Walking Dead – Shane Was Right Edition

My wife pointed out, after last weeks episode of TWD, that Rick has become Shane. Shane was all about how they needed to do whatever was necessary, that this would not all blow over in a few months, and that the world was going to be a completely different place with different rules and different morals.

And, now, it appears that in Season Five Rick has become what Shane was in Season Two.


fullshaneNow, you could argue that Rick has never killed innocents for the sake of the group, as Shane did when he shot Otis, but in this most recent episode of TWD we see Rick casually saying that if it becomes necessary they’ll just “take” their new sanctuary from its owners. And Rick has, in the past, been less-than-reluctant to let strangers meet a gory demise without helping (which, yes, is not the same as killing them).

But it appears that ol’ Shane may have been ahead of his time in regards to his outlook and attitude.

Article – When disaster strikes, FEMA turns to Waffle House

When a big storm or tornado devastates a community, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) usually steps in to help state and local officials. But in recent years, FEMA has been getting some help of its own from an unexpected source – one you see on almost every highway throughout the Southeast: Waffle House.

During a busy lunch hour at a Waffle House in Norcross, Ga., manager William Palmer grills up a Texas Lover’s BLT for one of his customers on the high counter.

But there were a couple of days last January where this Waffle House was packed to the brim. It was during the ice storm that paralyzed the metro Atlanta area, and Palmer says people took refuge here.

Further proof that being prepared for disaster and post-disaster recovery isn’t something that only Big Gov can do. If you think about it, the best disaster plans and preps are going to be in the private sector….people who *really* have skin in the game.

While large organizations like FEMA, Red Cross, etc, are sort of a one-size-fits-all response, private responses tend to be can be much more focused. My business, for example, only needs to provide for my business’ needs…it doesn’t have to factor in the dozen other businesses in the area. As a result, I can dedicate more and better resources to disaster prep and mitigation than I wold if I were trying to cover everyone on the block.

Businesses have a very real goal in preparedness…being able to continue the business. If a hurricane or blizzard knocks them out of business for too long, they never recover. Once in a while you’ll see articles, similar to this, about businesses that have tenacious plans to ‘survive’ these sorts of events. One of my favorites was this gem about a regional power company during Hurricane Katrina that had its act together in a major way.

I’m a fan of private-sector answers rather than public-sector answers. I find very few necessary (and that is a subjective term) programs/services that cannot, to me, be met more efficiently with private sector solutions. Disaster preparedness is one of those things .gov should be doing, but it should be doing it hand-in-hand with private business and perhaps even taking some lessons from it.

Article – What happens when the Internet goes out? This Arizona town found out

Computers, cellphones and landlines in Arizona were knocked out of service for hours, ATMs stopped working, 911 systems were disrupted and businesses were unable to process credit card transactions — all because a vandal apparently sliced through a fiber-optic Internet cable buried under the desert.

The Internet outage did more than underscore just how dependent modern society has become on high technology. It raised questions about the vulnerability of the nation’s Internet infrastructure.

As a great Scottish engineer once opined, “”The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.” Preparedness is largely about compensating for failures of a particular system…infrastructure, mechanical, biological, etc….in short, it’s about being able to operate safely (if not normally) when something goes wrong with the usual system.

he internet, Crom love it, is the most awesome thing humanity has access to on a day-by-day basis. So, of course, we wind up being dependent on it. Two guys with a shovel, hacksaw, and probably some old cartome.org info, managed to pull the plug on a region’s ecommerce, phone communications, and other services. Without internet access, ATM’s dont pass out money and your local retailer won’t take your debit card…so you need cash, which the ATM just denied you.

This is why its a good idea to keep a bit of cash tucked away, have alternatives for communication, and other ways to entertain yourself.

What’s really interesting about this is that it seems similar to that episode a few years back where someone attacked an electric substation in the desert and wound up inflicting a similar amount of out-of-proportion mischief. All it takes to really screw things up is a small(!) amount of dedicated individuals. Two brothers shut down all of Boston a few years ago, costing millions of dollars and throwing a monkeywrench into a lot of peoples lives. Imagine a coordinated effort by a dozen people in six different states. You won’t overthrow a country like that, but you will sure make life miserable for it. So, as always, be prepared for alternatives when someone crashes the internet..or the local utilities…or the pipeline that brings natural gas to your county….etc, etc.

