Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday morning

Work has been a bitch, we have a big project due soon, and the boss has been standing in my cube yelling "Schnell! Schnell!" at the top of his lungs. My end of the project is the least of his worries, but like most bosses, he worries about everything.

So with he added stress, I have not been sleeping well. Last night a few shots of tequila helped immensely :) There is a problem with most corporate managers, where how you dress, and how well you do paperwork directly correlates to how good an engineer you are. I could agree with this mentality on an applicant, or a new employee. I've been there long enough for me to prove myself time and time again. It's probably time to move on, the pressure is getting too high. I'll have to elaborate on that another time.

I made some cornbread from scratch last night, and I'm devouring a piece I grilled up for an early morning snack. It wasn't as hard as I thought, and I'll be baking more breads in the near future. I've been trying to find a simple wheat bread recipe, but ever one I found so far is for honey, granola, fancy-schmancy bread. I just want a simple, flour, water, yeast, recipe.

I just got some Ammo Cans off of ebay, 5 of them for $30 not bad at all! now I just hope the seller lives up to their reputation.

Since I'm up so early I think I'm off to the flea market to look for prep supplies. I'd like to see about some cast iron cookware, especially some pie irons. I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend, even if they are getting ready to dodge a hurricane.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Personal Security

In a comment a while ago, someone mentioned it was probably not a good idea to go over all my preps because I am letting the world know what I got. I'm pretty good about sanitizing my posts on exactly where I live and work, and more importantly removing clues that would, when tied together, lead to my location.

Eventually there will be enough information out there to track me down. No matter how careful I am, eventually, someone I know will post a comment with my real name, or I'll slip where I work or have worked in the past. No matter how hard you try, if someone wants to find you, they will. Even if I pack up, and head out to the boonies, so long as I am in communication with anyone, I will eventually be found.

For now it's a big game of hide and seek. I'm not worried about someone finding me, I have dogs, a license to carry, and a security system. I doubt anyone's looking for me anyways. I don't own a big-screen TV, or a fancy car. All my firearms are locked up in the MOAGS (mother of all gun safes) unless I'm carrying it, or it's under my direct control at the shooting range.

Likewise I have no interest in where my readers live. I could easily capture IP address information when someone connects to the site, then by tracking that IP I could eventually track them down. But to what purpose? I have no interest in my reader's personal information other than a general area of where they are from. I also value your (the readers) opinion, or knowledge you may have that might help me and the rest of the readers survive and prosper. The little map to the right is just so I can see if I am providing benefit to the community or just spinning my wheels - by the number of connections.

You need to protect yourself in layers. Keeping your actual home's location vague to strangers is the first step. Then having a security system in your home, it's $40 a month well spent. Then having your valuables locked in a strongbox. Dogs are a bonus. There are companies out there that will mask your IP address, but they charge a monthly fee, billable to a credit card, so the fedz can get you if the average citizen can't.

Have an excellent weekend!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I was surfing the news this morning and found this article on CNN's web site. The highlight of the article is this quote from some clown:
"We have kids without dads and pregnant mothers who got their husbands taken away," said Velez's son, Robert, youth pastor at the church. "It was like a horror story. They got handled like they were criminals."

Huh. Real shocker there. Let's see - we treat criminals like criminals and law enforcement is somehow wrong?

These same nitwits think I'm an asshole because I think that if you move to America you learn to speak English. My great-grandfather came in from Germany through Ellis Island. He made his entire family speak English, and only English anywhere but church once they got off the boat. If my Grandfather spoke German, he'd catch a beating.

Fast forward to the 21st century, ruled by political correctness. We have to have Spanish signs in case someone needs to read it and doesn't speak English. Excluding an airport or ship port, I see NO reason to coddle these people. My Grandfather learned English because America was not going to learn German just for him. So why do these South Americans think I have to learn Spanish? We got two Democrats that think I need to learn their language. Obammy and Ted Kennedy think we should cater to the immigrants. Are they off their meds?

So where do we draw the line? There's a large Jewish community over in that town, so we need Hebrew signs for the town. Oh and how about that Cape Verdian neighborhood, got to put up signs in Portuguese! Where does it end? Some one moves in to your town from east bumfuck, and now we have to add bumfuckian to all the signs in town?
I'll tell you where it should stop, it should have stopped a long time ago. It's time we stop wasting taxpayers money, and start forcing the South Americans, Mexicans and whoever else to learn the local lingo. I don't want to hear "Press one for English"

If I moved to another country, I'd learn the language. I'm not asking anyone else to do anything that I am not willing to do myself.

Now if you're here in this country illegally then GET THE FUCK OUT. I don't care if your Lithuanian, German, Mexican, or from Canada. I got one thing to say "buh-bai" If the law isn't going to be enforced because someone has their panties in a bunch because someone jumped the border and now wants to stay I got the perfect cure. I'll go to their house and move in for a week. And I'll work their job for less pay. Sounds like a plan. Let's see how these bleeding hearts put up with my drunken ass for a week. It's the same as these illegals taking jobs away from Americans. Granted a lot of Americans are too lazy to take the jobs, but with the economy so bad, that attitude will change soon enough.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Camping, Boy Scouts, and Life

By day, and most hours of the night, I'm a complete and utter geek. Working on servers at work (and home) I make a good living because Microsoft can't make a operating system that works. Now how does an geek like me prepare for the end of the world, and feel fine about it? Well, I love to go camping.

Long ago, in the dim recesses of time, I was a Boy Scout. Although some of the scoutmasters were a little creepy, we didn't have too much to worry about. There were two scoutmasters in particular that shaped me into who I am today. One was a top-secret electrical engineer for a defense-related company. The other was a schoolteacher in one of the toughest schools in the northeast.

