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

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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

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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.

Real world eating of decades old freeze-dried food

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A timely collection of posts about eating some Mountain House from way back when.

Claire, over at http://www.clairewolfe.com/blog/ , was kind enough to email me and bring to my attention this series of posts from a blog I should have been reading for a while. (And how awesome is it to actually be friends with Gun Jesus, aka Ian McCollum?)

And though I’ve mentioned it before, it’s worth a bump: Mountain House: Food that has lasted half a long lifetime

Real-world results trump theory every time.

Book review – The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047

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So this showed up in my mailbox a couple weeks ago:

The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047

Short version: Worth the read.

Longer version:

Post-apocalyptic fiction is a tough nut to crack. You either go with guns and cannibals, like pretty much everything written since ‘Lucifers Hammer’ or you try to give a less ‘action movie’ apocalypse and deal more with day to day stuff like ‘Alas Babylon’. Some fiction tries to promote an agenda or belief, some just wants a body count. But regardless of the style of apocalypse, if it isn’t well-written no amount of gun-battles and zombies is going to make you want to make it to the final chapter.

“The Mandibles” goes for the ‘economic collapse’ flavor of apocalypse. The US defaults on it’s debts, becomes an economic pariah, and tries to inflate it’s way outta things. In the midst of this are several generations of the Mandible family who were counting on their family wealth but instead watch it vanish. The story covers several members who represent various mindsets and lifestyles…the practical, the pessimistic, the naive, the possibly sociopathic, the intelligentsia, and others.

What I found that made the story compelling was the fairly realistic, as I see it, representation of how daily life changes as the economy disintegrates. Our characters lose jobs, face empty supermarkets, inflated prices, evictions, robberies, medical emergencies, and eventually totalitarian government, all through the course of the book.

Although I disliked the last couple chapters of the book, which seemed to turn a gritty somewhat-reality-based economic collapse into a L. Neil Smith libertarian fantasy, I really enjoyed the book in general. I’ve always said that the hallmark of good fiction is if it makes you think about things in ways that you might not have otherwise. In this case, after reading though the book in one sitting, I found myself inventorying my precious metals stash and resolving to make some future purchases. Yes, I’m that susceptible to things I read.

Gunplay? Virtually none. Cannibal army? None. But was it compelling reading? Absolutely. Only one character in the book seemed to have any grasp of the severity of the situation and the implications for the future. I found myself eagerly waiting for the parts where he would respond to the situations without the normalcy bias everyone else seemed to have.

My impression: good book, enjoyable read, not for the person who wants all-action-all-the-time, but definitely good for someone who wants to imagine a ‘wargame’ of riding out the dollars collapse in a big city.

MH buy, snowshoes

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Working on setting up the MH buy. Everyone who emailed, check your email. Someone’s email keeps getting bounced to me…so, M.R., try emailing me a different address to reply to.


We don’t get alot of snow in this particular chunk o’ Montana, so I never really worried about snowshoes. But, we don’t get a lot of zombie apocalypses either and yet I’m getting a couple pallets of Mountain House….. So, I figured I’d risk fifty bucks and order those surplus snowshoes we constantly see in all the surplus catalogs. (Fifty bucks over at Sportsmans Guide) They arrived today.

Virtually everything I have read says that the issued bindings suck like a Hoover with a hemi. An alternative binding was recommended. However, always up for a challenge and willing to experiment with surplus gear, I figured I’d try the military bindings. The intimidating part is getting them on the stupid snowshoes. Fortunately, YouTube to the rescue:

Sure, I had to rewind a couple times but I think I got it figured out. I need to go out in the hills where theres a good bit more snow and try these out. But…its one more thing off my list. I’ve been meaning to give snowshoeing a try…it appeals to my desire to be out in the boonies away from all the stupid humans.

Ordered up two pair of snowshoes…one is none and all that jazz. Did a search for “Sportsmans Guide Coupons” and found a coupon for free shipping, so that worked out well. Now I just need to dig out the winter camo, put the winter furniture on the PTR, and go tromp in the woods.

Food

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1/3 off MSRP, thats probably what the deal will be on the #10 cans of MH. Send me an email if your interested. I’ll reply with a detailed list, including shipping weights, so you can calulate your shipping and see if it’ll work for you.

zero@commanderzero.com

Link – The Great Starvation Experiment

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Starvation is something that has always fascinated me. Not the actual mechanics of it, although that does have some fascinating features, but rather what it does to the mind of the starvation victim.

We are all familiar with the phrase “Hungry people are dangerous people”, but that’s really just an abstract concept for many of us because we’ve never been truly hungry. I don’t mean ‘hungry’ as in “I haven’t eaten since yesterday afternoon”…I mean hungry as in ‘behind barbed wire’ hungry. The kind of hungry that comes from someone purposefully depriving you of food, or from there literally being no food available.

I’ve mentioned it before, but at the end of World War Two a scientist decided to see what actually happened when you starved people. He lined up some volunteers, starved them, and took notes. The result was the Minnesota Starvation Experiment.

Here’s a link to a website with some good info about it.

Worth noting is that many of the subjects became ‘obsessed’ with food and it became a primary focus of their waking hours. This part is interesting:

The stress proved too much for one of the men, twenty-four-year-old Franklin Watkins. He began having vivid, disturbing dreams of cannibalism in which he was eating the flesh of an old man. On trips into town (before the buddy system had been implemented), he cheated extravagantly, downing milk shakes and sundaes. Finally Keys confronted him, and Watkins broke down sobbing. Then he grew angry and threatened to kill Keys and take his own life.

Mind you, these were people who knew it was an experiment. They knew they wouldn’t starve to death. But….what starvation does to the mind is interesting. To continue:

Almost sixty years later, in 2003, 19 of the original 36 volunteers remained alive. Of these survivors, 18 were interviewed as part of an oral history project about the experiment. They admitted that there had been some lingering aftereffects of the experiment. For instance, for many years they were haunted by a fear that food might be taken away from them again.

Notably, two of the survivors from the Essex are reported to have hoarded food in the later parts of their life. I’ve also read of death camp survivors from World War Two who, even fifty years later, never went anywhere without pockets full of crackers or snacks.

So, yeah, in a world where the ‘rule of law’, such as it is, may be a tad thin someone starving (or watching a loved one starve) is probably going to be a remarkably dangerous, virtually feral, individual.

The solution? Well, don’t be there. Second solution, have lots of food. Have lots of food in several locations.

Which brings me to Mountain House. I was thinking about putting in a big order with them in March. It’s $3500 for a minimum order and I was toying with seeing if anyone here wanted to see if we could get enough people on board to make it happen. This would be for the #10 cans, whole cases… no broken cases. We’d probably have to set some sort of minimum on it, like $200 just to keep it manageable. But..if there’s enough demand we could make it happen. Figure pricing would be around 25-30% off MSRP. Local pickup would be available for those so inclined. Give it some thought.

 

.gov shutdown 2018

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If they’re “Non-essential” .gov employees, then doesn’t that mean we don’t need them? Or, at least, their services can be done cheaper and more efficiently by private enterprise?

Honestly, Im a huge fan of gridlock and .gov shutdowns. Put that thing in a box and keep it from doing more damage.

Triad, Medusa, and the multicaliber dream

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Ian, aka ‘Gun Jesus’, has a neat little video about the Medusa revolver.

Basically, the idea was to have a revolver that would shoot, essentially, any straightwall case cartridge, rimmed or rimless, that fired a bullet around 9mm…9×19, .38 Special, .357 Mag., .380 ACP, 9×21, .38 Colt, etc. It would be a ‘survivors’ gun since you could scrounge ammo from just about anywhere.

It wasnt an original idea. It was supposed to be the Colt Survivor but Colt let it languish and it never went anywhere. (But prototypes do turn up.) The story, as I rad it, was that ATF tol Colt that if they made this thing they wouuld have to give it very distinctive rifling so that bullets could be identified as having been shot outta the thing since it could, in theory, fire dozens of different cartridges.

Anyway, about ten years ago Taurus decided they’d got on the bandwagon and announced the Taurus Triad…a more modest caliber selection: 9mm/38/357. It was pure vaporware and although it was cataloged I never found one.

Ruger made their single-action Blackhawk convertibles in 9/357 but required a cylinder change. It’s only as of late that they have made something of a comeback with their new .45 Redhawk that fires .45 ACP/.45 Colt. However, I still want a revolver that shoots 9mm/38/357 interchangeably.

Taurus just announced that they are bringing out a DA revolver that, with a spare cylinder, will allow you to shoot the 9mm/38 cartridges but only time will tell if they actually make the bloody things.

I rather like the idea of a DA revolver that can digest three of the most common cartridges found in this country. But, is it practical? Ehhhh…..not sure. But on paper it seems like a good idea.

 

Hawaiin ponderings

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So, you’re on an island and you get word that a nuclear missle is..what?..20 minutes away….from hitting. What do you do?

The media reported about people running around screaming, stuffing kids into storm drains, and people calling their loved ones for that dramatic ‘final phone call’. I wonder if anyone thought to get in a boat and motor away from the island as fast as they could.

Malmstrom AFB is a couple hours east of here and is the closest real nuclear target to me. What would I do if I got that text alert that there was a missile heading in that direction? Well, I wouldn’t be standing around crying and praying like the Hawaii folks. I’d grab the people important to me and cart them off to my basement. (Which , in retrospect, sounds very serial killer-y.)

Dreams like this happen every once in a while. I’ll have a dream that I see The Big Flash on the horizon and the world turns into the first fifteen minutes of World War Z. Maybe I stay put in my house, maybe I head to a secondary location, maybe I grab a shopping cart and race through WalMart like my life depends on it. But what I don’t do is stand around wailing and crying.

What about you? Have you actually told the loved ones what the drill is for when Something Big happens?

================
Secret message to Pedro begins: Received. Much thanks! Will report on it.

Hawaii

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Conspiracy Theory For The Day:
The missile warning wasnt a hoax. The NorKs launched one and it was shot down by US interceptor systems. But, they let the missile warning be broadcast so that if the system didn‘t catch it, they wouldn’t come out looking like fools. And if the missile did get intercepted, they could just shrug and say ‘false alarm’. Meanwhile, unplanned movements by naval and air forces in the Pacific were dismissed as part of an annual joint operational exercise. increased radio chatter from NorK and Japan prior to, and during, the launch has, of course, been unverified.

Mountain House musings

I hate that every time I find a product I like, it gets discontinued. Such is the case with one Mountain House’s recently introduced goodies. A while back , the sales department sent me some of their newer offerings. One of them was Italian Style Pepper Steak with Rice and Tomatoes. Darn good, I tell ya. So, I figured I’d get around to ordering a case or two of the #10 cans of the stuff. Sold out. Truth be told, the pouches are rated for seven years but, in the real world, they last a lot longer if you store ’em in a safe place. I may have to order a couple cases to round things out.

It occurs to me that I have quite a few samples of MH’s stuff laying around so I may as well do some reviews of it. Have to get on that this weekend. BUT…the pepper steak? Good eats,  man.

Food is that one consumable that, other than water and oxygen, you pretty much have to have on hand if youre going to survive whatever apocalypse you’re expecting. I mean, lotsa people make it though hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and economic crises without firing a shot … but no one goes through them without eating.

MH has added a buncha new foods since I last stocked up. (A quick perusal shows that the last group buy was around….2008?) I wonder if it’s time to try and coordinate another one? They are tremendous pains in the ass to put together, but the discounts are usually worth it. I’ll have to give it some thought. Usually it takes a commitment of about $3500 to get the free freight…which is a big deal because getting a couple pallets trucked over from Oregon is about $350 all by itself. But..getting enough people to commit to buying enough food to reach that minimum, collecting money, repackaging and reshipping…man, thats some work.

In a perfect world I’d simply order $3500 worth of food for myself, tuck it away, and cross ‘food’ off my list. But…it’s going to be a while before I have that kinda disposable income.

Mountain House musings

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I hate that every time I find a product I like, it gets discontinued. Such is the case with one Mountain House’s recently introduced goodies. A while back , the sales department sent me some of their newer offerings. One of them was Italian Style Pepper Steak with Rice and Tomatoes. Darn good, I tell ya. So, I figured I’d get around to ordering a case or two of the #10 cans of the stuff. Sold out. Truth be told, the pouches are rated for seven years but, in the real world, they last a lot longer if you store ’em in a safe place. I may have to order a couple cases to round things out.

It occurs to me that I have quite a few samples of MH’s stuff laying around so I may as well do some reviews of it. Have to get on that this weekend. BUT…the pepper steak? Good eats,  man.

Food is that one consumable that, other than water and oxygen, you pretty much have to have on hand if youre going to survive whatever apocalypse you’re expecting. I mean, lotsa people make it though hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and economic crises without firing a shot … but no one goes through them without eating.

