, conservative Republican. Would not have believed it if I hadn’t seen her with my own eyes. And…we had a great discussion on race issues that would have made the usual ‘white-guilt limousine-liberals’ cringe. It was awesome. We complained about our lefty instructors and talked about people assuming that because you’re black you must be a Democrat. It was a grand ol’ time. Nice to know there are such people out there.

              Article – Scientists Know How You’ll Respond to Nuclear War—and They Have a Plan

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              It will start with a flash of light brighter than any words of any human language can describe. When the bomb hits, its thermal radiation, released in just 300 hundred-millionths of a second, will heat up the air over K Street to about 18 million degrees Fahrenheit. It will be so bright that it will bleach out the photochemicals in the retinas of anyone looking at it, causing people as far away as Bethesda and Andrews Air Force Base to go instantly, if temporarily, blind. In a second, thousands of car accidents will pile up on every road and highway in a 15-mile radius around the city, making many impassable.

              That’s what scientists know for sure about what would happen if Washington, DC, were hit by a nuke. But few know what the people—those who don’t die in the blast or the immediate fallout—will do. Will they riot? Flee? Panic? Chris Barrett, though, he knows.

              I don’t think you need to be a rocket scientist to figure out what happens to survivors, behavior-wise, if someone cracks atoms over a major US city – some folks will flood the streets in a run-for-you-lives moment, some will frantically roam the area looking for loved ones, and a very, very small percentage will have their poop in a group and grabe their gear, evac to a pre-assigned rally point, link up with their fellows or leave messages there, and move to a safer location. I idunno about you but I know which group I’d like to be in.

              We’ve seen this behavior counteless times in the past….9/11, Katrina, etc….some folks stampede, some function optimally. Normalcy bias is a killer but having a plan and sticking to it can make a difference.

              Book – “Lucifer’s Hammer”

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              There are two books that I consider to be absolute classics in terms of ‘survival fiction’. The first is ‘Alas babylon’, the other is ‘Lucifers Hammer’. (LH)

              LH is a very polished story, which is a change from most survivalist fiction where you can tell the writer really didn’t have much experience in writing (and editing). It’s reminiscent of ‘The Stand’ in terms of setting up layers of backstory before finally getting to the actual end-of-the-world. The cast of characters is fairly broad at the beginning of the book but, much like real life, the list narrows down as attrition takes it’s toll…and some characters just face into the background never to be heard from again.

              The premise is one that you don’t see to often in this genre: a comet passes close to the earth and fragments strike the planet. Enormous tsunamis wipe out coastal regions, redraw continental maps, kick huge amounts of debris into the atmosphere, and generally turn the entire planet into a sodden, dark, cold mess.

              The story follows the paths of people from a wide disparate group of lifestyles… a cop, secretary, senator, scientist, playboy, rancher, astronaut, criminal, etc, etc. Are the usual survivalist tropes present? Absolutely…but pretty much because this is the book that started those tropes. The cannibal armies, plucky survivors banding together, huge ‘final battle’, etc, etc….all there. LH is the source that is referred to when later survivalist fiction gets described as ‘derivative of’. (For example, the end of ‘One Second After’ and the end of LH are very, very similar.

              People who are used to the fast-moving pace of some of the shorter survivalist-books may lose interest in the character development that takes up the first third of this rather lengthy book. If you can stick with it, the backstories enhance the rest of the book.

              Are there things in the book that would make the average survivalist sit up and say “Hmm…I hadn’t thought of that?” I believe so. I would say that its as realistic a story as you can have on a topic that many people say would be very unrealistic.

              LH is a book I recommend to people who enjoy the genre, but are not new to it. It’s a bit intimidating in terms of length, and a tad slow paced at the beginning, but I think if a person sticks to it and gets through to the actual disaster part of the book it becomes a wonderful read.