They taught me to use my brain, rather than cop out and use excuses. I was never one to excel at rank, but by the end I had more merit badges than anyone else. We learned first aid, fire starting, wilderness survival, and so many other skills. To this day I have 30 different knots burned into my memory... I just counted by tying them on a piece of networking cable.

In a week and a half, I'm going on a camping trip. I get together with my buddies and head out to the ass end of Mass, and camp out in the middle of nowhere. No cell signal, no internet, no way for the boss, girlfriend, wife, or kids to call. Blessed silence. The benefit from one's mental outlook from unplugging for a weekend usually lasts a few months. We also consume a lot of beer, which helps immensely. Not as much as we did in college, but as one friend says "Kids play games and count beers, real men just drink!"

I fully intend on going on a few hikes to see how long it takes to re-attune from my suburban mode of sensing the world around me to a wilderness mode. I'll look for deer and bear sign, and just take a technological time out. No GPS - I still use a map and compass.

I'm certain I'll think of all kinds of useful stuff while out there, and I'll write them down on - get this - paper, and bring them back. Since my buddies have been talking more and more about the looming financial crisis, I'll find out who's been prepping and who hasn't. Maybe we can hatch a plan of mutual support, and start a little survival group, we shall see.

One of the strengths in my patrol in Boy Scouts was our specialization, and redundancy. Any survival group should follow what we did, as it is the most efficient way to get things done. No one could learn every skill, so we divided the skills needed up between us. There were several meets throughout the year where competitions were held between all the patrols of all the troops in the area. each of these competitions had several challenges, and your patrol was scored on how well it accomplished the task.

The tasks were varied, and included many of the scouting skills. Here are some of the ones I remember. Orientation with a map and compass, fire building where it was timed to burn through a string at a specific height, first aid, rescuing someone by throwing a rope 50' and so on and so forth. What we did was each person in the patrol had to master one event, and act as a backup to another event. When I first joined, I had to tie 10 different knots and show them to a referee in the shortest time possible. I was the backup first-aid guy. By divvying up the amount of stuff we had to learn, we were always the best in our troop, even though we were considered by many to be the patrol of fuck-ups.

If your lucky enough to have a survival group you can work with, then I would suggest following that strategy for the broader skills needed. For example, If you have five couples in the group, there is no sense in having everyone learn how to hunt and butcher a deer to start. Because food is so important take three and have them learn that, while two more learn how to tan the hide.

Some should concentrate on growing and preserving food, while others can master making solar stills. Someone needs to know how to work on engines, while others will need to learn about alternate energy. You cannot learn it all, but once your group has all the skills covered, then they continue cross-training.

Of course some skills are needed by everyone. Safe firearm handling and maintenance. Silent communication with hand signals, what fruit is edible and which is poisonous for the common plants in your area, how to shoot, how to read a map.

Robert Heinlein said that "specialization is for insects" but the way our society has relied on specialists for so long, you have to start somewhere. I feel we are short on time, and long on things that need to be learned. I have never baked bread in my life, but I will tonight.

If you have a child interested in scouting, I say go for it. The trick is that the parents need to be involved. I'm willing to bet that if the parent of the child is there, and involved with the whole she-bang, the less likely they will be a target of one of those sick bastards. Also, don't pressure your kid to get to eagle scout. I saw many kids that had their parents all over them to get that far, and all but one of them buckled under the pressure. you know what's best for your own rug rat! But stay involved! So many of the parents looked at scouting as extended day care, just dump the kid off and pick them up later.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Damn ammo cans.

So I've been looking for surplus ammo cans for storing ammunition and some other preps, like bandages and seeds and such, but the damn things are really freaking expensive! The local army surplus store has them for $15 a pop in rusted, crappy condition. Not good. I found a place on the interweb that had reasonable prices, but shipping makes them $20 a pop.... grrrr. I need to keep looking locally. Time to hit the flea markets again.

I sincerely apologize for not posting over the weekend. I had work that needed to be caught up on, and after staring at a server screen most of the time, the last thing I wanted to do for recreation was stare at a computer screen... So I went shooting instead :)

I am happy to announce that my Mosin Nagant is shooting very nicely because I slipped a little heat shrink tube over the front post to make it longer. This corrected the problem that I was shooting 5-8" high at 100 yards. Heat shrink tubing is used in electronics to insulate wires. You should be able to find it anywhere, cheap. At 50 yards I put 4 rounds through a 2" circle, and at 100 yards I was having trouble seeing the dot to shoot at, but I did keep it on a 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper. This is with crappy military sights. I might be buying some Mojo sights, but I think I'll save the $ for now for a M1A, M14, or FN FAL. If I save $100 a week I might be able to buy one before the next nitwit is sworn in.

I also shot skeet again, purely for entertainment. I'm pretty good at it, if I do say so myself, and I scored 16/25 on Saturday, and on Sunday scored 12, 20, & 21. That's with a tactical Remington 870 Express. I'm trying like hell to borrow a buddy's skeet gun to see what I'd shoot with the proper gear.

I'm continuing to practice weekly with my .22 rifle. It's fun, and cheap. Plus I'm getting to be a damn good shot. Now I need to work on my pistol shooting more. I have seen improvement, but I still have a long way to go.

I saw a bunch of articles from, including this one from Business Week. The last paragraph was very interesting for me:
Of course, there's one simple solution to the GSE problem: nationalize them, says analyst Chris Whalen of Institutional Risk Analytics. He says the Treasury should go ahead and wipe out the common equity, which the market has pretty much done on its own anyway, and promise to make holders of preferred stocks and subordinated debt whole. And financing? If the two mortgage financiers are taken over by the government, notes Whalen, "you don't have to worry about financing."

