Monday, September 29, 2008

My Jeep

So I'm up for inspection on my Jeep Grand Cherokee and I'm going to need tires. Now I could just put on some radials and be done with it, or I could invest some prep money in it to beef it up some.

I love my Jeep, with it's straight 6 it's just about unkillable. My current tires are wussy Goodyear Wrangler ST's which are OK, but are more suited for soccer moms than any sort of GOOD plan.

I could beef up my ride by adding 1.25" spacers on the axles($100), adding a 2" lift kit($350), and beefier ties on my existing rims ($750 incl. spare). Later on I could add the extended fenders for $200ish so mud isn't flying everywhere.

Or I could save the cash, buy replacement wranglers for $280 and put the rest towards a .308 battle rifle and / or generator.

Pretty much no matter what the situation is I got a heck of a drive to get my mom and brother and drag them to my place, or I pack up and head to mom's. If we are in a slow slide, like Argentina then I can outfit my Cherokee a la Mad Max to make sure I can get to and from work.

Then again, I am still paying for this Jeep, so I might not want to invest anything more than what is necessary in case the bank f's with my loan and I cannot afford it.

Chime in with your suggestions, I need to call my bank and see what I have left on the principal. Maybe I sell it and buy a junker to fix up with a junker economy car to commute in.


I am a ZOMBIE. I've been reduced to the mental capacity of the American President. Easy decisions are now difficult with the lack of sleep I've had in the last few days. So odds are this post won't make much sense, but what the hell!

This stresses to me that when and if a big event happens we need to have as much thought out ahead of time as possible. I'm going to work on plans and assemble them into my survival book.

I found a galvanized garbage can yesterday at Benny's. It's a local k-mart type place. $20 for the can and another $6 for the lid :( Oh well. Now to buy grain, mylar bags and O2 absorbers.

I got 20 pounds of spaghetti, with enough canned sauce for it. That's a lot of pasta. At 2200 calories a day I have 20 days of food in spaghetti alone. :) I realize if I am fighting, working, etc I'll need more than 2200 calories a day, but this at least gives me a yardstick to measure my preps by. I have a few boxes of other pasta I got on sale, too. Almost forgot about those. Now I got a good head start it's time to focus on canned meats. I have about 10 cans of canned chicken I bought. Figure at worst I could heat it up and toss it with the pasta or add it to the beans. I loathe SPAM, both e-mail and meat by-product. I'm not a fan of jerky, either. So this is a spot I really need to improve upon.

Another spot I need to get squared away with is vitamins and veggies. I'm a strict carnivore, so veggies are not anywhere near the top 1000 things I like to eat. The veggies I do like are basically found in salads. I walked through the caned veggie aisle, and the only thing I liked was some baby peas (I take them like pills) and sauerkraut. Not much of a selection. Off to buy vitamins and fiber pills I guess.

60 days of food, 30 to go by Jan 1st. Too bad it's the expensive stuff I need to buy.

I still haven't decided to invest in silver or gas for this week. I'm leaning towards gas. But I'm not 100% certain. Time to fish or cut bait.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thirty seven and a half hours!

And still going, I'm the energizer fucking bunny. The upgrade we were working on has shit the bed in a most spectacular way, and my stuff isn't the problem. My poop is wired tight.

I'm an exempt, aka salaried, employee. We do not get breaks, we work a minimum of 50 hours a week without any overtime. Downtimes are scheduled over birthdays, anniversaries, etc. without the slightest hesitation by Sr. management. I checked into it, and I'll never be financially compensated for the overtime I've done over the years. I added it up while on a pointless con call, and I figure it's about 250k at time and a half over the last 10 years.

Management does it's best to give us comp days, but it's strictly against corporate policy. It's all cloak and dagger. My last day here I'm dropping a deuce on Sr. Management's desk. The major advantage to this job is 6 weeks of holiday/vacation/sick time a year, and it's 100% recession proof. No matter how many banks, insurance agencies, etc. fail I'll have a job so long as they don't give me a heart attack. And no, I don't work for the government.

So that's why I've stayed. Things weren't always this bad, it's gotten a lot worse over the last 2 years. If the economy rebounds I'm out of here faster than taco bell through a baby. But with the looming financial crisis, I'm up in the air whether or not I'm going to leave.

We IT guys talk of unionizing, but the federal government would outlaw it fast. 45 hour work weeks, hourly compensation, breaks, limits on consecutive hours of work. My word I could bankrupt my employer with OT alone!

