Admin – Fifteen years of blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Admin – Grattitude

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

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

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

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

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

Upcoming Plans

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One of the cool things about survivalism/ preparedness is that it has so many facets. You can pursue a lot of things within it. That may be part of the reason it has kept my interest an this blog has stayed alive as long as it has. 

Things that I am going to be working on and likely talking about. 
-Physical fitness. I need to get back to my roots here. Reestablish good patterns and stay consistent. 
– Handgun shooting. Specifically shooting, ideally at least one IDPA match a month. 
– Combatives. Keep pushing to improve. 
– Finances. The essential topic almost every survivalist ignores. 
– Organization/ systems. I really want to firm up my heavy bug out and bug in stuff. That will give me a better idea why I really need and an opportunity to get rid of the rest. 
– Caches. I can improve my situation and know most of you could stand to do the same. 
Honesty I’m not going to promise anything in terms of regularity of writing. Honesty the blogs healthy priority is somewhere below practicing guitar and above watching tv so it naturally comes way after relationships, work, school, fitness, jiu jitsu and other work. That’s part of the reason I demonetizes the blog, so I don’t feel like I have to write. Things go in cycles aandnright now it’s a busy life/ slo blog time. 
If this hurts readership honesty I don’t care. I hope core people stick around. Maybe setting up email alerts for posts is a good idea. Anyway be well folks. 

I Can Haz Podcast?

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Hey, Do you guys and gals listen to podcasts? If so where do you download/ stream them from?

Would you be interested in listening to a podcast if I were to produce one?

If so any thoughts/ ideas/ suggestions would be appreciated. If any of you are involved in a podcast please drop me an email so we can discuss some of that stuff.

No major decisions made yet but it seems like a newer format with more room for growth would be a good thing.

Thanks in advance.

Life and Times, Operational Cache, Et All

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Hey Folks, I sort of took a break over the holidays. I went home and saw my kiddo’s, family and friends. The way things worked out I got to see a relative at the opposite end of the PNW so that was cool. Also my first time traveling long distance in the US by train. The trip there was pretty awesome. Very old school with some nice touches of class. The one back sucked as there were delays and all sorts of drama. Now I am back to work and normal life.

Over this trip I accessed my operational cache. Everything was fine. I sort of took a cue from Meister and added some good stuff to it. I tossed in my normal EDC knife and flash light as well as a more duty oriented pistol. Also a good set of long johns, a pair of multicam pants and some other odds n ends. I was going to put in a better backpack but the one I planned to use had a buckle break on the trip so I need to get it fixed.

Sort of along Meisters theme I literally cached stuff I regularly use. Motivation to spend hundreds of dollars on stuff to cache can be hard to find. So as a forcing function I put my normal stuff in there. Finding motivation to replace the thing I carry every day that is gone should be much easier to find. Of course if you genuinely can’t afford it this is a bad plan but for those who can it is a good way to get priority #10 which never gets done up to priority #2 or 3.

I wanted to go through all of the contents and toss some less than entirely needed stuff. As I put in better items the newly redundant and inferior stuff can get tossed. Space is a consideration.

 I am looking hard at setting up another cache soon. Hopefully this spring. It will be another operational cache. Good to have goals anyway.

My stupid computer has really been giving me problems. Honestly it is hindering blogging as a 10 minute post takes more like a half hour between it freezing and re starting. I am going to either fix or replace it in the immediate future. My goal is to get to blogging 2-3x  a week.

Anyway that’s what has been going on with me. Hope you all are well. Talk to you soon.

ADMIN – Hiccup

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In the process of updating plugins for the WordPress software, something went sideways and the site just -bamf!- disappeared.

panic_580-100024408-largePanic ensued.

But…this happened a while ago and I spent the money for backup software. It backs everything up (well, mostly..some comments got lost) every three days or so.

So..crossed my fingers, burned down the blog folder, reinstalled WP, and restored from saved backups.

Annnnnnnnnd…we’re back. Minus the last day or two of posts.

I know this is boring to you guys, but here’s how it works…

WordPress (a popular blogging ware) lets you put in addons. I paid for an addon (“Updraft Plus”) to automatically back up the website every three days. When it does this, it sends the files to my Dropbox account and keeps them there. Thus, if there’s a problem, I can use those archived backups to restore things. Which is what I did.

Moral: BACK THAT STUFF UP!

Now if if you’ll excuse me, I have a love letter to write to the geeks at Updraft.