              You can usually find a used copy in most used book stores. It’s an enjoyable read for people who want a more in-depth and well-rounded story than many of the ‘shallower’ stories that are out there. Nothing wrong with the ‘light reading’ survivalist fiction (cough*Ahern*cough) but sometimes you want something a little more than just shoot-em-ups and gear porn.

              LH came out in 1977, which was right around the era of high inflation, expensive gas, and Soviet expansionism…and it shows in the book. But even if it is a little dated it is still a good read if you’re after a book that has a bit more substance.

              Available from the usual sources.

              Panicy non-buying

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              The last thing the blogosphere (or any other sphere, for that matter) needs is another person espousing their opinions about the latest school shooting. So..I’m not going to do that.

              Instead, I’m going to prattle about how this is the first time something like this has happened where I didnt feel the need to hock a kidney or lung so I could panic-buy more AR’s or magazines.

              I’ve enough on-hand that my needs are, I think, met for a long while AND I have enough to make a hefty profit off the unprepared if they pass another magazine ban. So…no panic.

              It’s been fourteen years since the Assault Weapons ban ended and we could once again have normal-capacity magazines. If you can’t remember what those dark days are like, lemme dial up the Wayback Machine for you…

              Too many people think that because Trump is in office we have nothing to fear in terms of future prohibitions. People who think that are short-sighted, unrealistic idiots. But, if you’ve had fourteen years to get you magazine/gun needs taken care of and still haven’t…well… maybe you’re not really the kinda guy that needs to be reading preparedness blogs.

              Moral of the story: being able to not stress about magazine/gun bans is a nice thing. And that peace of mind is only because I haven’t been sitting on my hands these last few years.

              Rotate and replace – learn it, love it, live it

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              As I’ve posted before, about a zillion years ago there was a sale on oatmeal at the local Albertson’s. I went long on it and wound up with a five-gallon Gamma-sealed bucket full of vacuum-sealed packets of instant oatmeal. And there they sat. Quietly waiting. Until one day about ten years later when I decided to pull ’em out and get ’em into the rotation.

              Well, that means that what came out of long-term storage must be replaced, no? As I was flipping through Costco’s little sales flyer I see that they have 52-packs of oatmeal on sale for $5.99. That comes out to about twelve cents per package of oatmeal. Being the curious sort, I checked the scale and the packages do weight the same. However, and this surprised me, the apple flavor oatmeal packages contain almost 25% less product than the brown sugar or cinnamon flavor packets. Interesting.

              But the point is that in the course of around 12 years, the sale price of the oatmeal products has remained virtually unchanged. Which I found rather interesting. It also nice to see that my food storage program has been going on long enough that even somewhat-long-term stuff hasstarted getting rotated and replaced on a regular basis. Go me!

              Anyway, these things will get packed a dozen to a bag and sealed up for the Deep Sleep. Oatmeal isnt anyone’s favorite food, but it is very difficult to argue against it’s convenience. Some boiling water, freeze dried fruit to mix in, and you’ve pretty much got a decent breakfast. In the Venezuela-of-the-future you could have oatmeal, fruit, eggs, bacon, and orange drink all out of a can you put away twenty years ago. Kinda comforting, that. Speaking of Venezuela…this was too good to not share:

              Privacy in the survivalist world

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              You know Joe Blow. One day, Joe Blow says “Hey, a buddy of yours from a while back called me looking for you. He said he was your roommate in college. I gave him your [number/address/email].”

              Joe Blow has no idea if that guy was really your roommate or your girlfriend’s crazy ex-boyfriend. And he handed him your personal info.

              Don’t be that guy.

              From time to time, someone will ask me if I know someone who has a particular gun or similar item for sale. I’ll say yes and they’ll ask for that person’s contact info. I never give out anyone’s personal info. Instead, I’ll tell the person to give me their info and I’ll pass it along to the other person and they can make contact if they are interested. In this manner no one’s personal info is ever out of control. The buyer controls whether they pass on their info or not, the seller’s info is never out in the open unless the seller chooses to contact the buyer, and little ‘ol me is the cutout. You may notice, at this point, I have the contact info for both parties. True. But…I only have it because both parties willfully provided it to me.