Welcome back to the 70's

No, not a resurgence of disco, which would be the Christian Hell on earth. Gas lines are expected to make a comeback. Lovely!

I vaguely remember them as a kid, and it just flat-out sucked. At least I could telecommute once the pumps ran dry. They didn't have that in the 70's.

I'm still here awake, but not necessarily alert. It feels like I got a tablespoon of sand in each eyeball, and I'm hungry enough to eat the ass off of a dead rhinoceros. I'm alone in the datacenter with four huge chillers that sound slightly quieter than a 737 during takeoff. I've hit drudge and cnn, but I guess no banks failed during the debates. Although Wachovia is in deep Kim Che because their stock is plummeting because the stockholders figure they are the next one to go.

I'm glad I got that gas yesterday. If I get out of here before 4pm I want to hit my shady pawnshop for more silver. Gas or silver? That's a tough one right now.

Meanwhile, looks like we have ourselves a tropical storm heading our way. I expect Kyle to clip Cape Cod, no biggie. Looks like the storms not going to gain much strength even though it's riding the Gulf Stream like Seabiscuit. I wonder if the two low pressure systems could suck the storm further inland? I'm good to go, but Mum is on the coast so I'll be ready to haul ass down there to cut trees for firewood for Mum. My Mum's a tough old Yankee, so I'm not worried too much, especially since I managed to talk her into cutting down most of the trees close to the house.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Prez debate

So I managed to watch the presidential debate online while working tonight, so I figured I would post about my observations. I would call it a draw. Obama attacked McCain through bush, and McCain went after Obama's lack of experience. This debate was about foreign policy, which included the global financial crisis.

I kept a running scorecard as the debate went on giving points to them for good ones. For example I gave McCain +2 points for wanting to do a better job at our borders to defend the homeland, and Obama got +3 points for wanting to improve the perception of the US around the world.

A few key points on what I jotted down for notes. McCain stressed unity and bi-partisanship, I like that. Obama stressed helping the fledgling democracies in Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, etc. On the whole, McCain got big points for a few items, where Obama got a lot of 1 pointers that added up.

Two very interesting quotes came from McCain. The first was "Republicans wanted to change the Government and the Government changed the Republicans." Very true. I gave him 4 points for that. The other quote was when he was asked about Iran's threat to the US, and he started talking about a "League of Democracies" to exert political force on Iran, North Korea, etc. I deducted 5 points for that because it scares the shit out of me. If the UN can't do it then we make another UN with the countries we like? That's not a good idea. That's another step to world government.

So we got a lot of hot air, I laughed my ass off when Obama called Senator McCain "Jim". Priceless. McCain's tie was dreadful, and he seemed to be tele-operated, moving in a robotic way. Well he is like 100 years old or thereabouts. I guess we can cut him some slack.

One goal met. many to go!

Well In an earlier post I mentioned I wanted to get 25 gallons of gas set aside. With all the shortages in SC, NC and TX I bought a couple more containers, dumped the 1/3 full one in my jeep and filled them up with "Sta-Bil"ized gas. So I'm done there. One task down like 50 more to go.

Preparing is like fighting a Hydra, the many-headed mythical beast. You take care of one thing, and two more spring up in it's place. I wanted to grab a galvanized trashcan to store mylar bagged grain in, but lowes and home depot don't carry them any more. Off to the local hardware stores to find one. I figure that the mylar bag (with O2 absorbers) will do just fine in protecting the food from oxygen and insects. To stop mice, I'll load the bagged grain into a galvanized trash can, and seal the lid with a heavy weight, like some ammo cans of ammunition.

I can then use the smaller mylar bags and store a wider variety of goods. Beans, rice, pasta. Salt and sugar. All protected and ready for use. I need to shop around for a grain mill, too. If you think the mylar bag + garbage can won't work, post a comment, and let me know.

I'm working most of the weekend so I'll have a bigger post for later. I hate working all-nighters.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


He's a liberal moon-bat, but I love him anyway. He's coming to Boston November 1st. I'm still waiting for the Black Flag reunion tour, but I doubt that will happen.

Where do I even begin?

I get a day off, and the world takes another step into deeper water. I cannot even fathom how this bailout is a good idea. Then Bush is telling congress to pass it in a few days. Nothing good will come of this, especially as all the congressional nitwits can say "we were rushed into it!" And the Republicans can say "we tried to fix it!"

Just thinking about it I threw up a little bit in my mouth.