The morons that blogging attracts

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I just had to delete several comments that someone shotgunned to several different posts. All the comments were the same and ended with a link to this retard’s webpage where he is trying top promote his Ultimate Survival Book That Will Save Your Family In Times Of Crisis! ..or some similar horsecrap. Here’s the thing, on a whim I went to his website and, I am not making this up, these are the ‘words’ (well, they’re kinda like words) that he has describing his SuperMegaAwesome book:

  • “survival phisical / e-book”
  • “and any other desaster”
  • “survive any coming catastrofe…”

Oh, there’s a “catastrofe” alright….I think I’m reading it.

I’ve actually met a couple of survival book authors. They can spell. I would guess that reading this guy’s book (or as he might call it, ‘buuk’) would be about as painful as watching a chimpanzee try to operate a chainsaw.

Here’s the thing…if this illiterate* goober wanted to hype his self-promotion website, he could have left a comment that at least had some relation to the post…and his link would have been there. But, no, he had to be tacky and classless (and illiterate)…thus, the public mockery.

Blogging….it ain’t what it used to be.

* = Given this special snowflake’s grasp of language and spelling, I fully expect him to send me an email loudly declaring that he is not illiterate because his parents were married a full seven months before he was born.

State of the Blog

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To be honest I am pretty tired. A lot of stuff is up in the air with my life and at times it takes all the energy I have to do basic essential life stuff. Writing on a regular basis at all, let alone posts that are any good is more than I am willing to do.

Towards the end of my marriage this was a welcome diversion. A place where people appreciated what I did and only had good things to say. Of course it helped that you only saw what I wanted to share. Anyway the blog and preparedness at large got way out of balance in my life across the board from time and energy to money and space/ logistical constraints. Not living the right way to prepare for stuff that will probably not happen is stupid.

After consideration of your input I am going to give the blog a stay of execution. One of my character failings is that I want to do everything 120% or failing that to not do it. In the past I have quit things I enjoyed when my energy to go full bore faded and regretted it later. I do not want to do that here. I have put a lot of time into this and made some really good friends. At a minimum it is something I want to be very deliberate about quitting. Also so much is up in the air right now that I am sort of spinning so I’m not sure it is a great time to make any major life decisions anyway.

So what happens now?

In the short term I am going to take a break for a few weeks. I need to work on myself and get my head in a better place. There will not be new posts for this time. All content will stay up but comments will be closed (tomorrow). Say that puts us in mid summer.

Since I will be offering a much less consistent service I plan to cease advertising except contracts that have commitments attached. This is easy as I haven’t even bothered to do my admin stuff like ask people for money in months. It says a lot about how little you care when its too much trouble to ask people for money. I haven’t felt great about the service I was offering anyway.

From there my current intent is to shift from almost daily posts to well whenever I darn well feel like it. I am not going to make myself write at any set interval. I will write when I feel like saying something and have the time/ energy to do it. After awhile I will re evaluate how I feel about the blog.

So that is the plan as of today.

Operational stuff

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After a spectacular fail over at Yahoo! hosting, I switched over to Bluehost a year or so ago. I’ve been very pleased with them. Downtime has been non-existent, and customer service has been top notch. A++++ will blog again.

Same for UpDraft backup software. This thing backs up the entire blog three times a week, drops copies on my server and over at DropBox. Very pleased. In theory, any repeat of the Great Yahoo Hosting Fail wil result in me losing, at worst, half a weeks posts. Yay for total backups.

But…with great redundancy comes great fiscal responsibility. I think it’s been a couple years since I asked anyone to pitch in on server-side costs like hosting, backups, etc. If anyone wants to kick in a few bucks to defray costs and keep the lights on, well, theres a button at the upper right hand side of the page. Clicking on it and shooting some alms in my general direction will go towards keeping the hosting and related bills paid. And Crom bless you.

Pleased to Announce Our Newest Advertiser JRH Enterprises

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JRH Enterprises is an awesome company I am thrilled to welcome to the Total Survivalist team. They are probably best known for higher end products like PVS 14 3rd Gen Night Vision and DBAL I2 IR Lasers (both of which I own. Got my NOD from them and reviewed it here. Also my thoughts on the combo.) and the FLIR Scout I have a serious case of gear lust over.

However they do offer a wide variety of products that appeal to a variety of needs and budgets. Their AR500 body armor combo is a heck of a deal. More to follow on that particular piece of kit. Anyway I am happy to be working with this excellent company. You should check out their site and consider them when making a purchase.