MH has added a buncha new foods since I last stocked up. (A quick perusal shows that the last group buy was around….2008?) I wonder if it’s time to try and coordinate another one? They are tremendous pains in the ass to put together, but the discounts are usually worth it. I’ll have to give it some thought. Usually it takes a commitment of about $3500 to get the free freight…which is a big deal because getting a couple pallets trucked over from Oregon is about $350 all by itself. But..getting enough people to commit to buying enough food to reach that minimum, collecting money, repackaging and reshipping…man, thats some work.

In a perfect world I’d simply order $3500 worth of food for myself, tuck it away, and cross ‘food’ off my list. But…it’s going to be a while before I have that kinda disposable income.

Article – Business Is Booming for America’s Survival Food King

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I really don’t see what the big deal is…those countries like Haiti really are..well…you know.
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Someone sent me this link and I figured I’d share:

On Monday, Sept. 25, five days after Hurricane Maria pounded Puerto Rico, Aaron Jackson got a LinkedIn notification on his phone from Michael Lee, supply chain and inventory manager for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “Contact me right away,” it read, followed by a number. Jackson was at Blue Lemon, a fast-casual restaurant in Sandy, Utah, outside Salt Lake City, eating dinner with his family. He stepped outside and dialed.

Lee needed help, fast: FEMA was running low on food rations. In the previous four weeks, the agency had supplied millions of meals to the Texans and South Floridians displaced by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Maria had created a third disaster zone with more complex logistics, having knocked out Puerto Rico’s electricity, gutted its roads, and destroyed its markets and ports. Restoring food security on the island could take months. Lee had to procure millions of servings of just-add-water meals to sustain the victims. Could Jackson provide at least 2 million and begin deliveries immediately?

Article is behind a free registration wall. I’d repost it in its entirety but I’ve no doubt someone would then go tell the Bloomberg people and I already disdain Bloomberg enough.

 

How WalMart reinforces the decision to be armed

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I swear, it doesn’t matter what time of day it is, what time of month, or what season of the year – shopping at WalMart is always a trip to a human zoo. Fat people on scooters, moms with toddlers in several different shades, Gabby Hayes lookalikes, pierced and tattooed freak shows, etc, etc. I swear, if I ever have the misfortune of being accosted by lawless ne’er-do-wells it’s going to happen in a WalMart parking lot.

WalMart is the central point of a Venn diagram with all the different subspecies of humans (and pseudo-humans). It is like some sort of Supermarket of Dr Moreau…a paean to the untermensch.

And yet, I’ll travel among those people like British explorers through New Guinea in order to save $0.75 per pound on chicken, and get Coke a nickel cheaper per can than at Albertsons.

After my appendix exploded a few months back, the incisions were right along my beltline, which made carrying a pistol kinda painful. As I healed up (no mutant healing factor, sadly) I wound up, more often than not, going sans boomtoy in my daily life. And…I wound up not going back to it.

Driving is second nature when you’ve done it for a while, but a near-accident, or witnessing one, will suddenly make you more self-conscious about how you drive. I don’t need a near-death experience at the hands of some useless waste of skin with a HiPoint to remind me that carrying a gun is a good habit to maintain. WalMart is an exceptionally good reminder that “nothing good happens away from home after 11pm”. (Unless, of course, youre Harvey Weinstein at a post-Oscar party watching Jennifer Lawrence get hammered on boilermakers.)

So..back into the habit that I never should have fallen out of. What’s the gun of choice for the Zero, you might ask? Same as 90% of everyone reading this – comabt tupperware..drastic plastic…a Glock 19. It’s cheap, it works, and it’s what I have.

Nothing like the Parade of Failed DNA at WalMart to get you back into the habit of carrying a gun when you leave the house.

I can resist anything except temptation

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Every couple weeks I get an email from one of my vendors with a special on Barretts. Now, they aren’t the most accurate of the .50’s…. the long recoil operation doesn’t lend itself to precision, but then again the 82A1 is designed for busting up objects, not people. And it’s a lot easier to hit a parked helicopter at 1300 yards than it is to hit the pilot. The 82A1 is an an anti-things rifle.

But…the notion of ten rounds of .50 BMG on tap has a lot of gee-whiz appeal, and the damn thing just looks cool. So when this dropped in my mailbox…

It is tough to not order one up. I mean, I could sell the four bonus ARs for $500 each at a gun show and my cost on the Barrett then drops to $7000. But..gotta be practical. $9,000 would get me a superb .338 Lapua with an amazing scope and a high end rangefinder, ammo, accessories, dies, etc. And still leave me a couple grand left over.

It would also cover a not insignificant portion of my mortgage.

Being an adult sucks.

 

Link – My Top 12 Post-Apocalyptic Comics!

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Man does not live by “Ala Baylon” alone. Comics Graphic novels are actually quite good reads. Some of these titles I was aware of, some I was not. Regardless, a quick trip to Amazon should take care of most of this list.

Yes I find the apocalyptic era entertaining. So what is it about the post apocalyptic era that makes it so popular? Well it’s the thought that living in a apocalyptic world is a reality considering the world that we live in now. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that the world could have a nuclear war, or virus outbreak. It’s the way of how humans cope and survive in a harsh environment, like the Walking Dead shows – humans can become a hero or a sadistic villain. And that is what I find so good about shows like TWD, Contagion because it deals with the essence of actual possibilities.

So I have put together of my personal top 12 Post-Apocalyptic comics that you should definitely check out.

And, as many of you may know, The Walking Dead started out as a comic.

Anyway, when you get tired of reading the classics over and over, these might open up some new avenues.

Article – Military explosives found buried in ground by construction workers in Pine, Arizona

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PINE, AZ – Officials are looking for information about a discovery of explosives in Pine, Arizona last year. 

A construction crew was clearing land in a rural area of Pine on Wednesday, Oct. 25, when they unearthed a collection of military explosives.

Eighty blocks of military C4 explosives, nine Claymore antipersonnel mines with firing devices, and one roll of military detonating cord were found inside plastic cylinders buried underground. 

 

The interesting part? It seems, according to the article, they figure this stuff had been quietly hiding underground for the last 20 years. Hmmm. Arizona has two large names that might have been interested in things like that…McVeigh spent time in Arizona but he was in prison by late 1995 which is right around the 20 year mark. Then there were the ‘Four Corners Survivalists’ who had their moment in 1998..I recall reading somewhere that they spent time in AZ as well…so, again, thats close to twenty years. But, more likely, it’s someone who got ballsy and walked off base with a truckload of goodies and then had a hell of a time figuring “Well, now what?”

I guarantee you, though, there’s probably a lot more stashes like that one out there.

H/T to the fella that tipped me off to the article in email.

Article – Military explosives found buried in ground by construction workers in Pine, Arizona

PINE, AZ – Officials are looking for information about a discovery of explosives in Pine, Arizona last year. 

A construction crew was clearing land in a rural area of Pine on Wednesday, Oct. 25, when they unearthed a collection of military explosives.

Eighty blocks of military C4 explosives, nine Claymore antipersonnel mines with firing devices, and one roll of military detonating cord were found inside plastic cylinders buried underground. 

 

The interesting part? It seems, according to the article, they figure this stuff had been quietly hiding underground for the last 20 years. Hmmm. Arizona has two large names that might have been interested in things like that…McVeigh spent time in Arizona but he was in prison by late 1995 which is right around the 20 year mark. Then there were the ‘Four Corners Survivalists’ who had their moment in 1998..I recall reading somewhere that they spent time in AZ as well…so, again, thats close to twenty years. But, more likely, it’s someone who got ballsy and walked off base with a truckload of goodies and then had a hell of a time figuring “Well, now what?”

I guarantee you, though, there’s probably a lot more stashes like that one out there.

H/T to the fella that tipped me off to the article in email.

Dealer price on Ruger carbine

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The Ruger 9mm carbine is starting to show up in the websites of some of my vendors. Dealer pricing is hovering aorund $425, which means the carbine is cheaper than the Glock that the magazine comes outta.

Ruger is notorious for a) using the public to beta test and recalling virtually every new product at least once, and b) allocating new stuff to keep the demand high. I expect to be able to maybe order one of these around…hmmm.. April. But…order I will, mmm, yes.

But seas between us broad have roared

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Year end wrapups are kinda the low-hanging fruit of the blogging world, but I’m not proud.

2017 didn’t result in any global disasters that would send good folks scurrying to their bomb shelters. And while there may have been regional, or even national, disasters elsewhere, my little chunk of the planet seems to have made it okay.

It was, though, not without some weirdness. For one thing, I walked around for a few days with a ruptured appendix before thinking “Hmm, maybe I should see a doctor about that.” Then, while flat on my back with three different hoses and tubes running outta my abdomen, Montana decides to shimmy with the most powerful earthquake we’ve had in a long while. I was not amused.

Picked up a couple P95s over the year and that was about it for gun purchases, I think.

Didnt have to use any stored fuel, emergency food, or war reserve ammo….so, all in all, a nice neutral year. And I didn’t have to use my AK.

From a preparedness standpoint, it’d be nice if 2018 was gun-heavy. I would really like that new Ruger carbine, a tricked out Savage .338 Lapua, and a Glock 10mm. Be nice to get a vehicle upgrade this year too. But…gotta be a grownup. There’s some loose ends I’d like to get tied up financially and it really makes more sense to do that then to spend money on what is at this point a quinary level of firearms redundancy.

 

 

 

Battery failure

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So, with the forecasted bad weather a-coming, I decided to stage a few things in case the power went out. Grabbed the trusty Streamlight Siege and hit the switch. Fluttering, flickering light. What the heck? Opened it up and found, oddly, wetness/moisture on the bottom of the interior of the light. Apparently one of the batteries had sprung a leak and I caught it way early. As you can see in the image, the lower edge of the battery split open. I’ve had batteries go bad in MagLites and corrode in there, but I’ve never caught a battery issue right as it happened. Interesting. There appears to be no damage to the Siege…just wiped up the moisture and swapped out the batteries. The batteries in question, BTW, were some Duracells that had an expiration date of 2016.

Normally, I am loathe to leave batteries in something for an extended amount of time, but you can’t really leave critical gear un-batteried. The next best thing would be to regularly inspect the device for damage at a scheduled interval. Clearly I need to check on this sort of thing once every couple of months.

It’s a pain in the rear, but part of being prepared means having gear; and having gear means you have to maintain that gear, and that means regular inspections/function tests. I’ve no doubt that if I hadn’t caught this, I’d be looking at having to replace this lantern in a month or two after the innards corroded.

Battery failure

So, with the forecasted bad weather a-coming, I decided to stage a few things in case the power went out. Grabbed the trusty Streamlight Siege and hit the switch. Fluttering, flickering light. What the heck? Opened it up and found, oddly, wetness/moisture on the bottom of the interior of the light. Apparently one of the batteries had sprung a leak and I caught it way early. As you can see in the image, the lower edge of the battery split open. I’ve had batteries go bad in MagLites and corrode in there, but I’ve never caught a battery issue right as it happened. Interesting. There appears to be no damage to the Siege…just wiped up the moisture and swapped out the batteries. The batteries in question, BTW, were some Duracells that had an expiration date of 2016.

Normally, I am loathe to leave batteries in something for an extended amount of time, but you can’t really leave critical gear un-batteried. The next best thing would be to regularly inspect the device for damage at a scheduled interval. Clearly I need to check on this sort of thing once every couple of months.

It’s a pain in the rear, but part of being prepared means having gear; and having gear means you have to maintain that gear, and that means regular inspections/function tests. I’ve no doubt that if I hadn’t caught this, I’d be looking at having to replace this lantern in a month or two after the innards corroded.

Winter weather advisory/warning/cataclysm

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The forecast is for some heavy snow in my particular region. I have a four-wheel-drive vehicle with spare fuel, a radio, an extensive emergency kit, and a host of other survival related goodies.

And I’m gonna leave it parked the next few days. Why? Because the secret to becoming an old survivalist is to avoid being in a survival situation to begin with. Rule #1 of surviving a disaster: Dont Be There.

Sure, I could drive around over the weekend, take my time, drive slowly, brake early, signal often, etc. and I’d be fine…until Bob-from-Carolina who cant drive on snow t-bones me at an intersection. Not my fault, Im doing everything right….and you’re at the mercy of every other idiot out there who may be doing everything wrong.

So why buy trouble? I have a house full off food, fuel, internet porn, dry clothes, extra Coke, and some spreadsheets to catch up on. I can stay here and let the world slip-n-slide into wet, cold chaos. There’s very little I can think of thats worth me risking my vehicle, my health, and my limited financial resources to an accident.

Survivalism (or preparedness, if you prefer) is about values and choices. Which is more important..me not having a wrecked car or me having a quart of milk from the store? Sometimes you have to take chances, but if you don’t have to why would you? Gotta pick your battles, man.