Really? We don't have to worry about financing? I think if this clown Whalen could pull his head out of his ass for 10 minutes, he'd realize that impact to the economy would make this the worst option. Guaranteed to turn our dollar into Monopoly money even faster.

I saw a coin shop this weekend, but it was closed. I still need to load up on food, but picking up a silver coin here and there is a good idea. Jim Rawles is suggesting we load up on nickles, as they are 75% pure copper, and is currently worth 6.35 cents each. I'm sorry Jim, but I got more important stuff to worry about, like storing food. If I had a fancy ranch in the middle of nowhere off the grid with enough firepower to take on the golden horde mano-o-mano then I'll store nickels.

Saw another Mall Ninja on the range this weekend. He was happily sighting in a new AR15. I asked why he went with that over say a SOCOMM16 (mall ninja version of the M14) he said "What's that?" He asked what I was shooting, and when I replied a .22, he said "I didn't know they made .223's so small." I put my muffs on an ignored him after that...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

How to deal with Old Man Winter

This post will be in two parts, and it might get a bit long. The first part will be on what you should do to prepare your home (or apartment) for winter. The second part will be how to survive winter if you cannot afford to heat your home. Some of the lessons in the second section were learned the hard way. Even if you're in a southern state, there will be some necessary things to do in here.

So winter is on the way, and by all indication it's going to come a month early this year. I start on the roof, then the rest of the outside, then move inside.

Start with your chimney, if it doesn't have a cap, then go buy one. Preventing birds from nesting, stopping stray tennis balls from rolling into your furnace (don't ask), or water mixing with the ash to rot out the liner of your chimney. It's short money for the headaches it stops. Next is to check the flashing and the mortar itself to be sure everything is in good shape.

Next clean your gutters and downspouts. Ice dams will permanently damage your roof. No excuse not to do this, even if you shell out some $ to a local kid to do it for you. Check the roof to make sure no summer storm puled off a shingle, better to find it now, then when it's below freezing!

Now follow your powerlines to the street, and verify that there are no trees or tree limbs that look sketchy hanging over your power lines. Although we all should have a generator, or solar, etc. blah blah blah. No need to make it hard on ourselves when we can prevent it with a simple tree haircut. You also might want to follow the lines on the streets and see if there are any power lines in danger of diseased trees and such and complain to the power company. Needless to say do not win a Darwin Award by doing something dumb near a power line. Be careful!

Now go around the outside of the house, and make sure your soffit vents are clear, and the siding of the house is in good shape. If it's moldy then get a power washer to clean it up. Now pull all your window AC units and close and lock the windows.

Check each window and door to be sure 1) It locks tight 2) The weather seal is nice and tight and 3) the storm window/door works properly and seals well. Don't have storm windows or doors and you live north of the mason-dixon line? Well I will advise you to find the nearest flat surface and smack your head onto it as hard as possible. Then repeat until you have storm doors and windows installed.

Now into the shed or garage. Find your ice scraper for the car and toss it into the trunk now, don't wait until the first snowstorm when your already late for work! Then find the snowshovels and put them by the door. If you own a snowblower, then fire it up and make sure it works now. If you have a plow for your lawn tractor then get all the parts together now and install it just after the last time you mow your lawn.

Now head for the basement. Check out the furnace, and crank up the heat so it turns on for 10 min or so. Easier to schedule the repair guy now rather than on the first cold snap. If you have forced hot air replace your air filters, and also visually check all the ducting for tears, or unhooked ducting. If you have forced hot water, then make sure the automatic water thingy is working. In either case if you have the $ then have the chimney and furnace inspected. Wraping your hot water heater is a good idea most of the time to save on the energy costs.

Now go replace all the batteries in the smoke alarms and test them. Also check your fire extinguishers. Close the damper in the chimney, but don't forget to open it before you use it.

There you go! a weekends worth of work and your ready for the next few months. Now on for some energy saving tips.

* If you have a fireplace, then use something to cover the giant gaping hole! It will blow the heat your paying for outside, so slow it down.
* Add socket insulation things to every electrical outlet and switch in an exterior wall. These are little foam pads that stop the cold air in the wall from drafting through the outlets into the home. Do not discount the savings from this simple activity. Pop off the plastic cover, pop out the pre-cut holes for the outlets, then place the foam, and replace the plastic cover.
* Check your attic's insulation, you should have R-30. Adding a second layer is not that much money, but be sure your soffit vents have unobstructed airflow to the attic.
* If you have replaced the sashes in old windows, the ones that used to have the weights inside, then open them up and stuff the cavity with insulation.

Well now it's mid-winter, and you can't afford to heat your house anymore. Now it's time to tighten up the house further to save energy. The level you take this, is up to you, and as your circumstanced require.

The first thing I'd do is lower the thermostat. If you have a newborn in the house it might be a problem, but we didn't have central heating until recently, so... have the kid suck it up. I keep my house at 50-55 degrees, but I live alone and don't have a woman bitching that it's too cold. Then again with one income I don't have a choice. Those programmable thermostats are awesome. I installed one last year and had the luxury of having a warm house when I got home, and having it automatically cool down when I hit the rack. Cost me $80, and was well worth it.

Next is the plastic sheeting you put over your windows. The kind that uses a hair dryer to pull it tight. Regardless of what the packages say, it will damage the finish on the windows. We used to have a ritual on that first day of spring where we run around the house and ripped off the plastic on all the windows. That was fun. If you use wood or coal to help heat the house, I'd leave one of the newer southern facing windows without the plastic, just so there is some air transfer. Don't want to die of CO (Carbon Monoxide) poisoning!