              Folks like you and I have a lot of reasons to be private. We have stashes of..well… lotsa stuff .. that makes us high-value targets for everyone ranging from neighborhoodlums to cops looking for a quick boost to their stats (or egos).  Unfortunately, ‘networking’ is tough to do when you have to worry about the risk of every potential new contact.This is why it is so hard to meet other like-minded individuals. It’s also why, in my experience, your most likely candidate for a new survivalist buddy is probably someone you already know.

              I don’t hang around with anti-gun people, leftists, socialists, morons (“But I repeat myself” – M. Twain), statists, and that sort of ilk. So, whom I hang out with is, naturally, probably going to fall into that set of people who do share my interests. After that, it’s a Venn diagram of ‘likes guns, personal freedom, fiscally conservative, well-read, intelligent’ and a few other features. Point being, the choices you’ve made for the last several years (or decades) about who you hang out with have probably already naturally landed you in a pool of people that have a much higher than average likelihood of being like-minded individuals.

              But all it takes is one mistake to undo a lot of plans. “Hey, you’re a survivalist? I am too! Show me your gun collection!” is not the smart way to do things. And it goes past that… maybe this person is exactly the sort of person who want to bring into your private world of freeze drieds and silver coins. But what about their friends? What about their spouse? What about their blabber mouth kids? Or their brother with the meth habit and need to sell other peoples expensive gear to fund it? What about the people who intersect their life?

              It’s a challenge to try and juggle the need for security and avoidance of risk with the desire to expand your network a bit. Most of the time we humans are social critters and as much as we may like to think we don’t need other people, it is kinda nice to have someone you can talk to and do this sort of stuff with.

              I started this post with an example of how many people betray other peoples privacy. Anytime you meet anyone, survivalist or not, you have to keep in mind that whatever information they choose to share with you is between the two of you unless explicitly stated otherwise. “Hey, can you give me Joe Blows phone number?”, “No, but if you give me yours I’ll ask him to call you.” That sort of thing. It’s a balancing act because you don’t want to be rude, and you don’t want to call the other person out on being nosy, but privacy matters.

              I get this on the blog once in a while. Someone will email me and ask if I can give them someone’s email address or somesuch. No. Never. I’ll pass your contact info to them but that’s as far as it goes.

              It isn’t always this awkward though. My friend whom I eventually figured out was on the same page eventually introduced me to his friend who also had the same inclinations we did. Since I trusted my friend, and my friend trusted his friend, there was already a high level of trust in place. (And this is, in fact, how it works in the mob when you want to meet someone.)

              So the thought for today is that privacy is paramount. And trust comes slowly but when it does come it is worth maintaining. Sadly, the corollary to that is that once trust is broken you have to disengage and disconnect immediately and irrevocably. And that can be a major pain in the ass if you’ve trusted someone with the location of the Batcave. So…always protect your own privacy but be just as vigilant with the privacy of others. In this way we’ll all prosper and have better experiences with each other.

              Meeting folks

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              The local two-year college here (what we used to politely call a vo-tech back in the day) has a class on building ‘sustainable’ housing and other greenie nonsense. One of their projects was building tool shed tiny house as a project and then auctioning it off. Here’s the link to the failed auction. And heres a link the school’s attempt to pimp it. So the thing is sitting on a trailer in the parking lot of the school, and since I have never really gotten a close look at on of these things, I hopped up on the trailer and started looking through the glass in the door. After a few minutes a guy came by and and started looking as well.

              He said he was curious too, and we got to chatting. He was saying how it would be a nice place to drop out in the hills somewhere because it would ‘not be easily noticed’. Hmmmm. Okay, the survivalist version of gaydar starts tracking….We start talking about the the relative size of the place and I comment that by staying below a certain square footage, it falls below the threshold at which the local zoning nazis start throwing their weight around. And he says, “Yeah, its kinda like the 80% lower of houses.”

