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

Scene: Local gun/coinshop

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

:::Hour  later:::

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plan B heating

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unicorn sighting

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snow day

‘Tis a day not fit for man nor beast.

Its a cold, immensely windy day out there in western Montana. I had originally planned to go to CostCo but after doing a 360 spin through an intersection (albeit at slow speed and with no witnesses) I decided perhaps discretion was the better part of self-preservation and carefully drove back to the house.

For those of you in states that aren’t Montana, there is usually the notion that winter here is brutal, harsh, and runs fourteen months out of the year. Not exactly. You’d think that the harshest winter month would be December, right? Nope. Usually it is February that is the killer. Oh sure, December can get cold but as bad as December gets February is invariably worse.

Today, Im sequestering myself in the house to do drudge work, work on some preparedness things I’ve been letting slide, and, regrettably, studying math. But, it beats being ouside right now. While it isn’t as cold as it could be, nor as snowy, the wind is nuts….blowing, drifting snow is making everything impossible to see.

But….ah, preparedness….I have food, I have heat, I have electricity, and I have internet. That makes this sort of thing much more tolerable.

Book – “Lucifer’s Hammer”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Available from the usual sources.

Panic non-buying

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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