But..for those times when you can’t pick your battles and you gotta go to war anyway, be prepared. I don’t want to leave the house in this weather….but if I have to, I can…and I can do it in a way that reduces the risks and reduces the consequences if those risks go the wrong way. But, again, why buy trouble?

In the meantime, one side effect of staying in is that I get time to sit in front of the keyboard and work on these ‘brain droppings’, as Geo. Carlin called writing.

Be safe out there, gang.

Return of the Ruger 9mm carbine

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What the hell, Ruger!

“Interchangeable magazine wells for use of common Ruger® and Glock® magazines. Ships with SR-Series Pistol and Security-9® magazine well installed and an additional magazine well accepting Glock® magazines is included. Ruger American Pistol® magazine well is available at ShopRuger.com.”

Utterly brilliant if it works. That stock is the most bizarre looking thing I’ve seen on a gun in a lnog time, but being able to interchange mags with my Glock 9mms is a supermegawesome feature. And takedown!? And threaded? Ruger is going to sell a metric buttload of these to people who want a carbine for their bugout bags.

And MSRP is below what a used older PC9 carbine is running at.

Trouble is, since this thing takes Glock mags, what the heck am I gonna do with all these P95’s? (Unless Ruger makes a magwell for them…but I suspect the aftermarket may take care of that little detail.)

As soon as Ruger gets the obligatory new-product-recall out of the way, I am so down for a few of these.

Return of the Ruger 9mm carbine

What the hell, Ruger!

“Interchangeable magazine wells for use of common Ruger® and Glock® magazines. Ships with SR-Series Pistol and Security-9® magazine well installed and an additional magazine well accepting Glock® magazines is included. Ruger American Pistol® magazine well is available at ShopRuger.com.”

Utterly brilliant if it works. That stock is the most bizarre looking thing I’ve seen on a gun in a lnog time, but being able to interchange mags with my Glock 9mms is a supermegawesome feature. And takedown!? And threaded? Ruger is going to sell a metric buttload of these to people who want a carbine for their bugout bags.

And MSRP is below what a used older PC9 carbine is running at.

Trouble is, since this thing takes Glock mags, what the heck am I gonna do with all these P95’s? (Unless Ruger makes a magwell for them…but I suspect the aftermarket may take care of that little detail.)

As soon as Ruger gets the obligatory new-product-recall out of the way, I am so down for a few of these.

Speed loading and speedloaders

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If you can divorce yourself from nostalgia, sentimentality, and a desire to appear ‘old-school’, it’s hard to argue that for most cases of defense against things with two legs, the automatic pistol has nudged the revolver into a distant second place. That isn’t to say that people still don’t carry revolvers for defense against people (and this is an important distinction I’ll touch on later), but rather that objectively the auto trumps the revolver for self-defense in most ways.

The revolver’s strength? Cartridge selection, simplicity of use. It’s drawbacks? Everything else. For defense against more-than-two-legged things (think claws and teeth) revolvers have the advantage of being able to throw out stuff that generates a buttload of ft/lbs. that most automatics can’t. (Yes, you can carry a Desert Eagle or a Wildey in the woods and be just as well heeled as any .44 Mag toter, but you’re doing it at a sizable weight/size disadvantage.)

Having said that, there are still days I tuck a revolver into my pocket, or sliip one into a belt holster, when I go about my day. But I always make sure to carry spare ammo.

The NYPD (Motto: “Ahright, Shows Over, Shows over..let’s go.”) used to, believe it or not, issue revolvers to it’s troops right up until the 1990’s. And as if that wasn’t archaic enough, they had you carry your reloads in what were called ‘dump pouches’. These were little leather boxes on your belt that held six cartridges. The opening flap was on the bottom of the box. You’d pop the flap and the cartridges would fall into your palm where you would then reload your revolver one round at a time. In 1986. Sonny Crockett had a 10mm auto but NYPD cops were still loading like they were in Mayberry.

Why didn’t they NYPD issue speedloaders? Good question. Inertia and training seems to be the answer. My cursory research shows that it came down to these reasons: too complicated, too fragile, we’ve always done it this way.

And then, one day, a cop got into a bullet party with a bad guy and while reloading his revolver the cop caught a round in his melon. The subsequent outrage pushed the NYPD into allowing the use of speedloaders. (Honestly, I’d be surprised if there weren’t a whole bunch of guys already carrying them in their pockets or on their belts when they thought no one was looking.)

Brand of choice? HKS. For the most part, thats the big name in speedloaders although there have always been smaller shops making specialty ones. After HKS the next biggest name is Safariland. Once you get past the speedloaders, your next option for loading your revolver faster is two load by twosies rather than onesies – the Speed Strip. When Bianchi brought these things out, back in the days of aviator sunglasses and porn ‘staches, their advertising said that they would be offered in other calibers as well. That never happened. Fast forward a few decades and another outfit picked up the slack to give us Speed Strips (under a different name to, no doubt, avoid trademark issues) in other calibers.

When I’m carrying a revolver for protection against the two-legged, it’s usually a .38 or .357. (A J-frame or K-frame of some brand.) My personal preference is the Speed Strip if I’m just tossing the snubbie in my pocket as I walk out the the door. The Speed Strips lay flat in a pocket and are handy to use. While a tad slower than a speedloader, they are still light years ahead of the old dump pouch.

When I carry the larger framed guns (K-frame, like a Model 10 or Security Six) I carry a couple speedloaders. I used to carry the HKS speedloaders and they work fine. They’re quite reliable, well made, and can usually be found at gun shows for $10 or less for each one. The speedloader has a knob at the back that needs to be turned to release the cartridges. Drop the speedloader into the cylinder, grip the cylinder to keep it from turning, twist the knob on the back of the speedloader, discard speedloader, close gun. Shoot, rinse, repeat.

I kinda prefer the Safariland Comp I & II speedloaders. Instead of a knob to twist, the speedloader releases its cartridges when the cylinder pin contacts the release on the speedloader, Basically, you drop the speedloader into the cylinder, shove it home, and the cartridges automagically release into the cylinder. It’s not that the twist motion of the HKS speedloader is a big deal, but I find the Comp I speedloader to be wonderfully compact since it doesnt have a big knob protruding from the back.

My next revolver is going to be one of the new 8-shot Ruger Redhawks. Fortunately 8-shot speed strips exist for it, and I’ve no doubt that speedloaders will follow.

But, getting back to the first two paragraphs, my G17 without a spare magazine carries as much ammo as my GP100 with two speedloaders. So..there’s that. On the the other hand, my N-frame drops heavier and faster lead than the Glock does, which is why I carry the G17 in town and the N-frame in the boonies. (Although at some point I’ll go full Nugent and get a Glock 10mm as my woods gun.)

I know it was dropped at least once…………

Scene: Gun Shop

Me: “Hey, you didn’t tell me you got a 686 in.”
Him: “You don’t want it.”
Me: “Why? Whats wrong with it?”
Him: “It’s got bad juju.”
Me: “Really? How bad?”
Him: “Guy killed himself with it.”

And THAT right there is how you bring a conversation to a screeching halt. I’m not majorly superstitious…but it did give me pause. I’ve owned Mauser 98’s that, no doubt, killed someone way back during the war, Mosin Nagants that probably also perforated people, and other military guns that almost certainly had been blooded. So why would this one be any different? But….still…….

So I made a lowball offer. Maybe a good price makes up for the bad juju. I dunno.

So what say you? If someone offered you a decent price on such a gun, and you knew that a year or two ago someone used it to spackle the ceiling with their cerebellum would you buy it? Would you have the least bit of trepidation about it?

I know it was dropped at least once…………

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Scene: Gun Shop

Me: “Hey, you didn’t tell me you got a 686 in.”
Him: “You don’t want it.”
Me: “Why? Whats wrong with it?”
Him: “It’s got bad juju.”
Me: “Really? How bad?”
Him: “Guy killed himself with it.”

And THAT right there is how you bring a conversation to a screeching halt. I’m not majorly superstitious…but it did give me pause. I’ve owned Mauser 98’s that, no doubt, killed someone way back during the war, Mosin Nagants that probably also perforated people, and other military guns that almost certainly had been blooded. So why would this one be any different? But….still…….

So I made a lowball offer. Maybe a good price makes up for the bad juju. I dunno.

So what say you? If someone offered you a decent price on such a gun, and you knew that a year or two ago someone used it to spackle the ceiling with their cerebellum would you buy it? Would you have the least bit of trepidation about it?

I know it was dropped at least once…………

Scene: Gun Shop

Me: “Hey, you didn’t tell me you got a 686 in.”
Him: “You don’t want it.”
Me: “Why? Whats wrong with it?”
Him: “It’s got bad juju.”
Me: “Really? How bad?”
Him: “Guy killed himself with it.”

And THAT right there is how you bring a conversation to a screeching halt. I’m not majorly superstitious…but it did give me pause. I’ve owned Mauser 98’s that, no doubt, killed someone way back during the war, Mosin Nagants that probably also perforated people, and other military guns that almost certainly had been blooded. So why would this one be any different? But….still…….

So I made a lowball offer. Maybe a good price makes up for the bad juju. I dunno.

So what say you? If someone offered you a decent price on such a gun, and you knew that a year or two ago someone used it to spackle the ceiling with their cerebellum would you buy it? Would you have the least bit of trepidation about it?

The deals are still out there

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This rolled across my email from CDNN.

The sub-$400 AR’s are still out there. I’m kind of a snob and would be a tad apprehensive to run out the door with The Cheapest AR I Could Buy, but given a choice between this and a Mosin Nagant………..

I’ve seen a few YouTube videos where people melt down a few budget AR’s like this, but they seem to mostly run pretty well. The notion that AR’s are for ‘rich yuppie survivalists’ whereas  the Mosin is a good choice for ‘working folks’ kinda falls apart at this point. Give up beer-n-cigs for six weeks and any WalMart greeter in a doublewide can have one.

Cold

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Although we’ve had a bit of snow here and there, we haven’t really had any cold weather to speak. That apparently changed today. It is -1 out there right now. (For those of you in countries that never put a man on the moon, thats -18c.)

Not the coldest I’ve ever seen. (That would be the couple days when it was -26 [-65 with wind chill] back in the 80’s.) The part of Montana that Im in is the warmest part. You head east, across the divide, and those flat parts of Montana (I’m looking at you, Billings and Great Falls) get brain-numbingly cold.

What is the secret to living in such an environment? What arcane time-tested secret allow people to endure such climate? What trick allows us to survive in this condition?

Don’t go outside. Duh.

I’ve got a ton of things to do this week and will be using the holiday to capitalize on the free time. Being a rather secular fellow, this holiday provides me with the perfect opportunity to get things done.

Of course, tomorrow this town will be a ghost town. No businesses open (except mine), no mail, no banking, no UPS, no one on the roads. It’ll be like they neutron bombed this place. It’ll look alot like the opening city montage from ‘The Omega Man’…but with snow.

Still, staying indoors is great when you have that option. When you have to go outside..well…then it’s time for the N3B parka or a couple sheep’s worth of wool.

So , thats my plan for the weekend… stay indoors as much as possible and work on some organizational projects.

Stay warm amigos!

 

Cold

Although we’ve had a bit of snow here and there, we haven’t really had any cold weather to speak. That apparently changed today. It is -1 out there right now. (For those of you in countries that never put a man on the moon, thats -18c.)

Not the coldest I’ve ever seen. (That would be the couple days when it was -26 [-65 with wind chill] back in the 80’s.) The part of Montana that Im in is the warmest part. You head east, across the divide, and those flat parts of Montana (I’m looking at you, Billings and Great Falls) get brain-numbingly cold.

What is the secret to living in such an environment? What arcane time-tested secret allow people to endure such climate? What trick allows us to survive in this condition?

Don’t go outside. Duh.

I’ve got a ton of things to do this week and will be using the holiday to capitalize on the free time. Being a rather secular fellow, this holiday provides me with the perfect opportunity to get things done.

Of course, tomorrow this town will be a ghost town. No businesses open (except mine), no mail, no banking, no UPS, no one on the roads. It’ll be like they neutron bombed this place. It’ll look alot like the opening city montage from ‘The Omega Man’…but with snow.

Still, staying indoors is great when you have that option. When you have to go outside..well…then it’s time for the N3B parka or a couple sheep’s worth of wool.

So , thats my plan for the weekend… stay indoors as much as possible and work on some organizational projects.

Stay warm amigos!

 

A week of light

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It occurred to me, as I was wondering when this jump pack was finally going to give up, that I have a cheap little battery voltage meter sitting in the box with some gear. Let’s see what we have:

Yeah…it seems that thing is running on the battery equivalent of fumes. But…it’s been running 24-hours for the last seven days. Or, put another way, if you used it eight hours per day, youd get three weeks of use. Six hours a day (or night, really) and you’d get a month of use. Personally, I’ve seen enough. Time to unplug and recharge. I have the info I need.