              Radar lock.

              And then the conversation turns a few degrees in the preparedness direction and the next thing you know we’re chatting about all the fun ways to put this thing on top of a buried cargo container and blah, bah, blah.

              And that’s how it happens. No secret handshakes, no hanky code, no mumbled sacred phrases, no subtle hand signals…. just shooting the breeze, tossing out a casual comment, and seeing what the response is.

              Or maybe he just noticed the pop can thermos in my hand that said “Cmdr. 0” on it. (In my defense, someone gave me that…it’s not the sorta thing I’d have done on my own.)

              By the way, the school seems to think that someone would have bid $30 grand for that gussied up tool shed. You could stuff it with hookers and cocaine and it still wouldn’t be worth thirty large. I’d give you five grand and you can keep the trailer. For thirty grand you couuld probably build a real cabin where you’re not crapping in composting toilet like some sort of overgrown tabby squatting in a litter box.

              Snowshoe bindings

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              I’d mentioned earlier that after years of wanting, I finally caved and got a pair (well, two actually) of the surplus magnesium snowshoes that never seem to run out of inventory at the various surplus dealers.

              The bindings that come with them are, to put it mildly, challenging. Oh, if you get good instructions you can suss it out and get them the way you want them but isn’t there a better way?

              Might be.

              Some research showed that these bindings were recommended for this sort of thing so I went ahead and ordered a set. The instructions were NOT terribly clear, but between YouTube and some comments in the reviews on Amazon, I got it figured out.

               

              Bottom line: You will want to use different screws. I used 1.5″ 10-24 with nylon locking bolts and a couple washers on either side. About $1 at most hardware stores. The guy in the video cut away some of the wires that were in the way and then cable clamped the loose ends. Maybe that works for him, I dont like the idea of cutting anything. I used some safety wire to pull the webbing wires apart where I needed more space.

              Getting in and out of these bindings is a breeze. Highly recommend. If the weather would just cooperate, I’ll take these things for a hike up in the hills but right now we’ve got rain and virtually zero snow on the ground. But, February us usually our winteriest month, so who knows.

              Ruger – Whats old is new again

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              As you may have noticed in some earlier posts, I am quite excited by Rugers introduction of a 9mm carbine that takes pistol magazines. The carbine comes with a magwell adapter to take Glock mags, but as-is the thing is made to take the mags from Rugers American series and their Security-9 gun.

              Wait..Security what?

              Waaaaay back in the day, Ruger made a k-frame-style pistol under a few different names – Police-six, Speed-Six, Security-Six. They were no-frills six-shot revolvers marketed towards police and security markets. A reasonable strategy in the day when only the most forward thinking groups equipped their guys with automatics.

              As the revolver faded from duty holsters, Ruger tried to capture the market with their very good, very affordable, and very ignored P-series of automatic pistols. Their extremely low price would make them attractive to buyers who needed to equip agencies/departments on a budget. Sadly, the P-series never really caught on and it was quietly discontinued a few years ago. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the P95 series (Specifically the P95DC) and I can usually pick up a couple each year on Gunbroker for less than $200.

              When Ruger came out with their PC9 carbine, the plan was that it would be a police carbine that would use the same mags as the pistol the officer carried. A couple problems with that concept was that a) cops that carried longarms usually went with M4s or 870’s, and b) virtually no department issued the P series as a standard sidearm. The Ruger 9mm carbine was discontinued about ten years or so ago and they command stupid prices on Gunbroker. But..that’ll change now because really the only market for the PC9 will be guys like me who have a mountain of P-series pistols. But….

              Ruger has, it seems, decided to get into the budget wondernine market again with the Security-9 series. The most interesting thing is that dealer cost on these things is…$260~. Yeah, that’s not a typo. So you get, basically, Ruger’s version of the Glock 19 for only a hundred bucks more than a HiPoint. (Or, put another way, for the same money you get twice as much capacity, half as many guns,and  three times the respect of a HiPoint.)