I'd seal all but the most frequently used doors as well. For those doors left unsealed, supplemental weatherstripping can be added, but at a minimum get one of those draft snakes to hold as many drafts at bay. A draft snakes is just a tube of cloth filled with sand or kitty litter that you push against the bottom of the door to keep cold air from coming in. Instructions to make one here.

Now after doing all that if your still in trouble, then I'd consider sealing up part of the house. It's no small undertaking, and believe me it sucks. We had to do it one year when I was a kid, and sleeping in the family room when Mum was in the living room sucked. It was easy for us as the upstairs was unheated, and there was no plumbing up there either. So we just had to slap a door at the top of the stairs and put up insulation. If you do seal up part of the house with plumbing, then be sure to shut off the water to that part, seal it off well and drain the water out.

You also can supplement the heating system in your house with another heating source. The most popular these days is wood pellets, but there is also geothermal, conventional wood, and coal. Kerosene heaters are pretty much out of the question with the price of fuel. Electric heaters are good for spot heating, but I wouldn't rely on them for a secondary heating source.

I don't have to space to go into the how's and whys on secondary heating, but I can give the pro's and con's of each with the exception of geothermal. I don't have it, nor does anyone I know. The few people I know that looked into it were looking at $18k for it. It basically pre-heated the air so the furnace wouldn't have to work as hard. If you don't have forced hot air, then you're screwed. Enough about that.

Coal is dirty, messy and a bitch to start if your home late from school and it went out. (trust me) We used coal to heat the kitchen for 5 years or so, with the added benefit of it reducing our heating bills for the rest of the house. Coal stoves are more expensive, and storing the coal takes a lot of space. Coal dust gets everywhere, and you need to shake the stove down at least 3 times a day, and empty the ashes 2 times a day. But boy did it crank out the heat.

The new pellet stoves require electricity. On the other hand, they are super -efficient. A ton of pellets goes for $300 or so right now, and most of my friends use 2-4 tons a year, which cuts their oil bills in half, total savings for them is about $500 or so a year, YMMV. The pellets come in bags, and need to be kept dry. Any water and they grow 5-10x in size and become a big, useless mess. Ashes need to be emptied once a day, but it's only a few cups. They fill the bin with pellets at the same time, and then don't have to do squat until the next day.

Conventional wood stoves have gotten a lot better than they used to. My mum still uses wood to keep the chill off, but it's a lot of work (mostly done by me). She uses about 4-6 cords a year of wood, and right now it's about $300 a cord delivered. Thankfully, I keep finding downed trees or cutting trees down in her yard so she gets some wood for free.

When I was a kid we had 2 wood stoves in the house because the furnace shit the bed on us and died. It was 1977, and we went through 11 cords of wood, all split by yours truly. I remember riding with my dad looking for downed trees, and cut them up and haul them to the truck to be split and seasoned as best we could before burning it. That was a cold year, nothing like hauling in 200-300 lbs of wood every morning while my dad scratched his ass and watched... At least I learned how to use a chainsaw, cut trees down, split wood, and drive at the tender age of 7. Anything that would burn went into one of the stoves. This includes raiding dumpsters at job sites for scrap 2x's, or collecting driftwood after a storm. Most of the ashes we pulled out were nails from the scrap wood, but it kept us warm. We passed on the plywood and beaverboard as the glue was quite toxic back then.

If you're using a conventional wood stove do not burn any softwood. We did it in a survival situation, but it was pretty dangerous. Softwood makes creosote, which can catch fire when it builds up. Every year a bunch of hoses are burned down in chimney fires. Be careful!

Whew! that took longer than I thought it would. I hope this information is useful in keeping everyone toasty this winter on the cheap.

Farmer's Almanac

Well looks like the Farmer's Almanac is predicting a colder than usual winter.

Now in my personal experience, the Farmer's Almanac is right about 75-80% of the time. Once again, prepare for a rough winter north of the Mason-Dixon line. Thanks for those that posted on the "Incoming!" post, looks like we are about a month early for the trees to be changing.

I'm working on a post on how to survive the winter now, it should be up in an hour or so.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Well on the ride in to the job today, I saw a maple with the leaves starting to change. Normally we don't see the trees start to change for another month, so I passed it off as the tree being diseased, mentally challenged, etc. A few miles later I saw a few more trees starting to change.

This is NOT a good thing.

Winter is coming, and it looks like it's coming sooner by about a month. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I think this winter is going to be rougher than usual, and I hate to see that I'll be right. Could the other bloggers out there keep an eye out for early signs of winter and post your indications for the rest of the bloggers? Perhaps it's just the northeast, and I hope so as Oil and natural gas are expensive!

Americanus Marketus Ninjasarous

Although a strange title for a survival post, I'll be talking about a tactical shoot I took part in at a gun club recently. All but 2 of the 10 participants meet the criteria of the American Mall Ninja.

Well what's a Mall Ninja? Well let's just say generally their weapons look more like erector sets than firearms. Lasers, holographic sights, front grips and door breech muzzle accessories. In their opinion, Iron sights aren't good enough for 100 yards, they have 9x40mm scopes on their brand-new AR-15's with folding bipods.

I was using my WWII soviet bolt-action Mosin Nagant rifle. There was no way I could compete time-wise, and using iron sights I'd have trouble with the head shots at 100 yards ( the Mosin's shoot about 5-7" high at 100 yards) The "a" shot in the head was the size of a playing card. Surprisingly, they didn't give me crap about my rifle. I figure this is because they thought there was no way that I'd be a factor. I knew going in I wouldn't be able to keep up in time, as I had to reload 3 times in the course, and I don't have stripper clips for the rifle yet. They assumed I wouldn't be able to keep up accuracy wise either, as I was using iron sights.