I spent the day yesterday doing what everyone should do: PREPARE! In the morning I went to the range with my pistol(s) and rifle. I spent most of my time there shooting my .22 pistol, then the .45ACP Sig. I'm getting much better, the time invested at the range is really showing. I haven't shot the .45 in 6 weeks, but I did much better this time because of the practice with the .22 target pistol. .45 rounds are 35 dents each, where the .22 rounds are just 5.5 cents. You still need to practice with the .45, just not as often.

I then went on a silver-hunting spree. I called all over the place and found a pawn shop selling 1oz. rounds for $16 each. Silver was $13.28 an ounce so I bought 4 to start. It's not much, but over time it will add up. The dude was very interested in why i was buying silver, so I told him it was a "hedge against inflation". He's says "64 dollars worth won't get you far, what are you really doing with it?" I just said it was better to give to my (imaginary) nephews than a savings bond right now. He bought that story, so I'm in the clear for now. He has more, so I plan on buying a few every week, so long as the food preps are all set.

I then went into my stash and ran a mental inventory. I'm doing pretty good for myself, but If I need to help out others I'm kinda screwed. I did pick up some comfort food at wally world, while checking out ammo prices, I got myself 4 cans of Spaghetti-O's. A favorite from my childhood. I need more buckshot though. I have a good amount of slugs, but I need some more buckshot. I have 25 now, and that is woefully inadequate if the poop hits the fan. guess I'll start looking on the internet - local shops have it for $1.25 a round.

I need to figure out how to buy a FN Fal or an M1A before January 20th, while keeping the bills paid, and increasing my food preps. Looks like I'll be advertising my computer skills on craigslist for some extra $.

A friend forwarded me an interesting article. Granted there is like a 1.5% chance of it happening, but it would paralyze our government. This story at the Washington Times has an interesting scenario if both candidates tie with 269 electoral college votes each. It's a VERY interesting read.

Buy tangibles, spend time with family and friends, prepare your skills, your mind, and your soul for what might happen. Hope for the best.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Figured I'd post the lyrics to the chorus of "I'm Alive" by Disturbed.

The thing I treasure most in life cannot be taken away
There will never be a reason why I will surrender to your advice
To change myself, I'd rather die
Though they will not understand
I won't make the greatest sacrifice
You can't predict where the outcome lies
You'll never take me alive

Pretty good tune, if you like the heavy stuff. I have yet to see them live, just haven't been free when they rolled into town.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Next Great Depression

I have been thinking about how a major depression in the near future would be different from how it was leading up to the Great Depression. I am convinced we are looking at a grid-up situation, at least for the foreseeable future.

Communications has moved from the telegraph and telephone to the speed of light. Cell phones with automatic stock alerts allow us to constantly monitor the markets 24 x 7. If one major company fails, the effect immediately propagates throughout the world. It's a far cry from waiting for the newspaper boy in 1929. This means the markets react quicker to rumor and innuendo just as fast as facts. Tuesday the market bounced 130 points on the rumor the Fed was going to bail out AIG. The market could have plummeted another 400 points if the rumor was they were going to be hung out to dry.

The markets and the companies in them are more connected than they were in 1929. Virtually every company has derivatives in multiple other banks, which ties them all together. Also, the lines between banks, insurance companies, etc. have been blurred. In the running merger mill, every bank has a morgage branch, with a investment firm and an hedge fund. One bank failure is much more of a big deal now than it was in the past. These banking firms are so intertwined the failure of one has immediate and serious repercussions to dozens of other banks. One bank in 2008 is equal to hundreds of 1929 banks.

How people traded stocks is completely different than in 1929. First off more people have direct access to the market through the brokerage firms. Now you can buy and sell stock with the click of a mouse. The stock market started out with the sale of stock based on long trends, as it was a pain in the butt to buy it. Day after day you would see that US Steel was doing well, so you'd mail your broker to buy some shares. Now, you can instantly buy and sell with the click of a mouse. Daytraders were never envisioned by the original traders on wall street. You can now make a living trading millions of stock for a few tenths of a percentage, just by buying and selling any and all stocks. It's amazing the system hasn't just fallen apart from the sheer complexity.

Markets are now global, rather than national. In 1929 most stock was bought and sold for American companies by American companies. Nowadays, it's a global economy, with foreign companies investing huge sums of capital in America. Now the economy is a global issue, as the Federal government is slaved to the interests of foreign nationals because their government have invested so heavily in American firms. Would China seize American assets in China if they lost $500B because the US nationalized the company? How about $1T? What would Bush do to placate them?