              The Security-9 is getting some reviews at the usual places, and I’m sorta curious about them simply because I still have the inexplicable attraction of a carbine and pistol taking the same mags. However, since the Ruger carbine will accept Glock mags there’s no need for me to get a couple (or five) of the Security-9’s to go with the carbine. But, considering their low dealer price, if they turn out to be a quality gun, at least on par with the P-series, then there might be some interest there. There are some differences…the P-series are hamer fired versus the concealed hammer, DA/SA, and have second-strike capability. The Security-9 offers…well..not much that I can see except perhaps slightly better ergos and a rail. I’d be very curious to see if theyre as durable as the tank-like P’s.

              I’ll probably wind up getting one just to try out and if I like it, who knows…maybe I’ll retire the P-series to Gunbroker and restock with the Security-9’s.

              Anyway, I find it interesting that Ruger has gone back to trying to get the ‘budget’ market for autopistols again. I suspect that these things will replace the P-series as the most common ‘big name’ autoloader in police evidence bins.

               

              Food… it’s whats for dinner

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              The usual scene: me carefully scrutinizing the meat department at my local Albertsons for remaindered meat. Annnnnnnnnd….pork tenderloin:So, the pork tenderloin was marked down from $10.99 to $5.00 each. Not bad…but not good enough for my tastes. Fortunately, they were marked down to 30% off because today was the last day to Sell By:

              I head over to the meat counter.

              “You’ve got nine of those pork tenderloins marked down 30%. I’ll take ’em all and empty out your bin if you’ll markk ’em down to 50%.”

              “Okay.”

              Thusly:

              And thats how you wind up with receipt that says “You saved: 77%”. Or, put another way, dang near $99 at regular price but in my freezer for $22.50.

              So…that’s a nice little score to go into the deep freeze. And it frees up a chunk of cash to buy silver today since it took a bit of a tumble and dropped down to a low of $16.55 before bouncing back. I caught it at $16.75 but still feel good about it.

              Radio rambling

              Click here to view the original post.

              I don’t know if the local radio programming changed, or if my schedule changed to the point that I fell into the time slot…BUT…. what is up with this Alex Jones guy?

              I mean, I’ve got a bit of tinfoil lining my ranger cap but this guy is out where the buses don’t run. I mean, I’ve heard all the conspiracy theories, and from people who said them with a straight face and earnest seriousness, but this guy is just…

              Now, of course maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the MK Ultra programming by the Illuminati is reacting with the chemtrails and nanobots in my flu shot. I mean, that’s perfectly reasonable, right?

              It was like Coast To Coast AM for people who don’t have trouble sleeping.

              Bunker Gumbo

              Click here to view the original post.

              Although most folks regard me as some sort of Firearms Guru And Resident Montana Love God, I’m slightly more faceted than that. Not much, mind you..but slightly. Some folks think that I like to cook. Not so. I like to eat, cooking is just how I get there. The side effect of that, of course, is that I’m a pretty decent cook.

              Chicken Gumbo with a small ball of white rice. All it needs is a few sliced green onions on top for color.

              So it’s winter in Montana and, really, who has time to cook? But sometimes you want something satisfying for those cold winter days. A few months back I was at a restaurant with a friend and they had chicken gumbo on the menu. Cool. So I ordered it up and, while good, there was an element missing. I asked the waitress to check with the kitchen and confirm my suspicion. Indeed…there was no okra in the gumbo. Without okra it is not gumbo, it is simply soup. So, I decided I’d start working on a recipe to make my own gumbo.