Needless to say they were wrong on both accounts. The time it took for these guys to switch targets and re-aquire them with a scope, where I had open sights and just needed to put the back sight then bring the blade up where I wanted it made all the difference in the world. Until I had a jam, I was neck and neck time-wise with a gas-powered battle carbine, with a bolt-action rifle! I had to go to my car and laugh my ass off!

So what makes a Mall Ninja?
1) Inferior weapon selection
2) Unfamiliarity with combat situations
3) Reliance on technology - to a fault
4) Poor marksmanship
5) Rigid thought processes

Let me go a bit into what I mean by these. Most Mall Ninjas use battle carbines, not rifles. The AR-15 and clones make excellent varmit and target rifles. They make poor killers, but excellent wounders. In other words, they lack stopping power. I'll do a post on why I hate the .223 cartridge another time.

These Mall ninjas fancy themselves "operators" or equivalent in marksmanship to our special forces. Any idiot can slap a scope on a weapon and call "head shots" at 100 yards. Care to do that with iron sights? The time it takes to acquire a target, line up the optics, get a clear picture in the scope, line up the crosshairs and fire is about 3x what it takes for iron sights. The holographic sights are great for this at close range, but 100yards was pushing it for the guys that had them that day. Every one had trouble shooting freehand, without anything supporting the weapon. About 1/3 of the shots on the course were to be taken without any support, no bipods, no rests. I had no trouble, but most of the other shooters did. Like a Mutant Zombie is going to let you get set up, put your bipod down and allow you to get prone without chewing on what little brains you have?

I cringe at most of the firearms a Mall Ninja uses. They have flashlights, laser sights, scopes, add on bipods, magazine holders, bayonet lugs... I mean what's the freaking point? I mean it's one thing if your kicking in doors in Iraq, but here in America, pre-SHTF? And what's the point of having a flashlight on a rifle in the first place? use a shotgun or pistol fer crying out loud. If I need to drive in a nail, I don't reach for a screwdriver!

Technology is handy, but it is no replacement for skill. Useless technology on a firearm is more of a hindrance than a benefit. Picanny rails are nice, but I don't feel a burning need to fill them with gadgets. There is NO EXCUSE for not being able to hit a military silhouette at 100 yards while standing, with factory iron sights. Once you get to that level of skill, then work on 200 yards, then 300... When the barrels of the Mall Ninjas were swaying 3-4" while they were trying to shoot at a 25 yard target, I had to look away for fear of pissing myself with a bout of laughter.

While there, I was talking with one fellow, and he stated that he's hoping for TEOTW so he could "rack up some kills" on looters. I laughed out loud. He gave me a dirty look, and said "What?" I stated that his AR15 would be more lethal if it used as a club. He started spouting off about velocities, and accuracy and blah blah blah. I took him downrange, and showed him the proof in the pudding. One of the targets was behind a wall, and I hit the 2x4 with one of my rounds. A Mall Ninja had also hit the 2x4 with a .223 in another location. The .223 had a tiny entrance and exit hole, less than a quarter of an inch. My round had a quarter inch hole in the front, and a 2" hole in the back! And it turns out that my round was traveling about the same speed... He didn't have much to say after that.

All in all it was a great learning lesson. I recommend everyone take their rifles down to a tactical shoot and give it a shot. Even if there is no way to win, you can learn how do deal with the adrenaline rush, and using your weapon in an effective manner. Formal training at Thunder Ranch or Front Sight would be ideal, but the enterance fee was $5, and well worth the money. Plus, it was a fun time. And you never know if you'll bump into a wise-ass with an old bolt-action rifle.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Crazy Weekend

I am sorry for not posting on Friday, but the boss let me have a day off! Heavens to Murgatroyd! So I did nothing productive other than cleaning the house and slacking off for my Mental Health.

I was running out of what I felt was quality material to write about, but after the insane weekend I had, I have at least a months worth!

This weekend was a tax-free weekend here in Mass, where you don't have to pay sales tax on anything less than $2500. In my travels, I wound up hitting 4 gun shops looking for ammo for a new rifle (more on that in a minute) Every gun shop was mobbed with customers buying anything and everything. Now when passing by a furniture store, the parking lot was empty. Even Lowes parking lot wasn't any busier than normal when I passed by. Bass Pro Shops was very busy, and their gun counter, which is 60' long had customers 2-3 deep along it's whole length!

I had a bit of an adventure trying to buy a generator, I didn't get one because they pretty much vanished! The local one had 6+ generators, and they sold out of the one I wanted in 12 hours or so. I had them call around, and they found a store with 5, but in the 20 minutes it took to get there they sold 2, and they wouldn't honor the price at the other store, so I told them to pound sand. I'll be watching craigslist and ebay and get my generator used.

What do these 2 facts tell me? When I see a guy buying 1500 rounds of ammo, and another with 2000 rounds of 2 calibers I tend to notice these things. Combine this with the lack of business regardless of how many commercials run at the furniture stores, which last year were packed. Well I think the sheeple are not so dumb after all. They are starting to notice bad things are happening, and they are starting to do something about it. Well maybe the sheeple are not all smartening up, but a small percentage are going through the transformation into non-sheeple. Maybe not full preppers, but certainly not the sheeple they once were.

So in my many travels I bought myself a Mosin Nagant rifle. Although I was intent on staying with only a few different calibers, I could not resist. I am a bit of a amateur military historian, with WWII in particular. The Mosin Nagant is the battle rifle of the Soviet army (and the Russians in WWI). It's a 7.62x54R cartridge, with the R standing in for rimmed. It's only $100, how could I pass up a rifle made in 1941, with a kick-ass cartridge, and it was never issued? That's right it was made in 1941 and never issued! It kicks like a mule, and I think all the wildlife within 100 miles of the range is now hard of hearing, but DAMN that's fun to shoot. It's a bolt action with an internal 5 round magazine. Mine is the full-length version with a 28 1/2" barrel. Effective killing range is 2000 yards if you can hit it. The iron sights are a bit tough, but scopes can be mounted. The kits are cheap and available through ebay. I will keep iron sights on this, for now.