I’ll plug this thing in and let it charge, and then leave it alone to await the day the power goes out and that long, cold, winter night starts looking grim.

I should also like to point out that this setup is wonderful for task lighting or whatnot, for rummaging around a darkened bunker and illuminating various rooms in an outage, I really do like the Streamlight Siege. In fact, I really need to get two or three more to round things out.

 

 

 

Article – Red Dawn in Lapland

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Interesting article on how there’s been a bit of resurgence in the desire, among some small countries, to renew their military preparations against invasion.

Finland shares an 833-mile border with an aggressive and unpredictable neighbor. That proximity led to a major conflict during World War II—the horrific Winter War—and even now it keeps Finns nervous about Russia’s intentions. David Wolman suited up to train with the elite soldiers who will be on the front lines if this cold feud ever gets hot.

The Finns arent the only ones keeping eye on how the wind is blowing. The Estonians, too, are doing similar things.

 

Article – Red Dawn in Lapland

Interesting article on how there’s been a bit of resurgence in the desire, among some small countries, to renew their military preparations against invasion.

Finland shares an 833-mile border with an aggressive and unpredictable neighbor. That proximity led to a major conflict during World War II—the horrific Winter War—and even now it keeps Finns nervous about Russia’s intentions. David Wolman suited up to train with the elite soldiers who will be on the front lines if this cold feud ever gets hot.

The Finns arent the only ones keeping eye on how the wind is blowing. The Estonians, too, are doing similar things.

 

Underwear Day

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It’s not exactly a holiday, but today was Underwear Day. Every two years or so I throw out all my socks, all my underwear, and most of my t-shirts, and start over. Three dozen socks (all matching), three dozen boxer briefs, and three dozen black t-shirts. One pass through Costco and I’m pretty much done for the next two years. Are some socks still good after two years? Some, not many. My rather oversize feet tend to wear socks and shoes out pretty quickly. Same for my oversize genitalia and my underwear. And t-shirts, as comfy as they are, only last so long before the collars start shredding out. So…every two years I scrap the whole thing and start over. One benefit to this policy is that I don’t have to match socks. In fact, if I get a hole in one sock I can toss it, keep the good one, and just mix it in with the others….they’re all identical.

It’s a very guy way to buy clothes.

And, if you’re into making things easier on yourself, there’s plenty of videos on youTube showing you how to take a pair of underwear, socks, and a t-shirt, and roll them all up into a tiny cloth burrito that makes packing easier. I find it just makes my morning less hassle. Get up, grab a sock-shirt-underwear bundle from the bin, and there’s half my getting dressed right there.

I suppose there’s an economical benefit…after all, prices generally only go up. But then there’s the issue of opportunity cost. For me, I just like knowing that, for the next two years, I can cross one more thing off my list.  And, I suppose, if I have to leave in a hurry or something I can grab-n-go a lot faster that way.

===========

And while at CostCo:

The desk lamp is still running although the battery indicator is now down to one bar. So thats, hmmm, about 96 hours so far of constant use. Assuming 8-hour use per night, thats 12 days worth of use.

Lamps

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A few posts back I mentioned that I had picked up a small battery jump-pack for charging my cellphone in a power outage. (I am amazed how many people are so short-sighted that they assume that because the cell towers may not be operating a functioning cell phone is useless.) The battery pack I picked up has a socket for 12v. ‘cigarette lighter’-plug devices.

A while back, as a project, I modified a desk lamp to run off a 12v power supply. I recommended such a setup to someone who recently had an extended power outage. I got curious about just how long that desk lamp would run, non-stop, before the battery pack lost its charge. Unfortunately, I’m having a heck of a time finding what capacity the battery in this thing actually is. Simple math then lets us calculate the length of time the thing will run. But I like empirical data…so I’ve hooked the thing up, parked it in the corner of the room, and am going to run it until the battery shuts itself off. Thus far, it’s been running since Tuesday night. It’s little battery meter is showing two out of three bars.

The batteries I picked up earlier this summer would equal about 76 amp/hours. Divide that into the draw of the lamp and, I think, that means I could run the thing for 114 hours (almost two weeks of 8-hour later night reading)  and draw the batteries down to 50%.

More interesting is that I could also daisy-chain those lovely Goal 0 lights to this thing and get a few days out of them as well.

While I do have a generator packed away for this sort of thing, I really don’t want to run it just for some area lighting. An arrangement like this battery/light combo seems to be a very neat way to get the lighting need taken care of without having to crank up the Honda.

I’ve ordered up some parts on Amazon to modify another lamp. When they get here I’ll document the process and those of you interested can follow along.

Edited to ad: I just realized that I’m leaving a lamp running to see how long it will run on the small supply of fuel/power. During Hanukah. Well, ’tis the season I suppose. Pretty confident it won’t last eight days though. Oy!

Lamps

A few posts back I mentioned that I had picked up a small battery jump-pack for charging my cellphone in a power outage. (I am amazed how many people are so short-sighted that they assume that because the cell towers may not be operating a functioning cell phone is useless.) The battery pack I picked up has a socket for 12v. ‘cigarette lighter’-plug devices.

A while back, as a project, I modified a desk lamp to run off a 12v power supply. I recommended such a setup to someone who recently had an extended power outage. I got curious about just how long that desk lamp would run, non-stop, before the battery pack lost its charge. Unfortunately, I’m having a heck of a time finding what capacity the battery in this thing actually is. Simple math then lets us calculate the length of time the thing will run. But I like empirical data…so I’ve hooked the thing up, parked it in the corner of the room, and am going to run it until the battery shuts itself off. Thus far, it’s been running since Tuesday night. It’s little battery meter is showing two out of three bars.

The batteries I picked up earlier this summer would equal about 76 amp/hours. Divide that into the draw of the lamp and, I think, that means I could run the thing for 114 hours (almost two weeks of 8-hour later night reading)  and draw the batteries down to 50%.

More interesting is that I could also daisy-chain those lovely Goal 0 lights to this thing and get a few days out of them as well.

While I do have a generator packed away for this sort of thing, I really don’t want to run it just for some area lighting. An arrangement like this battery/light combo seems to be a very neat way to get the lighting need taken care of without having to crank up the Honda.

I’ve ordered up some parts on Amazon to modify another lamp. When they get here I’ll document the process and those of you interested can follow along.

Edited to ad: I just realized that I’m leaving a lamp running to see how long it will run on the small supply of fuel/power. During Hanukah. Well, ’tis the season I suppose. Pretty confident it won’t last eight days though. Oy!

Mala suerte

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Imagine, if you would, you have a bag filled with marbles. Half the marbles are black and half the marbles are white. Each time an event happens that has an even chance of outcomes, a marble is pulled from the bag. Black marble and things don’t go your way. White marble and you get the outcome you want. Seems fair, right? But what if you get three white marbles in a row? Now there are more black marbles than there are white marbles in the bag…the odds of you pulling a black marble have increased and the odds of you pulling a white marble have decreased.At some point, you’ll have used up all the white marbles and all that will be left are black ones.

This is my own highly suspect and bizarre interpretation of how ‘luck’ works.

Succinctly, there’s a balance….you have ten good things happen, you’re going to have ten bad things happen. When you tilt the odds in your favor, youre tilting the odds elsewhere against you. Now, you can tilt the odds in your favor…in our marble example you could look in the bag and pull out the white marbles. But, if you do that, you cannot change the fact that the remaining marbles will be the black ones. So, you may be able to get the positive result that you want, when you want, but at some point you’ll have to balance it out by having nothing but black marbles left to draw.

Today I had two happy incidences of good luck. First, I got a check from Wells Fargo saying ‘sorry we opened a credit card account in your name without your permission’. Yay..grocery money for the month. Second, when buying groceries I found remaindered meat that was also buy-one-get-one-free, which meant that the large amount of chicken and fajita fixings I bought was not %50 off, but rather %75 off in the end.

I am now terrified that something truly crappy is waiting in the wings to balance all this out.

On the other hand, this could be the other side of the balance and this is the reaction to any of the hideous bad luck I’ve had lately.

However, I’m a pessimist and pragmatist…so…yeah, I need to keep both eyes open for the next couple days.

‘Tis the season

Festivus season is nearly upon us. Have you picked up your aluminum pole? Are you ready for the Feats of Strength? Have you catalogued all the ways the people closest to you have disappointed you for the “Airing of Grievances”? If not, you may not be ready for Festivus.

My plans for the holiday are pretty simple – take advantage of the lull to get caught up on a zillion things I’ve been letting fall by the side lately due to time constraints. But, the apocalypse is an unforgiving wench, and “I didnt have time” will NOT be accepted as an excuse for being underprepared when the wheels fly off things.

Things I need to do? Well, I have, literally, a pile of various packs, vests, pouches, and other gear about two feet high. It’s piled in a corner waiting for me to get it put away to the proper place. I’m sure there are some things in that stack that I should pull aside, take pictures of, and post about. Perhaps thats what I’ll do on the various holidays.

What does Commander Zero want for Festivus? Hmm. Well, I want a couple things that money can’t buy, but when it comes to things money can buy I wouldnt mind a couple cases of .223 or 7.62×39, a lovely Ruger 22/45 Tactical, or just a metric buttload of Amazon gift cards. What about you? What’s at the top of your “What I Want For [Hanukah/Kwanzaa/Festivus/Christmas/VoodooDay]”? Is it a gun? A vehicle? A knife? A supermodel with low self-esteem and poor judgement?

I need to figure out what sorts gifts to get the LMI. For Paratus I passed out 10/22 mags to everyone on my Paratus list (hey, I had plenty of them to go around so why not). It’d be tacky to give more of the same so I need to think about this a bit. Maybe PMags or some freeze drieds.

‘Tis the season

Festivus season is nearly upon us. Have you picked up your aluminum pole? Are you ready for the Feats of Strength? Have you catalogued all the ways the people closest to you have disappointed you for the “Airing of Grievances”? If not, you may not be ready for Festivus.

My plans for the holiday are pretty simple – take advantage of the lull to get caught up on a zillion things I’ve been letting fall by the side lately due to time constraints. But, the apocalypse is an unforgiving wench, and “I didnt have time” will NOT be accepted as an excuse for being underprepared when the wheels fly off things.

Things I need to do? Well, I have, literally, a pile of various packs, vests, pouches, and other gear about two feet high. It’s piled in a corner waiting for me to get it put away to the proper place. I’m sure there are some things in that stack that I should pull aside, take pictures of, and post about. Perhaps thats what I’ll do on the various holidays.

What does Commander Zero want for Festivus? Hmm. Well, I want a couple things that money can’t buy, but when it comes to things money can buy I wouldnt mind a couple cases of .223 or 7.62×39, a lovely Ruger 22/45 Tactical, or just a metric buttload of Amazon gift cards. What about you? What’s at the top of your “What I Want For [Hanukah/Kwanzaa/Festivus/Christmas/VoodooDay]”? Is it a gun? A vehicle? A knife? A supermodel with low self-esteem and poor judgement?

I need to figure out what sorts gifts to get the LMI. For Paratus I passed out 10/22 mags to everyone on my Paratus list (hey, I had plenty of them to go around so why not). It’d be tacky to give more of the same so I need to think about this a bit. Maybe PMags or some freeze drieds.

‘Tis the season

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Festivus season is nearly upon us. Have you picked up your aluminum pole? Are you ready for the Feats of Strength? Have you catalogued all the ways the people closest to you have disappointed you for the “Airing of Grievances”? If not, you may not be ready for Festivus.

My plans for the holiday are pretty simple – take advantage of the lull to get caught up on a zillion things I’ve been letting fall by the side lately due to time constraints. But, the apocalypse is an unforgiving wench, and “I didnt have time” will NOT be accepted as an excuse for being underprepared when the wheels fly off things.

Things I need to do? Well, I have, literally, a pile of various packs, vests, pouches, and other gear about two feet high. It’s piled in a corner waiting for me to get it put away to the proper place. I’m sure there are some things in that stack that I should pull aside, take pictures of, and post about. Perhaps thats what I’ll do on the various holidays.

What does Commander Zero want for Festivus? Hmm. Well, I want a couple things that money can’t buy, but when it comes to things money can buy I wouldnt mind a couple cases of .223 or 7.62×39, a lovely Ruger 22/45 Tactical, or just a metric buttload of Amazon gift cards. What about you? What’s at the top of your “What I Want For [Hanukah/Kwanzaa/Festivus/Christmas/VoodooDay]”? Is it a gun? A vehicle? A knife? A supermodel with low self-esteem and poor judgement?

I need to figure out what sorts gifts to get the LMI. For Paratus I passed out 10/22 mags to everyone on my Paratus list (hey, I had plenty of them to go around so why not). It’d be tacky to give more of the same so I need to think about this a bit. Maybe PMags or some freeze drieds.