We, as Americans, have a false sense of security that we have robust and strong system of checks and balances to prevent anything bad from happening to the US markets. It's all hogwash, but Joe SixPack thinks we do, and perception is reality. So the masses will blindly follow this administration straight into bankruptcy mindlessly believing that it could never happen. This blind faith has it's purpose, as it can act as a shock-absorber, allowing markets to recover before Joe runs out of beer, and really panics.

All this combines into a few observations. I think that the media and administration will keep saying all is well until it catches up to them and the markets collapse as much as the market freezes will allow. Two or three days of that and the fun will really start, as the dollar inflates as foreign investors desperately try to pull their money from American markets to get Yuan or Euros.

During this fiasco I expect Joe SixPack to suddenly wakes up and head to wally world to buy bread, beer, and a shotgun only to find everything empty, doors closed as the JIT inventory system collapses. Or Joe gets a pink slip at work. Unable to find work and with the Fed printing more and more money to support the ever-growing numbers on unemployment. Hyperinflation sets in, and it's a matter of time before violence breaks out in major cities one by one as people fight for food.

Most Americans are no where as self reliant as we one were. We are an urban society now, far removed from out agricultural and industrial roots. Joe Sixpack doesn't know about gardens or animal husbandry, he's a widget maker on an assembly line or a sales associate. The average American doesn't know how to debone a chicken. Perdue does it for them. Slaughter a cow? Most would lose their lunch at the thought. Joe SixPack doesn't know how to turn a tree into lumber, fix his car, or build a shed. The lack of knowledge will have a direct and lasting impact as the average American is slaved to Uncle Sugar to provide for his needs.

If the economy crashes, then another factor to recovery is the lack of "frontier". In 1929, you could pick up the family and head to California to find work on public projects, mining, timber, or farming. The west didn't suffer the dust bowl, as the soil wasn't as depleted as the Midwest. We no longer have a frontier to go to for work. there is Alaska, but it cannot sustain a large migration of workers, the infrastructure is not there to keep them alive during the winter. With nowhere to go to get work, the population will stay put. Idle hands are the devils workshop so I expect most to turn to petty crime to feed their families. It's not too hard to take it to the next level, and steal to make your life easier...

We also don't have the same family structure as we did in 1929. I'm the poster boy for the nuclear family, as I have a brother and my Mum. That's it. I got a lot of family in the south, but they don't know me from Adam. Most of my friends don't have regular contact with aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. either. Lacking this support network will make people more desperate. This makes for more people to turn to Uncle Sugar, when the could have been supported by their families.

An obvious fact is there are a lot more of us then there was. We are packed into denser blocks of people, which makes it easier for tensions to flare over dwindling resources.

The attitude of the average American has changed drastically. Most people feel entitled to food, water, shelter. They don't feel they need to earn it with Section 8, Disability, Welfare. If you have the idea you're entitled to something you are more likely to take it when you are no longer given it. This will be the single largest cause for violence in the cities.

To sum up. I expect the crash to be sudden, with the market freezes doing squat to stop it. Hyper inflation will happen as Uncle Sugar tries to buy it's way out of the depression. Violence will start in the cities, drawing the national guard and law enforcement resources into the inner city, leaving the suburbs to burn. With no where to go, most people will try to weather the economic storm home. The Golden Horde probably will not happen. Our collapse will cascade throughout the world, with Japan, China, and Europe feeling the worst of it. The Russians have a more recent history of bread lines, so they will do a lot better than we will.

The dust bowl was a major factor in the famine during the Great Depression. In the Future modern fertilizers allow us to grow more per acre, but once the fertilizer is too expensive, I expect food production to drop, and the cities will have trouble keeping the population fed. This will spark many riots, as one race feels the other race is being better fed.

It's a bleak outlook, but we can get through it and prosper if we keep our wits, families and friends around us and we prepare.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tools - Bit Brace

One of my hobbies is woodworking. I'll be writing articles every now and then about good tools you can get cheap, that have a dual purpose if you lose power. In some cases these "obsolete" tools are actually more practical and functional than the latest DeWalt doohickey.

Now there are two kinds of woodworkers, Neanderthals and Normites. Neanderthals shun modern tools, preferring to build everything by hand using expensive hand planes made by Veritas. Normites love power tools. If doesn't have a plug on it then it's not useful. I swear I could make a fortune by building an electric 2 1/4 HP pencil. The term Normite comes from Norm Abrams from This Old House and The New Yankee Workshop.