All the practice at the range has paid off, with the rife zeroed in (using a drift and a big hammer) I was hitting a gopher silhouette at 75 yards 75% of the time freehand. On a military silhouette, I was consistently getting 'b' shots in the body at 100 yards. This is open WWII era sights. Gawd I love that rifle. I took part in a tactical shoot, and used the rife. I'll make a full post on that, because A) it was so cool, and B) I was laughing my ass off at the mall ninjas.

I did pick up a .22 target pistol, I'll post how much of an effect it has on my accuracy with my Sig P220.

This post is getting a bit long, I'll break it into two sections before my rambling causes Blogger's servers to crash.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

tips and tricks

So I got the wind knocked outta me by tripping over a rug and catching the corner of the countertop right in the solar plexus this morning. For me, to get your wind back fast all you need to do is breathe out when you want to inhale and breath in when you want to exhale. Sounds stupid, but it works for me. I'm not exactly sure how it works, but somehow it stops your solar plexus from being discombobulated.

Ever have a chucklehead try to crush your hand when you shake hands? The simple trick here is to keep your index finger straight, and they could use a vice, and it wouldn't do squat. It works by aligning the bones in your hand to stack on top of each other, interlocking a little so no matter how hard they squeeze, you can be suitably unimpressed.

Just a quick post today, as work is kicking my butt today pretty hard. I don't buy the crap from the mass media for one second that the economy is going to recover. I made the prediction in an earlier post that oil would drop, just wait until winter! Oh joy, Bush wants to back Georgia now... that's just great. So where are we going to get the troops from? Can't print troops like he does money.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Book Review - "How to Stay alive in the Woods"

Well the full title of the book is:"How to Stay Alive in the Woods: A Complete Guide to Food, Shelter and Self-Preservation Anywhere"

To sum up my thoughts on this book, I would dear say it wouldn't even make good emergency TP. First off, the book is way to large, there are huge margins on the printed page, and if that space was used it would cut down on the size of the book. In it's current size, there is no way I'd take it with me in the woods, it's at least 3 pounds of dead weight! The cover is some weird rubberized material that promptly warped both covers. Although waterproof, it means jack squat since the covers are bowed out 3/4" on all 4 outside corners.

As for the information contained therein, presumably to save your life, I would say a boy scout handbook has the same amount of information. The author's writing is at times hard to understand, and there is a noticeable lack of illustrations. I am no survival expert, but I learned nothing from this book. Perhaps, the book could be used as a deadfall for small game, that way it would be good for something! Some of the most basic survival skills are omitted from this book. Like how to use a map for orienteering, or using heated rocks to warm the bottom of your sleeping bag, or what to do without a sleeping bag. The list of gear to put in a survival kit is missing some very important items, like garbage bags. A survival kit without a garbage bag or 3 or 10 is like getting a massage without a happy ending!

I would say to save your money and buy another book. If the cover hadn't warped so bad I would consider shipping it back to

Monday, August 11, 2008

Book Review - "Abc's Of Reloading: The Definitive Guide For Novice To Expert"

I bought this book in direct response to the insane prices of ammunition these days. I knew absolutely nothing about the subject, and it piqued my interest in a way of saving $ while being able to practice shooting.

The book is laid out along the lines of articles from a magazine, where each section is very detailed about whatever it's talking about. One drawback is there is no information whatsoever about loads themselves in the book! I was expecting at least common, safe formulas for common rounds. The book repeats (at least 4 times) to use the data provided by the bullet manufacturer on how much powder and which kind to use. They also stress not to trust any information on the internet forums and such, as you could break your weapon, or worse yet hurt yourself. There is a whole section that goes over all the available powders and what they are for. I have to admit I skipped this, as I'm just going to use what the bullet manufacturers suggest.

Rifle, handgun, and shotshell reloading are covered, each has it's own section in the back for specific information for each one. Step by step guides are given as well, with plenty of pictures.

All the terminology for reloading is well explained. It can get rather confusing, with the different crimps, different primers, etc. What value is this to the "Expert" mentioned in the title is unknown to me, but It helped this beginner out a lot.

On the whole, I'm glad I bought the book because I know what to look for in a press, and where to find the reloading ammunition. I also learned about accessories I need, in particular they are a big proponent of the electronic scale. If you are new to reloading this is a good spot to start. One thing that's nice, is now you have an idea on how things work so you can ask reloaders on the range what they like, and why.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Prep update

Well I guess it's time I sat down and review what I've been up to. For planning, I have been working on the punchlist of survival categories. I'm almost done with data security, and I'll put a very detailed post up soon enough. Since I'm an I.T. professional, it's the easiest one for me to bang out, that provides the most amount of information to you guys.

I also have been working on some woodworking information. What too keep an eye out for in the flea markets for old tools, and how they were used. I'm a "Normite" so a lot of this is new to me, so I need to digest it first before I can distill it and pass it on.

I'm up to about two weeks of stored food, not including the dehydrated stuff. I also have about a weeks worth of water, with my kaydyn filter I can get another 100 gallons so I'm all set there. I definitely need to pick up the pace with the food storage. I really want to have at least three months of food stored before the winter. I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to heat the house this winter, $5 a gallon oil is going to hurt a LOT.