Article – Science finds the best place to hide from zombies

The “I told you so”s will be long and loud……

Farmhouses, fenced-in compounds, even the thick concrete of a penitentiary. Post-apocalyptic zombie fiction has taught us that these are good options for hiding out to protect your delicious brains from the undead, but eventually the zombies typically overrun the walls.

Fortunately, science has now provided a better long-term strategy for surviving the walking dead: Head for the hills. Specifically, you should probably get familiar now with the general location of Glacier National Park so that when it all goes down, you can start heading in that direction.

50% off One Month Pack from Augason Farms

Augason Farms is having a 50% off sale on their “One Month Pack”. (No idea how long the sale is running.) I bought a couple of these a while back and it is an excellent way to get introduced to their product. Foods are in #2 cans, which are far more practical than #10 cans, and when you factor in the price ($128.50 / 48 cans) you wind up getting a great assortment of stuff to try for, on average, $2.68. Nice fire-n-forget package for tucking away in cabins, RV’s, bunkers, caches, and relative’s houses. They also make great gifts if you’re the kinda guy who is willing to spend that kinda money on other folks.

My experience has been that when they have these sales it may take a week or two for product to ship, but to me it’s worth any delay to save a hundred bucks.

Since my food prep needs are small, two people, I find the #2 can (Augason Farms calls it their ‘Everyday Size’) to be a more practical size than a #10 can. A #10 can is a lot of food and if you don’t consume it fast enough you wind up wasting it. The #2 cans are just about the right size for one or two people.

I wound up buying a few other #2 cans of product to ’round out’ the ‘One Month Pack’ more to my liking. In conjunction with some canned/freezedried meats you can put together a pretty nice menu.

Anyway, they sent me a notice in email about the sale and I’m passing it along.

And then it just lowballed from there….

Years ago,I accidentally bought a HiPower. How, you may ask, does one ‘accidentally’ buy a gun? Simple.

Me: Just outta curiosity, whaddya want for the HiPower?
Gun Show Vendor: Make me an offer!
Me: Oh, man, I don’t have any money. Im cheap. I don’t wanna offend you with a lowball offer.
GSV: Hey, you won’t offend me. Make me an offer.

Now, at this point, I just want to get out of this conversation gracefully. So, I figure I’ll throw out a stupid offer, he’ll make a comment about me being insane, I’ll laugh along with him and make a self-deprecating remark about me being a cheapskate, and that’ll be it.

Me: Three hundred bucks?
GSV: Sold!
Me: …..

And then I had to do a hell of a shuffle to come up with $300.

Soooooooo….cut to today……

Me: Whats in the ammo can?
Vendor: Thousand rounds of .223 tracer ammo. You want it.
Me: Whaddya want for it?
Vendor: Make me an offer.
Me: Oh no. I ever tell you about the HiPower I accidentally bought?
Vendor: Come on, make me an offer.

<dejavu>Now, at this point, I just want to get out of this conversation gracefully. So, I figure I’ll throw out a stupid offer, he’ll make a comment about me being insane, I’ll laugh along with him and make a self-deprecating remark about me being a cheapskate, and that’ll be it.</dejavu>

Me: Two hundred bucks?
Vendor: Sold!
Me: Dammit!


Well, I guess twenty cents for tracer ammo isn’t bad when regular ball is going for twice that.

I gotta learn that when I try to lowball someone I gotta put some more low on that ball.

Things I shoulda remembered

Scene: my house
Setting: Half-awake, stumbling around in bathrobe
Event: Sound of someone letting themselves into house, security cam footage showing unfamiliar vehicle parked out front
What actually happened: Me forgetting that a contractor was coming by today
Now trending on Twitter: #IsThatAnUzi

Fortunately the contractor is pretty laid back and no one’s feelings were hurt. Most folks seeing a guy in a bathrobe holding an Uzi at port arms wouldn’t have been as cool about it.