Crisis cellphone charging

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Our Friend Of The Blog over at Self Sufficient Mountain Living has a post up about the aftermath of what was an unusually heavy snowfall in his neck of the woods. He had a problem with his generator and was unable to charge his cellphone. I mentioned that I kept one of those battery jump-packs around exclusively for that purpose and he said he wasn’t familiar with them. I may have not described it as accurately as I could have, so that might have led to some confusion. But…as long as the topic is timely…I’ll cover that.

I bought this at CostCo earlier this year:

I couldn’t find a link on CostCo’s website so I grabbed one from Amazon. Note that the thing is about $40 cheaper at CostCo last time I checked.

Anyway, its one of those little portable jump-starters that uses an internal battery. It also has an inverter and outlet to run small household devices, a 12-v ‘cigarette lighter’ outlet, and, most importantly, a USB outlet to charge devices. It’s this last feature that made me buy it. I leave it plugged all the time so it’s always on standby. I tested it out earlier this year by hooking up a 12v desk light to it. I plugged it in, turned it on, and left it to see how long the light would keep going before the battery crapped out. After two days I got bored and figured that was plenty for my needs. I should get quite a few cellphone recharges out of it before it needs recharging.

As I said, I keep it around specifically for recharging USB devices in case of an outage but it also works for the thing it was marketed for – jump starting a vehicle. I’ve used it a couple times for that and it worked as advertised.

Anyway, I mention this because while you can recharge your cellphone off you generator, it’s a wildly inefficient way to do things and if your generator doesn’t work, for whatever reason, you’ll still have an option for cellphone charging.

The origin of “Roof Korean”

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I was staggering through the internet a few weeks back and saw that the folks at Violent Little Machine Shop, maker of some of my favorite ‘morale’ patches, had this little number:

What, you may ask, is a ‘Roof Korean’? Well, it was 25 years ago so it’s entirely possible that a generation of survivalists may have not even been around when the Roof Koreans (and Ground Koreans) were workin’ their mojo.

You know how in survivalist fiction there’s always those gun battles on Main Street with the townies and local shopkeepers swapping bullets with the bad guys like all the rules have been called off? Well, that actually happened.

Roof Koreans operating operationally.

The year was 1992 and a handful of white cops had beat a black motorist so badly that his parents must have felt it. The difference between this episode and the LA police departments other beatdowns was that this one was caught on tape and widely distributed. The cops went to trial on charges of police brutality. When the jury returned a verdict of ‘not guilty’ against the cops, a disgruntled demographic decided to politely protest the verdict by setting fires, looting, and committing violence against people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Where were the cops? Well…that’s a good question. The official story is that the cops were outnumbered, too busy, stretched thin, etc. The prevailing opinion, however, is that they decided to let the mobs ‘get it out of their system’ and things would cam down. The Koreans just happened to be the target of choice for the mobs to use to let off some steam.

The Korean connection is that there has always been some bad blood between the black community and the Korean shopkeepers. Korean grocery stores are often targeted in these sorts of events because the black community, rightly or wrongly, views the Koreans as people who are just making a buck off them and care nothing about, and contribute nothing to, the black community. Against this backdrop of the 1992 LA Riots, some Korean businesses were targetted for violence.

Koreans are an interesting bunch. The ones I’ve met tend to be quite industrious and hard working. The Korean grocer in my neighborhood in Brooklyn was, as we’d say, a real mensch. He was the kinda grocer who, if money was tight, would let you get groceries and pay later.  His wife and little girl worked in that shop and you can bet that he took care of that store because it took care of his family. Solid guy.

And….guys like that don’t take kindly to someone threatening to burn down the business that they’ve worked so hard to build. And a surprising number of Koreans have had military training in the old country. South Korea, being technically at war for the last 60 years, does not fool around with it’s military preparedness and training.

So…take a demographic that is highly-motivated to protect their livelihoods, have a strong sense of community, have some military training (or leadership that does), a surprising amount of weapons, put them in an urban cage match where the referee (the police) have decided to stay home and you get… Roof Koreans.

Rook Koreans were the symbol of the Korean shopkeeper protecting his store and his neighborhood. Even the unorganized mobs that were bent on an orgy of ‘payback’ and ‘justice’ decided to give these guys a wide berth. And when they didn’t…it became a bullet party.

The LA Riots of ’92 were interesting to watch and had some wide ranging impact. Police policy changed and, more importantly, the notion of the recording of police activities by bystanders entered the mainstream. This new level of accountability, which was beyond police control, still causes headlines…it seems like every recent high-profile shooting is caught on video these days.

I don’t know anyone who was there with the Koreans, Ground Or Roof version, but I would imagine that the whole incident left a strong impression and that if it happens again there will be significant upgrade to the firepower. Standing guard all night behind barricades of bundled recycled cardboard definitely makes one thing that perhaps a Mini-14 might be a better choice than a Ruger Red Label.

Given the nature of politics and media these days, it isn’t hard to think that there’s going to be more events like these in the future. Best we can do is avoid it if possible and be prepared for the times we can’t.

Reminder – get the winter gear into the vehicle

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Looks like winter is really here…the temperatures have been dipping into the low teens and that means int’s time to break out the winter gear. Last year I wrote several posts about the gear I keep in the vehicle during winter months. Well, it’s time to wheel that Pelican case outta storage and toss it in the back of the vehicle.

So, if you havent already done it, it’s time to put the winter gear into the vehicles, guys. Don’t be That Guy we read about on the news who gets hospitalized after getting stranded and winds up missing a few toes and fingers. You know better!

 

The Luckiest And/Or Unluckiest Man In History

Twenty degrees last night. You might say there’s a nip in the air.

And they definitely said that 76 years ago.

And that little foray by Japan into staggering overconfidence led to the US’ foray into nuclear weapons development….and..well….it didn’t end particularly well for the Japanese.

One Japanese, however, had the exceptional bad luck to be nuked twice and the unprecedented good luck to have lived to tell about it.

In January 2009, Tsutomu Yamaguchi was the first person to be officially recognized as a double atomic bomb survivor. He is one of 165 presumed double bomb victims, though he’s the only official one. How’d this all happen? Of course, there’s a pretty good story that goes along with it…

I don’t know what the Japanese phrase is for “Enormous, radioactive, brass balls” but getting nuked twice and living to tell about it has got to be the Japanese equivalent of being composed of 50% Clint Eastwood DNA, 50% Chuck Norris DNA, and 50% Toshiro Mifune DNA.

However, on a more somber note, this is always a good day to remember that your world (and in this case, everyone elses) can change just like that >fingersnap<.

 

The Luckiest And/Or Unluckiest Man In History

Click here to view the original post.

Twenty degrees last night. You might say there’s a nip in the air.

And they definitely said that 76 years ago.

And that little foray by Japan into staggering overconfidence led to the US’ foray into nuclear weapons development….and..well….it didn’t end particularly well for the Japanese.

One Japanese, however, had the exceptional bad luck to be nuked twice and the unprecedented good luck to have lived to tell about it.

In January 2009, Tsutomu Yamaguchi was the first person to be officially recognized as a double atomic bomb survivor. He is one of 165 presumed double bomb victims, though he’s the only official one. How’d this all happen? Of course, there’s a pretty good story that goes along with it…

I don’t know what the Japanese phrase is for “Enormous, radioactive, brass balls” but getting nuked twice and living to tell about it has got to be the Japanese equivalent of being composed of 50% Clint Eastwood DNA, 50% Chuck Norris DNA, and 50% Toshiro Mifune DNA.

However, on a more somber note, this is always a good day to remember that your world (and in this case, everyone elses) can change just like that >fingersnap<.

 

Ruger’s new 8-shot .357

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Okay, it’s old news that Ruger introduced an 8-shot Redhawk .357 earlier this year in a stupefying 2.75″ barrel. I said that when they came out with a 5″ or 6″ barrel I’d get one.

Well bloody hell…they went and did pretty much exactly that.

Model Number: 5059

Model Number: 5060

I really want one (or more of these). I like the .357 cartridge and the big “N-frame”-style revolver should be an ideal platform for it. Not sure if it is cut for moon clips or not, but even if it isn’t…

I’m a Smith and Wesson fan but when it comes to wading through the apocalypse, the Ruger revolvers will take the abuse and neglect, in my opinion, much better than the Smith (or anyone elses revolver for that matter). I have always liked the L-frame Smith and have wanted a 681 for years. But…Ruger’s GP100 is about the same size. And I have a big ‘ol Smith Highway Patrolman in the safe but the Ruger will be just as big and bulky but with 33% more capacity and a more robust manufacture.

Ruger has done some stupid things in the past but you have to give them credit for bringing out new stuff pretty often.

 

Remington introduces mag-fed 870

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Well this is just absolutely fascinating:

You’ve heard the old saying “everything old is new again”. Well, that applies to the tried and true Remington 870 shotgun. The 870 is probably the most popular police shotgun ever. Remington has given the 870 a facelift with several new magazine fed models which would serve just about any shotgunners needs.

There have been various aftermarket attempts to make the 870 (and the Mossberg 500) into mag-fed firearms. Those attempts have met with mixed results and the fact that you may not have even heard of those conversions should tell you how widely accepted they’ve been.*

And then the Russkies came out with the 12-ga AK-pattern guns and all of a sudden everyone started taking another look at the mag-fed pellet-heaver. Problem is, even if you get past the fact that there are ALOT of variations in shotgun shells that make a one-size-fits-all method of semi-auto functioning a challenge, the shotgun shell itself is a challenge.

Ask anyone who owns a Vepr or Saiga or other mag-fed shotty and they’ll tell you that one of the problems is that the plastic shotgun shells, when under the pressure of several others in the magazine, or pushed up against a closed bolt, will start to deform. That nice round profile becomes oblong or squared on one side and feeding issues arise. Sure, the easy solution around that is to store the gun with bolt open on a loaded mag, or switch to brass shotgun shells (which is what the military did way back when.)

If Remington drops this conversion into their 1100 platform I’d be very curious to see how it works. Is it something I’d buy? Well…no. For my needs, I just don’t see it. Pumpguns have two things going for them: a) ability to use funky ammo like rubber buck, blanks, slugs, flares, etc. and b) sheer brutality. I cannot think of many occasions where a mag-fed shotgun is going to be a better choice than my mag-fed rifle…more power, more range, more capacity, more compact ammo, etc.

However…sometimes you want to send a message or make a statement and when it’s time to go to the matresses the shotgun gives your message that bold, heavy underlining.

No doubt, if these things take off, MagPul will wind up being everyone’s mag choice, and someone will come out with a drum. But, for me, a regular 870 with an extended tube will probably serve for most of my post-apocalypse needs. (Although I’m seriously jonesing to get my hands on Mossberg’s 930-series tactical autoloader to try out.)

Anyway, I hope Remington manages to crank these things out with better quality than..well..pretty much anything theyve cranked out lately.

 

* = Yes, there have been a few factory-made mag-feds in the last few decades (The Franchi, Atchison, Daewoo, and a few others spring to mind.)

Article – Brian Head Fire led officials to uncover survivalist’s explosive-filled bunkers hidden near makeshift cabins

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This cannot end well.

The proper response when someone with a badge asks you if those are your explosives is NOT to say “Yeah, those are mine but don’t worry they’re harmless.”

There are all sortsa things hidden out in the great big forests and deserts of the West if you just happen to know where to look.

Post Friday Of Color

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I gotta say, I was rather underwhelmed by the offerings during this years Friday of Color’s sale. The most interesting deal I saw was Palmetto State selling complete lowers, with Magpul furniture, for $149.99…that was kinda tempting.

I suspect one reason the bargains were kinda tin was, simply, that everyone has already marked down inventory to try and move the post-election surplus that they were sure was going to turn into gold on November 5th.

And now, the Festivus season approaches. This year has really just whipped by , hasn’t it?

Did anyone get a good deal on anything cool?

And, while we’re on the subject, I’m in the market for some BDU-style pants in ATACS-FG pattern with the usual accoutrements…reinforced knees, lotsa pockets, plenty o’ room in the crotch, etc, etc. if anyone has some reasonably priced recommendations, I’d like to hear ’em.

In the meanttime..keep calm and..well…you know….

Link – Airbnb: Underground missile bunker

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ESKRIDGE, Kan. (AP) — A Cold War-era missile silo in rural northeast Kansas that housed a nuclear warhead 65 years ago and was later converted into an underground mansion is now finding a new lease on life as an Airbnb location.

Thats a brilliant way to pay for the place, although you completely lose the privacy…but, then again, how private can a missile silo be when everyone knows it was there?

Curious? I was too. Here’s the link to Airbnb.

I have no reason to ever go to Kansas but if I did I would definitely spend the money for a night in this thing so i could wander around and examine it.