Well neither one of them is right. I've personally seen a normite spend an hour rigging up the perfect jig to trim a few thousandths off of a board with a table saw, when a hand plane could do it in 30 seconds. I've also seen a Neanderthal cut a 13" wide 8/4 board (2" thick) of rock maple with a hand saw instead of letting me cut it with my chain saw. I thought he was going to have a heart attack. I personally use the best tool for what I want to accomplish, regardless if it has a power cord or not.

Onto today's topic, the Bit Brace. Long before you had electric drills, the bit brace was used to hold a bit. It works by applying pressure to the round top, and cranking the handle around and around with the other hand. Bits come in a ton of sizes, but they all have a squared end for the brace to clamp onto. Generaly the smallest bit you use is 1/4" anything less you's use an eggbeater for. Recently, Lee Valley added two items that make the bit brace a very useful item to have around the shop. First they made an adapter from the squared bit to a 1/2" drive for sockets. The other is an adapter for the 1/4" hex used by screwdriver bits. It even has a little magnet so the bit doesn't fall out. you can find these items here. you also can buy new braces there, but DON'T. I think Lee Valley has great stuff, I don't work for them, just a satisfied customer.

You can find bit braces at flea markets for about $2-3 bucks. These are pre-WWII, tough as nails, no-nonsense workhorses. They are everywhere! I own at least ten, most bought for a buck. Bits are more of an issue, to get a complete set is expensive due to the "collectability" of it. But individual bits are easy to get. I usually buy then individually for a buck, but I can usually get them two for a $1. Then using some small files you can sharpen them up.

Now why would you want to use this instead of a electric drill? Well first off it's batteries never run out. Also, you can precisely control the torque generated so your not snapping off bolt heads. Finally I can create a LOT of torque with one. I've snapped the heads off of rusted in bolts by accident. It weighs about a pound which is a lot less than an electric drill.

It will take a little effort to get it all together, but once you have one your going to wonder why they stopped using them.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Three essentials

Just a quick thought. There are three items you should have in your home stash of preps. Fire buckets, plastic buckets and baby wipes.

Fire buckets are those galvanized metal pails. Quality ones are hard to find, but cheap ones can be had at HD or Lowes. They serve two purposes boiling water for doing dishes, and as a bucket brigade to put out a fire. I used to use them camping all the time, fill with water, put the bucket in the fire when dinner is done. just about the time you're ready to clean up you have hot water. I wouldn't use these for boiling drinking water, but for cleanup they are perfect.

Regular buckets are very useful. With plastic garbage bags they can be a latrine. They can catch rainwater, or fill them with water before the water stops flowing to flush your hopper. Use them as wash basins to clean dishes, or to take a bath. Very handy.

Baby wipes are going to be a nice item to have if you lose power for long periods of time. We Americans are used to taking at least one hot shower a day. In a post hurricane situation without power. you can give your self a quick bath with a baby wipe so your not stinky. Hit the pits, your feet, then your nether regions and toss it. Feel like a million bucks. Also good for TP.

Toss a box of heavy duty garbage bags on the list too, I'm too lazy to edit what I got so far. Way too many uses to list. $3 well spent.


Michael and Mayberry reminded us yesterday that we need to invest in tangibles. Over the last few months I've managed to set aside a chunk of my savings into food, weapons, and supplies. Not that I had much in the way of savings to begin with. Matter 'o' fact, my 401(k) is down 25% for the year... oh well.

Silver is down to $10 an ounce. And I'd buy some if I could find some. I checked 2 coin shops, and they wanted $30 an ounce for their junk silver... you kidding me?

This weekend the search goes south, to Rhode Island. I figure I have $100 I got from the change jar, so it would be a good idea to have some silver, just in case. I'm not going nuts and dropping all my $ into silver, I just figure it might be handy to have some, in case I need something and cannot barter for it.

Looks like the market bounced back some. I half expected this, as a lot of people will buy the stocks that are down figuring they will go up. I expect this to be a short rally. Let's see dropped 500 points yesterday, up 130 points today... so a net loss of 370 points. Our economic trouble is getting nothing but worse.

Make sure you have cash on hand. If the FDIC grabs your bank you are screwed! I don't have as much as I would like, but I am putting $20 cash a week aside in my safe at the house.

Get some silver. (IF you can find it!) I wouldn't go crazy, here until you have a months worth of cash in the house. Keep saving Federal Reserve Notes, but once in a while get a few ounces of silver too. It will add up over time.

Cut back on spending. Go to the movies, but sneak in your drinks and snacks. Eat at home instead of a fancy dinner. Bring your lunch to work instead of going to a fast-food place.