              After a half dozen attempts, which were all pretty good actually, I settled on one recipe which I tweak a little bit here and there. I’m simmering a yuuuuuge batch of it right now. Some will get frozen, and some will get pressure canned. Here’s the recipe as I found it. The original recipe is bold, my comments are not:

              • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening. Screw it, I use butter. Because butter.
              • 2 tablespoons flour
              • 1-2 pounds of diced chicken. I used skinless, boneless chicken breast. I like lotsa meat so I usually go with 1.5-2#. Adjust as you see fit.
              • 5 cups chicken broth or stock. I’m lazy, so I use canned.
              • 2 onions, finely chopped. I run it through my Cuisinart to get it nice and fine.
              • 2-3 ribs celery. I cut these into narrow strips and mince them as small as I can.
              • 1 green pepper. Cut up same as celery.
              • 8 tomatoes, diced. Again, lazy. I use 2 cans of diced tomatoes.
              • 1/2 pound okra cut into 1/4″ pieces. I use frozen.
              • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
              • 1 bay leaf. I use a couple more than that.
              • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
              • 1 teaspoon salt – Way too much salt, IMHO.I use about 1/4 and then salt later in the simmering, or, more often, at the table. Salting too early always seems work out poorly. Salt food as a final step.
              • 1/2 cup uncooked rice – I’ll add rice if Im not canning it later. When I do add rice, I add about 3/4 cup. I like a thick gumbo and the rice absorbs excess liquid.
              • Cajun seasoning – not in original recipe. I cook the chicken in this and save some for seasoning during simmering.
              • Hot sauce or Tobasco – Again, not in original. Used for seasoning in the simmering process.

              Take the chicken and cut it up into small pieces, kinda like you were doing a stir fry, and cook in butter with a sprinkling of cajun spices. Cook until chicken is no longer translucent. Set chicken aside.

              Melt the shortening or butter, and add the flour. Stir over low/med heat until flour is browned. Don’t burn it or you’re screwed.

              Add the trinity: onions, peppers, celery and cook until onion is translucent. I usually throw in some more butter.

              Add broth slowly, stirring all the while.until it reaches boiling.

              Add tomatoes, okra, rice, celery, salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaf; bring to boil.

              Take the cooked chicken and chop it up into the size pieces you want. I run it through my Cuisinart using a dough blade (plastic) instead of the sharp (metal) blade. Shreds it nicely. Add the chicken to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer.

              How long? I let it go for a couple hours but its up to you.

              In the simmering, I’ll add a little hot sauce or Tabasco to give it some body. Use your own discretion. You can also add more Cajun/Creole seasoning during the simmer process to really dial it in.

              I don’t use the rice in the cooking process because in canning, the rice gets mushy. If I want rice I’ll cook some up and add it to the gumbo at the time I’m consuming it.

              I usually add a couple more bay leaves than called for. Depending on how thick or thin you want your gumbo, simmering uncovered will reduce it or you can add some uncooked rice to suck up excess liquid. For storage, more liquid seems to work out better for reheating purposes.

              And. of course, time to break out the Manhattan Project gear and can this stuff…

              Looks like a SADM looking for a place to happen.

              The canner is an All American #925. It should be called All Your American Money. It’s wildy expensive but it is literally built to last a lifetime. Holds 19 pints or 7 quarts. No gasket to replace. Here to stay, built to last. Pay alot, cry once. Zero recommends.

              If you don’t have a good pressure canner, I highly recommend this one. It has worked flawlessly for me in the almost-ten-years I’ve had it. It lets you can a large amount of food and can double as an autoclave. (And probably as a water distillation device with the proper tubing.)

              And , yes, there probably shoulda been some Andouille in there but it isn’t easy to find good sausage.

              Bunker Gumbo

              Although most folks regard me as some sort of Firearms Guru And Resident Montana Love God, I’m slightly more faceted than that. Not much, mind you..but slightly. Some folks think that I like to cook. Not so. I like to eat, cooking is just how I get there. The side effect of that, of course, is that I’m a pretty decent cook.

              Chicken Gumbo with a small ball of white rice. All it needs is a few sliced green onions on top for color.

              So it’s winter in Montana and, really, who has time to cook? But sometimes you want something satisfying for those cold winter days. A few months back I was at a restaurant with a friend and they had chicken gumbo on the menu. Cool. So I ordered it up and, while good, there was an element missing. I asked the waitress to check with the kitchen and confirm my suspicion. Indeed…there was no okra in the gumbo. Without okra it is not gumbo, it is simply soup. So, I decided I’d start working on a recipe to make my own gumbo.