Reminiscing

I remember when I was a kid, the book that turned me onto survivalism was, I believe, ‘Alas Babylon’, although I think that at about the same time I managed to fall into Ahern’s ‘Survivalist’ series. I genuinely can’t recall which one was first, but I did a book report on ‘Alas Babylon’ so I think that was the one that started the ball rolling. Time frame? Mmmm…1980.

I was a fascinating time to be alive. Some of you might remember it. Jimmy Carter, a prototype Obama, was president. In normal circumstances he probably would never have made it into national politics but the previous administration had the taint of Nixon about it and at that point it wouldn’t have been terribly difficult to beat a Republican candidate. (Trivia: Gerald Ford, the incumbent, was the only person to be President who was not elected to the Presidency or to the Vice-President position.) As it turned out, the malaise of the Carter administration, with it’s foreign policy debacles and economic issues, laid the groundwork for Reagan to sweep into office on the platform of “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”

But…prior to Ronnie, it was stagflation, mortgage interest rates were around 11%(!!!!), and the Soviets were still a real threat. Against that backdrop there was a rebirth of the preparedness ‘movement’ that hadn’t really been seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis days. The big apocalypse du jour was World War Three. I was only peripherally aware of it as a 13-year old kid. But looking back, wow, was it a bizarre time. Everyone who was anyone had an AR-15 and a 1911 of some flavor. The SKS and AK rifles were virtually unheard of unless your dad brought one back from his trip to Vietnam. Your only source of 7.62×39 was Normal or Lapua. ALICE gear and woodland camo ruled the world. MRE’s were still nascent. For the dedicated survivalist, Mountain House was your food, Buck or Gerber was your knife, Radio Shack was your comms, and your AR and 1911were made by Colt. Period. Social media? The classifieds in Soldier of Fortune and, later,  American Survival Guide were about it.

Nowadays it is so amazingly different.  A lot of guys still choose the AR but but there’s at least a dozen makers. Same for the 1911. And, ironically, Colt is usually not the preferred source for either. Mountain House remains the industry leader but there are a few other players in that very narrow market. Communications options nowadays go past the ubiquitous CB radios of the 70’s. And the internet….well….the internet lets anyone get all the cool, esoteric, hard-to-find gear that, when I was a kid, to weeks or months to get.

Is there anything cool from the 70’s/80’s era of survivalism that was better then than now? Well, machine guns, for sure. The 1986 ban really screwed that up. Other than that, I don’t think there’s much in the survivalist arena from that era that isn’t better now. Of course, at this point, you’d have bloody near 40 years of being a survivalist under your belt.

And how did those threat analyses turn out anyway? Well, the Soviet Union imploded in a fit of self-actualization, nuclear winter became even less likely, and World War Three, as we had understood what it would be, pretty much vanished. The new threats were an overreaching government and a New World Order.

Then, of course, Y2K popped up on the horizon and those of use with basements full of MRE’s had something new to get worked up about. News media showed people who went all-in and sold their condos in Los Angeles to buy chunks of desert in Nevada that they could fence off and get ready to bunker down in. Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd…..Y2K came and went with nary a blip.

A year goes by and we get the main act in the upcoming Global War On Everything as the World Trade Centers become landfill filler. For the next few years the big threat is terrorism and, for the more astute, a global economic slump that seems to be lurking in the background.

A few more years go by and 2008 becomes the year that the financial world bursts into flames. The housing bubble bursts, everyone’s retirement savings get a massive haircut, and people start getting nervous. Homes get foreclosed on and, within a few years, automakers demand government bailouts to prevent us all from living under bridges and eating our babies. (Because, somehow, if Chevrolet goes bust it means the end of the world.)

A few Infowars types get loud about the defunct Mayan calendar and 2012 is predicted as being the year we all finally get to use our freeze drieds and homemade toilet paper. 2012 passes with no major humanity-threatening disasters.

Bird flu, SARS, and one or two other variants rear their head and for a while the trendy apocalypse-du-jour is bird flu. Later it would be Peak Oil. After that, its the white horseman’s second bite at the apple and the new panic is ebola. The world trembles and….we’re still here.

But…in the interim of all those years, there were plenty of disasters and small-scale apocalypses. Hurricanes, earth quakes, forest fires, economic downturns, and that sort of thing came along and while they didn’t threaten humanity as a whole, for some people it was the end of the world.

The moral, if there is one, I suppose, is that the end of our world has been predicted and missed for as long as we’ve been around. The end of your world, however, is far, far, far more likely and possible.

I’ve yet to have to eat freeze drieds, channel my inner roof Korean, or man roadblocks and hang looters. However, I’ve had way too many occasions to need my emergency fund, stored fuel, extra clothes, or first aid kits. So…yeah..no end of THE world events, but there have been a few end of MY world events. Fortunately, being prepared for the former usually covers the latter.

Despite the world not devolving into Mad Max territory, I see no reason not to keep keeping on…it makes me sleep better, feel more secure, and when hiccups in my life do happen it keeps me from having to make hard choices.

 

 

Reminiscing

I remember when I was a kid, the book that turned me onto survivalism was, I believe, ‘Alas Babylon’, although I think that at about the same time I managed to fall into Ahern’s ‘Survivalist’ series. I genuinely can’t recall which one was first, but I did a book report on ‘Alas Babylon’ so I think that was the one that started the ball rolling. Time frame? Mmmm…1980.

I was a fascinating time to be alive. Some of you might remember it. Jimmy Carter, a prototype Obama, was president. In normal circumstances he probably would never have made it into national politics but the previous administration had the taint of Nixon about it and at that point it wouldn’t have been terribly difficult to beat a Republican candidate. (Trivia: Gerald Ford, the incumbent, was the only person to be President who was not elected to the Presidency or to the Vice-President position.) As it turned out, the malaise of the Carter administration, with it’s foreign policy debacles and economic issues, laid the groundwork for Reagan to sweep into office on the platform of “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”

But…prior to Ronnie, it was stagflation, mortgage interest rates were around 11%(!!!!), and the Soviets were still a real threat. Against that backdrop there was a rebirth of the preparedness ‘movement’ that hadn’t really been seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis days. The big apocalypse du jour was World War Three. I was only peripherally aware of it as a 13-year old kid. But looking back, wow, was it a bizarre time. Everyone who was anyone had an AR-15 and a 1911 of some flavor. The SKS and AK rifles were virtually unheard of unless your dad brought one back from his trip to Vietnam. Your only source of 7.62×39 was Normal or Lapua. ALICE gear and woodland camo ruled the world. MRE’s were still nascent. For the dedicated survivalist, Mountain House was your food, Buck or Gerber was your knife, Radio Shack was your comms, and your AR and 1911were made by Colt. Period. Social media? The classifieds in Soldier of Fortune and, later,  American Survival Guide were about it.

Nowadays it is so amazingly different.  A lot of guys still choose the AR but but there’s at least a dozen makers. Same for the 1911. And, ironically, Colt is usually not the preferred source for either. Mountain House remains the industry leader but there are a few other players in that very narrow market. Communications options nowadays go past the ubiquitous CB radios of the 70’s. And the internet….well….the internet lets anyone get all the cool, esoteric, hard-to-find gear that, when I was a kid, to weeks or months to get.

Is there anything cool from the 70’s/80’s era of survivalism that was better then than now? Well, machine guns, for sure. The 1986 ban really screwed that up. Other than that, I don’t think there’s much in the survivalist arena from that era that isn’t better now. Of course, at this point, you’d have bloody near 40 years of being a survivalist under your belt.

And how did those threat analyses turn out anyway? Well, the Soviet Union imploded in a fit of self-actualization, nuclear winter became even less likely, and World War Three, as we had understood what it would be, pretty much vanished. The new threats were an overreaching government and a New World Order.

Then, of course, Y2K popped up on the horizon and those of use with basements full of MRE’s had something new to get worked up about. News media showed people who went all-in and sold their condos in Los Angeles to buy chunks of desert in Nevada that they could fence off and get ready to bunker down in. Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd…..Y2K came and went with nary a blip.

A year goes by and we get the main act in the upcoming Global War On Everything as the World Trade Centers become landfill filler. For the next few years the big threat is terrorism and, for the more astute, a global economic slump that seems to be lurking in the background.

A few more years go by and 2008 becomes the year that the financial world bursts into flames. The housing bubble bursts, everyone’s retirement savings get a massive haircut, and people start getting nervous. Homes get foreclosed on and, within a few years, automakers demand government bailouts to prevent us all from living under bridges and eating our babies. (Because, somehow, if Chevrolet goes bust it means the end of the world.)

A few Infowars types get loud about the defunct Mayan calendar and 2012 is predicted as being the year we all finally get to use our freeze drieds and homemade toilet paper. 2012 passes with no major humanity-threatening disasters.

Bird flu, SARS, and one or two other variants rear their head and for a while the trendy apocalypse-du-jour is bird flu. Later it would be Peak Oil. After that, its the white horseman’s second bite at the apple and the new panic is ebola. The world trembles and….we’re still here.

But…in the interim of all those years, there were plenty of disasters and small-scale apocalypses. Hurricanes, earth quakes, forest fires, economic downturns, and that sort of thing came along and while they didn’t threaten humanity as a whole, for some people it was the end of the world.

The moral, if there is one, I suppose, is that the end of our world has been predicted and missed for as long as we’ve been around. The end of your world, however, is far, far, far more likely and possible.

I’ve yet to have to eat freeze drieds, channel my inner roof Korean, or man roadblocks and hang looters. However, I’ve had way too many occasions to need my emergency fund, stored fuel, extra clothes, or first aid kits. So…yeah..no end of THE world events, but there have been a few end of MY world events. Fortunately, being prepared for the former usually covers the latter.

Despite the world not devolving into Mad Max territory, I see no reason not to keep keeping on…it makes me sleep better, feel more secure, and when hiccups in my life do happen it keeps me from having to make hard choices.

 

 

Reminiscing

Click here to view the original post.

I remember when I was a kid, the book that turned me onto survivalism was, I believe, ‘Alas Babylon’, although I think that at about the same time I managed to fall into Ahern’s ‘Survivalist’ series. I genuinely can’t recall which one was first, but I did a book report on ‘Alas Babylon’ so I think that was the one that started the ball rolling. Time frame? Mmmm…1980.

I was a fascinating time to be alive. Some of you might remember it. Jimmy Carter, a prototype Obama, was president. In normal circumstances he probably would never have made it into national politics but the previous administration had the taint of Nixon about it and at that point it wouldn’t have been terribly difficult to beat a Republican candidate. (Trivia: Gerald Ford, the incumbent, was the only person to be President who was not elected to the Presidency or to the Vice-President position.) As it turned out, the malaise of the Carter administration, with it’s foreign policy debacles and economic issues, laid the groundwork for Reagan to sweep into office on the platform of “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”

But…prior to Ronnie, it was stagflation, mortgage interest rates were around 11%(!!!!), and the Soviets were still a real threat. Against that backdrop there was a rebirth of the preparedness ‘movement’ that hadn’t really been seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis days. The big apocalypse du jour was World War Three. I was only peripherally aware of it as a 13-year old kid. But looking back, wow, was it a bizarre time. Everyone who was anyone had an AR-15 and a 1911 of some flavor. The SKS and AK rifles were virtually unheard of unless your dad brought one back from his trip to Vietnam. Your only source of 7.62×39 was Normal or Lapua. ALICE gear and woodland camo ruled the world. MRE’s were still nascent. For the dedicated survivalist, Mountain House was your food, Buck or Gerber was your knife, Radio Shack was your comms, and your AR and 1911were made by Colt. Period. Social media? The classifieds in Soldier of Fortune and, later,  American Survival Guide were about it.

Nowadays it is so amazingly different.  A lot of guys still choose the AR but but there’s at least a dozen makers. Same for the 1911. And, ironically, Colt is usually not the preferred source for either. Mountain House remains the industry leader but there are a few other players in that very narrow market. Communications options nowadays go past the ubiquitous CB radios of the 70’s. And the internet….well….the internet lets anyone get all the cool, esoteric, hard-to-find gear that, when I was a kid, to weeks or months to get.

Is there anything cool from the 70’s/80’s era of survivalism that was better then than now? Well, machine guns, for sure. The 1986 ban really screwed that up. Other than that, I don’t think there’s much in the survivalist arena from that era that isn’t better now. Of course, at this point, you’d have bloody near 40 years of being a survivalist under your belt.

And how did those threat analyses turn out anyway? Well, the Soviet Union imploded in a fit of self-actualization, nuclear winter became even less likely, and World War Three, as we had understood what it would be, pretty much vanished. The new threats were an overreaching government and a New World Order.

Then, of course, Y2K popped up on the horizon and those of use with basements full of MRE’s had something new to get worked up about. News media showed people who went all-in and sold their condos in Los Angeles to buy chunks of desert in Nevada that they could fence off and get ready to bunker down in. Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd…..Y2K came and went with nary a blip.