I'm happy with the progress of my vehicle preps. I have a big toolbox with come-alongs, tow straps, tire repair kits, basic tools, etc. I need more stuff, mainly a 12v air compressor and a cheap socket set. I also would like a small inverter so I could charge the cellphone or run my laptop. I probably will have to get tires to pass inspection, so if I can find the cash I want to get a 2" lift kit, and get more aggressive tires for my Jeep. I'd like to toss them on deep-dish rims, so I'll be hunting craigslist and junkyards for them. I'm hoping a $20 bribe will let the tires slide a little while, my sticker is up this month. I need to grab spare spark plugs at some point too. Then a spare alternator from a junkyard, water pump, spare belts... it never ends.

I have 10 gallons of fuel stored for now, I'd like to get at least 15 gallons more stored before the winter. I also bought 6 more bottles of 2 stroke oil so my chainsaw has plenty. I do need more chain oil, so that's something to get, but I had all my chains professionally sharpened, so I'm ready to rumble.

This tax holiday I'll be buying a generator, I'm probably going with the 3500 watt one because my needs are so small. One fridge/freezer, a few lights and two computers and a projector. I plan on buying some marine batteries and an inverter and running the generator to charge them while running the fridge, then using the batteries for the lights and computers. I don't see how I'll get the $ for the batteries this year, but who knows? I bought 2 mega millions tickets! Don't worry Mayberry, if it hits I'll hook you up :)

I've been shooting a lot, but it shows. I can now put my rounds through the 7 ring on a 25 yard target (most are in the black). When I started, I was having trouble keeping them on the paper. The second purchase for the tax holiday is a .22LR pistol so I can reduce the amount of cash I'm spending on ammunition.

Right now I have the following in my ammo locker:
50 rounds of #7 1/2 12 gauge target load
45 rounds of 12 gauge slugs
100 rounds of .45ACP 230gr. FMJ
~75 rounds of .45ACP 230gr. JHP
50 or so rounds of .45 200gr. semi wadcutters for practice
~ 500 rounds of various .22LR

I need some buckshot, and I'll use the #7 1/2 shot for trap practice. I'll need some goose hunting and duck hunting loads for my shotgun, and some turkey loads too for giggles. But that is way down the road, the buckshot is pretty high on the list right now. Also loading up on slugs is important since I don't have a battle rifle yet. I've been getting 50 rounds of .45 JHP's every other week once I found some cheap enough. Once I have 200 rounds stored of the JHP I'll be happy.

To increase my knowledge, I've gotten three books that are survival-related. "How to survive in the woods", "The ABC's of Reloading" and "Square foot Gardening". A diverse reading list to be sure. I'll write reviews on all of them soon.

The last few weeks I have not been able to exercise as mush as I should have. I am losing weight from cutting back on my portions and not eating crap every day for lunch. I need to start a regular exercise program. No excuses!

I did pick up a few "barter items" recently, and to be honest it's a mistake. I need to stock up on food, so no more of that! I picked up safety pins, needles, and some travel bottles of hand sanitizer. I also grabbed some rolls of aluminum foil for use/trade. I grabbed a big ass box of #10 common nails at lowes, but I don't feel so guilty about that. I'll use them around the shop, or for house repairs in addition to trade stock. That reminds me I should buy a roll of tar paper and galvanized roofing nails.

Well this post was longer than intended. But it helped me figure out what I need to do. Things have been quiet on the financial front. Oil is dropping like I figured it would before the winter. Seems like everyone has their finger in the air waiting to see which way the wind is blowing before they hit the panic! button or not. One item that is of note is that jobless claims are up by 7k. That's never good.

I'm watching to see how much stock the Federal Reserve buys of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Then again it's Friday, or bank-closing-day. We should start a weekly pool of how many banks fail, we can bet cans of beans instead of money.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Read what you eat

A good friend of mine is a health-junky these days. The amount of time I've put into Survival, firearms practice, etc is about 1/2 of what he's done in nutrition, exercise, etc. the one thing he's hammered into me is to read what the hell your eating.

For example I never liked white bread, I've preferred wheat. But not all wheat breads are the same. There is a German Dark Wheat made by Pepperidge Farms that's got 3 grams of fiber per slice, where the Home Pride wheat I liked as a kid has only 1 gram of fiber. It's a little more money, but more fiber means it's better for you. they even have breads with flax for healthy Omega-3 fats.

Take a look at a bottle of Coke and your going to freak out with the amount of sugar in it. I mean just might as well dump a bowl of sugar in a glass of water and drink it. Look at the differences between all-natural peanut butter vs. Jif. Or check out the amount of salt in one of those microwave-meals the officeworkers tend to get - the lean cuisine and such.

We should be growing all our own food and eating it, but for those of us who can't - start reading the labels, and you can make better decisions on what you eat. I can guarantee you that if you actually read what a Big Mac is nutritionally your not going to want to have one.

Most of the time the "regular" food is better for you than the "fat-free" or "low-fat" versions. The take out the fats (which make you feel fuller - so smaller portions) and pump in corn syrup. It's "fat-free" until your insulin goes bonkers from the sugar and then makes it pure fat. Fat-free so long as it's not eaten! I'm a Hellman's mayonnaise fan, and they have a version that's not fat-free, but has Omega-3's for fats instead of the bad fats. Just so you know Omega-3's are the fats in fish and flax seed that are wicked good for you.

Now I'm not saying to become a food Nazi like my buddy and eat 8 meals a day with pre-and post workout shakes and such. What you should be doing is educating yourself on the foods you do eat, so you can make minor changes that have a huge impact on your health. Just getting the better wheat bread, or the healthiest yogurt, or using EV olive oil instead of corn oil.

Part of survival is providing for you and your families health. The first thing you need to do is take that food triangle the FedGov has been pimping for years and cram it up their ass. We NEED fat as biological creatures to survive. The trick is to eat the better ones.