If you are just starting, don't lose hope. invest extra money into the following (in order):
water storage
Protection - (quality firearm with safety instruction)
Money - Mix cash with some silver.

Focus on the basics to keep your family fed and secure. After you have the basics covered then you can invest in a broader plan including ham radios rad detectors, etc. There are plenty of sites for the advanced stuff, if you need help post a comment!

Everyone else bust out the popcorn, I think the previews are over and the main feature is about to roll!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mass media Spin-job

Although both candidates have compared the current economy to the Great Depression, Mass Media keeps pulling out useless statistics to keep the sheeple asleep. On CNN this morning they were bandying about the "average number of banks to fail were 94 per year since the Great Depression. We have had 4 so far this year."

Two things are not correct here. First off we have had six gargantuan banks fail: Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Indymac, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers. We also had a number of smaller banks fail, like Contrywide, and a few others. The other issue is that the size of the banks is important. In the last 30 years banks have bought each-other out, smaller banks gobbled up by larger and larger banks. The bank I opened my account with in 1993 has been bought out 4 times, until Bank of America currently owns it.

So when one of these mega-banks fail, it's like several thousand local, neighborhood banks closing. The number of failures is smaller, but each failure is several orders of magnitude larger. I feel that it's the continuing ignorance of the sheeple that's keeping this economy afloat. Bank of America was wise to what's going down, they built up capital, ditched toxic assets, etc. in order to take advantage of the situation. I'm worried they will buy too much and collapse like the banks they are preying upon.

CNN just ran the story again, but now the graphic says "13 banks failed since 2007." Huh, Although the number is now correct, they slant the number by saying "since 2007". It's like Kevin Bacon in Animal House: "Nothing to see here, ALL IS WELL!"

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lehman Brothers, now served with Jam

Because it's TOAST!

Yep so Lehman Brothers is filing for bankruptcy protection, and the parent company, Lehman Brothers Holdings is filing as well. The Fed couldn't talk anyone into buying it, so thankfully it's just going to crash and burn.

Meanwhile, Merrill Lynch, is about to go belly up. A chunk of Merrill Lynch will be bought by Bank of America. Bank of America was going to bail out Lehman Brothers Holdings with Barclays, but they were not going to do it without help from Uncle Sugar. I have no idea why, but the Fedgov has said no public money will go into the bailout. I have to ask myself, why stop now? So Barclays & Bank of America are trying to get a bunch of wall street banks to fund the bailout.

I just saw one article that BoA dropped $44B to buy all of Merrill Lynch. Well, Monday will be interesting. AIG is about to shit the bed. Then the market will certainly flip out for at least the morning session.

So hold on to your socks, because I think it's going to be a rough one monday.

Stay Frosty!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Survival Mindset

Check out this article on CNN's website.

Seems like it's the ones who can think who survive. Go figure. I'll sum it up by listing what qualities make for a good survivalist.

Independent Thinkers
Strong Family Ties

Thankfully I have these bases covered, although here in the "Nuclear Family" Northeast, I consider my family to extend to my close friends. I would add that one skill needed is to be able to make the hard choices. If your brother has gangrene, well without antibiotics he's going to die. You need to be mentally prepared to face the hard decisions around him. If there is no way of getting him the medication you're going to have to chop off the leg, which might kill him anyway. Or if it's too far along, then you might have to euthanize him. It's a horrible thought, and I wouldn't dwell on such thoughts, but acknowledge you might have to make that call, then get on with living in the here and now.

It's a tough balance to think about the horrible things that could happen in the future, but keep living in the here and now. It's hard for me to read 5-10 articles about economic doom and gloom, then pony up the $10 to see a movie for entertainment. We need that, though. If we focus on the doom and gloom then we lose the gift of life we have now.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Reckless Endangerment

If you give porn or drugs to a child this is what your charged with. Drive like your in Boston Traffic when your not in Boston traffic and this is what your charged with.

When you let the economy fall apart because of partisan politics, and screwing over the middle class so you can make billions with your oil buddies, and construction mega-corp... That is what you should be charged with. But nope, the republicans and democrats will happily skip away holding hands while the middle class burns.

Looks like Washington Mutual's about to crash and burn too, shares dropping as stockholders sell because they lost confidence that they have enough assets.

Seems to me that the modern banking system's only purpose is to screw over the poor and middle classes, funneling money to the elite. The only reason that we haven't had another class war is because we might win the lottery and join that elite. Or win some ridiculous lawsuit by spilling hot coffee on themselves. I guess hot coffee is hot! Wish I thought of that one.