A year goes by and we get the main act in the upcoming Global War On Everything as the World Trade Centers become landfill filler. For the next few years the big threat is terrorism and, for the more astute, a global economic slump that seems to be lurking in the background.

A few more years go by and 2008 becomes the year that the financial world bursts into flames. The housing bubble bursts, everyone’s retirement savings get a massive haircut, and people start getting nervous. Homes get foreclosed on and, within a few years, automakers demand government bailouts to prevent us all from living under bridges and eating our babies. (Because, somehow, if Chevrolet goes bust it means the end of the world.)

A few Infowars types get loud about the defunct Mayan calendar and 2012 is predicted as being the year we all finally get to use our freeze drieds and homemade toilet paper. 2012 passes with no major humanity-threatening disasters.

Bird flu, SARS, and one or two other variants rear their head and for a while the trendy apocalypse-du-jour is bird flu. Later it would be Peak Oil. After that, its the white horseman’s second bite at the apple and the new panic is ebola. The world trembles and….we’re still here.

But…in the interim of all those years, there were plenty of disasters and small-scale apocalypses. Hurricanes, earth quakes, forest fires, economic downturns, and that sort of thing came along and while they didn’t threaten humanity as a whole, for some people it was the end of the world.

The moral, if there is one, I suppose, is that the end of our world has been predicted and missed for as long as we’ve been around. The end of your world, however, is far, far, far more likely and possible.

I’ve yet to have to eat freeze drieds, channel my inner roof Korean, or man roadblocks and hang looters. However, I’ve had way too many occasions to need my emergency fund, stored fuel, extra clothes, or first aid kits. So…yeah..no end of THE world events, but there have been a few end of MY world events. Fortunately, being prepared for the former usually covers the latter.

Despite the world not devolving into Mad Max territory, I see no reason not to keep keeping on…it makes me sleep better, feel more secure, and when hiccups in my life do happen it keeps me from having to make hard choices.

 

 

Article – A Brief History Of American Survival Guide Magazine

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Ah, I remember the heyday of ASG. Sadly, I also remember the neutered “No guns on the cover” version that was it’s final incarnation. But, for those of us who remember ASG fondly, here’s an interesting link:

When American Survival Guide magazine was resurrected from its ashes four years ago, the publishers could have only hoped it would become as popular and widely read as it is today.

One of their objectives was to produce a “new” magazine that feeds the core interests of its readers, whatever their personal goals of survival preparedness happened to be. However, it may be surprising to some that its roots were firmly planted 37 years ago by an eccentric motorsports enthusiast who wore cowboy boots and white suits and kept a pet cougar in his office.

A real live cougar. In his office. To promote his motorcycle parts supply house, AEE Choppers, Tom McMullen started a magazine for motorcycles in 1969 called Street Chopper, which found a successful niche with enough of a toehold start a publishing empire with his wife. In 1974 they were divorced, and in the settlement she got the parts company and he got the publishing company.

 

Upcoming Friday Of Color

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Black Fridays Matter!

This time next week we’ll all  be hungover from the Friday Of Color sales. Most advertisers will start pimping the sales early, but I fully expect my inbox to be jammed with spam from Stag, Rock River, Kifaru, Augason Farms, Cheaper Than Dirt, CDNN, and all the other usual suspects.

But this time…I’m gonna be ready. I’ve tucked away a a small bit of coin in case something really awesome turns up. (A big ol’ Glock 10mm would be nice.)

I trust that all of you are doing the same…keeping an eye open for a stupidly good sale on that piece of gear you’ve been having your eye on.

Avenues I use to keep on top of the sales include:

  • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/
  • http://jerkingthetrigger.com/
  • http://www.guns.com/

The left-leaning, class-warfare types will no doubt get their panties in a twist about ‘consumerism’ and that sort of nonsense. But thats usually the outrage of people who are simply jealous because they can’t partake. Me, I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of…I like cool gear and if I can afford cool gear then, by Crom, I’m gonna buy cool gear. Getting it on sale is just a bonus.

Oh..and there’ some holiday next week too. But, yeah, I’m all about the gear.

Upcoming Friday Of Color

Black Fridays Matter!

This time next week we’ll all  be hungover from the Friday Of Color sales. Most advertisers will start pimping the sales early, but I fully expect my inbox to be jammed with spam from Stag, Rock River, Kifaru, Augason Farms, Cheaper Than Dirt, CDNN, and all the other usual suspects.

But this time…I’m gonna be ready. I’ve tucked away a a small bit of coin in case something really awesome turns up. (A big ol’ Glock 10mm would be nice.)

I trust that all of you are doing the same…keeping an eye open for a stupidly good sale on that piece of gear you’ve been having your eye on.

Avenues I use to keep on top of the sales include:

  • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/
  • http://jerkingthetrigger.com/
  • http://www.guns.com/

The left-leaning, class-warfare types will no doubt get their panties in a twist about ‘consumerism’ and that sort of nonsense. But thats usually the outrage of people who are simply jealous because they can’t partake. Me, I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of…I like cool gear and if I can afford cool gear then, by Crom, I’m gonna buy cool gear. Getting it on sale is just a bonus.

Oh..and there’ some holiday next week too. But, yeah, I’m all about the gear.

Those little things that mean so much

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I haven’t commented on it in a while, but there are a few people who have been tossing a few bucks in the tip jar and I wanted to say thanks. There’s one fella who actually does a recurring transaction every month and donates, which is damn nice if you ask me.

Anyway, just paid Bluehost for another year of hosting and figured I’d say thanks to those of you who kicked in some spare coin to make sure I can have a venue to butcher the English language and display terrible judgement.

(Its the thing in the upper right sidebar that says “Bunker Equippage Fund” with the DONATE button.)

 

 

 

Adding value to yourself

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There’s a rallying cry that the left like to use about how WalMart doesn’t pay it’s employees enough to live on , and thus the welfare expenses created by these employees are directly attributable to WalMart. Evil corportaion, 1%, blah, blah, blah.

Never mind that, because of minimum wage laws, the same could be said of EVERY business that pays a similar rate as WallyWorld. So, I said to the person who was carrying on about this, that those welfare costs would be even higher if WalMart didn’t give them a job at all, and that if you don’t like what Walmart pays you perhaps you should make yourself into the kind of employee who is worth more than what WalMart pays.

You can imagine the response to that.

But, it’s true. Case in point – I’m doing an internship program at a corporate HQ here in town.One of my duties is to reconcile a list of customer deposits against payments received that month. Normally, this process takes about 12 hours of cutting/pasting/comparing against two separate spreadsheets. After doing this a few times, I said to the boss “Would you mind if I tinkered with these spreadsheets? I think I can come up with a way to make this work faster.” *** They said go ahead, just experiment on copies of the files rather than the originals. As they were saying that I was bouncing the idea around in my head coming up with a solution and by the time they said “And we’ll pay you for your time” I’d already finished the formulas in my head.

After a half hour of tinkering, I had a workable solution. After a couple hours at my computer that night before bed, I had a more refined and elegant solution. I turned a 12 hour job into one hour. When I demonstrated it the next day to the guy above me, you’d have thought I’d discovered plutonium. But, it makes sense…I just gave them 11 man-hours to put towards other projects and duties.  Thats an example of how you create a value that other people are willing to pay for. If they have to cut the payroll down, who is more likely to get the pink slip…the guy who comes in, does his work, and leaves at 5:00:01, or the guy who comes in ten minutes early, stays until the job is done, and actively contributes to improve the processes and efficiency of the business?

There are far too many people out there who don’t realize that every human being is not worth the same as another. Sure, it’s a lovely egalitarian thought but the guy who sweeps the floors in the warehouse is not as equally valuable as the person running the product management system in the office. Sad, but true. Some fellow traveler comment about how the CEO makes 75 times what the lowest paid employee makes. There is nothing wrong with that….that’s how it should be. You know why the CEO gets paid 75 times more? Because I can walk out the door and find someone qualified to sweep the floors and scrub the toilets in about four minutes, but I can’t walk out and find someone qualified to manage and run a billion-dollar-a-year company in four minutes. Ben and Jerrys, the ice cream socialists from Vermont, made a big fuss years back about how the highest paid person in their company would not earn more than five times what the lowest paid person made. Try to imagine the results of trying to find someone who has the talent to run a multi-million dollar company for less than $150,000 per year. B&J quietly abandoned the policy when no one would come work for their corporate positions.

Sure, the economy may be doing somewhat better these days but being prepared for economic uncertainty includes making myself into the sort of person who, when the ax starts falling, is put at the back of the line.

 

*** For those who are curious, I simply cut/paste all the payment, invoice, balance, date data (four columns) into a table, and then VLOOKUPped against the data in my other spreadsheet and wherever a payment was found, I had the invoice, date, payment, and amount values moved into their respective places through a series of IF and VLOOKUP formulas. Yeah, it was formula soup but it works. (And, yeah, macros would have helped bu we’re not allowed to use macros on the corporate machines.)

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 I was tooling around YouTube this afternoon and came across a few videos on food storage. One of them showed a guy who was unboxing some rice he put away six years ago. It was in a mylar bag, vacuum sealed, and tucked into a five-gallon bucket. I admire that approach, but I gotta say….my experience has been that rice is pretty much the only food that you can store “poorly” and still have something edible. I have, literally, a 15 gallon blue barrel of rice from Y2k that has had nothing done to it except being poured into a clean barrel and had the lid screwed on. Thats it…no oxy absorbers, no nitrogen flush, no nothing…and it stored just fine and seemed to cook up and taste fine ten years later.

Does that mean that was a good way to store it? Of course not. But it does show that some foods can have a more…casual…approach and be just fine. I would imagine that because of my climate (arid mountain region with very low moisture) I can get away with that sort of thing. I wouldnt want to try it in Louisiana or similar environs.

I mention it because I’ve been going through some of my stored stuff and taking stock of how it has fared. I’ve not run across anything I’d discard except for some MRE cookies that tasted quite rancid. Other than that, most everything seems to store just fine, although I store it in the classic “cool dark place” that is the classically optimum environment for food storage.

I’ve come across a couple canned goods, over the years, that didn’t last the way they were supposed to but they are pretty infrequent. Food poisoning (the real kind…not the I-let-the-ppizza-sit-out-overnight kind, I’m talking about the botulism kind) is not something to mess with and even if that bulging can isn’t loaded down with botulism you’ll still probably get so sick you’ll wish it had killed you after all. So…screw it…it’s a $2 can of tomato sauce..chuck it. I guarantee you, when you’re driving the porcelain bus at 2:30am you’d happily pay $2 to not have spent the last 40 minutes doing intestinal somersaults.

The changing of the season from fall into winter always puts me in the mind to go play amongst the stored food and supplies. Dunno why, it just does.

Wire shelving and S-hooks

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Someone pointed out the shelving in a previous post.

For storage of food and household goods, I use the wire shelving units found at CostCo. They’re about $90 and you get four uprights, six shelves, and four wheels. What a lot of people don’t know is that you can buy a cheap little force multiplier that really opens up a world for your shelving plans. These little jewels are called “S-hooks”.

Imagine that you buy a shelving unit and set it up. You have one rack of six shelves, yes? Now, lets say you bought a second unit. You set that one up. You now have two columns of shelves next to each other. Ah, but if you had the s-hooks you could have three clumns of shelves, using those same two units. The s-hooks allow you to hang a shelf off the edge of another shelf. And since you can put the s-hook anywhere along the edge of the shelf, you can make L-shaped shelving arrangements to co around corners, or even T-shaped arrangements.

Here’s an example:

thumbnailNotice that the run of shelving on the right butts up against the row running along the back wall. Where they meet, thats where the s-hooks are…thats why theres no upright at that inside corner.

958e05b7b00fc0c6e6f8fdbf6cacc9da-mediumI get my s-hooks from these guys.

Also, note that when you buy wire shelving make sure the shelving has a reinforcing rib running down the middle of each shelf. In the first image you can see a rib that is just like the one running around the edges of he shelf. You don’t want just a piece of wire running the length of the shelf, you want an actual rib. Anything else and the thing will sag and not hold weight well. I’ve been using the wire shelving I got at Costco for over fifteen years and never had a problem with it. Yeah, it’s made in China but there’s not a lot out there in American-made wire shelving that meets my needs.

Anyway, I highly recommend the wire shelving for your food/gear storage and if you do decide to go that way, definitely get the s-hooks….they will make the shelving so much more versatile.

Soap

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Despite what you see on The Walking Dead, decent hygiene can make a big difference in a crisis. Ignore, for a moment, no one wants to be squeezed into a pickup truck with six sweaty guys in multicam who smell like the towel bin of an NFL locker room. Think about this, after a long day of sweating, getting dirty, possibly getting some bodily fluids of all sortsa flavors sprayed on you, and the infrequent application of bugspray/sunblock, etc, you wind up getting a decent size cut or abrasion  on you. In TWD our sweaty, grungy heroes carry on effortlessly. In the real world, you’re setting yourself up for all sorts of nasty infection-y badness.