              After a half dozen attempts, which were all pretty good actually, I settled on one recipe which I tweak a little bit here and there. I’m simmering a yuuuuuge batch of it right now. Some will get frozen, and some will get pressure canned. Here’s the recipe as I found it. The original recipe is bold, my comments are not:

              • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening. Screw it, I use butter. Because butter.
              • 2 tablespoons flour
              • 1-2 pounds of diced chicken. I used skinless, boneless chicken breast. I like lotsa meat so I usually go with 1.5-2#. Adjust as you see fit.
              • 5 cups chicken broth or stock. I’m lazy, so I use canned.
              • 2 onions, finely chopped. I run it through my Cuisinart to get it nice and fine.
              • 2-3 ribs celery. I cut these into narrow strips and mince them as small as I can.
              • 1 green pepper. Cut up same as celery.
              • 8 tomatoes, diced. Again, lazy. I use 2 cans of diced tomatoes.
              • 1/2 pound okra cut into 1/4″ pieces. I use frozen.
              • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
              • 1 bay leaf. I use a couple more than that.
              • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
              • 1 teaspoon salt – Way too much salt, IMHO.I use about 1/4 and then salt later in the simmering, or, more often, at the table. Salting too early always seems work out poorly. Salt food as a final step.
              • 1/2 cup uncooked rice – I’ll add rice if Im not canning it later. When I do add rice, I add about 3/4 cup. I like a thick gumbo and the rice absorbs excess liquid.
              • Cajun seasoning – not in original recipe. I cook the chicken in this and save some for seasoning during simmering.
              • Hot sauce or Tobasco – Again, not in original. Used for seasoning in the simmering process.

              Take the chicken and cut it up into small pieces, kinda like you were doing a stir fry, and cook in butter with a sprinkling of cajun spices. Cook until chicken is no longer translucent. Set chicken aside.

              Melt the shortening or butter, and add the flour. Stir over low/med heat until flour is browned. Don’t burn it or you’re screwed.

              Add the trinity: onions, peppers, celery and cook until onion is translucent. I usually throw in some more butter.

              Add broth slowly, stirring all the while.until it reaches boiling.

              Add tomatoes, okra, rice, celery, salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaf; bring to boil.

              Take the cooked chicken and chop it up into the size pieces you want. I run it through my Cuisinart using a dough blade (plastic) instead of the sharp (metal) blade. Shreds it nicely. Add the chicken to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer.

              How long? I let it go for a couple hours but its up to you.

              In the simmering, I’ll add a little hot sauce or Tabasco to give it some body. Use your own discretion. You can also add more Cajun/Creole seasoning during the simmer process to really dial it in.

              I don’t use the rice in the cooking process because in canning, the rice gets mushy. If I want rice I’ll cook some up and add it to the gumbo at the time I’m consuming it.

              I usually add a couple more bay leaves than called for. Depending on how thick or thin you want your gumbo, simmering uncovered will reduce it or you can add some uncooked rice to suck up excess liquid. For storage, more liquid seems to work out better for reheating purposes.

              And. of course, time to break out the Manhattan Project gear and can this stuff…

              Looks like a SADM looking for a place to happen.

              The canner is an All American #925. It should be called All Your American Money. It’s wildy expensive but it is literally built to last a lifetime. Holds 19 pints or 7 quarts. No gasket to replace. Here to stay, built to last. Pay alot, cry once. Zero recommends.

              If you don’t have a good pressure canner, I highly recommend this one. It has worked flawlessly for me in the almost-ten-years I’ve had it. It lets you can a large amount of food and can double as an autoclave. (And probably as a water distillation device with the proper tubing.)

              And , yes, there probably shoulda been some Andouille in there but it isn’t easy to find good sausage.