Let's see. Name one American president that was poor while running into office. Oh yeah there isn't one! Washington owned most of Virginia, John Adams was a well-established lawyer, Reagan was a film star, etc. I would say the Federal government has lost touch with it's humble beginnings, except that the entire Constitution was written by the upper middle class. They were all more successful than the average man. They still did a great job, though. Then the politicians got a hold of it and screwed it up but good.

Many could argue that any government by man is destined to fail, that only the Kingdom of God will provide justice, peace, etc. Well I'm agnostic, so I cannot bank on some divine savior coming to fix our problems, we are going to have to do it ourselves. Hey, I might find the Truth someday, but for now I got more pressing needs. Maslow's a harsh taskmaster.

Looks like we got a few options. Survivalists have an edge, as we will be better equipped to survive and prosper if the economy collapses. then we need to stand tall and point out the flaws of the old system to make sure the politicians won't screw it over. I think the current iteration of America is destined to fail. The Vandals are ready to sack us, no chance in hell of us holding them off.

I love America and if the country wasn't so rotten from the core I would gladly lay my life down for it. Most sheeple would ask "What's broken?" well here is my short list of fixes.

1) Term limits for political office. You get to server 3 terms at any level, regardless of the branch. So for local, state, and federal you can "max out" with 9 terms. Then you have to get a real job!
2) Supreme Court Appointees for 10 years, not for life!
3) Eliminate special interest groups and lobbies. Make it a federal crime to give anything to a politician. Cash or vacation to Tahiti, either one will get you 10-25 years.
4) Pooled election funds. Want to donate to a friend's election campaign? Tough. The money goes to a pool, and is divided equally. Say $100,000 for all candidates, then the top 5 get X a month until the election. Did I mention any use of these funds for anything other than election is a federal crime? Oh yeah, any personal money you want to use is put into the fund as well, the rich can kiss my ass if they think they will buy an election.
5) Make it illegal for The Federal government to borrow money. The state can borrow from the fedz, and the local govs can borrow from the state. This allows big state and local projects, but since the Fed cannot borrow money they got to keep their books clean. The federal government invests into the state and local governments.
6) While we are at it I am sick of living in a representative republic. Give me a democracy. That means no more congress. We have the technology.
7) True separation of church and state. If you want to get married go to a church, If you want a legal binding between two people, then go to city hall. No minister should hold any sway over the policies of a nation. I don't give a rat's ass whether or not our founding fathers were Christian, Scientologists or Heathens. Once you mix the two, your as screwed as mixing drinking and driving. Sure, you can get away with it for a while but eventually your going to screw up.
8) Line item veto. No pork barrel projects!
9) Make Social Security optional. I'm not going to see it, so I'm not paying for it. SS is borrowing money from the future to pay for the now. Since the Fedz can't borrow money, then the days of SS are gone.

I don't know all the answers, like what to do with those on social security, but it's a start in the right direction.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Passwords 101

I've been working with computers for a long time. Since 1975 to be exact. And the one weakness in the security of those computers has been the password. Make them too complex and the user will write it on a sticky-note and put it on the monitor. Make it to easy and the password can be brute-forced, or the user will use their kid's name as the password.

So how to go about making a secure password? Well I like to have 3 out of the 4 items. These would be:

Uppercase Characters
Lowercase Characters

So how do you remember the password F$mpatsFld?I break it down into chunks, then you need to just know the order of the chunks. So to make this password, I took Fannie May, the name of a fictional relative, and a tv show. So here is how I did it:
F$m = Fannie Mae
pat = fictional relative
sFld - Sienfeld

So I have about 15 different combo's and I just re-arrange them to make passwords. So let's add a few more... M$ft for Microsoft, pB58 for papelbon (Red Sox closer), and C.Cr for Captain Crunch cereal.

Now by swapping chunks around you can create very secure passwords that you can even keep track of without worrying about it.

They way to jog your memory is to never, ever write down the whole password. But you can give yourself mnemonics to remind you. I would never write down mnemonics for really important passwords, like how to log into blogger, or your ban's website, but for email, forums etc here is what I do. on a piece of paper, or in the Google Notebook. Now, a mnemonic isn't an exact copy, it's just to jog your memory. So for the 3 above I'd use something like this:

blogger tv cereal
avsforum cereal close
THG forums evil empire bailout

The trick is to make it personal without using any of your social security numbers, childrens' or spouse's birthdays, anniversaries, etc.