Preparedness is about prevention. You’re stopping problems before they happen. You know how in the winter season we’re all told to wash our hands frequently to prevent catching colds? We all agree that’s a good idea. Well, a shower or some other form of bathing, with soap, on a daily (or more frequent) basis is just as good.

Soap is awesome stuff but it’s a mild pain in the butt to store. I like to use Ivory soap because I can use on my skin, in my hair, and even to clean clothes. It’s sort of a Swiss army knife of soap. Problem is, it is fabulously hydroscopic. Don’t believe me? Go grab a paper-wrapped bar of Ivory soap and peel the wrapper off. I guarantee you the wrapper will be damp, moist, or adhere to the soap in a manner suggesting a high moisture content. And if you leave soap exposed to air too long…it turns into a rock. (Which seems counterintuitive since you would think that if it absorbs moisture it would turn to mush.)

I mention it because while I like Ivory soap, I hate paying for it. Surprisingly, I found a deal on Amazon for 100 bars for $40. (Requires that Yuppie Survivalist luxury – Amazon Prime) Well, a hundred bars oughtta last me a while. So, I ordered ’em up and they arrived today.

thumbnailSo now that they’re here, and we’ve established that they fossilize after long enough time exposed to air, what do we do? Stop exposing them to air. Break the vacuum sealer out of storage and repackage things.

thumbnail2This is one of those situations where a vacuum sealer is great for a task other than storing food. Seriously, if you think they’re just good for putting food away and not much else, you really need to think more creatively. Go get one. You’ll never regret it.

A few years ago I came across a slightly better deal at my local grocery store. Three bars for a buck. I wound up picking up all they had and I packaged them the same way I’m packaging these. I finally used up the last ones last month and they stored just fine, I suppose it’s possible that with enough hot water and scrubbing, the dessicated bars of soap might work, but why take chances?

thumbnailSo, I’m set for the next couple years on soap and can keep myself clean and smelling awesome after a long day of looting burned out police cars, manning roadblocks, and fending off zombies. Or, more likely, I’ve simply knocked off one of many things on my logistical checklist for the next several years.

thumbnail4But, point is, if you’re going to store large amounts of things like food, ammo, toilet paper, and batteries you should also go just as deep on the personal hygiene stuff as well. Being stuck in Katrinaville (Or San Juan, I suppose) is no time for skin infections, bad teeth, conjunctivitis, ear infections, and that sorta thing. Floss, toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, deodorant, washcloth,  toothbrush, talc, a comb, razors (Ivory works for shaving foam), and some hand sanitizer will give you pretty much everything you need to prevent the kinda funk that knocks your efficiency down when you need it the most.

Halloween

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I was at the bank today, and I was complimenting the tellers on their costume choices. One was a Star Wars stormtrooper, which wasn’t really done very well…but the other gal dressed up as Link from the Zelda video games and really nailed it. They asked me what my costume was and I told them I was a serial killers since “they look just like one of us”. One of them said she was fascinated by serial killers and I asked her if she had heard of Missoula’s very own serial killer, Wayne Nance. I’d met Doug Welles, the fella that cancelled Nance’s birth certificate, years ago and heard a little about it from him, and a lot from people who knew Welles. So i told them what I knew and it turned into some sort of ghost story scenario, these three bank tellers raptly leaning over the counter listening.

Then I told them the details of cannibal child-killer Nathan Bar Jonah (famous for serving children to his neighbors at potlucks). Turns out the guy who runs the coin shop across the street from me is the retired cop who arrested Bar Jonah. Again, he told me all the inside details and creepy stuff that was found (and suspected) in Bar Jonahs apartment. As I recounted it, the tellers just stood there, eyes wide, hanging on every word.

Interesting that Montana had a couple serial killers within such a short time. To be fair, though, Bar Jonah was an import (or, more accurately, an export) from Massachusetts.

Over in Idaho, the equally despicable child killer Joe Duncan came to light when he hammered a family to death and stole their kids. Unfortunately, he’s still alive because no one did the reasonable thing when his actions became known.

If you’re into the macabre histories and body counts, two extremely notable serial killers are Ed Gein (the inspiration for Norman Bates of ‘Psycho’ fame), Albert Fish, and H.H.Holmes. If you want to read a fictional thriller about chasing down a Victorian era serial killer, ‘The Alienist‘ was an enjoyable book. (And, I hear, on its way to becoming a movie.) And if you want a movie, I highly recommend “Manhunter” (1986), which introduced Hannibal Lecter to the world. (The book, Harris’ “Red Dragon”, was extremely good.)

But..hey..it’s Halloween. Best not to dwell too closely on what a human being can do when he’s got a couple crossed wires.

Human beings are fabulously dangerous critters when they want to be. Sometimes you get one who has a couple wires crossed, or someone who has been so damaged by life that they just aren’t safe to be around decent folks. They’re out there….working in furniture stores, passing you on the street as they walk to work, filling your prescriptions… never can tell.

Which is why we have hollowpoints.

Weekend

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Last couple days to nail down some 10/22 mags. They make great stocking stuffers for the holidays.
—————–
Ugh…long day.

I’m still in need of getting out to the range and vetting the last two Rugers I picked up. I need to fire a box of ammo through each to test their function, reliability, and sights. After that, I need to strip ’em down, clean ’em within an inch of their life, and put ’em away for the Deep Sleep.
—————-
Speaking of sleep, I’m kinda sorta getting back into The Walking Dead. I pulled the season premiere off the DVR and was…underwhelmed….although I really do enjoy how in eight seasons we’ve gone from mob tactics with pump shotguns and bolt action rifles, to very nice small unit tactics and very advanced weaponry (who knew there were that many MP5’s in Georgia?). Still… for all it’s gore and language, it lacks the grounding that ‘Jericho’ had. I really do think that if they rebooted that show for cable, with the profanity and violence, it would be pretty spectacular.

Which reminds me, I haven’t read any good post-apocalyptic fiction in what seems like forever. I need to jump into Amazon and see if there’s anything worth plunking down some coin over.
————————
And, finally, it feels pretty wintery out there today. Time to definitely get ready to wrap up 2017 and prepare for whatever the hell 2018 brings. Korean nukes? Plague? Impeachment? Xenu? Who knows….but the goal is to be upright and on the bounce when it happens.

 

LPG adapter for backpacking stoves

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You know ’em, you love ’em, you want ’em – 10/22 mags!
——————————-
I’ve been watching the news from Puerto Rico (PR) with some interest. PR is fascinating because, since it is an island, you can’t just have the Tenessee National Guard roll in with a convoy of MRE’s and fuel tankers. PR is, in many ways, cut off from easily-transportable aid. While places like San Juan get all the press, much of the island (especially the interior) is quite..uhm…Third World-ish…in many ways. Those regions will likely be the last to get the power back on.

Anyway, without electricity and regular propane deliveries your options for cooking start to get pretty thin. Burning some trees is reliable, but not terribly convenient. Maybe you have gasoline, but that would be more useful for the vehicle and generators, kerosene maybe?

If you drew a Venn diagram of ‘gear optimized for backpacking’ and ‘gear of great use to survivalists’, the common crossover point would have this little geegaw.

Years ago I got a Primus Omnifuel stove. This little jewel will burn virtually any flammable liquid you have (gasoline, white gas, jet fuel, kerosene, diesel, white gas) as well as the butane cartridges that are so convenient. But the survivalist in me cried “more!”.

Turns out, there’s an adapter to allow you to hook up the ubiquitous one-pound propane bottles so they can be used with your backpacking stove. Let’s order one up!

Seems like pretty sturdy construction. I’ll probably order another one or two as spares. So, first things first – change the jet orifice in the stove from the one used for kerosene to the one used for butane/propane. That took all of a minute using the supplied tool that came with the stove. Next, I pulled a 20-year-old bottle of propane out of storage and securely screwed the adapter  onto it. After that, I threaded the fuel line from the stove onto the adapter. Made sure the valve on the adapter was open, opened the fuel valve on the stove, lit it, and – voila – flame and heat. Noise-wise, it’s about as noisy as any other pressurized fuel backpacking stove…youre not going to be the stealthiest thing in the woods. The simmer was quite good and quite though and at lower levels of output it was much quieter.

20171027_120622Now, I keep several fuels on hand..propane, kerosene, gasoline, and a small amount of white gas. With this adapter, my Primus stove can run all of those. And, just for the sake of convenience and completeness, I’ll probably pick up a dozen butane cartridges as well just to round things out. Come the time I need to cook something (or boil water) I’ll have no less than five different options for getting the job done.

20171027_121110If you have one of those backpacking stoves (or lanterns) that take the small cartridges, you may want to investigate getting a couple of these adapters. Given the easy storage and versatility of 1# propane bottles, it would be an excellent option to have available.

While I have other stove options, including an ancient Coleman Peak1 that I’ve hauled around for damn near 30 years, the Primus has the advantage of being one stove that covers virtually every fuel choice that i might come across. For the person who doesn’t know where the or what the next fuel source will be, the Optimus is a nice choice and this little adapter makes it even more useful. Win – win.

As an aside, I had no problems with the stove or adapter but I did have trouble with the propane bottle itself. When I unscrewed the adapter from the propane bottle, the bottle did not seal properly and propane would leak out. Fortunately, I just screwed a different device into the bottle to act as a plug, but I need to investigate that sort of thing. In a crisis, I’d simply leave the adapter attached if the bottle wouldn’t seal properly when it was removed.

LPG adapter for backpacking stoves

You know ’em, you love ’em, you want ’em – 10/22 mags!
——————————-
I’ve been watching the news from Puerto Rico (PR) with some interest. PR is fascinating because, since it is an island, you can’t just have the Tenessee National Guard roll in with a convoy of MRE’s and fuel tankers. PR is, in many ways, cut off from easily-transportable aid. While places like San Juan get all the press, much of the island (especially the interior) is quite..uhm…Third World-ish…in many ways. Those regions will likely be the last to get the power back on.

Anyway, without electricity and regular propane deliveries your options for cooking start to get pretty thin. Burning some trees is reliable, but not terribly convenient. Maybe you have gasoline, but that would be more useful for the vehicle and generators, kerosene maybe?

If you drew a Venn diagram of ‘gear optimized for backpacking’ and ‘gear of great use to survivalists’, the common crossover point would have this little geegaw.

Years ago I got a Primus Omnifuel stove. This little jewel will burn virtually any flammable liquid you have (gasoline, white gas, jet fuel, kerosene, diesel, white gas) as well as the butane cartridges that are so convenient. But the survivalist in me cried “more!”.

Turns out, there’s an adapter to allow you to hook up the ubiquitous one-pound propane bottles so they can be used with your backpacking stove. Let’s order one up!

Seems like pretty sturdy construction. I’ll probably order another one or two as spares. So, first things first – change the jet orifice in the stove from the one used for kerosene to the one used for butane/propane. That took all of a minute using the supplied tool that came with the stove. Next, I pulled a 20-year-old bottle of propane out of storage and securely screwed the adapter  onto it. After that, I threaded the fuel line from the stove onto the adapter. Made sure the valve on the adapter was open, opened the fuel valve on the stove, lit it, and – voila – flame and heat. Noise-wise, it’s about as noisy as any other pressurized fuel backpacking stove…youre not going to be the stealthiest thing in the woods. The simmer was quite good and quite though and at lower levels of output it was much quieter.

20171027_120622Now, I keep several fuels on hand..propane, kerosene, gasoline, and a small amount of white gas. With this adapter, my Primus stove can run all of those. And, just for the sake of convenience and completeness, I’ll probably pick up a dozen butane cartridges as well just to round things out. Come the time I need to cook something (or boil water) I’ll have no less than five different options for getting the job done.

20171027_121110If you have one of those backpacking stoves (or lanterns) that take the small cartridges, you may want to investigate getting a couple of these adapters. Given the easy storage and versatility of 1# propane bottles, it would be an excellent option to have available.

While I have other stove options, including an ancient Coleman Peak1 that I’ve hauled around for damn near 30 years, the Primus has the advantage of being one stove that covers virtually every fuel choice that i might come across. For the person who doesn’t know where the or what the next fuel source will be, the Optimus is a nice choice and this little adapter makes it even more useful. Win – win.

As an aside, I had no problems with the stove or adapter but I did have trouble with the propane bottle itself. When I unscrewed the adapter from the propane bottle, the bottle did not seal properly and propane would leak out. Fortunately, I just screwed a different device into the bottle to act as a plug, but I need to investigate that sort of thing. In a crisis, I’d simply leave the adapter attached if the bottle wouldn’t seal properly when it was removed.