Now that I got you all gung-ho to eat healthy, there is one thing my food-Nazi buddy says we must absolutely do. And it's cheat on the diet. Once a week you should eat whatever the heck you want for one meal. It's actually healthier for you to eat crap once a week than not too. I'll have to see about getting him to do a guest article sometime, because when he starts to explain it it goes over my head. I do know one thing though, when you have a cheat meal a week it's a hell of a lot easier to stay on the diet the rest of the week. You can pass on the ice cream on Tuesday, because Saturday night you got a date with cheese ravioli with meat sauce, garlic bread, and a pint of Ben and Jerry's Oatmeal Cookie Chunk!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Well sorry for dropping off the face of the earth the last week. I was on-call for my job, which means I'm the company I.T. bitch for the week. Not only are there lots of additional work that must be done during the week, you are constantly paged with every conceivable issue that you got to fix. This, of course, happens all night as well.

So what happens when you don't get regular sleep for a week? I am a bit of an extreme example of these affects, as I really, really need to get 6-7 hours a night. Some do fine with 5-6 hours of sleep a night, but there are long term effects for burning the candle at both ends.

Everyone can go one night without sleep. You'll be a little dazed, and operating at about 80-90% of what you'd be if you were fully rested. If your getting 3-4 hours of interrupted sleep a night, after 5 days your about 50% effective. In my job as an IT guy, it's really easy to type the wrong command and delete data by accident. The only way to deal with this is to go SLOW and check everything twice.

Now if the poop hits the fan, well then we are all going to be low on sleep, especially the first few weeks. In order to work around these issues, you need to plan ahead.

I would make the big decisions early, like bug-in or bug-out, and stick to them unless new information causes you to re-evaluate. If you do have to re-evaluate, take the time to think it through. After a week of interrupted sleep it's like trying to pour molasses through a funnel, your brain will get there, but it will take a while. Use a piece of paper to organize your thoughts as they will tend to wander while in your mental fog.

Naps are you best friend. I cannot nap, once the sun is up I am awake until the sun sets. The only way I can sleep during the day is if I am deathly ill, or I took sleeping pills and washed it down with half a bottle of NyQuil. then i crash for 18 hours or so :p. Now a 20 minute afternoon cat-nap will work wonders for you. Your body gets most of it's rest in the first 20 minutes of sleep, so the physical toll of sleep deprivation can be easily avoided.

Now if you need to stay up for a long time this is the way to do it. Well without picking up a Meth habit... Avoid sugars! They crash your system with an insulin spike, and your certainly going to crash hard and burn. You need fuel that will keep you going but provided short-term energy. I suggest oatmeal, but not the instant kind. You want the read-deal 30minutes to cook stuff. take tons of B vitamins as well with your oatmeal. You can have sugar, but you need to make your body work for the energy a bit, so your not spiking your insulin levels. Fruit is ok, but the really sweet stuff like pineapple is not good for this.

What crashes you are the really digestible processed carbohydrates. White rice, potatoes, white bread (even the wimpy wheats, or rye), pastas, and enemy #1 HFCS High Fructose Corn Syrup. Canned fruit is terrible because of all the syrup, this will crash you about an hour after you eat it as your pancreas explodes...

Those 5 hour energy drinks are pretty good for you, all they are are an TON of b-vitamins. Chug one of these with some oatmeal and your good to go. A fresh apple is good, and all berries are low on the GI scale, so the sugars are not going to spike your insulin. I would have something fatty with the oatmeal to keep things in balance, like buttered real-wheat bread, or peanut butter.

Moving around will help you stay alert, and help you from just burning the carbs in the oatmeal into fats. Also, it is better to have a few small meals than to have one huge one.

Notice I haven't spouted off about caffeine? I have some for breakfast and some during lunch, but these days I don't drink any at night so I get a better quality sleep. If you are addicted to caffeine, I strongly suggest you cut back, you will be amazed at how much better your sleep will be and how much lower your blood pressure will be.

When your ready to pull your all-nighter a diet red bull, or diet monster energy drink with the correct food will keep you going for a long time. Don't buy the sugared ones, they will crash you. They really are just carbonated caffeine, and unlike my old favorite Jolt Cola, they don't have that much more caffeine than coffee.

Well hopefully this helps you with your turn at guard duty watching out for those mutant zombies.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Tax Holiday!

Well, Governor Deval Patrick decided to throw a little Bread and Circus of his own. August 16th & 17th are a sales-tax free day, for anything under $2500. It's a bit ahead of schedule for me but I'll be buying my generator that day. I hope I can save up enough cash before then, money has been tight. Looks like PB&J sandwiches for lunch the next few weeks, I saved a bunch of money doing it this week.

Plus, the job owes me $400 in mileage. I submitted the paperwork and the boss made some grunting sounds, then looked like he was going to pop a vein right then and there. Then he squawked like a chicken and shit a brick. He's like "Why you submitting mileage? You never had before." My response was "I've gotten smarter." He didn't like that remark, and made me break it into smaller checks. The bigger boss is sitting on $200 worth now, I'll submit the rest next week.

Even though the datacenter is 35 miles from my house, we can only submit the 17 miles it is from our regular job. That's a ripoff in and of itself, but 34 miles a trip is better than nothing.

If I can eat PB&J for dinner, I might be able to save enough for a .22 pistol (preferably used)... going to need to buy more jelly!

I've been looking at the 3500watt one from Lowes for $400, or I could buy the 5000 watt one w/ electric start for $700. I got to sit down and figure what I need to run, then size it for that power load. I got some math to do, and I got to borrow my buddy's Kill-a-Watt too.