Walking Dead – Episode 511

Man, I know the apocalypse can be a rough neighborhood….what with crazy one-eyed bossmen, colonies of cannibals, and just the general this-doesn’t-look-good crowd of dangerous survivors….but, geez….Rick and Co. are now just as bad as any post-apocalyptic gang of scumbags? Rick coldcocks a guy, takes his gear, takes his food, and threatens to kill him…and all the guy did was, unfortunately, use some language that was somewhat similar to what the folks at Terminus said. “Community for all” and “Stronger with you than without you” and all that jazz.

On the bright side, this episode was at least a somewhat better episode than the last couple that seemed to focus on experimental direction and storytelling.

Clearly, the end of the world is going to be rife with trust issues. Especially 18 months after the world flushes itself and you’ve spent the last year and a half being hunted, hounded, hungry, hurt and hopeless. But still….that was pretty thuggish behavior. I suppose it’s to show how the character of Rick has changed over time, or something like that.

Slightly better tactics than usual with a 2-man rule being shown, and more finger-off-the-trigger discipline than I’ve seen in a while. Thus far, these first three episodes of the new season seem pretty lame. I think I could have skipped the last three episodes and felt like I haven’t missed anything.

Oh, and probably more than anything else, the blogosphere will be burning up with much teeth-gnashing over the showing of a pair of gay guys kissing. You can show heads being impaled, limbs being ripped off, and cars literally covered in blood, but two guys kissing…thats objectionable. I kinda like the idea of them introducing a couple gay characters…(Everyone forget that there’s already a gay character in the group? Tara.) ..makes things seem a little more real and certainly opens up some previously unexplored story lines. When the end of the world rolls around there’s gonna be all sortsa folks running around trying to survive…men, women, blacks, whites, religious, non-religious, etc, etc. Stands to reason that there’s gonna be some gay folks and couples out there as well. I’d worry less about ‘what’ folks are and more about whether they’re ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

All in all, probably the strongest episode of the season in terms of story and plot development. Now that the ‘Alexandria Safe Zone’ storyline from the comics has been picked up I look forward to seeing how it develops.


After a little bit of a spike, silver has dropped back into the low $16 range. While I think the odds of things ever hitting the stage of bartering for your life with a couple Silver Eagles is pretty slim, I still like having a little box full of tubes of them on hand. It’s some sort of primitive lizard-brain thing, but I just like the feeling of having them even if, from a pencil-and-calculator standpoint, it doesn’t make sense.

Speaking of prices going down, it’s been a long time since I saw gasoline for less than $2. I’m no economic expert but, to my uneducated eye, it appears this is a simple price manipulation by the oil producing nations to make domestic oil production economically unfeasible. If they make oil cheap enough, folks will just by it from them rather than dig up North Dakota and Canada. Simple business economics….undercut the other guy. An unfortunate side effect is that all those guys that were making bank out there in NoDak are now fearing for their jobs. A good reason to always tuck a little something aside when youre doing well…you never know how and when the fat times are gonna come to a screeching halt.

One thing prices have not been going down on is food. Meats are pretty high these days. Even buying in bulk it can add up quickly. We’re buying half a beef from a somewhat-local ranch next month and thats been, in our experience, the way to go. It’s the same price per pound regardless of cut…ground beef or t-bone…its all the same. It’s been a good way for us to buy meat but, obviously, you have to have the freezer space to pull it off. My experience, which you can read about if you search through the blog, has been that you can stuff a properly packaged piece of meat into a deep freeze and have it be just fine five years later.

On paper, its tough being a survivalist…you sink a lot of money into things that, arguably, you might never need. I’ve seen guys die with thousands of dollars tied up in things they owned ‘just in case’. The outside observer might think its a waste of money or ‘misallocation of resources’ but there’s a non-tangible benefit. It’s very much the same benefit you achieve from that other ‘waste of money’ – insurance. It buys me peace of mind and a general feeling of security which, in my opinion, does have a financial value. Still, it’s a hard thing, sometimes, to spend money on ‘just in case’ stuff when what you really want is a WarCraft subscription or a new iPad.

Of course, once the zombies rise it’ll be a whole different story and that money will look like a brilliant allocation.