Hope this helps some, I got a wicked head cold so I'm not making too much sense, so I might have to edit this to make it a little clearer.


Well the campout was a bust, literally. We had been camping where we shouldn't have, and we got caught. Most towns out west have no police, so it was the Mass State Police who kicked us out at 9:30. At least they didn't shoot any of us, and because we were cool about it we don't have to go to court or anything. Oh well. We got away with camping on some corp's land for 6 years, and left it better than we found it. My conscious is clean.

Wound up crashing at one buddies house, but it's not the same as a campout. Now we need to find another place to camp. We don't like camping in public places, as they are not our style of camping. We drink a lot, and swear a lot more, so we don't mix well with the yuppie families that tend to frequent some of the camps I've been too.

We did talk of buying a chunk of woods together, but we will have to see how things go. Together, we should be able to buy 10 acres of junk land for short money. Then we can drill a hand well and I have my bug out location :) If the other 2 open thier eyes it will be a BOL for them too.

Friday, September 5, 2008

All Packed.

Well the truck is all packed and ready to go. I'm off for a glorious camping trip in the rain! It's humid as Rosanne Barr's armpit up here right now, and a cool dip in a spring-fed pond is just what the doctor ordered.

I'm not a smoker, but I do enjoy an occasional cigar when camping. I picked up cheap ones for the buddies and good ones for myself. :) I probably smoke 6-10 a year, I figure I get more lung cancer lottery tickets from the smog I sit in every day to and from work.

I'll be sure to snap some photos with my crappy cell phone camera. I've got my fishin' pole too, as I have yet to go fishing this year. I think I've earned it.

I got ham sandwiches for lunch today and tomorrow. And for dinner I have Delmonico Ribeye's that I use a dry rub on. Nothing in this world is as good as a ribeye cooked over a open flame with all the juices sealed inside from the dry rub. I'm gettign hungry just thinking about it.

For dessert I have a apple cobbler planned. Take a pie tin, and dump the canned fruit on it. Then sprinkle a little extra cinnamon and nutmeg over the fruit, just a little, and cover with a box of cake mix. Just the powder, not mixed with the eggs and such. put chunks of butter all over the top of the cake mix and sprinkle some more cinnamon and butter on top. Toss it into a dutch oven until done. That's living high on the hog!

well off to triple check I didn't forget anything. Ok now all of you got to hold down the fort until I get back!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Oi! My crystal ball's on the fritz!

Well I can't seem to make heads or tails of what in Sam Hill is going on with the economy. I guess if there are enough people brainwashed into believing this ponzi scheme works they might be able to hold of disaster. I'm not bettign on it, I've been stocking up on more food.

I've made two batches of cornbread, but the "real" cornmeal is playing havoc with the recipes I have access to. The second batch is much better, but I need to up the regular flour, and cut back on the cornmeal. It's good stuff, would do Michael proud. We don't have a hell of a lot going for us up here, but we still have access to healthy food if you look hard enough. Once I get the recipe the way I like it I'll post it.

Something is just not right. I have that feeling of suddenly waking by someone being near you when you're not used to it. Oil's dropping towards the bargain price of $100 a barrel. So far, the fedz have not bailed out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. So my Crystal ball must be broken, got to see about it getting looked at.

I'm dying to go camping this weekend. I got my work cut out for me. I'll be talking with my three buddies, and see if they are preparing like I am. I know one is. Now I need to convince Jack to pull his Republican blinders off and look at what's really going on. He's completely blinded by his love for all things republican, and hatred for all things liberal. Since the nitwit in charge is Republican then he can do no wrong. I've tried to open his eyes by pointing out the farce that led to the war in Iraq. Mindlessly he tows the party line.

My other buddy Chuck, isn't a political slave, but I'm not sure of his political leanings. I've only known him for about 10 years, and he lives pretty far away from me, so we don't hang out as much as I'd like to. I know we agree that all politicians are crooks, but as to individual issues I'm not sure.

Well it's going to rain like hell on Saturday, so we will be playing boardgames and drinking beer. I love a good game. our favorites include "Settlers of Catan", "Boomtown", "Citadels", and "Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers". All the games have relatively simple rules, but you can develop complex strategies. Perhaps I should review each of them sometime.

Remember to add boardgames and a deck of cards to your stash. Not just for the kids, you're going to go batty if your holed up at home with no power and nothing to do together. Well no rest for the wicked, time to dial into the job and work on servers. Joy!